SHOES & BOOTS

Best Winter Boots for Women: Gear Up for Snowy Fun

Women winter boots review
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

As a proper lady, you may love leisurely walks in the mountains with just a dusting of snow or you might enjoy the exhilaration of snowmobiling down a snowy hill. Regardless of style, having fitting winter boots ensures that you’re adequately protected while enjoying a balance between fashion and function. So shop for the best winter boots for women and count down to the first day of winter!

What to Look Out for When Shopping for Snow Boots

Height of shafts

Tall shafts

  • Taller shafts can reach up to your calves, offering more warmth and rain/snow protection. Tall winter boots are great when you live in a place where winters are long and harsh. You can even tuck your pants into them to keep them dry in cold, wet weather.
  • They’re more difficult to take off and tend to be chunkier.

Short shafts

  • If you live in a region where winter just means a dusting of snow, you’ll be able to get away with a pair of snow boots with shorter shafts. However, you’ll still need all the snow protection you’d need should it snow lightly. So make sure you choose a pair in which the shafts cinches closed instead of having a wide opening for optimal warmth.
  • The obvious disadvantage is that they don’t offer much protection from snow. Even when you try to tuck your pants into the boots for more warmth and protection from slush, they tend to bunch up because of their short height.

Function vs. fashion

When it comes to choosing snow boots for women, you may battle with yourself whether to get a particularly stylish pair of winter boots. Stop for a moment and think beyond how it would complement your winter wardrobe.

Function vs. fashion

Think about how you’ll be using your snow boots. The following are common scenarios how women will use their snow boots:

  • Office footwear – If you drive to the office and will immediately bolt into the warm indoors, you may be able to settle on a pair of snow boots that’s average on warmth but superb on looks.
  • Walk around town – This is when you should get a pair which gives you an equal balance in function and fashion. A pair of tall, bulky and heavy duty snow boots may look a little out of place in this case. However, don’t throw functionality to the wind either. As you’ll probably be walking outdoors, it’s important that your winter boots are water-resistant to some extent and keep you dry and warm.
  • Light winter hiking – Style will probably take a backseat in this case. Water-resistant material, tall shafts, breathability, crampon compatibility right down to the type of lacing could mean a world of difference between a wonderful, memorable hike and one which you feel you ought to be better prepared.

Performance

Performance is directly related to the snow boots’ construction. There are various factors which determine the warmth in the best winter boots for women.

Material and insulation used

As common logic goes, the outer shell of your snow boots should at least be water-resistant to keep your toes warm and dry. Materials such as suede may need to go through a waterproof treatment for them to keep your feet dry and warm.

ThinsulateTM made by 3M is by far the most popular type of insulation in winter boots today as it doesn’t break down due to getting wet or frequent washings. Most importantly, it isn’t bulky which means it’s great for reducing the bulky look in winter boots while providing superior warmth. It’s also advisable to check the padding along the soles of the boots and ankles as those are the spots most susceptible to cold.

Thickness of soles

Check the tread on the bottom of the snow boots to ensure that they’re varied and have a minimum 0.25” depth of rubber. That’s because the tread will ‘grip’ onto surfaces and help you keep you balance on slippery, icy surfaces.

Winter Boots for women

The heels of your snow boots shouldn’t be more than an inch tall as you’ll probably have difficulty keeping your balance while walking on slippery sidewalks in heels that are too high. Winter is the time to give your stilettos or high heeled shoes (and your feet) a break and tread closer to Mother Nature.

Height of shafts

Generally, shorter boots are more comfortable for activities such as hiking, walking or evening driving as they’re lighter and make for easier movement. On the other hand, tall shafts may get in the way of movement in these situations. However, you should know that a pair of shorter winter boot means less warmth and protection for your calves.

