Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Winter Boots of 2022

We tested men's winter boots from Muck, The North Face, Bogs, Sorel, and others to find the best models
Best Winter Boots of 2022
Testing winter boots is cold work, but our expert testers are up to the task.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor
Wednesday April 27, 2022
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 over 40 different pairs in the last 8 years, and our updated review features the 10 best and most popular options available today. Regardless of where you live, what sort of winters you face, or what specific purposes you need boots for, 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 the big storm, or commuting to and from the ski lodge, we'll give you the lowdown on which are the best options.

Looking for boots for female feet? Our expert team of women testers has you covered. Need more than footwear? Winter can be full of activities that require all sorts of fun outdoor gear designed to keep you warm, safe, and cozy. We've purchased and tested a variety of gear, including those related to skiing, snowshoeing, and winter camping. Don't let the cold weather get you down, bundle up with the best gear for keeping active and warm.

Editor's Note: This boot review was updated on April 27, 2022, to include additional products to help you make the best buying decision.

Related: Best Winter Boots for Women

Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Awards Top Pick Award   Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award 
Price $185 List
$199.85 at Amazon
$102.63 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$199.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$149 List$225 List
$239.95 at Amazon
Overall Score
79
73
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80
68
Star Rating
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Pros Extremely durable and weather resistant, excellent traction, easy on and offConvenient slip on design, waterproof to 11.5 inches, good priceWaterproof, warm, cozyGreat traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordableStylish, comfortable, relatively warm
Cons Not that warm or comfortable, baggy fitHandles let in water or debris, only come in single whole sizes, not as warm as some competitorsVery heavy, sloppy fit, potential durability issuesOther boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance heightLow waterproof height, lacks traction
Bottom Line These slip-on work boots are protective, durable, and convenient, making them perfect for outdoor winter choresA convenient and protective boot with good weather resistance and a very wide toe boxA classic snow boot that is good for errand running and snow shoveling, but not well suited to long walksThese boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair priceThis stylish and cozy boot is built to handle most adverse winter conditions and is very comfortable
Rating Categories Muck Boot Arctic Ic... Bogs Bozeman Tall Sorel Caribou The North Face Chil... UGG Butte
Warmth (25%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Weather Protection (25%) Sort Icon
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
Durability (15%)
10.0
10.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Muck Boot Arctic Ic... Bogs Bozeman Tall Sorel Caribou The North Face Chil... UGG Butte
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 13.5" 11.5" 10.5" 8" 6.5"
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 13.5" 13" 11" 11" 11.5"
Measured Weight (per pair, size 13) 4.48 lbs 4.88 lbs 5.26 lbs 4.14 lbs 3.44 lbs
Appropriate Activity Chores Chores Town, errands Town, errands, chores Town, errands
Fit Details Roomy Roomy Roomy True to size True to size
Lining/Insulation 5mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene w/ Fleece Lining 7mm Neo-Tech Neoprene Removable/washable 9mm recycled felt inner boot with Sherpa Pile snow cuff 400g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco Sheepskin wool
Upper Material 5 mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene Rubber Waterproof nubuck leather Full-grain waterproof-leather upper Waterproof full-grain leather
Toe Box Spandura rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Vibram Arctic Grip BioGrip Handcrafted waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with Sorel aero-trac non loading outsole TNF Winter Grip Rubber Vibram
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating Not listed -72 F -40 F -40 F -20 F
Animal Products? No No Yes Yes Yes
Sizes Available 7 - 15 7 - 14 7 - 17 7 - 14 7 - 18


Best Overall Winter Boot


The North Face Chilkat 400 II


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 9.0
  • Weather Protection 6.0
  • Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Traction 9.0
  • Durability 7.0
Shaft Height: 11 inches | Insulation: 400g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable and cozy
Excellent traction
Warm
Versatile
REASONS TO AVOID
Could be more waterproof

The North Face Chilkat 400 II took us by surprise with its excellent warmth and comfort, earning our top honor for winter boots. It has tons of high-quality synthetic insulation with a cozy and 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 review: The North Face Chilkat 400 II

winter boots - best overall winter boot
The Chilkat 400 II is a great all-around performer and is our top choice for winter boots.
Credit: Sam Willits

Best Bang for your Buck


Merrell Thermo Chill Mid


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.0
  • Weather Protection 5.0
  • Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • 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 also very affordable, earning our nod for the best boot for users on a budget. 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 a useful boot 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 review: Merrell Thermo Chill Mid

winter boots - best bang for your buck
You want solid traction when hiking on slick spring trails.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Best for Winter Chores and Outdoor Work


Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth 7.0
  • Weather Protection 9.0
  • Comfort and Fit 6.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • Durability 10.0
Shaft Height: 13.5 inches | Insulation: 5mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene w/ fleece lining
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent water resistance
Good grip on slippery surfaces
Very convenient to slip on
Highly durable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as comfortable as other options
Pricey
Could be warmer

The Muck Boot Arctic Ice 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 using 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 Ice feels a bit loose and sloppy, but it has the best fit in this sub-category. Thick socks help take up some of this room. These also aren't as warm as Pac boots, so for seriously cold winter climates, users might want to look elsewhere if they will be spending hours at a time 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 review: Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid

winter boots - best for winter chores and outdoor work
The Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid is a great option for snowy chores and outdoor work in the wintertime.
Credit: Sam Willits

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 prioritized, as the boot is light and doesn't feel as bulky and cumbersome to wear 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 trudge 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 needs for extreme cold or water resistance will need to look elsewhere.

Read review: UGG Butte

winter boots - best winter style
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 they also have 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 is geared towards providing warmth, and for that, we have to respect it as the warmest winter boot on the market.

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 even short distances. It has so much insulation that it made 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 review: Baffin Impact

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 Our Take
80
$149
Editors' Choice Award
These boots perform great across the board, earning top accolades for being so well-rounded
79
$185
Top Pick Award
These convenient and protective boots are a great choice for quick outdoor chores
73
$160
A convenient slip-on work boot with handles, this boot has a tricky fit
70
$200
This warm and cozy boot is a perennial favorite, but there are better boots on the market
68
$120
Best Buy Award
This boot makes winter walks comfortable and secure, but it isn't a great option for deep snow
68
$225
Top Pick Award
These boots are stylish, relatively warm, and protective, making them a solid fashion-forward choice
60
$261
Top Pick Award
They'll keep you warm in any temperature, but they are heavy and bulky
56
$180
Comfortable to wear for long hikes, these boots won't protect you from much of winter's wrath
54
$250
Fantastic boots for the average urban winter with good style for both in and out of doors
51
$175
These boots are only protective enough for fair weather in the cold months, though they are relatively fashionable

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


This review is brought to you by OutdoorGearLab mainstay Jeff Dobronyi, an IFMGA-licensed Mountain Guide based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jeff lives in the coldest winter climate 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 a wide variety of experiences to aid your purchase. These winter boots have been tested in the Cascades of Washington and Oregon, the Sierra Nevada of California, the mountains of Colorado, and the cold valley of Jackson Hole. We took them on 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.

Our men's winter boot testing is divided over five rating metrics:
  • Warmth (25% of overall score weighting)
  • Weather Protection (25% weighting)
  • Comfort and Fit (20% weighting)
  • Traction (15% weighting)
  • Durability (15% weighting)

Over the years, we've tested almost 200 winter boots for men and women. Our testing methodology puts each pair through multiple tests to rate warmth, protection, comfort, and more. We've logged hundreds of hours in the cold and snow in five different states wearing these boots for our analysis.

Winter boots were subjected to more than 14 individual tests to rate their winter performance. The most important ratings are the warmth tests and the weather protection tests, which correspond to 25% each of the overall score. 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.

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 - shoveling during the first winter storm of the season, getting solid...
Shoveling during the first winter storm of the season, getting solid grip on the slippery paving stones, and enjoying the crisp silence of the cold white snow.
Credit: Andy Wellman

We ranked each of the winter boots in our review across five critical performance metrics: warmth, weather protection, comfort and 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 for you.

Value


Winter boots range from dirt cheap to crazy expensive. The good news is that the most expensive boots aren't necessarily the best. In fact, 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 400, is a great option for anyone looking for a versatile winter boot at a great price. Our outstanding value award winner, the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid, is a winter hiking boot that provides enough versatility for most cold-weather activities and uses. The Bogs Bozeman Tall is a very weather protective and durable slip-on boot that also comes at a reasonable price. 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.

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 amount of insulation varies tremendously.


Of course, we evaluate the warmth of these boots outside in the field, 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 provides an objective analysis of 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 hoton the coldest days of testing. However, keep in mind that these boots will be overkill for anyone who lives in a temperate climate and are designed for use in arctic conditions.

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


The North Face Chilkat 400 II also delivered plenty of warmth for most days and situations. It has 400g of synthetic insulation and a fleece liner, and the shaft extends up high enough to help 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 also provides good warmth with a thick wool lining that keeps the feet cozy while remaining light and comfortable to wear.

