It really did look like the Great White North wasn’t going to live up to its name this Winter. Sure it was cold but the ground was dry and none of the usual sneaker killers, snow and salt, were lurking in wait outside our doors. That was until the holiday we call All-Star Weekend (or some other people Valentine’s Day) rolled around. Now here it is, a week after March Break with a new snowfall, reminding us that winter isn’t over just yet despite how much we might want that to be true.
So what is a sneakerhead supposed to do? Shelling out for sneakerboots is an definitely an option. This year saw more options and colourways in that niche than ever before with both adidas and Nike rolling out several models. Or maybe you had the chance to pick up the “weather proof” Nike the 6 Air Max 1’s that were released earlier this year. But for most of us in the snowy parts of the world we have our personal sneaker line-up that gets called on year after year to help us battle Jack Frost. There’s not a lot that mesh, neoprene, nubuck or suede can do when winter is in full force so that eliminates many shoes in our collections. Stomping through slush, walking the unshovelled sidewalks or dealing with the loads of salt that any bare section of concrete has would bring a quick death to most shoes but there are some that are more resilient.
I walk, take transit and even still ride my bike all winter long so having a sneaker that works in the winter is super important. I’m not a fan of wet socks, who is right? So what are my go to shoes when I can’t hide from the elements inside any longer? Here are my personal top 5.
Reebok Pump Omni Lite ‘Snowy Grey’
These shoes are seriously durable. They’re my summer court shoes but also my choice for the light snowfall days. Reebok uses some seemingly thick leather on these shoes which doesn’t help with the weight but keeps out the wet stuff pretty nicely. They’ve got a nice amount of cushion inside to keep your feet warm if you happen to be waiting for the bus like I frequently find myself doing. Plus, despite being originally a court shoe these shoes double as a great casual retro model. Pump these up, put your arm in front of your eyes and jump into the nearest snowbank.
Nike Air Flight 89 ‘London’
They’re probably a brighter colourway than most people would wear but when there’s only 9 hours of daylight on some winter days, and since on some of those we never actually get to see the Sun, I need all the colour I can get. This specific model was made from some kind of 3M nylon material so they’re tougher against the wet and salt than any leather shoe would be. They’ve got great traction and the fact that they’re mids gives you a little more protection if that slush puddle happens to be deeper than it looks. If the tongue wasn’t mesh these would be the perfect winter shoe.
adidas Crazy 1 ‘All-Star’
I loved the original and these rereleases haven’t helped my addiction for this shoe. My winter rotation has three colourways of this shoe. The adidas classic shell toe, though not as large as the one on the Superstar helps the shoe stay durable as you kick that ice block down the sidewalk. And don’t pretend that you don’t still do that. The sloped outsole helps push the snow and slush away when you have no choice but to walk through it. Most of the rereleases aren’t made with leather but a plastic material so water won’t get through until it hits the tongue area. There are plenty of options when it comes to colour options so you can keep it simple with Blackouts, go wintery with the Glaciers or bring your light to the dark days and rock the Sunshine Yellows.
Converse Aero Jam ‘White and Black’
These shoes look like they are straight off the feet of one of the Stormtroopers who invading planet Hoth. As a high high top they’ll give you the protection you want when you have to go out before people have cleared their sidewalks plus, with the lace cover you won’t have to worry about snow melting and entering the tongue area. The high outsole and midsole gives a little extra distance from the slush ready to seep through the stiching and soak your feet as you step off the curb.
Nike Foamposite ‘Black and Red’
Since these sneakers are basically plastic from the ground up they’re the perfect winter shoe. Since a good pair of winter boots costs nearly the same as a pair of these, as a sneakerhead it won’t be hard for you to choose. Your feet might be a little cold but that’s a small trade-off. The foamposites are like stylish, comfortable rain boots.
Whether they meant for these shoes to be Canadian approved or not, they definitely stand up to the various tests winter throws at me each year. I’ll be excited to get back to my usual rotation when the temperature rises and the sun replaces snow, slush and salt. For now though, you know what I’ll be rocking on my feet.