Built to keep feet comfortable, dry, and warm in most conditions, thanks to the leather and synthetic materials crafted with waterproof seams. Rugged rubber soles offer superior traction; foot bed has supportive cushioning.
May be a bit stiff and uncomfortable during the initial break-in period. Run a bit small and tight on some men. Rare possible faulty pairs, as a few wearers report wet feet, but many more rave about them keeping feet dry.
Good-looking lightweight ankle boots that are easy to put on/take off, and have reliable traction. Owners love the comfortable feel and plushy lining. Can be worn by men or women. Affordable.
Cushioning and support could be better, and the insoles don't stay put. Not ideal for trudging through thick snow, as they are not waterproof.
Earn praise for being affordable and offering an impressive list of features that includes thick, slip-resistant rubber soles, waterproof materials, and protective Thermolite insulation.
A few men complain about size discrepancies – fit that is too small or too large. Somewhat bulky and heavy, which is typical of many winter boots.
In addition to their sturdy leather construction with waterproof coating and warm Thinsulate lining, these London Fog boots sport a fashionable look that works with winter fashions.
Feels a bit bulky and heavy on the foot. Some men may have to go down a half size, as they tend to run wide. Some issues with stitch unraveling reported.
Muck Boots are renowned for cold, rain, and snow, and these boots fit the bill, thanks to the rubber waterproof build, durable lugs and thermal foot bed lining. Can be worn by men and women.
Some owners gripe about them rubbing uncomfortably against the calf. Sizes run narrow on some individuals with wider feet. Though grippy outdoors, the soles may be slippery on some floor surfaces.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A snow boot is not something to protect you from just the cold — it’s a piece of gear that protects you from snow, mud, water, and the cold. Unlike regular winter boots, snow boots have high shafts and are typically waterproof, keeping you warm and dry as you trudge through the toughest snow of winter.
The conditions you will be dealing with should inform the type of snow boots you select. Boot elements such as outsole, insulation, breathability, and lacing system should all be taken into consideration.
When it comes to your winter gear, your boots are the last item to ignore, as they can keep you outside for longer periods and keep your toes and feet safe.
Choosing a snow boot to carry you through deep drifts and icy slush means considering its individual parts and the level of protection offered by each. You should have an idea of what conditions you will typically use your boots in, as different conditions and temperatures call for different materials, shaft heights, and breathability. A snow boot for winter hikes should have a low shaft, high breathability, and a lugged outsole. For trudging through snowy streets on your way to work, you will want a tall shaft, reliable waterproofing, and excellent insulation.
The uppers make up the largest part of the boot, covering the top of the foot and the ankle and lower calf. Generally made from nylon or leather, the upper protects your feet from coldness and moisture. Some boots may have a “lower,” which is often made of rubber and further aids in waterproofing the boot.
For a bit of extra protection against cold and snow, the cuff, often made of fleece, can be a useful and stylish feature. However, not all boots include cuffs.
The tall part of the boot that covers your ankle or calf is called the shaft. A taller shaft is more likely to keep your ankles warm while you adventure in a winter wonderland. Lower snow boots that only protect your ankle may be as short as six inches (measuring from the heel), while higher boots of around 12 inches protect the lower calf and ankle. A shorter shaft is easier to walk or hike in for long periods, while a taller shaft offers more protection but less flexibility.
Lacing or closure system
The lacing system of a boot determines how you secure your feet in the boot and how quickly you can lace up.
Eyelets are a traditional choice and feature metal holes for quick lacing.
Webbing uses horizontal nylon loops to secure laces.
D-rings are D-shaped rings on hinges.
Hooks are metal pieces that must be laced each time.
Zippers are quick and convenient but present a potential opening for water.
Slip-on designs have no openings aside from the one to get your foot in, making them simple but sometimes challenging to get into.
Hook-and-loop or buckle designs often work similarly to slip-on snow boots, with the straps offering a snug and easy-to-adjust fit.
Lacing and closure systems may take more or less time when gearing up. They also play a large role in the overall style and appearance of the boot.
The bottom of a boot — the part that provides traction — is called the outsole. Generally made of rubber, this part should prevent you from slipping while remaining clear of snow. Some outsoles are described as “lugged,” meaning they have aggressive teeth to dig into soil and snow. Wider spaces between lugs allows snow to clear out easily, preventing the outsole from becoming slippery.
Also known as the “insole,” a footbed lies inside the liner of a boot and supports your foot, particularly its arch. A molded footbed can greatly improve the overall comfort of a boot.
