Reviews You Can Rely On

The 7 Best Winter Boots for Men of 2024

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
gearlab tested logo
Best Winter Boots Men Review
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi
Sunday March 31, 2024

Are you looking for the best winter boots? We've tested over 50 pairs in the last ten 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 best winter jackets and the grippiest snowshoes to the best gloves. If you need a bit of extra traction for your winter boots, we've tested and selected the best snow grips to attach to your winter footwear. 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: On March 18, 2024, we added two new models to the lineup, along with more video montages that highlight our testing.

Related: Best Winter Boots for Women

Top 15 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 15
< Previous | Compare | Next >
 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $159 List
$78.83 at REI
$167.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$130 List
$65.00 at Amazon
$240 List
$239.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
79
79
78
77
76
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Great traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordableStout construction, well insulated, easy on the feet, bolstered feeling, multitalentedGreat traction, very comfortable, inexpensiveRelatively inexpensive, great performance across the boardStylish, comfortable, relatively warm
Cons Other boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance heightMore expensive, medium shaft height, slightly tricky lacesNot that warm, fabric eyelets, low heightClunky, style isn't the best, questionable construction qualityLow waterproof height, lacks traction
Bottom Line These boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair priceKeeps your feet warm, comfortable, protected, and supported while completing chores at home, errands around town, tasks at the job site, or miles upon miles of wintery hikesThis very comfortable and inexpensive winter hiking boot has excellent traction, making it perfect for winter walks and treksThese affordable boots nearly match the performance of the best models but without straining your walletThis stylish and cozy boot is built to handle most adverse winter conditions and is very comfortable
Rating Categories The North Face Chil... Danner Arctic 600 S... Merrell Thermo Chil... Columbia Bugaboot III UGG Butte
Warmth (25%)
7.0
7.5
7.0
8.0
8.0
Weather Protection (25%)
8.0
7.5
8.0
7.0
8.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
9.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
Specs The North Face Chil... Danner Arctic 600 S... Merrell Thermo Chil... Columbia Bugaboot III UGG Butte
Measured Weight 3.86 lbs (size 13) 2.75 lbs (size 9.5) 2.74 lbs (size 13) 3.69 lbs (size 13) 3.44 lbs (size 13)
Measured Shaft Height 11" 8" 7.5" 10.5" 11.5"
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 8.5" 5.5" 6.5" 8" 6.5"
Fit Details True to size True to size True to size True to size True to size
Appropriate Activity Town, errands Town, errands, chores, hiking Hiking, town Hiking, town, chores, errands Town, errands
Lining/Insulation 400g Heatseeker Eco 200g Primaloft 200g M Select 200g synthetic Sheepskin wool
Upper Material Waterproof leather & suede Full leather suede Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh Waterproof leather Waterproof full-grain leather
Toe Box Rubber Leather suede w/ thin rubber toe cap Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Surface Control rubber Vibram Artic Grip AT Rubber Omni-Grip Rubber Vibram
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating Not listed Not listed Not listed Not listed -20 F
Animal Products? Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Sizes Available 7 - 14 7-14 7 - 15 7 - 17 7 - 18


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 supreme warmth and comfort, earning our top honor for winter boots. Its ample synthetic insulation and comfortable lining create an environment of luxury for your feet. 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 you won't be able to submerge these in the deepest waterways. For top warmth in snow, consider the Baffin Impact, which is toasty but clunky and intended for extreme cold. Barring those considerations, the Chilkat boots are excellent and relatively affordable compared to similar options. In short, they outperform 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 for many seasons.
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 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 options if you need solid boots for harsh winter weather and are shopping on a budget. If you need a taller shaft and better traction, our first choice is the The North Face Chilkat V 400, which is not much more expensive. Alternately, the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid excels at hiking on varied terrain. It is the same price as the Bugaboot but not as warm or weather-protective.

