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Best Winter Boots Reviewed & Rated

last updated Apr 17, 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 6 hrs of research

icon
Kingshow Globalwin
95.2/100 our score
Breathability
96
Insulation
96
Comfort
93
Weight
97
Shock Absorption
94
Kingshow Globalwin
Why is it better?
  • Lace-Up Closure
  • Mesh-Covered Footbed
  • Water-Resistant
  • Microfiber/Heat-Reflective Lining
  • Wide Color Variety
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Kingshow Globalwin
Test Winner: Kingshow Globalwin
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
5
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1456
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
6
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Milica Radovanovic
By Milica Radovanovic:

In our most recent update, we replaced five outdated designs with ones that are currently on the market, as insulating and weather resistant as ever. We also added a Comfort criteria section to make sure your feet are cozy no matter how long you spend outside, and we also rounded everything up neatly in the Bottom Line, should you require a summary of our guide. Enjoy!

Sorting Options
Breathability Insulation Comfort 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.
95.2
Breathability
96%
Insulation
96%
Comfort
93%
Weight
97%
Shock Absorption
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$53.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Breathability
95%
Insulation
96%
Comfort
92%
Weight
93%
Shock Absorption
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$170.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Breathability
90%
Insulation
90%
Comfort
89%
Weight
97%
Shock Absorption
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$224.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Breathability
91%
Insulation
93%
Comfort
90%
Weight
89%
Shock Absorption
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$127.61
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Breathability
85%
Insulation
93%
Comfort
79%
Weight
94%
Shock Absorption
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$104.09
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Breathability
87%
Insulation
89%
Comfort
86%
Weight
91%
Shock Absorption
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Backcountry Link
$134.96
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Amazon Link
$172.57
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Breathability
89%
Insulation
91%
Comfort
94%
Weight
76%
Shock Absorption
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$134.13
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Breathability
80%
Insulation
85%
Comfort
90%
Weight
92%
Shock Absorption
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$65.62
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Breathability
94%
Insulation
89%
Comfort
76%
Weight
85%
Shock Absorption
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$110.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Breathability
81%
Insulation
86%
Comfort
88%
Weight
84%
Shock Absorption
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (27.05.19)
Amazon Link
$97.50
Backcountry Link
$129.95
See Deal
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Kingshow Globalwin Kingshow Globalwin
  • Timberland Mount Hope Timberland Mount Hope
  • UGG Butte UGG Butte
  • Baffin Snogoose Baffin Snogoose
  • Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV
  • Sorel Joan of Arctic Sorel Joan of Arctic
  • Sorel Caribou Sorel Caribou
  • Kamik Greenbay 4 Kamik Greenbay 4
  • Merrell Moab Polar Merrell Moab Polar
  • Bogs Classic Bogs Classic
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Favorites

1. Kingshow Globalwin

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Kingshow Globalwin
Amazon Link
Breathability
96
Insulation
96
Comfort
93
Weight
97
Shock Absorption
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$53.99
Pros:
  • Lace-Up Closure
  • Mesh-Covered Footbed
  • Water-Resistant
  • Microfiber/Heat-Reflective Lining
  • Wide Color Variety
Cons:
  • Size Runs Narrow

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

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The water-resistant properties of the Globalwin are perfect for light, wet conditions. Furthermore, the PU upper and rubber outsole help to ensure your feet remain dry when facing unexpected weather conditions. Heat reflection is the attribute you need when considering warmth retention. The microfiber, heat-reflective lining in this design gives you back the heat you are losing; thereby, helping to maintain climate control within the shoe.

The Kingshow Globalwin looks good and is practical, in terms of both aesthetic appeal and usability. As such, this design is worth every penny.

