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Don’t do it! 5 Shoes Not to Wear in the Snow

Don’t do it! 5 Shoes Not to Wear in the Snow

So winter is in full swing. Yes, shocking revelation, right!? And it's a great time to talk about shoes not to wear in the snow!

And if you live in a similarly weather-challenged part of the world such as here in Toronto, Canada, then we will be seeing & feeling snow on the ground for quite some time.

Even in the Spring. But I'm going to be optimistic & hope that by then it'll have already started to melt away.

Or maybe you can't empathize because you live somewhere that doesn't receive this cool, fluffy gift? Ever. If that's the case, then I hate you.


(Pssst…looking for great shoes to wear in the snow? Check out my new post on the best Canadian winter boots brands here!)

These past years saw a long @ss winter in Toronto & I'm fearing prematurely that the upcoming will extend us the same courtesy. And it is this same chilling angst that has me writing about what shoes not to wear in the snow, today.

Because, frankly, I've witnessed far too much shoe abuse between last winter & the start of this one to leave the issue alone. I need to vent, people! In public displays of writing, of course. Ah, back to my shoe blogging roots!

So here goes:

It's not that hard for me to grasp: when snow hits the concrete & the freezing temperatures seep their way into our outdoor lives, we must dress for the occasion.

Surely, puffy parkas & Moonboots aren't the most flattering of choices, but we don't actually want to suffer-slash-die in the cold, now do we?

(Sadly, I'm not exaggerating: during the worst winter days some people in Toronto actually do). So in following my dressing-for-cold-temperatures logic, I believe our footwear choices should meet 3 specific criteria:

  1. Prevent frostbite-associated toe loss
  2. Keep one from slipping & consequently cracking one's skull
  3. Keep feet dry

Dunno about you, but it's fairly simple to me: if it's cold, bundle the ‘eff up. Then again, I'm intensely rational when it comes to these things.

It baffles me at the shoes Torontonians deem as appropriate for walking in the snow, the dire cold & even thick patches of ice.

Yes, snow/cold/ice: the inescapable wintertime triple threat of most Canadian sidewalks. Especially puzzling because we have some of the best Canadian winter boots right at our fingertips!

But every year, people (well, let's face it: mostly women) prance around the December-March period in an utterly unsuitable display of footwear.

I know it's difficult to keep it chic during these months, but for the love of galoshes, is ruining your pricey footwear & running the risk of crushing your pretty face really worth it?! I say no. Face before feet here, ladies

Here are the 5 shoes not to wear in the snow & cold. Hopefully I can convince you to avoid wearing these shoes for this & many winters to come.

5 Shoes NOT to Wear in the Snow

1. UGG Boots & Sheepskin Boots

Shoes Not to Wear in the Snow

Can you wear UGGs in the snow, you ask!?

A hecka, NO is the most appropriate answer. Sorry, folks!

If people actually wore those “classic” UGGs as intended, I wouldn't have to write blog posts about how to clean UGG boots & remove salt stains from them.

UGG boots are invented as after-surf foot-warmers. To be worn on sand or preferably indoors. The latter would be my choice. I hear Australians actually wear them as slippers.

Not only are they NOT waterproof, but they also soak up water & snow like a sponge. Oh, and the dye fades away in rain & snow. So yeah, wearing UGGS in the snow is a big no-no

Can you wear UGG Boots in the Rain?

So if you'd also like to ask me can you wear UGG boots in the rain, I would say absolutely not! 

And no, you can't waterproof them, no matter how much product you spray on. Water-resistant does not waterproof make! Wear them in the slushy cold streets & not only will your feet be cold, wet & uncomfortable, but you'll have ruined a perfectly uggly expensive pair of boots.

Bravo! The double UGG boot dilemma?: classic UGG boots are made of suede (#4 on my “shoes not to wear in the snow list”!).

You'd be much better off opting for a pair of Cougar Shoes' “Vail” winter boots which are fully waterproof, insulated with great traction. See the full fab Cougar Winter boots collection, here.

Need to wear sheepskin shoes resembling UGGs in the snow? Opt for a completely waterproof & treated suede that can endure the harsh winter weather conditions. Such as these EMU Australia waterproof sheepskin boots that I've reviewed & styled here.

Or, if you're not going to heed my advice and wear UGGs in the snow anyway, you might as well pick out a good shoe protector spray from my dedicated post, like this amazing protector from UGG itself. 

UPDATE!! UGG now offers cute and colorful boot guards that pop right on top of your classic UGGs!

2. Stilettos

Shoes Not to Wear in the Snow - heels

Ah, you'd think it simple enough, right? Oh, but noooo. Some dum-dums feel their superhuman forces will prevent them from emergency room landings. Here's a little tip: dainty high heels & stilettos are not your friends in the snow.

