Reviews You Can Rely On

The 6 Best Winter Boots of 2023

We tested men's winter boots from Muck Boot, The North Face, Bogs, Sorel, and others to find the best models for your winter outings
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Best Winter Boots of 2023
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor
Thursday April 27, 2023
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Looking for the best winter boots? We've tested 50 different pairs in the last 9 years, and our updated review features the 13 best and most popular options available today. Regardless of where you live, what sort of winters you face, or for what specific purposes you need boots, we've tested great options and have solid recommendations. Whether you're walking through the cold slushy streets of the big city, shoveling snow off the driveway before taking the kids to school, chopping wood at the cabin in the middle of a big storm, or commuting to and from the ski lodge, we'll give you the lowdown on which are the best options.

Winter activities often require fun outdoor gear to keep you warm, safe, and cozy. Even the best hiking boots won't have the insulation you want when temperatures plummet. In our winter gear reviews, we've purchased and tested a variety of gear, from the top winter jackets to the grippiest snowshoes. Don't let the cold weather get you down — bundle up with the right gear so you can stay active all winter long, no matter what you like to do.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on April 27, 2023, to add the Oboz Bridger to our lineup.

Related: Best Winter Boots for Women

Top 13 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 13
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $159 List
$158.95 at Amazon
$190 List
$127.98 at Amazon
$130 List
$74.98 at Amazon
$123.71 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$120 List
$118.03 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordableWeather resistant, easy to slip on and off, durableRelatively inexpensive, great performance across the boardConvenient slip on design, waterproof to 11.5 inches, good priceGreat traction, very comfortable, inexpensive
Cons Other boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance heightExpensive, loose fit, clunky, poor tractionClunky, style isn't the best, questionable construction qualityHandles let in water or debris, only come in single whole sizes, not as warm as some competitorsNot that warm, fabric eyelets, low height
Bottom Line These boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair priceThese easy-to-use boots are protective and durable, perfect for winter chores or quick jaunts into snowy weatherThese affordable boots nearly match the performance of the best models but without straining your walletA convenient and protective boot with good weather resistance and a very wide toe boxThis very comfortable and inexpensive winter hiking boot has excellent traction, making it perfect for winter walks and treks
Rating Categories The North Face Chil... Muck Boot Arctic Sp... Columbia Bugaboot III Bogs Bozeman Tall Merrell Thermo Chil...
Warmth (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Weather Protection (25%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
9.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
10.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
10.0
5.0
Specs The North Face Chil... Muck Boot Arctic Sp... Columbia Bugaboot III Bogs Bozeman Tall Merrell Thermo Chil...
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 8.5" 13" 8" 11.5" 6.5"
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 11" 13" 10.5" 13" 7.5"
Measured Weight (per pair, size 13) 3.86 lbs 5.09 lbs 3.69 lbs 4.88 lbs 2.74 lbs
Appropriate Activity Town, errands Chores Hiking, town, chores, errands Chores Hiking, town
Fit Details True to size Roomy True to size Roomy True to size
Lining/Insulation 400g Heatseeker Eco Fleece, 5mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene 200g synthetic 7mm Neo-Tech Neoprene 200g M Select
Upper Material Waterproof leather & suede Rubber Waterproof leather Rubber Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh
Toe Box Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Surface Control rubber MS-1 molded rubber Omni-Grip Rubber BioGrip Rubber
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating Not listed -40 F Not listed -72 F Not listed
Animal Products? Yes No Yes No No
Sizes Available 7 - 14 5 - 15 7 - 17 7 - 14 7 - 15


Best Overall Winter Boot


The North Face Chilkat V 400


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.0
  • Weather Protection 8.0
  • Comfort and Fit 8.0
  • Traction 9.0
  • Durability 8.0
Shaft Height: 11 inches | Insulation: 400g Heatseeker Eco
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable and cozy
Excellent traction
Warm
Versatile
REASONS TO AVOID
Could be more waterproof

The North Face Chilkat V 400 took us by surprise with its excellent warmth and comfort, earning our top honor for winter boots. It has tons of synthetic insulation with a comfortable lining, which creates an environment of luxury. The boot is very light, making it comfortable to walk long distances, and the excellent tread pattern ensures good grip on both paved and rough surfaces, dry or slick. It also has plenty of weather resistance for stormy weather and enough durability to last a long time.

