Winter may be bearing down upon you, but fear not for your feet, because the sartorial masterminds behind The Crosby Press (a new lifestyle digital magazine that's part of the Thrillist fam) have picked out their favorite, moisture-crushing kicks.
Written by Dave Infante, The Crosby Press
Go go back back to Cali Cali with The North Face's Back to Berkeley hiker. Its polyurethane-coated, ballistic poly upper hides a Hydroseal waterproof membrane and 100g PrimaLoft Eco Insulation. On the outside, the boot -- whose name, by the way, alludes to TNF's 1966 California birthplace -- puts puddles in their place with a handsome waterproof suede mudguard. The coolest features of the throwback hi-top are its Ice Pick temperature-sensitive lugs, which offer additional grip in sub-freezing ground conditions thanks to a proprietary rubber composite that hardens to bite into hardpack. But these babies also look extremely fly with slim dark denim, so you won't look stupid if the rain don't come.
The North Face // Available at Eastern Mountain Sports; $120 USD
Suited for the City
If the coolest welder in Minneapolis decided to become a literature professor, he'd wear Red Wing's 1907 Oil Cloth boots to office hours and the workshop. Sewn with pieces of Rough and Tough leather -- the Minnesota brand's rugged counterpart to the slightly dressier Chromexcel from Horween -- and rich patches of hunter brown oil cloth, these stompers are ultra-durable. Their brown rawhide laces, Goodyear-welted sole, and triple-stitching indicate an attention to detail you'll only see from select Western Hemisphere bootmakers, so it's no surprise the 4553s are US-made. Condition them with mink oil to keep 'em water-resistant, and your boots will last almost forever.
Red Wing Shoes for Brooks Brothers // Available at Brooks Brothers; $310 USD
Diemme's Roccia Vet feels every inch like it was made by outdoorsmen in the shadows of the Italian Alps. Mostly because it was. The Vet trades a traditional heavy hiking outsole for the white Vibram Cristy that comes cemented and welted to the upper. These being made in Italy -- and from only Italian components -- they'll set you back a fair bit. But the gusseted tongue (basically a wider piece of leather than an ordinary tongue that's stitched to the upper) will repel water even when your foot is submerged, and your cobbler can replace the sole again and again, extending its life. Plus, the Bordeaux-colored Porto Ontario model (above) is drop-dead gorgeous, as Italian models tend to be.
Diemme // Available at end; $420 USD
There's no quicker way to muck up a pair of leather boots (even waterproof ones) than mud. So, if you're in the country when the weather hits, lace up Tretorn's Sub Winter hybrid Wellington. Because the outer is natural rubber, it's entirely washable under a faucet or hose, meaning you'll have no reservations marching to the nearest gas station when your truck breaks down. Plus, the inside is lined with microfleece and neoprene, so you can even wear these matte-finished boots in the snow. Order a size down for a good fit, as they've built in extra room for thick socks to handle Swedish winters.
Tretorn // Available at JackThreads; $44.99 USD
Travel-ready Rain Boots
If the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man ever had to attend a black-tie event in a downpour, the Native Fitzsimmons hiker in black would be his go-to. This evil marshmallow boot don't give a sh*t about rain, what with its EVA outsole & neoprene sock-liner. Beyond its looks & weatherproof-ness, there are two really sweet things about the Fitzsimmons. It weighs almost nothing, making it a no-brainer to toss in a duffle when you're headed to precipitous climes; and they cost under a C-note, which for a boot of this hiker profile is a pretty rare find.
Native // Available at Native; $90 USD
What started as a quest to make a staunch winter boot in Kitchener, Ontario in the early '60s has blossomed into the world's best-selling snow-rated stomper: the Sorel Caribou. Sewn from waterproof nubuck leathers, and lined with a ThermoPlus InnerBoot that pops out to to dry-roast by the hearth after trekking through the storm, the Caribou is every inch a winter masterpiece. Columbia Sportswear (which now owns the brand) has maintained Sorel's commitment to keeping your feet dry as f***, what with seam-sealed waterproof construction, a handcrafted vulcanized shell that wraps the entire lower third of the boot, and Sorel's much-imitated "Sherpa Pile" snow cuff, built to shed snow as you slog through it, rather than allowing it to cake at the top of the boot's shaft.
Sorel // Available at Sorel; $140 USD
When the water rises, you'll need a boot that can stand tall. Look no further than the high-profile platform on Visvim's Grizzly Boot Mid FOLK, which elevates your footbed to Doc Martens heights on a welted Vibram sole. Up top, the boot will age beautifully thanks to its vegetable-tanned, cow- and antelope-hide uppers, which're sewn to ankle panels cut from premium Italian canvas. The Grizzly's heavy-duty stitching and gusseted tongue will maintain foot dryness even if the rain's coming sideways. There's always some controversy as to whether Visvim products are truly waterproof -- the brand and its retailers never make that claim -- but I've heard accounts in the affirmative from two very discerning wearers that the boots do the job. And the heavy, masculine, military look of this navy-on-brass mid will never go out of style.
Visvim // Available by-phone at Union (323) 549-6950; $1,228 USD
The Perfect Storm
When the sh*t hits the fan, any of the boots above will hang tough. But Timberland's Heritage Classic 6" work boot will bring the fight straight to the storm's front door. Its unadorned, timeless, take-no-guff profile is one that those fearless Massholes from Gloucester would appreciate, as they also would its full-grain & nubuck waterproof upper and seam-seal construction. When laced, the contrast leather ankle collar will grip your lower calf tightly, blocking water from seeping down from your legs into your socks. Rustproof hardware completes the Heritage 6's utilitarian swagger.
Timberland // Available at Timberland; $180 USD