Comfort

Weight of boots

The comfort of your winter boots is hugely dependent on their weight. Dragging your feet in bulky, heavy boots is akin to having a ball and chain on your feet. However, don’t think lightweight winter boots are bad at providing the protection you need on winter days. Advancements in insulation technology has given rise to ThinsulateTM, an ultra-lightweight insulation that can keep you warm even when it’s wet.

Removable liner or insoles

This is especially useful if you’ll be walking for several days such as on a hike. If you can remove the boots’ liner, it’s easier for them to dry. Or with removable insoles, they’re more convenient for hanging dry or simply airing them to ‘keep things fresh’ on outdoor adventures.

Ease of removing and putting on

Though this may be a minor consideration, it’s a ‘good to have’ if your chosen winter boots are easy to remove and put on.

Putting on winter boots

Imagine you’ve to struggle or do a tug-of-war when you’re dying to remove your wet, clunky boots after a stroll outside and dash into the warm indoors.

Faux fur cuffs

They’re not there merely to style up your stride when you’re out and about in winter. We know you’ll be delighted to know this – those oh-so-stylish faux fur cuffs contribute to the boots’ water resistance. That’s because on top of sealing in the warmth, they’ll also catch rain or snow and prevent the moisture from making its way down into the boots.

Fit

One of the greatest advantages of shopping for winter boots in shops is the ability to slip your feet into the new boots. When trying out the boots, make sure they’re not too tight as a little bit of space allows you to layer on thick, cozier socks. After all, having a great-fitting pair of snow boots makes the difference between bliss and blisters.

  • Only shop by the end of the day – That’s because your feet will generally be slightly swollen from the day’s activities; doing this will prevent you from buying boots which are too small.
  • Bring along your orthotics (if you have any) – Don’t underestimate the impact they’ve on your winter boots. Insert the orthotics into the boots and spend some time walking around in them. This will give you a good idea how comfortable the boots will be.
  • Wear the kind of socks you’re intending to put on with your boots – This will help you access the fit more accurately as sock thickness will affect the fit. During the hike, it’s better to wear socks that are made of synthetic materials instead of cotton socks. They’re not only slow to dry they’re also more likely to give you blisters.

How To Buy Winter Boots Online?

So, buying the right snow boots can be a tricky and expensive affair. How do you navigate around the many issues regarding the perfect fit?

  • Consider the brand you’ve worn before first – this is because most boots companies are likely to use a consistent foot model, hence the fit is likely to be similar as well.
  • Put insoles into your new boots – When buying snow boots online, most people prefer to buy half a size or one full size up and will not buy the same size as their normal sneakers. That’s taking into consideration the thickness of socks they’ll be wearing. Should your new boots be a little roomier, explore the possibility of inserting insoles for a better fit. This might save you the hassle (and expense) of having to return the boots.

Important tip: Break your winter boots in before your first hike

Break your winter boots

Breaking in your new boots, especially if they’re the all-leather, bulky type, is a necessary step if you don’t want sore feet and blisters. Upon receiving your new boots in the mail, start wearing them for short periods at home with the type of socks you’re likely to put on during a real hike.

After a few short sessions of walking at home, it’s time to get them out of the house. Wear them when you run errands. Gradually increase the time spent and distance walked in your new boots. Should you feel any pain or discomfort during the break-in process, you might want to consider returning the ill-fitting boots. That’s because small nicks and issues can explode into bigger ones when you’re hiking outdoors during winter.

Now let’s get down to choosing the best boots that fit your budget!

Boots That Cost Less Than $100

Sorel Women’s Tofino Boot

Sorel Women's Tofino Boot

Shipping weight: 4.1 pounds

Key features:

  • A waterproof breathable construction of quilted, waxed canvas with leather overlays upper and leather-covered shell
  • Water-resistant rubber herringbone sole for easy walking on slippery, icy surfaces
  • Microfleece lining for more warmth
  • Faux fur cuff to escalate warmth and style
  • Great for winter activities such as sledding and snowmobiling or for outdoor activities like hunting or fishing where more protection is needed.
  • Best for light snow and casual wear

Pros: Sorel Tofino fit just like a pair of sneakers which allows for nimble movement in the snow and comfortable normal walking even after wearing and walking for the whole day. Extremely easy to put on and take off for the half-shaft design. The lining starts from the top of the shaft all the way down to the toe bed, providing adequate warmth and insulation to your ankles and calves.

