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Best Winter Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance

last updated Jan 28, 2019

When the weather gets colder, the sky gets darker and the weather gets more temperamental. As such, it’s time to invest in a dependable winter boot. Winter can be a fun season full of outdoor activities, and none of them should be stopped, due to improper cold weather footwear. Although winter brings with it the chance of making a lot of memories, it can, also, mean perilous situations, due to rapidly decreasing temperatures, high winds, rain, snow, and mud.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

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Kingshow Globalwin
95.8/100 our score
Breathability
96
Insulation
96
Weight
97
Shock Absorption
94
Kingshow Globalwin
Why is it better?
  • Lace-Up
  • Mesh-Covered Footbed
  • Water-Resistant
  • Microfiber/Heat-Reflective Lining
  • Wide Color Variety
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Kingshow Globalwin
Test Winner: Kingshow Globalwin
Researched Sources
26
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1456
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

We've recently updated our top ten list of winter boots to include three new options for consideration. All listed here are top in performance, popularity, insulation and weatherproofing. Be sure to read through our Criteria section for helpful hints on selecting your next new pair!

Sorting Options
Breathability Insulation Weight Shock Absorption By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Breathability
96%
Insulation
96%
Weight
97%
Shock Absorption
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$53.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Breathability
95%
Insulation
96%
Weight
93%
Shock Absorption
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$170.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Breathability
92%
Insulation
94%
Weight
90%
Shock Absorption
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$32.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Breathability
92%
Insulation
90%
Weight
92%
Shock Absorption
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$120.00
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Breathability
93%
Insulation
90%
Weight
91%
Shock Absorption
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$89.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
Breathability
91%
Insulation
88%
Weight
89%
Shock Absorption
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$127.61
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Breathability
87%
Insulation
89%
Weight
91%
Shock Absorption
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$132.96
See Deal
$172.57
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Breathability
85%
Insulation
89%
Weight
87%
Shock Absorption
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$89.95
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Breathability
85%
Insulation
86%
Weight
83%
Shock Absorption
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
Breathability
85%
Insulation
86%
Weight
84%
Shock Absorption
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.03.19)
$97.50
$129.95
See Deal
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Kingshow Globalwin
  • Timberland MT Hope
  • Northside Frosty
  • Columbia Minx Mid II
  • Kamik Momentum
  • Baffin Snogoose
  • Sorel Joan of Arctic
  • Columbia Bugaboot Plus III
  • Kamik Snowvalley
  • Bogs Classic High Handle
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Winter Boots

1. Kingshow Globalwin

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Kingshow Globalwin
Breathability
96
Insulation
96
Weight
97
Shock Absorption
94
best offer for today
$53.99
Pros:
  • Lace-Up
  • Mesh-Covered Footbed
  • Water-Resistant
  • Microfiber/Heat-Reflective Lining
  • Wide Color Variety
Cons:
  • Size Runs Narrow

This pair of best winter boots is an ideal choice for those looking for something warmer, in the realm of water-resistance. With a wide array of color selection, mesh-covered footbed, PU upper, D-ring lace-up, and heat-reflective lining, these boots are perfect for colder weather; especially, when snow boots might be a bit too much for the occasion.

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Water-resistant
The water-resistant properties of these boots are perfect for light, wet conditions. Furthermore, the PU upper and rubber outsole helps to ensure your feet remain dry when facing unexpected weather conditions.

Microfiber/Heat-reflective Lining
Heat reflection is the attribute you need when considering warmth retention. The microfiber, heat-reflective lining gives you back the heat you are losing; thereby, helping to maintain climate control within the boots.

Cost and Value
These winter boots are budget-friendly. Moreover, they look good and are practical, in terms of both aesthetic appeal and usability. As such, this pair of boots is worth every penny.

2. Timberland MT Hope

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Timberland MT Hope
Breathability
95
Insulation
96
Weight
93
Shock Absorption
94
best offer for today
$170.00
Pros:

D-ring Lace Closure

Faux Fur Collar

Brand Name

Insulated

Quilted Shaft

Cons:

Price

Run Narrow

Timberland brings a solid winter boot combined with quality, styling, and fashion to the winter weather this year. The MT Hope packs all the Timberland comfort the brand is known for, into an insulated pair of boots, faux fur lined, and boasting of a quilted shaft for extra plush comfort. Quality leather and fabric uppers help give it a waterproof feature as well as rich look.

