When looking for the best shoes to wear in the winter there a lot of factors to think about. Winter time means that it will be freezing and wet. The last thing you want to experience on your feet is frost bite from not wearing warm enough shoes for the winter climate. But being cold and wet is not the only thing that can occur during the frigid months of the year. With freezing temperatures and wetness comes slippery and slushy terrain, whether it is from snow or ice. It is important to make sure that you are wearing the best and most appropriate shoes for the duration of the winter season.
Things to Consider
Winter shoes are made a little bit differently than shoes for any other day of the year. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration. Such as the winter weather variability. While one day can be dry and freezing the next day could be a little warmer, but incredibly wet. Shoe makers keep these varying climate changes in mind when creating the best shoes for the winter. These shoes have special features that most shoes don’t.
While most shoes have a traditional seam, where there is a small opening and crack between the two layers of fabric, that can cause water or cold air to seep through, winter shoes have something a little more durable called a bonded seam.
A bonded seam is also known as a sealed seam has a connection between the two fabrics of the shoes ensuring that these two fabrics are sealed so closely together that not even cold air can get through. Another plus that a bonded seam creates is that is laminates and waterproofs fabrics and allowing them to be 100% waterproof.
A cosmetic bonus of having shoes with bonded seams instead of traditionally sewn seams is that they reduce the bulk in the shoes and create a cleaner and more aesthetic look.
The most embarrassing part of the winter weather is when you slip on ice or snow in public. To ensure a better stride and a safer approach when dealing with the winter weather is to make sure you have winterized soles. The soles of these shoes will have an even distribution of rubber and lugged treads that are able to grab onto the wet slippery and icy ground without accumulating any dirt or mud, which could cause more issues than the snow and ice. Because of the constant trudge through slush and frost, the rubber composite sole should be attached to the upper part of the shoe with a waterproof adhesive, that way the show is less likely to fall apart due to the constant damp atmosphere.
Most commonly winterized shoes are made out of a fabric called Neoprene. Neoprene was originally used in wetsuits to help regulate the body temperature in cold water, so shoe companies decided this could also work with feet. You are most likely to find the Neoprene in the shoe lining on the inside and in the collar of the shoe. These areas are commonly known for collecting and trapping moisture.
Lastly, you want to ask if your shoes have had fabric treatments, to guarantee that they are waterproof, or at least partially waterproof. It is important to not get water into your shoes while you are walking, because the moment your feet get wet the colder they will feel. Some companies use waterproof and breathable membranes such as GORETEX, Polartec, or eVent to make sure your foot stays dry. These fabrics are created with a thin plastic membrane and micro perforations that allow hot air and water molecules to escape, to prevent dampness, but they cannot get in.
Top 5 Winter Shoes for Men
1. Vasque Snowburban Ultradry
The Vasque Winter bot is one of the best shoes for battling winter temperatures and precipitation. This boot is made with a waterproof polyurethane leather upper and a thinsulate ultra synthetic membrane that offers warmth and water resistance. Plus the 9 inch tall bot can provide for a taller warmth and a better support. Overall the support and comfort of this boot is great for an all-day wear, plus it is lightweight. Lastly, the tradition is great for slippery terrain with its Coldhold rubber lug pattern sole that has a strong grip on any kind of winter terrain.
2. Kamik Nation Plus
The Kamik Nation Plus boot is one of the best bangs for your buck. Although it only have 200 grams of Thinsuate insulation, most boots have on average 400 grams, it still keeps your foot warm and dry. The thick rubber sole keeps your foot dry from standing water and thick snow. These boots fit true to size and the long gusseted tongue allows for easy removal. The deep lugs in the sole of the shoe provide great traction throughout your walk.
3. Adidas Outdoor Terrex Conrax CP
These winter boots are athletic and winter approved. This boot is built to allow the performance of running and can keep your foot warm and safe from the harsh winter weather. Built with 200 grams of Primaloft Sport insulation, this boot keeps your feet warm and comfortable with ever stride. Adidas’s waterproof membrane, ClimaProof keeps your foot free from becoming damp. To ensure that you are not going to slip, they use a Continental Temperature Senstitive Rubber material for their aggressive pattern on the sole of the shoe. The material is semi-sticky, which makes it great for rocky and slippery terrain.