The tongue meets the boot at a lower height than other burly winter boots on the market, meaning that you won't be able to submerge these in the deepest waterways. But barring that flaw, these boots are excellent and relatively affordable compared to other similar options. In short, the Chilkat outperforms the rest, and for most winter users who have to deal with snowy and cold weather, these are the boots we recommend.

Read more: The North Face Chilkat V 400 review

The Chilkat has been our favorite boot since for multiple iterations.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Best Bang for Your Buck


Columbia Bugaboot III


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 8.0
  • Weather Protection 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Traction 7.0
  • Durability 7.0
Shaft Height: 10.5 inches | Insulation: 200g synthetic
REASONS TO BUY
Affordable
Super comfy
Warm
REASONS TO AVOID
Durability is questionable
Traction could be better in deep snow

The Columbia Bugaboot III is a high-performance winter boot that excels in most applications and comes for an affordable price. It packs tons of warmth and comfort into a lightweight package and has enough traction and weather resistance for most winter users. These boots are among the most comfortable we have ever tested, with soft fleece-lined insulation that molds to your feet over time. Putting these boots on is a dream.

We have some doubts about the long-term durability of this product due to tailoring discrepancies. We had no issues, and the boots showed no signs of wear during our test period. We don't love the style of these boots either, but their great performance is enough for us to forgive their clunky looks. These are the best option if you need a solid boot for harsh winter weather and are shopping on a budget.

Read more: Columbia Bugaboot III review

winter boots - the bugaboot is a very comfortable winter boot that will serve most...
The Bugaboot is a very comfortable winter boot that will serve most users well.
Credit: Sam Willits

Best for Winter Chores and Outdoor Work


Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.0
  • Weather Protection 10.0
  • Comfort and Fit 7.0
  • Traction 5.0
  • Durability 10.0
Shaft Height: 13 inches | Insulation: 5mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene w/ fleece lining
REASONS TO BUY
Weather resistant
Easy to slip on and off
Highly durable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as comfortable as other options
Pricey
Could be warmer

The Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid is a convenient slip-on work boot that provides a great fit, plenty of weather protection, and good durability, making it the best boot for working outdoors and doing quick chores. It easily slides on and off and has enough warmth and weather resistance to use for quick tasks without socks, making it very convenient for winter housework like chopping wood and shoveling. And when paired with thick socks, this boot is well-fitting and warm enough to use for all-day outdoor work. A thick rubber shell ensures a long lifespan — these boots can take a beating.

Slip-on work boots are the most convenient boots in our review, but this convenience also prevents them from achieving a perfect fit. Indeed, the Arctic Sport Mid feels a bit loose and sloppy, but it best fits this sub-category. Thick socks help take up some of this room. These also aren't as warm as Pac boots, so users might want to look elsewhere for seriously cold winter climates if they will be spending hours in below-freezing temperatures regularly. But if you want a convenient slip-on boot for odd jobs and chores that will also be adequate for the occasional long and cold outdoor workday, these are a great choice.

Read more: Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid review

The Muck Boot Arctic Sport is perfect for slipping on to do quick outdoor chores.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Best Winter Hiking Boot


Merrell Thermo Chill Mid


73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.0
  • Weather Protection 6.0
  • Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Traction 10.0
  • Durability 5.0
Shaft Height: 7.5 inches | Insulation: 200g M Select
REASONS TO BUY
Very comfortable for walking and hiking
Great traction
Warm enough
Affordable
REASONS TO AVOID
Lower puddle depth
Minor durability concerns

The Merrell Thermo Chill Mid is a winter hiking boot that performs well enough to be used in most winter climates as an all-around winter boot. It is affordable, earning our nod for the best winter hiking boot. It is supremely comfortable, thanks to a great footbed and cozy insulation, and also packs enough warmth and weather resistance for most days of the winter. Light and easy to wear, the low price tag is delightful considering the performance this boot delivers.

