The Best Women’s Winter Boots for Comfort and Stability
"Make sure the toe box is wide enough, as a round toe is better than a narrow or pointed toe box," says Dr. Parthasarthy. "Your toes should be able to wiggle. Check the inner sole of the boot; is it removable, is it thick and cushioned? Those are good signs that they'll provide a lot of support. A removable insole allows you to use your custom orthotics, or more supportive insoles if needed, and a textured sole is important for traction during inclement weather." Adds Dr. Nelya Lobkova, a board-certified podiatrist, you shouldn't have any tightness around the big toe joint or the top of the foot as this can cause numbness in the toes. "There should also be adequate space around the toes for a thin layer of warm air to circulate and keep the feet warm."
According to Dr. Lobkova, winter boots should have a minimum of these three factors: an outsole with traction to prevent slipping, weather-proof upper material, a rigid midsole, and a high-top (mid or high ankle level) for additional ankle support. "Warmth is dictated by the waterproof upper which does not let moisture into the boot and keeps body warmth from escaping," she says.
If you're looking to shop IRL, Dr. Parthasarathy advises you do a bend check beforehand. "A few things I have my patients check [when looking for] a good winter boot is to make sure that you can't bend the shoe in half," she says. "Bending the toe box upwards is okay, and make sure the heel counter is firm for support."
If you can't trudge through the frigid weather to check out boots in person, though (and we get it, it's also a pandemic), don't worry. We investigated which winter boots are cute, functional, and meant for walking even in inclement weather.
Best Winter Boots for Women
Sorel is pretty much the King of Winter Boots, and all of their offerings are just [Italian Chef’s kiss]. That being said, I’m particularly in love with these boots with shearling on the tongue. It really merges the two big style inspirations: punky dominatrixes and cuddly baby lambs. And the heel, believe it or not, could be stabilizing for you in the long run.
“If looking for a slight heel, a wide chunky heel is better than a narrow, pointy one,” says Dr. Parthasarthy. “A slight heel is also helpful to help elevate the foot out of the snow.”
Another pair from Sorel, this boot has waterproof nylon uppers and a warm fleece lining. The rubber sole has some grip to keep you from slipping on wet or slick streets.
I love Doc Martens, they’ve been my mainstay boot since I was 15, but I’ve also experienced seriously soaked feet taking them through the snow. No more; Docs are getting a fleece-y upgrade, with insulated WarmWair lining and a waterproof exterior. Nothing but cozy soles and cheery walks to the bodega from here on out.
If you want a real investment, look no further than Brother Vellies. The Alp Boots look low-key like the most stylish way to climb Mount Everest (although I don’t recommend it). Sturdy, with tight AF stitching, you definitely can’t avalanche over in these.
While “big and clunky” tend to define most winter boots, Dr. Parthasarthy actually recommends boots that make you kind of light on your feet. For someone who lives in sneakers and can’t stand the oppressive weight of winter shoes, TOMS has some solid offerings.
These Columbia waterproof boots are nice and insulated with a thermal-reflective lining, and the soles have good traction to prevent slipping. “This is a great city winter boot- it is warm, waterproof, and as light as a running sneaker,” says Dr. Lobkova.
This is another great city boot, says Dr. Lobkova. It’s comparable to the Columbia Slopeside boot in being a lightweight yet warm and waterproof winter boot. With a leather and/or suede upper, microfleece lining, these boots are also stylish for everyday wear.
Merrell’s boots are great for outdoor adventures, whether you’re in the city or in the mountains. These waterproof boots have a breathable mesh lining, arch support, and air cushion in the heel to absorb shock.
Danner’s Inquire boot has a suede upper that has a waterproof barrier, and cushioned footbed for comfort. It also has a split-heel sole to provide stability and grip whether you’re on wet or dry surfaces.
Vasque’s hiking boots are super comfortable, requiring basically no break-in time before you get moving. This waterproof pair is also built for cold weather, with insulation made with recycled materials and a tough rubber sole for traction.
Waterproof and abrasion-resistant, these leather Timberland boots can take a beating from the weather, and you. It has a padded collar and insulation for comfort, as well as a rubber sole that’s made with 10 percent plant-based materials.
Waterproof inside (the insulation) and out, these BOGS boots also have a faux fur lining to hug your feet on cold days. The boots moisture-wicking technology to keep your fee warm but dry, as well as a slip-resistant sole to help you avoid any spills.
It’s no wonder a company that makes winter sports equipment knows how to make a good winter boot, too. The Vaya Powder boot is specifically designed for women, waterproof, insulated, and has a grippy sole.
Warmest Women's Winter Boots
Yes, Uggs! They’re not just for lazing around your sorority house! These Uggs in particular mark all the boxes, with a mid-calf length, a lace-up front, consistent stitching, and insulation that can accommodate temperatures of -32 degrees Celsius. You’ll feel as though the shoe has a secret fireplace warming you up…and we won’t tell if you want to keep them on indoors, too.
Waterproof and sporty, the Sorel Whitney II will be able to keep up for the coldest days. It’s insulated, has a microfleece lining, and a cushioned footbed that you can wear for hours on end. Dr. Lobkova says it’s a versatile winter boot that is good for both winter streets and snowy and icy conditions.
When the weather takes a turn but you still need to venture outside, turn to these incredibly durable North Face boots. They’re waterproof and engineered to navigate sub-zero Arctic conditions, so you know your feet will stay warm whether you’re outside for a few minutes or a few hours. Dr. Lobkova says it also has the best traction for the worst of the snowy and icy weather.
If you spend a lot of time walking or hiking in cold climates, thees Baffin hike boots will make sure you stay supported and safe. They have a breathable upper, stabilizing and anti-microbial insole, and a grippy rubber sole. “These boots have the sporty hiking boot appearance and they are super insulated for extreme snow and ice and comfortable for walking in these conditions for long durations,” says Dr. Lobkova.
Even though these winter boots are incredibly affordable, they’ll also keep your feet warm in temperatures as low as -15°F. Made of a faux leather and lined with faux fur, they’re also available in a ton of colors.
Trade your Sperry boat shoes for winter boots when temperatures drop. The Torrent boot is waterproof, and has faux-fur trim accents that are cute and cozy as well as lugged sole to keep up with all your outdoor activities.
You may already have a pair of Hunter rain boots, and if you’re looking for something to handle colder temps, these waterproof snow boots might help. Like the rain boots, they’re pull-on to be easy to put on and take off, but they also have a fleece lining, waterproof internal membrane, and a drawstring to cinch the book around your legs. They can be worn in temperatures as low as -7°F.
These waterproof boots have leather trim and a faux-fur collar that look great while you’re walking through a city or enjoying some après-ski. They’ve got insulation to keep your feet and legs warm and a slightly heeled rubber sole with traction.
The Kamik Momentum boot has quick bungee lacing, so you don’t have to fumble with tying your laces, especially with cold hands or gloves on. In addition to being waterproof, the boots have a faux-fur collar for warmth, moisture-wicking liner, and grippy rubber sole.
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