The whole boot, from toe to shaft, is waterproof and the tongue is stitched into the shaft halfway up to prevent water or snow from entering. The Tofino is perfect for people who love winter adventures as it provides perfect traction for you on snowy inclines.

Cons: the leather and canvas could be a little stiff when the boots are still new and need a little breaking in. The Tofino is rated for 10-40 degrees, so it’s not suitable for extreme cold-weather activities. This is why some people complained that they were not warm enough and thought that the lining is way too thin for their liking. These boots are made for walking on snow, not on pavements or indoors where there are tiles as they can become very slippery.

Women’s Momentum Snow Boot

Kamik Women's Momentum Snow Boot

Shipping weight: 4 pounds

Key features:

  • These boots combined warmth and comfort at an affordable price
  • Great for casual walking around and outdoor chores such as snow shoveling and dog walking
  • Measuring 11.5” from the sole bottom to the top of shaft, it provides great warmth for the calves while walking outdoors on chilly days
  • The rubber toe box is almost 3” deep and is great for keeping your feet dry even if you’ve accidentally walked into puddles
  • The user-friendly cinch cord lets you tighten up easily and gets you out of the house quickly

Pros: users love the way Women’s Momentum Snow Boot are easy to put on as the pull cord system makes everything effortless. Faux fur lining goes all the way into the boots for extra coziness while the rubber soles provide great traction, making it really effortless to walk on slippery surfaces.

Cons: some users commented that the rubber toe box and pull cord systems make the boots look like what a teenager would wear. The pull cord system doesn’t always provide the best fit and sometimes the insole often comes out together with the boots taking them off. There are no half sizes available so it’s a little tricky to buy a pair that fits comfortably.

Boots Between $100 – $200

Sorel Women’s Joan Of Arctic Boots

Sorel Women's Joan Of Arctic Boots

Shipping weight: 5.4 pounds

Key features:

  • Features a seam-sealed waterproof design
  • For the upper, this classic silhouette is made of waterproof full-grain leather and suede
  • Has a removable felt inner boot for faster drying and more convenient airing when doing a lot of walking for consecutive days
  • Waterproof vulcanized rubber shell with herringbone outsole keeps snow and water out
  • Sorel rated: -25° Fahrenheit / -32° Celsius
  • Best for heavy snow

Pros: Sorel Joan of Arctic are extremely hardy snow boots which last a reviewer for 16 years! They’re really warm even in sub-zero temperatures while trudging through snow and are silky-smooth on the inside. The toe box is also roomy enough to let you comfortably wear a pair of wool socks. Very comfortable to wear and wouldn’t give you blisters.

Cons: these are not the most comfortable boots for extended periods of walking as there’s a natural little slip in the heel. Some people commented that the laces are a little too slick which makes it difficult to tighten the boots to their desired tightness. Some people are also disappointed at how heavy the boots are and tough to put on and remove.

Sorel Tivoli High II Women’s Boot

Sorel Tivoli High II Women's Boot

Shipping weight: 3.4 pounds

Key features:

  • Knee-high design is created for walking in the snow and enjoying winter fun
  • All-over waterproof with breathable suede leather upper to keep you dry and warm all the time
  • Soft microfleece insulation for optimal comfort and warmth
  • Faux fur edging adds style for your winter wardrobe
  • Best for heavy snow

Pros: One of the users appreciated the fact that she was able to trek through 9°F snowfall in Helsinki with her feet still dry and toasty. The knee-high design is also great for keeping snow out. Another happy customer is glad that she can walk comfortably through slush – another testimony to the fact that these boots are waterproof.