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Timberland Comfort
The MT Hope comes with Timberland’s removable anti-fatigue footbed, to keep you stepping in the snow without discomfort during extended time outside. D-ring lace-up closure allows for a snug flat fit, helping to keep out the snow. And with the quilted shaft, your entire calve, and ankle will be wrapped in soft moldable warmth.

Insulated Protection
Within the MT Hope is an insulated layer of 200g PrimaLoft, keeping you toasty when it’s frigid outside. Leather and fabric designed uppers allow for a waterproof element, and aluminized Strobel construction provides additional warmth to the boot. Top it all off with a faux fur lining at the collar for keeping snow out of your boot, and for an added style element, and you’ll be headed outside despite messy conditions!

Cost and Value
Definitely one of the more expensive items on our list, it’s still worth the investment. For Timberland brand comfort and iconic style elements, it also incorporates PrimaLoft insulation along with a quilted shaft to keep you warm. Waterproofing keeps snow and dampness outside, and the grippy sole will keep you strutting in confidence. A solid option to consider for Timberland fans!

3. Northside Frosty

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Northside Frosty
Breathability
92
Insulation
94
Weight
90
Shock Absorption
91
best offer for today
$32.00
Pros:

Bungee Closure

Insulated

Waterproof

Price

Color Options

Cons:

Snow Can Build Up On Sole

Elastic Durability

Looking for something the little ones can wear when playing outside in the fresh powder? Northside’s Frosty Boot keeps your children’s’ feet warm and insulated, with an easy hook and loop closure for an easy on and off fit. Nylon construction keeps kids dry, while a synthetic sole helps them from slipping. With several color options and combinations to choose from, you can get your child’s favorite color for their next adventure in the snow.

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Insulated Warmth
The last thing to prevent your child from building their first snowman is the effect of the cold. The Frosty Boot is rated to keep heat insulation down to a frosty -25F, making sure their toes won’t feel nipped before they finish with their snowman’s details. Nylon uppers help keep heat inside the boot from dissipating to the environment, and waterproof design helps keep them dry.

Style and Closure
This boot was made to fit toddler through kid sizes, so you can certainly find the best fit for your child. A hook and loop closure straps the foot and ankle into the boot, and a bungee-cord closure helps keep snow out of the top of the boot opening. A synthetic sole helps protect the toe and forefoot and helps maintain traction with rugged lugs on the base.

Cost and Value
Depending on the style you choose, and size, these can range in price a bit. However, for a child’s shoe, it’s averagely priced when compared to other brands and models of snow boots. Easy closure makes these a cinch to take on and off, waterproofing helps keep feet dry, and their insulation helps to keep your child warm while playing in the snow. A great pair of snow boots for any child to have!

4. Columbia Minx Mid II

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Columbia Minx Mid II
Breathability
92
Insulation
90
Weight
92
Shock Absorption
90
best offer for today
$120.00
Pros:
  • Reinforced-Bootie Overlay
  • Rubber Outsole
  • 200g Insulation/-25 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water-Resistant
  • Arch Support
Cons:
  • Low Ice Grip
  • Size Runs Small/Narrow

The Columbia Minx Mid II is a unique-looking winter boot, mostly, due to its quilted exterior (upper) and design of the rubber outsole. A tall boot, it is made of fabric, has a 10-inch shaft height, and very little platform to speak of. It has a faux fur top and a high lace-up vamp, with the whole boot looking uniform. The hardware blends in with the rest of the boot; so, don’t expect to see visible D-rings on this pair. It is a fine example of superior cold weather footwear that offers peak insulation and protection from the frigid temperatures.

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Functionality
This geo-quilted winter boot is water-resistant and made from a woven textile that has jacket baffling. It has 200g’s of insulation; as well as, a heat-trapping reflective lining and unique outsole that instead of horizontal lugs or grooves has a series of triangular pinwheels which grip the ground from all directions. Don’t let the fabric, moccasin-look of these boots fool you, as they will keep your feet warm and dry all winter while trudging through snow and splashing through puddles.

