The Essential Shoe Lineup

The Essential Shoe Lineup

Back in April, my husband and I decided to head up to Northern Wisconsin with our kids, where my parents have a second home. We wanted to ride out the pandemic up north where it was less crowded and more peaceful. This was back when we thought things would only last 6 months or so.

Us snacking on watermelon and in complete denial about how long COVID would last. 

We didn’t pack for a move. We packed for a fun little trip to a lakehouse. We ended up in the Colorado rockies. 

I came to Colorado with 5 sleeveless tops, sandals and some low key hiking boots that I used on all my “hikes” back in Chicago (which I now know were just walks along a paved path). 


I’ve made it work, and managed to survive on just the essentials. My shoe game is down to a science, needing only 4 pairs all year round (that fourth pair just being because I like ‘em).

Here are the ingredients to feel fulfilled in your shoe game:

  1. Sandals you can walk in
  2. Running shoes
  3. Hiking boots
  4. Winter shoes


Let’s start with my sandals. I have Sorel Ella sandals and I love them. I would buy them in multiple colors if my husband didn’t occasionally check my credit card activity. They are, in a nutshell, perfection. Comfortable, pretty stylish, and they last. I walked miles around Mexico City, Breckenridge, Aspen, Northern Wisconsin, and Chicago in these and they have still held up. Love ‘em. The perfect summer and spring shoe.

Running Shoes

nike shoes

I have a pair of black Nikes. Nothing fancy, nothing special. They are quality shoes, go with everything (black) and mask all the dirt my children are always conjuring up. They slip on and off. I wear them when I work out, when I need something to slip on quick when I’m chasing bobcats off my property, and when we’re on low key hikes that don’t require heavy duty boots.

Hiking Boots

Don’t even get me started on my Columbia’s. Okay get me started. My Columbia Newton Ridge Waterproof boots are, as they say, “everything.” They are comfortable, they are pretty cute, and they look a little bit like Danners but are ⅕ of the price. They have really nice traction and are super warm. I wear them hiking, when I’m exploring in the yard with my kids, in the snow and in the rain. I love how they look with black leggings and my Patagonia bomber jacket. Fresh. 

Winter Shoes

sorel boot

I love my Sorel Ainsley Conquest boots in black with red laces. They worked perfectly for me back in Chicago when I needed something sturdy and warm while I hopped over gutters of slush and patches of ice. When we got to Colorado, I noticed that the traction for the type of hikes we were doing wasn’t great. These boots are great “urban” boots and they are comfortable. I like that they come up just a bit past the ankle so you’re protected during most snowfalls (unless you’re in a blizzard). I wear them around our property, when we go into town, and when I want other moms to think I’m cool (I’m an 80s kid and red and black is still an edgy color pairing in my world). 

Do I want my extensive library of shoes back that is sitting in a closet in Chicago? YES. 

Is it necessary? No. 

Was it stressful? Kinda. 

Sandals, running shoes, hiking boots and your optional “casual” boots (if you live in a cold weather climate) are the ingredients to a no stress shoe game. 

hiking in colorado

Love me some Columbia's