Well, I just stepped out for lunch and my frozen, numb face feels like it's about to fall off, therefore I'm declaring that winter is officially here. So along with non-puffy puffer coats and hats that won't make you look silly, a pair of legit winter boots is an essential you need to start shopping for now -- before it starts snowing down buckets and you can't find a single boot in your size.
But when I say "winter boots," I'm not talking about furry, fashion-y après ski things that are made for sipping mulled wine in front of a fireplace at the cushy resort lodge. I'm talking about footwear that will hold up as you're sloshing through the mucky of sleet and snow and trying not to fall on your ass on treacherously icy sidewalks. (Never mind the second coming of the Polar Vortex this year.)
But, obviously I understand the need to look cute regardless of the weather. So thank you #normcore and the sportswear-as-anytime-wear trend because winter boots are actually pretty cool-looking this season -- coming in a range of colors, silhouettes and styles to effortlessly integrate into your outfits. For the less snowy, but still generally gross days, slip on a pair of ankle booties with your favorite skinnies or boyfriend jeans and thick knits. Booties are also super cute to counterbalance a printed, flared mini skirt and tights. Tall boots are not only expert for maneuvering through snow piles and knee-deep puddles, but also key to not breaking up a midi or pencil skirt silhouette. And as for pillowy, '80s-inspired moon boots? They're just screaming for a pair of leather leggings.
So check out these 10 functional winter boots -- vetted for warm linings, traction-gripping rubber soles and/or waterproofing -- from Sperry Top-Sider for J. Crew's feminine take on the duck boot to Sorel's elevated gold-detailed lace-up pair. Stay warm and carry on, people.