Best Shoes for Walking on Ice Reviewed & Rated

Everyone loves a snow day. A nice snowfall often means a break from work or school and a day full of snowballs, snowmen, and sledding. But the same cold weather that gives us snow can also bring ice, taking us from play to peril before we’ve had a chance to react. Ice is notorious for being slick and unforgiving, and if we’re not prepared for it, we can slip and fall and find ourselves in a wonderland of pain and embarrassment. Thankfully, we can avoid the dangers of walking on ice if we have the right shoes, and with an increasing number of brands offering ice-friendly options, finding shoes that match your style and budget and help keep you upright on the ice is easier than ever.

Last Updated: February 25, 2018
By David McWhite:

The updated article includes the best of 2018's shoes for walking on ice. There is a criteria section where we list out and discuss the top features we looked for when selecting the shoes on our list, and we've also included answers to some frequently-asked questions related to shoes for walking on ice, so make sure you check those sections out after you've read about the shoes on our list.

Featured Recommendations

Columbia Ice Maiden II
  • Columbia Ice Maiden II
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Waterproof bootie construction
  • Price: See Here
Kamik Momentum
  • Kamik Momentum
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Rated to -25F
  • Price: See Here
KEEN Hoodoo III
  • KEEN Hoodoo III
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Dual-compound rubber outsole
  • Price: See Here

If you want to stay safe while walking on ice, look for shoes that have rubber soles and treads designed to grip icy surfaces. You’ll also want a shoe that is waterproof and will insulate your feet against the cold. And, as with any shoe, you’ll want to make sure your ice-conquering footgear is comfortable and provides good support. Our top ten shoes for walking on ice combine the best of form and function and provide a great guide for selecting a pair of winter shoes that will keep you safe without sacrificing style. With a wide range of designs and prices, you’re sure to find the right shoe to keep you from falling the next time you find yourself on a slippery, sub-zero surface.

10 Best Shoes for Walking on Ice

 

 

 

1. Columbia Ice Maiden II

If you want to be sure-footed while staying stylish, then the Ice Maiden II is a great option. It’s designed to keep your feet warm and keep you safe even on icy surfaces. These boots come with all the great features of a rugged winter boot but are designed to be worn anywhere winter takes you.
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Warmth
These boots are made to keep your feet warm in the worst winter weather. With a rating of -25F/-32C, the ice doesn’t stand a chance of freezing your feet.

Style
The Ice Maiden II comes in a variety of colors and has a fur lining that surrounds the top, so you can sport them on any cold occasion knowing they’re making you look good while they protect you.

Cost and Value
These boots are not only our #1 pick, but they’re also the most affordable option in our list. Boots that keep you safe on the ice, have thousands of positive reviews, and won’t break the bank? Sounds like a winning combo to us!
Pros
  • Stylish leather exterior
  • Omni-grip rubber soles
  • Insulated for protection against the cold
  • Waterproof construction
Cons
  • Wide toe box
  • Sizes run a little big

2. Kamik Momentum

These boots offer serious grip in a variety of unique styles. The good folks at Kamik have created a boot that will help you conquer the ice and look good while you do it. While the tall design keeps the snow and moisture outside, the soft boa lining and foam-insulated liner keep your feet warm inside.
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Tread
Large rubber treads make these boots perfect for walking safely in winter weather. The omni-directional PEAK snow and ice traction sole will stand up to the slickest surfaces.

Waterproof Construction
The Kamik Momentum helps keep water from seeping inside thanks to its seam-sealed design. The gusseted tongue also helps to keep snow out of your boot, so moisture won’t get in from either end.