Still, the Thermo Chill isn't tall enough or warm enough for some winter snowstorms or submersion in deep water. They are made for hiking and do this well, but they won't be useful for those who need to trudge through deep snow to chop wood or shovel the driveway. And we have concerns about the fabric eyelets that seem likely to break over time from cinching the laces down tight. But for winter hikers and others in temperate climates who want a good boot on a tight budget, these are what we recommend.

Read more: Merrell Thermo Chill Mid review

winter boots - you want solid traction when hiking on slick spring trails.
You want solid traction when hiking on slick spring trails.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Best Winter Style


UGG Butte


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 8.0
  • Weather Protection 5.0
  • Comfort and Fit 8.0
  • Traction 5.0
  • Durability 8.0
Shaft Height: 11.5 inches | Insulation: Sheepskin wool
REASONS TO BUY
Fashion-forward
Comfortable
Warm enough for city life
Decent weather resistance
REASONS TO AVOID
Shallow tread
Not suitable for very cold temps or deep puddles

The UGG Butte is a stylish leather winter boot with wool insulation that feels great against the feet. Comfort is a priority. The boot is light and doesn't feel as bulky and cumbersome as heavier Pac boots. The leather exterior looks great, and the cuff can be rolled down to show off the wool lining or kept up for an all-leather look. The lower section of the boot is completely waterproof, meaning the boot can stomp through puddles and shallow snowdrifts without getting wet.

The lightweight nature of the Butte means it isn't as warm as others, but it is still warm enough for winter days in most places. And although water begins to seep into the boot at a submersion depth of 6.5 inches, we rarely found puddles that deep in real life. Overall, these boots perform well and will be suitable for most users, and the style is some of the best on the market. Only users with specific extreme cold or water resistance needs will need to look elsewhere.

Read more: UGG Butte review

winter boots - the ugg butte is cozy, comfortable, and stylish, but it lacks the...
The UGG Butte is cozy, comfortable, and stylish, but it lacks the warmth and weather resistance of the most serious winter boots.
Credit: Sam Willits

Best for Extreme Cold


Baffin Impact


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 10.0
  • Weather Protection 3.0
  • Comfort and Fit 4.0
  • Traction 6.0
  • Durability 7.0
Shaft Height: 15 inches | Insulation: ComfortFit synthetic removable liner
REASONS TO BUY
Warm to the extreme
Cozy internal fabric
Decent traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Not waterproof above the foot
Very expensive
Heavy and bulky

The Baffin Impact is a huge, heavy boot with extreme warmth. We cannot imagine ever having cold feet in these boots. They have a removable synthetic liner for insulation and a thin layer of fixed insulation on the inside of the shell. The sole is thick, and the footbed has a honeycomb pattern to add height and trap warm air beneath the foot. Every aspect of this boot provides warmth, and is the warmest winter boot we have tested.

However, the same features that provide so much warmth make the Impact unsuitable for use by anyone who doesn't spend a lot of time standing around in below-zero temperatures. This boot is thick, bulky, and extremely heavy, making it a chore to walk in for short distances. It has so much insulation that it makes our feet float when walking through a creek to check for water resistance. In the same creek, we immediately noticed that the seams were not waterproof as the liquid poured inside. These boots will keep your feet warm, period. But beyond that, they aren't super versatile.

