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Winter boots for harsh climates

JohnnyLaw

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I'm trying to decide on a new pair of winter boots. I'm thinking about this now, because it will be winter in Quebec by September (I'm kidding, winter starts in October here). I'm looking for something that can handle serious abuse from snow, slush and salt (we had around 15 feet of snowfall last year). I also want something attractive. I'm thinking about something like the Alden AF95 wingtip boot with commando sole, but I'm worried that it will get destroyed very quickly:
I would like some recommendations for water-resistant, relatively sleek leather boots with gripping soles in the <$500 range. Show me what you've got.
 

erdawe

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Do they make those in shell and commando? Add that with beeswax polishing and thats nearly about as weather resistant you can get from the traditional leather boots/shoes.
 

Bic Pentameter

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Originally Posted by JohnnyLaw
I'm trying to decide on a new pair of winter boots. I'm thinking about this now, because it will be winter in Quebec by September (I'm kidding, winter starts in October here).

I'm looking for something that can handle serious abuse from snow, slush and salt (we had around 15 feet of snowfall last year). I also want something attractive.

I'm thinking about something like the Alden AF95 wingtip boot with commando sole, but I'm worried that it will get destroyed very quickly:



I would like some recommendations for water-resistant, relatively sleek leather boots with gripping soles in the <$500 range. Show me what you've got.


I wouldn't recommend the Alden AF95 wingtip boot for "serious abuse" from snow slush and salt. I asked Adam from Alden of Carmel when I was buying my cordovan boots, and he indicated that they were not suitable for serious rain and snow.

How about the Snowdon?

http://www.pediwear.co.uk/detail.php?stock_ID=252

Bic
 

HHD

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I've been recommended the Snowdon for harsh weather too. Though that's harsh British country weather - what you get in Quebec is of a different order.

It's a nice boot, but to be honest if I was likely to be up to my knees in slush and serious snow I'd go for a technical boot purpose made for the purpose. Ugly, of course - but no-one would see them, as they'd be covered in snow.

I like the Alden boots too.
 

LA Guy

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old64mb

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Originally Posted by HHD
It's a nice boot, but to be honest if I was likely to be up to my knees in slush and serious snow I'd go for a technical boot purpose made for the purpose. Ugly, of course - but no-one would see them, as they'd be covered in snow.

+1

Salt + water just does nasty, nasty things to leather. You can compensate to a degree by putting a full tin of polish on them and letting it eat away at that instead of the leather, but frankly, if it's going to be nasty enough that you have to worry about shoe survival you might as well wear real boots outside and just change.
 

JayJay

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I have the Alden boot in shell cordovan and wore it during snowy and icy weather. It's a great boot; however, the snow in these parts last season was never too deep. For deep snow I wear a hiking boot that was designed for very rough weather.
 

Histrion

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I pretty much wear some relatively ugly ecco track II shoes during the winter in QuÃ
bec City because the weather is way too awful to ruin something nice. I mean, the salt/calcium makes spots on your jeans so you can only imagine what it does on leather. The only thing worse for shoes than a winter in QuÃ
bec City would be going into the goddamn Dead Sea with your shoes on.
 

JohnnyLaw

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Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming.

Originally Posted by LA Guy
If you are in a city, the Alden's will be fine, unless you are in lake country, say, Kingston, Ontario, where there is 6 months of slush, in which case, go with technical boots. Snow is not nearly as painful, ime.

I live downtown, and while the sidewalks are usually cleared, it can sometimes take a while before it's all done. It's not 6 full months of slush here, but March and April are usually very bad for that.

The C&J Snowdon's are pretty nice but they will probably end up in the $600+ range and for that price I'd get the Cordovan Aldens. On a side note, does cordovan really hold up that much better in wet conditions than calf leather?

The suggestions for technical boots are wise and it would probably be the smartest thing to do, but I didn't come here to be reasonable. I want something that will look decent with a suit.

Last year, I alternated between Red Wing GTs and another pair of boots and while they held up well with constant polishing I'm looking for something less rugged-looking and maybe with a better lining. Wing-tip boots would be ideal.
 

JohnnyLaw

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Originally Posted by Histrion
I pretty much wear some relatively ugly ecco track II shoes during the winter in QuÃ
bec City because the weather is way too awful to ruin something nice. I mean, the salt/calcium makes spots on your jeans so you can only imagine what it does on leather. The only thing worse for shoes than a winter in QuÃ
bec City would be going into the goddamn Dead Sea with your shoes on.


Yeah, we're in the same boat.
 

Frankie

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I'm in QuÃ
bec too. I'm not as sensitive to cold and I consider winter to start in mid-december when it actually starts snowing.

If you plan on wearing these kind of expensive dress boots, at least invest in some rubber overboots like Acton.

I agree that salt and water will destroy your leather boots. My strategy for this winter is wearing Canadian army surplus combat boots (Greb Kodiak) coated with Nikwax or Snowseal with two pairs of hiking wool socks like Smartwool depending on the weather and go for a rubber overboots for nasty slushy conditions. I paid $40 for the grade A boots because they were dirty (a soldier probably wore them once or two during a bootcamp) but I washed them with Lexol Ph cleaner and conditioned them with Lexol Conditioner and now they look like new.

I don't like snow boots in general because they make your feet sweat too quickly, they don't breathe enough. Or if they breathe like mukluks, they are not suitable for wet-cold conditions (above -18C), only dry-cold (-18 Celcius and below, when water tends to freeze instantly and frost starts building up in your clothing and your nostril hair freezes instantly). So ironicly you could wear your brogued boots in extreme dry-cold conditions after the snowplows cleaned the sidewalks in mid January.





For the wool socks, try http://www.customwoolenmills.com/shoppe/work_socks.asp their 70% wool/30% mohair blend socks are very good at only $10 and Canadian survival instructor Mors Kochanski uses them for his submersion of the feet experiment: http://www.customwoolenmills.com/country_yarn/02-05.htm

Frankie
 

mimile

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I live in Halifax and I am considering buying a Malton from Tricker's. It has the Veldtschoen construction, supposed to be water repellent and it has commando rubber soles.
Any experience from some SF members with the Malton in 'harsh' winters ?
 

Bic Pentameter

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Originally Posted by JohnnyLaw
Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming.

The C&J Snowdon's are pretty nice but they will probably end up in the $600+ range and for that price I'd get the Cordovan Aldens. On a side note, does cordovan really hold up that much better in wet conditions than calf leather?

The suggestions for technical boots are wise and it would probably be the smartest thing to do, but I didn't come here to be reasonable. I want something that will look decent with a suit.


I don't believe cordovan does hold up much better than calf in the conditions you described in your initial post. That is why I suggested the veldt stitched Snowdon. It sounds as if you have already decided you want the Aldens, so you should probably get them.

Bic
 

Tarmac

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I have tons of nice, supposedly tough dress boots and I would not wear a single one of them in a slush-storm.

If you are really planning to walk around for more than a few minutes in a blizzard, you need some gore-tex, commando-soled hunting boots. I have a pair from Cabela's which are nearing 12 years old and I still break them out when I visit my folks in the Midwest.
 

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