Northside Mens Back Country Waterproof Pack Boot
Men headed to cold and snowy environments will appreciate these boots by Northside. Built for outdoor activities, theyre lined with Thermolite insulation for warmth without bulk. A removable felt liner with faux shearling collar can be called in on extra cold days. And with its D-ring lacing system, the Pack Boots are easy to take on and off at airport security.
Who This Is For
We researched and tested designs meant for light outdoor activity in places that are cold enough to see snow. That means shoveling the driveway, walking an outdoor mall in the winter, or getting from your car to the office. We tested for functionality, not style. Hopefully youll find something you like here, and if you dont, we aim to show you what to look for when you shop.
What does this guide not cover?
A Lighter Boot For Easy Walking In Snow: Columbia Heavenly Omni
Get this if: You want a boot thats light and particularly good for walking over snow drifts. This is a great option for driving and running errands around townnot so much for extended time outside or in icy conditions
Why its great: The snug, form-fitting foot of the Columbia Heavenly Omni-Heat makes this boot wear almost like a slipper, and the tall, tightly laced shaft and faux fur snow collar keep fluffy stuff out. Plus, these boots are much easier to drive in than boots with a stiff leather exterior.
The Heavenly is a perfect example of how a good fit can create more traction. A nearly identical boot, the North Face Shellista II, didnt grip as well because the foot was looser. This boot has a tread pattern thats more pronounced than others , and the Heavenly had better stability on every surface we walked on, other than ice.
We tried the Kamik Sienna 2, but it doesnt have a tread pattern that provides any help on slick surfaces. And we also tried the GlobalWin Waterproof Winter Boot, but the flaws were many, including a sole so slippery that no tester would set foot on ice without holding onto something. Overall, the majority of winter boots, even most of our picks here, have only average traction on ice. Rubber is just not the solution if you need to stay completely sure-footed on frozen water. But with that in mind, the GlobalWin felt particularly treacherous.
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Boot Care And Treatment
To keep your winter boots lasting as long as possible, its worth taking proper care of your investment. For starters, its always a good idea to keep them clean to avoid any breakdown in the materials. The grime that you pick up when walking through a slushy parking lot can wreak havoc on a boot if it isnt cleaned out. Warm water, dish soap, and a simple brush can do the trick in most cases. Further, many of the designs above have leather in the construction, which is a material that benefits from occasional treatment to avoid drying and cracking. A quality sponge-on design like Nikwaxs Conditioner works well on full-grain leather, keeping it in good shape while adding a water-resistant coating to the top. For boots that dont have a waterproof membrane or coating, youll want to treat them from the start . Another benefit of adding a leather dressing right away is that it helps soften the leather and shorten the break-in period.
Best Snow Slipper: Ugg Classic Short Boot
*At the time of publishing, the price was $170.
Get this if: Youre getting on a plane and traveling to winter weather or going skiing.
Why its great: The Ugg Classic Short Boot and the Ugg Classic Short II Boot is a functional winter shoe thats easy to drive in, cozy and warm, treated to be weather-resistant, and lined with real wool that will not stink after a few uses.
Thats the perfect combination of features for après-ski, when you need to change out of hard boots, get damp feet warm, then probably drive somewhere. Its also a perfect solution for winter travel, acting as travel shoe, warm slipper, and winter boot at your final destination.
Its hard to separate the Ugg brand from its reputation as a polarizing year-round fashion choice. But this wasnt always the case. These boots are a legitimate piece of outdoor gear, originally invented to keep surfers feet warm after getting out of cold water. And we think they still do the job better than any other similar option.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: There is no traction advantage. These boots wont give you any special grip on snow or ice. That said, if you wear them mostly on pavement, in cars, around airports, or indoors, its less of an issue.
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Cole Haan Womens Zerogrand Explorer Hikers
Cole Haans Zerogrand Explorer Hikers have lasted me through multiple Boston winters. Theyre stylish enough that I dont feel like I have to change out of them when I get to my destination, but waterproof and warm enough to stand up to slush and snow. Plus, they have Cole Haans famous Grand.Os technology, which makes these boots ultra-comfortable.
Also Great: Sorel Caribou Boot Mens And Womens
Get this if: You want a snow boot with an impervious rubber base that also lifts you out of slushy, snowy muck. This boot is great for warmer winters that go through a lot of freeze and thaw cycles.
Why its great: The Sorel Caribou, which comes in mens and womens sizes, feels impenetrable. When we tested it against eight other options, it fit better and felt warmer, and its wide base and nubby rubber kept our feet steady on different winter surfaces.
