Aside from puffer coats and existential crises, snow boots are winter’s most classic companion. But just because they’re omnipresent doesn’t make them outfit-compatible. It’s actually just the opposite — with their chunky soles and weatherproof trappings, they stick out and demand to be noticed and commandeer the whole shebang, which is basically me saying the same thing three times. This quality would be fine–welcome, even–if it were exhibited by like, a beautiful suede loafer, or a sparkly pump, but the thought of circumnavigating a bank of gray city slush in one of those is terrifying.

Still, it’s tempting to cut corners when it comes to winter footwear in order to avoid snow boot tyranny. Just last week I attempted to wear clogs and found myself the proud owner of two frozen ankles! It was a miserable-enough experience to convince me that I needed to come up with a game plan for forcing my style proclivities and my snow boots to fraternize harmoniously. Scroll below for four outfit ideas styled from the shoe up that incorporate snow boots and (hopefully) make them look cool. Like, actually cool.

The Ugg Boot That Looks Like a Pillow

Eliz Snow Boots

While doing market for this story, I recalled the Chanel Fall/Winter 2019 runway where models wore mini skirts with their snow boots. Inspired, but aware that my legs could freeze off, I paired my skort with tights and leg warmers. Up top, a thick boxy cardigan and an ’80s-style quilted puffer kept me warm while complementing the overall color scheme. It was just enough layers that I stayed warm and still felt more fancy than frumpy.

The Moon Boot Visiting From Outer Space

Eliz Snow Boots

A classic Moon Boot can be counted on to keep your toes warm but they also kind of look like giant bricks on your feet. For this one, I focused on balancing out their proportions with an oversize sweater and tried to make the boots look intentional by coordinating the color and silhouette to my long knit dress. I think of this shape like a floor lamp: the base keeps the lamp sturdy and secure and then up top the lampshade lends the structure a sense of intrigue.

The Classic Lace-Up

Eliz Snow Boots

When I think of winter commuter looks I’ve regretted, I think of the unintentional sneakers or boots worn with stockings. It’s the ultimate example of being forced to wear comfortable shoes at the cost of a good outfit. In pursuit of something better, I coordinated the color of the boot with my pants, thus lending the footwear an air of purpose and elongating my legs instead of stumping them, as snow boots tend to do. I chose a top with serious “going out” qualities to offset the casual nature of the rest of the look, leaving you to wonder: Is she commuting, or is she partying? The answer is both.

The Duck Boot That Unfortunately Doesn’t Quack

Eliz Snow Boots

Here’s me leaning into the classic slush-friendly boot by channeling an après-ski vibe with thermal-adjacent layers and pants that connote the appearance of water resistant attire. Although the chain belt keeps things grounded in the reality that I’m nowhere near a ski slope and approximately three feet away from my office, I will help myself to a cup of hot cocoa soon.

Was this helpful? Have a query? Hit me up in the comments!

Photos by Beth Sacca.

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