Read more: Columbia Bugaboot III review

Testing the Bugaboot III in multiple cold and snowy locations, including our morning snow removal missions and after ski sessions in the parking lot.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Best for Winter Chores and Outdoor Work


Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.0
  • Weather Protection 8.0
  • 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 for quick tasks without socks, making it very convenient for winter housework like chopping wood and shoveling. These boots are well-fitting and warm enough for all-day outdoor work when paired with thick socks. 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. You should check out the Sorel Caribou for a classic boot ready for snow shoveling on the coldest of days. Like the Muck Boot, these are a great choice if you want a convenient boot for odd jobs and chores that is adequate for the occasional long and cold outdoor workday.

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


78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.0
  • Weather Protection 8.0
  • 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 boots. It is supremely comfortable, thanks to a great footbed and cozy insulation, and also packs enough warmth and weather resistance for most winter days. 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 must trudge through deep snow to chop wood or shovel the driveway. We also have concerns about the fabric eyelets that seem likely to break over time from cinching the laces down tight. The Salomon Quest Winter boot is a more durable option, offering similar warmth and weather protection but slightly less traction. But we recommend the Merrell Thermo Chill boots for winter hikers and others in temperate climates who want good boots on a tight budget.

Read more: Merrell Thermo Chill Mid review

Testing the Thermo Chill on crisp winter days, fall hikes and a couple of frigid stream crossings.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Best Winter Boot for Versatility


Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.5
  • Weather Protection 7.5
  • Comfort and Fit 8.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • Durability 9.0
Shaft Height: 8 inches | Insulation: 200g Primaloft
REASONS TO BUY
Durable suede upper
Comfortable fit
Considerably warm
Extremely versatile
Very Supportive
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricier
Comparatively lower shaft height
Laces are finicky

The Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip is a versatile, utilitarian winter boot that provides a moderately high level of warmth, comfort, traction, durability, and weather protection. We put it to the test through an array of different scenarios, and it performed great whether we were completing fairly arduous tree work in cold weather, a 10-mile hike through a few inches of snow, or chores and errands around the home and town. This boot maintains a lower profile and sleeker aesthetic without compromising warmth, durability, and all-day comfort.

While the Danner Actric 600 performs well all around, a couple of limitations come with this particular boot. The shaft height provides ample ankle support and stability but is 8 inches tall, so some snow can sneak in when the pant cuff lifts while tromping in 12+ inches of snow. If you need a boot capable of tromping through deep snow, check out the The North Face Chilkat V 400. While hiking through warm-wet snow and then cold-dry snow, we noticed snow clumping in the tread beneath the arch, which was easy enough to remove with a soft kick but not an issue with other boots.

Read more: Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip review

Credit: Ian Cruess

Best Winter Style


UGG Butte


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 8.0
  • Weather Protection 8.0
  • 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 find 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. Rivaling the Butte for style is the Blundstone Thermal. These fashion-forward boots are great for urban use, though those with specific extreme cold or water resistance needs will need to look elsewhere.

Read more: UGG Butte review

The Ugg Butte has a stylish look when the cuff is folded over the shaft, and a more practical configuration when the shaft is fully extended.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Best for Extreme Cold


Baffin Impact


73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 10.0
  • Weather Protection 8.0
  • 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 it is the warmest winter boot we have tested.

However, the same features that provide so much warmth make the Impact unsuitable for anyone who doesn't spend much time standing around in below-zero temperatures. These boots are thick, bulky, and extremely heavy, making walking in for short distances a chore. 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. If you don't need quite so much warmth, check out the Bogs Bozeman Tall for a tall, durable weather resistant boot.

Read more: Baffin Impact review

Testing the Baffin Impact in snow and water. We also highlight the synthetic insulation that makes this boot so warm.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
79
The North Face Chilkat V 400
Best Overall Winter Boot
$159
Editors' Choice Award
79
Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip
Best Winter Boot for Versatility
$240
Top Pick Award
78
Merrell Thermo Chill Mid
Best Winter Hiking Boot
$130
Top Pick Award
77
Columbia Bugaboot III
Best Bang for Your Buck
$130
Best Buy Award
76
UGG Butte
Best Winter Style
$240
Top Pick Award
74
Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid
Best for Winter Chores and Outdoor Work
$180
Top Pick Award
73
Baffin Impact
Best for Extreme Cold
$250
Top Pick Award
73
Bogs Bozeman Tall
$160
73
Salomon Quest Winter Thinsulate ClimaSalomon Waterproof
$190
73
Sorel Caribou
$200
72
Oboz Bridger 10" Insulated
$220
70
Kamik Nation Plus
$140
69
Merrell Nova 3 Thermo
$160
69
Blundstone Thermal - Men's
$250
66
Keen Revel IV Polar
$180

winter boots men - 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. 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.

