You don’t need to be buried 10 feet deep in snow to appreciate a good pair of snow boots. You have your Northface boots and Columbia boots, your fancy designs and waterproof materials, your heat insulation and slip prevention. They’re all great, but which pair is best for you?
So first, let’s talk about how to choose a good pair of snow boots. We’ll look at popular retail products with an eye out for design and functionality, before introducing the top 10. May you find a warm companion for those gray, grimy days.
How to Choose Snow Boots – Buying Guide
Good boots strike a balance between design and practicality. Here are some things to look out for.
The No-Brainers: Water Resistance and Heat Insulation
You trek through slush in snow boots, so make sure they repel water and trap in heat. Some shoes come coated in water repellent, but the finish wears off real soon–so go for water resistant material. And look out for seamless designs, because water can and will find its way in through the stitching.
Also, are the boots thermal insulated? Recently, companies have been releasing technology such as “Omni-Heat” and “Outlast” that warm you up–using your own body heat. Look out for them.
Don’t Embarrass Yourself: Slip Resistant Soles
You know those snow boots equipped with spikes underneath? Kind of tempting, but you don’t have to look like an assassin to keep your balance in the snow. Soft soles boast enhanced grip and flexibility, great for subzero temperatures. They use the same kind of technology that keeps your car tires from skidding off the road. At the store, check out the shape of and materials used in the soles. Are they slip resistant? Hint: soft soles are a safe bet, because they don’t slip on ice.
Blasted by Blizzards? Go For Tall and Light Snow Boots
If there’s heavy snowfall in your area, try for towering snow boots. If snow is constantly sliding into your shoes and nipping at your toes, the best bet is knee-high boots.
We also recommend going for something light. When you’re trudging through valleys and hills of white, boots with spikes or thick outer soles get heavy real fast. Ideally, you want about 1 lb per shoe. These won’t tire you out, even when the land is laden with snow.
Go for Something Larger
You don’t want shoes that fit perfectly. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? However, when snow boots are too snug, your feet are going to feel the bite of the wind and frost, even through the shoe. Larger sizes– by about a quarter to a half an inch–leave a layer of air between the elements and your toes, shielding you from the cold. And you can fit in good thick socks.
Looking for Baby Boots? Make Sure They’re Easy to Slip on and off
For kids, buy snow boots that are going to go on and come off easily. Yes, you want to buy the flashy colors and doll up your kid, but practicality comes first.
Another thing to look out for: size. Children outgrow their shoes in a matter of months, so it’s tempting to just go a few sizes larger. But chances are, if you do, your kid is going to stumble and go tumbling in the snow. So buy good, practical boots, rather than expensive ones–because you might be purchasing new ones every season.
And Finally, Do They Look Good on You?
It’s like a battle between practicality and design. The sleekest boots are always inviting cold air in, arms wide open; the warmest are plain ugly. But more companies are turning out snow boots that do everything we talked about, and also don’t look like two cinder-blocks tied to your feet.
So yes, there are shoes that can stand up to the great outdoors and look good striding down a busy New York street; just keep your eyes peeled.
Top 10 Best Snow Boots to Buy Online
Now to introduce our list of the top 10 snow boots. We hope you find something that’ll keep you warm for many winters to come.
10. Northside Boys Girls Toddler Frosty Winter Snow Boot
Price: From $8.77
The Bargain Boot for Kids
The bottom of this boot in encased in a lightweight waterproof shell. The shaft is nylon, lined with fabric, and comes in 44 different designs. And it slides on and off the foot like a glass slipper.
If you like taking long, snowy walks with your family, though, know these boots won’t last for long. The soles hold on to snow–and the snow compacts and builds up until your kid is walking on ice stilts. Grab a pair for weekend trips to the ski resort.
9. KINGSHOW Mens Warm Waterproof Winter Snow Boots
Price: From $22.75
Budget Boots for Sudden Snowfall
You spend most of your days under the sun, warm, happy, and dry. Actually, you don’t even see snow, except for the fleeting flurry or 3-day business trip to New York. So why spend a fortune? If you’re looking for bare bones minimum snow boots, then take these out for a spin.
They’re comfortable, with enough traction to make sure you aren’t slipping and sliding down the sidewalk. But no, they aren’t immortal. We recommend just throwing them in the closet and pulling them out in a pinch.
