Nothing spoils winter plans faster than not having the proper footwear to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.
Ask any member of the U.S. military what their most important piece of gear is, and chances are they will tell you their boots. The reason they might say this is that any mission is made ten times worse if your feet are wet, cold, or pained. So, this is why it’s important to make sure that during the cold-weather months, you have the best winter boots. There are lots of gross problems that can occur if you wear bad shoes and don’t take care of your feet. But when you add the element of cold to the equation, you run the risk of even more serious problems. From chilblain, hypothermia, frostbite, and “trench foot,” there are so many dangers out there coming for your toes.
While this was just something our ancestors had to endure, we live in a world of technological miracles. We’re not just talking about smartphones, drones, or laptops, either. Thanks to advancements in fabrics, engineering, and design, the best winter boots can make going out in the old easy on your feet. Waterproof but breathable, these shoes are what you will need if you plan to get out into the winter elements for work or outdoor fun. With the best winter boots in your closet, you don’t have let cold weather slow you down. Below you will find our choices for the best winter boots for men and women.
Why You Need the Best Winter Boots
As mentioned above, as one of the parts of the body furthest from your heart, your feet are at one of the greatest risks to cold weather injury. There are two types of cold weather injuries you can be at risk for, freezing injuries and non-freezing injuries. If you end up with the latter, it can turn into the former if you don’t take proper action. First there is chilblain, which results in swollen and itchy lesions after about one- to five hours in cold and wet conditions. “Trench foot” occurs in cold and wet conditions from just above freezing temperatures to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Your feet can go pale or even blue in color, resulting in alternating periods of shooting pain and numbness. If action isn’t taken, you risk a freezing injury, which have long-lasting effects.
You are likely far more familiar with the freezing cold weather injuries, frostbite and hypothermia. The former is a localized injury and the most common cold weather injury, in the U.S. Army at least. Exposed skin is at the greatest risk for it, but it can also effect your feet if they aren’t properly kept dry and insulated. In the most extreme cases, people can lose their toes or foot to it. The other risk you run is hypothermia, which is when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. While the best winter boots alone won’t prevent this, they are a necessary part of making sure you don’t fall victim to it.
How to Choose the Best Winter Boots for You
Now that we know the health risks proper cold weather gear prevents, the question becomes: How do I choose the best winter boots for me? If it were all about function, the choice would be an easy one. However, outside of the military and law enforcement, your cold weather gear isn’t just meant to keep you warm, but it’s part of your style. Fashion is not more important than your health, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important at all. For people who work with others, especially in sales, your look can be crucial to your professional success. Luckily, you don’t have to choose to between warm, healthy feet and your career success.
Credit: Hannah Nelson, Pexels
What makes these the best winter boots is not just that they are of a high-quality and will keep your feet warm and dry. The other thing that makes the awesome is that they are very stylish. Whether you like simple, clean lines or busy boots full of fur frills and other accoutrements, there is a pair here that will fit your needs. You don’t need to sacrifice style or fashion just to make smart choices about how to best protect your extremities. At least one of the boots for men and women listed below are sure to fit seamlessly into your wardrobe.
The Best Winter Boots Can’t Do It Alone
The best winter boots are crucial to keeping your feet warm and healthy during the winter, but they are not magic. You will need to take other precautions in order to best protect yourself. First, and obviously, you will need superior winter gear for the rest of your body. From wooly hats to warm gloves to a heavy coat, keeping yourself warm in the winter is a full-body experience. However, if you wear all of that stuff but forget to properly outfit your feet, it will all be for naught.
Along with the best winter boots, you will want to make sure you have the right socks on underneath. You will want to go with a soft, woolen sock that will help your feet stay warm but won’t soak them in sweat. If you struggle with that, then you can also use powders or sprays to help get that under control. Some are even medicated so if you end up with athlete’s foot or something like that, you can treat it while preventing it from getting worse. Foot care is no joke, especially if you are going to spend an extended amount of time out in the cold. That’s why the best winter boots are an essential part of your winter weather wardrobe.
The Six Best Winter Boots for Women
Fashion and style may be equally important to the sexes, but women tend to be judged about their choices more. No one should have to suffer for style, especially if it’s to appease others and not themselves. Still, these six boot selections below offer supreme comfort and style while doing the important job of keeping your feet safe during the winter.
1. Pajar Foxtrot Boot
This boot from Pajar is a great choice for women who like the natural look of fur and the added protection it gives from the cold. These boots are made from 100 percent leather, soft and smooth for a clean look. The boot is then accented with faux and dyed fox fur, both for an added layer of warmth and a natural style. They come in six colors: white, black, brown, beige, and two styles of Fox fur designs.
