Holiday Gift Guide 2021: The Best Men’s Footwear For Winter Adventures
AETHER Dolomite BootsAETHER
AETHER Dolomite Boots
These new boots from AETHER are so handsome and well-made that you could be forgiven for thinking that you shouldn’t get them wet. The Dolomite Boot was designed in collaboration with century-old Italian shoemaker Fracap. Each boot is handmade with 100% vegetable-tanned Italian leather and suede and then lined in leather. Small details include metal eyelets and lacing hooks and a welt-stitch detail at the sole. Each pair comes with a second color lace included. They also feature an ultra-sturdy Vibram sole, designed for excellent traction and stability in snowy and icy weather. The last for these boots was originally designed to make footwear for Italy’s soldiers. That said, you could confidently march into Harry’s Bar in Venice and order a Bellini after a ski trip to the Dolomites in these beauties. $400.
LOWA Ottawa GTXLOWA
LOWA® Ottawa GTX
The new LOWA Ottawa GTX are serious winter boots, which is probably not surprising given that LOWA is a European company that has been making footwear since 1923. These boots are constructed with GORE-TEX Partelana® insulation, and they’re 100% waterproof. They have an upper of leather and fabric, and a quilted cuff which makes them more flexible. The new LOWA® Winter Trac® outsole is designed with multi-directional lugs for superior grip on snow and ice. They combine the best of a hiking boot and a cold weather boot, and they would be perfect on the slushy streets of Montreal, as snowshoe boots in the White Mountains or on a trail walk in the car-free hamlet of Murren in the Swiss Alps. They may well be the ideal all-around winter boot. $250.
Forsake Mason Mid Sneaker BootForsake
Forsake Mason Mid Sneaker Boot
You can be forgiven for not knowing that a sneaker boot brand was Climate Neutral Certified but indeed, that is a solid claim from Forsake. Their new Mason Mid is a mid-top sneaker boot for men. Its winter cred starts with the fact that its fully waterproof, thanks to internal waterproof breathable membrane and premium waterproof-grade, full-grain leather certified Gold by Leather Working Group for environmental responsibility. The sole is grippy, using the brand’s signature Peak-to-Pavement® outsole. There’s a full EVA midsole, and a premium memory foam footbed with LAVA XL® anti-odor treatment. They’re very nicely made, comfy, and handsome to boot, ideal for wet walks and similar winter excursions. $150
Merrell Moab 2 Decon Slam Luna Mid'sMerrell
Merrell Moab 2 Decon Slam Luna Mid's
I’m a long time devotee of Merrell’s shoes and boots and the new Moab 2 Decon Slam Luna Mid's haven’t changed my opinion. The Moab Decon takes a classic Merrell style and reimagines it for more civilized adventures. The boots have an unlined full-grain leather upper that can be rolled for packing. There’s a polyurethane and memory foam foot bed and Vibram traction. You wouldn’t take these into the mountains but they offer a great choice for everyday winter adventures. $160.
Mammut Ducan Pro High GTXMammut
Mammut Ducan Pro High GTX
Giving other winter boots a run for the money, the Ducan Pro High GTX were created for winter hiking. These waterproof, high top hiking shoes are from Mammut, the Swiss company known for their rugged outdoor wear, and clearly designed with the Alps in mind. Thanks to their GoreTex lining, they promise to keep your feet warm and dry and are rated to minus 13 Fahrenheit. There is a spring-steel midsole and Vibram outsole, and the boots have Mammut Flextron technology, which “prevents deflection of the foot and provides improved vertical support for more efficient use of energy on hikes and climbs.” Designed specifically for winter conditions and for winter hiking aficionados, these are the real deal. $219.
OluKai Nānā Hele Wai‘apoOluKai
OluKai Nānā Hele Wai‘apo
Not all adventures require going off the trail. In fact, some of the best experiences happen with pavement underfoot. The Nānā Hele Wai‘apo from OluKai, a company that has redefined leisure footwear, is a fresh take on a men’s chukka boot. Thanks to a DWR coating to make it water resistant, as well as a grippy rubber outsole, it’s been elevated from a mere Saturday shoe to something else, a stylish chukka that is tough enough for inclement experiences and cool enough for après ski wear. $130.
KEEN Men's Revel IV Polar BootKeen
KEEN Men's Revel IV Polar Boot
You can guess from the word “polar” that these boots are designed to get you wherever you need to go this winter. The KEEN Men's Revel IV Polar Boots have the trademark rubber toe guard that have made the brand instantly recognizable and saved thousands of toes in the process. They have the qualities you want in an all-around great winter boot. They’re insulated, thanks to recycled plastic bottles, as well as waterproof and breathable, and they have classic hiking boot lacing. They would be ideal for snowshoeing and for winter hiking. If you spend a lot time outdoors in winters, these are your new best friends. $170.
Baffin, a Canadian footwear company, has come out with the Yellowknife. Canadians know more about winter than most of us, and this new boot is a mid-height, front lacing boot constructed of full grain, waterproof leather and a premium rubber waterproof base. Ideal for deep snow conditions, the Yellowknife was designed and manufactured in North America at Baffin's headquarters in Stoney Creek, Ontario. The boots have an RWT™ Rating: Tundra, which is company-speak for boots designed for “experiencing snow-covered environments. Tundra Rated product has been proven by us at many latitudes and altitudes during Canadian Winters. Cold-comfort is best achieved during moderate to high levels of activity.” While the outside of the boot clearly means business, the inside is just as important. The multi-layer inner boot utilizes Thermaplush™, a soft wicking layer for warmth, B-Tek™ Foam lining for comfort, B-Tek™ Heat lightweight insulation for high-loft breathability in a broad range of temperatures and PolyWool blend lining for breathable warmth. Now pray for snow. $140.
Get a grip this winter with a pair of Kahtoola EXOspikes. They offer footwear traction when there’s ice and packed snow and falling down is not part of your game plan. These are designed for both on and off-road use, as well as walking on packed snow trails. They utilize 12 integrated spikes per foot made of Tungsten carbide tip. While they’re easy enough pull on over your shoes or boots, and the best news is that they stay on even when you test their mettle. They come in a travel pouch for storage. $59.95.