Winter shoe trends to warm up to: The styles students need to have this season

By Rachel Patel, Staff Reporter

Ryan Brumback

Winter is here, and students need the proper footwear for the icy season. With timeless classics like the round-toe pump, to a more comfortable, modern look like the Chelsea boot, the colder months offer a variety of options for students braving Chicago’s cold weather.

Fashion-savvy members of the Columbia community offered their input on what shoes can balance warmth, comfort and versatility all while looking professional.

Xochil Scheer, an adjunct faculty member in the Fashion Studies Department, said she highly recommends boots from the brands L.L. Bean and Xena Workwear for their quality. She said it is optimal to find shoes with Sherpa lining to keep warm, also suggesting students find shoes or boots that are quality leather or waterproof so they do not deteriorate in the slush. Scheer said the classic Chelsea boot is a multi-functional option for students.

“A Chelsea boot style is really versatile because it’s very clean. It’s not usually a very stacked heel; it’s maybe a half-inch or a flat sole altogether, but just a very sleek style that’s common for both men’s and women’s boots,” Scheer said. “I really like [Chelsea boots] because you can dress it up, you can dress it down, get a black or like a dark brown color and pretty much wear it with everything.”

For students looking to purchase these shoes on quality websites, Scheer recommended Nordstrom and Zappos, where individuals can purchase, try on and return items easily, and she offered City Soles in Bucktown for a local, in-person experience.

Mikaella Lukban, a sophomore playwriting major, favors Doc Marten’s, which come in a variety of different styles and height. Lukban recommends students invest in a good pair of snow boots as well, making sure they have textured bottoms for traction during the messier seasons. Above all, she favors Crocs for a casual look as well as her winter Converse.

“I have a pair of Converse snow boots, and it’s just like a Converse high top but the bottom is a platform with the ridges under, and I just wear that like a normal shoe,” Lukban said. “It’s just like a platform … and it’s insulated so there’s the holes in the sides.”

James Ciccotti, an adjunct faculty member in the Fashion Studies Department, also mentioned the Chelsea boot, among other styles for Chicago’s inclement winter weather, and emphasized the importance of caring for the shoes.

“If you spend really good money on a pair of shoes for longevity, you have to be really careful in Chicago winters not to destroy them with the salt,” Ciccotti said. “If you do invest in really good shoes, you really want to watch the weather … and you have to be careful with the salt, not only in the winter months, because when spring rolls around, all that salt is embedded in the cement and in the sidewalk, and it takes a while before [they] rinse clean when it starts to rain.”

Apart from the versatility of the Chelsea boot, Ciccotti mentioned round-toe pumps making a comeback as well, offering professionalism and comfort in one shoe and having a variety of different textures such as the winter favorite: leather.

“It sharpens your whole aesthetic if you wear a high-heeled pump like that, regardless of what you’re wearing — if it’s an ankle-length pant, a shorter skirt or even a slightly longer skirt,” Ciccotti said.

Ciccotti helped paint a picture of different possible outfits students could wear as well, showcasing the versatility of some of winter’s most common and must-have staple shoes.

“There is a variety of versatility because — even taking the pumps — I tried to envision any one of our students wearing a pump that’s a little bit higher … in a real sporty way,” Ciccotti said. “It just makes a vision that even if they’re wearing a leather bomber jacket and maybe a sweater that’s longer than the bomber jacket, and then they have a knee-length skirt or something, then wearing [a round-toe pump] just changes their whole aesthetic and makes it a little bit more personal and sophisticated.”