Comfort
For those wearers that require arch support, these offer a cushioned midsole that will give you the stabilization you need. You can wear these boots in outdoor temperatures under down to -25 degrees while remaining active, and still feel very warm and dry. Though all winter boots are meant to be a little roomie to allow for proper circulation, these have plenty of laces to help adjust their fit and a small removable liner.

Cost and Value
Columbia is known for its sportswear and sports gear, and now presents a unique pair of cold weather winter boots that are not only highly functional but unique looking, as well. Not looking out of place in a chalet they, also, look like they’d be underestimated. But one trip outside, in freezing weather, lets you know that a more rugged-looking winter boot will not outclass these boots (with their 200g’s of insulation and quilted comfort). They are, definitely, worth the price tag.

5. Kamik Momentum

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Kamik Momentum
Breathability
93
Insulation
90
Weight
91
Shock Absorption
88
best offer for today
$89.95
Pros:

200g Thinsulate

Bungee Lacing System

Anti-Odor Footbed

Faux Fur Collar

Style Options

Cons:

Bungee Durability

Lining Durability

Kamik is a brand known for their quality created outdoor footwear, and they bring loads of insulated, waterproof comfort to the Momentum boot. Rated to -25F, it will keep you toasty when outside in the cold, and moisture wicking lining helps keep you dry so no cold can penetrate your foot from wetness. With a plush faux fur collar and stylish color options, it’s a great winter boot in both style and functionality.

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Stylish Design
The Momentum not only comes in a variety of color options, it keeps you looking good with a faux fur collar for additional warmth and comfort. Bungee style lacing system makes them easy to quickly lace up, and a gusseted tongue prevents snow from sneaking into the collar of the boot. The outsole wraps fully around the boot and additionally covers the toe for added protection and warmth.

Tech Specs
Inside the Momentum lies 200g of Thinsulate insulation, rated to -25F, keeping you warm and body heat inside the boot. Waterproof uppers constructed from nylon provide all the protection from snow and ice you may need to stay dry. A moisture-wicking lining gives breathability so you won’t have a build up of perspiration, and an anti-odor treated footbed is fully removable for you individual comfort requirements.

Cost and Value
Some price variation occurs with color options selected, but the Kamik Momentum is by no means expensive when it comes to a functional warm winter boot. Stylish faux fur gives it a plush look, and it’s pack full of insulation technology and protection needed for winter weather. A great investment if you’re in the market for new boots!

6. Baffin Snogoose

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
Baffin Snogoose
Breathability
91
Insulation
88
Weight
89
Shock Absorption
89
best offer for today
$127.61
Pros:
  • Rubber Outsole
  • 12.5-inch Shaft Height
  • 1.25-inch Heel Height
  • 1-inch Platform
  • Toggle Closure/14-inch Opening
Cons:
  • Size Runs Big

Although the color variety is limited, the color scheme has a pleasing aesthetic to it. In addition, with a 12.5-inch shaft height, 1.25-inch heel height, and a 1-inch platform, you are certain to withstand the conditions of light, wet conditions when facing those colder winter days. Moreover, these boots are constructed with a foam-based and removable inner boot; thereby, allowing you to customize your fit even further.

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Moisture-wicking
These boots are built with both thermal and moisture-wicking layers; thus, providing an environment conducive to a dry experience. When your feet can remain dry, they are able to remain warmer for longer periods of time.

Toggle Closure/14-inch Opening
This pair of winter boots has a good opening for ease of on and off. In addition, the toggle closure system helps to snug the fit once your feet are inside of the boots, thereby, allowing you to gain a better fit.

Cost and Value
These boots range from low-to-midrange in cost association. With that being stated, they are worth the purchase price, as they are built well and keep your feet warm.

