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Can you help me find a pair of warm, waterproof winter boots to wear to the dog park? I want something cute and not too bulky (no giant puffy moon boots), but importantly, I don’t want them to have laces — zips or Velcro only, please! I want to be able to throw them on quickly and not have to worry about untying, etc. I really, really wish I’d bought these Y-3s when they were on The Outnet last year, they’re kind of perfect. I’d like to spend less than $200. —Helen, Brooklyn
Your question was voted to the top of our list with strong support from the dog owners of Racked, who are also searching for easy slip-on boots for walking the dog in winter. They’re hoping to spend significantly less than $200, so I’m going to include some options at the lower end of the price spectrum, too.
The first and most obvious answer to your question would be Ugg and Ugg-adjacent footwear (okay, Ugg rip-offs). They might not be that pretty, but they’re comfortable, keep your feet dry and warm, and are easy to pull on. If you go this route I’d suggest the Ugg Classic II Short, which are $160 and IMHO the least ugly Uggs (unless you’re willing to drop more $$ and can fit into the brand’s Phillip Lim men’s collab, which I actually really like for any gender). These boots are now treated to be water- and stain-repellant, which makes them better suited to snowy weather than previous iterations.
For a solid lower-cost option in a similar style, check out Bearpaw’s Emma Short Winter Boots. These are on sale right now at Dick’s for $49.99, down from $79.99.
I usually find zip-up snow boots to be aggressively ugly — like, way beyond Ugg-level ugly — but I scoped out the options for you to be diligent. To my surprise, DSW carries a bunch of zip-up snow boots that are pretty cute. This includes a couple of pairs that look like lace-up boots but feature a zipper on the side, like these duck boots by Sperry, which are $99. Most are less than $100, which is a nice bonus.
If you don’t want to do leather (or faux leather), there’s also the option of going puffer coat for your feet, which I’d compare to a camping slipper. Clark’s ($120), The North Face ($60), and pretty much every other classic winter gear brand makes a version of this shoe. The award for least Moon Boot-y (and most cute) puffer boot goes to Sorel’s Whitney Boot, which comes in a short ($109.95) and tall ($119.95) option, as well as a lace-up (for anyone reading this who doesn’t care about the tying/untying issue). Reviewers have mentioned that these run really small, so you’ll want to size up if you can’t try them on in person.
For a cheaper but still reliable version of this style, check out The North Face’s Thermoball Microbaffle Booties, which are on sale right now at Backcountry Outfitters starting at less than $50 (price depends on color and size). And finally, Kamik’s Newcastle Boot are sort of halfway between the puffer boot and a rainboot. They’re sleek despite being insulated and waterproof, and at $39.99, they’re also the cheapest pair on this whole list.