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A good pair of winter boots are a necessity in the northern states. Winter lasts at least five months here in Montana, which means my winter boots are a mainstay every time I go outside. Whether it's an all-around pair that lives by the front door or burly -40-rated boots for the most frigid activities, a reliable pair of insulated, waterproof boots with good traction is a must-have to get through the cold, wet months of winter.
This list consists of all women's winter boots, though most models also have men's fit available. Like women's hiking boots, women's winter boots are built on a narrower last, with a shallow heel cup and a shape that accounts for higher arches and a different ratio between the heel and the ball of the foot than men's shoes. I chose a variety of brands and models for these women's winter boots, from rugged chore boots to cute styles for staying toasty in town without looking like Bigfoot. As a rule, most insulated winter boots are less mobile than hiking boots, but we love versatility, so these options are comfortable in a range of temperatures and for varying activity levels. Most of these boots are rated at least down to -20 Fahrenheit for comfort, though manufacturer's comfort ratings are very subjective, and your personal comfort depends on your circulation, socks, core warmth, activity level... you name it. Use the comfort levels as rough guidelines, nothing more.
When I'm shopping for winter boots, I look for a pair that goes at least up to the lower calf (eight inches is a good starting point), and I like them to be easy to take on and off, with winter-rubber outsoles. I use the manufacturer's comfort level as another rough guideline for warmth, along with insulation weight. 200 grams of insulation is good for moderate temperatures or higher activity levels, and anything around 400 grams is a great all-around boot that will keep you comfortable on most days without sweating your feet out. A super heavy-duty boot for lower activity levels, however, can have around 600 grams of insulation. These are my picks for the best women's winter boots, in a variety of price ranges and for pretty much every activity you'd need them for.
1. The Best Everyday Women's Winter Boot
It's quite gratifying to see Uggs still on the market, as the brand's ubiquitous model was my primary footwear during my formative college years. The Adirondack Boot is a style and technical upgrade, with a fit designed for movement thanks to updated patterning through the upper and heel counter. The outsole is made from a rubber that stays flexible in cold weather, and the top can be rolled down for a stylish low-rise boot or laced up for more protection. These are made with a waterproof leather and suede upper, and while Ugg says they're comfortable down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, I'm skeptical of that claim. I wouldn't go on an Arctic expedition in these boots, but for an all-around winter boot that's warm, protective, and stylish, these should be your go-to pair.
2. The Best Women's Winter Hunting Boot
For uncompromising warmth, protection, and durability, a pair of these boots is worth the investment. While they are the only boots on this list that aren't women's-specific, but since they're designed for riding, they have a narrower forefoot and a slimmer fit than other pac boots on the market. These have thick felt liner with a one-piece tongue that doesn't let any cold air or snow in. The leather is waterproof with reinforced seams along the midsole, and they break in quickly despite how burly they are. Since these are optimized for riding, the outsole doesn't have the deep lugs of other boots, so they don't have the best ice traction. Schnee's rates these boots down to -10 for low activity, and -30 for high activity. For other winter hunting options, I wrote about insulated hunting boots here.
3. The Most Breathable Boots (That Are Still Ultra-Warm)
The Chloe boots have become my go-to winter boot this year: with good traction, out-of-the-box comfort, and a combination of weather protection and style that make them a great everyday pair. The top selling point for me with these boots is how breathable they are for me, despite being incredibly warm. The multiple layers and materials are built with the intention of keeping your feet warm without suffocating your skin. The wicking inner layer is soft without feeling swampy, and the brand's "Hydromax" moisture-management layer helps pull water vapor away from your feet. They use a hollow-fiber insulation that also promotes air flow, and they're easy to take on and off. Baffin rates these down to -40, which I'd take with a grain of salt, but I've worn them on days with a low of -10 (paired with thick wool socks) and felt just fine. I also love the drawcord lacing, so you get the ease of slip-on with the style and tension of laces.
4. The Best Women's Winter Boot for Outdoor Chores
These 16-inch boots are a must-have for anyone dealing with outdoor chores, feeding animals, or stomping around through frozen mud and muck. They have 5 millimeters of neoprene, can be worn all day without blisters, and are comfortable to stand in for working outdoors. These are also incredibly durable -- in fact, the only reason I don't have mine anymore is because I left them at a ranch after wearing them for six years. I love the easy slip-on style, and the padded insole means they're more comfortable than standard rubber boots. These are the women's-specific model, which I'd recommend since the style is more clunky and the mens' are too wide for many women's feet. Muck rates these down to -40, which, again, take with a grain of salt and pack toe warmers for those super frigid days.
5. The Best Classic Winter Boot
I've been seeing these boots around town for years, and they're a great option for an all-winter boot that you can wear with leggings, snow pants, and everything in between. These have 6 millimeters of felt for insulation, a winter-specific rubber outsole, and the stylish faux-fur collar which means you won't feel goofy wearing them to town after a snowy walk. They're 12 inches tall and seam-sealed for a high level of water-resistance, and Sorel rates them to -25.
6. The Best Town-Ready Winter Boot
These sleek winter boots are less bulky than others on this list, and don't feel like overkill in the fall and spring weather, either. They're built to be waterproof, with a moderate amount of Thinsulate insulation under treated leather outer material. The zippers have waterproof closures and the outsoles have deep lugs for traction, though you might want to add microspikes or other traction for any super icy walks. These also come in a 10-inch height, and Kamik rates them down to -4, though I'd recommend wearing them on more moderate-temperature days.
7. The Best Winter Boots for Hiking
Some Oboz models feel somewhat heavy and stiff on the feet, but they've nailed it with these seriously winter-ready hiking boots. I listed the 9-inch version of these boots for the sake of a winter boot focus, though I've worn the 7-inch version on countless winter hikes and peak-bagging expeditions. These have 400 grams of insulation, winter-specific rubber tread, and a DWR treated outer. There are multiple layers of insulation in the insoles and the upper, and they feel stable with microspikes, crampons, and snowshoes.
8. The Most Affordable Winter Boots
These waterproof boots are a good blend of style and weather protection for everything from errands around town to casual hikes. This is the pair I leave by the door for shoveling the driveway, going to the dog park, and the occasional babysitting gig on the sledding hill. They have an insole that molds well to your feet, a moderate amount of insulation (200 grams), and traction that feels stable on everything but the most sheer ice. These are moderately waterproof and easy to slip on and off, too.
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