Depending on where you live in the country, the winter can be a harsh and unforgiving time of year. Sub-zero temperatures, blizzards, snow, slush, ice, and cutting winds can reduce the manliest of men to a cold pile of laundry. While many people immediately grab their parkas, long underwear, and fleece-lined pants, it can be easy to forget about weather-proofing your feet. But one should never go through the winter, especially if you live in a colder climate, without a good pair of winter boots.
A proper set of winter boots can make all the difference between having a miserable or marvelous winter. While finding the right boot can be a challenge, we’re here to help with your winter boot-related woes. We’ve searched the internet and curated a list of the best winter boots you can buy to ensure you’re properly outfitted to walk through the winter with ease.
Winter Boot Criteria
These Boots Are Made For Warmin'
Given that we’re talking about winter boots here, it’s important that we establish our criteria for what we look for in a winter boot rather than a standard boot. The world is filled to the brim with stellar boots, but many of them aren’t made for harsh, cold temperatures and icy and snowy conditions. To ensure you’re outfitted for the winter elements, here are three major criteria we look for in winter boots.
Insulation: We’re of the opinion that winter boots should almost always feature some type of insulation. Otherwise, they’re basically just boots, which we still love, but unless you have preternaturally hot feet, you’re going to need some insulation to tackle the harsh winter elements in comfort and safety. PrimaLoft and Thinsulate rule the insulation roost, but some companies have their own proprietary insulation they use in their products. Regardless, you’re going to want something to keep the cold out and keep the heat in.
Water and Weather Protection: The only thing worse than cold feet is cold, wet feet. Nobody likes a soggy boot, especially when it’s below freezing. DWR treatments, GORE-TEX or proprietary waterproof membranes, and seam-sealed constructions are all qualities you should look for in order to ensure your boots don’t get soaked.
Lining: This category can be an extension of insulation, but due to the scope of different linings a winter boot can have, we opted to give it its own dedicated section. If your winter boot doesn’t have any insulation built into it, opt for a lining instead. Be it shearling, wool, or even an inner boot, linings are fantastic alternatives if you can’t find an option with true insulation. Double points if you find a boot with both.
SOREL Caribou Waterproof Boot
SOREL has been a standout brand in the space for the better part of 60 years. The Portland-based shoemaker produces a variety of rugged, purpose-built boots, with the Caribou Waterproof boot being our favorite winter offering from the brand. This winter boot features a 9mm washable recycled felt inner boot, a sherpa cuff for added insulation and comfort, as well as a waterproof nubuck leather upper, a vulcanized rubber outsole, and a seam-sealed construction for total protection from the elements. Their specs make these boots stalwart and versatile while their accessible price tag makes them an incredible bargain.
Wolverine Frost 6″ Boots
Few brands command the respect and admiration for their craftsmanship the way Wolverine does. Its 6″ Frost boots are as tough and durable as the animal the brand is named after. These bad boys boast a premium waterproof full-grain leather upper that’s enhanced by a breathable, waterproof mesh lining to keep your feet nice and dry. For insulation, the Frost boots feature 200G Thinsulate insulation for optimal warmth, as well as a lightweight cement construction and a durable TPU shell to handle the harshest obstacles.
MUCK Arctic Sport Winter Boot
If you’re going to brave the elements, you can never go wrong with MUCK. For the past two decades, the brand has helped people throughout the world tackle some of the dirtiest jobs in the most unfavorable conditions in comfort. Its Arctic Sport Winter boot is so well-insulated that it can keep your feet warm in temperatures as low as -40° F. The boots are able to handle the frigid sub-zero temperatures with a construction that combines a rubber shell, fleece lining, 2mm of thermal foam under the footbed, and 5mm of scuba-grade neoprene. What’s more, the neoprene layer has natural shock-absorbing and waterproofing properties for added protection.
Doc Martens Chelsea Boot
Doc Martens is having its time in the limelight right now, but don’t think that the brand’s fashion-forward designs necessitate a drop in quality or protection. The Doc’s Chelsea boot features a wind-proof, ultra-cozy WarmWair soft insulation lining that’s as stylish as it is effective at keeping your feet warm. The boot also has a durable Goodyear-welted construction that’s heat-sealed together to provide an extra layer of durability. And of course, they have the good Doctor’s iconic yellow welt stitch for a touch of flair.
