A pair of quality winter boots is essential for anyone who lives in cold regions of the globe. These boots keep your feet dry and warm during months of snowy or icy conditions. We have listed all the key considerations when choosing the proper winter boots: warmth, height, and waterproofing. Check out our articles on the best Winter Boots and top Women’s Winter Boots to see our favorites.
You can wear casual wear or winter hiking.
First, think about what you intend to use your winter boot for. For the most part, there are two types of winter boots: casual winter boots, perfect for everyday use, commuting, and light outdoor activities. The second category is more backcountry-oriented models, which resemble hiking boots but have winter-specific traction and insulation; lightweight backcountry models are ideal for winter sports such as snowshoeing and winter hiking. However, thicker, warmer versions are perfect for outdoor work in the cold.
Many casual winter boots are more modern and sleek than you would expect. Our favorites are Columbia’s men’s Fairbanks or women’s Minx Shorty III. These boots are stylish and affordable. These boots can withstand snow conditions and provide a good grip. Consider upgrading to a more expensive boot if the terrain or weather is challenging.
What amount of warmth do you need?
A warm winter boot must be comfortable and offer a lot of variety. We’ll first note that many footwear brands provide a temperature rating. However, we recommend always taking these with a grain of salt. Although you may be able to see temperatures as low as -25°F, the truth is that there is no standard rating system for footwear warmth. Your activity level, circulation, socks type, thickness, and fit of your boot all play a part in this. While we enjoy reading temperature ratings and making notes, we also like to look at other specifications.
Many types of winter boots offer insulation. Synthetic fill is the most popular. It comes in names such as PrimaLoft or Thinsulate and has a gram rating that indicates its thickness. Synthetics are great for footwear, as they resist water and continue to insulate even when wet. Many lightweight to medium-weight boots are 200-400 grams of insulation. However, a genuinely cold-weather boot, such as the Cabela’s Predator extreme, is 1,200 grams with a thick liner. This boot is often used for hunting, ice fishing, and workers who spend much time outside. Some winter boots come with a removable felt liner or are filled with wool or sheepskin. These insulation types are not all equally effective, but most use synthetics.
Boot HeightYour winter boot is warm and keeps snow and ice away. Highness is critical even if you don’t wear snow pants or use gaiters. We use shaft height to compare the measurement from the footbed to the top of the boot. Several hiking-centric models measure 6 to 7 inches high, a good range, except when the snow is intense. The Sorel Caribou is a casual option. It’s designed with warmth in mind and can be upped to 10 inches. (The budget Kamik NationPlus is similar in height and design). The Steger Mukluks measure approximately 11 inches, while the Bogs Classic High Insulated is a staggering 15 inches. When choosing the size of your boot, consider how you plan to use it and what other winter gear you have.
One final note about boot height. It may take some digging to find the correct number. Some brands list the shaft height, as we have already covered, while others list the total size (from the bottom of the outsole to the top). Some brands don’t provide any information or leave it unclear what they refer to. This number is a good starting point. You can see the design and try on boots in person for a better idea.
Winter boots are a category where style is everything. While some winter boots are used for snowshoeing and hiking, many people wear them in the city, at work, and night. Manufacturers have noticed many stylish options, and traditional outdoor brands offer more fun winter boots. We’re happy with UGGs, particularly the Adirondack III for women. It is comfortable and performs well, giving you the best of both worlds. Although they are heavier and bulkier, sorels have been popular for a long time. As mentioned, brands such as Columbia, Danner, and Merrell offer a variety of options that are more compact than ever before. The retro Danner Polar 600 is our favorite, with its fun side zip.