Most snow boots are rated for protection down to a certain temperature. Choosing the right type of insulation depends largely on your environment and the conditions in which you intend to use your boot. For example, a boot with an extremely low rating like -60°F can become too warm when worn in 25°F weather. Most insulation comes in the form of synthetic down or fill and is found in either the upper or in a removable liner.
Airflow may not be the first factor you think of when shopping for a snow boot, but keeping your feet free of the moisture formed when you sweat is key to keeping you warm. Highly waterproof boots may struggle with breathability, which can result in sweaty feet that become cold quickly. Some linings are made of materials that are both waterproof and breathable, which is your best option if you know you will be in extremely cold and wet environments.
Uppers may be treated with DRW (durable water repellent) coatings to prevent moisture and water from seeping through the material. The material of the lower, as well as the lining, can increase the waterproofing of a boot.
Some snow boots may have pull loops, which allow you to easily slip into your boots.
The shank height plays a large role in the flexibility of the boot and overall warmth, so choose your boots accordingly.
A good pair of snow pants can complement your snow boots and keep you warm and dry for longer stretches.
For preventing any snow from slipping into your boot, a snow gaiter is the tool for the job. A snow gaiter is a piece of nylon near the cuff that cinches closed to create a seal against your ankle or calf, closing any gaps that snow could otherwise slip through. Many snow boots have built-in gaiters, but separate ones can be purchased otherwise.
For the best insulation available, boots with removable liners are a good way to go. These typically provide better protection from the cold than boots with insulation in the upper alone, and the liner can be removed for easy drying and cleaning. Some liners may also be waterproof, providing an additional layer of protection from moisture.
If you are seeking a utilitarian boot to keep you dry, style may be less of a consideration. However, if you plan to wear your boots to work during blizzards, you will want something that suits you and complements your wardrobe. The materials of the boot play a large part in this, with leather or synthetic leathers offering a stylish and classic look. Some synthetic materials like nylon can be eye-catching and may come in a variety of colors.
Rugged and versatile
Comfort and function meet in this well-designed waterproof boot. The outsoles have excellent traction, and the footbed is comfortable for longer periods of wear.
Lower-priced snow boots for around $30 to $60 often use synthetic materials and may have lower shafts. While some boots in this range may be waterproof, the overall insulation and breathability tends to be of lower quality than more expensive boots.
Snow boots in the $60 to $120 range are typically durable and fit for a variety of environments. The shaft height will vary, and some boots in this range are fully waterproof. Removable liners and supportive footbeds are common in this range.
For $120 to $200, you will find extremely durable and stylish snow boots that may have leather uppers and collars. Boots in this range often include snow gaiters and tend to be highly breathable and waterproof.
Affordable yet durable
The excellent Thermolite insulation works hard to keep you warm, while the slip-resistant outsoles keep you on your feet. Despite the low price, these boots do not sacrifice quality.
Some brands may run large or small, so it’s a good idea to check the manufacturer-provided sizing chart, if available, to help you find the perfect fit.
The “kick test” can help you gauge whether there is too much or too little room in the boot. After lacing up your new boots, kick the ground firmly to see if you experience any discomfort when your toes press against the toe box. If your toes make contact with the toe box, your boots may be too small.
There should be a small amount of space between your heel and the back of the boot.
Snow boot sizes should reflect normal sizes and are designed to accommodate thick wool socks, so you should look for your usual size.
While our top recommendations are excellent options for snow boots, many of them have lower shafts, making them better suited to hiking or walking through moderate snowfalls. For a higher-shafted boot that can handle deep drifts, the Kamik Men’s Nationplus Boots is a reliable option from a trusted company. We love this boot for its leather design, durable rubber outsole, and excellent performance in deep snow and slush. For an all-around excellent snow boot with a built-in garter, the Sorel Men’s Conquest Boot is a comfortable and tough — albeit expensive — option. This is a great boot for truly extreme winter conditions and deep snow.
Q. How should I clean the liner of my snow boots?
A. In most cases, liners should be washed by hand in warm water with soap or detergent, usually by soaking the boots for several minutes. Then, they should be rinsed in cool water and left to dry wrapped in a towel. Always consult the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods.
Q. What should I do if my snow boots become soaked?
A. Putting your wet boots in the dryer is rarely the answer, as this can damage materials like leather and shrink the boots. In most cases, you should wipe away any excess moisture with a towel and stuff the boots with newspaper. Placing the boots near a fan can speed up the process, but make sure to keep the boots away from a heat source.
Q. How can I improve the traction of my boots?
A. Aside from ensuring that the treads remain free of snow and debris, a pair of crampons (metal teeth that strap to the bottom of your boot) can keep you upright when on winter hikes.
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