Nothing against hibernation, but we think winter’s a lot more fun when you get outside—and have the right gear to keep you warm. Whether you go hiking, camping, ice fishing, or snowshoeing, here are the 12 best winter boots for winter activities.
Buying Advice for Winter Boots
The first question to ask yourself is: why do I need winter boots? Will you wear them for casual, everyday use—on your commute, running errands, or walking around the neighborhood? Or do you plan to do outdoor winter activities like hiking, camping, or ice fishing? The answer to this question will help you determine the type of boot you’ll need and what features will be most important.
A boot’s insulation will help determine its overall warmth. The four most common types of insulation are synthetic, felt/wool, sheepskin, and down insulation.
- Synthetic insulation tends to be lightweight, not bulky, and keeps insulating even if it gets wet.
- Wool felt and sheepskin linings usually have more loft and bulk than other insulation types and will also continue to insulate once wet. Also, wool felt and sheepskin linings are often removable so they can be dried separately from the rest of the boot.
- Down fill is the least common insulation in winter boots. Since down fill loses its ability to insulate when wet, it’s best to only buy down-fill boots that are meant for indoors (like insulated booties).
In most parts of the U.S., winter means wet weather, either snow or rain. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose waterproof winter boots or boots that offer at least some measure of protection against precipitation. (Unless of course your winter boots are for style only.)
Boot height is the measurement from a boot’s footbed to the top of the boot shaft. Depending on the style, this can be anywhere from an inch or two above the ankle to halfway up the calf. Casual boots tend to be shorter and therefore more lightweight, but if you’ll be dealing with deep snow, taller boots are better. If you have short winter boots that you’d like to adapt for a deep-snow hike, you can always pair them with some waterproof gaiters.
When it comes to winter boots, fit is important not only for comfort but for proper insulation. Be sure to try on potential boots with your thickest socks to ensure the best fit. Boots should be snug but not pinch.
Best Winter Boots for Everyday
Running errands through slushy streets? Commuting in the cold to work or school, or simply taking your pup for his morning walk? These boots are up to the task.
WomenColumbia Minx Shorty Snow Boot
These boots from Columbia combine a street-style look with features that are guaranteed to keep your feet warm and dry. The Minx Shorty snow boot is available in 11 color combinations and no matter which one you choose, you’ll get a rugged, rubber sole, a quilted waterproof upper, and a faux-fur lined ankle shaft.
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: The textile upper features our signature waterproof and breathable membrane construction, that will keep your feet dry and warm across a wide range of winter fun.
- HIGH-TECH INSULATION: Utilizing our Omni-HEAT thermal reflective lining, your feet will be happy and warm no matter how deep the snow is outside.
- QUILTED STYLE: The perfect combination of function and style, with its quilted ankle support, you'll find plenty of flex in the boot that also looks great wherever you go.
- COZY COMFORT: It features a faux fur collar and tongue lining, 200g insulation, a removable contoured PU footbed for long lasting comfort and warmth.
- ADVANCED TRACTION: Our signature Omni-GRIP non-marking traction rubber outsole providing versatility for all winter wear without worry during indoor wear.
If your winter weather brings more ice than snow, these insulated snow boots from Land’s End will keep you warm (and upright) on city strolls. With a single zipper closure, they’re easy to get on and off and their lightweight, minimalist design won’t weigh you down. For extra waterproofing, we’d recommend treating these boots with a waterproofing spray that’s safe for suede.
Not all winter weather requires heavy-duty snow boots. If you want a shoe that will stand up to snow but isn’t bulky or heavy, L.L. Bean’s snow sneaker is worth consideration. With an athletic profile and slim design, it’s great for everyday use during the winter. And since the boots are waterproof and have a rugged sole, you could even wear them on short hikes or for snowshoeing.Columbia Fairbanks Omni-Heat Snow Boot
These winter boots from Columbia make it easy to transition from the street to the hiking trail. Their streamlined, high-top style makes them lightweight and easy to wear while their insulation and waterproof shell keeps your feet warm and dry no matter the whether. And bonus: they’re available in 9 color combos.
- OMNI-HEAT: Our patented Heat Reflective lining is the ultimate heat management system for outdoor performance. The metallic dot patterned inner lining is designed to retain heat, while the breathable lining dissipates moisture.
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Our Omni-TECH system features a waterproof breathable seam-sealed membrane bootie construction.
- URBAN STYLE MEETS FUNCTIONAL BOOT: The perfect combination of high-top style and function, with full laced up ankle support, this boot makes for great wearability wherever you go this winter.
- TRACTION AND COMFORT: Featuring our indoor-friendly Omni-GRIP, a non-marking outsole, this boot provides sure-footed traction in the wild. The lightweight TECHLITE midsole makes every trek worthwhile with superior cushioning and long-lasting comfort.
- TEMPERATURE RATINGS: Rated -25F/-32C for cold weather days.
KidsSorel Out N About Plus Boot for Girls
Sorel’s Out N About Plus boots will keep your girl cozy when she’s walking home from school or the bus stop. Their sturdy rubber soles offer dependable traction on slippery sidewalks and their low shaft height keeps them flexible and lightweight. Available in 3 color combos and unisex sizing.
- Upper Material: leather
- Waterproofing: waterproof construction
- Lining: synthetic
- Closure: drawcord
- Footbed: EVA
Sperry’s Bowline boot is another winter ankle boot that’s lightweight enough for comfortable everyday use, yet rugged enough to handle snow, slush, and ice. Be aware that these boots have somewhat thin insulation so it’s best to pair them with thick socks. Available in 5 color combos and unisex sizing.
