When most people think of winter gear, they likely imagine coats, hats, and gloves. However, keeping your feet warm with snow boots is just as important. And not only that, but cold weather can bring about unpredictable conditions. Footwear that provides grip and stability can save you from a slip and fall. Not to mention, the wrong boots in extreme weather could end up costing you a toe or two.
You want a pair of snow boots that will keep your feet cozy and well-protected, but with so many choices available, how do you know which boots are the best for your needs? After learning about snow boots in general, as well as the features of the top boots on the market, you'll be ready for winter before you know it. And your feet will be toasty warm no matter what the weather brings.
What Is a Snow Boot?
Snow boots aren't the same as regular "winter" boots. Footwear for the winter months is primarily designed to keep your feet warm, despite extreme cold.
Snow boots are for walking in more intense weather conditions and doing more strenuous activities in standing snow or extreme cold. When you go hiking, skiing, sledding, mountain climbing, or engage in other winter activities, you want to grab a pair of snow boots. This is especially true if you live in an area that gets severe winter storms or lots of deep of snow. Snow boots can also give you extra support in slippery, icy conditions.
What to look for in a snow boot
There are a few primary factors to consider when purchasing a snow boot: warmth, waterproofness, traction, and activity level. All of these will help you decide if you're buying a good boot or not.
The amount of insulation you need is dependent upon the conditions you'll be in. If you are spending lots of time in below zero weather conditions, you need footwear that will provide maximum insulation. However, if you're in more temperate winter conditions, too much insulation can cause your feet to sweat which leads to your toes becoming colder and the possibility of frostbite. Also, stay away from boots that pinch your legs as they can cause numbness in your feet.
If you're an adventurer and you enjoy activities like ice fishing or snowmobiling, find boots that provide maximum warmth. Pac boots have rubber outsoles and a removable liner that you can switch out for dry ones if they get wet. They are the best type of snowboot to buy for this kind of activity. Also, waterproof winter hiking boots are a better investment than Pac boots if you plan to be really active in frigid weather. If you will be in deep snow, consider buying a pair of gaiters in case your winter hiking boots aren't tall enough.
If you're an adventurer and you enjoy activities like ice fishing, pay attention to the lugs when shopping for snow boots. These are the lumps on the rubber outsoles that provide traction. If you need maximum traction, purchase boots that have deep, angular lugs. That type of pattern grips the ground while also expelling mud and dirt.
Waterproofness is the basis of proper winter footwear. If you plan to be on a slushy, icy trail, the last thing you need is wet feet. It's best to get seam-sealed snow boots that block out moisture and prevent you from losing the feeling, or worse, in your feet during long hikes on frozen landscapes.
How We Reviewed
We researched numerous brands of snowshoes and compared the quality of each. Our goal was to find shoes that are versatile and hold up in severe weather conditions. We also looked for the boots that would provide better quality and are designed with advanced features. Plus, we read through customer reviews to ensure that the footwear worked as promised. We wanted to get an unbiased opinion on whether the snowboot was worth buying or not. Ultimately, we choose brands that had good ratings from reviewers and had a top-notch design.
The Best Snow Boot Brands
If you're needing help finding the right snow boots, we've come compiled a list of some of the best brands on the market.
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This is a brand of classic Pac boots designed with 9mm ThermoPlus felt liners made to endure freezing weather conditions. These boots can handle temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees. They also come with removable boot liners so you can let them dry at the end of your day. Sorel Caribou boots are heavy-duty and work well for keeping your feet warm. They're equipped with waterproof leather uppers and bottoms and lugged rubber for traction.
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The boots kept her feet warm without making them sweat and causing frozen toes. On the other hand, another user didn't like the quality of these boots and felt they were too heavy and clunky.
Bogs boots come equipped with 7mm Neo-Tech neoprene that's waterproof and is great for walking in slush and wet snow. The long design is 15 inches and delivers long-lasting warmth -- and it makes maneuvering your feet in misty conditions easy. Plus, the traction is made with non-marking and non-slip rubber.
You can purchase them on Amazon or on the Bog's website. One reviewer said they provide a good grip on snowy days and are insulated well. However, another user noted that her footwear wore out after a month of wearing them.
Merell Capra ice boots feature Vibram rubber with Arctic Grip compound that adheres to wet ice when the ground is slick. These shoes are perfect for a snowy hike, and they're breathable so that you won't get sweaty feet.