Read more: Baffin Impact review

winter boots - the baffin impact is a huge winter snow boot that is extremely warm.
The Baffin Impact is a huge winter snow boot that is extremely warm.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
79
The North Face Chilkat V 400
the north face chilkat v 400 winter boots review
$159
Editors' Choice Award
79
Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid
muck boot arctic sport mid winter boots review
$190
Top Pick Award
77
Columbia Bugaboot III
columbia bugaboot iii winter boots review
$130
Best Buy Award
76
Bogs Bozeman Tall
bogs bozeman tall winter boots review
$165
73
Merrell Thermo Chill Mid
merrell thermo chill mid winter boots review
$120
Top Pick Award
73
Sorel Caribou
sorel caribou winter boots review
$200
72
Oboz Bridger 10" Insulated
oboz bridger 10" insulated winter boots review
$210
68
UGG Butte
ugg butte winter boots review
$240
Top Pick Award
68
Salomon Quest Winter Thinsulate ClimaSalomon Waterproof
salomon quest winter thinsulate climasalomon waterproof winter boots review
$180
65
Kamik Nation Plus
kamik nation plus winter boots review
$100
60
Baffin Impact
baffin impact winter boots review
$261
Top Pick Award
58
Keen Revel IV Polar
keen revel iv polar winter boots review
$190
54
Blundstone Thermal - Men's
blundstone thermal winter boots review
$250

winter boots - testing winter boots on the shore of donner lake in truckee, ca.
Testing winter boots on the shore of Donner Lake in Truckee, CA.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Why You Should Trust Us


Over the years, we've tested over 100 winter boots for men and women. Our testing methodology puts each pair through multiple tests to rate warmth, protection, comfort, and more. For our analysis, we've logged hundreds of hours in the cold and snow in five states wearing these boots.

Winter boot traction testing in the snow in Tahoe.
Credit: Viktoria McNamara

The winter boots in this review were subjected to more than 14 individual tests to rate their winter performance. As you might have guessed, the most important tests revolve around warmth and weather protection. These tests included standing in cold creeks to test water resistance and measuring internal air temperatures while the boots were soaking in an ice bath to check the insulation. You can rest assured that the information published in this review doesn't merely pay lip service to manufacturers' marketing jargon but is the product of hard-earned knowledge obtained through exhaustive use and testing.

Water resistance testing in our testing lab. We poured water and measured the height at which the boots started to get wet on the inside.
Credit: Viktoria McNamara

The breakdown of our five rating metrics for men's winter boots is as follows:
  • Warmth (25% of overall score weighting)
  • Weather Protection (25% weighting)
  • Comfort and Fit (20% weighting)
  • Traction (15% weighting)
  • Durability (15% weighting)

Longtime GearLab tester Jeff Dobronyi brings you this review. Jeff is an IFMGA-licensed Mountain Guide based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, one of the coldest winter climates in the lower 48. He regularly spends his day shoveling feet of snow out of the driveway, slipping on boots to drive to work as a backcountry ski guide, and then chopping wood as soon as he gets home, sometimes running errands on the way. He demands a lot from his winter footwear and knows which boots stand up to winter and which can't. Over the years, we've tested various kinds of footwear for every activity under the sun.

We walk, run, and skip on all kinds of surfaces to really understand...
We walk, run, and skip on all kinds of surfaces to really understand the strengths and weaknesses of every tested boot.
Our iconic ice bath test shows which boots can really keep the cold...
Our iconic ice bath test shows which boots can really keep the cold at bay and which ones are better left to mild urban jaunts.
No boot does especially well gripping on ice, and neither does this...
No boot does especially well gripping on ice, and neither does this one. However, it grips very well on all other surfaces that we tested it on, and with a modified gait, sliding the feet along, we were able to stay on our feet just fine.

Jeff combined his research and test notes with those of past testers in different locations and throughout numerous winters to bring you various experiences to aid your purchase. We tested in the Cascades of Washington and Oregon, the Sierra Nevada of California, the Colorado mountains, and Jackson Hole's cold valley. We took several long winter hikes beyond using them during our everyday lives and jobs. We conducted controlled side-by-side tests to expand our understanding of how they perform in different conditions.

winter boots - the sorel caribou boots are easy to step into and will keep your...
The Sorel Caribou boots are easy to step into and will keep your feet warm and dry during your daily winter chores.
Credit: Elizabeth Riley

Analysis and Test Results


Despite their seemingly simple design, winter boots come in many different styles and have many different purposes (for women too!). Our selection runs the gamut of designs from large Pac boots with tons of insulation and weather resistance to small, stylish Chelsea boots. Our test details can help you find the right winter boots for your needs and budget.

winter boots - the blundstone thermal looks great in cold urban enviroments.
The Blundstone Thermal looks great in cold urban enviroments.
Credit: Sam Willits

We ranked each of the winter boots in our review across five critical performance metrics: warmth, weather protection, comfort, fit, traction, and durability. Since there are different types of winter boots with distinct advantages and disadvantages, we encourage you to carefully consider your own needs, which will help you narrow down which boots will be the best choice.


