Women’s Winter Boot Guide
Living in a ski town, or an area the receives major snow, means that you are wearing boots for 6 and sometimes 8 months of the year. Unfortunately, there isn’t one boot out on the market that you can wear hiking in knee deep powder, to the office, with a pair of jeans around town, and throw on to run and get the mail. If there is one boot out there that can do it all, please let me know. Instead you collect boots that excel and overlap in a variety of categories to get you through the cold months. This year, I have had the opportunity to test out 5 very different boots and have loved each one in a very different way for what they bring to the table.
Sorel Major Carly Boot $160
– go to for casual use on dry-cold days
Sorel is well known for their cold weather footwear offerings. New for the winter 2016-2017 season is the Sorel Major Carly Boot. The Major Carly, as its’ name suggest is a military inspired boot that is fashion and function all in one. For starters, the Sorel Major Carly Boots feature suede leather in high wear areas that also see the elements. Felt along the inside, outside, and the tongue of boot adds some style and breathability, while lightening the overall weight of the boot. The transition from leather to felt isn’t noticeable thanks to a canvas lining that also helps to insulate and keep your feet warm.
Major Carly Boot Features and Sizing
The Sorel Major Carly features a 9″ shaft height, which means that they come up about 5″ above the ankle, which offers some added warmth and protection if you do find yourself in snow and slush. The Major Carly Boot is also extremely comfortable and can be worn all day; the footbed features a removable EVA footbed and rubber midsole with an EVA insert for additional support. Sticky molded rubber on the outsole helps to provide traction on and off road.
Sorel incorporated a 6.5″ zipper that runs along the inside of the boot which allows you to keep the boots laced up and provides easy on an off access. When wearing the Major Carly boots with a pair of pants, the cheating zipper isn’t visible. The flat laces stay tied, another major bonus.
The Sorel Major Carley is available in 1/2 sizes from 5-11 and also size 12. I have always found Sorel boots to run a 1/2 size large and ordered a 1/2 size down. The fit was perfect. One thing to note about the Major Carly Boot is that they fit more like a casual shoe, with a narrower toe box than the Sorel cold weather boots, such as the Tofino or Caribou Boot. The Sorel Major Carly Boots are available in curry/monument (tan and light grey) and black and dark grey.
Keen Elsa Chelsea Boot $110
– go to for easy on/off for dog walks or trips to the pool
The Keen Elsa Chelsea Boots have been worn the most out of all of the boots in this line-up. For starters, the Keen Elsa Chelsea Boot is so easy to get on and off thanks to the pull tab at the back of the boot and the incorporation of elastic panels along the out and inside of the upper part of the boot. These boots have been my go to for running to the mail box, walking the dogs, and when driving to the slopes.
Rain, Snow, and Warmth
The Keen Elsa Chelsea Boot fits into the category of “shoulder season” boot, meaning that they are great for wet and slushy conditions, but are not tall enough to tackle deep winter snow. The Elsa Chelsea features a 6.5″ boot shaft length and may be the only boot you need in milder areas that don’t see deep snow. These boots are seam sealed, making them waterproof and feature a generous rubberized toe that integrates into the PU leather upper that continues around the heel and to the mid-foot. The top of the boot features a durable canvas that is backed by a soft micro-fleece lining. Once the boot is on, your toes are treated to 100 grams of Keen’s proprietary insulation. If you tend to have cold feet, I would recommend wearing these boots with a thick sock and they might not do the trick when the temps are down in the single digits.
The Keen Elsa Chelsea is available in size 5 to 11. I ordered a size 9 and felt that they ran true to size. They are designed for easy on/off and fit loose in the toe box. Keen utilizes a very supportive and removable PU footbed which stays put and doesn’t slide around. They are comfortable without feeling oversized or sloppy like say a pair of rain boots.
The Keen Elsa Chelsea Boots are available in a variety of color combinations: zinfadel (red), Beluga (green/brown, though I’ve only seen online), white/black, cocoa/desert sage (brown and light green). I tested out the Keen Elsa Chelsea in zinfadel and loved the bold color combination to add some spice to dark, snowy days. keenfootwear.com
Merrell Aurora Tall Ice + Waterproof $160
– go to choice for snowshoeing or long walks in tall snow
The Merrell Aurora Tall Ice is the best boot in the line up for traction, protection, and warmth. The Aurora Tall Ice features Vibram® Arctic Grip™ and a tread pattern, including 4.5 mm lug depth, that has kept me upright on some slick, icy days. The thick rubber outsole also helps to provide a barrier from the snow as well. With the added distance, integration of fleece lining, and 200 grams of insulation, these boots are ready for sub 0F days, and that is saying a lot from a gal that has cold hands and feet even when inside.
The Merrell Aurora Tall Ice Boot is waterproof thanks to the inclusion of a TPU waterproof shell and a bellows tongue, or a wide tongue that is attached at the sides and the uppers to keep the boot watertight. The lace up design allows you to cinch these boots closely while hiking or you can leave them loose for easier on and off. The common theme for this boot guide is inner zippers for quick on and off: I typically left the boots laced up to the last two loops in between wears to make the transition quicker.
Trekking and trudging
The Merrell Aurora Tall Ice Boot is attractive enough to wear with a pair of skinny jeans for casual use, yet excels off the trail. Yu can easily slip on snowshoes or NanoSpikes over these boots for deeper snow or when you need more traction. The boot shaft height is 11″, which makes these versatile and adequate for deep snow when paired with gaiters or pants with an integrated cuff. These boots weigh 2 lbs and 6 oz (based on a size 8) and is available in size 5 to 11, on the 1/2 sizes. Despite the addition of insulation, metal rivets, full length zipper, these boots move with you and feel light on your feet. These boots are available in two different colors: Espresso (dark brown) and Black. With a price tag of $160, these boots are built to last many seasons to come.
Merrell Travvy Tall Waterproof $200
– go to for use at work on snowy days