2. Timberland Mount Hope

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Timberland Mount Hope
Amazon Link
Breathability
95
Insulation
96
Comfort
92
Weight
93
Shock Absorption
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$170.00
Pros:

D-ring Lace Closure

Faux Fur Collar

200g of Insulation

Snug Fit

Quilted Shaft

Cons:

Price

Runs Narrow

Timberland brings a solid winter option combined with quality, styling, and fashion. The Mount Hope packs all the comfort the brand is known for into an insulated design, 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 a rich look.

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The Mount Hope comes with Timberland’s removable anti-fatigue footbed, to keep you stepping in the snow without discomfort during extended time outside. The D-ring lace-up closure allows for a snug flat fit, helping to keep out the snow. And with the quilted shaft, your entire calf and ankle will be wrapped in soft moldable warmth. Within the Mount Hope is an insulating layer of 200g PrimaLoft, keeping you toasty when it’s frigid outside. Leather and fabric uppers allow for a waterproof element, and aluminized Strobel construction provides additional warmth. Top it all off with a faux fur lining at the collar, and you’ll be headed outside despite messy conditions!

Along with Timberland brand comfort and iconic style elements, the Mount Hope also incorporates PrimaLoft insulation and 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. UGG Butte

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
UGG Butte
Amazon Link
Breathability
90
Insulation
90
Comfort
89
Weight
97
Shock Absorption
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$224.95
Pros:

Waterproof Leather and Suede Upper

DryTech Construction

UGGpure Wool Lining and Insole

Vibram Outsole for Good Traction

For Down to -4 F

Cons:

Stiff Upper

Expensive

At the mention of the brand name UGG, we picture the ever-popular slipper boot that has become synonymous with the label. However, UGG also produces a wide variety of other types of footwear, as well as other designs which are perfectly crafted to withstand chilly January days. One such option is the Butte, which is equipped with advanced features for handling any type of weather conditions. You can combine it with snow gear or brave the city blizzard - the Butte can do it all!

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This design is made from waterproof leather and suede, using a DryTech breathable construction, and it has a lace-up closure for maximum adjustability. The inner lining is UGGpure wool, and there is also an UGGpure wool insole that you can easily remove and replace. The outsole of the Butte is of Vibram technology, with lugs for solid traction on slippery terrain. This design will keep you warm and cozy even when temperatures drop to -20 C/-4 F.

The UGG Butte is a great choice for harsh, snowy city conditions. It will also serve you well on tame, familiar terrain, though it is not as sturdy if you’re intent on charting new territory. However, the Butte is a rugged, badass option that hits all the requirements for a good design of this type, and more. A great deal overall!

4. Baffin Snogoose

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Baffin Snogoose
Amazon Link
Breathability
91
Insulation
93
Comfort
90
Weight
89
Shock Absorption
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$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 of the Baffin Snogoose 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 light, wet conditions when facing those colder days. Moreover, these are constructed with a foam-based and removable inner liner; thereby, allowing you to customize your fit even further.

Read more

The Baffin Snogoose is built with both thermal and moisture-wicking layers; thus, providing an environment conducive to a dry experience. When your feet remain dry, they are warmer for longer periods of time. This pair has a good opening for an easy on and off. In addition, the toggle closure system provides a snug fit once your feet are inside the design.

The Baffin Snogoose fits the low-to-midrange when it comes to price. With that being said, they are worth the purchase, as they are built well and keep your feet warm.

5. Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV
Amazon Link
Breathability
85
Insulation
93
Comfort
79
Weight
94
Shock Absorption
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$104.09
Pros:

Waterproof Seam Sealed Construction

Techlite Cushioning and Energy Return

Omni-Heat Reflective Lining

200g of Insulation

Michelin Compound Outsole

Cons:

Questionable Comfort

Laces Easily Break

Columbia is one of the most popular brands for outdoor gear, and their Bugaboot Plus IV leaves nothing to chance when it comes to cold weather. This is a classic Columbia design, long-lasting and lightweight, as well as waterproof and amazingly insulating. It looks pretty badass too, with its thick Michelin compound outsole that is resistant both to slipping and to abrasions.