The rubber sole lifts you almost an inch and a half above the ground, which keeps feet warm and dry by physically removing you from the slush. The tongue is gusseted all the way to the top of the snow collar, a rarity . The shaft laces high and tight, and the Caribou has its own sort of speed lacing, composed of four sets of fat, exterior D-rings that allow laces to slide with little friction this will help you get the boot on and off your foot with less effort. Finally, the snow collar prevents flakes from entering.
The boot has three features that provide traction similar to the Kamik Nation Plus: a wide surface area underfoot, a nubby lug pattern that grabs onto chunky ice, and a proper fit. Though the sole can feel clunky, the boot still fits well. Several other boots we tried didnt: Either the heel lifted or the ankle had no support, and both of those issues can cause a foot to slide while youre walking on snow.
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Warmth And Temperature Ratings
Some, but not all, brands will include a comfort or temperature rating for their winter boots. And theyre often very impressive numbers, claiming a rating of -25°F or lower. Right off the bat, lets be clear: there is not a standardized test to rely on for measuring a temperature rating. As such, comfort ranges are not a guarantee that youll be warm at the listed temperatures. In fact, we can almost guarantee you will not beparticularly if youre standing still. As we all know, how well a boot keeps you warm is dependent on a number of individual factors, including age, level of activity, the thickness of your socks, and whether or not you run hot or cold. We recommend using the comfort ranges as basic guidance but stay very conservative with your real-world use.
From Casual Walking To Winter Hiking And Work In Sub
- / Best Winter Boots of 2022
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Winter boots are a timeless and charming piece of gear. From classic Sorels to light and modern designs, they aim to keep your feet protected and warm from wet snow and frigid temperatures. Whether you live in a cold and snowy climate, like to hit the trail in the winter, or want to keep your feet warm après ski, it’s likely you’ll need a winter boot. Below we break down the best winter boots for the 2022 season, including our favorite options for everyday use, hiking, and extreme cold. For background information, check out our comparison table and buying advice.
- Best Boot for Winter Hiking: Merrell Thermo Chill
- Warmest Winter Boot for Extreme Cold: Baffin Impact
- Best Insulated Chelsea Boot for Casual Use:KEEN Anchorage III
- Best Winter Boot for Outdoor Work: Muck Boot Arctic Ice
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Ecco Womens Shape 35 Ankle Bootie
Booties are great for travel, since they offer warmth and support without being as hard to pack as a full boot. Eccos Shape 35 Ankle Bootie is a classic choice, featuring a side zipper for easy on/off at airport security. This pair is also very lightweight, making them easy to pack and unlikely to tire out your feet and legs.
Lowa Mens San Francisco Gtx Lo Surround
The Lowa San Francisco GTX Lo Surrounds look like Euro-style walking shoes but perform like a waterproof hiking boot. The lower-profile style is lighter weight and easier to pack than a hiking boot, but still protects feet on uneven walking surfaces like trails and cobblestone streets. Its a packable and warm sneaker-style shoe that can take the place of heavy boots for some trips.
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Also Consider: Bogs Arcata Knit Boot
*At the time of publishing, the price was $128.
Get this if: You prefer a cozier slip-on that will still keep you stable and dry while you are shoveling and running errands. What you gain in convenience with rubber, slip-on snow boots you sometimes lose in ankle stability . In the case of the Bogs Arcata, the faux fur lining helps address that issue.
Why its great: All of that faux fur makes the Bogs Arcata warm, cozy, and a better fit than any other slip-on boot we tried.
Faux fur is sometimes ridiculed among my friends as being the new pink, in terms of womens fashion. But in the case of winter boots, faux fur is a big advantage! The original native mukluks used fur for warmth, and in this case, the faux fur lining goes all the way over the toes. It makes an all-rubber boot, which can feel loose around the feet, fit more snugly and therefore behave more stably on loose snow, packed snow, and chunky ice.
These boots feel warm, and they should, since theyre rated to -58° F/-50° C, the warmest of our picks. Most of our choices in this guide arent made for such cold temperatures.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: As with every slip-on boot, the top is open, and snow can get in. Snow can also get in through the cut-out handles. But you may not notice or care if you dont regularly deal with large drifts of fresh snow, and the faux fur offers at least a small amount of protection.
Mens Bugaboot Celsius Plus Omni
For ultra-cold weather, you need the Columbia Bugaboot Infinity Boot, which has a special Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining and 400 grams of insulationguaranteed to keep you comfortable even in frigid temperatures. Theyre still comfortable to walk in, with an Adapt Trax outsole to provide advanced traction even in wet weather and a midfoot strap to keep the boot snug and secure.
