A trusty pair of boots are essential for winter in the Rocky Mountains. This was a fact that I only recently accepted. Let me confess: for most of my time in Utah, I wore sneakers year-round. Wet socks, cold feet, and untimely slipping and sliding around city sidewalks were just some of the Idiot Tax I paid for my footwear choice. My issue was that I never liked clunking around town in burly outdoor boots. Sure, they have their place on the trail, but not in the office or the pub (sue me for being a prima donna). Fortunately for me, Helly Hansen makes a boot that may be the perfect mix of style and winter function: the Stockholm. “All-city style and all-weather protection” is the claim, and I’ve been putting them to the test since the first flakes flew this season.
Before I get into their performance, here are some of the features of the Stockholm boots:
• waterproof nubuck uppers
• water repellant mesh
• padded collar
• seam sealed
• protective rubber capsule
• Helly Grip rubber outsoles
• removable EVA footbeds
I began testing the Stockholm boots in late November; just in the nick of time. The heavens began dishing out wonderful snowfall, and it was heavy at times even by Salt Lake City standards. I wore these boots day in, day out for everything from commuting to work, shoveling the driveway, walking my pooch, and walking around the local ski resorts. Temperatures ranged from 50 degree days all the way down to single digits. Snow, slush, rain, mud, and general city filth threw all they had at the Stockholms, and the boots came away undaunted.
My first thought when I started wearing the Helly Hansen shoe/boots was “these things are not going to be waterproof.” I’ve never been happier to be so wrong. It didn’t matter if it was 1’ of snow in Brighton’s parking lot or slushy city sidewalks, the Stockholms never once allowed my feet to feel the scourge of wetness. Their biggest test was when I misjudged the depth of a puddle in a parking lot: my foot sank to above ankle, and not a drop could I feel. Additionally, only on the nastiest nights did my feet ever get cold. As for all-around comfort, it’s another win. I rocked these Scando-styled bad boys for long days at work (12+ hours on my feet and at a desk) and my feet stayed happy. I am impressed by both the comfort and weather-beating abilities that the Stockholm boots display.
My second bad assumption was that the Helly Grip rubber outsoles would not prove very effective in slippery conditions. Well, after miles of walking over icy streets, frozen ground and every other urban winter terrain, I’m glad to report that I took zero falls. No slips, no slides and no contusion-inducing slams. Yes, these boots live up to their billing, and they do it while looking good- seriously good. I don’t want to gush, but I think these are some sharp looking clodhoppers! They portray a modern, urban style, while being just rugged enough to pass muster at your favorite apre spot.
I want to be clear: the Stockholms are not hiking boots. Yes, I did some light trekking in the foothills with my dogs, but this was as hardcore as things got. I didn’t take them on any peak-bagging adventures, nor would I. These boots are built to keep your feet comfortable and cozy while you tackle the cityscape during winter, and they excel at this task. I had no trouble navigating hardpack snow at local resorts, but wouldn’t recommend that you choose these as your go-to boot for the big snowshoe trip.
With that said, I could find no flaw with the Helly Hansen Stockholm boots. For three months they have taken everything Old Man Winter could throw at them, and have only surface scars to show for it (they will pick up stains like any other boots, but are simple to clean up). If you’re an every-season sneaker stalwart, it’s time to give it up. You can keep your style points high while having happy feet during the cold months. The Stockholms have made a convert out of me, and I won’t be caught without them until SLC has thawed out for spring…so hopefully, around June.
The Good: the Stockholms are truly waterproof, keep feet warm and comfortable, and have sharp street style
The Bad: Nothing! These boots perform as described and have yet to show any signs of breaking down.
The Verdict: Whether you want to upgrade from your sneakers, or downgrade from heavy hiking boots, the Stockholms are the answer for functional winter style.