Best boot-buying tips

As a Canadian, good winter boots are everything. Check out our tips for buying durable, fashionable boots that will make your feet happy.

By Natalie Bahadur

What to look for in the best winter boots
Snow, slush, ice! Your winter boots have to contend with a lot. But how do you find a pair that doesn't force you to forfeit fashion in order to gain function?

Robin Keeler, fashion director at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto, describes which winter boots are best and offers helpful tips to help you shop for the right pair.

Canadianliving.com: What's the most practical style of winter boots for a long, hard Canadian winter?
Robin Keeler:
Essential to any wardrobe in Canada, winter boots must be comfortable, durable and fashionable, while protecting your feet from the elements. Consider spending more money proportionately on quality boots than on most other wardrobe items. When thinking of what kind of boots you want, consider the climate and what you'll be doing in these boots. Will you be walking a lot? Shoveling snow off the car? Hiking?

Winter boots constantly worn in snow and ice should have a waterproof upper part, and the soles should provide good traction. The boots should also cover a good portion of your leg and should fit you perfectly. Top closures prevent snow from entering into your boots. Most people need several types of winter boots to fit their lifestyle; generally speaking, one boot can't do it all.

Canadianliving.com: What features should you look for in the best winter boots?
RK:
Warmth, protection, durability, traction and comfort -- and good looks.

Canadianliving.com: How can you find something that's both pretty and practical?
RK:
Manufacturers have come a long way in the creation of boots that will take you through ice, snow and sleet right into the boardroom.

Anything too bulky or casual will not do here. Instead, look for a knee-high pair in leather with a rubber sole that has some tread. Always treat leather with silicone spray to prevent salt stains and to keep the boots supple. The heel should be medium height and substantially thick (nothing spiky).

For versatility, stick to a simple style (not too much detail or hardware) and a neutral colour.

We love these fall boots, if you don't need the warm of a full winter boot:

Fall trends: The best boots for 2014

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Page 1 of 3: Best material and fabric, flattering fits and more boot-buying tips on Page 2.

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