Best Winter Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance

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 for making a lot of memories, it can, also, mean perilous situations, due to rapidly decreasing temperatures, high winds, rain, snow, and mud.

best winter boots-man walking in the snow

Winter boots need to be able to withstand a variety of environments and climates (such as the combat boots reviewed here). Things to look for in winter boots include extra layers to their interiors to protect against cold temperatures, insulated linings, crack-resistant rubber, and the addition of fur and quilted trim. They should, also, be waterproof or at least water-resistant, depending on how much rain or snowfall you expect.

Last Updated: August 19, 2017
By Mirisa Jewell:

A Criteria and FAQ section was added to the table of contents within this page. This information features questions as such; Can winter boots withstand salt from snow blowing? and How much insulation is best for winter boots?

Featured Recommendations

Kingshow Globalwin
  • Kingshow Globalwin
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water-resistant
  • Heat-reflective Lining
  • Price: See Here
Sorel Joan of Arctic
  • Sorel Joan of Arctic
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water-sealed Seams
  • Vulcanized Rubber Outsole
  • Price: See Here
Polar Nylon
  • Polar Nylon
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water-resistant
  • 11-inch Shaft Height
  • Price: See Here

When selecting the right winter boot, always consider breathability. Instead of focusing on a tight, snug fit, remember that a breathable winter boot will be a bit loose. It will, also, have some sort of mesh component to let cool air in. This allows for better blood circulation, which means that extremities, like your feet, won’t get so cold that they risk injury or worse. You can, also, check out the best boots made, specifically, to tackle snow terrain.

 

15 Best Winter Boots

 

1. Kingshow Globalwin

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.
Pros
  • Lace-up
  • Mesh-covered Footbed
  • Water-resistant
  • Microfiber/Heat-reflective Lining
  • Wide Color Variety
Cons
  • size runs narrow

2. Sorel Joan of Arctic

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.
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

3. Columbia Minx Mid II

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.
Pros
  • Reinforced-bootie Overlay
  • Rubber Outsole
  • 200g Insulation/-25 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water-resistant
  • Arch Support
Cons
  • Low ice grip
  • Size runs small/narrow

4. Kamik Greenbay 4

4. Kamik Greenbay 4
This pair of winter boots is water-resistant and an ideal choice for those facing dry, winter conditions, as found within sub-freezing temperatures. Having a -40 degrees Fahrenheit warmth rating, these boots will keep you warm when needed most. In addition, 600 denier uppers give you both strength and flexibility, simultaneously. Furthermore, with a wide opening and drawstring closure, you are certain to have a custom fit to your calves.
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Rubber(He) Outsole
Perfect for dry snow, the outsole has decent traction to hike your way through the frigid day. Furthermore, the outsole helps to aid in keeping your feet dry, as you trek along.

600 Denier
The upper is tough; yet, flexible. Ideal for dry, cold-weather conditions, these boots are made to keep you warm down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit; depending on your activity level, of course.

Cost and Value
Size-dependent, these boots have a wide range of cost association; ranging from low to high. With the practical design, however, they are worth the purchase price for dry, cold-weather conditions.
Pros
  • 600 Denier
  • Water-resistant
  • 20-inch Boot Opening; Drawstring
  • Removable, 8mm Thermal-guard Liner
  • Rubber(He) Outsole
Cons
  • Minimal color variety
  • Size runs narrow

5. Kamik Nation Plus

5. Kamik Nation Plus
The Kamik Nation Plus is a big winter boot that means business. It has a thick rubber outsole with deeply grooved lugs and is made from high- quality leather and rubber. It reaches just under mid-calf and has a lace-up closure system with a series of heavy-duty D-rings. This boot has a solid, aggressive look; perfect for those who do manual labor outdoors in the winter, such as driving snow snowplows or shoveling driveways.
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Comfort
It has a removable, felt liner which ensures your feet won’t overheat, even if you’re exerting yourself a lot outside. The lining, also, has moisture-wicking properties and helps to ensure your feet stay dry. The collar and tongue have a lot of extra padding; thereby, eliminating a major cause for chafing along the leg.