7. Sorel Joan of Arctic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Sorel Joan of Arctic
Breathability
87
Insulation
89
Weight
91
Shock Absorption
89
best offer for today
more shops
$172.57
$132.96
See Deal
Pros:
  • Water-Sealed Seams
  • Vulcanized Rubber Outsole
  • Heavy-duty D-ring Lace-up Closure
  • Removable, Inner Felt Bootie
  • Wide Color Variety
Cons:
  • Size Runs Big

These handsome and sturdy winter boots are perfect for keeping your calves warm and your toes dry. With a shaft measuring 11.5 inches from the arch, a rugged rubber outsole, and a D-ring lace closure system, the frigid elements are no match. It, also, has a soft fur topper at the mid-calf, and a soft faux leather exterior that is lush looking and, actually, water-sealed. These boots are as stylish as they are functional, and can easily go from utilitarian to elegant for any winter occasion.

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Functionality
These boots have a removable, recyclable inner bootie for a more precise fit, and all the seams are sealed for a waterproof construction that is your defense against rain or snow. A vulcanized rubber shell ensures both durability and flexibility; allowing a full range of movements from heel to toe. Because of the heavy-duty D-rings of the lace-up closure system, the fit can be customized to your preference.

Practicality
Sorel boots are designed with winter activities in mind. From hunting, fishing, and sledding, to extreme sports like snowmobiling, their cold weather footwear provides maximum protection and comfort. They’re designed to fit slightly loose; so, you still retain your circulation and a tighter fit which can contribute to warm feet and the lack of heel chafing. The boots are breathable enough to make sure that your feet stay warmer longer.

Cost and Value
The Joan of Arc boot is an expensive boot, but its top of the line features and quality construction means it provides the best standards of any winter boot on the market. They are engineered to fit comfortably, let your feet breathe, and provide lasting durability and waterproof protection. Whether you’ll use your boots for winter sports, outdoor activities, or just fighting the elements to get to work, you’ll look ready and put together in these winter boots.

8. Columbia Bugaboot Plus III

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Columbia Bugaboot Plus III
Breathability
85
Insulation
89
Weight
87
Shock Absorption
87
best offer for today
$89.95
Pros:
  • Leather/Textile Upper
  • Omni-Grip Outsole
  • Techlite Midsole
  • 7-inch Shaft Height
  • 200g Insulation
Cons:
  • Minimal Color Variety

These winter boots fit more like athletic shoes and prove that not all winter boots have to be clunky or oversized to give you proper functionality and durability. Like other winter boots, it has features, specifically, engineered to trap heat and repel water; as well as, options that make it highly comfortable.

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Functionality
The Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni has the technology, specifically, designed for it such as Omni-grip traction (on the bottom of the outsole to give you extra grip on precarious surfaces). Its special Omni-heat reflective lining offers 200g insulation; a series of small silver dots reflect heat back onto your feet; thus, ensuring they stay warm and dry.

Durability
With the molded feel of a piece of athletic footwear, these winter boots mean that you can spend the day trekking in the snow in these boots and barely feel them on your feet. They have a special Techlite lightweight midsole and extra padding along the footbed to ensure that no matter what fun you get into this winter, you won’t suffer any foot fatigue.

Cost and Value
With special engineered features like Omni-grip and Omni-heat, the Bugaboot is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, sledding, paper routes, or having an impromptu snowball fight. Being waterproof, this can include wading through puddles or getting caught in a rainstorm. 200g of insulation means they’ll withstand cold weather (while remaining active), but you wouldn’t want to wear these traipsing into the arctic wastelands. Besides being incredibly comfortable and highly breathable, they feel like athletic footwear. These features make them worth the investment.

9. Kamik Snowvalley

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.8
Kamik Snowvalley
Breathability
85
Insulation
86
Weight
83
Shock Absorption
85
best offer for today
Pros:
  • Faux Fur Lining
  • 10-inch Shaft Height
  • Thinsulate; -40°F
  • Water-Resistant
  • Wide Color Variety
Cons:
  • Size Runs Small

Kamik Snowvalley, the name says it all. Made as an ideal choice for dry, winter conditions, these boots will help you to remain warm and dry if the weather takes a turn to wetter conditions. Created with Thinsulate, they have a warmth rating of -40 degrees Fahrenheit while remaining active. Furthermore, a wide variety of colors and the faux fur lining give this pair of winter boots both style and aesthetic appeal.