The North Face ThermoBall Lifty II
This list would be incomplete without the inclusion of The North Face. While the gear juggernaut offers an array of stellar winter boots, there’s no denying that its ThermoBall Lifty II boots reign supreme. Not only do they have a contemporary design, but they also offer a bevy of features to help you brace the coldest conditions with ease. The ThermoBall Lifty II boots leverage ThermoBall Eco insulation to retain warmth, a waterproof leather upper, an UltrATAC rubber outsole for optimal traction, and feature a DWR finish for a water-resistant exterior.
Timberland 6-Inch Premium Waterproof Boot
You can’t get more iconic than Timberland. Not only are its Premium Waterproof boots some of the best winter boots of all time, but they’re also some of the best boots ever. These job site staples have a season-proof design, 400G of PrimaLoft insulation, ReBOTL fabric lining that’s made of 50% recycled materials, and a shock-absorbing Anti-fatigue system for unparalleled comfort. Furthermore, they feature a seam-sealed construction with a waterproof treatment that will keep the rain, sleet, and snow out for good.
Keen Anchorage III Waterproof Boot
KEEN has long been a leader in the outdoor gear space, and its Anchorage III Waterproof boot is a clear indicator of why its reputation is well-deserved. A rugged take on the Chelsea boot, the Anchorage III Waterproof has 200g of KEEN.WARM insulation that protects you down to -25° F, a KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane, and a thermal heat shield that captures and retains warmth. On top of all of those features, they feature a Cleansport NXT finish for odor control and a waterproof full-grain leather upper to optimize their weather-resistant properties.
Danner Cloud Cap
When you’ve been making premium boots for the better part of a century, you end up developing a stellar reputation. Such is the case for Danner, whose Cloud Cap winter boot will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable in even the crummiest conditions. The Cloud Cap boots are filled with PrimaLoft Gold insulation for unparalleled warmth, which is augmented by their Danner Dry waterproof protection, which lets moisture escape without allowing water to infiltrate your foot space. They have a Plyolite midsole for shock absorption, a removable OrthoLite footbed, and a Vibram Arctic Grip AT outsole to provide traction over ice.
Hunter Original Insulated Commando Boot
Another mover and shaker in the gear game, Hunter makes some of the most respected and versatile boots on the market. While its Insulated Commando boot may not look like the brand’s iconic rain boots, it is certainly up to par with Hunter’s stratospheric standard of excellence. These tactical-looking boots sport a comfy fleece lining that insulates your feet, a protective rubber toebox overlay, and a cushioned footbed for added comfort and support.
Blundstone Thermal Series Chelsea Boot
Blundstone is about as classic as classic gets. The historic shoemaker has been making high-quality boots since the 1870s and hasn’t really missed a beat since. Its Thermal Series boasts a particularly stellar Chelsea boot that marries form and function the way only Blundstone can. The boot features a waterproof, seam-sealed leather upper, 200G of Thinsulate insulation to keep your feet toasty, and iconic pull tabs to put on or pull off your boots easily. What’s more, these minimalistic boots also feature a TPR slip-resistant outsole so you can strut your stuff on even the iciest of days.
Vans Ultrarange Exo HI Gore-Tex MTE-3
Although Vans started out as a skateboard shoemaker and is the brand embodiment of laidback Southern California style, the Costa Mesa label makes a winter boot that can hang with the best of them. The Ultrarange Exo HI Gore-Tex MTE-3 is stacked with features to help you weather a winter storm. They’re filled with Thinsulate synthetic insulation for superior warmth, have a triple-density EVA midsole for comfort and support, and boast a GORE-TEX membrane to wick away moisture and repel water. If those features aren’t enough, these boots also include an All-Trac rubber outsole for traction and a rugged twist on Vans’ classic styling.
Todd Snyder x Clarks Shearling Desert Boot
The Todd Snyder x Clarks collaboration proves that the style quotient of two brands coming together can increase multiplicatively. The iconic New York designer winterized Clark’s famed Desert Boot by integrating a shearling lining in its interior and changing the construction materials to a luxurious suede. We’re going to be honest, these aren’t the boots you want to bring to a snowball fight, but if you live in a dry frigid area and are looking for a warm, comfortable boot that’s out-of-this-world stylish, then these military-inspired chukkas are the pick for you.
