Snow Boots Buying Guide

When the real winter weather sets in and you want to get outside in the snow, you want your feet to stay warm and dry. You need a pair of snow boots.

When the real winter weather sets in and you want to get outside in the snow, you want your feet to stay warm and dry. You need a pair of snow boots.

Ideal for a ski trip to wear once you’re down tearing down the mountain or for walking through a snowy town, snow boots are the perfect footwear for the white stuff. Waterproof and warming, they’ll keep your feet dry and toasty, whatever the weather this winter.

But what are they and what makes them unique? Well, Winfields is here to explain everything about snow boots. We’ll guide you through how they differ from hiking and winter boots as well as the features to look for when shopping for a pair of your own.

Read on to discover more about snow boots and how they will protect your feet this winter…

What are Snow Boots?

What are Snow Boots?

As the name suggests, snow boots are for precisely that – snow. If you live in a particularly snowy area or are going on a ski holiday and need footwear for getting around, these are what you should buy.

A snow boot is waterproof, or water-resistant at the very least. In most cases, a snow boot has a high side, keeping snow from entering the boot, and a rubber sole, to keep water out. Snow boots can be used in other wet conditions, not just snow, including slushy, muddy, and rainy situations.

They should extend up part of your leg, at least above your ankle, to keep snow off your feet and they are often heavily insulated for warmth. They make walking in snow or on ice much easier as well as being suitable for walking through streams.

Are Snow Boots Different to Winter Boots?

Are Snow Boots Different to Winter Boots?

Though some may think they are the same thing, winter boots and snow boots are very different. Snow boots have one core purpose. Snow boots are specifically designed to be used and worn in snow, unlike winter boots, which are generally just warmer and more gripping than normal shoes.

Winter boots are designed mostly with the idea of warmth in mind, although some may provide the advantages found in snow boots, just not as good. Winter boots may be more fashionable than many snow boots but are designed for general winter use. They won’t offer weather protection like snow boots but they will be lighter.

Snow boots offer waterproof protection while also providing ankle support and excellent grip to prevent you from falling on the ice. For this reason, they are well suited to wet conditions, such as when the snow eventually turns into mush. Snow boots also have better ankle support, due to extra padding and lacing all the way up compared to regular winter boots.

What are the Features of Snow Boots?

What are the Features of Snow Boots?

When it comes to snow boots, there are some core features that you need to be aware of. Some of these are visible to you, such as the insulated lining and upper material, while others need a little more explanation. We’ve highlighted them below in the diagram before going into more detail.

  • Upper: Can be made from different materials, including padded or quilted nylon, textile, suede and leather. It will feature taped seams.
  • Midsole: Padded for shock absorption and extra cushioning.
  • Soles: More flexible than hiking boots to aid traction on the ice. A deep tread provides grip and stability.
  • Insulated Lining: There are different levels of insulation in snow boots, from soft fleece linings through to Thermoguard padding and Xero Therm technology.
  • Waterproof Protection: fully waterproof to disperse rain and snow, snow boots also feature a breathable Isotex membrane to keep feet dry inside and out.
  • Height: The higher the boot, the more of you that’s protected from the snow. A tall boot is best for trekking through snow and will keep your lower legs warm.
  • Adjustable Collar: An adjustable collar allows you to pull the top of the boot tight around your leg.

Snow Boot Temperature Ratings

Snow boots will have different temperature ratings on them to help you choose the right footwear for your activity or destination. Temperature rated boots are laboratory tested for their performance and whatever number appears means your feet will stay warm down to this temperature.

For example, a temperature rating of -20 degrees means snow boots are capable of keeping your feet warm to temperatures as low as -20 degrees, but not lower. The ratings should always be taken as a guide because many factors can affect this. Physical activity, exposure time to weather, socks, weather conditions and perspiration will affect performance and comfort within your boots.

What to Consider When Buying Snow Boots

What to Consider When Buying Snow Boots

Water Repellency & Waterproofing

Rain, snow, sleet, hail, frost and ice – snow boots are made to handle all of these conditions thanks to their waterproofing.

All snow boots repel water and are categorised as either water-resistant or waterproof. However, most are waterproof as your feet will be deep within snow. Snow boots will also offer a level of moisture protection with the soles being made out of waterproof material, like rubber and PVC.

Snow boots are built on a combination of a water-resistant upper and a waterproof membrane. This allows moisture and perspiration to escape but prevents water and snow from seeping through. It’s how waterproof membranes work on jackets, for example. The waterproof lining is necessary and covers a large area above the soles, making them so snowproof.

Insulation and Ankle Support

Snow boots can be lined with a range of insulation, from a woollen blend, faux fur and fleece.

These boots are constructed to retain heat and keep your feet warm in freezing temperatures, as low as -40 degrees. Insulated layers, padding and additional laces also provide excellent ankle support, not something you can have with regular winter boots.

This will protect you from twisted ankles and leg or foot injuries when walking on potentially uneven terrain that you can’t see or icy ground. As a result, snow boots will often be heavier than standard hiking boots and winter boots.

As we mentioned earlier in the features section, snow boots will also have a collar or cuff, or a drawstring closure at the top of the boot. This is to help keep snow and the cold out of your boots, maintaining a high temperature. These cuffs and collars can be stylish as well as functional if they shed moisture.

How Should Snow Boots Fit?

How Should Snow Boots Fit?

Unlike some outdoor footwear, when it comes to snow boots, it’s always best to shop in-store and try them on.

You want your winter boots to be a little roomy to fit thicker, warmer socks as well as having a little extra space to allow the warm air to circulate. This allows for body heat to be retained and moisture to evaporate. That’s not to say to have lots of space that your foot will move around excessively and potentially blister.

Despite being more heavy-duty, snow boots are like every other piece of outdoor footwear and you shouldn’t substitute comfort. The fit will be apparent to you shortly after you try them on. You want the boots to be snug but not too tight, and flexible but not floppy.

Tip: Like with hiking boots, make sure to break your snow boots in first. Simply wear them for an hour or two around the house before venturing outside.

With all you know now, you should be fully prepared to buy a pair of snug men’s or women’s snow boots that will keep you warm, safe and upright this winter, whether you’re on a ski holiday or clearing the driveway of snow.

Click on the links below to discover the winter ranges Winfields can offer you.

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