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Just because it’s getting colder doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your sneakers. Winter sneakers are a thing, and we’ve found the best winter sneakers to pad out your cold-weather style. You may ask, “what’s the difference between a sneaker and a winter sneaker?” Welp, we’ll tell you. The classic sneaker has a canvas top that sits on a rubber outsole. Perfect for warm weather. Think about those times you walked around in rain, snow, slush or minus-zero temps in that type of weather. Your feet were freezing, probably wet, and your toes were plotting to do away with you due to the abuse.
What Makes a Sneaker a Winter Sneaker?
The best winter sneakers are the polar opposite of the canvas sneaker. They’re made of sturdier materials, are waterproof or water-resistant, and best of all, they keep your feet dry and warm. The best winter sneakers come in office-friendly and date-friendly styles, hiking hybrids, and for those who like to torture themselves with long-distance running when even polar bears won’t leave their caves, winterized running shoes.
The 15 Best Winter Sneakers
1. L.L. Bean Men’s Snow Sneakers, Low Lace-Up
Designed specifically to tackle snow, L.L. Bean’s snow sneakers have all the details you’d expect in an indestructible snow boot. This winter sneaker is lined in 200 gram Primaloft for optimal warmth, has an elastic EVA midsole for shock absorption and stability and a TEK2. waterproof membrane system with a moisture-wicking lining to keep feet dry. The tongue is padded, and you can use the back loop to pull them off your feet. The suede and fabric upper is both stain and water-resistant. This new iteration of Bean’s snow boots is more flexible than the previous style.
2. UGG Westsider Low Pufflite
UGG started a footwear revolution in the early aughts. Men and women were chucking their footwear for the brand’s shearling-lined boots and booties. So ugly they were good-looking, those boots birthed a footwear empire. You can still pick up the classic UGG boot, as well as their trendy footwear. This winter sneaker is warm; inspired by my military outwear, the upper is quilted with faux shearling and real suede trim. The lining is made with 45% recycled polyester and has a cushy foam footbed, and the rubber outsole grips the sidewalk under rainy and snowy conditions.
3. Vans SK8-HI MTE-2
BEST SKATER STYLE
Yes, you can keep your skater style going when it’s freezing out if you lace up these high tops from Vans. Their technical details are eye-popping. They use a HydroGuard 360o water-resistant membrane that’s paired with PrimaLoft zonal insulation to keep the sneaker’s interior dry and the foot warm. Then there’s the molded sock liner and an Ortholite insole that cradles your foot when standing or walking. This hybrid snowboard sneaker’s outer leather and fabric materials are treated with water repellent, so moisture slides off.
4. Allbirds Men’s Wool Runner-Up Mizzles
Allbirds‘ wool sneakers are a low-high top that stops just above the ankles. We’ve covered them numerous times, and are big fans of the eco-friendly brand. These are the best winter sneakers for guys who want warmth without bulk. Like all Allbirds sneakers, they’re crafted with ZQ Merino wool that’s been treated with a bio-based water repellent. The materials used to make these sneakers minimize odors. Likewise, these winter sneakers are washing machine-friendly.
5. New Republic Kurt Leather Unisex Sneaker
BEST WHITE LEATHER SNEAKER UNDER $100
White leather sneakers look good all year long, and New Republic’s white leather sneakers are the best deal out now. Designed for comfort, the Kurt is a unisex sneaker that’s lined in microsuede and has a molded EVA insole that’s covered in Tencel for additional comfort. The leather is made to be both wrinkle and water-resistant, and it’s a timeless style. Opt for them on rainy days instead of a clunky rainboot. New Republic’s Kurt also comes in black and tan.
6. The North Face Men’s Larimer Mid WP
BEST DEFENSE AGAINST RAIN AND SNOW
When the winds are blowing and the rain is coming down horizontally, wear these waterproof winter sneakers and you’ll be (well, your feet will be) comfortable and dry no matter what comes out of the sky. They’re a hybrid high-top sneaker and rainboot, offering comfort, style, and insulation for mild winter weather. North Face’s Larimer also comes in black and marine blue.
7. Adidas Hoops 2.0 Mid Basketball Shoe
Coming from a basketball family, I know first hand that it doesn’t matter what the temps are, there’s a court somewhere that’s got a game going on. Not only can you practice your layup wearing these Adidas basketball shoes, but they’re also lined in faux fur. Even if you’re like me, the only court you want to see is one on TV, these are the best winter sneakers to wear in a blizzard.
8. TravisMatthew The Daily-Wool
Southern California-based TravisMatthew creates upscale weekend wear that’s lightly influenced by the links. Their Daily Wool winter sneaker is tailored like a classic sneaker but is made with temperature-regulating wool upper. The wool’s treated to whisk away moisture away from your skin, which also reduces odor. The Daily utilizes the brand’s proprietary “Sweet Spot Cushioning System.” The insoles are made from layered foam for all-day comfort. The outsole has rubber inserts for extra traction. Reviewers rave about its style and comfort. The Daily comes in black, navy, grey, and charcoal.
9. Toms Alpargata Rover
BEST SLIP-ON SNEAKER
If you like your winter sneakers to have that lazy weekend vibe, check out Toms’ new Alpargata Rover. The brand’s classic silhouette has gotten a winter sneaker upgrade. The upper is made of water-resistant suede and has a rib-knit collar. The insole is the OrthoLite Eco LT Hybrid insole and is created with a combination of plant-based and recycled materials. The sporty outsole’s design is based on sneaker outsoles. It’s comprised of dual-density rubber and EVA, so the sneaker is as flexible as your foot.
