Whether shuffling from car to chairlift or slogging in the frozen woods, a good pair of boots is requisite footwear for surviving winter and fall. Here we outline the best winter boots for men.
To give you a jumpstart on the season, we’ve kicked the rubber on a lot of soles to find the best winter boots for men. Because winter varies so much around the country, from slush and mud to deep powder, we included a variety of boots from puddle-worthy to Hell freezing over.
Below, we break the article into five sections:
- Winter Hiking Boots
- Stylish Winter Boots for Men
- Winter Rain Boots
- Snow Boots
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Winter Boot
Of course, some boots could belong in more than one category. And this list doesn’t cover every boot out there, but it’s quite comprehensive. We have a separate article if you’re looking for the best winter boots for women.
We’ve tested all the boots we could get our hands on and used them through rain, snow, mud, and sun on countless adventures around the world. And we’ve whittled it down to our favorites here. These are the boots we recommend to family and friends — the boots we get excited to wear all winter long.
Best Winter Hiking Boots for Men
Bundle up with the proper gear, and you’ll find getting the mountain all to yourself in winter is worth the preparation. Whether hiking through the snow or battling icy conditions, these winter hiking boots will get you there and back.
Best Overall: Oboz Sawtooth II 8″
A great winter hiker needs to hit all the marks. It should be warm and waterproof. Durable enough to withstand repeated wet/dry cycles. Be tall enough for support when hiking variable terrain and keep the crud out, but without being overly restrictive. It should have great traction and pay attention to details, like places to hook a gaiter.
Built to winter specs without being overbuilt, the Sawtooth 8 II surpasses our expectations in a winter hiker. The boot feels stiff and snugs the foot. The tongue rides high, protecting the shins from bashing through the crust. The laces glide through the webbed hooks and are easy to dial a secure fit with gloves on. The entire boot is wrapped in Oboz’s proprietary waterproof breathable barrier, and it gets high marks for waterproofness. They even have a D-ring over the toes to clip a gaiter.
The Sawtooth ($165) isn’t going to be as warm as the Oboz Bridger, which is packed with a whopping 400g Thinsulate, protected under a full leather upper. The Sawtooth uses a 200g insulation and is wrapped with a combination of Nubuck leather and durable synthetics. But we found it more than warm enough for general winter hiking, where you’re expending a lot of energy that can cause feet to heat up fast. These tradeoffs also keep the weight low and the price reasonable.
We found the Sawtooths comfortable right out of the box and appreciated the level of arch support. Even during icy conditions — on and off the trail — they have excellent traction. This is at least in part to the specialized winter soles, which are infused with silica to improve grip.
Runner Up: Keen Revel IV Polar
Immediately out of the box, the Revel IV ($170) feels amazing. For those of you familiar with Keen’s Targhee, which tends to grace the pages of these kinds of reviews, the fit is more snug, more secure — in a good way. While the Targhee is looser around the collar, the Revel has more padding and feels in contact with the ankle.
The foot volume is a little bigger too, allowing more room over the top of the foot. The feet feel more secure, but there’s noticeably more room in the toebox, which is critical for keeping the toes warm. This also makes it a good fit for a variety of foot widths.
The Revel still uses a waterproof, salt-resistant leather, but it seems more waxed than oiled, like in the Targhee. We didn’t notice as much proneness to soaking up water — a common ding against the Targhee. The boot has a significant amount of synthetic materials, including rubber rands both in front and back, adding to the durability where the boot will make contact with the snow most.
The boot rides over 5mm, sharp-edged lugs that really bite into the crust. And like the Vibram’s Arctic Grip (used in Danner’s Mountain 600), Keen has its own slick-reducing rubber pads. They give you noticeably better traction on slick, wet ice.
With so many good attributes, we almost awarded the Revel IV as our favorite boot this winter. While the slick resistant bottom is certainly appreciated, we found we just don’t need it when hiking in winter. We also appreciated how the Sawtooths felt more secure around the foot. They were a little stiffer, and hence more predictable when hiking across pockmarked snow trails. And the fully gusseted tongue adds more weather protection, keeping wet snow from siphoning in.
Still, the Revel IV is a very capable winter boot. It is offered in both an 8-inch version and a tall. If you’re really stepping out into deep powder — like elk hunts in winter — we’d recommend investing in the high-collar boot. It’s also rated down to -40 degrees, which makes it a true polar boot.
