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I’m looking for black winter weatherproof boots that lace up (no zipper on the side), and are not a duck boot/Sorel type. Ideally, I could run around the city in the boots and handle several inches of snow upstate, and would spend around $200 or less. Sleek would be great — I love Aquatalia lace up styles, but they’re cost prohibitive and all the other boots I’ve seen are either very expensive or very fugly.
I love that you provided Aquatalia as a reference. The two weatherproof styles that popped up when I did a quick search for the brand’s boots really are sleek-looking. (I agree that clunky Sorels and duck boots aren’t great for everyday wear; they’re definitely more of an “occasional” boot — the occasion being inclement weather.) While the two Aquatalias I found are expensive, they both have pretty classic shapes — combat boot and hiking-inspired — that thankfully aren’t too hard to find at a lower price point. Below is a selection of lace-up boots in both shapes that are, at the very least, waterproof and in your price range. Many of them also happen to be pretty sleek, if I do say so myself.
Lace-up black winter boots
When I think of Merrell, “sleek” is the last word I’d use to describe the brand. But I actually kind of love these boots. They look like a combat-hiking hybrid and have a couple of hooked eyelets at the top and a woolen cuff that adds a nice touch, even if it means the boots are not all black. Plus, the leather shaft can be folded down Peter-Pan style if you want to show more of the cuff. They’re waterproof with a breathable plaid lining and a grippy rubber sole, yet still manage to have a rather slim silhouette. I might have to get these myself.
Here’s a more straightforward hiking style from Kodiak, which calls itself “Canada’s boot maker.” (Hey, if they’re good enough for our neighbors up north, then I bet they’re good enough for us New Yorkers.) They’re waterproof, lined with Thinsulate and high-pile fleece to keep your feet toasty, and have a treaded rubber sole for traction. The two-tone leather upper makes them a bit more interesting (and reminds of the Aquatalia styles above). They’re not as dressy — the metal eyelets make them feel more utilitarian — but I think they still look pretty nice for being winter boots, and could easily be dressed up, too, without looking like you just trekked through a blizzard.
If you prefer a simpler pair without the plush lining, try Kodiak’s all-season boot, which is lined in microfiber and also waterproof.
Or, if you don’t mind a little extra bulk, consider these waterproof hiking boots from Timberland. They have a much sleeker silhouette than that of the brand’s ubiquitous work boots, but still have all the features — thick rubber lug sole, cushioned foot bed, and padded leather collar — you need for trekking through rain and snow. The polished leather makes them a little dressier, and the camo cuff and swirly green eyelets are fun.
Here’s another pair of Timbs that look especially toasty, thanks to their fleece lining and fold-down fleece collar (when the snow piles up, they can also be worn with the shaft all the way up for a more combat-boot-like look). The contrasting smooth leather-and-suede upper is also an interesting design detail.
To make more of a statement (think Hollywood starlet at Sundance), might I suggest these Timbs with a cozy shearling cuff and super wide laces that don’t require tying — simply pull them on and off. I think they’re sturdy enough without being too bulky, but these are definitely a more substantial boot than others on this list.
For something that leans more toward the hiking-boot look, try this pair from Cougar (another Canadian performance brand). The waterproof leather boots with lug soles have a plush fleece lining and a knit collar to keep your feet extra dry and cozy. While this isn’t the sleekest boot, it also doesn’t scream “winter shoe,” either.
Of course, you could always just get a pair of Blundstones. These are a tad over-budget, but they’re all black and lace up, making them slightly more fitted than the Australian brand’s classic Chelsea style. They’re also water-resistant and have a slip-resistant sole.
Lace-up black winter boots (with side zips)
You specified that you wanted black lace-up winter boots without side zippers, but I found some boots with zippers that otherwise fit all your criteria — black, weatherproof, sleek — and look too nice not to mention. I dare say that a couple of them are even sleeker than the ones above.
Canada’s got the market cornered on stylish, cold-weather footwear. Blondo, another company from up north, has been around for more than 100 years, so it probably knows a thing or two about keeping your feet protected from the elements. All of its shoes are waterproof, including this suede combat-style boot that features a special seal to protect against water, calcium, and salt. A lug sole provides traction, and a side zip makes it easier to put on and take off. I like these a lot — especially since they don’t look like winter shoes at all.
These could pass as non-winter boots, too, thanks to cute details like the buckle. Although they cost more than $200, the lightweight boots have a water-resistant upper, fleece lining, and a thick lugged sole appropriate for slushy sidewalks and snowy hikes. Another pair that I would seriously consider for myself.
If you want a tall combat boot like the Aquatalias, you might like these streamlined waterproof boots that have a high shaft and buckled cuff — ideal for both trudging through snow and ambling around the city. A side zip offers easy on-and-off, while a microfleece lining provides extra moisture-wicking warmth.
Here’s another option that doesn’t look like a bulky winter shoe but still offers waterproof protection. While this reads dressier (it comes with both ribbon and regular laces), it features a water-resistant leather upper and a removable, podiatrist-designed orthotic insole with arch support. These seem best to wear on a rainy day, as you might want something a little more substantial when it’s snowing out (the sole is made of rubber, but it doesn’t have much by way of grip).
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