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If you hate packing as much as I do, you know the struggle is real when it comes to shoe selection for a trip that involves unpredictable weather and activities that range from dressy night outs to outdoor excursions. I was faced with this predicament while prepping for a two-week Fall trip to Norway and London, where I had the added challenge of fitting everything in one carry-on suitcase. How are you supposed to make room for stylish footwear when you have to fit in bulky practical shoes?
I started with my top-priority pretrip purchase, hiking boots, and I was shocked to find the holy grail of travel shoes. I bought the Sorel Women's Ainsley Conquest Boot ($140) on Amazon after spending hours scouring Google and Pinterest to find a shoe that would cover all my practical bases while still looking cute on non-hiking days.
The most surprising benefit of these boots was how easy they were to style with my favorite Fall and Winter outfits.
They saved me a ton of packing space, since they worked as rainboots, walking shoes, and hiking boots. I wore them on all my airport travel days to save additional suitcase room, and thanks to the shoelace hooks on the top, they were easy to loosen up and stayed comfortable even during the long international flights.
As their name suggests, they served as exceptional hiking boots. The lugged sole was essential for a very muddy and rocky hike that included some steep sections. I can also attest to them being extremely waterproof. I walked through creeks and stepped in puddles, and my feet remained 100 percent dry. I also thoroughly rinsed them off and they were much easier to clean than I thought they would be, only requiring a little scrubbing with a washcloth for the leather.
The most surprising benefit of these boots was how easy they were to style with my favorite Fall and Winter outfits. Since I was walking a lot on this trip, I wanted to wear comfortable shoes, and these were by far my most comfortable (even more than my sneakers). But I also wanted to feel good about my travel attire, and thankfully, chunky lace-up utilitarian boots are a trend that has stood the test of time, with Dr. Martens and various iterations of combat and work boots staying on trend in recent years. Whether styled with a long coat, skinny jeans, and scarf for a casual look or a midi dress with a sweater and tights for a nice dinner out, these boots were incredibly versatile and toughened up my classic travel uniform.
Shop the boots ahead, and keep reading for real examples of how to style the chunky boot trend with your cold-weather outfits.