The Best Winter Boots for Women in 2021-2022
From cold-weather hikers to stylish winter boots, and from deep-powder snow boots to insulated ice-grippers, we’ve got your feet covered with our list of the best winter boots for women.
Depending on where you live, winter can mean frigid temps, mud and rain, piles of snow, or anything in between. With that in mind, we’ve tested a wide variety of winter-worthy kicks and compiled the best winter boots for women that span all types of designs and uses.
Below, you’ll find boots separated into four categories: winter hiking boots, snow boots, extra-warm boots, stylish winter boots, and women’s rain boots. Of course, some boots could belong in more than one category, and this list doesn’t cover every boot out there.
But it’s quite comprehensive, and if you need more help deciding, be sure to check out the buyer’s guide at the end of this article.
We’ve tested all the boots we could get our hands on and used them through rain, snow, mud, and sun on countless adventures around the world. And we’ve whittled it down to our favorites here. These are the boots we recommend to family and friends, the boots we get excited to wear all winter long.
Scroll through to see all of our recommended buys or jump to the category you’re looking for:
- Best Women’s Winter Hiking Boots
- Women’s Snow Boots
- Warmest Winter Boots
- Stylish Winter Boots
- Winter Rain Boots
The Best Women’s Winter Hiking Boots
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to stop hiking. In fact, winter means fewer crowds and some amazing opportunities to have the trail all to yourself. Choose a boot that provides adequate grip and insulation, and winter hiking could soon become your new favorite pastime.
Whether shoveling the driveway or hiking big miles, these boots ($185) will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. Like most winter hiking boots, they have 200 g of insulation. On top of that, though, they also have wool-topped insoles to keep feet warm on the bottom. The waterproof leather is impressively durable and has stood up to many rocky hikes and winter scrambles.
The directional lugs provide great traction, and specialized winterized rubber soles are infused with silica to improve grip on icy surfaces. And it works. We ventured out on extremely slick roads and frozen trails and never slipped. The 7-inch height provides plenty of ankle support while still allowing full range of movement.
And if you want even more, check out the Oboz Bridger 9-inch Insulated Boot ($195).
Between the additional insulation and waterproofing, winter hiking boots can get expensive. But the Merrell Thermo Chill ($110) manages to pack all the necessary winter features into a reasonably priced package. And more than that, they rank among the best waterproof winter boots out there. The 200 g of M-Select insulation is warm without being bulky.
And the contoured insoles are flexible and supportive. They’re also removable should you choose to switch them out for your favorite aftermarket insoles. As with most over-the-ankle boots, we recommend breaking them in slowly. They proved comfortable right out of the box, but if you rarely wear hiking boots, rubbing and blisters may be a concern.
We found the Thermo Chill to have decent but not excellent traction. For most cold, snowy outings, we experienced no problems. On one particularly icy trail, we did experience slippage.
These are available in both a regular and a wide fit.
These Coldspark Ultradry Snow boots ($140) are a great choice for both snowy hikes in the mountains and winter walks around town. The 200g Thinsulate insulation will keep your toes toasty, and the waterproof leather and UltraDry upper keeps water out while still allowing sweat to escape.
The Coldspark also proved grippy through a variety of conditions including mud, muck, and snowpack. There was some slippage in extremely icy conditions, but overall we were happy with the traction. At 1 pound 14 ounces for the pair, they’re not ultralight, but they’re about as streamlined as a winter hiking boot gets.
Anyone with wider feet will appreciate these winter-ready hikers ($180). KEEN is known for having a roomier toebox, and these are no exception.
More than that, they’re ready to take on snow, sleet, and whatever Mother Nature serves up. The waterproof membrane keeps feet dry through surprise stream crossings and everyday winter muck. And the 200 g of insulation kept our feet plenty warm (while hiking) in temps as low as 7 degrees F.
The tread isn’t extremely aggressive, but we never had any slipping. It also makes these a more comfortable crossover for walking the dog or running errands around town.