The shaft of the boot measures almost a foot in height, and the boot has a sensible one-and-a-half-inch heel. The insole is cushioned with memory foam or you can remove it in favor of an after-market insole. Finally, you don’t have to mess with a lot of lacing, because the boot comes with a tasseled wraparound tie to help diversify your looks and secure the shoe on your foot.
2. Sorel 1964 Pac 2 Snow Boot
These Sorel 1964 Pac 2 snow boots are a great choice for the woman who likes a more rustic look. Made from both genuine leather and synthetic materials, the shaft of the boot sits a little more than nine inches high. The insole is removable, made from a six-millimeter-thick felt insole that is made from recycled felt. It’s washable, but you can also replace it with gel or other insoles for maximum comfort.
With a mild heel, the outsole of the boot is made of vulcanized rubber with a herringbone design on the sole for better traction on slick surfaces. The rest of the boot is made from waterproof nubuck leather, which will also help to keep your feet dry. The upper portion of the boot is lined with faux fur, for an added layer of insulation. There are handful of color-combinations for both the outsole and the shaft of the boot, so you can find one (or more) to fit any style.
3. North Face Shellista Tall Insulated Boot
When it comes to fashion brands best known for mixing cold weather protection and sharp style, the North Face is one of the first to come to mind. Their Shellista Tall Insulated Boot is a great choice for women who are not messing around when it comes to being out in the cold. They come in three great color combinations: dark gray and blue, a pair of purple shades, and black-on-black.
Made entirely from synthetic materials, these are the best winter boots for people who are concerned about using animal products. The design of these boots are inspired by high-tech advancements in shoe technology. Still, they also rely on the old standards.
Faux suede and nubuck leather encase the shaft of the boot, while the outsole is sturdy rubber. These boots are waterproof and insulated against he cold. The interior of these boots are designed specifically for women, injection-molded for a shape that will hug your calf and foot but not strangle them. They look great and work in the most extreme conditions.
4. Cole Haan Hayes Tall Riding Boot
Of all the items on your list of the best winter boots, these smart, sleek riding boots from Cole Haan are the only ones that could be called more stylish than functional. Made for horseback riding, these tall boots will look stunning in any formal or evening attire where you want to look your most stylish. Though, to be clear, these boots are best for walking on city streets in the winter not hiking through the trails looking for elk or whatever people who hike in the winter do.
That shaft is a towering 16-and-a-half inches in burnished suede or leather, with soft, warm fabric lining the interior. While suede might keep you slightly warmer, it is far more easily damaged by moisture and salt. The boots come with a zipper on the side to make putting them on a breeze. You can also include a padded sock lining for extra protection and warmth.
5. Overland Wool-Lined Goat Fur and Calfskin Boots
These boots from Overland are inspired by the look of the winter boots favored by the indigenous peoples of North America. These boots would look great with almost any look, formal or casual, and are crafted from luxurious natural materials. The boots themselves are made from calfskin and accented with goat fur.
The interior is lined with a soft wool, so these are like stylish, furry mittens for your feet. They come with leather lace-ups that serve mostly as detailing on the boot. You can pull them on and off easily. While these aren’t fully waterproof, they are made to handle heavy snow and extreme cold weather. The shaft is a foot tall and the heel is a bit more than two inches.
6. Ugg Sundance Waterproof Winter Boot
Love them or hate them, there is no denying that Ugg boots have made a lasting impression on women’s fashion over the past few years. Their simplistic, bulky style is off-putting to some and incredibly fun and fashionable to others. The other reason these boots have been so successful is, simply, that they work.
Made from leather and sheep’s wool, these boots are waterproof, insulated, and feature a non-slip Vibram sole. The interior is also lined with soft sheep skin, and the boot opening is one of the widest on the market at 14-and-a-half inches. The seams are sealed, with waterproof suede and more sheep skin, so you don’t have to worry about leaks. This particular model comes in three colors, black, brown, and beige.
The Six Best Winter Boots for Men
Some people think that men don’t care about fashion as much as women do, but this is just not true. Still, when it comes to functional clothing, men’s designers tend to favor function over style. Still, our list of the best winter boots for men shows that you don’t have to do that. Whether you like the utilitarian look or want something swankier, you’ll find a workable option below.
1. Duckfeet Arhus Wool-Lined Pebbled Leather Boot
If you want a simple boot that you can wear inside and out, Duckfeet boots are what you are looking for. They come in a dozen colors and styles to fit any look, all made specifically for comfort and to keep your feet warm in the elements. They are slip-on boots made from eco-friendly terracare leather with a natural Italian crepe rubber sole. The top third of the shaft can fold over, revealing the 100 percent shearling wool lining. They feature a flat arch, so you may want to add insoles or arch support, if needed. Still, these boots are a versatile shoe that can equally help you survive the office or the outdoors.