Cons: Sorel Tivoli High II Women’s Boot are a little too big to pack into a carry-on hand luggage without having to sacrifice some clothes. Several users complained about their narrow and snug fit, especially at the ankle area, which makes putting on and removing them a chore.

Women’s Pow Pow II UltraDry Insulated Winter Boot

Women's Pow Pow II UltraDry Insulated Winter Boot

Shipping weight: 1.3 pounds

Key features:

  • Has shearling fleece, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Ultra insulation and UltraDryTM waterproof membrane for ultimate warmth without the bulk
  • Waterproof suede coupled with a ripstop nylon mesh stops the snow and slush from slipping into the boots while quilted taffeta ensures warmth and durability
  • Dual-density EVA footbed for stability
  • Perfect for winter skiing, Après ski or general winter fun

Pros: Women’s Pow Pow II UltraDry Insulated Winter Boot  have fantastic arch support and are lightweight and waterproof – perfect for epic outdoor winter escapades. Slush and mud can be rinsed right off and the surface dries in no time without leaving any stains or water marks. The sole which is made up of two different types of hard rubber lets you balance and walk well on snowy, slippery surfaces.

Cons: some users feel that the boots are a little small and too snug even if they had ordered half a size up. Some others struggled to pull the boots on and commented that they’re too tight at the ankles.

Ahnu Women’s Northridge Insulated WP Hiking Boot

Ahnu Women's Northridge Insulated WP Hiking Boot

Key features:

  • Lined with ThinsulateTM to keep feet warm in snow or rain
  • Made of waterproof leather with quilted hydrophobic mesh collar that wicks snow and rain away effectively
  • Zippered entry makes it effortless to put on and take off while the lace-up functionality ensures a snug, warm fit
  • Vibram® rubber outsoles ensure grip, traction and durability for you to stay active and safe while having winter fun
  • Numentum™ Hike technology stabilizes and keeps your foot in a neutral position for safe walking and hiking

Pros: Ahnu Women’s Northridge Insulated WP Hiking Boot, tall and lightweight hiking boots for comfortable hiking and walking in mild winters. There are thumbs-up for the way the boots lace up snugly at a wallet-friendly price.

Others love the solid sole with great traction that makes them feel safe while hiking up slippery slopes. The boots also don’t need breaking in.

Cons: there are several complaints about the boots not being suitable for cold, snowy winters as the tongue isn’t attached all the way up – snow and rain could seep in. There are also gripes about the thin insulation.

North Face Women’s Nuptse Purna Boot

North Face Women's Nuptse Purna Boot

Shipping weight: 3 pounds

Key features:

  • Insulated, waterproof boots that is designed with advanced winter technology
  • Waterproof, velvet suede upper that’s both practical and stylish
  • Rip and tear-resistant ripstop cuff detail reinforces the boots’ sturdy and durable construction
  • Lined with PrimaLoft® Eco insulation which offers water resistance, lightweight softness and warmth without the bulk
  • Northotic™ compression-molded internal drop-in midsole/footbed for ultimate support and comfort
  • The bottom consists of a TNF™ Winter Grip® rubber outsole and IcePick® temperature-sensitive lugs for stability, lightweight protection and superb traction for cold-weather walking

Pros: North Face Women’s Nuptse Purna Boot are lightweight, incredibly comfortable and keep your feet dry while you’re out walking. Even more, they are warm enough for daily casual wear during winter.

They’re also versatile enough to complement any winter outfit. Though it could feel a little narrow for some people when they’re initially slipping in their feet, the fit is comfortably snug and lightweight like a pair of sneakers.

Cons: the shafts only reach mid-calf and some people could get cold quite easily this way. Several people complained that though these boots keep their feet dry, they couldn’t keep out the cold – even when they’ve woolen socks on.

