Monday, October 29, 2007

Reader Question: Hott Boots for Cold Days

Dear Winona,
I have a serious problem. Winter is coming, and although I love the snow, I have no cute boots to wear in it. It seems like Uggs are the only option these days, but they just aren't my style, and I'd prefer something a little different, a little more "Winona-esque" if you will. Do you have any winter boot ideas for a New England college girl on a budget?

No Doubt Aboot It

Dear No Doubt,

I have actually been having this same dilemma (except the New England part--I live many miles from New England, but I so enjoy your clam chowder). Winter boots are so tough, and I think that's partly because fashion magazines print things like this:

The perfect all-weather footwear for traversing the urban arctic!

After seeing hundreds of editorials insisting that suede stilettos are perfectly good blizzard attire, even the most wary of us can get sucked in and start thinking, "Vogue and InStyle are right! What am I doing running around in these sensible, flat, cleated ice boots when I could be strutting my stuff in some sexy D&G heels?"

But we must resist this dangerous propaganda! The cold (heh heh), hard truth is that icy, snowy, slippery winters call for embracing function over fashion (my dad would be so proud of me right now), which is code for "some of the following boots will be ugly."

Like these:

They're not leopard print, they don't have a heel, they sort of look like they need a bikini wax, but these babies will keep you warm, dry, and upright. I think they'd be pretty damn cute with some thick black leggings, a slouchy sweater dress, and a warm coat.
The North Face 'Nuptse' Faux Fur Boot, $99,

Although the bottom half of this pair is reminiscent of the shoes my mom used to wear for 1980's gardening, I find their dorkiness quite charming, and plan to purchase a pair myself, tuck in some skinny jeans, throw on a giant puffy jacket, and just OWN it.
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boot, $99, or

I'd suggest going to an outdoor store to find more functional, ugly boots at lower prices. My brother owns a clunky pair of camouflage fishing boots he got for $30 that I would have stolen from him by now if his feet weren't fifteen sizes bigger than mine. (Ah, to have a sister...)

Another option that is actually very cute are flat riding boots:

I have a pair almost exactly like this, and I wear them all the time. They're obviously not as warm as their puffy, fuzzy counterparts, but layer thick socks underneath and you'll be toasty and chic. I like to wear mine with black tights and bright pink wool socks that peek out above the top. I also get great pleasure from knowing that, if the need arose, I could effectively command a horse.
Naturalizer crissa, $129,

This style is pretty popular right now, so check out department store sales for good deals.

I was finishing up this post while sitting at Starbucks with my friend Lyndsey of You're Gonna Need to Write This One Down fame (I know what you're thinking: "Two bloggers of your caliber can just sit in a coffeeshop in broad daylight without being mobbed by fans?" And the answer is of course not, we're wearing disguises), and I asked her for winter boot ideas. "Moonboots!" she said.

"Nope," I told her, "the girl who wrote the email doesn't like Uggs."

"Neither do I," she said. "I hate Uggs but I love Moonboots."

I hadn't even considered this, as I put the two in the same category, but I suppose it's one of those a-square-is-a-rhombus-but-a-rhombus-is-not-a-square things (that was probably wrong, because I never thought I'd use geometry in everyday life--pay attention, kids!).

And so, I present to you, the rhombus of footwear, the Moonboot:

Good god these are rad. Definitely "Winona-esque." And "Lyndsey-esque" too, as an added bonus.
Technica Moonboot, $129,


Unknown said...

Thank you, Nona. I sheeped it up last winter and went with the suede stiletto boot and ended up with a twofold prize: the privilege of spending approximately 33% of the winter months on my ass in a freezing cold puddle, and of having a pair of $260 suede boots look like i put them into battle with fudgems the dominoes brownie.

speaking of prizes, i have a package waiting for me in my office. dare i hope...?!?

WendyB said...

Ha ha! Great post. I sure would not feel sex-ay in a pair of moonboots.

Vanessa said...

Now that Uggs have been out of style for, well, ever, I can't wait till people start wearing their mini-skirts with Moonboots.

Anonymous said...

Ok... forgive me Winona for I have sinned. I do wear uggs... but I too live in the Northeast and they're so darn warm... I can't help it. However, you can get ugg toasty warmness not wearing the uggs that come to mind. They actually have some not-half-bad styles:

Unknown said...

Winona, I AM so proud of you right now! IHGP

Anonymous said...

I've gone for the "flat-heeled riding boots" option myself this fall. However, leather boots require a bit more upkeep and weatherproofing than the other ones you've picked out. Some cleaner (for dirt), some spray protectant (to prevent salt from ruining the leather when you trudge through slush), and mink oil (to make the seams more watertight)...and you should be fine.

Isabel said...

Moon boots are genius! I actually quite like those Sorels too, providing that hairy stuff was removed from the top.

Unknown said...

You know what I saw the other day? Leopard print uggs. *pukes*

daddylikeyblog said...

Thank you so much for using the phrase "sheep it up" and sharing your winter stiletto experience! And did you pick up your damn package yet?? I'm dying to hear what you think!

I could see you workin' the moonboots! Sex-ay is a state of mind.

Neither can I!

Lol! Don't worry, my darling, I love me some Uggs! Seriously, I still wear my purple pair with pride--they're comfy as hell and cute in an ugly baby way. I didn't mean to come off as anti-Ugg, I only meant that the reader who wanted boot advice had mentioned she wasn't interested in the Ugg option. So keep on Ugging, sister! I've got your back!


Aren't they the best? And thanks for the tips!

Search for "Sorel" on amazon--there are hairless options! God that sentence was gross...

Hahaha I might be into that.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Winona!
-No Doubt Aboot It

Anonymous said...

I live in Boston, so I KNOW what u mean about the need for cozy, practical winter boots! La Canadienne, Bastien and Khombu have some cute, non-Uggy styles available at I have worn a pair of La Canadienne brand for 2 yrs now and they still look and feel great - not cheap, but worth the investment.

Joanna Goddard said...

i was born in france and my parents bought us moon boots. but when we moved to the US in second grade, we had to wear them while everyone was wearing little cute leather boots. it was mortifying. no second grader should endure such things.

luckily, twenty years later, i've come around to thinking moon boots are cool.

ps. I LOVE YOUR USE OF RAD!!! (i've been trying to bring it back:

Beth said...

OKay, so I'm a little late, but I read this post a while ago, + remembered it when you just linked to it.

I got a pair of bright blue, knock-off Moons Boots for $65. They're from DC shoe company, and I'm living in them because they're so groovy. ;-) Fugly is best!

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