The top 10 stores to buy winter boots in Toronto
Winter boots in Toronto are a must if you want to navigate our city's annual lakes of evil black slush. With five months of the year spent in salt-encrusted, snowy darkness, it's important to be practical with your footwear – but that doesn't mean you have to settle for bulky nylon lace-ups.
Here are my picks for the top places to buy winter boots in Toronto.
Toronto's original sporting-goods store has six locations within the GTA, and they all come well-stocked with performance-oriented footwear from brands like Columbia, Merrell and The North Face. Most of the boots here are hardcore functional, but a lot of them are stylish as well – perfect for tolerating a Polar Vortex (#NeverForget.)
This relative newcomer to the Canadian market lives up to the hype with its 220,000 square foot store at Toronto's Eaton Centre. Whether you're looking for thigh-high, blue suede Stuart Wetizmans or insulated JOG DOG booties, this is your best bet on finding designer boots you've seen online but can't get shipped to our country. *grumble grumble*
Sprawling across two storefronts, this Queen West favourite divides its winter boot selection into "city" and "snow," which makes picking out the right pair a bit easier. You'll find trendy and practical brands here like Cougar, Kodiak, and Timberland for men and women alike, as well as harder-to-find cult favourites like Native Shoes and Frye.
Canada's favourite place to buy industrial wear has really stepped up its game in recent years when it comes to dressing regular consumers (hence the removal of "Work Wearhouse" from its name.) You'll find a wide variety of boots for both men and women here, all of it hardcore functional, much of it also stylish.
If fashion is your top priority, this huge Queen and Ossington boutique is where you want to be. Sure, they sell functional, cold weather footwear brands like Cougar, Kodiak and Sorel – but you'll likely be tempted to blow your rent on designer boots from the likes of Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant and Acne Studios instead.
Maybe you're the type to buy one pair of boots and kick the daylights out of them year-round. Your first stop should be ABC, which specializes in all-season Blundstone boots. They offer fully winterized models with fleece insoles if you want to be extra, and have locations in both Queen West and near Yonge and Eg.
Yeah, it's a department store, but I'd be remiss to not mention the shoe floor at the Bay's Eaton Centre flagship, which bills itself as the largest shoe section in all of Canada. The selection of both heavy-duty and fashion brands is unmatched here - as are their insane Bay Days sales.
The original location of this iconic shoe store has been a fixture on West Queen West between Bathurst and Bellwoods for years. Known for its friendly staff and trendy selection, Heel Boy now boasts a second store in the Distillery District plus ,a robust online shop with fashionable winter boot options from brands like Cougar, Franco Sarto and Lemon Jelly.
TSC and its subsidiaries, Town Shoes and Designer Shoe Warehouse, prides itself on offering "great brands" at "smart prices." Again, you'll find a wide selection of winter boot styles here, from "cold rated" galoshes to "waterproof fashion boots," and their prices are quite good for brand name stuff.
MEC is the place to be if you want high-quality performance wear for active things like backwoods camping and / or traversing the slushy streets of Toronto during rush hour. The retail co-op, which can be found at 400 King West and in North York, maintains a strong focus gear that's eco-friendly, sustainable and well-constructed.
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