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Faux Fur Lining
The faux fur lining allows your feet to remain in the warm while, simultaneously, creating an aesthetically pleasing appeal. In conjunction with Thinsulate, these boots are rated for -40 degrees Fahrenheit while remaining active.

Water-resistant
These boots are water-resistant and perfect for those unexpected outings where you might get caught up in the weather, as it were. Ideal for dry, cold-weather conditions, these boots are, also, ready for those unexpected turns.

Cost and Value
Size-dependent, these winter boots range from low-to-lower-high in cost association. With their high-quality makeup of material, however, they would make a great pair to add to your winter wear collection.

10. Bogs Classic High Handle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.5
Bogs Classic High Handle
Breathability
85
Insulation
86
Weight
84
Shock Absorption
83
best offer for today
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$97.50
$129.95
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Pros:
  • Removable Sockliner
  • Waterproof
  • Non-slip, Rubber Outsole
  • Neoprene/Rubber Construction
  • -30 Degrees Fahrenheit
Cons:
  • Size Runs Small
  • Minimal Color Variety

Looking like a cross between a Wellington rain boot and a space boot, these winter boots, nevertheless, have a sleek appearance and a tall shaft height of 13.5 inches. They’re constructed from a combination of rubber and fabric and have an easy, slip-on design without the need for excess buckles, straps, or laces. They’ll keep your calves warm and the moisture out.

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Functionality
Made with a rubber upper, the majority of the boot is comprised of the shaft which is made of neoprene. Like most winter boots, they have a removable, moisture-wicking insole that lets your feet breathe and, also, act as an odor eliminator. The rubber outsole is non-slip and ensures greater stability.

Versatility
These boots can take you from slogging in 6 inches of frozen mud to looking elegant and put together, due to their no-fuss outward appearance and sleek styling. Most winter boots are made for utility and don’t boast much in the way of fashion-forward design, or are too focused on fashion to add any functional features. These boots, however, provide the perfect happy medium between both worlds.

Cost and Value
For the price point, which is slightly higher than mid-range, the wearer has to ask what they want their winter boots to do. If they, simply, want waterproof boots that will keep their feet dry (without the need for too much hardware, bells, and whistles), then, these boots are perfect. They offer good traction, comfort, and are made to keep your feet toasty while, also, looking great.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

Winter boots need to be able to withstand cold temperatures, and they do that by having extra layers to their interiors, insulated linings, crack-resistant rubber, and the addition of fur and quilted trim. When selecting the right winter boot, an aspect that is often overlooked is breathability. Most of the time, people focus on a tight and/or snug fit; because, at the moment when they try the boot on, it feels warm like it’s completely enveloped and secure. This is, actually, dangerous! A breathable winter boot means better blood circulation, which means that extremities, like your feet, won’t get so cold that they risk injury or worse. That’s why we’ve highlighted breathability in every winter boot whose brand makes a commitment to maintaining your health at all times during the inclement months. This is done in a variety of ways but, usually, involves air vents along the midsole or mesh fabric along the uppers and towards the toe box, in order to let a little cool air in. Having proper internal regulation for your winter boots means that you can spend more time doing the things you love in the colder seasons, rather than worrying about how long until your feet are frostbitten. From walking through a slight drizzle to several feet of snow, you can feel confident that the winter boots we’ve selected are breathable and help maintain proper temperature regulation.

Insulation

Not all winter boots are made for protection against extreme conditions; nor, do they need to be. Environmental factors and the climate of where your winter is experienced determine how severe the conditions will be for you and what proper footwear is needed. Boots like the Baffin Impact, with their 8-layer insulated removable booties, ensure that your feet will be dry and warm, even in the coldest of conditions. Their Thermaplush insulation is rated to -148F, which means your feet won’t feel how extreme the temperatures are outside, even if you’re knee-deep in a snowdrift. Sleek winter boots like the Bogs Classic High Handles are waterproof and anti-slip, which means if your winters mean a lot of rain and mud, these boots will keep you upright and dry. There’s nothing worse than being out in the snow or rainy weather for a couple of hours and having your boots soaked through. Not all boots designed for extreme conditions need to be, particularly, heavy or laden down with hardware. Some, like the Vasque Snowburden Ultradry, are lightweight and still just as tough as their heavier counterparts.