Synthetic insulation and a fleece-like liner provide warmth...
Synthetic insulation and a fleece-like liner provide warmth throughout the Chilkat 400 boot.
The Sorel Caribou uses thick felt insulation to provide great warmth.
The Sorel Caribou uses thick felt insulation to provide great warmth.

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. Of the Chelsea boots, the Blundstone Thermal 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


Wet feet are not happy feet, especially when the water making them wet is barely above freezing temperature. Because our feet need to stay dry to stay warm, water resistance is the second most important attribute of a winter boot. All winter boots feature some form of waterproofing, either a durable molded rubber outer, treated leather or Nubuck material, a waterproof/breathable membrane, or a combo of the above. But how well do they work? To find out, we walked out into a very, very cold creek and stood there. This submersion test is the ultimate way to find weaknesses in a boot's water resistance.


The height of a boot is also significant for water resistance, as perhaps 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 might be able to stand in without leaks pouring in. Boots like the Muck Arctic Ice 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 - tromping through snow, standing in slush puddles, the muck arctic...
Tromping through snow, standing in slush puddles, the Muck Arctic Ice is an impressive boots, especially when things get sloppy.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Many boots passed our submersion test with flying colors, allowing absolutely no water to leak into the boot after being submerged five inches deep, even after 10 minutes. While it's unlikely that you'll ever 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 then became how deep the water could be before leaking or over-topping takes place. At 13.5 inches of waterproof height, the Arctic Ice Mid is the most waterproof boot in the lineup, followed very closely by the Bogs Bozeman Tall and the Sorel Caribou.

winter boots - softshell fabric over neoprene insulation provides excellent water...
Softshell fabric over neoprene insulation provides excellent water resistance to the very top of the Arctic Ice's boot shaft.
Credit: Sam Willits

Some boots claim to be waterproof and might work very well to keep out quick splashes, but 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, followed closely by the Chilkat 400 II and UGG Butte. The Blundstone has a perfectly-tailored leather boot fit, with a soft sheepskin footbed lining that feels heavenly when you slip it on. The Chilkat has soft and compressible insulation and a fleece lining, 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

The boots designed primarily for hiking, the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid and Keen Revel IV Polar, are both comfortable to wear for long distances. We found the Thermo Chill slightly more comfortable for our narrow-to-average foot profile and the Revel IV to accommodate wider feet better.

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

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 and Muck Arctic Ice. 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 (right) has a wider and taller toe box than...
The Bogs Bozeman Tall (right) has a wider and taller toe box than the Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid (left), 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.


In general, boots with aggressive tread patterns and softer rubber perform best. This is precisely how tire manufacturers design their snow tires, and just like snow tires need chains or spikes in severely icy conditions, boots require additional traction for safe travel over sheer ice. Consider an aftermarket crampon such as YakTrax or Kahtoola MICROspikes to slip on over your boot's sole if you are walking on very icy surfaces with any regularity.

winter boots - the aggressive lugs on the chilkat are inspired by winter hiking...
The aggressive lugs on the Chilkat are inspired by winter hiking boots, meaning that these boots won't slip when you need them to stick.
Credit: Sam Willits

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 North Face Chilkat 400 is the clear winner of our traction testing, with an aggressive lug pattern and sharp edges that bite into rock and snow. The Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid also has a good tread pattern that doesn't slip when you count on it.

winter boots - the arctic ice has large angular lugs that bit snow and rock...
The Arctic Ice has large angular lugs that bit snow and rock effectively.
Credit: Sam Willits

Winter hiking boots generally provide great traction, though we found the tread of the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid to drastically outperform the Keen Revel IV Polar. The Thermo Chill has deep, angular lugs with plenty of negative space to absorb surface irregularities and soft rubber that grips on dry rock and pavement.

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

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 Ice 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 - the bogs bozeman tall is nearly impenetrable.
The Bogs Bozeman Tall is nearly impenetrable.
Credit: Sam Willits


Other than the slip-ons, we weren't overly impressed by the durability of any other boots in the review. The Baffin Impact is built to last, but it has plastic clips that are likely to break when made brittle by the cold these boots are designed for. Most winter boots suffer from insulation that will pack out over time and linings that might develop holes in the heel. Our testers have worn out many winter boots over the years, but with few exceptions, all winter boots in this review should last at least a couple of seasons.

taking the thermal&#039;s out for a snowy early winter hike in the sangre...
Taking the Thermal's out for a snowy early winter hike in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado. We hiked for roughly six miles on snowy packed trails and the feet feel great.
Credit: Andy Wellman

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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