The 20 Best Winter Sneakers for Braving the Elements

Florals for spring? Not groundbreaking. But winter sneakers? Now that’s something unexpected. When the cold wind blows and the streets are coated in several inches of snow, reaching for basic runners may not be the wisest decision. The shoe is usually light and breathable, essentially the most comfortable option you have on your rack—and therefore not a great option for the winter months. It’s the season for sturdy boots, after all, and it’s custom that everything else goes into hibernation. Indeed, anyone that has trekked through a tundra or a tundra-like environment will tell you the same thing: They’re definitely not for environments where you can stop and smell the roses.

This season, some of our favorite brands are bridging the gap between the durability of boots and the look (and comfort) of sneakers. That’s right, we now have the best of both worlds. Converse, for example, has equipped its iconic Chuck Taylors with rugged outsoles and insulating lining. Vans is offering high-tops with a water-resistant leather exterior and heat-retention layers. Allbirds switched mesh uppers for ones made of weather-treated merino wool. And some of the go-to outdoor labels have kicks that are built for the toughest terrains, but will work just as well—if not better—for city streets.

You don’t need to sacrifice form or function this winter, because the options below incorporate both qualities smoothly. From sneakers with added traction to categorical sneaker-boot hybrids, all of ’em will get you from one snow-filled destination to the next safely, warmly, and in style.

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Wool Runner Mizzles

The internet’s favorite sneaker brand is back at it again, tweaking its hero product ever so slightly via a water-repellent upper made out of the company’s now-signature merino wool.

XT-6 ADV Running Shoe

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that your trustiest hiking shoes can play double-duty as a winter-ready footwear option in a pinch. The same features that made the style such a go-to on your socially distanced walks in summer will serve you well come any inclement weather, and that’s triply true of Salomon’s XT-6 sneakers, which includes Contragrip rubber outsoles and all.

Terrex Free Hiker COLD.RDY Hiking Shoes

Adidas’ Terrex line makes stylish gear specifically designed to stand up to the worst of the elements, and this hiking boot hybrid—featuring a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane and the brand’s signature Boost technology—is no exception.

Ultra Fastpack IV Mid Futurelight Woven Sneaker

The North Face

If you can’t trust The North Face to make a stellar sneaker-boot, who can you trust? With its engineered waterproof membrane and Vibram outsole, The North Face’s excellent take on the style offers a seamless marriage of form and function in a silhouette that’ll keep your feet toasty all winter long.

Elite Outdoor Nike React SFB Carbon Sneaker

Nike has covered the market with all kinds of sneakers for all kinds of activities. Case in point: These durable sneakers, which features the outsoles of a tactical boot.

481 V3 Trail Running Shoe

New Balance

New Balance’s updated take on a trail runner might not offer the same sort of winter-weather detailing as some of its counterparts below, but the style’s beefed-up soles and added traction make it ideal if you’re looking for an all-season shoe that can seamlessly transition to tackling trails, slick sidewalks, and everything else.

Pivot Mid Waterproof Hiking Sneakers


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Columbia is the name to know when it comes to gear for the great outdoors. So, it makes perfect sense that the brand would offer sneakers—complete with Omnigrip soles and water-repellent technology—that are primed for the most adverse environments.

Gel-Sonoma 6 G-TX Sneakers

Yet another shoe specifically made for hiking trails, the Asics Gel-Sonoma 6 G-TX—with a Gore-Tex upper, durable sock liner, and Gel cushioning—looks even better on snow-covered pavement.

669 v2 Sneaker

New Balance

The New Balance 669 v2 is another trail-ready option from the brand. Just take a look at the insoles (with foam cushioning!) and rugged suede upper to know that these kicks are made for the cold.

Chuck Taylor All Star Winter Gore-Tex Sneaker

A few years ago, Converse started introducing weatherproof fabric to some of the its most iconic silhouettes, including the Chuck Taylor. The water-wicking properties, Gore-Tex membrane, and faux-fur lining render an already durable shoe eminently winter-ready.

Run Star Motion Hi Canvas Platform Sneakers

The formidable design of Converse’s iconic Chuck Taylors act as a great canvas for ad-ons (see above). Another example: These winterized sneakers, which features CX foam insoles, vulcanized rubber toe caps, and eye-catching, heavy-duty platform soles.

Desierto v2 PureTEX Sneakers

Puma serves up the kind of styles that will give you the agility of the fiercest jungle felines. But with its Desierto sneaker—equipped with rugged rubber outsoles, a fur-lined interior, and a PureTex exterior—all you big cats can trek through winter climes, too.

SK8-Hi MTE-2 Sneaker

When Vans began the process of revamping its legendary high-top silhouette, it set out to make a sneaker that incorporates water-resistant leather uppers, heat-retention layers, and a vulcanized lug outsole for added traction. Now it’s here, and it’s a beaut.

Forum Hi Gore-Tex Shoes

Adidas’s Terrex line (see above) isn’t the only assortment the brand has for winter. These sneakers from the Originals collection, for example, have high-cut uppers and a Gore-Tex membrane to make sure your feet are protected from moisture.

Anacapa Low Gore-Tex Sneakers

Hoka One One

Even with a Vibram Megagrip outsole, soy-based sockliner, waterproof upper, and rugged appearance, these Hoka sneakers are extremely lightweight, allowing you to more through the snow with greater ease.

Gore-Tex Mountain Fly Sneakers

Rest assured that with a name like ACG (All Conditions Gear), Nike makes sure that styles in the line are up to snuff. These Mountain Fly sneakers, for one, feature an upper made with Gore-Tex, gummy outsoles, and embedded Nike React foam.

Lhakpa Hiking Sneaker

ROA’s sneakers are the blue steel of the bunch. Pull-tabbed, padded, and featuring Vibram rubber outsoles and sleek uppers, the style is as durable as it is runway-ready.

500 High Sneakers

No matter how you feel about the man, it’s hard to deny Kanye’s influence; almost all of the shoes he’s introduced over the years have become iconic in one way or another, reshaping the sneaker market in their after each drop. The brand’s high-top sneaker style has always been a favorite of the man himself, and in a dark gray color way—with key hits of nubuck throughout—it couldn’t look cleaner.

NC.2 High Sneakers


These leather sneakers with neoprene lining and tough outsoles from A-Cold-Wall* may not be billed as winter sneakers per se, but their features beg to differ.

Flashtrek Sneakers

If you only know Gucci through the Italian label’s wild designer wares, you might be a little skeptical about buying anything else from the brand. You shouldn’t be. The label’s unapologetically chunky reflective sneakers come with durable rubber trims and super-thick soles for added traction, making ‘em ideal winter-weather candidates.

Barry Samaha is the style commerce editor at Esquire, where he covers all things fashion and grooming.

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Source : Esquire