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The Bugaboot Plus IV is made from a combination of leather and nylon for the upper, with some metal hardware thrown in. It has a waterproof seam-sealed construction and a Techlite shell. When it comes to preserving heat, this design is outfitted with 200 grams of insulation and Omni-Heat lining that reflects warmth. The Techlite midsole provides cushioning and energy rebound, and the aforementioned Michelin rubber outsole has to be experienced to be believed.

The Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV will keep you warm in temperatures as low as -30 C/-22 F. It is not as heavy as it looks, and its lace-up closure helps you adjust the fit to however tight or loose you’d like it to be. It doesn’t get much better than this!

6. Sorel Joan of Arctic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Sorel Joan of Arctic
Amazon Link
Breathability
87
Insulation
89
Comfort
86
Weight
91
Shock Absorption
89
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$172.57
Backcountry Link
$134.96
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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 Sorels 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 faux leather exterior that is lush looking and, actually, water-sealed. These are as stylish as they are functional, and can easily go from utilitarian to elegant for any December occasion.

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The Joan of Arc has 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. They’re designed to fit slightly loose, so you still retain your circulation and a tighter fit which contributes to warm feet and the lack of heel chafing. The Joan of Arc is breathable enough to make sure that your feet stay warmer longer.

The Joan of Arc is engineered to fit comfortably, let your feet breathe, and provide lasting durability and waterproof protection. Whether you’ll use them for winter sports, outdoor activities, or just fighting the elements to get to work, you’ll look ready and put together without much effort on your part.

7. Sorel Caribou

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Sorel Caribou
Amazon Link
Breathability
89
Insulation
91
Comfort
94
Weight
76
Shock Absorption
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$134.13
Pros:

Nubuck Leather Upper

Waterproof Seam Sealed Construction

Removable Felt Liner

Amazing Traction on Snow

For Down to -40 F

Cons:

Wide Fit

Heavy

From one of Canada’s leading footwear manufacturers, comes the Caribou design, or what is considered to be the original Sorel, the one that started it all. This is a waterproof construction with a removable inner liner and protection in both wet and cold weather, in temperatures as low as -40 F/C. Other than that, the Caribou is cute and not so bulky, and its Sherpa Pile cuff makes it perfect for all snowy adventures!

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The Caribou has an upper made from nubuck leather, which is waterproof, and the water resistance is further reinforced with a seam sealed construction. In terms of insulation, this design is outfitted with a 9mm thick felt inner boot that is easily removable and washable to get rid of any odors. The Caribou comes with a shell made from vulcanized rubber all around the foot area, which is handcrafted and with a Sorel signature aero-trac outsole. You can be sure that there is no slipping or skidding in these!

We are hard pressed to find a flaw in the Sorel Caribou. This is an option for heavy snow, for frigid climates and for unforgiving winters. If you live in an area where you need something as hardcore as this boot, then don’t hesitate to treat yourself at once! You definitely won’t regret the investment.

8. Kamik Greenbay 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Kamik Greenbay 4
Amazon Link
Breathability
80
Insulation
85
Comfort
90
Weight
92
Shock Absorption
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$65.62
Pros:

Durable Nylon Upper

Adjustable Hook and Loop Strap

Therma Guard Liner

RubberHe Outsole

From Recycled Materials

Cons:

Cold at Extremely Low Temperatures

Questionable Durability

Admittedly, the Greenbay 4 is not the most stylish of options out there, but when the cold sets in and the snow piles up, fashion is the last thing on our minds. With this Kamik design, you don’t have to say no to taking your kids out for sledding or playing in the slush, as it will keep you warm and dry thanks to its superior technologies. With its Thermal Guard liner and RubberHe outsole, the Greenbay 4 is made to the highest standards, and it won’t let you down when you need it the most.

