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With fall and winter rapidly approaching, it’s time to transition our wardrobes and push the sandals and slides to the back of the closet where they’ll stay until the season thaws out next summer. It’s officially close-toed shoe weather and with so many shoe and boot options out there, it’s getting harder and harder to know what shoes are essential and what’s in style. In an attempt to build your shoe collection to make sure you have every pair, you need to take on the colder months in style, follow along as we highlight the fall and winter shoe essentials you’ll need to endure the long, cold months ahead.

What to Look for In Functional Footwear

To determine what type of shoes are completely necessary to get us through fall and winter, we need to pinpoint what utilities we need from the shoes.

In wintertime, people need warmth from their footwear first and foremost. Maybe boots that are lined with faux fur, or have a thicker canvas. We need shoes that have functional traction on the soles to prevent any potential slipping and sliding once the snowy, icy months roll around. A lot of the shoes we universally know and love, such as Vans or Converse, have slick rubber bottoms that can’t grip the ground or give you any sort of traction against slippery surfaces. As tempting as it may be to wear these shoes year-round, it is very important to transition to winter shoes if you live in a place that gets cold enough to bear ice and snow.

Another essential that seems to slip under the radar is a winter-proof sneaker or workout shoe. During the fall and winter months, Americans exercise less than in the warmer spring and summer months due to convenience. A productive way to fight the winter-time gloom is to make sure to get in exercise at least a few times a week and to do so, winter-proof sneakers are an important addition to your closet.

Just getting out of the house for a walk outside can potentially save you from the winter-time blues you may find yourself in. If you do a little preventative action and buy yourself some sneakers for taking on the cold, you can improve your mental health before it has a chance to settle into a classic winter funk. A thick pair of sneakers with good traction – if outdoor running is on your agenda – and warm socks are musts for winter this year.

This essential almost goes without saying, but we’ll still say it just in case: Reliable, high-quality boots that will protect your feet and toes from winter wind, snow, and rain is probably the number one essential fall and winter shoes. This means that while you may still stock your closet with cute shoes and booties that you can wear on a night out, having at least one pair of designated winter boots that you can wear when the weather is truly dreadful is the top fall and winter footwear essential.

Picking Stylish Essentials

Now that we know what types of footwear are essentials for fall and winter, we can try to find stylish, quality options that still fit the description of what we need from our shoes.

A trend that is sweeping the scene this fall season is a shoe that is usually made from leather and typically has acceptable traction to keep you safe and prepared in inclement weather is the leather loafer. Platform loafers, low-sole, and even Mary-Jane style loafers have come back into fashion in full swing, and they’re the perfect shoe to pair with your fall and winter wardrobe. They are office acceptable, decent for walking, and they elevate a sweater and jeans into a full-blown outfit.

Cowboy boots are a shoe trend that’s been emerging for a few years but has finally settled on solid ground. They are an acceptable and trendy way to express your sense of self while keeping warm in the winter. These boots have been circulating the internet for a while, but now it seems that every major shoe retailer has a pair of these boots in the game. They’re made from leather and will keep your feet warm and protected, which are winter musts. These boots are perfect for going out in chilly weather.

And finally, as far as more controversial picks for fall and winter shoes go, clogs are making their way back into the trend cycle. A pair of suede or leather clogs with a thick, wool pair of socks are the perfect alternative to sandals during cooler months. We all need a pair of shoes that we can just kick on to run to the mailbox or even the grocery store, and although these shoes aren’t everyone’s favorite, the functionality is unbeatable. They have strong soles and are made from thick materials, keeping the cold out and the warmth in.

Find Your Balance Between Functional and Stylish Footwear

Finding functional winter shoes is easy; people have been fighting off the cold with high-quality boots and shoes for centuries! But when it comes to finding pieces that are functional enough to actually wear on days where there’s snow and ice on the ground, and that match your personal style, things get a bit trickier. Luckily, there are so many resources that compile shoe fashion trends for specific seasons to give you the best picks all in one place so you can find all the winter shoes you need in one go. There are even services that provide you with help from a representative who will choose the shoes you need based on your preferences. Protecting yourself from the hard cold of winter is a necessity, and hopefully, now you can do so while expressing yourself with trendy, essential winter footwear!