Cost and Value
The various color and style options for this boot mean various prices as well, but if you aren’t too picky about how they look, you can get a pair of Momentums for a very reasonable price.
Pros
  • Synthetic materials mean less maintenance
  • Rated to keep your feet warm down to -25F/-32C
  • Moisture-wicking lining
  • Durable without sacrificing comfort
Cons
  • Can become uncomfortable if worn for long periods
  • Some customers complained that the sizing was off

3. UGG Butte Snow Boot

When we hear UGG, most of us think of the classic fur-lined suede boot that looks great but may not do much to keep us steady on the ice. The UGG Butte snow boot, however, delivers on both the design and functionality fronts. These boots look great and will definitely stand up to the challenges that come with walking on ice.
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Grip
The Vibram outsoles and lug pattern on the bottom of these boots provide superior traction on icy surfaces. These boot bottoms are built to grip and to last.

Casual Look
The folks at UGG have created a boot that can handle the worst winter will throw at you but is perfectly suitable for any winter setting.

Cost and Value
The cost for the Butte snow boots is definitely on the high end of our list, but the reviews are clear: they are worth every penny.
Pros
  • Combination of natural and synthetic materials
  • Vibram outsole for gripping the ice
  • Wool-lined to keep your feet warm
  • Fit true to size
Cons
  • May not be comfortable for people with wide feet

4. UGG Australia Adirondack II

4. UGG Australia Adirondack II
Our #4 pick is another impressive pair of boots from UGG. The Australia Adirondack II prioritizes grip, warmth, and waterproofing, making it a perfect boot for even the fiercest winter conditions. From the bottom of the sole to the top of the shaft, these boots are designed to protect your feet and get you across the ice without incident.
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Breathable Waterproofing
One of the great design aspects of this boot is its ability to let moisture out without letting moisture in. The eVent bootie construction will ensure your feet stay dry this winter.

Vibram Outsoles
The big name in outsoles right now is Vibram, and these boots come complete with rubber grips that will give you confidence when you’re out walking this winter.

Cost and Value
Like the Butte model above, the UGG Adirondack is a bit more expensive than some of the other shoes on this list, but with over 600 5-star ratings, we think they’re worth the cost.
Pros
  • Lightweight and efficient insulation keeps your feet warm and dry
  • eVent waterproofing allows your feet to breathe
  • Removable and replaceable insoles
  • Rated for temperatures down to -4F/-20C
Cons
  • The sizes run a little small
  • The stiff construction may mean a longer break-in period

5. Keen Hoodoo III

5. Keen Hoodoo III
KEEN is known for making quality outdoor shoes, and the KEEN Hoodoo II is built to keep you going when you’re out in the snow and ice. These boots hit all our marks for keeping you safe on the ice: beefy treads, waterproof materials, ample insulation, and a comfortable construction.
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Insulation
The Hoodoo II is lined with KEEN’s proprietary insulation and has a heat-shield foot bed that is sure to keep your feet warm and toasty in the coldest climates.

Grip
The outsoles of the Hoodoo II are designed specifically for trekking in snow and ice. The large, rubber treads provide friction on the ice that you won’t get from standard soles.

Cost and Value
The price for these boots depends on which color combination you choose, with one costing nearly twice as much as the other, so be flexible with the style if cost is a deciding factor for you.
Pros
  • Waterproof materials from the sole to the shaft
  • KEEN insulation rated down to -25F/-32C
  • Faux fur collar helps trap heat
  • Lightweight boots with a sturdy construction
Cons
  • May be a little wide for some feet

6. Icebug Ivalo

6. Icebug Ivalo
If you’re looking for a shoe that says, “designed to perform on ice,” then look no further than the Icebug Ivalo. This boot sticks to the essentials: gripping the ice and keeping your feet warm and dry. What this shoe lacks in frills it makes up for in performance, and at the end of the day, that’s what we want most.
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BUGrip Soles
The Icebug Ivalo comes with one of the most impressive outsoles in our list. The special rubber sole has 16 integrated steel studs that will give you great traction on any surface.

Durability
These boots are made of the tough stuff: rubber, nylon, steel, and leather. You can tackle the most difficult terrains in them and they won’t be any worse for the wear when you’re done.