Weight

Not all winter boots need to be heavy to combat the glacial elements of the season. They can be lightweight, like the Columbia Bugaboot Omni III Plus, and feel just like an athletic sneaker while still giving you lots of protection against water and cold temperatures. Some boots, like the Kamik Nation Plus, is a heavier boot that wants to make an impact on snow and mud, specifically, designed for trudging through terrain and meaning the difference between you reaching your destination and surrendering to the forces of your environment. However, if you’re in a winter climate that only gets cold but doesn’t have much in the way of snow or mud, you’ll want a lighter bit of footwear that doesn’t impede your movements and lets you get where you’re going quickly. These sorts of cold weather boots tend to have more stylish designs that allow you to maintain a certain aesthetic that isn’t so utilitarian.

Shock Absorption

Shock absorption, like breathability, isn’t something most wearers consider when finding their perfect winter boots for the season, but it can be a vital feature depending on the outdoor activities they plan to participate in. If you’re someone who likes to sled, ride a snowmobile, or run around throwing snowballs in the winter, you want a boot that can withstand a lot of impacts. Likewise, if your profession is a postal worker, a waste removal specialist, snowplow driver, or anything where you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet, you want a boot that can protect your joints. Many brands today make their cold weather footwear with removable EVA footbeds that have shock-absorbing pads, just like running shoes do. This means that every time your foot strikes the ground, from heel cup to toe plate, the boot outsole will absorb the brunt of contact and not your joints.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Breathability
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#2
Insulation
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#3
Weight
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#4
Shock Absorption
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Winter Adventuring

While winter can bring it's own troubles with snow and ice, it also brings about opportunity to explore a few winter sports in your new winter boots.
Snowshoeing is a great hobby to get out, explore local parks, and trek atop snowdrifts for a bit of fun. While not as easy as walking or running, snowshoeing can burn loads of calories!
Take your boots our for a spin in a pair of snowshoes this winter--get out and have some fun!

Boot Welts Are Key

One key aspect to look for in a quality pair of winter boots, is how they were sealed when constructed. Goodyear welts usually are best for helping to keep out water from trudging along in the snow, but also tend to be more expensive.
If you're going to be out and about this winter, and fairly active in the snow, it's a great investment to make in your next pair to be certain that the seal is high quality.

Other Factors to Consider

Comfort

One of the most annoying things about winter is that it can be hard to get comfortable when it’s cold, wet, or miserable. There can oftentimes be no relief from the onslaught of wind, rain, and snow, making us all desperate for anywhere warm and dry. The proper winter boots should be nothing but comfortable since that often means the difference between enjoying the season and facing it with bitter resolution. Winter boots should be well-lined and insulated, often with materials like felt or fleece. They should have cushioned, shock-absorbing midsoles, padded collars, tongues, and uppers to avoid ankle chafing, even in wool socks. They should have some mesh component to their design; so, they release heat and let cool air in, ensuring proper circulation. They should fit tight but not snug, as that will cut off circulation and only serve to make your extremities colder. You want them to be slightly loose, allowing for some mobility and flexibility. They should be of a weight that isn’t so cloddy as to make you feel like you’re going to trip. So, find a pair appropriate for your size. They should have a way to adjust their fit with laces, buckles, or clasps, and they should never be a hindrance to your daily life, work, or extracurricular fun.

Fit

Proper fit is essential in a winter boot, as ill-fitting cold weather footwear can mean serious injury where environmental factors are considered. Winter boots can be slip-on or lace-up, short or tall, but should never fit too snugly. A snug boot will cut off blood circulation, makes extremities cold, and can result in the wearer not being able to feel the ground beneath them. When your toes are numb, your footfalls become uncertain, and that jeopardizes your equilibrium. To ensure that doesn’t happen, make sure you try on several different pairs and look for boots that have many options for customizing their fit, like laces, drawstrings, or cinches.

