Holiday gift-giving is over, so now it’s time to treat yourself to something warm and cozy: a pair of cold-weather boots.
There are plenty of deals to be found at the mall and online, but before making a purchase, there are some boot features to consider that will ensure you’re well protected during the cold, wet days ahead.
First, know the difference between boots that are waterproof and those that are simply water-resistant. While some boots are made of waterproof materials and are also built on a seam-sealed construction that prevents water from leaking in, there are water-resistant styles made of leathers and fabrics that allow water to roll off in a light rain, but do not offer enough protection during a downpour or wading through slush.
Lowa Glasgow Gore-Tex boot for men, $159.99; sierratradingpost.com
For guaranteed waterproof protection, choose a pair featuring Gore-Tex, a laminate material used for linings and designed to withstand water-entry pressures encountered during severe weather. While Gore-Tex can be found in a wide range of brands and boot styles, companies such as L.L. Bean offer its own proprietary waterproof system, Tek 2.5, a waterproof/windproof breathable barrier built into the boot.
Emu Australia Deepwater Mini, $111.97; emuaustralia.com
There’s also good news for shearling lovers. Emu Australia now offers a waterproof styles for women that’s both stylish and practical, while Ugg has a water-resistant version.
Wanderlust Liv Thinsulate lined women’s boot, $95.95; shoebuy.com
Next to waterproofing, warmth ranks high on a list of must-have features. Branded technologies such as 3M Thinsulate insulation trap body heat while allowing moisture to escape. Or look for styles featuring a footwear brand’s proprietary insulating systems, such as Columbia’s Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology, which is designed to reflect and retain the warmth your body generates.
Icebug women’s Moss BUGrip, $148.95; amazon.com
Since most slips and falls happen on icy surfaces, enhanced outsole traction is essential. Look for lug bottoms that grip the surface from components makers such as Vibram (found on a wide range of footwear brands), or opt for Swedish brand Icebug, a line of boots featuring a proprietary outsole designed with carbide studs.