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Tips for choosing the RIGHT boots this winter

There are so many styles, colours and materials that it can be at times confusing. That’s why I’ve asked James Delisle, footwear buyer for Sports Experts and Atmosphere, for his advice.

Here are 8 tips and tricks for choosing the RIGHT boots this winter!

1- Trends

“Right now, what’s trending is a look that’s a blend of fashion and the great outdoors: a boot that’s not too heavy, but warm. A good comprise. However, if you want to go snowshoeing, for instance, an outdoor activity boot is more appropriate.”

Pssst! For winter Sports, there are several styles that look like hiking boots.

2- Height

“As for height, knee-high boots have been very popular in the last few years, but now, it’s the shorter, mid-calf style that are trending. Yet there is still a mix of both.”

I must admit that tights are very fashionable now, so we seem to be showing a bit more leg. James points out that booties are popular for urban wear, but as they are not insulated, they are not well suited for outdoor activities.

3 - Colour

“Black is still everywhere, but this year, wheat colour is very in. Especially with teens, who love the Timberland-inspired look.”

As much as we enjoy funky colours, in athletic fashion, we are more conservative when it comes to choosing our winter boots. The reason: we often have only one or two pairs, so best to go with a more neutral colour that goes with everything.

That's why the majority of people try to find a style that takes them from snow shovelling and playing outdoors to going to work and running errands. In short, ‘versatility’ is key. It’s probably why the famous Sorel boot has become so popular over the years...

4- Materials

“Leather is very waterproof, but does not breathe as much as a synthetic. However, nylon loses its water resistance over time, so you need to treat it more often.”

Then again, leather requires proper care to protect it from calcium.

To that end, an all-purpose spray protector is a must to have on hand at home as it is suitable for a variety of materials. A few applications over the winter are enough to prevent calcium from attacking the boot while waterproofing it at the same time. Here’s a tip to keep in mind: wipe the snow from your boots so that it does not soak into the fabric.

5 - Insulation

“Insulation depends on the type of activity. Snowshoeing or outdoor activities that are more static require a higher degree of insulation. However, if you are moving a lot, you should not choose boots that are too warm, as you will sweat a lot and then get even colder. If you are just getting in and out of the car, there is no need for a lot of insulation as you want to keep your feet from sweating.”

Higher tech boots are mainly made out of synthetic materials and have a protective layer such as GoreTex. The styles that have removable felt liners, such as Sorel, are less expensive and very practical, especially for children, as they dry more quickly.

On the other hand, fashion boots often have an imitation sheep skin lining that provides light-duty insulation. They are therefore recommended for urban wear.

6- Soles

Most winter boots have soles made of rubber with varying lug depths.

“For outdoor activities, tread lugs are deeper so they provide better traction in the snow. There are also Arctic Grip soles offered by Merrell, easily identifiable with their small blue dots that grip ice and are very effective on icy sidewalks.”

Otherwise, removable crampons (much appreciated by the elderly) are still extremely popular.

7- High Heels

“This is a fashion trend which is much appreciated by women who wear high heels on a daily basis.”

However the heel cannot be too high for risk of reducing winter stability. We recommend no more than a 2” block heel or a small platform.

8 - Lifetime

The lifetime of a winter boot is directly related to how it is used.

If you wear the boots daily, the insulation will flatten and the interior will become less effective. Odour can also be an indication that it is time for a new pair. In fact, when you see the exterior deteriorate and the water resistance lessen, it’s time for a change.”

However, with proper care, winter boots can last a very long time.


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