Tips for Choosing the Best Winter Boots
The season of windchill factors, wintry weather, and slippery terrain adds challenges and a new layer of fun to outdoor adventures. The right boots on your feet can make the difference between running back inside to warm up by the fire or reveling in your wintry playground. Waterproof technology and insulation are givens, but the type of adventures you plan on having out there—from city to mountain—call for different features.
From shoveling the driveway to snowshoeing in the mountains, here’s what to look for in boots that are designed to keep you comfortable in the harshest conditions.
BEST FOR ACTIVE HIKING
For those who hike all year, you can pair the trail comfort you love with protection from the elements. Whether there’s a good chance you’ll find snow at higher elevations on your favorite trails or you just need insulation for winter hiking on dry terrain, the Terradora Wintershell boot for women and Targhee Lace boot for men are performance hikers that have lightweight insulation and KEEN.DRY waterproof protection.
The Revel III is another option in a more traditional hiker. (Gaiter clips on the Revel, Wintershell, and Targhee Lace Boot are super handy for snowshoeing, too.) For kids, the KEEN Kids’ Winterport Neo combines the agility of a sneaker with the protection of a winter boot, so the whole family can stay active on the trail all season.
(And if the winters where you live tend to be mild, perhaps an uninsulated hiking boot is a good choice. See our tips for choosing the best hiking boots.)
BEST FOR POWDER DAYS
When winter delivers snow days, you’ll want a boot with extra insulation and thermal technologies, a higher profile, and all-weather grip that can dig in. The men’s KEEN Summit County boot and the women’s Durand Polar Waterproof and Hoodoo III boots are made for spending time in snowy terrain.
Both have 400 grams of KEEN.WARM insulation, rated to -40°F/-40°C. And for kids: the KEEN Kids’ Lumi boot delivers the same temperature rating in a super-lightweight boot for the smaller members of your family.
BEST FOR WINTERING IN THE CITY
When city style meets winter performance, and fashion meets function. When you want to head out onto slick sidewalks and frigid temperatures with the performance of a winter boot, but not the bulk. That’s the beauty of vulcanized construction, which enhances freedom of movement and makes it easier to do things such as driving your car.
BEST FOR WEARING TO WORK
Through rain, sleet, and snow you go…looking great. For trekking to the office in a shoe that pairs well with your work wardrobe, look for waterproof, insulated boots with a timeless style. Think just enough insulation for comfort indoors and out.
Our men’s Winterhaven boot in waterproof leather is the cold-weather option in our Glenhaven collection; the Kaci Winter and Kaci Winter Mid take our beloved Kaci style well beyond the first frost; and the Elsa Chelsea boot makes a statement with skirts and pants. All have 100g of KEEN.WARM insulation, rated to -4°F/-20°C.
BEST FOR CONQUERING THE COLDEST CONDITIONS
No matter what boots you decide on, you’ll want to pay close attention to the insulation rating if your main goal is to keep your feet warm. Our KEEN.WARM insulation is available from 100 to 400 grams, which translates to temperature ratings from -4°F/-20°C to -40°F/-40°C. Boots with an insulated footbed, such as our Thermal Heat Shield Footbed, will retain even more warmth. Sock choice is also a factor. Look for medium weight crew or over-the-calf socks in merino wool to keep feet warm and dry.
These are the winter boots you’ll have for years of cold-weather fun. If you need help finding the right one for you, chat with a KEEN Expert for fit recommendations at https://www.keenfootwear.com/contact-us/.