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Since the pandemic’s start, the way I shop has fundamentally changed. The concepts of event-centric dressing and come-and-go seasonal trends have careened out the window. Instead, I’ve been looking to build out my wardrobe with versatile investment pieces that can easily go between city streets and country lanes for months on end—stylish, functional pieces with staying power.
While I’ve found sweaters, coats and pants that fit this new model of dressing, winter boots have proven elusive. It’s easier than ever to find expedition-grade boots from the likes of Canada Goose (which launched footwear last fall) or Sorel. But, my issue with all of those is that, while reliable and comfortable, they have a distinctly outdoors look and feel. I was searching for a boot that can traverse a snowy sidewalk and into a restaurant (not a ski lodge).
That is until I rediscovered an old classic: the sturdy yet surprisingly lightweight Curling Boot from Swiss brand Bally. It’s warm and has a five-layer sole capped off with Vibram’s Arctic Grip technology for maximum hold on slippery ice and slush alike, yet manages to sport a slim profile and a roomy, flexible fit. First produced in 1952 for the Swiss Olympic curling team, the boot turns 70 this year but hardly shows its age—the mark of an exceptionally well-designed product.
There are a few different models of these boots. Personally, I like the rubber-coated calfskin Cubrid ($610) and brown suede Guard ($580), both of which seamlessly integrated into my wardrobe—with jeans for brunch, with trousers for dinner, with snow pants for shoveling the driveway. As a lifelong winter dweller who has seen his fair share of snow boots, I can confidently say that no matter which model you go for, you’ll be investing in a boot that will stylishly get you through many winters to come.