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.
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 the big freeze. 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’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 Men’s Winter Hiking Boots
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 — KEEN Summit County: $180
Blending waterproof leather with synthetic insulation, the Summit County boots are the warmest in KEEN’s lineup. We tested KEEN’s Summit County during an epic 3-day elk hunt in knee-deep snow and single digits.
We found them to be light for their performance at 27.5 ounces each, comfortable, and warm even after snow accidentally slipped inside the boot. To say we were impressed would be an understatement. We found this one fits true to size and accommodates a wide foot well.
Best Budget — Merrell Thermo Chill: $110
This boot gives a lot of bang for the buck. Merrell makes quality gear, and this is a great price for winter hiking boots. The waterproof membrane will keep you dry even in slushy conditions. And the 200g insulation is just enough to keep feet warm, without added bulk.
We found these comfortable right out of the box and were pleasantly surprised by how easy they are to get on and off. The 5mm lugs perform well on most surfaces, but expect some slippage in extremely icy conditions. The mid height is great for mobility and comfort, butyou’ll need a gaiter to keep snow out in extremely snowy conditions.
Weighing in at 2 pounds 4 ounces (for the pair), these are a great choice if you’re looking for light, comfortable, affordable winter hiking boots.
Don’t let a little snow keep you from getting outside. TNF’s Lifty is a lightweight, supportive boot that is one of the most comfortable boots we tried this year.
The boot’s shaft is insulated with PrimaLoft’s 400g insulation, similar to what you’d find in the popular TNF puffy ThermoBall jacket. The insulation traps heat in the boot, preventing it from chimneying out, keeping the feet super warm.
The lower boot is protected with a leather mudguard, and a TPU exoskeleton wraps the waterproof ballistic mesh on the boot’s shaft, keeping the weight down and the water out. Plus, we like that it comes ready for deep snow with a gaiter D-ring attachment point.
The boot rides on a temperature-sensitive rubber lug that hardens in cooler temperatures for better traction on snow and softens as it gets warmer, providing better grip better on slick, wet surfaces.
The Lifty is a great boot for active winter activities when warmth and functionality intersect. Fit is fantastic and true to size.
Looking to snowshoe in for the weekend or winter hike the local mountain? Well, this boot can get you there. Building off the popular Bridger line of hiking boots, this insulated version is ready for winter. With 2oo g of insulation and wool-topped footbeds, your toes will stay cozy even as the temperature plummets.
At a little over 3 pounds for the pair, they won’t weigh you down, either. And we were happy with how easily they paired with snowshoes. You’ll need to use gaiters if you plan to hike through extremely deep snow. Otherwise, the 8-inch rise is adequate for most situations.
We found them comfortable right out of the box and appreciated the level of arch support. Even during icy conditions — on and off the trail — the Bridger had excellent traction. This is at least in part to the specialized winter soles, which are infused with silica to improve grip.
Crispi Briksdal GTX: $312
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 from bashing rocks. Its heavy Nubuck leather upper provides durability against abrasive contact, and the Vibram sole will grab earth, rock, and snow for traction.
Vivobarefoot Tracker Snow SG: $215 on Sale
Minimalist enthusiasts haven’t found a lot of winter options in the past. That is until Vivobarefoot released the Tracker Snow winter boot this year. And it has a lot going for it.
The 7-inch snow boot is wrapped in smooth Nubuck leather and lined with insulated felt made from recycled plastics. The lower boot is wrapped in a thin rubber rand and rides over a 5mm chevron-treaded sole that grips snow and sheds slop.
Being a minimal shoe, it comes with the requisite low profile. To keep the cold from sapping heat away, a thermal insole is lined with a thin foil to reflect heat back toward the foot.
Even at $215 on sale, this isn’t a shoe for everyone. But people who nerd out over zero drop will probably take notice. It’s one of the only minimalist winter boots on the market.
The shoe runs larger than most Vivobarefoot shoes and is offered in full sizes only. Consider sizing down or plan to wear them with a thick pair of socks.
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 — KEEN Eastin Chelsea: $165
These boots hit all the major marks. They’re comfortable, stylish, hardworking, and easy on the planet. Leather tanning can be a dirty process. But you can feel good knowing that KEEN sources from certified tanneries that work to reduce the chemicals used.
And the PFC-free, water-repellent coating keeps feet dry all day. We’ve worn these in muddy, slushy conditions and never had any problem with soggy feet. And, best of all, they clean up great.
These felt comfortable right out of the box. And it just keeps getting better as you break them in. We’ve received many compliments (and looks of shock when we tell people they’re made by KEEN). They’re dressy enough to wear out on the town and comfortable enough to wear all day, every day.
Runner-Up Best Overall — Blundstone Thermal: $200-225
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 boot looks slim — so slim, in fact, that when we unboxed the boot, we weren’t sure we received the right one. 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 (e.g., U.S. 10 is an Australian/U.K. 9).
Best Budget — Chaco Dixon High: $106 on Sale
This is easily one of the most comfortable boots we’ve worn all year. And at just $106 on sale, it’s a great bargain too. Don’t let the stylish good looks fool you — this is a hardworking winter boot.
We wore this through sloppy, wet conditions and were thoroughly pleased with how dry our feet stayed. The waterproof (and salt-repelling) leather upper does its job well and looks good doing it.
The form-fitting inner bootie can make getting the boots on a bit more challenging, but it’s worth it. The bootie adds warmth and breathability so your feet stay happy all day long. And the APMA-certified Chaco Luvseat midsole provides plenty of arch support.
Handsome looks built from a rugged history, Danner has been making quality boots out of Portland, Oregon, for nearly 90 years now. And we’ve been wearing the brand’s boots for about 30 of those years.
