By Jessica Ghilani

The cold weather is here. The fall season is coming to a close. Before the snow comes by the foot get prepared with a pair of proper winter boots. Today there is a broad array of options for stylish winter footwear. The classic snow boot, the fashion boot, and the bootie each fulfill unique closet needs (and wants).

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Snow Boots

Hours: Mon to Sat 9:30am-9pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
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These are the most practical of winter shoes. Buy them based on durability, waterproof design, weight, slip resistance, warmth and insulation. Although it can be costly to find boots that offer all of the above, determine which features are most important for your lifestyle and your needs. If you have an attached garage and tend to do a lot of winter driving, you probably will not need boots as warm and waterproof as public transit riders who wait outside to catch their buses or carless city dwellers who walk to nearby grocery stores in all seasons.

Littles Shoes in Squirrel Hill has a wide selection of winter boots. They carry premium names like Ugg and Merrill. Although you might pay extra for a combination of features and style, if you plan to have your snow boots for years the cost per wear will decrease.

If designer names are less of a draw, consider chain retailers like Target, Burlington Coat Factory and Payless; all these stores also carry snow boots that will be affordable for any budget.

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Fashion boots

Hours: Mon to Tues 10:30am-5:30pm; Wed to Sat 10:30am-7pm; Sun 11am-3pm
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These stylish options come in varying heights and styles. Last year “over the knee” boots were all the rage. And bafflingly impractical open-toed boots continue to be offered by many shoe designers. If you are on a budget, and hoping to wear your purchase for years to come, it makes sense to avoid such trends. Opt for a classic fashion boot that reaches the knees with a closed toe. These can come with heels, wedges or flats. If you plan to do a lot of walking, consider fashion boots with rubber or treaded soles to prevent slips.

One of the biggest challenges in finding the right fashion boot is fit. Just like boots, calves come in all shapes and sizes. If you have narrow calves you might want to consider boots with elastic panels that offer a tailored silhouette. If you have wider calves, shop stores that carry extended circumferences through their boot shafts. Although fashion boots are less practical than snow boots, they can be friendlier to stylish professional ensembles.

Bond Street Shoes and Footloose are both located in Shadyside. Pavement Shoes can be found in Lawrenceville. Each store carries fashionable boots for discerning tastes. Although these stores can be expensive, they are local businesses that are worth considering if you plan to make an investment purchase this season.

For a wide selection of boots that satisfy more modest budgets without sacrificing style, also check out one of the various locations of Famous Footwear or DSW Shoe Stores in the area. If you require an extended calf boot, check out these women’s clothing chains. Fashion Bug, Torrid, and J. Crew each have numerous locations throughout the Pittsburgh area and carry fashion boots for wider calves.

(Photo Credit: Jessica Ghilani)


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These ankle-height staples are very popular right now. And the fit issues many women face with knee-high boots are avoided entirely when you wear booties. Although booties offer less warmth through the calf they bring a casual cool to any outfit. Like fashion boots, you can find booties with heels, wedges or flats. They can have leather, rubber or treaded soles. Select booties that will add an edge to otherwise feminine outfits. You can shop for cute booties at any of the previously mentioned local retailers and national chains.

With so many options it can be hard to choose. Pick winter boots that fit your budget, your fashion sense and your lifestyle. It is great to support local businesses that offer fun, fashionable options, but if you are on a budget, many chain stores like Macy’s carry boots of all varieties. If you do plan to invest a larger amount of funds into a new boot purchase this season, avoid impractical trends so you can wear them for years to come.

For more on Pittsburgh shopping, click here to check out a guide to transitioning your wardrobe for all seasons !

Jessica Ghilani blogs about (mostly her own) shopping and dressing in Pittsburgh and beyond at Consume or Consumed.