One of the obvious downsides of the winter season is the inclement weather. It usually doesn’t take long before the heavy rain and snow take their toll on the streets, turning them into a slippery and slushy mess.
This makes wearing a nice pair of leather shoes a definite hazard.
Even if you are among the minority and take good care of your shoes, you still don’t want to be trudging around in them in the slush and the snow for extended periods of time.
A simple solution to the problem is investing in a solid pair of winter boots like the Bean Boot (aka duck boots).
I’ve talked about these boots before and they are a fantastic option for those of you who have to do battle with the slush and the snow on a regular basis during the winter.
Although I’m not a fan of most hybrid shoes, Bean Boots are an exception. The rubber soles and bottoms are perfect protection against the wet and the cold while the leather uppers add a bit of class to the boot that makes them significantly more stylish than a typical pair of galoshes.
Bean Boots come in two sizes, the 6″ and the 8″ boot. I recommend going with the 8″ boot as it looks more elegant than the 6″.
How to wear Bean Boots
I think it’s fairly obvious that you wouldn’t want to be wearing these things with a suit. While they might be useful to throw on if you have to walk from the parking lot to the office, they shouldn’t be intentionally paired with formal items like suits. The contrast is simply too jarring.
Throwing them on with a pair of jeans, chinos, or khakis, however, is totally fair game. Bean boots will actually pair very well with work wear pieces like thermal henleys, quilted jackets, flannel shirts etc. This makes Bean Boots an excellent choice if you are trying to dress with a more rugged aesthetic.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
In the example above I’ve paired the Bean Boots with some olive cords, a cable knit sweater, brown leather gloves, and a chocolate brown cashmere scarf. Feel free to throw on a pea coat over top for a simple look that will keep you warm, dry, and stylish.
But let’s say for whatever reason you’re just not a fan of the whole duck boot aesthetic. Maybe you think they look silly. Fair enough. If you’re really not interested in a pair of Bean Boots then a good alternative would be a classic leather work boot like the Red Wing Iron Rangers.
These are the winter boots that I own and they are definitely my favourite. They are the perfect mix of form and function. They are rugged enough to withstand the harsh winter weather but also stylish enough that they can work well with more refined pieces like wool trousers or even a winter suit.
I should mention, however, that you must take care of these boots if you want them to look good for a long time. That means letting them dry out properly if they get wet and not letting salt and dirt to sit on them for too long before cleaning them.
Speaking of cleaning, make sure to use a quality leather shoe polish on them from time to time as well as a proper leather conditioner. Trust me, if you take care of these things they will last you for the rest of your life.
How to wear Iron Rangers
As I mentioned above, Iron Rangers can be paired with more formal items like wool trousers and winter suits, making these boots a fantastic option for putting together “high low” looks.
In the example of above I’ve paired the Iron Rangers with some classic wool trousers, a simple white dress shirt, drab olive green wool tie, and a slick cafe racer style leather jacket. It’s a fantastic look that is just the right mix of rugged and refined.
But what if you live in an area that doesn’t experience harsh winters? What if you don’t have to contend with the snow and the ice? Are their any boot options to consider under those circumstances?
For those of you fortunate enough to live in areas that experience relatively mild winters, I recommend looking into a quality dress boot like the Dalton Wingtip from Allen Edmonds.
The reason why I recommend these boots for only mild winter weather is because even though they are technically a boot, they are not designed to handle excessive amounts of snow, slush, and ice. If you need a boot to combat the elements, then I recommend the first two options I’ve covered above and not the Dalton.
I should also mention that these boots are relatively expensive (they retail for $425) but they are well worth the price. Remember that quality shoes are an investment that can last you a lifetime and actually save you money over the long run. If you take care of quality shoes they will take care of you.
How to wear Dalton Wingtips
While the Daltons naturally pair well with formal items like suits, they are also incredibly versatile and can be worn with things like chinos, cords, or denim.
As you can see I’ve dressed the Daltons down a bit by pairing them with denim. For the sake of simplicity I’ve included the same white dress shirt and tie from the second example and added a wool blazer, leather gloves, and a scarf, effectively turning the basic blazer into a piece of outerwear.
This is a fantastic look for the office or even a night on the town. Just don’t forget to wear a pocket square!
Not all boots were created equal. Depending on the weather and your personal taste different styles may be more or less appropriate. In this article I’ve reviewed three boots that run the gamut from functional and practical to wholly aesthetic. I’ll leave it to you to decide which style works the best for you.
Here’s to looking sharp!