They also have some great features for getting outdoors. The metal gaiter loop on the toe means you can easily hike in deeper snow. And the rubber protection on the heel integrates well with snowshoes. And, like all KEEN boots, they have a large rubber toe bumper to protect toes and increase durability.
Women’s Snow Boots
From fluffy snow flurries to blizzards, windblown drifts, and slippery icepack, snow boots are a necessity in many places. They offer insulation, traction, and comfort on even the coldest days. Whether commuting across town, completing chores at home, or heading outdoors to play, there’s a snow boot for you.
These waterproof, insulated boots ($125) will keep you plenty warm and dry on wet winter days. The 200 g of insulation kept our toes warm while walking the dog and shoveling the driveway. These are rated to -40 degrees F; we tested them in several zero-degree days and never had any issues.
The fleece lining adds warmth and does a good job wicking moisture if your feet overheat. We found they fit true to size, but if you prefer to wear extra-thick socks, you may want to go up a half size.
And if you’re looking for an even more budget-friendly winter boot, check out the Kamik Momentum Snow Boot (starting at $65). It’s not quite as warm as the Snowgem, but it’s a great value.
I had one pair of boots while motorcycle camping across North America, and they were Bogs. I can attest to their long-term comfort and impressive durability. The 100% waterproof Arcata Knit boots ($160) will keep you dry through the wettest conditions, and the 7mm Neo-Tech insulation provides plenty of warmth, with a comfort rating of -58 degrees F.
I found they have great traction in wet, snowy conditions, and I especially appreciate the convenient pull-on handles. The laces are adjustable for a custom fit. And once set, I’ve found you can easily just slide them on and off.
Best of all, these clean up great and are super durable. I’ve used these daily for several months now, and they look and feel as good as they did on Day One. Strong traction, easy on and off, and a durable design are the reasons these make one of the best women’s winter boots around.
Looking for a light, flexible boot? Then you need to meet the Minx Shorty ($100). Weighing in at 1 pound 6 ounces (for the pair), they won’t weigh you down. Yet the 200g insulation and Omni-Heat reflective lining keep feet warm while adventuring outdoors.
The sole doesn’t have extreme traction, but we never slipped while hiking on snow-packed ground or crossing the icy driveway. If you fully submerse your feet, water can leak in, but your feet will stay dry during regular winter wear.
One caveat is that deep snow can sneak in the lower-height top. If you regularly venture out in deep snow, the taller Columbia Mid Minx III may be a better option.
Do you find yourself battling ice on the regular? The Muck Boots Arctic Ice Tall ($180) could become your new best friend. The 8mm interior neoprene bootie keeps toes toasty. And the EVA midsole is comfortable and supportive. These boots are on the heavier end of the spectrum. But the durability can’t be beat.
Where they really shine, though, is on icy hardpack. The Vibram Arctic Grip outsole is true to its name and delivers excellent traction. We’ve spent weeks feeding animals and completing chores in all manner of mud, slop, and ice. And through it all, stability and traction have never been concerns.
Calling all runners and comfort-seekers: These boots are like a warm hug for your feet. Runners and endurance athletes have long been singing the praises of recovery sandals, and now you can enjoy that same technology in a boot. The OOfoam technology absorbs 37% more impact than other shoes, which in turn lessens the stress on your feet, knees, and back.
If you spend a lot of time pounding the pavement, walking to work, or strolling with the dog, the OOmg Boot ($200) will do your feet good. They will soak through if you stand around in a puddle, but they hold up great through normal winter use. And for every pair sold, the brand donates 3% to cancer research.
Sometimes you need a winter option that skirts the line between stylish and snow boot. The Merrell Haven ($150) does just that. The 100g insulation adds warmth without extra bulk. They provide just enough traction for slippery conditions but are also comfortable on city streets and sidewalks.
The 4.8-inch height is enough to keep ankles warm and dry, but they aren’t the best bet for tromping through deep snow. If you have high arches, you may notice a bit of pressure on the top of your foot. After a few wears, though, they broke in, and comfort increased. This is a great snow boot for winter commutes and city pursuits.