I don't care how pretty they are. They're not only slippery but completely unstable on ice. Try 'em on icy stairs! Oh the fun you'll have!! You'll be like Bambi! Just less cute. 

Aside from the obvious poor foot-warming choice, most heels, especially thin stilettos, don't have grippy outsoles & the bottoms of the heels are far too minute to allow for any traction at all.  

All of this amounts to a huge risk for injury. Injury for you and your heels. Next time you decide to wear a pair in the snow, ask yourself if literally falling for fashion (or losing a heel) is worth it.

Already treaded in the snow with your heels and one has broken off? Take a peek at my post about the best glue for shoes that will give you 9 great DIY shoe repair options!

3. Rainboots. Yes, those Hunter Boots too!

Silver Hunter Rain Boots - Shoes not to wear in the snow

Can you wear Hunter Boots in the Snow?

Yes and no. Here's why “no”…

It kills me when people post their Hunter-boots-immersed-in-snow Instagram pics with an “It's so cold” & “Winter sucks!” caption. No sh*t Shirley, you're wearing boots meant for rain & puddles. RAIN+Boots. Get it?

I don't care how many sock inserts you stuff into these puppies; unless you're wearing specifically designed winterized rubber boots (like my favorite MoovBoot pair) your feet will FREEZE.

But most importantly for you, your boots might even crack. Yep, true that, no matter what them PR folks at Hunter Boots say!

Do Hunter Boots crack in cold weather?

Yes, they can.

The actual rubber these rainboots are made from (including the ubiquitous Hunters) aren't physically constructed for sub-zero temperatures.

Wear them in Toronto or elsewhere in windchill degrees & you're one move from throwing your $200 boots away.

Which would be such a shame, as they're oh-so fashionable & whatnot.  So don't be a dunce, k?

Save them for Spring & Fall or those very mild slushy days where warmth & cracking rubber won't be an issue.

4. Suede Shoes in the Snow

shoes not to wear in the snow - suede

Suede shoes should not be worn in the snow. Why? Real suede is one of the most (I'd say second to satin) delicate footwear materials out there.

So why anyone would even think of wearing them anywhere aside from dry land is beyond me. Suede + water, or suede + snow can cause permanent damage to the fabric. 

But if you've done a pair of your suede shoes the dishonor of wrecking them in winter weather, there's still hope for you yet:  go read my post on how to clean suede shoes

So let's make a pact shall we? Let's avoid any further suede shoe destruction by NEVER wearing them in the snowy and/or puddly months! Comment below to confirm…

Update: Many brands are now making waterproof suede fabrics, so this post wouldn't apply to these specifically engineered suedes! 

5. White Shoes

I feel like I'm insulting your intelligence with this one. Let's just say that if I catch you wearing white suede high heeled stilettos in the snow, you're gonna get an earful.

Final Thoughts on Shoes not to Wear in the Snow

So that just about finishes off my rant/lecture on what shoes not to wear in the snow. Now the question is: what shoes should you wear in the snow?

I'll go more into depth on the subject in the near future (& mention some cute styles too).

But for the time being, here's a good little checklist to have with you during this or even next year's snow shoe shopping season:

  • Thick rubber outsole with grippy track sole
  • 6-12 month guaranteed water-PROOF label. Water-resistant just won't do!
  • Heavily insulated interior. Most good winter boots will guarantee warmth up to a certain temperature
  • Best winter boot & shoe brands: La Canadienne, Cougar, Pajar, Aquatalia, Sorel, Columbia. Shop them, below:

xo ShoeTease

This post may contain affiliate links. ShoeTease may earn a small commission if you click through and/or make a purchase. Thanks for your support!


Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Great article! All good except, I would say here in Saskatoon our traditional winters are so dry that swede would be fine. It just doesn't get wet at 20 or 30 below. That said, we are now being punished with the sort of winters that belong in mild places like Toronto, so all bets are off. Also, for anyone thinking of putting salt on a sidewalk PLEASE DON'T. It ruins boots.


Saturday 30th of January 2021

You are right and road salt is THE WORST for shoes, I cannot stress that enough too!!


Wednesday 7th of December 2016

Hi there! What do you think of these ones?


Wednesday 14th of December 2016

Hi Lola, I wouldn't recommend rain boots in any temperatures under 0 degrees Celcius. These ones might not crack in the cold (which is pretty great), but they certainly won't keep your feet warm. You need actual winter boots to not freeze your toes off! Cougar has a lot of great winter boot styles (I own a few myself). I would opt for one of those instead, unless of course, you live in a very mild climate.

Hope this helps! xo Cristina