Actually, that's how I grew up, too -- refusing to wear proper boots. But if you do that, and you walk at all, you really have to be willing to wear out a pair (at least) per year and then toss them. It also depends a bit on whether they salt or sand where you live, and how slushy it gets. Slush is way worse than snow, and salt is worse than sand -- it eats through boots no matter how you baby them.

Yes, my friend's shoes looked like hell! And she would get them in second-hand stores so I think she didn't mind going through pairs or having them look awful.
I could never do that though--mostly because I run so cold. My grandma has Raynaud's syndrome and I'm pretty sure I have too, though in me it's still mild. I need all the proper thermal insulation and water and snow proofing I can get!

Oh - it's absolutely influenced by street conditions and how much you walk every day. Suz walks everywhere - I don't. And our streets - I mean if you saw them today you'd die; all slushy and salty and brown and gross- wearing $400 suede boots is crazy . I don't 'refuse" to wear full on waterproofed and lined and lugsoled boots - I simply don't need them and find them too hot and clunky. Everyone is different, and I know I don't represent the norm Hope you find something that fits your bill, KM!

Thanks, lisa p! I realize that happiness with my snow footwear choices will depend on some long-term planning and strategic purchases... so while I might not get immediate satisfaction now, I am excited about building some options for the future.