- Lightweight with a low-profile construction
- Eva footbed for comfort and stability
Best Winter Boots for Hiking & Camping
For winter hikes and campouts, you need boots with good traction and insulation that can handle snowy conditions. These boots fit the bill.
WomenKeen Greta Waterproof Boot
When you’re hiking and camping in winter weather, you need heavy-duty winter boots like Keen’s Greta boots. Made from full-grain leather, this waterproof boot offers sturdy support yet also some flexibility. (You won’t feel like you’re wearing ski boots!) The thick, lugged sole provides excellent traction and 200 g of synthetic insulation will keep your feet cozy.
- MATERIALS: Waterproof, Oiled nubuck and full-grain leather upper for improved durability; Environmentally preferred premium leather supplied from certified tanneries
- SUPPORT & COMFORT: Removable, dual-density EVA insole with arch support to provide additional cushioning for long lasting comfort; Compression molded EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
- TRACTION & INSULATED: Non-marking rubber outsole leaves no trace; KEEN. FREEZE rubber outsole for traction in cold conditions; KEEN. WARM recycled PET insulation rated to -25° F / -32° C
- ODOR-PROTECTION: All KEEN products feature a natural, pesticide-free probiotic-based technology called Eco Anti-Odor technology for breaking down odor in sweat
- CARE TIPS: To treat day to day wear and tear, especially on lighter color leathers, KEEN recommends using a leather cleaner and conditioner, found at most footwear dealers and/or shoe repair shops
MenColumbia Bugaboot III Snow Boot
These full-height snow boots from Columbia were designed with waterproofing in mind. They’re not only made with an injection molded shell, their seams are sealed too. But those aren’t the only features that make this boot perfect for snowy hikes. The full lace-up front ensures that you’ll always have the best fit, no matter what terrain you plan to explore.
- OMNI-TECH: Our proprietary technology provides air-permeable protection that's waterproof and breathable, keeping mother nature's elements out, at the same time allowing the inside to breathe, keeping your feet dry and comfortable no matter the conditions
- ALPINE STYLE & PERFORMANCE: Waterproof leather upper, injection molded shell, 200 grams of insulation, superior midsole cushioning, and an advanced traction outsole that will get you through every epic adventure
- TAKE ON THE COLD: A re-energized update of our cold-weather classic. Versatility and protection make this the perfect boot for wet, cold, and snowy weather
- ALL-DAY SUPPORT: Incorporates our TechLite lightweight midsole that provides lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return, mile after mile
- ALL TERRAIN READY: Our signature Omni-Grip outsole is an indoor safe, non-marking rubber that provides sure-footed traction from trailside to mountain face
KidsColumbia Bugaboot Plus IV
If you like Columbia’s Bugaboot style for adults, you’ll appreciate their kid version too.
- OMNI-HEAT: Our patented Heat Reflective garments are the ultimate body heat management system for outdoor performance. The interior lining consists of our metallic dot pattern designed to retain heat, while the breathable fabric dissipates moisture.
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: The PU coated leather and textile upper features waterproof and seam-sealed construction, along with super deep 400g insulation to keep feet warm in harsh frozen terrain.
- URBAN STYLE MEETS SNOW BOOT: The perfect combination of a full height snow boot with tough style and function. Its full length lace up support makes this boot perfect in a slushy mix, deep in dry snow, or conquering their next tubing hill.
- ALL WEATHER TRACTION: Sure in their step, the Injection molded rubber shell and outsole offers deep tread for all winter weather conditions.
- TEMPERATURE RATINGS: Rated -40F/-40C for super cold, heavy snow days.
Best Winter Boots for Extreme Cold
For winter’s coldest days and long-lasting outdoor adventures, boots designed for extreme cold are best.
WomenThe Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Ice Tall Boot
If you want your feet to stay warm, you’ll also need to keep them dry. The Arctic Ice boots from The Original Muck Boot Company work hard to accomplish both. The neoprene boot is encased in layers of rubber to keep out the rain and snow, while the fleece lining provides excellent insulation.
- 100% Waterproof
- 8mm Neoprene Bootie for Comfort and Performance (5mm Mid)
- Full-length midsole for improved support and longwearing comfort
- Extended Rubber Coverage
- Comfort insole
MenBaffin Impact Snow Boots
Baffin’s Impact snow boots have everything you need to stand up to extreme winter weather: a waterproof base with a solid rubber sole, an 8-layer removable lining, a windproof nylon upper, and a snow collar with a toggle closure.
- Insulated for comfort to -148 degrees F
- 8-layer inner boot system with Thermaplush
- With a bungee toggle snow collar to lock out wintery incursion and heavy-duty cold insulation, this sturdy boot delivers in extreme conditions.
KidsMerrell Unisex Snow Quest Lite
These unisex snow boots from Merrell will likely outlast your child’s enthusiasm for snow. Their rubber waterproof soles, waterproof nylon upper, and snow collar with toggle closure will keep feet warm and dry even on the season’s coldest days.
- Temperature rated to -25 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure a warm-wearing experience
- M Select DRY Waterproof nylon upper keeps feet dry
- 360 degree IMEVA shell for a lightweight, easy to walk in feel
- Double toggle closure for adjustability and a snug fit
- M Select WARM with 200G on vamp and quarter lining