Anyone who’s been skiing enough times knows that the most satisfying moment of the day isn’t your first turn or finding fresh tracks or ripping down a perfectly corduroy’d groomer. It’s the moment you finally take your boots off and change into something more comfortable, relief washing over you in an awesome wave.
So let’s talk about the most important part of that equation — the “something more comfortable.” Unlike summer kicks (sandals, loafers, slip-ons), winter footwear tends to prize performance and ruggedness over comfort and ease-of-use. But you don’t very well want to change from ski boots into a pair of … other boots.
Enter the wool sneaker. It’s warm but lightweight, eminently slip-on-able and usually packs a robust enough outsole to keep you from breaking your tailbone on an ice patch.
Below, find some of our favorite options, along with a few equally up-to-the-task wool slip-ons.
Best in Show: Allbirds Wool Runner
The merino wool sneaker that one InsideHook editor hails as the ultimate traveling shoe is machine washable, moisture-wicking and so odor-resistant that the company implores customers to wear them sockless.
Best Over Short Distances: Mahabis Classic 2
This wool slipper comes with a removable sneaker sole that makes them ideal for indoor/outdoor use. You won’t wanna climb a snowbank in them, but they’re fine for fetching the paper or making a quick beer run.
Most Gym Appropriate: Hoka One One Hupana
Lightweight and sporting an adequately cushioned sole, these casual sneakers from the French running company can easily withstand a few miles on the road or treadmill when called upon.
Most Work Appropriate: Sperry CVO Wool
The boat-shoe stalwarts prove they’ve got some sneaker chops as well with this clean, minimal two-piece sneaker that’ll ably pair with chinos and an oxford or sweater.
Most Date Appropriate: Grayers x Seavees Hermosa Sneaker
You probably don’t want to wear them with a suit, but these low-profile kicks combine Seavees’ low-profile California looks with a signature charcoal wool flannel from Grayers’ decades-deep archives.
Most House Appropriate: Hard Graft In & Out Wool Slip-Ons
Made in Italy from buffalo leather, calfskin and robust wool, these slippers are probably best suited for inside wear, though they’ll cut a fine figure with a pair of cuffed trousers should you choose to brave the elements.
Most Campus Appropriate: Frye Ludlow Chukka
This unique number combines a silhouette usually reserved for boots (a high-cut chukka) with a rubber sole, wool upper and Frye’s built-to-last American craftsmanship.
Best for Keeping the Snow Out: Baabuk Sky Wooler
The natural water resistance of the merino wool lining combined with an ankle-high cut means you can (though probably shouldn’t) ford a snow pile or two.
Comfiest: Seavees Indoor/Outdoor Slipper Shoe
Seavees again, this time with a rubber-soled slipper that combines a French terry insole with a wool felt outsole for maximum comfort. You will try to sneak into bed with these on, trust.
Best Value: Polo Ralph Lauren Thorton
First of all, it’s tough to beat that chunky red-and-black flannel for winter-friendly looks. Second, they’re currently going for just $49, which makes impulse-buying a bit of a no brainer.
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