- M Select DRY seals out water and lets moisture escape so you stay dry when you're on the move Coated leather upper
- Traditional lace closure Bellows tongue keeps debris out Conductor fleece lining for added warmth
- M Select WARM lightweight, low bulk 200 grams insulation keeps you comfortable Merrell M Select FIT.ECO blended EVA...
It should be noted that there are currently only three reviews. One reviewer stated that they started falling apart shortly after purchasing. However, a customer on the Merrell site said the grip on the shoes exceeded his expectations.
Next up is the Columbia Bugaboot Plus. These boots provide warmth and mobility. They have a light-weight build and are the ideal boots for hiking and snowshoeing. The build consists of 200g of synthetic insulation and weighs about 2 pounds.
- Mid-calf winter boot featuring insulated cushioning and lace-up vamp with hardware eyelets
- Waterproof seam-sealed construction
- Omni-Grip non-marking traction
You can buy them on Amazon and the Columbia website. One user noted that these boots are the best quality that they've ever had. Unfortunately, another reviewer said the shoes weren't as warm as advertised.
The Salomon brand of footwear uses NASA technology for extreme temperatures of up to negative 40 degrees. They have a rubber sole and also have a synthetic, waterproof material.
- NASA technology for temperatures that are out of this world, Aerogels, makes the Toundra Salomon's warmest boot. Warm to...
- Full CLIMASALOMON waterproof bootie guarantees that moisture will not penetrate the boot
- Trudge through Snow and ice with more confidence than Sno-Cat. The aggressive treads on this winter Contagrip sole offer...
One user stated that these snow boots are excellent for sub-zero weather. On the contrary, another customer was dissatisfied with the shoes and says the footwear for this brand always runs small.
Vasque brand snow boots feature Thinsulate insulation with Aerogel insulating foam. The material is waterproof suede, and the sole has Vibram rubber with IceTrek compound. Their 7mm felted wool liners also help to keep your feet warm in freezing temperatures.
These were the best boots he's ever owned. However, another user said they were too tight on this ankles, and the design is too small.
These boots are lightweight and come with 200 grams of insulation and full waterproof construction. The rubber sole and leather uppers are perfect for winter walking and snowshoe trips. Plus, the ankle height and flexible upper makes these snowboots great for everyday wear and driving.
They keep your feet warm and dry. On the other hand, another customer noted the shoes are too small and have poor lace design.
Keen Durand is a superb boot brand for hiking in snowy conditions and has good traction. These shoes are best for long winter walks and snowshoe treks and provide excellent warmth and protection.
- STAY WARM: The Durand Polar boots feature KEEN's lightweight charcoal bamboo insulation and a thermal heat-shield...
- STAY DRY: KEEN's waterproof, breathable membrane keeps your feet dry, making these boots ideal for outdoor activities in...
- COMFORTABLE: These boots feature a PU (polyurethane) foam midsole for resilient cushioning and a removable, metatomical...
One reviewer noted that these boots keep his feet warm and dry. Unfortunately, another user said her shoelaces started to come apart after a couple of months.
This brand is has a durable rubber sole and 400-gram Thinsulate insulation. They also come with a built-in gaiter that prevents snow and cold air from entering your boots.
They work well in harsh conditions. However, another user reported the rubber on his sole cracked after three months.
Last on the list is Muck brand boots and they're great for foot protection, traction, and warmth. These boots feature Vibram outsoles, which are great for adhering to slippery ice. And even better, they're really tall, so they cover your ankles and legs well too.
- FLEXIBLE NEOPRENE: 8 mm neoprene provides comfort and flexibility, along with excellent shock absorption and heat...
- EXTENDED RUBBER & SPANDURA: Arctic Ice Men's Winter Boots feature high grade extended rubber coverage; tough, flexible...
- WINTER WARMTH: Soft fleece lining enhances comfort and provides excellent warmth through long periods of standing or...
These will be the only winter boots they will ever purchase. On the contrary, another reviewer stated that these boots make his feet sweat and make them feel chilled.
Best Overall Snow Boot
All of the snow boots listed above are great in their own way, and each has a unique quality. However, we believe the Salomon Toundra Pro boots have the most to offer. The features on these boots are top-notch and provide ultimate protection. From the NASA technology to the waterproof material, this brand has taken things to the next level.
Furthermore, the majority of the customers who buy these shoes are really happy with them. The primary complaint was the size of the boots, which doesn't change the fact that they're quality footwear. So, Saloloman is our top pick. On the other hand, we know that everyone's preferences are different. Therefore, it's best to purchase the boots that will fit your needs.
What snow boots are in your closet? Do you have a favorite that we did not cover, or feedback about one of the pairs we did? Please, let us know down in the comments!