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Functional footwear doesn’t have to forgo fashion

Photo by Terry Brennan

A few key things to look for in a pair of Minnesota-winter-worthy boots: height (keeps wind and cold out), sole thickness (provides a barrier between your feet and the frozen ground), and waterproofing (for the inevitable slush). These kicks meet those criteria in faux-fur-trimmed, colorfully stitched style.

Boots from left to right: 

1. With subtle Fair Isle patterning and details such as leather trim, a faux-fur collar, and electric-blue laces, the Shellista projects plenty of style. Yet it doesn’t scrimp on substance: It’s made for conditions as chilly as -25 degrees, with superior traction and waterproofing.

2. For those who find most foul-weather boots too chunky and clunky, the Snowtropolis offers the same slim profile as boots that you’d select when there’s nary a flake on the ground. Its sweater-knit collar and waterproof suede upper with leather trim are paired with robust tread for gripping icy sidewalks.

3. For days that are damp, but not terribly chilly, the Slimpack is the love child of leather riding boots and their thick-soled winter brethren. This pair will still go with practically everything, as good riding boots do, while Sorel’s high-grade waterproof footbed allows for splashing through puddles without fear of ruin.

4. A more feminine update on Sorel’s classic design, the Joan of Arctic is tall enough for optimal warmth, and a faux-fur accent adds charm to utility.

5. When keeping toasty doesn’t necessarily mean trekking through the Arctic, try the Tivoli Herringbone. It’s not as protective as some other Sorel boots, but it makes a much more practical transition from snowy streets to indoor activities—especially with a chic herringbone pattern accented by pops of color in the sole and stitching.

6. The lightweight Northridge feels almost like a sneaker yet keeps toes dry thanks to a waterproof lining. It also provides a solid grip and the stability essential for wintery hikes.

Boot Up:

Left to Right: The North Face Shellista Lace Luxe (Zinc Gray/Brilliant Blue), $160, and The North Face Snowtropolis Lace (Mudspring Brown/Fossil Ivory), $220, @ The North Face, several metro locations, including 799 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-224-4246, thenorthface.com. Sorel Slimpack Riding Tall Boot (Cinnamon), $210 @ Columbia Sportswear, various metro locations including 3014 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-825-6213, columbia.com. Joan of Arctic Boot (Tobacco/Sudan Brown), $150, and Sorel Tivoli Herringbone Boot (Dark Brown), $120, @ Midwest Mountaineering, 309 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-339-3433, midwestmtn.com. Ahnu Northridge Winter Boots (Winetasting), $180 @ REI, various metro locations, including1955 County Road B2 West, Roseville, 651-635-0211, rei.com.

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