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)

We got our boots dirty during our testing to see which held up the best.
Credit: Rebecca Glades

GearLab testers Jeff Dobronyi and Ian Cruess bring 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. Ian spent copious days wearing and comparing each boot amidst different conditions and a wide array of applications throughout the Sierra Nevada range and the surrounding mountains of McCall, Idaho. He tested each boot as if it were a “daily driver” from the snow-laden concrete and asphalt around town, at the job site, up and down the variable conditions of the trail, and through all the tasks a winter boot is needed.

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.

How to Choose the Best Winter Boots For Men


Below are five key considerations for your feet, environment, and budget.

What Level of Insulation do you Need?


While most winter boots serve to keep your feet warm and protected from the elements certain boot styles will offer better insulation than others. Looking at the recommended insulation rating is one way to gauge the ideal warmth range as well as the weight of the insulation. Additionally analyzing the insulation material will help to provide context on just how warm a boot might be. Synthetic insulation will offer high levels of warmth but also provide breathability. Wool is another great insulating material with durable properties but is usually bulkier than synthetic insulation. When looking for a pair of warm winter boots comparing material, temperature rating, and the environments you live or work in are key considerations to help guide your decision.

winter boots men - proper insulation keeps your feet warm and happy.
Proper insulation keeps your feet warm and happy.
Credit: Ian Cruess

What boot length should you look for?


Finding a boot that provides enough protection while still offering mobility is a common pain point regarding boot length. If you find yourself in large amounts of snow a boot extending to the mid-calf will pay dividends when participating in activities such as snowshoeing or hiking. If you need a boot for more casual, everyday use a shorter-length boot can still offer adequate traction but make daily tasks such as driving and errand shopping easier. Identifying your intended use for your next winter boot will help guide what length will suit you best.

Is Waterproofness Important?


A winter boot with waterproof features helps keep your feet dry and maintain warmth throughout your day. Identifying the type of waterproofing used such as treated leather, synthetic membranes, and rubber outers will give you an idea of the overall waterproof rating. Additionally looking for sealed seams will offer more protection against seeping through into the boot.

winter boots men - testing waterproof boots through immersion.
Testing waterproof boots through immersion.
Credit: Forrest Bault

How Much Traction Do You Need?


Winter boots that provide solid traction will help prevent slips and falls and improve performance during activities in the cold. Tread pattern and material selection are important considerations to asses how much traction a boot will have. For those in climates with lots of ice additional traction devices may be needed but for those in climates that don't typically deal with lots of slippery, icy conditions a boot with good tread should be sufficient.

Is weight Important?


While extra weight may mean more warmth it can also deter from performance and create fatigue over extended periods of use. When deciding on a boot consider its overall weight and the type of activities you will need your boot for.

winter boots men - the weight of your boot will dictate how easy it is to move through...
The weight of your boot will dictate how easy it is to move through terrain and avoid fatigue.
Credit: Briana Valorosi

Analysis and Test Results


Despite their seemingly simple design, winter boots come in many different styles and have many different purposes (we've tested the best women's winter boots, 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.

We tested the Butte (and all boots) in a variety of conditions from snow to mud to water. The last slide shows some of the other models in our side-by-side tests.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

In our review, we ranked each of the winter boots 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 priciest boots aren't necessarily the best. We found many worthy boot models that are notably cheaper than less impressive but spendier options.