Value


Winter boots range from dirt cheap to crazy expensive. The good news is that the most expensive boots aren't necessarily the best. We found many worthy boot models that are notably cheaper than less impressive but more expensive options.

The best overall winter boot in our lineup, The North Face Chilkat V 400, is a great option for anyone looking for a versatile winter boot at a great price. Our outstanding value award winner, the Columbia Bugaboot III, nearly matches the performance of the Chilkat while remaining affordable. The Merrell Thermo Chill Mid is a winter hiking boot that provides enough versatility for most cold-weather activities and uses and also comes at a great price.

winter boots - shoveling the walkway in the affordable columbia bugaboot iii.
Shoveling the walkway in the affordable Columbia Bugaboot III.
Credit: Sam Willits

The Bogs Bozeman Tall is a weather-protective and durable slip-on boot that is less expensive than the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid, our favorite choice for outdoor chores, but it doesn't underperform by much. Generally, the most stylish models are some of the most expensive, as is the warmest model in our test, the Baffin Impact. While this boot will set you back big time, it's worth the money if you need a ton of warmth.

winter boots - wearing the bozeman tall while chopping up rounds during the start...
Wearing the Bozeman Tall while chopping up rounds during the start of the first winter snowfall, nothing like putting it off till the last minute! These are great warm work boots for all sorts of outdoor activities.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Warmth


We typically wear winter boots during the coldest season of the year, so we expect them to insulate our feet and keep them toasty and warm. Therefore, a boot's warmth is one of the most critical aspects of its overall performance. Each model in this review has insulation to keep the cold at bay, but the insulation varies tremendously.


Of course, we evaluate the warmth of these boots outside, but we also test them in the lab for more controlled head-to-head comparisons. The most objective warmth test we perform is to place the boots in an ice bath and take temperature measurements with a laser thermometer every three minutes for 12 minutes total. This test objectively analyzes how quickly cold can permeate a boot.

winter boots - we put each boot in an ice bath to see which held warmth the longest.
We put each boot in an ice bath to see which held warmth the longest.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

The warmest boot we tested is the Baffin Impact, which has tons of synthetic insulation in both the removable liner and the boot's shell. These boots kept our feet warm and even hot on the coldest days of testing. However, these boots are for arctic conditions and are overkill for temperate climates.

winter boots - the baffin impact has tons of insulation to keep your feet warm in...
The Baffin Impact has tons of insulation to keep your feet warm in the coldest conditions on earth.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi


Surprisingly, the affordable Columbia Bugaboot III delivered more warmth than almost every other boot. This model packs tons of insulation into a comfortable package. The top-rated North Face Chilkat V 400 also provides plenty of warmth for most days and situations. Both have shafts that extend high enough up the leg to protect the feet on all but the most extreme days. The classic Sorel Caribou, typical for a Pac boot, also delivers as much warmth as most people need, thanks to a 9mm felt inner liner and robust outer materials. The stylish UGG Butte provides good warmth with a thick wool lining that keeps the feet cozy while remaining light and comfortable to wear. We were also impressed by the Oboz Bridger 10" Insulated, which has plenty of warmth and no bulk.

winter boots - thick, cozy synthetic insulation with a microfleece lining provides...
Thick, cozy synthetic insulation with a microfleece lining provides the Bugaboot III's warmth.
Credit: Sam Willits

On the other hand, the neoprene insulation found on the multiple slip-on models does not trap heat as effectively. Their large, loose openings also allow heat to escape, making them among the least warm boots in our review. Similarly, the Chelsea boots have leather uppers and thinly lined footbeds that aren't warm enough for temperatures below freezing. The Blundstone Thermal of the Chelsea boots is warmest, with a fuzzy wool sheepskin footbed.

