This winter, whether your version of rugged is après ski or just trekking to happy hour après your 9-to-5, you’ve gotta have a pair of hiking boots. We absolutely insist upon it. No, not actual hiking boots… At least, we’d never expect you to actually hit the trails in these bad boys.
These “I’m not really going hiking” hiking boots, even the ones from Sorel and Timberland, are better suited for date nights in the city and weekend excursions to the farmer’s market. Maybe down time during a ski weekend, but honestly that’s optional.
Because, yes, sure they’re rugged enough to be at home on a snowy mountainside thanks to their sturdy lug soles and traditional outdoor laces. However! All that high-end suede and leather, careful craftsmanship and tons of stylish details means they’re also about as spendy as a really nice dinner out on the town. With that kind of investment, you won’t want to muck ‘em up too badly.
As far as hiking-inspired boots go, these are the most practical and affordable of the bunch—but we still think they stand out thanks to the royal blue laces. The leather upper is waterproof, which means these are a great option if you live somewhere with actually terrible winter weather, but still want to look great while you’re puddle-jumping and slush-dodging.
Timberland is a true outdoor brand that has managed to remain a “fashion” mainstay thanks to its celebrity fan base and high-end collaborations like this one, with Barneys New York. These limited-edition burnished leather boots take the classic Timberland silhouette and dress it up a bit, thanks to a contrasting suede collar and traditional hiking laces. They’re so good-looking we’d definitely suggest styling them so they peek out from your jeans or cords to really show off the details.
M.Gemi Zolla Boots, $245 (originally $378)
We’re huge fans of M. Gemi’s Italian-crafted shoes, and now is the time to snag a pair since so many are on sale, post-holidays. These luxe hiking boots are all about the details—from the multi-colored sole to the stitched leather “calf collar” which we just now learned is a thing, and refers to that stylistic band around the back of your upper ankle. These boots are sleek enough that you could really dress them up if you wanted to—try pairing them with slim-cut chinos and a tweed blazer.
Aesthetically speaking, these might be our favorite pair of the bunch. Cole Haan is known for their major comfort factor—and we love how the tri-color soles of these boots runs more smoothly along the bottom—almost like a sneaker. The black and red flat laces give them extra “luxe rugged” style points, as do the hook-and-eye closures and contrasting black-and-brown leather uppers.
Moncler’s hiking boots are completely distinctive thanks to their coordinating red, white and blue laces and soles. If you’re looking for the ultimate splurge boot, and one that will actually keep your feet warm and dry thanks to genuine shearling lining, these will do the trick. Just be sure to purchase some of that spray-on waterproofing stuff to protect the suede. (Which you should do with all your suede items, by the way!)
The first thing that upscale e-tailer Mr Porter notes about these gorgeous, Italian-made O’Keefe leather boots is that they were “polished by two different artisans for up to three hours” in order to achieve their “signature shine.” That’s a lot of polishing, and these are very expensive boots. So if anyone compliments you while wearing them, be sure to tell them about those artisans’ hard work. But what we bet bystanders will notice most are the cool, red-and-white laces that provide a serious pop of color. If you’re in the mood to invest in a pair of boots that pretty much demand the additional cost of a weekend in Aspen to show them off—these are the ones.