There’s just something about the Sorel Joan of Arctic ($210) that makes you hope for a blizzard. The waterproof suede upper provides protection as you march through snowdrifts, the seam-sealed waterproof lower keeps you dry even in the wettest conditions, and the faux fur trim adds a fun bit of flair. At times they can feel heavy on your feet, but it’s a worthy trade-off for sturdy, stylish snow boots.
And if you do get a pair, remember the tabs on the sides are not meant for pulling the boot on, but for removing the liner to clean. Save yourself tears over busted boots and avoid yanking on the tabs. Instead, place the boot on solid ground, loosen the laces as needed, and use your body weight to help slide your foot in. Now you’re ready for a winter wonderland.
Warmest Winter Boots
Whether spending hours around the ice-fishing hole, trekking miles across Antarctica, or simply desiring extra-toasty feet while shoveling the driveway, these are some of the best, super-warm women’s winter boots.
This boot is ready for the most extreme conditions. If you hate the feeling of clomping around in boots, look elsewhere. These big ol’ boots ($180) are large and in charge. But what they lack in sleek design they make up for in warmth and comfort.
The knee-high fit keeps snow out, and the rubber outsole keeps feet dry in even the sloppiest of conditions. Most of all, this boot is designed to keep warmth in.
With a thick felt liner, a removable 13mm insole, and Omni-Heat reflective lining, they come with a comfort rating of -100 degrees F. Depending on your preferred sock thickness, go up a half or whole size for a comfortable fit.
These beasts have a comfort rating of -148 degrees F. Yes, you read that right: -148. Part of the Arctic line, they’re designed for extreme conditions. Totally waterproof and complete with a seven-layer inner boot system, these snow boots ($115) are ready for your next extreme winter adventure.
The cinchable top keeps snow out, and they provide plenty of traction in slippery conditions. They’re not light or sleek, but they are warm. If cold feet are your problem, these could be the answer you’ve been looking for. They run small, so we recommend sizing up.
Stylish Winter Boots
Gone are the days when you had to choose between functional and fashionable winter boots. Thanks to the convergence of technical performance and designer style, it’s possible to pick a boot that works hard and looks good doing it. From tall boots to ultralight, packable boots, we’ve found the best styles that will still keep you warm, dry, and happy.
A great pair of leather boots will last for years. And these are excellent. The full-grain leather is strong yet supple and can be polished should the boots get scuffed.
And ECCO’s “freedom fit” means a roomier toebox — so no more squished toes. We were impressed that the ECCO Sartorelle Boots ($250) were comfortable straight out of the box. I’ve walked through giant puddles, navigated snowy streets, and trekked through various cities in these. Through it all, they’ve kept my feet dry and comfortable.
The traction is suitable for urban winter outings but not meant for extreme use. And it’s worth mentioning that these aren’t insulated, so toes may get cold on the truly frigid days.
But if you’re looking for a good-looking, hard-working tall boot, these could be the answer to your winter boot prayers. Yes, they’re an investment, but they’re worth it considering you’ll easily get 5 years out of them.
Can’t decide between a winter boot and sneaker? Luckily, you don’t have to with the Elena Mid ($140). The waterproof leather keeps feet dry, and the insulation makes these boots rated to -4 degrees F.
The rubber toe bumper protects feet and adds an extra dose of durability. Most impressively, these have great traction. They look like a flat sneaker, but the rubber soles and unique pattern kept us upright on ice-laden commutes. We went up a half size, and the fit is perfect with a pair of midweight wool socks.
Are your winters mild and dry? If you call a warm climate like Southern California, Arizona, or Hawaii home, these will soon become your favorite boots. The Pehuea Hulu ($160) feel like slippers but work like boots. The full-grain leather ages well and is super durable. And the shearling liner is cozy and naturally wicks sweat.
The wool footbed is warm, comfortable, and helps regulate odor and temperature. And it’s easily removable if you prefer a specific insole. Plus, we really like that the side zipper makes for easy on and off. While not technically waterproof — check out the Manu Hope ($150) for that — we logged many days walking on packed snow without any issues.