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Traction Systems For Winter Boots
Winter boots have outsoles designed for walking on snow, but the reality is that even the best rubber compound and tread pattern wont grip all that well on a sheet of ice. To safely hike or even walk around town if the conditions are really bad, we use an additional traction system . There are a variety of designs on the market, from chain-style Yaktrax for casual walking to the Kahtoola MICROspikes for heavy-duty ice and backcountry use.
For pairing with winter boots, one of our favorite traction systems is the Kahtoola NANOspikes. Designed for running in winter, weve found their minimalist style to work wonderfully on icy sidewalks and trails. The 10 small carbide tips provide excellent grip , and the NANOspikes are lightweight and take up very little space in a bag. The downside with all traction systems is they take a little time to put on and take off and can be overkill for mixed conditions, but theyre the best way to cover ground safely on icy days. For a full breakdown of options, see our article on the best winter traction devices.
Removable Liners Vs One
Traditional winter boots like the Sorel Caribou and Kamik NationPlus are two-piece designs with outer shells protecting insulated, removable liners. The advantages of this construction are that the boots are extremely tough: the rubber and leather exterior materials are very durable and waterproof, and they do a great job isolating you from the cold. Further, the removable liners are cushioned and soft, providing more comfort than a typical one-piece design. But perhaps the most significant feature of a removable liner is their ability to dry out more quickly when wet, a feature thats especially vital for expedition use. These types of boots can feel a bit sloppy and ungainly when youre covering long distances, but for short walks, outdoor work, and harsh conditions, a boot with a removable liner is a nice choice.
For active use like hiking or snowshoeing, or if you want to keep weight and bulk to a minimum, its better to go with a one-piece boot. These models often resemble a hiking design and offer a more precise fit and nimbler feel for greater control and stability in difficult terrain. Theyre also lighter on average, which is a positive for longer walks and snowshoe trips. You do compromise a little protection, but quality one-piece designs like the Columbia Bugaboot Celsius Plus or The North Face Chilkat 400 are still formidable options in harsh conditions.
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Using Regular Waterproof Hiking Boots In Winter
Dedicated winter boots offer premium protection and warmth in freezing, snowy conditions, but we often use our regular hiking boots for short and active winter jaunts. For example, if you will be snowshoeing or walking without stopping, uninsulated and waterproof hiking boots with good socks may very well do the trick. One of our favorite models is Salomons classic Quest 4, which has a durable, water-shedding exterior and Gore-Tex bootie that offer lightweight warmth. To be clear, this is a good option for trips when you will be on the go the whole time and the weather isnt particularly frigid. If youll be stopping or out for long stretches of time, its safest to stick with an insulated winter-specific design.
Fitkicks Original Womens Foldable Shoes
Planning footwear for cold-weather travel isnt all about protection from the elements. Youve also got to plan for chilly indoor floors. FitKicks foldable shoes have a rubber sole, so they can be worn outdoors as wellbut for winter travel, your best bet is to pack a pair of these fold-and-go shoes as a comfortable slipper alternative.
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Why You Should Trust Me
Ive been researching and wearing boots for Wirecutter for almost six years. In that time, Ive tested footwear in two regional floods , during the fourth-largest snowfall since record keeping began in the Lake Tahoe basin, and in spring in the Teton Valley of Idaho, a place where mud has its own season. I have a deep affinity for dramatic weather, a knack for getting stuck in it, and more than a few interests that have me wearing boots almost every day of the year.
Womens Thermoball Progressive Zip
The North Face has a reputation for being an outdoorsy, adventure-focused company, but has worked its way into many peoples everyday closets as well. The Progressive Zip boot is the perfect marriage of cold-weather function and on-the-go fashion, combining the sleek aesthetics of a zip-front sneaker with the water-resistant, fleece-lined, insulated technology of a winter boot. Available in vintage white or classic black.
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Boot Outsoles And Grip
Snow boots have a different lug pattern and rubber compound than their on-dirt hiking boot cousins. The compounds are softer and dont harden even when temperatures drop, which helps them to grip on snow and ice. In addition, the lug patterns are aimed to prevent snow build up. The outer soles themselves are very thick and absorb energy well to isolate your feet from any jarring impacts while walking. Vibram made some headlines with their Arctic Grip compound that’s specifically designed to stick to slippery and icy surfaces, which we see in designs like the Merrell Thermo Overlook, Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip, and Muck Boot Arctic Ice. In general, hiking-ready models have the best traction, while casual and work boots can be a little cumbersome and prone to slippage. Regardless of the boot, in very icy conditions well still turn to a winter traction system .