Functionality
These boots can protect against temperatures of -40F and are waterproof. It features 200g Thinsulate insulation to keep your feet from ever feeling the inclement frost outside. Its lacing system is rustproof and made for quick lacing. The bottom tread is thick and deeply grooved to grip even the slickest, most-slippery surfaces.

Cost and Value
These are great, everyday practical boots for someone that wants to experience the wintry outdoors while knowing they are wearing superior winter protection. Working outdoors will not be a grueling process with these boots, especially given their thick rubber outsoles, malleable leather construction, speed laces that are rust-resistant, and extra padding along the collar and tongue. They are rated to withstand some of the lowest temperatures of any boots on this list, and cost a fraction of the price.
Pros
  • Leather Upper
  • Rubber Outsole
  • 200g Thinsulate/-40 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • 10-inch Shaft Height
  • Rust-resistant Lace System
Cons
  • Size runs small
  • Minimal color variety

6. Kamik Snowvalley

6. Kamik Snowvalley
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.
Pros
  • Faux Fur Lining
  • 10-inch Shaft Height
  • Thinsulate; -40°F
  • Water-resistant
  • Wide Color Variety
Cons
  • Size runs small

7. Polar Nylon

7. Polar Nylon
These are both stylistic and practical. Ready for the outdoors in colder weather, they have color-coded outsoles which match the color scheme of the boot's uppers. With D-ring lacing, you are certain to have a snug fit; thereby, increasing a more-natural feel in your step, as you walk. Furthermore, with an 11-inch shaft height, your fit is mid-calf, for those days when you want a little more protection.
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Water-resistant
Perfect for light, winter conditions, these best winter boots are ready to keep you warm. Although not great for large amounts of slush, they will keep you warm until you can get changed into those heavy-duty snow boots.

Color-coded Outsole
The outsole is slip-resistant, but more than that, the outsole is color-coded. A unique feature, the sole reflects the color scheme of the boots. Moreover, with a wide array of color available, you are certain to find a pair matching that perfect outfit.

Cost and Value
These boots are budget-friendly. Furthermore, they are built to keep you warm in dry, winter conditions (which might take a turn to wetter conditions). As such, they are a great addition to any winter wardrobe.
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Mid-calf Lace-up
  • 11-inch Shaft Height
  • Water-resistant
  • Wide Color Variety
Cons
  • Minimal ice traction

8. Columbia Bugaboot Plus III

8. Columbia Bugaboot Plus III
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.
Pros
  • Leather/Textile Upper
  • Omni-grip Outsole
  • Techlite Midsole
  • 7-inch Shaft Height
  • 200g Insulation
Cons
  • Minimal color variety

9. Bogs Classic High Handle

9. Bogs Classic High Handle
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.
Pros
  • Removable Sockliner
  • Waterproof
  • Non-slip, Rubber Outsole
  • Neoprene/Rubber Construction
  • -30 Degrees Fahrenheit
Cons
  • Size runs small
  • Minimal color variety

10. Sorel Winter Carnival

10. Sorel Winter Carnival
Designed for light; yet, cold winter conditions, these winter boots are ready to help keep you warm. With a warmth rating of -32 degrees Fahrenheit (while remaining active), your feet are certain to benefit from this heavy-duty construction. In addition, with the D-ring lace-up system, you will have a better, more comfortable fit.
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Vulcanized, Rubber Outsole
The rubber outsole is ideal for traction in dry snow and, also, those moments when you might have to traverse light sludge. In addition, the outsole provides a dry environment; providing you with the ability to remain both warm and dry.

-32 Degrees Fahrenheit
While remaining active, these boots are rated to keep your feet warm down to -32 degrees Fahrenheit. This is perfect for those days when you might be out during those colder days.

