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I don’t exactly know how or when I became the girl who’s willing to walk anywhere within a 50-block radius, but at some point in my four-year span as a New York City resident, I traded my Metrocard for comfy shoes. And after self-navigating hundreds of miles by foot, I can finally say I’ve found my two favorite pairs of walking boots — and now, no bar, bagel, or dollar slice is too far of a distance to stroll.
I’ve long been a fan of Margaux’s Western-style Downtown Boots, which, despite the 2.5-inch stacked leather heel, are comfortable enough to get me through a long day — and sometimes night — out on the town. They’re my go-to black leather booties; I’ve walked tens of thousands of steps in them each week over the past year, often frantically (somehow, I’m always running 10 to 15 minutes late). But regardless of the intensity of my stride, they’ve held their own against cobblestone streets, salt-laden sidewalks, and the occasional splash of an un-leapable, inconveniently placed puddle.
They’re no doubt a star among my fall and winter footwear, but when real cold weather woes wash in (i.e. freezing rain, slush, and snow), I’m forced to forgo any semblance of a heel and swap my standard pair for something flat with a little more grip and traction. Enter: the Margaux Chelsea Boots.
Available in two colors, the brand’s second boot option features everything we know and love about the standard slip-on Chelsea style: elastic panels and a back pull tab, plus a flat lug sole for comfortable wear. Just like the Downtown Boot, the inside is outfitted with 5 millimeters of plush foam padding for a cushy yet supportive footbed. Each pair is handmade in Spain, according to the brand, and that alone justifies the $300+ price point. But what sets the shoe apart is its tough outer material — water-resistant German suede — that can stand up to snowflakes in the winter or rain come spring. Plus, its rubber outsole has built-in grooves for extra traction in slippery conditions.
When I first learned that the same maker of my original beloved bootie was launching an all-weather option, I knew I had to get my hands (and feet) on a pair. Apparently, so did other shoppers; the Chelsea Boot was Margaux’s fastest sell-out ever, but lucky for me, the brand generously gifted me a pair before the shoes were restocked. Since then, I’ve been able to put them to the test during numerous NYC snow days.
The first time I wore the boots was in the middle of a snowstorm. There were already several crunchy inches on the ground by the time I scurried out of a crowded midtown bar around midnight and sourced my way to the nearest subway station. Even in the dark (and a less-than-sober state), I safely made it several blocks without wiping out in the middle of the street.
The next morning posed the ultimate test: NYC streets are even more treacherous the day after a storm. The chances of me falling into a dirt-filled slush puddle were high, but so were my hangover cravings. I pulled on my new Chelsea boots, still a little damp from the night before, and sheepishly navigated the icy Slip ‘N Slide that was Second Avenue with a bacon, egg, and cheese in tow. I reached home without so much as a slip.
Over the next several weeks, there were plenty of opportunities to further test the boots’ performance, and they passed with flying colors every time. In fact, I walked over 50 miles in them through various terrains and weather conditions: From ice and snow to slush and rain, there was nothing these boots couldn’t handle. The best part: They’re so cute and comfortable, the weather doesn’t have to be miserable to sport them. I find myself reaching for my favorite Margaux Chelsea Boots whether I’m walking in rain or shine.