Use

Terrain and environment play a big part in deciding what winter boot to wear. In mountainous environments with high altitudes and temperatures that drop low in a matter of hours, tall boots with superior insulation and traction are paramount. In areas where winter means a little rain or a slight change in temperature, it may mean that you’re out on a hiking trail, running errands, or out getting a hot beverage, in which case your winter boots may be lightweight, flexible, ankle cut, and slip on.

Common features to expect on winter boots

  • Water-resistant/waterproof materials
  • Crack-resistant rubber
  • Heavy lugs on the outsoles
  • Mesh fabric for breathability and blood circulation
  • Traction and grip on the outsoles and are slip and skid-resistant
  • Layered insulation to withstand cold temperatures
  • -40F Rating
  • Rust-resistant laces
  • Materials to make it lightweight
  • Arch support at midsole
  • Drawstrings at the top of the shaft
  • Flexibility

    Since your winter boots will often become the boots you wear during the entirety of the colder months, it’s important that they have a lot of flexibility and energy return. Look for boots that are made with crack-resistant rubber at low temperatures; so, you know the outsoles and toecap won’t start to break where you flex the most in your stride. A high degree of energy return will, also, prevent against foot fatigue and allow you to wear your boots longer.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    q: How much insulation is best for winter boots?
    a:

    Depending on the climate and environment you live in, the amount of insulation you want in your boots will vary. Many brands make a removable liner; so, you can customize how much insulation you need to meet the weather requirements. Look for boots that can withstand at least 20F, and if you need cold weather footwear for particularly arctic climates, then look for those rated to withstand -40F or below.

    q: Are all winter boots waterproof?
    a:

    While many winter boots are waterproof, some are only water-resistant. This means they can take some time in the rain or snow, but won’t give you all day protection. Waterproof winter boots ensure that your feet will never get soaking wet and that you won’t have to spend a lot of time in an uncomfortable boot. Waterproofing can be achieved by a treatment that coats the entire boot, waterproof seams/stitching, or by virtue of the overall materials themselves that are used to construct it. Neoprene is a good waterproof material that many brands use; at least, partially, in the construction of their cold weather footwear.

    q: What brand of winter boots is the toughest?
    a:

    Due to the fact that there are so many winter boots that are made for so many purposes, the standard for the toughest winter boot, usually, falls to those brands that specialize in protection from extremely cold temperatures and have made their boots from hardware that is exceptional and long-lasting. Columbia, Merrell, Sorel, and Baffin are known for making products that can be taken into extremely harsh conditions, with Baffin boots rated for serious zero-degree exposure and in performing such activities as mountaineering, snowshoeing, and cross-country hiking in snow. Boots like Kamik aren’t rated for as extreme of temperatures, but their construction is solid, well made, and their tread is thick and heavy, meaning that if you live in an environment with uneven terrain during the winter, your footing won’t be compromised.

    q: Can winter boots withstand salt from snow blowing?
    a:

    Most boots can withstand the risk of the salt from snow blowing getting on them without corrosion. Most boots have rust-resistant laces or are made from materials that salt cannot eat through. Some boots, such as those made by Columbia, are less resistant to it, but most boots can be treated with a spray to protect against such incidents.

    q: How long do winter boots last?
    a:

    Winter boots should last you several seasons if purchased for utility and not for fashion. Fashion winter boots will degrade over time because they’re not made for the severity of winter weather conditions. If the climate you live in isn’t known for getting snow or rain, this may not be the case. But since winter almost always signifies an extreme change in temperature, you still want your winter boots to be able to keep your feet warm. That being said, even exposure to cold, moisture-filled air can have a deleterious effect on boots that are purchased for their looks alone and not for their cold weather features. Proper winter boots are waterproof, have many layers of insulation, and are made from crack-resistant rubber, all so that environmental changes won’t wear them down.

    Sources

    1. Ebay, 7 Important Features to Look for in Winter Boots, Guide,
    2. Goodhousekeeping.com, 5 Rules for Buying Winter Boots, Guide,
    3. Sierra Trading Post, Winter Boots, Guide,
    4. outdoorgearlab.com, How to choose the best winter boots, Guide,
    5. Eastern Mountain Sports, How to Choose Insulated Boots, Guide,