2. Sorel Caribou Wool Boots
For the man who likes a more utilitarian look, the Sorel Caribou Wool boots are a great choice. Essentially, these boots are almost the twin of the Sorel boot listed above in the women’s section. The outsole is made of vulcanized rubber, but the sole features the AeroTrac non-loading outsole for maximum grip on the slippery ground.
The shaft is made from full-grain leather with a seam-sealed construction that makes them waterproof. The inner boot is lined with a blend of felted wool and cotton. The Caribou style also features a wool cuff at the top of the shaft, adding some fashionable flair to these trusty work boots.
3. Nortiv 8 Insulated Waterproof Hiking Boots
These heavy-duty boots from Nortiv 8 have a chunky style but feature all the benefits of the best winter boots. Made from leather with a durable rubber outsole, these boots can handle a lot of punishment. The Thermolite insulation is rated to be effective in temperature as low as 25 degrees-below-zero Fahrenheit.
The EVA footbed is cushioned so your feet are comfortable and supported. The sole of the boot is oil and slip resistant, relying on multi-directional lugs for the best traction on all types of terrain. The boot comes in a number of colors and styles, some more like a luxury sneaker than a work boot. Still, this model can handle whatever you throw at it, keeping your feet dry and warm in the process.
4. Bobcat K-Zip Insulated Pac Boot
Just because you need a durable, heavy work boot doesn’t mean you can’t pick one with a sleek, futuristic style. The Kenetrek Bobcat K Zip Insulated Pac Boot merges the necessary materials for the best winter boots and sleek design. The shaft is layered with six-ounce, oil-tanned leather, contoured to best fit your leg.
These boots work in all sorts of cold weather, thanks to the three-part removable liner. They pack a lot into just 6 millimeters of thickness. The first part is made from a moisture-wicking synthetic material. The second is made from 400 grams of Thinsulate Ultra insulation. The final layer is three millimeters of wool, keeping your feet warm and dry.
The rubber outsoles are handmade and feature steel shanks inside for extra durability. Finally, you won’t have to fool with laces, because the heavy-duty zipper makes it easy enough to put on with one hand.
5. Pajar Men’s Trooper Boot
As mentioned above, members of the military and law enforcement agencies have to do their duty no matter the weather. So, they take their cold weather gear very seriously. This boot from Pajar employs all the latest designs in the preferred boots for those folks in a design more stylish than they would be allowed to wear. The Trooper boot comes in six different colors and styles, so it can match any look. Like modern Army boots, there is an asymmetric side-zipper that makes putting them on and taking them off easy and fast.
It also features laces on the front, so you can tighten the boot appropriately. It’s a slight boot with only a seven-inch shaft, which makes them light and better for more active pursuits. The synthetic rubber sole provides great traction without being overly thick and heavy. The rest of the boot is made from 100 percent leather and natural textiles. The interior is lined with Sherpa wool and a removable memory foam insole. These boots can handle a lot of action, but be aware that they are not fully waterproof.
6. Baffin Tundra Boot
The final entry in our men’s best winter boots list comes from Baffin, a boot maker from Canada, where they know their cold weather. With a simple design made from waterproof synthetics, this boot is equally excellent for going ice-fishing or down the street to pick up the Christmas tree. At the top of the shaft is a drawstring tie that can help further close out the cold.
The boot comes with a nice liner, but it’s really thick. You might want to order a size larger than you usually would because of it, which would also give you room for thick socks. The boots are slip-on with a tightening strap just above the outsole. These boots are rated for temperatures as cold as 40-degrees-below-zero Fahrenheit. In fact, these boots are so warm that you should probably only get them if you are going to be outside in very extreme cold. In above-freezing weather, your feet would likely sweat (which can lead to other problems). Save these for winter hunting trips or the ski lodge.
If you are a person who likes to own the nicest luxury items, the best winter boots are stylish and practical.
As the winter drags on and gets colder, it can be easy to fall victim to lethargy and apathy. Why go outside when you can just stay snuggled under a blanket binge-watching a baking reality show? Yet, as nice as that sounds for a day off or to recharge, that can get old quickly. Going outside, even during the winter months, is good for the soul and the constitution. Yet, it only works if you dress appropriately so you don’t risk illness or cold weather injury. Thankfully, with the best winter boots to protect your feet, you won’t have to worry when you do make it out into the fresh air. The right pair of boots can help you feel ready to get back out into the world, even when it’s freezing and dark by five in the evening.
What do you think? Do you have a trusty pair of the best winter boots we didn’t mention? Let us know your thoughts, reactions, and experiences in the comments below. Don’t forget to share the article on social media if you enjoyed it, so your friends can get in on the conversation.