8. Kingshow Women’s Globalwin Waterproof Winter Boots
Price: From $25.45
For Snowy Cityscapes
For ladies with larger calves: a pair of snow boots that don’t choke your legs. The laces threading up the front of these boots let you adjust shaft size. And there’s a cushioned collar, so your ankles don’t get chafed.
Word to the wise: the seams do let in water after you’ve been kicking up snow for a couple of hours. You won’t be trekking through the tundra with these, but they look beautiful in the midst of snowy cityscapes.
7. Sorel Women’s Winter Carnival Boot
Price: From $39.05
Lasts Through Long, Grey Winter Treks
These boots are soft–with canvas sides and fur lining that precludes any chaffing. Yet the material is waterproof and will keep you dry as long as you aren’t trudging through slush for hours.
A few things to watch out for: the liner is removable, which means you can air them out. Also means they slip out of the boot with your foot. You’ll have to put the liner on before slipping into the boots–so think twice if you have zero patience for extra hassle. Also, the sizes do run big; reviews recommend going down by half a size.
6. Columbia Women’s Ice Maiden II Snow Boot
Price: From $52.00
Fashion Meets Functionality
Another gem from Columbia, these snow boots are built to last. Take them into the heart of winter, through many years, over sleet and ice–you will stay dry. They utilize Omni-Heat technology, which locks in heat without suffocating your feet.
They’re also available in five nature-inspired colors, from a stony shale to softer dahlia. Streamlined enough to slip under jeans, these boots don’t compromise on design or practicality.
5. Kamik Men’s Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot
Price: From $38.08
Stay Dry through January Blizzards
If you hate water even more than your cat does, take at look at these boots. Pretty much everything is waterproof. The material is seamless, a durable nylon; there’s even a drawstring on top to shut out the snow.
They’re sturdy, but not heavy. The Velcro strap in the middle means you don’t have to wrestle the boot off your foot, and the rubber sole grabs on to ice and packed snow. If you are planning to travel into a great expanse of white, then keep a pair of these handy.
4. Baffin Men’s Impact Insulated Boot
Price: From $125.90
For When There Are Icicles Hanging off Your Face
First things first: these boots are only for you if you live through months of white, wet, icy misery. The padding is foam based, and it’s warm, wicks moisture away, and molds to your foot like a good pillow. It also makes the boots really snug–so try going a size bigger. And the buckles make them super easy to slip on and off.
These boots don’t joke around though; in anything above zero, they end up being too warm. Get them if your winters are grueling–or if you have feet with zero circulation.
3. Global Win Women’s Fur Trek Winter Boots
Price: From $20.29
For Ski Trips and Snowy Walks in the Park
If you live in a city where snow blankets the buildings in winter, then try for a pair of these boots. You can spend hours shoveling snow in your driveway, romp around the ski resort, and you’ll be fine. Dry.
The soles don’t slip, and they look and function way better than the price tag suggests. They won’t stand in for heavy-duty, $200 boots–recommended for the casual snow-lover.
2. Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus Omni-Heat Michelin Snow Boot
Price: From $51.68
A Pair of Great All-Around Boots
Yes, Michelin designs tires. They also designed the soles of these boots–which are a bit tacky and will not skid. Not as light as sneakers, but almost. You could trek for hours in these boots and not feel like lead is running through your legs. Also waterproof, warm–utilizes Omni-Heat technology–and durable.
Just one thing: they are a bit stiff. You can break them in to a certain point, but even then, they won’t be pliable. Some like the extra support; some find it uncomfortable. Think about which category you fall under.
1. UGG Women’s Adirondack Tall Snow Boot
Price: From $112.44
Face Winter in Soft Leather and Suede
So, first off, some tips when getting these shoes. If you have muscular calves, you might need to buy longer laces to open up the shaft. Sizes also run a bit small; try going half a size (or a full size if you have wide feet) larger.
That being said, when it comes to the feel of these boots–how elegant they look, how the material is soft and pliable–Adirondacks are top-class. They’re also lined with fur and stay toasty. And yet, somehow, they let your feet breathe. Magical.
So we’ve gone through snow boots for New York streets and the middle of the tundra, for skiers and hunters. Did you find a pair that reach out to you?
Even though it’s important to get shoes that–first and foremost–retain heat and repel water, also keep an eye out for design. So remember these tips, and get a pair of snow boots that will follow you into the world of Jack London and beyond.