What to Look for in Snow Boots

Snow Boots vs Winter Boots

Snow boots are not really the same as winter boots. Though snow boots and winter boots are both designed to keep your feet warm, snow boots have many features that winter boots might not have.

For example, snow boots are not just made for crunching through snow, they are also designed to be worn in wet conditions. Many styles will feature insulation that is meant to keep your feet warm in even the most brutally cold weather. Here are a few things to look for when buying snow boots.

The Differences Between a Snow Boot and a Winter Boot

Snow boots are usually heavier than winter boots and are designed for people who are going to be spending a lot of time in snow or other wet or muddy winter weather conditions.

Winter boots are designed mostly with the idea of warmth in mind, although some may offer other advantages usually found in snow boots. Winter boots may be more fashionable than many snow boots, but are designed more for general winter use, and will not provide the protection of a good snow boot.

If you know you are going to be walking through or standing in a lot of snow, you will definitely want to check into purchasing a pair of boots designed specifically for that purpose. Many snow boot manufacturers provide temperature ratings for their boots and specify whether or not they're for heavy cold weather activity.

Features to Look for in a Snow Boot

1. The Proper Height

Snow boots should extend at least above the hem of your pants, and preferably above your ankle to keep snow from getting inside the boot. If you live in an area with deep snow, the higher the better.

2. Materials to Look For

The uppers of snow boots are usually made from leather or nylon. They often feature sealed or taped seams for added protection from moisture. Look for descriptions of the waterproof fabric and barrier systems the boots employ. Look for a description of the insulation used, which may be foam, synthetic fleece, or sheepskin.

3. Cuff and Closure

Some snow boots have the features of a fleece collar or cuff, or a drawstring closure at the top of the boot to help keep snow and cold out. These can be stylish as well as functional if they shed moisture.

4. Outsoles

The sole of a snow boot should be made of 100 percent waterproof material, such as rubber. Waterproof soles and boot bottoms provide protection from wet and cold conditions as well as making cleaning of your snow boots very easy, as they can just be hosed down, or rinsed off. Some feature soles made of cold-friendly materials that will provide traction and remain flexible at low temperatures. These are important features if you will be doing much walking in the boots.

More on Snow Boots

Here are top picks for women's snow boots, as well as some tips for shopping for kids' snow boots.