10. Reeway Unisex Sneakers with Convertible Skins
BEST QUICK CHANGE
Reeway is a new player in sneaker land. The European-based company came up with a crazily brilliant idea; design a sneaker whose looks can change in an instant, and they did. Pick either a solid white or black sneaker, and then pick two different skins to start off your collection. Once the skin is applied to the sneaker, it looks like a completely different shoe. The unisex leather sneaker has a grippy rubber outsole. Winter brings a lot of indoor socializing and using Reeway’s multiple skins can make an office-friendly sneaker look completely different at the end of the workday.
11. Allen Edmonds Strand Suede Oxford Sneaker
BEST DRESS SNEAKER
Allen Edmonds Stand sneakers are sneaky. They take their design from the brand’s dress brogues, but these are sneakers. The way they look, they’d easily blend in a traditional-style office. The suede upper is pre-treated with Defender Repellent Systems powered by Scotchgard, so they’ll keep their good looks in the rain. The interior has the brand’s FlyForm removable insole that absorbs shock while providing additional support. And it can be customized to your liking. This dress sneaker comes in three other colors, sizes go up to 15, and widths range from B to Triple E.
12. Vessi Everyday Sneakers
BEST WATERPROOF VEGAN
Vessi is the little company that could. Based in Vancouver BC, this tiny company has conquered the world of casual footwear and sneakers in under three years. Last year we reviewed their Weekend Sneaker and can tell you in all honesty, these sneakers are 100% waterproof, sleet proof and snowproof. Not only can you jump in puddles in them and stay dry, but you can also walk miles in them in utter comfort. No matter how you use and abuse them, they always look great. Their newer Everyday Sneaker has a tad dressier style, making them look nifty in the office and out of it. Vessi sneakers are 100% vegan, and very lightweight. They can be worn in almost any type of winter weather. The only time you shouldn’t wear them is when trying to climb up a pile of snow.
13. Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes
BEST ALL TERRAIN
Created with Gore-Tex this water-resistant hiking shoe/sneaker is great for bad weather. They’re designed to keep your foot stable and have a rubber continental outsole, which means they’re so grippy in mud, uneven terrain and slick streets, it’s like you become a mountain goat when you wear them.
14. Taft Sneaker in Red Paisley
BEST FOR DATE NIGHT
Cuffing season’s just around the corner and what better way to attract someone than with a pair of snazzy winter sneakers? Made to create a focus on you, Taft Shoes are slickly designed using incredible patterns and color combinations. Their styles sell out quickly, and while they do re-stock them, if something catches your eye, grab it before you end up on a waiting list.
15. Gola Classics Men’s Summit High Sneakers
Crafted with water-resistant suede trims and nylon with a water-resistant membrane, there’s no need to sacrifice style for staying dry with this winter sneaker. This is another sneaker/hiking boot hybrid with a distinct ‘70s vibe. This shoe has a phylon (a type of EVA) molded insole that absorbs shock and cradles the foot. The cleated rubber outsole prevents skids and slides.
16. Florsheim Premier Plain Toe Lace Up Sneaker
BEST BLACK LEATHER SNEAKER
This sleek and handsome leather sneaker is one of the best winter sneakers as it can easily be paired with whatever’s hanging in your closet and will look good in any environment. While it looks super sleek, it’s constructed to give you optimal comfort all day long, so if you’re always on the go or spend lots of time on your feet, you’ll appreciate all that padding. Florsheim’s Premier has a thickly cushioned removable Comfortech footbed and a cushioned EVA sole.
How To Prep Your Winter Sneaker
When shopping around for winter sneakers, some of the best winter sneakers made from leather and suede will keep you very warm but may not be waterproof or water-resistant. This is an easy fix. Before you wear your winter sneakers out of the house, use a water repellent spray to “season” them.
Reshoevn8r Water + Stain Repellent
This spray can be used on canvas, suede, mesh and leather sneakers. It prevents stains from locking into the fabric and is a shield against water damage.
Saphir Medaille d’Or Super Invulner Waterproof Spray
This waterproofing spray is gentle enough to be used on suede, nubuck, silk and other delicate fabrics. Reviewers rave about how it can protect their shoes from inclement weather.
Tarrago Unisex Hightech Nano Protector Spray
Spray this on your leather shoes, backpacks, messenger bags and even jackets, as the spray seals the item without ruining its look. In a few moments, your leather goods are now waterproof.
How To Stop the Stink
Let’s be honest, feet get stinky in cold weather, and some feet get eye-wateringly stinkier. It’s because the foot is encased in a heavy sock, which in turn is inside an even heavier shoe, boot or winter sneaker whose fabric isn’t as breathable as warm-weather shoes. To prevent that eau de gym shoe buildup, here are two products that can either prevent or make the odor go away.
Arm & Hammer Odor Control Soft Step Memory Foam Insoles
These ultra-thin memory foam insoles are charcoal activated, so they stop odors from building up and escaping from your winter sneakers.
Arm & Hammer Odor Defense Shoe Refresher Spray, 4 Oz
If you favor one pair of shoes or winter sneakers, unfortunately, odor can build up and take over, turning that sneaker into a smelly bomb. A few quick sprays of Arm & Hammer’s Odor Defense Shoe Refresher Spray, and your sneakers are good for at least a month before you need to spray them again. A combination of baking soda and sweat-activated Fresh Guard tech really puts even the worst scents to rest. Honestly, this spray has saved a few gym shoes for me.
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