Winter Boots Buying Guide

By Kelley Boymer
2 Jan 2023
Snow Gear for Women

A great pair of winter boots are essential in the colder months, especially for those of us in cooler climates. We all want to keep our feet warm and dry so we can enjoy the best of the season while staying comfortable. When conditions like snow, freezing rain and ice are unavoidable, stay prepared with the best insulation, tread and style. Winter boots can be stylish and practical. There are a few things to consider when buying winter boots, and today’s guide is all about winter boots and how to choose the right pairs. Make sure you also check out the best boots for winter.

Winter Boots Buying Guide

Types of Winter Boots For Ladies

Casual/Stylish Winter Boots

Whether you live in cold, wet New England or a more mild climate, having casual and stylish winter boots and shoes are necessary to get through those long winter months. You want something versatile that you can wear out to dinner, while shopping or walking through towns and cities. The following winter boots for women are great to throw on for your next low key outing, but remember they won’t be your go to pair for playing in the snow!

Marc Fisher Izzie Lugsole Boots

Jess talks about this pair of Marc Fisher Izzie Lugsole boots a lot as her favorite pair of stylish winter boots. They’re a lace up style with shearling lining and come in a few colors including brown and black. They look great with everything from jeans to dresses and have a lug sole making them practical for winter weather.

vans sherpa colfax boot shoe

This stylish boot shoe style from Vans is a fleece lined pull on boot featuring a waterproof toe and lugged outsole. Wear them with jeans for a casual date night or around town running errands. Great to throw on after skiing or a winter surf too.

WOMEN’S RUGGED COZY BOOTS, MID SIDE-ZIP

The Women’s Rugged Cozy Boots from L.L. Bean are great to easily throw on and head out the door. They are a great boot to wear to work or do errands in. They are warm and cozy and look stylish and pretty.

Snow Boots

Snow boots are shoes you can depend on to be waterproof and water resistant. They will keep your feet warm and dry while you snowshoe, sled or trek through the woods on the snowiest, coldest of days. Living in Vermont, it is essential to have a dependable, comfortable and sturdy snow boot. Here are a few of our favorites.

ugg adirondack III Waterproof Boots

Jess loves these snow boots and says they’re her go to for everything from sledding to walking around the village on snowy days. If you want to keep your feet super toasty and dry, these are your boots. I usually bring these when we go snowboarding to throw on after a day on the slopes. They’re great for pretty much any winter activity you throw at them and I like that they’re not super clunky. I went a half size up, for me they ran a little small.

Sorel Explorer II Joan Boot

The Sorel Explorer II Joan Boot is another one of Jess’s favorites for a stylish snow boot. It’s like a snow boot that feels like a sneaker and great for so many winter adventures. These run half a size small.

KAMIK SNOWGEM BOOTS

These boots got great reviews from several community members who live in very cold climates. They are warm and waterproof. It’s recommended to go up half a size.

North Face Shellista II Mid Boot

The North Face Shellista II Mid Boot is a great sturdy, warm, water resistant boot for colder climates. With PrimaLoft silver eco insulation, waterproof nubuck and temperature sensitive lugs this makes for a great go-to snow boot!

Winter Work Boots

Whether you have horses and work in a barn or are out shoveling your driveway, it is nice to have a pair of sturdy winter work boots. You will want a pair that will keep you dry and warm and that are study enough to handle getting bumped around.

Bogs Classic Tall Adjustable Calf Boot

The Bogs Classic Tall Adjustable Calf Boot is a great winter work boot. These boots are tall in height to protect you from deep snow and keep your calves warm and dry. The sturdy, rugged soles will keep your feet protected.

Blundstone Thermal High Top Boot

The Blundstone Thermal High Top Boot is a great three-season boot. Add a thicker sock for winter and these leather boots will keep you dry and warm as you venture through the elements. Also not mean to be a snow boot, but water resistant, this boot is pretty and stylish and works great for a day out shopping or evening dining with friends.

Winter Hiking Boots

If you love to hike it is essential to find a winter hiking boot with a sturdy sole and a warm, water-resistant insulation.

Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip Boot

The Danner Arctic 600 boots are a durable and comfortable winter hiking boot. They’re waterproof and insulated to keep feet warm and dry. There’s also a dry waterproof lining to prevent moisture from getting your feet wet.