4. KEEN Summit County III
This incredibly lightweight shoe only weight 1 pound and 11 ounces (per boot), which makes it incredibly comfortable for wearing all day. These boots include 400 grams of KEEN Warm insulation and KEEN dry waterproof membrane, which lets moisture, like sweat out, but keeps rain or snow from seeping in. The boots are advertised to be able to keep the heat on your feet down to negative 40 degree Fahrenheit. In addition to the warmth and water resistance, these boots slip on easily and provide great comfort. And the dual density rubber compound that is used on the soles of these shoes create a slip resistance shoe with low profile and 4 millimeter lugs.
5. Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat
The Columbia Bugaboot is great for people with wider feet, or if you want to multi-layer your socks, this is the boot for you! “Omni-Heat” is Columbia’s synthetic insulation blend that helps keeps your feet warm and dry. It is a combination of treater leather and techlite waterproof materials and trademarked only for Columbia boots. These boots also have a trademarked Omni-Grip rubber compound for the soles of the shoes that keep you from slipping or sliding, plus there is a multi-layered lug pattern on the bottom of the shoe to help with the traction.
Top 5 Winter Shoes for Women
1. Sorel Tofino
Don’t let the look of these shoes catch you off guard. While they are fashion forward, they are also cold temperature and winter terrain ready. Although these shoes only feature 100 grams of insulation, they are built with warmth. With a quilted fabric that runs up your calf and a fur trim top, these boots are perfect for wearing out in the snow. The quilted style also provides a sense of coziness and comfort while wearing these boots, but don’t let the look fool you. With that being said, these boots are completely water resistance and will surprise you while trekking through snow and slush.
2. Vasque Pow Pow II
Perfect for hiking through the snow, the Vasque Pow Pow II offer great support and comfort while taking long hikes on various terrains. The 8 inch shaft that runs up the calf can be a little short when you have a blizzard like snow fall, but with the average amount of snow, the shaft keeps your calves dry and warm. Although these shoes are not the cutest winter boots that are on the market, they have a great traction that can keep you from slipping in the snow or on the ice. The sole is made from the Vasque’s ColdHold technology that performs really well on rocks, slippery wood steps, ice and loose terrain. Guaranteed to provide for an injury free hike.
3. UGG Adirondack II
While this is not your typical UGG boot, it still provides the comfortable and coziness that the original UGG boot provides, along with many more advantages. Made out of full grain leather and lined in sheep skin these boots will keep your feet warm and dry from any weather conditions. The traction on the UGG Adirondack II is a Vibram sole made specifically for the UGG Company. They have horizontal treads that help grip onto snowy and slippery surfaces to prevent from any unwanted injuries.
4. Ahnu Northridge
The Ahnu Northridge boot is great for moderate hikes through the snow or for just wearing around town. These boots are comfortable and will fit onto your foot snugly with a combination of a side zipper and a front lacing system. This boot has 200 grams of insulation and an 11 inch shaft that will keep your feet and calves warm. The Ahnu also has great heel and arch support with extra shock absorption. In addition to the warmth and support, these shoes have a great traction system created from a Vibram sole with deep and effected treads for both wet and dry surfaces.
5. The North Face Nuptse Purna
Stylish and functional, The North Face Nuptse Purna boots are a mid-height winter boot that is great for wearing out in the snow. These boots are basically lightweight and are great for extended walks or hiking. But when it comes to standing water, these boots are only good at keeping your feet dry up to 4.75 inches deep. While the nylon baffle keeps your foot dry with no problem, the suede tends to let moisture into the boot. But the traction on these boots are The North Face’s Winter Grib rubber soles with IcePick lugs that will keep you from falling in any snowing surfaces.
Overall, there are two main things you want to look for when purchasing boots for the winter; you want to make sure that they are water resistant and you want to make sure they are warm. Frost bit is a very vicious thing that can occur to anyone who is not properly equipped with warm and dry boots. When it comes to these two points the best pair of boots for men would be the Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat, with that Omni-Heat technology, these boots keep your feet dry and warm for even the coldest of temperatures. As for the women’s boots, the best ones to purchase would be the Vasque Pow Pow II, with an 8 inch shaft and thick sole, these shoes keep your feet and calves warm and dry throughout the inclement weather conditions.