winter boots - most of the blundstone thermal&#039;s warmth comes from a sheepskin...
Most of the Blundstone Thermal's warmth comes from a sheepskin lining under the foot and thick leather uppers.
Credit: Sam Willits

Weather Protection


When it comes to winter boots, keeping your feet warm and dry is absolutely essential. Wet feet are definitely not happy feet, especially if the water is barely above freezing temperature. That's why it's crucial for winter boots to have good water resistance. Most winter boots feature some kind of waterproofing, such as a durable rubber outer, treated leather or Nubuck, or a waterproof/breathable membrane. But how effective are these features? To find out, we conducted a submersion test by walking into a very cold creek and standing there for longer than you'd typically want to. This test really put water resistance to the test and helped us identify any potential weaknesses.


The height of a boot is also significant for water resistance, as the easiest way for your foot to get wet is from snow pouring in over the top opening. Also important is where the low point of a tongue's gusset is, as this is the depth of water you can stand in without leaks pouring in. Boots like the Muck Arctic Sport Mid and Bogs Bozeman Tall have a high maximum puddle depth before allowing water inside. In contrast, a short boot like the Blundstone Thermal requires that you step carefully in snow or slush that's even a few inches deep.

winter boots - the muck boot arctic sport is an impressive boot, especially when...
The Muck Boot Arctic Sport is an impressive boot, especially when things get sloppy. These won't let any water in through the boot.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Many boots passed our submersion test with flying colors, allowing no water to leak into the boot after being submerged five inches deep, even after 10 minutes. While it's unlikely that you'll just be standing in deep puddles for extended periods while wearing any of these boots, it's comforting to know they can handle it. Since many boots are completely waterproof up to a certain depth, the tie-breaker for scoring became how deep the water could be before leaking or over-topping. At 13 inches of waterproof height, the Arctic Sport Mid is the most waterproof boot in the lineup, followed very closely by the Bogs Bozeman Tall and the Sorel Caribou. The North Face Chilkat V 400, Columbia Bugaboot III, and Oboz Bridger 10" Insulated provide about 8 inches (20 centimeters) of submersion before allowing water inside and 10-11 inches (about 25-28 centimeters) of shaft height before letting in powder snow, which is adequate for the vast majority of users.

The Oboz Bridger 10" is fully waterproof up to a submersion depth of 8.5", and when tightly laced, splashes won't penetrate through the tongue of the 10" shaft.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Some boots claim to be waterproof and might work very well to keep out quick splashes, but they let water in if they get submerged for an extended period. A good example is the 15-inch tall Baffin Impact, which began to leak at the 3-inch mark during our submersion test. It let water in through the seam where the upper and lower portions meet. The Chelsea boots let water in through the elastic panel, the component that allows this style of leather boot to be flexible.

winter boots - unless water or snow leaks in at the handle holes, which are 11.5...
Unless water or snow leaks in at the handle holes, which are 11.5 inches above the ground, the Bozeman are totally waterproof.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Comfort and Fit


Comfort is important, especially when it comes to footwear. We recommend that you make comfort a primary consideration when selecting a winter boot and if something we've suggested doesn't feel perfect on your feet, toss out our advice and listen to your own body. For this reason, it's wise to make online boot purchases from a retailer that will take returns for items that don't fit right or aren't comfortable. On the other hand, we also recognize that comfort is a highly subjective assessment, and what we consider the most comfortable design may not feel good on your foot.



According to our testers, the most comfortable model is the Blundstone Thermal, which has a perfectly-tailored leather boot fit with a soft sheepskin footbed lining that feels heavenly when you slip it on. This is followed closely by the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid, which is designed primarily for winter hiking. The soft insulation of the Bugaboot III is also supremely comfortable. The Chilkat V 400 and UGG Butte also feature soft, form-fitting interiors that are a pleasure to wear.

winter boots - the thermo chill&#039;s lacing system allows us to get the fit as snug as...
The Thermo Chill's lacing system allows us to get the fit as snug as we need, and the toe box is perfectly cut.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

