The challenge of winter destination travel is in the packing! How to travel light while still bringing all the winter-weather gear you need? Choose your winter footwear carefully. Nothing takes up more room in your duffel or suitcase than your shoes.
This winter, I’ve been trying out Keen’s Elena boot, which comes in a mid-boot size or a full boot size. For me, the mid is the sweet spot of warm winter wear combined with packability. Basically, this boot is a sneaker you can wear in the winter! It’s insulated and cozy, rated to -4 degrees F, with a fun flannel upper and rubber toe. I’ve worn my Keen Elena at ski resorts where it did fine in light snow and slush, and in the city during wet and muddy days. It won’t deliver in extreme conditions–this is not your snowshoeing boot, for instance–but for apres-ski or a night out in winter weather, this stylish boot is exactly what you need, while still packing down reasonably small.
My only complaint about the Elena Mid: I wish it had a zipper along the side, because even though it only goes to about ankle height, it can be a pain to put on. I have to really widen the laces each time to get my foot in there.
The Elena comes in five stylish colors with coordinating flannel patterns, in sizes 5-11 in women’s for a reasonable $130. As mentioned, there is a full boot version that goes mid-calf, in six colors for $150. Pick up either on the Keen website, Amazon, or other online retailers.