Anyone who loves their Birkenstock sandals will be excited to know the brand makes boots. Made with the same cork bed, these boots ($190) offer the same support and durability as your favorite sandals.
If you’ve never worn Birkenstocks, be forewarned that they take some getting used to. The cork footbed is contoured and supportive. They have a short break-in period, but the comfort is unsurpassed once molded to your foot.
These booties have a soft shearling lining that keeps feet warm and dry. They slide on easily and work just as well with jeans or leggings. For a more traditional snowboot design, check out the Birkenstock Woodbury Boot ($229).
The perfect bootie works with pants or a skirt and lasts for years. And dare we say, the Frye Carson Piping Bootie ($258) checks all these boxes and more. The waxed leather has the high-quality finish you expect from Frye.
And while these do have a slight heel, they’re incredibly comfortable for all-day use. The zipper makes taking them on and off a bit easier, though we did have to wiggle a bit extra to get our foot in on the first try. The supple leather lining feels great, and these were comfortable straight out of the box, which is quite surprising for a sturdy leather boot.
I regularly wore a single pair of Frye Boots for nearly a decade, and while the patina changed over time, they continued to work great and look stylish.
If your winter conditions tend to be rainy and wet (hello, Pacific Northwest), then a good pair of rain boots is in order. From the classic to the stylish, these top winter rain boots will keep you dry all season long.
Looking for a modern take on the classic duck boot? Then you need to meet the Bogs Classic Casual ($120). They are fully waterproof and ready for puddle jumping and rainy-day walking. The lace-up style allows for a secure, custom fit. And the modern details prove rather stylish. I have received numerous compliments while tromping about in these boots.
Toes may get cold in extremely frigid weather, as these are not heavily insulated. But for wet temps above 15 degrees F, we found the Neo-Tech insulation plenty warm. And the rebound footbed is cushioned and supportive for all-day wear. All in all, these are comfortable out of the box, stylish, and our favorite winter rain boot.
These Wellington Rain Boots ($160) have a simple design and an avid cult following. The vulcanized rubber is fully waterproof. Hunter boots are built on orthopedic lasts, and fans rave about the comfort. They’re only available in full sizes, so true half-sizers may have a hard time getting a perfect fit.
The nylon lining wicks moisture well. And the natural rubber outsole is adequate for most city conditions. But for truly slippery or icy conditions, these are not our top pick.
The 15-inch height offers enough coverage for nearly any rainy or snowy conditions. It’s also worth noting that the overall circumference makes for a snug fit. If you have larger, athletic calves, fit may be an issue.
Looking for a rain boot that can stand up to the cold? Check out the Maritime Repel ($129). The seam-sealed design keeps water out. And the 200g Thinsulate provides just enough insulation, without causing feet to overheat.
We found they offered plenty of traction in rain and slush. They also did pretty well in icy conditions, but not as well as some of the ice-specific boots on this list.
Overall, these score top marks for durability, function, and style.
Winter boots come in all sorts of shapes and styles. As our list of recommendations demonstrates, the winter boot market contains everything from extreme weather work boots to stylish formal footwear. With so many options, it can feel daunting to sift through the pile and select the perfect pair.
When choosing the best boots for you, it’s important to understand some of the key factors that differentiate one pair from the next. In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we thoroughly explain each of these factors to help you make a confident and informed choice.
Any winter footwear worth its weight will offer plentiful warmth. Many winter boots come with a specific temperature rating. While these ratings can be a helpful guideline, the actual feel of a pair of boots will always be a better indicator of warmth than a manufacturer’s rating.
Often, boots claim to have very impressive temperature ratings well below zero. Because there is no standardized test for boot temperature ratings, always take these numbers with a grain of salt. The warmth of a boot comes from various factors, including sock thickness, activity level, personal cold tolerance, and much more.
A winter boot rated to -10 will likely feel warmer than a boot rated to zero made by the same manufacturer. Using temperature ratings to compare boots from a different manufacturer is a less reliable practice. We certainly recommend trying boots on to get a real impression of their warmth and comfort.
