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To determine the best winter boots, we looked at the following criteria: materials, waterproofing, warmth, sole traction, and style. While we prioritized natural materials because of their inherent waterproof capabilities, we also considered synthetic materials. Sole traction is also a critical factor since it can be the difference between slipping or falling versus stability. And we also focused on warmth since we know that winters can be harsh for many people. If you need more items that are suitable for winter, take a look at our best clothing apparel guide.
After taking all of the above into consideration, we nominated the Columbia Women’s Ice Maiden II Insulated Winter Boot as our Top Pick. We felt that they were the best winter hiking boots for women because of their improved rubber sole, the tall nine-inch shaft, and the 200-gram insulation that promises to keep you warm at temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep reading to learn about the rest of our top picks.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: These Columbia boots are the best winter hiking boots for women because they feature an Omni-Grip rubber sole for improved traction and 200 grams of insulation.
We selected the Columbia Ice Maiden II as our best winter hiking boots for women because we like that they have an Omni-Grip rubber sole. This means that you have more stability in slippery conditions. You’ll like that this boot is made from all-natural materials with a 100 percent leather and textile upper and a full rubber sole. This is also a taller boot with a shaft that measures nine inches for added warmth in your lower legs.
These Columbia boots contain 200 grams of insulation which is rated for temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit. However, while the upper is waterproof, a common issue we noted was that the seams are not waterproof. Still, you’ll like the stylish look of this shoe that includes an adorable faux fur fringe at the opening and a lace-up design. Choose from seven color options. While you’re thinking about your next hike, take a look at some of the best men’s hiking socks.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: A tall winter boot with waterproof seams and the ability to withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees makes this choice the best men’s winter hiking boots.
We didn’t forget about the men. Our Honorable Mention goes to the Kamik Men’s Nationplus Winter Boot. We think it’s the best men’s hiking winter boot because it features a sturdy construction composed of 100 percent leather and a full rubber sole. But more importantly, it’s rated for temperatures as far as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. This shoe also has a slight one-inch platform sole.
But we like that this boot has a 10-inch shaft with sealed waterproof seams. You’ll also appreciate the 200 grams of proprietary Thinsulate insulation that keeps you warm, and the rustproof speed lacing system for a sturdy fit. We were most impressed by the moisture-wicking lining and the antimicrobial footbed that helps to repel odor and keep you dry. Choose from seven color options. If you’re worried about hypothermia while you’re on your hike, take a look at the best men’s wool socks too.
Award: BEST WATERPROOF
WHY WE LIKE IT: A sturdy pair of boots that are as stylish as they are functional, with a waterproof design and lightweight form factor, make these the best winter boots for college students.
When it comes to cold weather, The North Face is one of those brands that’s synonymous with sturdy gear that can take whatever Mother Nature throws your way. This set of Women’s Shellista II winter boots is our top pick for waterproof functionality and our choice for the best winter boots for college students. We like that this pair of boots features a full 360-degree waterproof design that includes the exterior, sealed seams, and a waterproof rubber sole.
You’ll like that each boot only weighs one pound and six ounces, for a lightweight fit that you can wear all day. If you prefer natural materials, you’ll also like that the upper is made from waterproof leather with wool and suede accents. But you’ll also get 200 grams of PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco to keep your feet warm. There’s also a cushioned footbed for added comfort. And the rubber sole features a TNF Winter Grip and temperature-sensitive IcePick lugs for improved traction. For another cold-weather option, you might want some of the best ski boots.
Award: BEST SYNTHETIC DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: A great sturdy synthetic winter boot alternative for people who prefer ethically sourced components, with fantastic insulation and a dual closure design.
For some people, natural materials such as leather or suede are an automatic disqualifier. We included this Dream pairs Women’s Mid Calf Winter Boots because they’re the only fully synthetic option in our guide. You’ll appreciate that these are mid-calf boots with a shaft that measures seven and a half inches tall.
And although these are synthetic boots, you’ll like that they also contain 200 grams of Thermolite insulation that’s rated for as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. We like that this boot offers a dual closure design that features laces and a sturdy ankle strap to give you a better fit. However, these boots are only available in whole sizes. So, if you’re a half size, you’ll need to order the next larger size. If you’re worried about your comfort on your next hike, you’ll also want a pair of the best compression socks. And, if you like to keep your boots and clothes dust-free, check out our review of the best jacket covers.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: A great low-shaft unisex winter boot with a reinforced toe cap to keep your feet protected while you’re out enjoying the snow and cold.
While most winter boots focus on keeping your feet warm and dry, this set of Mishansha winter boots goes the extra mile by also including a reinforced toe cap. This means that these are the best boots for outdoor winter activities. That toe cap features anti-collision reinforcement to keep you protected. But these are also the only low-shaft ankle winter boots in our guide.
But we also like that this is another winter boot that is made with all-natural materials. The upper features a water-resistant suede leather while the sole is made from rubber. You’ll appreciate the fully faux fur lined interior and removable fur insole for improved warmth. And the rubber sole is made with shock-absorbing EVA and anti-skid material with a grooved texture for better grip. Plus, these are unisex boots that are available in eight different colors. For your next hike, you might want to also grab some of the best tactical pants too.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: The best stylish winter boots in our guide with a fully waterproof design and a focus on warmth and cushioned comfort make these a smart buy.
There’s no reason you should be forced to sacrifice on style just because you want to keep your feet warm all winter. These Sorel Joan of Arctic winter boots are the perfect convergence of form and function which is why we think these are the best stylish winter boots. We like that these women’s boots feature a taller shaft with a faux fur cuff and lace-up opening. You’ll appreciate the all-natural materials that include a completely waterproof design made from a suede upper and rubber sole with a herringbone design for enhanced grip.
We also like that these boots are designed to keep you warm with a removable six millimeter felt washable inner boot and the additional two and a half millimeter bonded felt frost plug in the midsole for additional insulation. However, we did note that people with narrower feet may feel these boots are a little big. So, we’re also nominating these as the best winter boots for wide feet.
Winter boots are essential if you live in a part of the country that gets cold or experiences snow. To create our guide, we focused on the following core features — materials, waterproofing, warmth, sole traction, and style. You’ll note that we looked at boots for men and for women, as well as featuring some unisex options.
Except for our Best on a Budget pick, all of the boots in our guide are made from natural materials. We included the Best on a Budget recommendation because we know some people are against wearing natural materials like leather or suede. So, a synthetic alternative is important for them.
Waterproof functionality is also important. But be sure to check between water-resistant and waterproof. Waterproof means that ideally water will never seep into your boots. In contrast, water-resistant means that your boot can sustain a certain amount of exposure to moisture before they begin to penetrate the exterior. Again, only our Best on a Budget was rated as water-resistant whereas the rest of our picks are all designed to be truly waterproof.
Warmth is a subjective feature, but it’s still important. You’ll note that only our Best Quality pick failed to specify the gram-level of insulation. However, the remainder all contain 200 grams of insulation. But keep in mind that while 200 grams is usually considered ideal for someone coming in and out of cold weather, some people may find that level to be too high or insufficient.
All of the recommendations in our guide were designed with soles that offered either grooved or lug designs. Lug designs are best if you know that you’ll receive either a lot of wet snow or will frequently be walking on slippery surfaces. And finally, keep the style in mind. The majority of our picks are taller boots that give you further protection for your ankles or calves. However, if you prefer shorter winter boots, choose our Best on a Budget.