If you made it through the fall without a pair of rugged boots, you'll definitely need a pair to survive the cold, wet season ahead of us. Here's what to look for and how to care for them. After all, you can't expect them to stand up to the brutality of winter if you don't treat 'em right.
Get a Grip
You want to stay grounded when you're navigating the slippery slush and icy sidewalks. And hard-wearing, rubber soled styles like Red Wing work boots or Merrell hikers will provide the necessary traction.
Water, salt and de-icers will deteriorate even the toughest leathers. Treat your pair with a protector. Some camps advocate sprays like Kiwi's Super Protector, because they blend into the leather without altering the color. Others swear by more natural products like mink oil or Sno-Seal, a beeswax-based waterproofer that allows the leather to breathe.
Boots are (or should be) a bit roomy for a reason. You'll likely be wearing thicker socks, such as a pair of ragg wool or camp socks, that not only add some cushion but keep you warm. And okay, they look cool too.