Best Budget: Quechua Snow Hiker
If you’ve traveled to Europe, you’re probably familiar with Quechua. The outdoor megastore is like our REI in the states (but if they only sold the REI brand). Hugely popular, Quechua only sells its own brand and is primarily appreciated for its budget-friendly pricing. It’s the go-to brand for first-time hikers dabbling with the sport or who don’t want to break the bank. The rub? It wasn’t available in the States. Until now.
The Snow Hiker is the first product from Quechua available in the U.S. And at $80, it is a very attractive price point for hikers looking to broaden their trail season.
These insulated boots provided right-out-of-the-box comfort, and they have all the essential features you want in a winter hiker. The ankles ride high on the sides, providing support and keeping hard snow from bashing the ankle bones. The cuff dips behind the Achilles for forward and backward mobility. They’re both waterproof and breathable, and the insulation is comfortable down into the low digits. A solid toe bumper deflects sharps hidden under the white stuff. And we found the 5mm lugs insanely grippy on snow and sloppy trail.
Impressively, it does all this in a lightweight boot. Our demos weighed in just over 2 pounds — for the pair!
We found the Snow Hiker runs narrow, so you will want to size up or try before you buy. And we ideally want to see a D-ring up front to clip a gaiter. At $80, there are going to be some compromises. But we’re happy to see this brand finally available in the States, and we expect it will match the growing outdoor interest shown in 2020.
Crispi Briksdal GTX: $390
Yes, Crispi boots are expensive. But for those who do big miles off-trail in rough terrain in the winter, they are worth the investment. Crispi is an Italian manufacturer that focuses on hunting boots. For those who haven’t chased elk through the mountains, know that there’s nothing outside of full-on mountaineering that tests footwear like hunting.
And Crispis have proven themselves in the roughest terrain and cold weather. Meant for mountain exploration in winter, those who want a pair of boots that will stand up to cold, wet, off-trail terrain should start their search here.
The Briksdal GTX is a stiff model on a board last. It has a GORE-TEX insulated lining, and a protective rubber rand guards toes against bashing rocks. Its heavy Nubuck leather upper provides durability against abrasive contact, and the Vibram sole will grab earth, rock, and snow for traction.
The Danner Recurve is a wonderfully versatile winter boot. It’s new to the market for 2020 and hits a great compromise of light weight and durability with a fairly soft, flexible sole. While Danner designed this as a hunting boot, the Recurve could handle winter mountain hiking and shoulder season trails with aplomb.
One of our editors tested it while elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains. They held up great even after 48 miles of continuous hiking to haul out an elk — half of that with a 100+ pound pack on his back. The 400G Thinsulate insulation kept his feet warm in the mornings down to about 15 degrees F, while the Danner Dry membrane kept out water even when slogging through streams.
The Vibram outsole, while relatively soft and pliable, held up to steep climbs off trails. It’s worth noting that for super steep terrain, the sole might be a tad on the soft side, especially if you plan to kick steps. But it did, in rough conditions, suffice.
These weigh in at 48 ounces a pair. For an insulated, 7-inch boot that can withstand the rigors of elk hunting, that’s pretty light indeed.
Best Men’s Stylish Winter Boots
Whether hitting the local coffee shop, walking to the office, or heading out for a winter date, sometimes you want a boot that’s as stylish as it is functional. These boots will keep you looking good all winter long.
Best Overall: Blundstone 566 (Thermal)
Blundstone’s sleek silhouette has earned the Ozzie Chelsea iconoclast status. The brand’s Thermal Boots have a touch of Thinsulate under the leather vamp that stretches their utility beyond the Australian outback.
The Blundstone 566 ($206) is deceivingly slim — so slim, in fact, that when we unboxed the boot, we weren’t sure we received the right model. But don’t let its svelte lines keep you inside. The Thinsulate liner punches above its weight, is fully waterproof, and is warm enough to wear to work on frigid days. What seals the deal, though, is the plush shearling footbed that feels like you’re walking on a cloud.
Two generous pull tabs and elastic stretch panels make it easy to pull the boot on and off.
The boot feels a little stiff, and the low cut won’t keep deep snow from funneling in. But for Blunnie-hounds looking to kick the classic styling well into the cooler months, the Thermals are a solid bet. The fit is true, but keep in mind Australian sizes run one full size smaller (for example, a U.S. 10 is an Australian/U.K. 9).