Cost and Value
Despite its industrial look, the Icebug Ivalo is more expensive than many of the designer snow and ice boots we found. But these boots are built to endure and will give you years of use.
Pros
  • Steel-studded outsole
  • Fleece lining for retaining heat
  • Zipper fastening makes them quick to put on and take off
  • Removable footbed
  • Made of waterproof and water-resistant materials
Cons
  • Built for function, not for looks
  • Limited color selection

7. Icebug Studded Hiking Boot

7. Icebug Studded Hiking Boot
The Icebug studded hiking boot is designed to help you cover some serious frozen ground. These boots are great for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, whether for work or for pleasure, and they are sure to keep you from slipping when you come across icy terrain. The slipperiest slopes are no match for these studs!
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BUGrip Soles
Like our #6 pick above, the best feature about these boots is their impressive outsoles. You’re sure to feel confident of your grip every step of the way thanks to their steel-studded design.

Versatility
While these boots are designed to keep your feet warm in cold conditions, they’re also great for hiking year-round. They are as much a hiking boot as they are a winter boot.

Cost and Value
As with some of our other selections, the cost of these boots varies depending on size and color. Even if you have to pay more for the style you want, though, these boots will serve you well for years to come.
Pros
  • Steel-studded outsoles
  • Low-shaft design makes them suitable for hiking
  • Designed for comfort
  • Abrasion-resistant and durable
  • Waterproof construction and materials
Cons
  • The top of the boot may cause blisters without appropriate socks

8. Merrell Aurora 6

8. Merrell Aurora 6
#8 on the list is our first entry from Merrell. The Aurora 6 is a sturdy winter boot without the traditional winter boot look. It’s built to keep the heat in and the moisture out and help you grip the ice when you’re out in the elements this winter.
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Built for Warmth
The Aurora 6 is insulated with a fleece lining that helps conduct heat, and the waterproof shell keeps water out, so your feet will stay warm and dry when you’re on the ice.

Vibram Outsoles
As with other shoes on our list, one of the best components of the Aurora 6 is the Vibram outsole. These outsoles offer superior gripping quality and are extremely durable.

Cost and Value
The Aurora 6 falls somewhere in the middle of our price range. You won’t pay as much for them as you might for other brands, but don’t believe the lower price means lower quality.
Pros
  • Vibram soles provide a good grip
  • TPU waterproof shell
  • Thinsulate lining for retaining heat
  • Comfortable enough for extended wear
Cons
  • Not suitable for walking in deep snow
  • Shouldn’t be worn indoors

9. Salomon Toundra Pro

9. Salomon Toundra Pro
If you live in a very cold climate with heavy snowfall, then the Salomon Toundra Pro may be just the boot for you. Its tall shaft will keep your feet dry when you encounter deep snow, and with its impressive temperature rating, you can face the harshest winter knowing your feet are protected from the elements.
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Warm and Waterproof Construction
Salomon describes these as their warmest boots, able to keep your feet warm down to -40F/-40C. And the tall, fully-waterproof bootie will keep the moisture out even in deep snow.

Impressive Grip
The Toundra Pro sports winter contagrip outsoles, meaning you’ll experience great traction when you’re out in the cold, even if you have to walk on ice.

Cost and Value
The Toundra Pro is in the middle of our price range. Based on the lack of 1- or 2-star reviews for these boots, it appears they are well worth the money!
Pros
  • Built to keep you warm and dry
  • Impressive grip
  • Aerogel insulation
  • Tall shaft
  • Comfortable enough for long walks
Cons
  • Stiff construction may mean a longer break-in period

10. Merrel Moab FST

10. Merrel Moab FST
Our final pick for the top shoes for walking on ice is the Merrell Moab FST. Like the Icebugs at #7, the Moab is as much a hiking boot as it is a winter boot. The lower shaft makes it suitable for long walks, and the dry design keeps water out while allowing your feet to breathe.
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Vibram Outsoles
The Moab FST is fitted with Vibram outsoles, so whether you’re hiking or just trying to get across an icy parking lot, these boots will give you the grip you need.