Winter Boots vs Snow Boots

The term snow boots and winter boots are often used interchangeably, but there is actually a significant difference between the two. Snow boots are waterproof and water resistant, while winter boots are not. Snow boots are meant for snowy, wet conditions, while winter boots are meant for better maintained roads, some warmth, but mostly serve the purpose of a stylish or casual boot for going out or shopping in the winter. There are also three-season boots that are made to be used fall, winter and spring. For example, the Blundstone Chelsea Boot is a great sturdy boot that can be worn throughout the three seasons. The Chelsea boots are designed to be long-lasting, water resistant and can handle the elements!

How To Choose Winter Boots

Choose the Right Materials

When considering which boots to buy for winter it is important to choose the right materials. For winter boots, you will want water resistant, sturdy materials like leather or heavy duty nylon. Winter boots are also often made with textiles and suede. Be sure to look at the description for your boots before buying them to make sure they have the features you need. To ensure your boots are warm you will want shoes made with thinsulate, sherling, wool, fleece, zylex, acrylic and polupropalene. 400 to 800 grams usually ensures a warm boot, the higher the better!

Inspect the Soles

The sole of a winter boot is especially important to inspect before buying. Depending on the purpose of your winter boot, you may want a thicker and rugged sole to keep you warm and dry in harsh winter elements. Look for sturdy, waterproof rubber due to its lightweight feel. Winter boot soles are often also made from RPT and PVC. For winter, you will want to look for a boot with greater traction. Study the depth of the grooves and make sure they will be able to grip the elements you plan to adventure in!

Consider Height

The higher the boot, the warmer and more protection you will have for snowy climates. If you only plan to run errands and use your boots casually in a more mild climate the higher cuff may not be necessary. Unless you like the look of it! For more snowy, cold climates you will want to get a higher cuff to keep your calves warm and dry!

Check Insulation

Be sure to check the insulation of your boots! You will want warmer materials like thinsulate, sherling, wool, fleece, zylex, acrylic and polypropylene to keep your feet warm and toasty all winter long! If you live in a milder climate and are going more for the look than the purpose make sure your boots won’t be too warm.

When Is The Best Time to Buy Winter Boots?

Now is a great time to buy winter boots! After the holidays in January and February is usually when you can find boots on sale. If you know you will need boots early in the season, plan ahead and shop early in the season from September to early November to ensure you get your size before things sell out over the holidays.

Should Winter Boots Be A Bigger Size

There are so many things to consider when choosing a size for your boots. I always like to try them on before buying with a thicker sock to make sure they will be warm and cozy. If you are buying online you can always choose two sizes and send one back. Check reviews and use any prior experience with a company to help you decide.

How To Clean Winter Boots

Winter boots go through a lot of wear and tear year after year and you can easily freshen them up by cleaning them. Use a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water to dab on the dirty spots on your boots. Use a wet cloth and rinse. Then let them air dry. Make sure to dry completely before using your boots. You can also use a soap and water solution to clean. Combine warm water and dish soap. Dip a cloth in the mixture and again dab on the affected areas of your boots.

How To Store Winter Boots

Before storing your winter boots for the warmer months, be sure to clean them and let them air out. When they are ready for hibernation store them in a closet or small space where they won’t get covered in dust. There are many ways you can safely store your boots to ensure they stay in good condition during the off season. Try boot storage like stuffing your boots or utilizing boot hangers. Make sure not to stack boots on top of each other, which will ruin their shape and create unwanted markings.

What are your favorite winter boots? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclosure: if you buy something through the links on this blog, we may earn an affiliate commission. We only feature products we would personally recommend. Thank you for your support.

Get the newsletter
Exclusive content filled with my favorite items, personal takes, and more.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Comments

  1. Anna wrote:

    Kelley this is so great! Earlier this season I bought the women’s version of a winter boot my husband has liked for years (the men’s sizes weren’t small enough) and I was so disappointed that the treads on the women’s version were terrible! I’ve since read that a lot of companies do that.

    After a lot of research I then bought the Keen Revel IV Mid Polar boots and they’re awesome! My favourite winter boots – waterproof, light, outstanding traction, and comfortable out of the box. There’s a research institute in Canada that tests traction on winter boots (called the snowflake boot rating) and these were one of the highest rated boots.

    1.2.23 | Reply
    • Hi Anna, that is so disappointing to hear that some companies make the tread on the women’s boots less sturdy than the men’s! So glad you found a great boot though. My husband loves his Keens and I actually just included them in a post coming up on men’s boots. I will have to check out the women’s Revel! Thanks for the rec!

      1.11.23 | Reply