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The Best Winter Boots For Dealing with Snow, Ice, and Extreme Cold

Membranes, outsoles, temperature ratings, oh my! Making sense of all the specs when shopping for winter boots can be a challenge, but the right features and fit mean you’ll happily prance in a winter wonderland rather than being stuck inside (or caught outside with freezing toes). That's where we come in. Whether you're a novice hiker, an expert mountaineer, or just looking to keep your feet warm and dry until spring, these are the best winter boots for men and women.

What to Look for in a Pair of Winter Boots

Three things make a winter boot: waterproofing, insulation, and traction. You may not need all of them depending on the conditions where you live or frequently travel. Waterproofing, for example, may not be critical in desert winter even if temperatures drop. Insulation is essential once the mercury dips below freezing. Some boots, but not all, will offer a temperature rating—an approximate “lowest temp” to which the boots will stay warm and comfortable. Traction is most critical in snowy and icy conditions, although rain can sometimes present a challenge, too. Ultimately, the boots should fit not only your feet (duh) but also the conditions you expect to use them in. Keep an eye out for sizing recommendations (some boots run smaller, bigger, wider or narrower than others) from both the manufacturer and the reviewers.

What to Avoid in a Pair of Winter Boots

There’s a big difference between water-resistant and waterproof—one promises only a small amount of protection against water (it can handle a light drizzle) but won’t help if shoes are saturated (think walking in snow). Unless you live in an arid climate, avoid boots that provide warmth but only “water-resistance” or no water protection at all. Additionally, if you’re not going to be wearing them somewhere brutally cold, you probably don’t need boots that are rated for super-sub-zero temperatures. If they’re arctic-ready but you’re not, you’ll likely end up sweating in your boots, leading to chafing, blisters, and general discomfort. As with all shoes, you should avoid anything that rubs your foot the wrong way, or that is too narrow or too wide. Winter shoes are often less forgiving than canvas or other lightweight shoes (they’ve got to keep all that rain and snow out, after all), so having a good fit to start is essential.

The Best Winter Boots for Women

1

Best Women’s Winter Boots Overall

UGG Women's W Adirondack III Snow.

UGG Women’s W Adirondack III Snow

When you think of warm boots, Ugg might already come to mind. The brand’s Adirondack boots take their signature coziness and dial it way, way up. Waterproof and with an outsole designed for snow and ice, the leather lace-ups stay warm even in temperatures as low as -26 degrees Fahrenheit.

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RELATED: The 33 Best Ugg Boots for Every Occasion, Person, and Age

2

Best Winter Hiking Boots for Women

Oboz Bridger 7" Insulated B-Dry Hiking Boot.

Oboz Bridger 7″ Insulated B-Dry Hiking Boot

Miles into a rugged hiking trail is no place for your shoes to let you down. Oboz is popular for their tough-as-hell hikers, and this nubuck leather boot is no exception. Waterproof, insulated, and decked with grippy lugged outsoles, the Bridgers are made for serious hiking. Branching out on your winter adventures? They’re also the perfect shape for snowshoes.

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3

Most Stylish Winter Boots for Women

La Canadienne Evitta.

La Canadienne Evitta

Winter boots don’t have to be clunky. Montreal-based bootmaker La Canadienne proves this again and again with their huge line of chic (we said it, chic) winter boots, including the calf-suede Evitta. The waterproof ankle boots zip closed and feature a faux-fur microfiber trim that’s toasty and soft. They run a little tight, so reviewers recommend ordering a half size up for the best fit.

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4

Best Tall Winter Boots for Women

La Canadienne Women's Gaetana Boot.

La Canadienne Gaetana

Did the Evittas blow your mind with the fact that winter boots can be chic? Get ready for another stylish option from La Canadienne, these beautiful and flattering knee-high boots are waterproof but also stretchy, so they’re amazingly comfortable. Reviewers say once on, they’re great all day and surprisingly light. The wedges add a bit of sophistication.

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5

Best Mid-Calf Winter Boots for Women

The North Face Women's Shellista III Mid Boot.

The North Face Women’s Shellista III Mid Boot

Dealing with too-deep-for-booties snow? The North Face’s Shellista has insulation and a waterproof outer shell, which reviewers say have kept their toes toasty and dry in as much as eight inches of snow.

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6

Best Short Winter Boots for Women

WOMEN'S BALLARD LACE II BOOTS.

The North Face Ballard Lace II Boots

Sometimes all you need is a good-looking boot that gets the job done, and this pair of leather Ballard Lace Boots from The North Face does exactly that. There’s not much in the way of insulation, so warm socks will be a must (that’s true for all winter boots), but they’re waterproof and the sole is temperature-sensitive in order to grip icy walkways.

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7

Best Women’s Winter Boots for Wide Feet

Propét Women's Lumi Tall Lace Snow Boot.