The Arctic 600s are leaner than Danner’s traditional work/hiking boot. A lot of that can be attributed to the super-flexible Vibram midsole, which walks more like a runner than a boot. The midsole rides over Vibram’s Arctic Grip tread, which sticks to slick, wet surfaces better than traditional rubber.
The suede upper is insulated with 200 g of PrimaLoft insulation, which we found keeps the foot comfortable while standing in the 20s. And the boot is entirely waterproof.
The boot has a unique side zipper (facing the inside of the foot), which makes it easier to pull on and off the foot. We assumed this meant you could remove the boot while keeping it laced up, though we found we still needed to untie the boot to remove it.
The Arctic 600 tends to run a half size big, so consider sizing down.
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 — Bogs Tillamook Bay: $110
Bogs are a GearJunkie favorite. They are super-easy to pull on, warm, and, most importantly, waterproof. The Tillamook Bay takes all the great things we like about Bogs and puts it in a low-top for more urban-friendly footwear.
The generous pull tabs make it easy to pull over the heel, and the neoprene-like sock sucks to the foot, trapping heat without binding around the ankle. The sole is luggy yet soft, providing traction and all-day comfort.
Almost a cropped Chelsea, the Tillamook walks the line between yard work, winter wear (it’s rated to 20 below), and work attire.
The Tillamook is the lowest cut of our rain boot picks. If you need more protection, we’d recommend looking at the brand’s Sauvie Snow. And Bogs are offered in whole sizes only. If you run in the halves, consider sizing up a half size.
Best Budget — Kamik Hunter: $45-80
This is a solid-performing rain boot at a great price. The thermal guard inner layer keeps feet warm and wicks away moisture so feet stay dry. And you can feel good knowing it’s made in Canada from 100-percent-recycled materials.
These are a big, heavy (4.6 pounds per pair) boot. If you’re looking for something light and casual, check out the Kamik Larslo. But if you want a durable, hardworking, waterproof boot, these are for you. They slide on fairly easily for a full boot, and the cinchable top keeps water (or snow) out.
These are ccomfortable and functional with a price that can’t be beat.
Xtratuf Legacy Lace Boot: $150
If there was a “state boot” of Alaska, it would be the Xtratuf. There are many models of the rugged, all-around slop boot, but the most gentrified is the recently released ankle boot. The neoprene boots are stitched with 6-inch waterproof leather and are still perfect anywhere waterproof, nonslip, tough boots are needed.
Xtratuf makes several models. We’ve used the thin neoprene Legacy a ton and love it for moderate weather, where they rule in rain and slop. But a tall rubber boot is tough to pull off outside of the cannery or farm. The lace-up is much more approachable in the lower 48. If temps drop low, consider the Legacy Insulated 8-inch lace boot.
Best Men’s Snow Boots
When the drifts pile up and the temperature drops, it’s time for a full-on snow boot. With height to keep the snow out and insulation to keep toes warm, these snow boots get the job done.
Best Overall — Baffin Snow Monster: $136-225
The name doesn’t lie: These boots are some seriously burly snow monsters. With a temperature rating of -94 degrees F (-70 degrees C), you can confidently spend all day in the frigid cold. We like how the top can be tied off to prevent snow from sneaking in.
The double boot is protected by a waterproof leather exterior and insulated underfoot with a waffle-comb footbed that traps heat in the air pockets. A proprietary “arctic rubber” is tacky on ice and lugged with aggressive traction to keep you from slipping on everything else. The extendable, waterproof snow collar laces up quick with a pull-cord that’s easy to use while wearing gloves.
If you live in a milder climate, these are overkill. But if you’re looking for the ultimate cold-winter snow boot, the Baffin Snow Monster will keep you warm and cozy through it all.
Best Budget — Kamik Greenbay: $55-125
Kamik just can’t be beat when it comes to budget boots. The Greenbay boots are a fan favorite (just look at the 1,500-plus Amazon reviews). They’re waterproof, warm, and impressively durable for the price.
The adjustable midfoot Velcro strap makes getting a snug fit easier. And we found them plenty grippy in snowy, icy conditions.
It’s worth noting, though, that 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.
Bogs Bozeman Mid: $145
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 percent 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).
When you need a winter boot that straddles the line between fashion and snow performance, the ECCO Roxton is a top pick. The full-grain leather upper not only looks good but is also impressively durable. Pair that with the GORE-TEX inserts, and your feet will stay dry no matter how slushy it gets outside.
The front and back pull-on tabs really help when putting the boot on. And we like the ability to fully adjust the snugness thanks to the full-length lace system. With 200 g of PrimaLoft insulation, our feet stayed warm even on days when temps never rose above freezing. If you’re going to be sitting still a lot, you’ll want to look for something with even more insulation. But for normal, active days, these boots are plenty warm.
The foot-fitted last proved very comfortable and offered adequate arch support for our average feet. Our testers found these fit true to size.
Embracing the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Sorel reached into the archives to bring back its classic 1964 Pac Boot. The nylon-sheathed ’64 embodies Sorel’s traditional lines but with modern utility. They’ll keep you warm whether you’re marching miles at a winter carnival or tromping behind the snowblower in temperatures down to -40 degrees F (also -40 degrees C).
The 9mm recycled felt boot interior insulates feet from the cold. And it’s removable, which is useful if you need dry things out quickly. These provide adequate traction for regular snowy conditions. But if slippery ice is your regular winter nemesis, you’ll want to choose a boot with a bit more traction.
They fit true to size, keep feet warm, and are stylish enough to wear into the office.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Winter Boot
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.