Cost and Value
These best winter boots are size-dependent; thereby, the cost rises with shoe size. Ranging from low-to-lower-high, these boots are worth the purchase price, in terms of construction and practicality. They are, however, a bit clunky in feel, as can be expected in some of the heavier boot styles.
Pros
  • Vulcanized, Rubber Outsole
  • 7.5-inch Shaft Height
  • D-ring Laces
  • 0.5-inch Platform Height
  • 0.8-inch Heel Height
Cons
  • Clunky/Heavy

11. Baffin Snogoose

11. Baffin Snogoose
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.
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

12. Columbia Loveland

12. Columbia Loveland
With 13.5 inches of opening, these boots are easier to slip on and off than some of the other boots you might come across. In addition, they are winter-ready, in terms of keeping you warm and are water-resistant in light, wet conditions. Moreover, they have decent traction on dry snow and are great for pants (or other wardrobe styles), as they have a sleek design.
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Thermal-reflective Lining
Thermal reflection is the secret behind the 200 grams of insulation, as heat retention is directly associated with your body heat and the ability of the material to reflect that heat back to you. With this lining, you receive adequate heat reflection, in terms of the thermal-reflective material.

8-inch Shaft Height
These winter boots are mid-height and perfect for when you need more protection without the taller style of other boots. Additionally, they fit comfortably with the rear strap hold.

Cost and Value
these boots are quite affordable, ranging from low-to-lower-midrange in cost association. Moreover, they are built well and worth the purchase price.
Pros
  • Thermal-reflective Lining
  • 8-inch Shaft Height
  • Techlite Midsole
  • 13.5-inch Opening
  • 200g Insulation
Cons
  • Minimal color variety
  • Low ice traction

13. Baffin Impact

13. Baffin Impact
The Baffin Impact boot is the closest to a typical ‘moon boot’ winter boot that you’ll see on this list with a tall, quilted shaft, two buckles for closure, and a drawstring top which prevents debris from getting into it. It’s rated for temperatures -148F. It has a sportier appearance than when compared to some of the other tall boots. In addition, it is slightly, more simplistic than some of the ankle boots.
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Functionality
By combining typical molding technology with a foam-heavy inner boot, the Baffin Impact uses the latest in foam technology to multi-layer its removable, inner boot; so, it will act as an insulator and give the boot a glove-like fit to the foot. Its rubber outsole is designed not to bend or crack in extreme temperatures, and the Diamond-Lite rip-stop nylon uppers offer maximum durability. Its upper is treated with technology that repels water and doesn’t stain, easily. The outsole is comprised of polymers that make a lightweight boot which offers superior protection to your feet.

Versatility
The Baffin Impact has an 8-layer insulated bootie that’s removable, which is even more layers than some of its other models. This ensures the wearer’s feet will be dry and warm, while Thermaplush insulation is rated to -148F. It has a lot of arch support, due to the Gelflex midsole, and has a rubber outsole with deep grooves for superior traction. It, also, has two adjustable snap closures at the shaft and ankle but, otherwise, no laces to speak of. This allows them to be slipped on and off with ease.

Cost and Value
These boots are great for all outdoor activities, especially where tall snow is concerned. The drawstring at the top of their shaft prevents snow from finding its way down into the boot. The advanced polar engineering that went into making these boots durable enough to withstand arctic conditions means that they’re some of the most competent winter boots on this list. One of the most technologically advanced winter boots on the market, a lot of thought and care went into making them superior. They’re, definitely, worth the price point.
Pros
  • Nylon Upper
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Gelflex Midsole
  • Removable, 8-layer Bootie
  • -148 Degrees Fahrenheit; Thermaplush Insulation
Cons
  • Size runs small

14. Vasque Snowburban Ultradry

14. Vasque Snowburban Ultradry
For those living with some serious winter conditions where fur-trimmed boots just won’t cut it, the Vasque Snowburban Ultradry boot is there for you. Specifically, designed for cold season outdoor excursions, these boots are tough enough to withstand temperatures of 0F while, also, providing some cushion and relief against foot fatigue. They, also, tend to heat up the more you’re active in them, which means you’ll never have to worry about how to keep warm while stranded in the cold; just keep pressing onward!
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Functionality
These boots are, specifically, designed not to stand around in freezing temperatures. To get the most out of them, you have to keep moving and they will generate heat. That will, also, do a lot to raise your own body temperature. They boast an impressive 400g 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation liner and are reliably waterproof. They can be laced tight with 550-lb paracord laces and have an additional synch at the very top, to customize the fit.

