Boots that stand up to salt and fire

If you’re looking for the best boots this winter, then check out our affordable choices—all under $220

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From the December 2015 issue of the magazine.

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The most ludicrously durable winter boots have to be Timberland’s six-inch “scuffproof” boots made with Helcor, a specially treated leather that’s difficult to mark and mostly fire-resistant. We tossed a Timberland Helcor into salted water multiple times. They took forever to dry, but you’d never know they’d been salt-dipped. One caveat— the Helcor Timberlands were a special edition for 2014 and are now discontinued, but there are plenty of pairs online. Just check eBay, where you can find a pair for US$180. As well, plenty of U.S. manufacturers still make footwear domestically out of high-quality, durable leather: Look at Frye, Chippewa, Oak Street Bootmakers and Red Wing, and search especially for models with a Vibram sole; this made-in-Italy brand is known for its long-lasting ruggedness (and can eventually be replaced). Finally, Blundstone’s elastic-sided boots make an affordable, simple and hardy option ($160 to $210). I own a pair that lasted through eight slushy winters, and they would have kept going had I replaced the sole before it was too stripped to repair.

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