Best Budget: Eddie Bauer Severson Moc-Toe
Winter style is becoming increasingly expensive to own. Fortunately, Eddie Bauer has a traditional moc-toe boot that can handle everything from hiking to chores and even the office.
The upper is constructed from a waterproof, seam-sealed, full-grain leather. Inside, a waterproof-breathable membrane wraps the entire foot — including the gusseted tongue — keeping moisture from creeping in. The eyelets are corrosion-resistant and won’t rust after years of wet-weather abuse. The boot takes a beating and is easy to clean.
We found the Severson comfortable out of the box, and it has a wide toebox that will fit many feet. The ergonomic insole has great arch support, and the fit puts the heel back in the shoe. Paired with the laced shaft, you get a really snug, confidence-inspiring fit. The foot doesn’t slip around, which is really what we are looking for when crossing slick surfaces like snow and ice.
The Severson usually lists at $170, but as we often find with Eddie Bauer, they can be had for $102, making them a great bargain for winter style.
Handsome looks built from a rugged history, Danner has been making quality boots out of Portland, Oregon, for nearly 90 years now. We’ve been wearing the brand’s boots for about 30 of those years.
Danner recently fell back on its classic laurels, ushering in a new category, “performance heritage.” The Mountain 600 is a fully waterproof boot that has a classic mountain look that will appeal to a lot of buyers.
The Mountain carries over a lot of what we liked in the Danner Arctic: 200g Primaloft insulation, a soft, felty liner, and Danner’s super-grippy Vibram slick resistant rubber lugs (the Arctic Grip pads on the sole feel like sandpaper to the touch). Outside of full-on spikes or Yaktrax, these sticky lugs offer the best anti-slip traction on ice.
At just over a pound per boot, the pair feels really light on the feet. It’s way more agile than a traditional boot, and the lacing mechanism only adds to this sense of security. While the Mountain is capable of backpacking and hiking, the boot isn’t really a winter hiker. It’s shorter and more streamlined for streetwear. But it’s easy on the eyes and a great boot for hiking through any frozen urban landscape.
Danner’s Mountain 600 is insanely popular and is offered in more than 10 colorways, in both suede ($180) or full-grain leather ($200). For true winter warmth, we recommend opening the wallet and forking over the extra cash for the 200g Primaloft insulated version ($220).
Best Winter Rain Boots
In many places — I’m looking at you, Washington and Oregon — winter means rain, and lots of it. For anyone spending the winter dodging puddles and slopping through the mud, these winter rain boots will keep you warm, comfy and, most importantly, dry.
Best Overall: Sorel Cheyanne Metro Lace
Sorel tapped their icon Pac boot silhouette and released it with an attractive, city-friendly vibe. Leather on top, rubber on the bottom, it borrows from the duck boot, insulates like a Pac shoe, but wears like your favorite sneaker.
Available in either suede or full-grain leather, the leather upper is waterproof and can be treated each season — which we’d recommend doing. Our preferred leather conditioner is Nikwax.
The 100g of insulation gives the boot a touch of warmth. While it’s not going to be anywhere near as warm as the other boots on the list, we found it cuts that heat-sapping chill you can feel walking around in cold, wet weather.
The Cheyanne ($155) is pretty far removed from the classic Caribou snow boot. We found it flexible, very walkable, and easy to drive in. And unlike its chunky uncle — the Pac boot — the Cheyanne’s lug has functional traction! Maybe the Pac boot will get an upgrade.
Finally, the boot just looks good and layers well with most pants in our wardrobe. This boot could easily slide unassumingly into our work wardrobe, which is hard to pull off with nearly every other boot on our list.
Best Budget: Xtratuf 6″ Deck Ankle Boot
If there were a “state boot” of Alaska, it would be the Xtratuf. Xtratuf makes several models, and we’ve used the thin neoprene Legacy a ton and love it for moderate weather. But a tall rubber boot is tough to pull off outside of the cannery or farm.
Still touting the same slip-resistant, chunky chevron sole found on the Legacy, the 6-inch Deck Ankle Boot ($90) is much more approachable in the lower 48. Two fat tabs help pull the wide-mouth 6-inch hightop over the foot. There’s a little play over the top of the foot, but the heel seats firmly in back.