Winter boots utilize a variety of different insulation types to achieve the desired combination of warmth and comfort. The most common types of insulation are synthetic, felt, and sheepskin.
Most modern winter boots are equipped with synthetic insulation. Between the outer shell and the inner lining of the boot, synthetic materials provide lightweight and durable warmth. Perhaps the most important benefit of synthetic material is that it can insulate even when wet.
Popular name-brand synthetic insulation options include Thinsulate and PrimaLoft, though many other quality options are available. No matter the name brand, the total weight of synthetic insulation will always be a better indicator of warmth than the name brand.
Many manufacturers include the insulation weight in their boot specifications. Lightweight to midweight boots will usually have a fill rating between 200 and 400 g. If you are seeking heavy-duty boots for extreme cold, look for a fill rating of at least 300 g.
Felt and Sheepskin
Felt and sheepskin are materials that have long been used to insulate winter footwear. While synthetic insulation is by far the current norm, some manufacturers opt for classic and traditional materials.
The downside of felt and sheepskin insulation is they tend to be heavy and bulky. Still, these materials can be warm and comfortable. Usually, felt and sheepskin are utilized in a boot’s lining where they can be in direct contact with the foot. While these materials provide warmth even when wet, they may become extra heavy when saturated and require lots of time to dry.
As you might expect, heavier boots are usually built for the worst conditions, while lightweight winter boots are better for moderate temperatures and less demanding uses. As the thickness of outsoles and the fill rating of insulation increases, overall weight goes up. Lightweight winter boots are great for active use, but they often sacrifice some stability, grip, and warmth.
Almost all winter boots are ankle-high or higher. Boot height is a major factor that determines the intended function of the boot.
Lower cut boots are typically around 7 inches from the footbed to the top of the boot. Lower-cut boots are ideal for hiking, as they tend to be relatively light and flexible. The downside of lower-cut boots is they allow snow to seep in, especially when post-holing through deep snowpack. If you find yourself in bottomless snow with a pair of ankle-high boots, a pair of gaiters may offer a simple solution.
If you plan to use your boots in regions with lots of snow accumulation, you’ll probably want to pick boots at least 8 inches tall. Work boots and boots for extreme weather are designed to sit higher on the leg, keeping the elements out and the warmth in.
Nothing beats a reliable pair of boots that keep your feet warm and dry no matter how bad the weather gets. Waterproofing is the difference between blissful comfort and soggy misery.
Waterproofing is ultimately a product of the materials incorporated into a boot’s design. Features such as rubber outer layers and an exterior water-resistant treatment are standards of the most waterproof boots.
All of the boots we’ve selected are designed to keep water out as much as possible. Some of the more robust included models feature a two-piece system that includes an outer waterproof barrier and an inner removable liner.
One-piece boots typically feature a waterproof membrane sandwiched in between the outer material and the lining. While one-piece boots usually don’t have the fail-proof waterproofing of many two-piece styles, they tend to be lighter and more flexible.
The downside of built-in insulation and waterproof membranes is decreased breathability. While boots that trap heat are certainly desirable, overheating can be a real concern, even in extremely cold weather. For this reason, a reasonable degree of breathability is an asset in winter boots.
Generally, lightweight hiking-style winter boots are more breathable than gravy duty work boots or two-piece models that thrive in extreme cold. While hiking or performing other strenuous activities, breathability can help to prevent sweating and blisters.
Ultimately, breathability is a trade-off. Winter boots simply cannot be completely waterproof and extreme weather-ready and fully breathable at the same time. If you’re simply looking for top-notch warmth or waterproofing, breathability doesn’t need to be a major consideration when selecting boots. If you plan to wear your boots for active use in a wide range of conditions, be sure to select a breathable pair.
A winter boot’s exterior material will significantly affect its waterproofing, breathability, and weight. Rubber and leather are the most common outer materials.