The Original L.L.Bean Boot Shearling-Lined
A lot of brands make grandiose claims about how original their products are, but a lot of brands aren’t L.L.Bean. The Bean’s Original boot stands atop the pecking order of winter boots for its iconic style, rugged looks, and bonkers comfort. A layer of ultra-soft and warm shearling lining adds some extra plushness to the already cozy tumbled leather construction of the famed duck boot silhouette. Combined with the water-resistant protection of its rubber bottom and triple stitched seams, the Original L.L.Bean Boot proves that there’s no beating the classics.
Overland Hubert Wool-Lined Waterproof Leather Boots
Overland is one of those brands that can’t help but make outlandishly good gear. The brand has too many high-quality products to list, but its Hubert Wool-Lined Waterproof Leather Boots are a perennially phenomenal choice for winter footwear. They’re lined with plush 12mm wool that’s warm and breathable, and they also feature a sealed seam construction that’s crafted with a Goodyear Welt to ensure optimal water resistance. What’s more, they have a rugged yet elevated design that is sure to add style points to whatever wardrobe with which you pair them.
Amundsen Mountain Muck Low Cut
With roots back to the early 1900s, it’s safe to say that Amundsen knows a thing or two about crafting quality boots. In particular, its Mucks are a thing of boot beauty. The boots are a modern reinterpretation of traditional mukluks, boasting a removable inner boot that’s made with a three-season mesh, which can also be used as slippers indoors. They feature a full-grain Italian leather for added luxury and durability, as well as a Vibram outsole that provides added shock absorption for a smooth, comfortable experience.
Rancourt & Co. Freeman Boot
Like a few other entrants on this list, Rancourt is a Maine-based boot maker, so you know they’re intimately familiar with the bitter cold. Their Freeman Boot is a logic-defyingly dapper boot that’s made to conquer winter’s chill. These handsome boots are lined with a luxurious merino wool shearling, which is warm, breathable, and antimicrobial. Protecting this comfortable layer of insulation is the water-resistant Horween Chromexcel Leather exterior that looks as good as it is durable. To top things off, they even feature a Vibram Christy Arctic Grip outsole to lessen the hazards of walking on snow and ice.
Allen Edmonds Himalaya Shearling Chelsea Boot
Allen Edmonds could easily go on the Mount Rushmore of footwear, which is precisely why we felt compelled to mention its otherworldly fashionable Shearling Chelsea boot. Marrying form and function, these elegant boots boast a streamlined and elevated silhouette, with a side zipper for easy access. The boot features a shearling lining for augmented comfort and insulation and a water-resistant Chromexcel leather upper for total protection from the elements. Its beauty and functionality get a boost of durability and longevity from its 360º Bench Welt construction.
Canada Goose Journey Boot
If you need to tackle the cold while looking unabashedly stylish, you can always rely on Canada Goose. While the Canadian brand has carved out a nice space for itself with its ravishing line of outerwear, its foray into the footwear space couldn’t have been more phenomenal. Its Journey boot is a stellar winter offering with an insulated lining that will keep your feet warm in temperatures as cold as 5° F without conceding any style points. Better yet, the upper is made of premium Terracare leather that’s laminated with a waterproof HDry membrane for total protection from the elements. To top it all off, they also boast an impressive outsole with a deep tread for enhanced traction.
Viberg Pachena Bay
It’s no secret that Viberg makes some of the best boots in the space, having churned out premium boots for nearly a century. Its Pachena Bay boots are a work of beauty and functionality. The boot has a single-piece leather upper construction that’s designed to handle rugged terrain. For insulation, Viberg integrated the Pachena Bay with Thinsulate, making these boots as warm as they are stylish. What’s more, its stitch-down construction seals the boot from the elements and its gunmetal hardware and tan kip-lining give it a worn and distinguished look.
YUKETEN Maine Guide Shearling-Lined Leather Boots
Yuketen makes such great shoes that it’s almost maddening. Founder and lead designer Yuki Matsuda is a creative force to be reckoned with and one of the most renowned shoemakers on the planet. The Maine Guide Shearling-Lined Leather boots epitomize his design genius. These stunning boots are made of Horween’s pebbled grain Chromexcel pull-up leather, feature a luxuriously comfortable shearling lining, and sport memory foam cushioning for support. If you’re in the market for a high-end, modern interpretation of a classic moccasin, these boots are your salvation.
The Best Beanies to Wear
Now that you’ve covered your feet, check out our guide on the best beanies for men to wear to further winterize your wardrobe on the north side of your body.