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How To Choose The Best Winter Boots for Harsh Conditions

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With below freezing temperatures, harsh winds, and excessive snowfall, winter can be a tough season to endure.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is by purchasing a high-quality pair of winter boots.

Winter boots

There are many different types of snow boots on the market, each with its own features and benefits. To help you find the best pair for the season, check out the information below.

How To Choose The Best Winter Boots

Define your purpose for buying snow boots

The first step to finding the right winter shoes is to determine what you will be using them for.

What kind of activity will you be doing while wearing your new shoes? Will you be camping in the deep woods, possibly stuck in an emergency situation?

Or you’ll just be shoveling your driveway? Knowing what your boots’ purpose is will aid you in determining which features are the most important to you. This way, you can make the most informed purchase.

Temperature rating

A few boot manufacturers rate their products based on the warmth they provide. These temperature ratings can be very helpful for finding the warmest shoes possible.

Check on the packaging to see if they state a temperature rating. For example, it may state that the boot can maintain warmth in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Countries such as Canada or Russia are known for their harsh weather conditions during the winter, with the latter taking the cake at an all time low of -55 degrees Fahrenheit during the grimmest cold season that the town of Verkhoyansk has ever seen.

And while most places in the world never get that cold, having boots that are as warmth-friendly as they possibly can be is a great plus.

It should be noted that these ratings should be taken with a grain of salt. The boot may not perform to the exact specifications listed in the rating. A lot of other factors can contribute to the warmth of the boot including:

  • your health
  • activity level
  • clothing choices
  • how much you sweat

Comfort of your winter boots is important

When purchasing new winter boots, you should also consider how comfortable the will be.

If you plan to use these boots for work, the comfort criteria should be your top consideration. Since you will be wearing these shoes for long periods of time, you want them to provide top superior comfort for your feet.

Be sure to consider the lining and read some reviews to see if other consumers think they are comfortable.

Must be resistant to water

During harsh, snowy conditions, it is important to keep your feet dry. Your boot will play an important role in this. Here are a few of the features boot manufacturers use to make a boot water resistant:

  • Leather Uppers – A lot of shoes have a previously treated leather upper that will repel water.
  • Rubber Shells – The rubber shell protects the lower part of the boot. This feature will keep your feet dry, even if you are standing in water.
  • Waterproof Linings – A breathable and waterproof lining will keep your feet dry all while releasing sweat vapor.

Sorel - Women's Winter Carnival Waterproof Boot for Winter, Quarry/Black, 8.5 M USWomen’s Winter Carnival Waterproof BootSorel - Women's Winter Carnival Waterproof Boot for Winter, Quarry/Black, 8.5 M USSorel - Men's Buxton Lace Waterproof Winter Boot, Major/Black, 12 M USMen’s Buxton Lace Waterproof Winter BootSorel - Men's Buxton Lace Waterproof Winter Boot, Major/Black, 12 M USDREAM PAIRS Men's Viking-1 Black Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boots Size 9 M USMen’s Viking Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boots DREAM PAIRS Men's Viking-1 Black Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boots Size 9 M US


The purpose of your boot will directly affect how much and what kind of traction you need.

There are three main sorts of traction devices:

  • Crampons offer the most traction and are only necessary for intense outdoor activities.
  • Coiled devices are the most inexpensive and basic option. This type will work with any boot.
  • The last type is spike devices. These are also fairly basic but are a higher quality than the coiled option.

If you are ice climbing or mountaineering, you should look for shoes with rigid, metal crampons. For walking or working on ice without falling down, you need to choose something lighter.

Remember that camping trips and winter sports can potentially expose you to extremely harsh weather conditions, such as:

  • temperatures well below zero
  •  thick frost
  • blizzards
  • avalanches

In order to be prepared, you need shoes with a good grip so that you can walk to safety if necessary.

Boot height

Most snowshoes are 11 or 12 inches high, which allows you to keep your ankles warm. This also helps prevent snow from entering your boot while trekking in the snow.

But, there is the drawback of dealing with a heavy boot, the taller it is. Depending on the intensity level of your activity, the heftiness of the shoe could be a drawback.

Therefore, if you know that you will be exposed to a harsher winter than normal, you might want to consider investing in a more expensive boot that is also built better, as to be lighter while still maintaining its ideal height, sole and whatnot.

You most definitely want it to cover your ankle. This not only keeps the cold from coming in, but it also offers you additional support that might serve you well in a dangerous situation.

Removable insulated linings

Most tall shoes have insulated linings to protect the wearer’s feet. However, some of this lining may be removable, depending on the brand you buy, which allows you to expedite the drying process of the boot lining.

Plus, if you’re winter camping, you can simply wear the insulated liners as slippers around your tent.

Nevertheless, there are drawbacks:  the insulated lining can cause a looser fit in your boot, causing blisters on long hikes or day trips.


It’s important to have a good pair of boots for cold weather situations. Hopefully, with the help of our guide above, you’ll be able to choose a good pair of snow boots for harsh winter weather conditions.

Please remember that the  more extreme your environment is, the more you will benefit from a top-quality snowshoe. It might even save your life and preserve your well-being when the need arises.

There is no better investment than a strong, hefty and durable winter boot. As long as you keep our tips and recommendations in mind, you should be able to pick out a set of boots that will last you for years to come.

Author bio : A fresh Engineering Design graduate with a keen interest in all things DIY, practical and healthy, Vince is the brains behind He’s eager to spread the word on what he has learned and continues to learn through practice and thorough research.

Love hiking and camping in the winter? you'll need to get a good pair of snow shoes to keep your feet dry and warm. Here's how to choose winter boots for harsh weather. #boots #snowboots #winterboots #winterhiking #winter