Propét Lumi Tall Lace Snow Boot

Wide-footed women know just how suffocating snow boots can be, and how finding a breathable pair can feel damn near impossible. Your search is over: Washington State-based Propet footwear stands out for its selection of wide shoes, extra wide, and extra extra wide shoes. This look is a classic lace-up boot with fur trim that looks casual-chic over leggings or ruggedly smart in more serious winter conditions. The lower part of the boot is made of rubber, while the rest is a Scotchguard-treated suede.

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8

Best Hard-Core Winter Boots for Women

Baffin Women's Impact Insulated Boot.

Baffin Impact Insulated Boot

How extreme are you? If you’re negative-100-degrees-Fahrenheit extreme, then these are the boots that will save you from frostbite. (Their technical comfort range goes all the way down to -148 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact.) Every inch of the Baffin Impact boot is designed to keep you safe, from the cinch at the top that seals out snow and moisture to the intense sole that provides mega traction. Reviewers praise how light the boots are and say they kept their feet warm in places as extreme as interior Alaska.

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9

Best Women’s Winter Boots Under $100

DADAWEN Women's Waterproof Frosty Snow Boot.

Dadawen Waterproof Frosty Snow Boot

Warm feet don’t have to mean expensive shoes. These puffy boots (available in a rainbow of happy colors) are waterproof, insulated, and spiffed out with furry lining. Reviewers say they have excellent traction in the snow—a feature that’s earned them hundreds of rave reviews. Even better, you can snag them for less than $40.

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10

Best Everyday Women’s Winter Boots

BomKinta Women's Snow Boots.

BomKinta Winter Ankle Booties

When you just want something cute and simple to throw on through the dreary days of winter, these BomKinta lace-up shoes fit the bill: easy to slip on, lined with faux fur, and totally waterproof. Reviewers say they’ve held up in Great Lakes-region winters and that they’re roomy enough to wear thicker socks.

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The Best Winter Boots for Men

11

Best Men’s Winter Boots Overall

Columbia Men's Bugaboot Iii Mid Calf Boot.

Columbia Bugaboot Mid Calf Boot

Equally suitable for mountaineering, hiking, or just dealing with Nor’easter weather, these military-style boots have serious traction, reliable waterproofing, and a comfortable fit. And if you like your adventure with a side of extreme cold, Columbia has rated the boots as comfortable down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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12

Best Winter Hiking Boots for Men

KEEN Men's Summit County Waterproof Winter Boot.

Keen Summit County Waterproof Boots

When you’re spending hours on a winter trail, you need not only waterproofing, but also breathability. The fabric used for Keen’s rough-terrain leather boots provides a membrane that gets feet air while insulating them from the cold. One reviewer praised the Summit County for its ability to keep his feet “dry and warm for three-hour snow-removal excursions in subzero temps.”

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13

Most Stylish Winter Boots for Men

Columbia Men's Fairbanks 503 Fashion Boot.

Columbia Fairbanks 503

Although not as rugged as some boots on this list, this mid-cut Columbia boot is waterproof, breathable, and good for daily wear or hiking. The unique lacing setup adds an extra fashion flare, and reviewers like that the sole is more flexible than many hiking boots and that they hold up well in rain.

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Best Tall Winter Boots for Men

Baffin Men's Impact Insulated Boot.

Baffin Impact Insulated Boot

These hard-core, extreme-cold Baffin boots are made for seriously rugged temperatures and rated down to -148 degrees Fahrenheit—think ice fishing or dog sledding across Canada. The nice thing is that their insulation is removable, making them much easier to dry when they get wet from sweat. Reviewers recommend sizing up for the best fit.

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15

Best Mid-Calf Winter Boots for Men

Nike SFB Gen 2 8'' GTX.

Nike SFB Gen 2 8” GTX

Nike for winter boots? Yes! Made with waterproof GoreTex and warming Thinsulate, these military-style lace-ups manage to provide great traction while remaining flexible. A rock shield in the sole helps prevent pain when walking on uneven terrain and their slim profile makes them easy to style in the city. 

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Best Short Winter Boots for Men

MEN'S CANARD MID WATERPROOF LEATHER BOOTS.

Timberland Canard Mid Waterproof Leather Boots

These waterproof Timberlands are cool and functional. While they don’t have as much insulation as some of the picks on this list, they’re roomy enough for thicker socks. They’re also made with 100% recycled nylon boot laces and 34% recycled rubber, so you can feel good about the purchase.

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Best Men’s Winter Boots for Wide Feet

Skechers Men's Segment Melego Leather Chukka Waterproof Boot.

Skechers Men’s Segment Melego Leather Chukka Waterproof Boot

Another limited-insulation but waterproof boot, these are stylish enough for everyday wear and come in both regular with and extra-wide. With more than 1,500 reviews and a 4.5-star rating, several reviewers went as far as to say they’re the most comfortable shoes they’ve ever owned, and others have purchased several pairs over the years.

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