It’s time to break out a pair of boots for a winter walk! Winter is looming over Toronto, dusting the city with snow and making your commutes chilly. Winter can affect people differently, which means when it comes to footwear, many of us have different needs to get us through the winter.
With different needs, come different footwear options. That’s why there is such a variety of winter shoes to choose from: They each have different purposes, advantages, and disadvantages. Which one you go with will depend a lot on your priorities, needs, and activities. Suppose you’re someone who loves the winter – more power to you! You’ll probably want to embrace it and suit up with some warm, protective winter gear. In contrast, you might be someone struggling with a foot condition who just wants to get through the winter with something recommended by a Toronto foot specialist, whereas the fashionista may skip the authentic “winter experience” in favour of winter style.
With that, here is part one of Feet First Clinic’s Walk Into Winter series! We’ll feature some top-notch winter boots and pair them with the winter persona that suits you and your winter activities best!
(Want to learn more about what makes winter footwear unique? Check out our winter footwear guide!)
The Winter Hiker: The Saucony Peregrine Ice
Why You’ll Love it
Not everyone treats the winter like something that needs to pass; some Torontonians embrace it! If you enjoy hitting the GTA winter trails, you’re going to need extra traction for those icy surfaces. That’s where the Saucony Peregrine Ice from their Trail series might pique your interest.
This shoe lets you enjoy the benefits of a lightweight sneaker, combined with protection from the slippery ground. Thanks to the fantastic Vibram Arctic Grip Technology in the rubber outsole, you can run through various trail conditions without slipping, and therefore reducing your chance injury. Furthermore, the waterproof Gore-tex fabric and water-resistant upper guard your feet from wet winter conditions, like slush, water and trail debris.
The Peregrine Ice is also quite comfortable. Made with PWRRUN foam and an extra layer of topsole cushioning, you can continue exploring your favourite trails without tiring quickly. The cushioning also gives you an extra boost and keeps you on your feet for long periods without the annoyance of foot pain. It also has a removable footbed to accommodate your custom orthotics. These perks combined are perfect for physically active people who keep up with their running routines all year round.
- It doesn’t provide the warmth that winter boots have.
- Not suitable for deep snowfalls: The shoe doesn’t rise above the ankles, so it’s more suited for trails with compacted snow.
People With Foot Pain: The Mephisto Zelda
Why You’ll Love it
Winter boots from Mephisto are an excellent choice for people struggling with foot pain. The water-resistant Mephisto Zelda winter bootie is lightweight compared to heavy-duty winter boots, and laces up so you can adjust the fit and opening. The luxurious, soft faux fur also keeps your feet toasty when those temperatures start dropping in Toronto. Chiropodists note that Mephisto is one of the best shoe brands in terms of foot pain management. The following technologies work together to make Mephisto footwear shine:
- SOFT-AIR Technology: A Mephisto staple! The flexible and soft midsole provides excellent cushioning — perfect for sensitive feet.
- Shock absorbing heels: Shock absorption protects the foot and ankle joints from fatigue. This is also the case for your knees and back! Mephisto’s shock-absorbing heels are a protective barrier between your feet and the harsh impact of the ground.
- Arch support: Arch support is essential for a couple of reasons. First (and foremost), it supports the structures of your foot, which helps reduce strain and pressure on the joints and ligaments in the foot and ankle. It also helps provide stability for those with an abnormal gait. Several foot conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause your gait to change while your body tries to accommodate foot pain and deformities. Arch support can also help with controlling balance. Mephisto’s highly defined, anatomic arch support in the footbed supports the natural shape of your feet and provides stability, balance and foot pain management.
- Removable footbed: This removable footbed allows this boot to easily accommodate your custom orthotics or specialty insole of choice.
- This boot comes with laces and does not have a zipper. This can pose a problem for people who want to quickly slip their shoes on and off without having to bend over to tie laces.
- The Mephisto Zelda is a bootie, so it doesn’t offer much lower leg coverage above the ankle.
- Mephisto boots won’t provide the same degree of insulation as a heavier-duty winter boot. Therefore, your feet might get cold when the weather dips below -5.
The Winter Fashionista: The Ara Paula
Why You’ll Love It
If style is your thing, the knee-high Ara Paula might be the way to go. Although you’d be missing out on the faux fur that some winter boots provide, the Paula is still a great choice for nights out with light rainfalls and a dusting of snow. Thanks to the Gore-tex fabric, this trendy staple is waterproof and breathable while giving your winter looks some modern flair.
The slight wedge gives you some height and that extra boost of confidence for your stylish winter looks. They’re also pretty comfy: The Ara Paula comes with a cushioned footbed and built-in arch support – an excellent base for your foot that can help with onset foot pain. The footbed is also removable so you can insert your custom orthotics or Superfeet insoles for extra, customized support.
- The insulated lining does provide some warmth, but when temperatures dip to a certain level, you might want to consider other options.
- Likewise, other winter boots may be more practical for long walking periods in adverse conditions.
The Winter Warrior: The Sorel Joan of Arctic
Sometimes, Toronto winters just aren’t enough for the winter connoisseur. For those who like to trek up north and immerse themselves in a winter wonderland, the Sorel Joan of Arctic is the way to go. Designed for heavy snow use, this boot protects your lower legs and feet entirely while you enjoy your winter walk – even through deep snow.
First, this boot is all about being toasty. With a temperature rating of -32 degrees C, you can say goodbye to numb toes. The faux fur shearling cuffs help lock in warmth, along with the removable 6 mm washable felt inner boot. The thick sole in this boot also contributes to insulation and prevents heat from escaping.
The entirety of the Joan of Arctic boot protects your feet and lower legs from the snow and slush, thanks to the waterproof suede design. This boot’s rubber sole is also suitable for gripping the icy ground during your winter adventures.
- Extra protection and warmth often mean needing a bulky, heavy boot. That said, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a winter getaway up north, this likely won’t matter too much to you.
- Likewise, the extra bulk means this boot may fall a little short when it comes to style. It’s meant for the outdoors, so it may be difficult to pair with your favourite indoor outfit.
- There is no removable footbed, which means this boot may not accommodate orthotics or custom insoles.
- There is no side zipper, which can make the boots difficult to take on and off for some.