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.
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 footwear 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.
- Sperry Powder Valley
- Muck Boots Arctic Sport
- Merrell ColdPack Ice+ Moc
- UGG Butte
- Columbia Ice Maiden II
- Salomon X Ultra Winter CS
- Merrell Aurora 6" Ice+
- UGG Australia Adirondack II
- Icebug Metro BUGrip
- Keen Hoodoo III
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Sperry Powder Valley
Waterproof Suede Upper
Faux Fur Lining
Vibram Arctic Grip Outsole
Runs Slightly Large
Requires Breaking In
The fact that these boots were developed for Arctic temperatures becomes obvious from a single look at them. Worn by natural scientists in Siberia, the Sperry Powder Valley is an excellent option for anyone who needs a high level of insulation, easy adjustability (even with thick gloves on), a good outsole for icy conditions, and a comfortable wearing experience that won’t let the elements ruin your winter experience.Read more
Seam Sealed Suede Upper
Made with an upper that’s completely waterproof, the Powder Valley uses suede to protect you from the moisture that’s inevitable with lots of snow and ice. It’s a seam sealed boot with Thinsulate and faux fur lining that’ll keep you warm in cold conditions, and if you find that you need a customized level of arch support, you can remove the insole and substitute it with your own.
The Vibram outsole on these boots is made out of non-marking rubber that’s been especially designed to grip the surface in wet and icy conditions. Wave-siping ensures superior traction, preventing you from slipping.
Cost and Value
You can expect to pay a lot for the Sperry Powder Valley, even if it’s not the most expensive item on this list. Being made by a reputable brand that brings you durable, comfort-driven footwear, you’ll definitely benefit from investing in a pair of these arctic boots.
2. Muck Boots Arctic Sport
Rugged Outsole Lugs
5mm Neoprene Bootie
Foam Footbed for Warmth
Uncomfortable in Warmer Conditions
A wellington boot made for extremely cold conditions, the Arctic Sport is a favorite among hunters, workers and explorers who need a style that’s both protective and comfortable for all-day wear. Not only is this boot fleece lined, but it also features a 5mm neoprene inner bootie that completely locks heat in, ensuring the safety of your feet in warmth that’s comfort rated form -40 °F to 40 °F. It’s both flexible and shock absorbing, which makes it a great option for walking long distances in less than perfect conditions.Read more
Made out of cold-resistant rubber, the outsole on the Arctic Sport features rugged molded lugs that perfectly grip any surface, be it muddy or frozen. Furthermore, thanks to the deep grooves, this boot won’t pick up mud or dirt, keeping the level of traction consistent throughout your snowy hike.
Winter boots are often extremely heavy, which is mainly due to the materials used, seeing that they need to both provide insulation, as well as protection from water. Nonetheless, the Arctic Sport features a midsole that does great at absorbing shock and cushioning your foot, without adding any extra bulk. Made out of EVA foam, the midsole on this model will hug the contours of your feet, providing firm cushioning that’s long lasting.
Cost and Value
With a high price, especially for a wellington boot, the Muck Boots Arctic Sport may be too expensive for a number of people, but it’s highly suggested for anyone who is expecting lots of rain and snow in freezing conditions. It’s easy to put on and off, and is a durable pair of footwear you’ll definitely be returning to once your first pair has worn out.
3. Merrell ColdPack Ice+ Moc
Vibram Arctic Grip Outsole
Removable EVA Footbed
Molded Nylon Arch Shank
Full Grain Leather Upper
Moisture Wicking Lining
Not Enough Arch Support for Some
Requires Breaking In
Made by a company that specializes in hiking footwear aimed towards a protective and comfortable fit, the ColdPack Ice+ Moc is one of the options from Merrell’s line of footwear made for wet and icy conditions. Unlike other models on this list, this is a low rise shoe that allows excellent mobility in the ankle, and is more lightweight than what you’d expect from winter footwear. Completely waterproof, with a stylish leather upper, this is the shoe you’ll gladly wear anywhere, including to work and casual outings.Read more
Moisture Wicking Lining
While cold weather footwear often focuses on keeping you warm, preventing your feet from freezing also needs to happen inside the shoe. Though waterproof, thus preventing water from getting in, the shoe also needs to let moisture escape, especially if you find yourself in a warm room, or if you’ve worked up a swear while walking. A moisture wicking lining in the ColdPack Ice+ Moc draws wetness away from your feet, keeping them more comfortable and odor free.