Multi-Terrain Design
These boots were built to handle the challenges of any terrain you may encounter. They will keep your feet warm in the cold but are suitable for year-round hiking as well.

Cost and Value
The Merrell Moab won’t cost you as much as some of the boots on our list, but they’re not inexpensive either. Their durability and versatility, however, make them a great bargain.
Pros
  • Dry design allows moisture out but not in
  • Well-insulated throughout
  • Comfortable fit
  • Durable and versatile
Cons
  • Not suitable for walking in deep snow

 

The safest way to avoid injury on ice is to avoid ice altogether, but those of us who live in colder climates may regularly find ourselves having to traverse a frozen surface to get from point A to point B. In order to stay safe on the ice, we need to wear shoes that are designed to hold in the slickest situations. Having the right pair of shoes is crucial for getting across the ice without falling and injuring yourself, and we hope our list of the top ten shoes for walking on ice will help you find the right shoes to keep you safe this winter.

 

 

Criteria for Selecting Shoes for Walking on Ice

Outsoles with Tread

The most important factor you should consider when purchasing shoes for walking on ice is how well the shoes will grip the ice. The warmest, nicest-looking, most comfortable boots in the world won’t help you stay up on the ice if they don’t have an outsole that is equipped with a good tread. Rubber outsoles and treads will be the most durable, and the larger the treads, the better grip they will give you. Some of our shoes, like the Icebug Ivalo and Icebug studded hiking boot, even have steel studs to help you grip the ice. Look for shoes with a bottom that is specifically designed to grip slick surfaces, and you will have met the main criterion for staying safe on the ice.

Different Tread Options for Ice

  • Rubber grip patterns
  • Cleat-styled shoes
  • Materials embedded with sand or grit
  • Arctic grip
  • Built-in miniature crampons
  • Attachable crampons
  • Shoe chains

 

Waterproof Construction

Once you’ve found a boot that will keep you steady on the ice, make sure it will also keep your feet dry. The biggest danger we want to avoid is a fall, but having wet feet, especially when you’re out in the cold for a long time, can be dangerous as well. The best boots have rubber enclosures around the bottom and waterproof seams to keep moisture out. Look for boots that are made of waterproof materials as well, such as leather or rubber. Shoes like the UGG Australia Adirondack II not only keep your feet dry by not letting moisture in but also allow your feet to breathe by letting moisture out.

There is a significant difference between waterproof and water resistant, so make sure you know what type of material and resistance your shoes have before you buy them.

Waterproof shoes can be submerged in water and keep your feet completely dry in the process. Regardless of how much water they come in contact with, waterproof shoes should not allow any water to get inside them. Most fully-waterproof shoes are constructed with synthetic materials, such as:

  • Polyurethane (PU)
  • Rubber
  • Neoprene
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Gore-Tex
  • Materials treated with a wax coating
  • Some leather (if treated appropriately)

Heat Retention

Now that your feet are steady and dry, you’ll want to make sure they’re warm as well. Look for a shoe with a low temperature rating and substantial insulation (see our insulation guide in the FAQ section below). Some companies have developed their own insulation that they use exclusively in their shoes, but most winter boots are designed to retain heat. Shoes like the Salomon Toundra Pro, which is rated down to -40F/-40C, or the KEEN Hoodoo II with its heat-shield foot bed, are great options for keeping your feet warm while you’re out on the ice.

