Welcome to AFAR Approved: a deep dive into the travel items we’re totally obsessed with, never leave behind, and can’t stop telling our friends about.
→ Buy now: Stio Women’s Colter Boot, $169, sizes 6–10 in Mulberry, Mudslide, and Bison Brown; stio.com; Stio Men’s Colter Boot, $169, sizes 8–12 in Boundary Black, stio.com
At first glance, the new Stio Colter Boot could be a cousin of a Moon Boot, a Y2K-era sneaker-boot that made you feel like . . . well, you were bouncing on the moon. Thankfully, trends have evolved, and in October 2022, outdoor lifestyle brand Stio launched its first-ever foray into footwear that is much more sleek and versatile than the super-chunk of yore.
I have been wearing the women’s Colter Boot (in mulberry, a navy-ish shade) all winter long and continue to be impressed by how many different environments it works in. The slip-on shoe hits above the ankle and fits like a sneaker—say, a high-top you throw on for après-ski. But the rubber sole has serious traction and the outer is premium full-grain leather, sourced sustainably from tanneries rated by the Leather Working Group (LWG), with a suede toe. The lining is a poly-wool blend, keeping toes warm but not sweating, and the support is, dare I say, bouncy. I feel like I could go running in these boots, should I ever choose to do something so crazy.
Stio refers to these boots as “the everyday go-to for mountain town socials and kicking back at après when a little extra cold-weather protection and warmth are required.” That sounds so lovely! But I don’t live in a mountain town—I live in Brooklyn. Which means the Colter is my everyday go-to for running out the door to get the kids to school when it’s below 45 degrees. (And I mean running out the door—the elastic gussets and ankle pull tab make these easy to pull on with one hand in two seconds flat.)
I have worn them in a (surprise) downpour and my feet didn’t get wet. I have worn them while towing my kids on a sled in two inches of snow; the boots lasted longer in the cold than the kids did. I now pack them on ski weekends upstate as one of two pairs of shoes (these and Sorel boots for deep snow) to wear around town, as well as trips where I think the weather might turn bad. And when I’m home, I walk miles in them—months later, they’re still as comfortable as when I first got them.
The price point
This was my first experience with Stio gear, a sustainable outdoor lifestyle brand that launched in 2012 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Though the $169 price tag initially gave me sticker shock, the quality matches the price point, as does the functionality and style. I’m not flashy—neither is Stio. It’s about providing beautiful, versatile mountain wear for all seasons, whether you’re going climbing, biking, or hiking in the summer or skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Plus, all Stio gear is protected by the brand’s Mountain Origins Guarantee warranty against manufacturing and workmanship defects “for the practical lifetime of the product.”
A seriously sustainable brand
We have since invested in a Stio jacket for my husband, and I’ll likely test out some of the items from its Responsibly Sourced list, a collection of gear made from recycled polyester, and Responsible Down Standard certified down, meaning the feathers in its puffers are sourced from farms where birds are treated ethically.
In its annual stewardship report, Stio noted that “in 2021, we took a significant step forward in understanding, reducing and completely offsetting our carbon footprint by partnering with Climate Neutral and Bluesource.” As part of its waste reduction efforts, Stio has already increased its use of “preferred materials” (organic cotton, recycled polyester and nylon, and the aforementioned RDS-certified down) from 30 percent to 50 percent, with the ultimate goal of reaching 75 percent in 2025.
To create a more circular shopping experience, Stio also launched its Second Turn program so customers can shop and trade in used Stio gear to keep it out of landfills.
And as of 2022, the company began its journey toward becoming a B Corp Certified corporation. Giving back to the land means something to Stio—one moon boot step forward at a time.