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This design has a nylon upper for durability and strength, as well as a bungee lace lock and an adjustable hook and loop strap for a customized fit. The Thermal Guard liner we mentioned is actually made of two layers that wick away moisture and retain body heat. The liner is made from 100% recycled material, so it is environmentally friendly, too. The outsole of the Greenbay 4 is made from a type of rubber that is as ‘light as helium and strong as iron,’ as the brand says. It delivers exceptional traction and flexibility.

The Kamik Greenbay 4 is waterproof and lightweight and it will keep you dry regardless of what you decide to do outside. Its special features make it a real contender for the top of our list, and we are sure that you will enjoy your time spent in these sturdy, reliable boots.

9. Merrell Moab Polar

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Merrell Moab Polar
Amazon Link
Breathability
94
Insulation
89
Comfort
76
Weight
85
Shock Absorption
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$110.00
Pros:

M-Select DRY Waterproof Seal

M-Select WARM Insulation

Anti-Odor Footbed

M-Select GRIP for Traction

Easy Lacing

Cons:

Needs Breaking In

Uncomfortable Arch Support

From a company that started out designing hiking footwear but has since branched out into all walks of life comes the Moab Polar, a boot that is meant to brave extreme conditions, but that is stylish enough to be worn every day. The Moab Polar has a suede upper that is waterproof and is abundant with Merrell-specific technologies, such as the M-Select DRY and M-Select WARM.

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The first of these, the DRY, is a seal that keeps water out of the design, but that also lets moisture from inside - such as sweat - escape. The M-Select WARM is a type of insulation that keeps your feet toasty but that is lightweight at the same time. The footbed of the Moab Polar is treated with an anti-odor agent to prevent bad smells, and there is an M-Select GRIP system in the outsole for lasting traction. The Moab Polar also has hook-and-loop closures for an easy lace-up.

The Merrell Moab Polar performs well in all conditions, though may not be a great choice for long-distance walking. They require quite a bit of breaking in, which may prove bothersome, and the shape of their footbed doesn’t work for everyone. However, if you find that it works for you, there is nothing that can stop you from conquering the inclement weather!

10. Bogs Classic

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Bogs Classic
Amazon Link
Breathability
81
Insulation
86
Comfort
88
Weight
84
Shock Absorption
78
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$97.50
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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 and a space boot, the Bogs Classic, nevertheless, has a sleek appearance and a tall shaft height of 13.5 inches. It is constructed from a combination of rubber and fabric and has an easy, slip-on designwithout the need for excess buckles, straps, or laces. It'll keep your calves warm and the moisture out.

Read more

Made with a rubber upper, the majority of the Bogs Classic is comprised of the shaft which is made of neoprene. Like most options on this list, it has a removable, moisture-wicking insole that lets your feet breathe and, also, acts as an odor eliminator. The rubber outsole is non-slip and ensures greater stability. These can take you from slogging in 6 inches of frozen mud to looking put together due to their no-fuss outward appearance and sleek styling.

If you're looking for waterproof footwear that will keep your feet dry (without the need for too much hardware, bells, and whistles), then, the Bogs Classics 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.

Comfort

One of the most annoying things about cold weather is that it can be hard to get comfortable when the outside is 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 footwear should be nothing but comfortable since that often means the difference between enjoying the season and facing it with bitter resolution. This type of footwear should be well-lined and insulated 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 a mesh component to their design, so they can 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.

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:
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Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
ico Breathability
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#2
ico Insulation
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#3
ico Comfort
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#4
ico Weight
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#5
ico Shock Absorption
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expert tips icon
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

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.

    Bottom Line

    A lot of different components go into selecting this type of footwear, such as appearance, materials, and cut, but there are also other features that cannot be overlooked. In other words, all designs of this type must keep your feet warm and dry.

    Whether your environment or climate means you experience harsh winters or mild ones, you still want an option 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 design will become your dependable piece of cold weather footwear that lasts for many seasons and ensures many lasting fun memories.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    q: How much insulation is best?

    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 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 these 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 these designs 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