In order to keep you more comfortable, this slip on features a Merrell Air Cushion in the heel area that absorbs shock from walking, and helps align your foot properly, taking pressure off the ankles, knees, hips and back. A molded nylon arch shank provides additional support, while a removable EVA footbed ensures a high level of fit customization.
Cost and Value
Although over the $100 price mark, this is one of the cheaper styles on this list. Seeing that it’s a low winter shoe, it’s excellent for city wear when you’re expecting lots of snow and rain, but need something with less bulk and weight to it than a fur-lined arctic boot. This makes the ColdPack Ice+ a great investment.
4. UGG Butte
Foam Molded Footbed
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. Made with a leather upper that also incorporates suede, this is a warm boot that'll keep you comfortable down to 0°F. This means it'll be warm enough for wearing outside, but won't have you sweating if you happen to have to be inside in your footwear.Read more
The Vibram outsoles and lug pattern on the bottom of these boots provide superior traction on icy surfaces. The razor siping ensures good traction even on wet or slick surfaces, which is why this boot makes our list.
The folks at UGG have created a boot that can handle the worst winter will throw at you but is perfectly suitable for any setting. Available in several color options, the Butte will look great with most outfits, and won't have you wearing footwear that's too bulky for the more casual urban settings.
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. Featuring UGG's famous wool lining, plenty of comfort features, as well as a Vibram outsole, this is a product you should definitely consider.
5. Columbia Ice Maiden II
Faux Fur Lining
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.Read more
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. The entire inner is lined with faux fur which is not just a great insulator, but is also incredibly cushy in touch with your feet.
Although the first thing you may want from your shoes in winter is plenty of insulation, comfort is also important, especially if you're planning on spending a lot of time wearing the boots in question. The Ice Maiden features a cushioned sole that absorbs shock without being too heavy to comfortably wear all day.
Cost and Value
These boots are not only one of our top picks, but they’re also one of the most affordable options 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!
6. Salomon X Ultra Winter CS
Durable Leather Upper
Protective Toe and Heel Caps
Molded EVA Footbed
The Salomon X Ultra Winter CS is a warm winter boot that features Salomon’s IceGrip technology. Salomon makes mountaineering and backcountry boots meant to deal with a variety of terrains and conditions, including deep snow, cold and ice. This pair of boots, designed for winter hiking, will not disappoint, especially seeing that it's packed with performance and comfort features you'll love.Read more
Water & Cold Proof
The upper in this mid-cut leather boot features a Climashield waterproof membrane and a good amount of Thinsulate multi-loft insulation. This means that your feet will stay warm and dry because there is nothing more uncomfortable in winter than damp, cold feet. Designed for winter hiking, this makes for an excellent winter work boot as well.
The boot features an injected EVA midsole which cushions the foot and provides shock absorption. It also features a molded EVA OrthoLite footbed which cushions the foot as well and forms to its natural shape, for additional comfort.
Cost and Value
These boots are priced in the lower end of the range for the boots on our list. This is exceptional value for a Salomon boot with its quality and durable build, comfort and warmth features and excellent grip.
7. Merrell Aurora 6" Ice+
Leather and TPU Upper
Vibram Arctic Grip Outsole
Merrell Air Heel Cushion
Tongue May Cut Into Foot
Somewhere between a sporty hiking shoe and a duck boot, the Merrell Aurora is a style that’s been developed for extreme winter conditions where you need water protection, insulation, and surface grip. Made with a mixture of TPU and leather in the upper, it’s designed so as to look casual, with all the benefits of a high performance boot. It’s another pair of shoes that feature the Vibram Arctic Grip outsole, which makes it perfect for walking on frozen surfaces.Read more
The M-Select insulation in the Aurora is lightweight but warm, using the heat produced by your feet, and retaining it so as to protect you from the elements. It’s perfect for those leading a more active lifestyle, as it won’t let you overheat, and thus produce excess sweat in your shoes.
Made out of TPU, the shell of the Aurora protects from water and snow, preventing moisture from getting in the shoe. Furthermore, it features a bellowed tongue that’ll keep debris out, which, ultimately, makes this pair of hiking boots a great option for winter activities.
