12 Best Winter Boots for Outdoor Activities

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

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.


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.

Land’s End Transitional Insulated Snow Boots

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.


L.L. Bean Lace-up Snow Sneaker

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.

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.


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.

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.

best winter boots for hiking and camping

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.


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.


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.


If you like Columbia’s Bugaboot style for adults, you’ll appreciate their kid version too.

Best Winter Boots for Extreme Cold

For winter’s coldest days and long-lasting outdoor adventures, boots designed for extreme cold are best.


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.


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.


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.