It’s easy to get lost when trying to find the perfect pair of winter boots. There’s snow and rain and just overall cold temperatures that make toes freeze. So how does one go about finding the right pair of winter shoes?
There are so many factors to consider when purchasing winter boots. Buy the fashion-forward ones or the ones that will withstand the snow flurries? Buy the tall boots that practically go to the knee with coverage but make it hard to walk or the short ones that might leave toes colder but make walking easier? Buy the ones that will satisfy the snowshoeing hobby or the ones that are comfy?
While fall may call for some suede boots, the wintertime might require something more practical. This guide will help you find what you need to both keep your toes warm and look good while doing it.
Types of Boots
With so many options, here’s a short breakdown of the different types of boots out there:
Pac boots are made of thick rubber and will keep the water out (or will at least be water-resistant). They are great for day-to-day activities—such as walking outside.
Some of them have a removable liner. Something interesting of note is the removable liners may make it so the boots dry out faster. Now what’s the downside to Pac boots? They aren’t as secure as the typical winter boot and might be a tad bit toasty for most people’s needs. These shoes might not be ideal for more strenuous activities, but they’ll probably be perfect for going from Starbucks to work in.
These are the boots to buy for those interested in spending time trudging through the snow in the mountains, surrounded by trees. Winter hiking boots require more ankle support and deep tread, so as to help avoid sliding.
These are the boots for those who intend to spend a significant amount of time in the snow walking, hiking, or snowshoeing. Usually these boots fit tightly on the feet and have a breathable liner—which will help keep feet warmer. While these might not be the most stylish boots, and may require some extra work to take off, they are better for gripping the wet, slippery ground.
Obviously, these boots are going to be boots to wear when there’s snow—but not too much snow. While they are water-resistant, snow boots may not be as weather-resistant as Pac boots, don’t offer as much protection over a long period of time (a little misleading with the name), and don’t have great traction.
However, snow boots are lighter than other types of boots, and they’re often a cheaper alternative to the pricier Pac boots and winter hiking boots.
Winter-esque Fashion Boots
These boots aren’t ideal for a snowy winter stroll, but UGGs are comfortable and seem to come back every year. So how does one wear them? They might be good for a quick trip to the car or to wear around the mall, but because they’re made of cloth and sheepskin, they’re not great at repelling water.
Seen as all-weather boots, Timberlands are seen out in any weather—even snowy weather. However, these boots don’t have much insulation, making feet vulnerable to the freezing cold. While they are water-resistant, it might be a good idea to pair these boots with some extra-thick wool socks.
All Other Boots
There are many other types of boots out there marketed as winter boots. Sorel has a line of fashionable winter wedge boots, booties, and heeled boots with extra traction. Then of course, there are also rain boots for places that get more rain than snow.
The popular brand Hunter even sells rain boot socks to help insulate them. There are also fur-lined boots made for light snow and waterproof boots that look more like riding boots with an extra bit of traction. And for those who just can’t give up their sneakers, Converse sells a pair of “waterproof thermo boots” that look more like the classic Chucks.
Are short boots or tall boots better? Outdoor Gear Lab tested boots of two different heights and found that taller boots have more protection from deep snow and warm a greater surface area, but weren’t great for hiking and were more difficult to remove. With the short boots, they found it was more difficult to tuck pants into the boots, and that the boots are more suited for late fall or early spring when there’s less intense weather conditions.
When to Buy Winter Boots
If you’re looking for some cheaper boots, the average discount is 27 percent off, according to EDITED.
But there isn’t a perfect time to buy them. According to Women’s Marketing, statistics show women can be “swayed to purchase shoes at any time, so long as there is an incentive to do so.”
So whether it’s the beginning of winter, during a snowstorm, or after the ground is clear of slush, it’s always a good time to buy winter boots.