The lightweight 1mm neoprene wicks moisture away from the feet, so you can bring these out on the water come summer and still keep the feet cool and dry.
Best Men’s Snow Boots
Best Overall: Baffin Control Max
If your winter starts in October and ends sometime before the summer equinox, then you are looking for a workhorse that can lift the soles and spirits.
Baffin’s Control Max ($255) has a whopping bottom end, dipping all the way to -94 degrees F (-70 degrees C). We’re going to throw our hands up in mercy at that spec. We haven’t tested them to that level, and hopefully, you won’t have to either. But know that a lot of thought went into trapping heat.
The boot is methodically constructed around thermoregulation. Outside, a waterproof leather exterior is triple-stitched to the rubber rand. Inside, a series of heat-reflecting aluminum membranes, foams, and moisture reservoirs move moisture away from the foot and trap the heat.
Underfoot, a waffle-comb footbed traps additional heat in honeycomb-like air pockets. And the entire boot rides over an aggressively lugged “arctic rubber” that’s tacky on ice.
The boot laces shut with four pairs of giant D-rings. The fit can be a little sloppy, but they’re easy to manipulate with heavy gloves. All in all, the double boot construction does a wonderful job of trapping heat and insulating you from the cold ground.
If you live in a milder climate, these are overkill. And for sure, these things are massive on the feet (the pair weighs 7 pounds). But if you’re looking for the ultimate cold-winter snow boot, or a boot that works during long periods of inactivity in the cold, the Baffin Snow Monster will keep you warm and cozy through it all.
Best Budget: Kamik Nation Plus
Kamik just can’t be beat when it comes to budget boots. And the Nation Plus boots ($125) are a fan favorite (just look at the 2,000-plus Amazon reviews). They’re waterproof, warm, and impressively durable for the price.
This is a fully waterproof leather boot bonded to a rubber sole. They lace up like a hiker. The removable liner traps heat using 200 grams of 3M 200B Thinsulate and gives them a whopping rating to 40 below. We didn’t test this rating, but they felt plenty warm when hanging around town watching a winter carnival parade.
The soles have a lot of traction for a snow boot — much more than Sorel’s venerable Pac Boot. Paired with its flex and snug lacing system, we found the boot helps you navigate ice and deep snow more easily than Sorels, too.
These are big, burly snow boots. What you gain in warmth and height, you sacrifice in mobility and weight. For more active adventures, we recommend a winter hiking boot. The list price is $125, but we’ve found these on sale for as low as $60. If you are looking for a sturdy, cold-weather boot for occasional use, this one is a no-brainer.
When the drifts pile up and the temperature drops, it’s time for a full-on snow boot. With the height to keep the snow out and insulation to keep toes warm, these snow boots get the job done — and make it easy to do so day after day.
Whether chopping wood or walking the dog, these boots will keep you warm and dry through it all. These bad boys are rated to -70 degrees F (-57 degrees C) and will keep your feet dry through the sloppiest of conditions. The cushioned sole offers excellent rebound and makes for a comfortable all-day boot.
And one of the standout features is the weight, or lack thereof. The seamless construction means they’re 30% lighter than comparable boots. They look burly and are built to last, but we were pleasantly surprised that they don’t feel cumbersome. These are also available in a tall version ($150).
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Winter Boots for Men
A boot that’s perfect in one scenario may be miserable in another. So before we jump into the boots, let’s take a moment to consider how you’ll use them. Here are a few things to help when choosing a winter boot.
Do you need a waterproof boot? Will you often be wearing the boots in rainy, wet conditions? Is slushy snow a common occurrence? Waterproof is great, but it often comes at the cost of breathability and excessive heat retention. It can be worth it, but if you live in a milder climate, water-resistant may prove a better fit.
Does tread matter? These days, shoe sole technology is a science all its own and can truly make or break the shoe. If you find yourself walking and hiking in icy conditions, pay special attention to the tread grip and look for one designed for ice.
What’s up with liners? Many boots have replaced the liner with insulation directly in the boot. The benefit of the liner is you can remove it and set it out to dry between uses. The downside is liners can sometimes cause extra movement and friction, which can lead to blisters and discomfort.
Which boot height is best? The main considerations with height are ankle articulation, keeping snow out, and comfort. If you regularly get out in deep snow and want a lot of support, choose a taller boot.
Have a favorite winter boot we missed? Let us know in the comments for future updates to this article.