Comfort

Although it’s last on our criteria list, you’ll also want to make sure the shoes you buy for walking on ice are comfortable. Safety is the first priority, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for an uncomfortable pair of boots just because they have good grip or will keep your feet warm. You’ll want to find a shoe that has all the qualities listed above and is also comfortable to wear and provides good support, especially if you plan to wear them for extended periods of time. Walking on the ice is stressful enough—no need to add the prospect of foot or back pain to your worries! The Kamik Momentum and Merrell Aurora 6 are both great options that will keep you safe and stay comfortable while you’re on the ice. Keep in mind that some of the materials used for these boots are sturdy and may take longer to break in.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Q. Won’t my regular winter boots do the job for me?
A. Maybe, but it depends on how the boot is constructed and what it is primarily designed to do. Most winter boots are designed for heat retention and comfort, but not all of them will have appropriate treads for walking on ice. Any winter boot worth its salt should be able to handle snow without any problems (depending on the height of the boot and the depth of the snow), but you’ll want to make sure your boots are equipped with suitable outsoles if you plan to travel across ice. It may mean you’ll have to invest in an extra pair of boots, but if it keeps you from falling and injuring yourself, it’s worth it!

Q. How tall should my boots be?
A. Our top list of shoes for walking on ice includes some that are high-top and some that are low- or mid-top. The height of the boot you select will depend on the depth of the snow you plan to travel through. If you’re only anticipating a few inches of snow, then a hiking winter boot, like the Icebug Studded Hiking Boot or the Merrell Moab we listed above, are great options. If, however, you live in area where you have heavier snowfall, then a taller boot is a better option. These boots not only stand a better chance of staying above the snow, but many of them also come with a fastener that can tighten the top of the shaft around your leg to keep snow and moisture out. Remember, winter boots can’t do much to protect your feet if you get snow inside them, so make sure you factor in the conditions you plan to walk in before investing in your next pair of shoes.

Q. What kind of insulation should I look for?
A. If you want your feet to stay warm in the cold, then you need to look for a pair of shoes that has good insulation. Many companies have developed their own proprietary insulation (for example, Columbia’s Omni-Heat), but most companies will use a generic insulation like Primaloft or Thinsulate. Temperature ratings are a good guide, but there are many factors that affect how warm your feet will stay in a given pair of shoes, so don’t buy based solely on that rating. A better indicator of how well your shoes will retain heat is the weight of the insulation used. Most winter boots use 200g of insulation, and in most cases, that will be sufficient to keep your feet warm. If you expect to be in really cold conditions, then you might consider increasing to 400g. Most people won’t require this much insulation to keep their feet warm, but if you have poor circulation or plan to be in the cold for extended periods, you might want to consider opting for a heavier insulation. As with most things, you pay for what you get, so if you want really good quality insulation, then you will likely pay more than you would for standard insulation.

Q. What about crampons (removable snow grips)? Can’t I just buy those and wear them over my regular shoes?
A. Crampons are a good option if you are on a budget, but remember that grip is not the only factor you should consider when you’re having to travel across ice. You’ll want to make sure the boots or shoes you wear with the crampons will keep your feet warm and dry and that they will provide the comfort you need for the duration of your time outside. In addition, not all shoes are designed to accommodate crampons, so if you want to go that route, we suggest going to a local shop and having an expert match the shoes you want to wear with suitable gear.

Q. Is the right pair of shoes enough to keep me steady on the ice?
A. While wearing a pair of shoes designed to grip the ice will significantly improve your chances of not falling, planning ahead and adjusting your pace and posture will also help protect you while you’re out. When you plan your trip, make sure to give yourself ample time to get where you’re going. It’s going to take you longer to make your trip because your pace should be much slower than it would be in normal conditions. If you don’t take your time while you’re on the ice, you will significantly increase your chances of slipping and falling; give yourself plenty of time and slow down! Finally, prepare yourself for falling by keeping your head and shoulders forward while you walk, and keep your hands out of your pockets in case you need to catch yourself. A little preparation and adjustment combined with the right pair of shoes will go a long way in keeping you safe when you’re out on the ice.

Sources

  1. Live Strong, “The Best Shoes for Walking on Ice,” September 11, 2017.
  2. Mountain Warehouse, “How to Walk on Ice,” January 20, 2016.
  3. Iowa State University, “Helpful Hints When Walking on Snow or Ice.”
  4. Altitude Blog, “Insulation Guide for Winter Boots,” January 1, 2018.