The waterproof qualities of rubber boots are unbeatable. For decades, brands including Muck Boot and Xtratuf have been well regarded for their nearly impenetrable rubber boots. In constantly wet and rainy regions such as the Pacific Northwest, rubber boots are a rightfully popular choice.
The downside of rubber as an outer material is its lack of breathability. In the same way rubber boots successfully keep moisture out, they also keep moisture in. For long hikes and active use, rubber is not the ideal outer material.
Leather boots have been a popular winter footwear choice for hundreds of years. While leather does not provide the impenetrable qualities of rubber, it is a supple, durable, and relatively water-resistant material.
Compared to rubber boots, leather models tend to breathe slightly better. If you plan to wear your boots in a wide range of weather conditions, leather boots are an excellent versatile choice.
Outsoles and Grip
The outsole is the part of a boot that makes direct contact with the ground underneath. Good grip is essential to a winter boot’s value and performance.
True winter boots come with outsoles designed to provide reliable grip in cold and snowy conditions. To account for subfreezing temps, many winter boot outsoles feature soft rubber compounds that don’t overly harden in the cold. Additionally, thoughtfully designed tread patterns can prevent snow and mud from building up.
Outsole compounds and tread patterns vary wildly across the winter boot market. Generally, models geared toward hiking will have a deep tread and superior grip. Work boots typically come with heavy, bulky outsoles that prioritize durability above grip.
In severe conditions, you may want more winter traction than your boots can offer on their own. No matter how deep and sticky your tread is, chances are it won’t help on solid sheets of ice.
Traction devices such as Yaktraxband and MICROspikes can be fixed onto the bottom of winter boots for improved grip on ice and hardpack. These devices have metal components designed to dig into ice and improve traction — just like tire chains on a car.
Fit and Sizing
Properly sizing winter boots can be a tricky process. Unlike with most footwear, you’ll likely wear extra thick socks with your winter boots, and it’s important to consider this when picking a size.
Ideally, your winter boots will be comfortable and free of major air pockets and hot spots. Of course, the best fit for you depends on the type of activity you’re using the boots for.
If you’ll be hiking or working on your feet, we recommend a snug fit for maximum performance. If you plan to use your boots for hanging out casually or simply wearing about town, a looser comfort-first fit is the way to go.
As always, there’s no substitute for trying on boots and shoes, and we highly recommend you do so if possible.
What Are the Best Winter Boots for Walking?
There are a few important things to consider. First are the overall weight and fit. A super-heavy boot will quickly become tiresome. And one that’s too loose will rub and cause blisters.
On the other hand, a slightly taller boot may be worth the weight, as it offers extra ankle support. Consider where you’ll be walking and your personal preference for high or low designs.
Second, good traction is a key consideration. Icy, slick conditions are a common winter occurrence. And you don’t want to spend your time outdoors worrying about slipping. The Oboz Bridger is a great winter hiking boot for walking. It offers ankle support, excellent traction, and just enough warmth.
If you’re looking for a more classic winter boot style, the Bogs Arcata Knit is extra warm and cozy, but it does weigh a bit more.
Who Makes the Best Winter Boots?
The best winter boot is subjective and depends on your needs. KEEN, Merrell, and Oboz all make an excellent winter hiking boot for women. If you need a classic snow boot, the Kamik Snowgem is comfortable, warm, and easy on the wallet. For a stylish leather option, the ECCO Knee High Boot and Frye Bootie can’t be beat.
What Are the Best Boots for Snow and Ice?
If you find yourself regularly heading out in icy conditions, we recommend the Muck Boots Arctic Ice. The Vibram Arctic Grip outsole is true to its name and delivers excellent traction. And the 15-inch height keeps out snow.
Which Brand of Winter Boots Are the Warmest?
For truly frigid conditions, you need a burly, super-warm boot. The Sorel Glacier XT Boots have a comfort rating of -100 degrees F. And the Baffin Icefield Insulated Boots will keep you cozy down to -148 degrees F. Pair them with some extra-warm winter gloves, and you’ll be ready for whatever winter serves up.
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