Cost and Value
With a price that’s average, the Merrell Aurora 6” boot is an excellent investment for anyone looking for a combination of waterproofing, grip, insulation and mobility, with lots of comfort features added, including a removable footbed and an air cushioned heel.
8. UGG Australia Adirondack II
Waterproof and Seam Sealed
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.Read more
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, which will not only mean a better time wearing these boots, but also a smaller likelihood of developing odors.
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. The aggressive lugs on these boots will do great not just on frozen surfaces, but also in snow, mud and wet pavement.
Cost and Value
Like the Butte model also listed in this guide, 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.
9. Icebug Metro BUGrip
Elastic Top Collar
Carbide Tipped Studs
Running Shoe Platform
Rated to -4F/-20C, this boot offers warmth and good traction for walking along icy roads and sidewalks. You won’t have to worry about sliding and slipping on slick surfaces with these boots on. The side zipper ensures easy on and off, while the fact that this is not a tall boot makes it easier to pair with a pair of jeans that are not skinny.Read more
The Metro BUGrip features 16 carbide tipped studs on the outsoles of the boots for traction on slick and slippery surfaces. Great for those times at the beginning and end of winter when ice melts and reforms into slick, flat sheets overnight.
Fleece Lined Warmth
The boots are rated to -4F/-20C and feature a warm fleece lining inside a suede or nubuck upper. They are also each to take on and off thanks to the zipper and elastic top collar. You’ll stay good and warm in these boots on most winter days.
Cost and Value
These boots are in the higher range of prices relative to the list. They are durable, will do an excellent job on the ice, and are easy to get off and on. They are durable with an abrasion resistant outsole and trim. They were built on a running shoe platform with a stabilizer for comfort.
10. Keen Hoodoo III
Faux Fur Collar
Deep Traction Lugs
KEEN is known for making quality outdoor shoes, and the KEEN Hoodoo III 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. If you happen to be out when it's snowing or raining, the faux fur collar will keep moisture out, allowing you a much better wearing experience.Read more
The Hoodoo III is lined with KEEN’s proprietary insulation and has a heat-shield footbed that is sure to keep your feet warm and toasty in the coldest climates. the 200g of warmth providing material is perfect for those who prefer an active lifestyle.
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, while the lugs won't get filled with snow or debris, which would affect their ability to keep you safe and upright.
Cost and Value
You can expect an average price tag to go with the KEEN Hoodoo III, and the investment is very well worth it if you're a fan of the brand. You should definitely check out this pair of boots if you're after something sporty and rugged.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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 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:
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:
In addition to protecting your feet from slipping on frozen surfaces, as well as from wet weather, you also need to consider the type of insulation your shoes contain. Because water freezes at low temperatures, it is natural that you'll need warm footwear for treading on ice.
Although toe warmers and wool socks may add to the feeling of warmth you get from our footwear, you also need to consider the type of insulation they include. This may be natural fur or wool, or it may include synthetic materials such as neoprene, fleece, or Thinsulate.
Usually, insulation is measured in grams, and the higher the value indicated on the model you're looking at, the warmer it will be. For example, shoes with 200g of insulation will provide just the right amount of warmth you'll need for outdoor activities such as hiking (where your foot will be moving and producing heat on its own) or for times when you need to spend some period indoor without taking off your shoes. 1000g of insulation, on the other hand, is appropriate for Arctic conditions, and is usually what explorers and people living in extreme conditions will go for. These boots will almost always be tall, heavy and bulky, and will become extremely uncomfortable to wear once the temperature starts to rise.
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 a 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 UGG Butte and Merrell Aurora 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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While many of us that live in colder climates are used to scanning the ground for slippery patches of frozen fun, ice can sometimes be hard to spot. It only takes a thin layer of moisture to freeze on the surface of walkways or streets to have us flailing our arms, trying to regain balance after slipping.
Black ice is a very thin sheet of ice, usually when the ground freezes moisture from the air from foggy conditions, or from snow melt. You can spot black ice by its shiny surface even if it's not thick and visible. If you're unsure, just use caution and walk like a penguin to avoid falls!
Even though we've listed out some of the best boots and shoe for walking on ice, there are still loads of methods you can use to help arm yourself against falls and slips during winter. Various brand sell cage like covers for shoes and boots, which can add traction and grip when dealing with ice and snow.
Frequently Asked Questions
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!
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 an 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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.