Baffin Women’s Chloe Insulated Boot

Baffin Women's Chloe Insulated Boot

Shipping weight: 4.2 pounds

Key features:

  • 7-layer removable inner liner boot system has fantastic insulating layers to keep your feet warm. The system provides an enhanced fit while moisture wicking and thermal layers release moisture and keep in heat while reducing the overall weight of the boots
  • Waterproof suede leather upper means there’s a balance between function and fashion
  • The base consists of an arctic rubber shell for keeping your feet warm in extreme temperatures; EVA midsoles for extra cushioning and finished with a Polar Rubber Outsole for superior traction and durability
  • D-Ring front lace fastening system for easy putting on and taking off
  • Temperature rating: -40C/-40F

Pros: users love the height of the shafts that not only keeps their calves warm. Its also easy to tuck in their pants to prevent them from getting wet.

The inner liner is great at keeping the feet warm. Baffin Women’s Chloe Insulated Boot also boast amazing ankle support and grip which lets users walk confidently and safely on wet, slippery surfaces.

Cons: some people thought that the faux fur trim running down the sides of the boots seems to make them look wider and unflattering. Another common complaint is that the boots are a little narrow and lack good arch support.

Boots That Cost Over $200

Women’s Adirondack Boot II Boots

Women's Adirondack Boot II Boots

Shipping weight: 1 pound

Key features:

  • Made of waterproof leather and suede for maximum comfort and warmth
  • Has breathable eVent® membrane so that snow, slush and rain cannot get in but sweat and moisture from your feet can get out easily
  • Fully lined with UGGpure™ which is natural, soft wool is woven into a durable backing that provides a plush, luxurious wearing experience
  • Removable UGGpure™ wool insole makes drying and airing the boots more convenient
  • Traction-enhancing Vibram® outsole makes it effortless to walk safely on slippery or icy surfaces
  • Stylish faux fur collar may be folded up to provide more warmth for your calves
  • Able to withstand temperatures as low as -20°C and ensure maximum protection for you when you’re having fun outdoors during winter

Pros: consumers generally find Women’s Adirondack Boot II Boots very well-made, warm, comfortable and steady to walk in, therefore justifying the bigger price tag. No break-in required which are typical of new snow boots – that means you can be enjoying true comfort right from day one. One user commented that the boots are so durable that they lasted for 15 years.

Cons: generally, every user seems to be very happy with their Adirondacks. A minor gripe is that the wool insole wears out pretty quickly and users have to buy insoles substitutes to replace the worn out ones.

Now that you know the finer points of securing the winter boots of your dream, have a blast outdoors this winter! Also, if you find that we left out some of your favorite brands or products, please let us know. Even more, if you have a winter adventure (with your boots of course) to share with us, we’re waiting for your comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Tyler Johnson

    Got the The North Face Women’s Nuptse Purna Boot for my girlfriend some time ago. They are incredibly comfortable and warm! They aren’t too heavy, so its easy to walk with them and they keep her feet really warm. 🙂

  • Walker John

    It was really difficult to find a pair of boots that are comfortable, practical, stylish, and very warm, untill we found Sorel Joan of Arctic. Winters here get -20 and the feet are protected and safe. My wife loves these boots. She wears thick wool socks in the winter, so she sized up 1/2 size as she does with every shoe when i wear wool socks. highly recommended!

  • Jerry Mueller

    When you’re out hiking with your loved one or even female friends, it’s great to know that they can be comfortable and have fun, even when the terrain is a bit rough. The North Face Women’s Boots is a good buy and one that every man should consider buying for their gal as a gift. These shoes are insulated and water-proof, too!

  • Jerry Mueller

    How’s the support by the way? Most of my women friends love that these boots support their backs and are comfortable to walk with. Women are built differently so their camping gear must address this difference. This pair of boots also work great in heavy snow, which is a huge factor in choosing women’s shoes.

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