Comfort
For most hiking boots, they should be snug on the foot, but not too tight. Again, with winter boots, it’s very important not to cut off circulation. They’re light and flexible for a boot of their size, ensuring full range of motion with your gait, and a rubber toe and kick plate that bend without cracking. They’re perfect for those on the move during winter, especially for those who don’t want a heavy boot.

Cost and Value:
For as rugged as these boots appear, the fact that they’re lightweight, flexible, and heat your feet while you move, make them worth the price. That being said, they’re comparable to Sorel, Merrell, or any other similar winter boot of their size. Their 400g Thinsulate liner makes them slightly more ahead of the curve, and their sporty look and feel will appeal to those that want all the features of a big and sturdy winter boot, but not at the expense of their mobility.
Pros
  • 400g Thinsulate
  • Waterproof
  • 550-lb Paracord Laces
  • Crack-resistant Toe and Kick Plate
  • 8-inch Shaft Height
Cons
  • Size runs small

15. The North Face Nuptse Purna

15. The North Face Nuptse Purna
Are you looking for a pair of winter boots that are not too warm? These boots might be the perfect fit. With an insulation rating of 200 grams, they are right for those cool days found in warmer winters. In addition, they are made of suede uppers which provide both comfort and flexibility. Furthermore, the rubber outsole has decent traction.
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Suede Upper
These boots have a suede upper. Although not an ideal choice for wet conditions, these boots are ready for dry, winter days. The material makeup helps to improve comfortability; thereby, allowing you to wear them for longer periods than stiffer materials.

200g PrimaLoft Eco
While you are active, these boots have 200 grams PrimaLoft Eco insulation rating to give you warmth in cool conditions. This is perfect for warmer winters when the weather doesn't drop down to persistent sub-zero temperatures.

Cost and Value
The cost associated with this pair of best winter boots is low-to-midrange. Size-dependent, these boots are worth every penny, especially, if bought as a pair of rotation boots, according to warmer temperature ratings.
Pros
  • 10-inch Shaft Height
  • 0.75-inch Platform Height
  • Suede Upper
  • 200g PrimaLoft Eco
Cons
  • Size runs small/narrow

A lot of different components go into selecting the best boots for winter, such as appearance, materials, and cut, but there are, also, other features that cannot be overlooked. In other words,  all winter boots must keep your feet warm and dry. Whether your environment or climate means you experience harsh winters or mild ones, you still want a boot that can protect your feet from the elements. Whether you need extra insulating layers, a more aggressive tread, or something easy to slip on and off, they should all be waterproof; or at least, water-resistant. They should fit tight but not snug, allowing for proper blood circulation. And it’s best if they have some sort of mesh component to their construction to allow cool air to get in. The right winter boot will become your dependable piece of cold weather footwear that lasts for many seasons and ensures many lasting fun winter memories.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Winter Boots

 

Breathability/Temperature Regulation

OutDry-Extreme-10-Best-Winter-Boots-Tested-and-Reviewed

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/Warmth

Insulation-10-Best-Winter-Boots-Reviewed-and-Tested

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.

Traction/Grip

Extreme-Grippage-10-Best-Winter-Boots-Tested-and-Reviewed

Winter can be a beautiful time of year when the light wanes in the sky and the landscape becomes a series of picturesque snowy vistas. It, also, brings with it many perilous situations, from slipping on icy surfaces to sliding through muddy, wet patches of ground and traversing terrain that’s pockmarked with puddles. Outdoor activities can take you on uneven hiking trails or slick sidewalks. And without proper traction on your winter footwear, you can risk serious injury. That’s why boots with deeply grooved lugs and thick tread are essential to prevent you from falling, sliding, or skidding into an accident. Kamik Nation Plus boots have some of the thickest treads around, perfectly designed to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.

Weight

Shoe-Scale-Best-Winter-Boots-Tested-and-Reviewed

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-Best-Winter-Boots-Tested-and-Reviewed

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 impact. 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.

Comfort

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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.

Proper Fit

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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.

Terrain/Environment

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/Energy Return

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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.

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FAQ

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.

 

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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,