On the hunt for the best winter boots? We consulted REI staff members and footwear experts Mike Lanning and Liz Hajek Cottrell about what to look for when shopping, and then asked them to recommend boots that deliver warmth, tackle wet weather, hike like pros and transition seamlessly from city sidewalks to snowy trails in winter.
There are four main factors you’ll want to consider when investing in a pair of winter boots: warmth, waterproofness, traction and activity level:
- Warmth: How much and what type of insulation the boots have.
- Waterproofness: How efficiently the boots block moisture.
- Traction: How much grip the boots lend on slick surfaces.
- Activity Level: What you plan to use the boots for.
These four factors work in concert with each other—strike the right balance and you’re almost certain to keep your toes toasty on your next winter adventure. Ready to invest? Here’s a roundup of the best winter boots available right now.
Sorel Caribou Boots
Best for Cold Temps
Versions: Women’s, Men’s
- MSRP: $150–$160
- Warmth: Four-layer 9mm ThermoPlus™ removable felt liners
- Waterproofing: Waterproof leather uppers/waterproof rubber bottoms
- Traction: Lugged rubber
- Height: Women’s: 9 in.; Men’s: 10 in.
These classic pac boots come equipped with 9mm felt liners made for teeth-chattering temps as low as minus 40 degrees. At the end of the day, you can remove the boots’ liners and let them warm by the fire.
“These boots are great for getting out in the really cold weather or just slipping on quickly on a snowy day. I wore these boots the most when I lived in Minnesota and needed boots for extremely frigid days or for activities such as snowmobiling. I love the removable liners because they are easy to dry after a long day of use.” —Liz Hajek Cottrell, staff member since 2016
“These heavy-duty boots keep my feet warm and cozy all day in freezing temperatures. There’s nothing light about them—they’re full-strength, no-messing-around boots. They’ve let me post-hole my way through snowy meadows and work outside all day without icy toes. They’re almost like carrying a little cabin on my feet.” —Katherine Anderson, REI member since 2008
Bogs Classic Ultra High Rain Boots
Best for Wet Weather
Versions: Women’s, Men’s
- MSRP: $135
- Warmth: 7mm Neo-Tech insulation
- Waterproofing: 4-way-stretch waterproof neoprene
- Traction: Nonmarking and nonslip rubber
- Height: 15 in.
Originally designed for dairy farmers, the lightweight Bogs Classic Ultra High rain boots feature thick Neo-Tech™ neoprene that takes the sting out of the cold the way a wetsuit dilutes the shock of brisk saltwater. Their tall silhouette delivers longer-lasting warmth than short galoshes, and their handles make them easy to maneuver your feet into on misty mornings.
“Made of waterproof neoprene (dive suit insulation) with sealed seams, they are every bit as warm in slush and wet snow as they are in dry conditions. I find I often slip into them to walk my dog, as they are very fast to put on and take off.” —Mike Lanning, staff member since 1991
“I use these boots probably the most frequently in winter. They are great for throwing on to take the dogs out, and I use them the most at my other job at a horse ranch. They are great ‘muck boots,’ completely waterproof and always keep me warm no matter what the weather. [They’re] also extremely easy to clean off after a day in the mud and snow.” —Liz Hajek Cottrell
Oboz Bridger 7” BDry Insulated Winter Boots
Best for Snowshoeing and Winter Hiking – Women’s
- MSRP: $185.00
- Warmth: 200g 3M™ Thinsulate™
- Waterproofing: BDry waterproof/breathable membrane
- Traction: Rubber outsoles with silica to improve grip
- Height: Over-the-ankle
Made for winter hiking, snowshoeing or simply shoveling the driveway, the Oboz Bridger BDry insulated winter boots are warm, waterproof companions for frigid days when you plan to stay active outside. Oboz boots are known for being kind to wider feet, and these prove no different. While they aren’t made to be worn with crampons, many customers raved about how well the Bridger 7”s worked with snowshoes.
One reviewer says, “My feet are perpetually cold, and I was in the market for a warm pair of winter hiking and snowshoeing boots so I could better enjoy the winter season outdoors. I spent some time at REI jamming my wide feet into several different pairs of insulated hiking boots, and I was about to give up. At last, I arrived at these. It was love at first wear! They fit true to size … My toes had the ideal amount of wiggle room, and most importantly, they were not tight on my forefoot like all the others before them. They needed no break in time, they were perfectly comfortable the first time I wore them on a 5-mile hike. I stomped through snow, puddles, and streams to test the waterproofing. My feet were bone dry, and incredibly toasty with only one pair of midweight wool socks. Plus, not a single blister or hotspot. These get an A+ from me, I would recommend them to anybody, especially those with wide feet.”