Some boots were made for walking; others, destined for a whole lot more. With seam-sealed rubber uppers and durable cleated soles, the shoes we’ve gathered here stand in the latter camp. These were boots made for mountaineering, for scrambling, snow-hiking and trekking across every terrain — from clifftop trail to icy glacier.
But there’s a luxury edge to their ridge-beating reliability. From labels including Brunello Cucineeli, Prada and Loro Piana, each pair is plusher than the last; with cashmere, suede and countless more sumptuous materials use to make these highly fashionable, heavy-duty and hard-wearing to the last. Tighten your laces — and take a look…
For serious snow, Sorel ‘Caribou’ Boots
With rubber lower sections and leather uppers, ‘duck’ boots have a long, illustrious and waterproof history. The ‘Caribou’ by Sorel — itself a subsidiary of the Columbia sportswear company — is perhaps the most timeless take on the style, and has been offering outdoorsmen protection from shallow water and deep snow for decades.
That hardy outsole is the main event here; handcrafted and waterproof, it’s made by pairing a vulcanized rubber shell with Sorel’s ‘Aero-Trac’ sole. The nubuck uppers are seam-sealed, there’s added felt to insulate contact points and the fluffy ‘Sherpa’ snow cuff promises to keep your lower legs snug in subzero temperatures.
Sorel ‘Caribou’ Boots
For a hint of vintage, Brunello Cucinelli Mountain-Style Boots
These boots (handmade in the hamlet of Solomeo in central Italy) may be a little more than a snowball’s throw from the Dolomites — but they exhibit every mountain-ready feature you could want from a hardy hiking boot. What’s more, with their slightly uneven, retro-coloured leather uppers, there’s a distinctly vintage tinge to these lace-ups.
The design was inspired by the style of classic calfskin mountain boots — and Brunello Cucinelli’s take on the traditional look is lined with the same soft merino wool felt that would have kept alpine adventurers of the past protected. We particularly like the detailing on these: the metal D-rings, round two-tone laces and solid lug outsole.
Brunello Cucinelli Mountain-Style Boots
For a head-turning twist, Canada Goose ‘Journey' Boots
That long, sweeping curve down the side of these future-facing boots manages to step Canada Goose’s hikers up to a higher, more head-turning level. It’s a striking thing, marrying the ‘duck’ boot design with an existing style of mountain boot. But it also sees form meet function — and we’re wild about the wilderness-ready, idiosyncratic look.
They’re also chock full of highly capable materials and textiles. The upper is laminated in a waterproof ‘HDry’ membrane, the flexible upper is cut from ‘Terracare’ leather and, true to Canada Goose’s commitment to sustainability, no real fur is used in their construction. The best touch? The outsole’s deep tread is inspired by the pattern of a Canadian Maple leaf.
Canada Goose ‘Journey' Boots
For unassuming luxury, Prada ‘Brixxen’ Boots
With these luxury lace-ups, the Italian label has brought together durability and decadence. Because, while they may have chunky rubber soles and 35mm heels for plenty of tough terrain ground clearance, these ‘Brixxen’ boots are also cut from some of the supplest, logo-embossed brushed leather this side of Santa Croce sull’Arno (where the brand’s tannery can be found).
But perhaps the most savvy style choice here is the decision to render these boots — from the laces to the lug soles; from the padded cuffs to the dark D-rings — in an inky black colour. It affords the design untold versatility, whether you’re cross-country walking your way into the mountains, or just pairing them with some new jeans.
Prada ‘Brixxen’ Boots
For a new, snowproof spin: Tod’s x Moncler Ankle Boots
Another Italian offering, Tod’s iconic ‘W.G’ boot style is characterised by its chunky, wraparound outsole. With these brown-black boots, the style has been stepped squarely into the middle of a crowd-pleasing collaboration between Tod’s, Palm Angels and alpine aficionados Moncler to create perhaps the ultimate snow-ready shoe.
There’s shades of the ‘duck’ boot style about the design — but that marked ribbing on the toe is actually just embossed leather, rather than rubber. Pair that quirk with the brand’s emblematic rubber pebbles, Moncler’s logo patch and a set of heavy duty contrast yellow laces, and you’ve got perhaps our favourite boots on this list.
Tod’s x Moncler Ankle Boots
For sheer, high-stepping luxury, Loro Piana ‘Laax’ Boots
The most expensive pair on our list, Loro Piana’s ‘Laax’ — named for a niveous municipality in the Surselva region of Switzerland — are trimmed with rib-knitted baby cashmere and stand on leather-lined, reliable rubber soles.
They’re chiefly crafted from gabardine, a durable twill-worsted wool that has been used to make waterproof menswear (including Burberry’s famous trench coat) since the mid-19th century — and will stand up handsomely to drifts and downpours alike. The best part? The name given to these boots’ rich black colour: ‘Caviar’.
Loro Piana ‘Laax’ Boots
For modern mountaineers, Diemme ‘Roccia’ Boots
Yet another Italian brand, Diemme doesn’t have the name recognition of other labels on our list. But, whilst founding brothers Dennis and Maico Signor may not talk the talk, their boots most certainly walk the walk — and the company has long created products for brands including Chanel, Bottega Veneta and Maison Martin Margiela.
These blue boots from the brand are a modern take on a mountaineering icon. The lightweight soles will walk you from the slopes to the city streets with an effortless elegance, and those soft suede uppers are deceptively durable. ‘Roccia’ may mean ‘rock’ in Italian, but — from the padded collars to the Nappa leather linings — these boots are as comfortable as shoes come.
Diemme ‘Roccia’ Boots
Want more snowy style tips? From gloves to goggles, this is the James Bond guide to skiing style…
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