The Chilkat V 400 has soft and compressible insulation, a fit that also feels perfectly tailored, and a lacing system that allows the boot to be cinched tighter than other Pac-style boots. The Butte is lined with thick wool insulation, creating a cozy nook for the feet, and as the leather breaks in over time, the boot gets progressively more comfortable.

winter boots - the comfortable ugg butte has a thick wool lining and leather that...
The comfortable UGG Butte has a thick wool lining and leather that breaks in over time to create a custom fit.
Credit: Sam Willits

Even the low-scoring boots in our review are still quite comfortable; they're just looser-fitting and somewhat clunky. The roomy fit of the Sorel Caribou is comfy and cozy but not well suited for activities like hiking. That's okay, as these boots are best for winter chores and running errands anyway. The same goes for the Bogs Bozeman Tall and Muck Arctic Sport Mid. The beauty of these boots is in their simplicity and convenience — they are comfortable but lack the fit characteristics that would make them suitable for hiking.

winter boots - the bogs bozeman tall (shown) has a wider and taller toe box than...
The Bogs Bozeman Tall (shown) has a wider and taller toe box than the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid, a close competitor.
Credit: Sam Willits

Traction


Dependable traction is essential. Whether going to the grocery store on a snowy day, walking through the woods to cut down a Christmas tree or heading down a trail to gain some winter solitude, you need to be confident that your boot can handle whatever conditions you may encounter.


We trudged up steep, snowy, and often icy slopes at least a dozen times to test traction head-to-head. We also took our boots to old, firm snow patches high in the mountains and across icy walkways down in town. The Merrell Thermo Chill Mid is the clear winner of our traction testing, with an aggressive lug pattern and sharp edges that bite into rock and snow, just like winter tires for a car.

winter boots - the tread of the thermo chill looks like it came off the tires of a...
The tread of the Thermo Chill looks like it came off the tires of a jeep or ATV, providing great traction on rock, dirt, and snow.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Our favorite overall winter boot, The North Face Chilkat V 400, has the best tread pattern among the fully-featured options. The Salomon Quest Winter also has good traction, worthy of both winter trail use and errands around town in snowy conditions.

winter boots - we like the tread pattern on the chilkat v 400. they bite into all...
We like the tread pattern on the Chilkat V 400. They bite into all winter surfaces well.
Credit: Sam Willits

Durability


Winter boots are expensive, and we rely on them to keep our feet protected during the coldest and stormiest months of the year. They need to hold up to repeated use and abuse doing chores, winter hiking, and trudging around in wet conditions. If they fall apart, they expose our feet to the elements, which can be debilitating. And, a boot that falls apart easily is a wasted investment.


Slip-on work boots are the most durable winter boots out there. Both the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid and the Bogs Bozeman Tall have lots of rubber around the boot's lining, no stitched seams exposed to the outside, and rubber that won't wear out quickly. These boots fend off sharp objects and don't have any moving parts like lace eyelets that can fall apart.

winter boots - there are very few seams and joints that could fall apart on the...
There are very few seams and joints that could fall apart on the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid.
Credit: Sam Willits


Besides the slip-ons, we like the construction quality of The North Face Chilkat V 400, the Salomon Quest Winter and the Kamik Nation Plus. Each of these options will last a long time, thanks to reinforcement patches in high-wear areas and tight stitching. But, with few exceptions, all the winter boots in this review should last at least a couple of seasons.

winter boots - the construction quality on the chilkat v 400 is great, and previous...
The construction quality on the Chilkat V 400 is great, and previous versions of this boot have easily lasted multiple seasons without much sign of wear.
Credit: Sam Willits

Conclusion


Choosing the best winter boot can be difficult, especially with the wide range of choices and potential tradeoffs with different designs. Once you determine your boot's intended use, you can begin to narrow down which features to prioritize to get the best comfort and performance for your needs. Deciding whether you need a hiking-oriented boot, a Pac boot, or a slip-on model will help rule out many options and point you in the right direction. We hope that this review helps you make a great selection to prepare for warm and comfortable winter adventures.

Jeff Dobronyi

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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

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