The best overall winter boot in our lineup, The North Face Chilkat V 400, is a great option for anyone looking for versatile winter boots 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 men - 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 more affordable than the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid, our favorite option for outdoor chores, and it performs nearly as well. Generally, the most stylish models are some of the most expensive, as is the warmest model in our test, the Baffin Impact. This boot will set you back big time, but it's worth the money if you need a ton of warmth.

winter boots men - 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 men - 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 men - 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. Last but surely not least, the most versatile boot, Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip, rivals the North Face Chilkat V 400 in heat retention with 200g of Primaloft.

winter boots men - 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. The large, loose openings of these boots can 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 men - 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 assessment 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 men - 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 eight 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. This was the lowest scoring category for the Danner Arctic 600, with a maximum puddle height of five inches (13 centimeters).

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 three-inch mark during our submersion test. It lets 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 men - though warm, you wouldn&#039;t want to take these leaky boots through a...
Though warm, you wouldn't want to take these leaky boots through a river crossing.
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 winter boots, 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 men - the ugg butte was comfortable enough to wear around town.
The Ugg Butte was comfortable enough to wear around town.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Somewhere in between the Blundstone Thermal and the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid, we have the Merrell Nova 3 Thermo. With quilted rip-stop nylon, suede leather trim, slightly wider last, and a Super Rebound Compound midsole, this beefy, cozy high-top shoe is as light and comfy as a cloud. The sole is thick, cushiony, and flexible, while the upper is fluffed with 100g of Primaloft insulation. The Merrell Nova 3 Thermo combines the properties of a running shoe, winter hiking boot, and cozy slipper to create an incredibly comfortable piece of winter footwear for social functions, running errands, or hikes where snow depth isn't more than 5".

winter boots men - essentially, the merrell nova 3 thermo is a water-resistant...
Essentially, the Merrell Nova 3 Thermo is a water-resistant, insulated, and extremely comfortable mix between a slipper, running shoe, and hiking boot.
Credit: Ian Cruess

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 men - 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

Greater durability and weather protection can often tip the scale away from comfort, but not with the Danner Arctic 600. The sole is stiffer and denser than the Merrell Nova 3 Thermo but engineered with built-in flex points, rounded heal, and lifted sole beneath the forefoot, creating a smooth heel-to-toe transition. Coupled with 200g of Primaloft, ample ankle support, and a thick but unrestrictive leather upper, this boot is darn comfortable straight out of the box, even when worn for 10 hours per day on the job site or a 10-mile hike.

winter boots men - the danner arctic 600 side-zip is a technical, durable, and...
The Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip is a technical, durable, and supportive boot that remains comfortable while trekking in cold weather from trails to town and the job site.
Credit: Ian Cruess

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 men - 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 men - 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. The boot we found most comfortable this year, the Merrell Nova 3 Thermo, scored well in the traction department, both on the trail and across town.

winter boots men - tread patterns from left to right; merrell nova 4 thermo, danner...
Tread patterns from left to right; Merrell Nova 4 Thermo, Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip, North Face Chilkat 400 V.
Credit: Ian Cruess

The versatile Danner Arctic 600 treads well through a myriad of conditions. This boot boasts a specially designed sole to perform well on wet ice with Vibram Arctic Grip lugs. The Arctic Grip soles performed better on wet ice when compared side-by-side to other models. Occasionally, when transitioning between warm-wet snow and cold-dry snow conditions, snow would accumulate and clump beneath the arch, similar to the effect of backcountry ski skins. Except for this very rare occurrence, these boots excelled across all the wintery mediums.

winter boots men - while the traction of the danner arctic 600 side-zip performed well...
While the traction of the Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip performed well in almost every medium, we experienced snow clumping to the outsole in a very particular instance while moving between warm-wet and dry-cold snow.
Credit: Ian Cruess

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 men - 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


An honorable mention of durability for the Danner Arctic 600 is due. The uppers of these boots are constructed of thick suede leather with stout stitching and a leather-reinforced seam along the heel where many boots bust. We tested the suede model with great results, but Danner also offers a smooth, full-grain leather option for added durability. Coupled with a thick Vibram midsole and rugged outsole, these boots are robust.

winter boots men - the full-grain leather upper of the danner arctic 600 stands out for...
The full-grain leather upper of the Danner Arctic 600 stands out for many reasons beyond appearance.
Credit: Ian Cruess

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 men - 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 right winter boot is no easy task, especially with the wide range of choices and potential tradeoffs with different styles. 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 and Ian Cruess