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Winter is coming, and according to recent predictions, it may just be one of the U.S.’ most brutal winters in years. Be prepared with winter boots for the extreme cold, icy conditions, and anything else Mother Nature throws our way. And now is the best time to invest in the right type of winter footwear so you’re not scrambling during the next polar vortex.
Lucky for you, we’ve spent hours studying new launches and testing dozens of styles to bring you the best winter boots for women in 2021. We even tapped winter gear experts, celeb fashion stylists, and podiatrists for recommendations, so you can avoid injury, feel supported, and look stylish in the best snow boots this winter.
Types of Women’s Winter Boots
Before you shop for a pair of the best boots for women, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Are you looking for a pair of hiking boots with extra insulation and a heavy-duty tread to conquer a tough trail? Do you need a more stylish and less technical pair for business meetings on snow days? Or do you need a reliably strong pair of snow boots that can handle running errands on the snow-swept sidewalk? Below, we outline the types of boots to choose from.
- Snow Boots: They keep you warm with proper insulation, provide support and traction in icy and snowy conditions.
- Winter Hiking Boots: Hiking happens all year round, just ask any true outdoors expert. Winter hikes however call for different footwear. They are heavier duty and can handle snow and slush.
- Lug-Sole Boots: A lug sole is typically made of rubber with deep grooves that provide added traction. Combat boots with a lug sole also happen to be a major fall shoe trend right now.
- Snow Slippers: Snow slippers are probably the easiest wear on this winter boot guide. It’s your fuzzy, slip-on options that still provide enough support for you to run errands around town in. Yes, we’re talking about your classic Ugg boots here.
- Extreme Cold Weather Boots: For those that live in extreme arctic conditions, your average pair of snow boots aren’t going to cut it. This is where we get super technical with extreme insulation and water proofing technology.
- Fashion Boots: Fashion boots might prioritize style over function, but the good ones don’t erase the latter completely. Under this category, you’ll find tall boots, Chelsea boots, ankle boots and booties to name a few that look less technical and more stylish while keeping you comfortable and warm.
What to Look for in the Best Winter Boots for Women
Whichever style of boot you’re interested in, make sure the boots you choose are warm and at least water-resistant, if not waterproof. New York-based board-certified podiatrist Dr. William Spielfogel explains that, “there are different liners in boots to suit different activities, but you should always make sure the boot is breathable [from the inside out]. If you sweat and the boot isn’t breathable, you’ll have a cold foot from the trapped moisture.” To avoid this, look for women’s winter boots made with performance fabrics, like waterproof leather or nylon, especially at the seams to prevent leakage.
The best winter boots for women also offer solid traction in snow or ice. Good tread on the outsole of a boot should remain rigid with a rubber-like grip, whether you’re hiking the backcountry, walking around your city or shoveling your driveway.
Celebrity fashion stylist Andrew Gelwicks adds, “If you buy the right boot, you should not be sacrificing fashion for function, or vice versa. A good winter boot should be both fashionable, while also comfortable, durable, and supportive. Pay close attention to the material of the boot and think about whether the material can be consistently exposed to water and ice and keep you warm.” Stuart Weitzman is a go-to brand for him when he’s sourcing for his clients. “Not only do they keep them warm, but they also look chic and come in a variety of styles,” he says.
How Should Winter Boots Fit?
“While some foot types (including those with high arches) will do better in a boot with a heel as opposed to a flat style, boots are not as specifically made for different foot types like sneakers are,” says Dr. Spielfogel. “Not having the right support can often lead to common foot aliments like plantar fasciitis or metatarsalgia. A good solution is to add in a pair of fitted arch supports in your boots.” While this all sounds very technical, a great pair of boots insoles is key to all-day comfort.
Boots shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. “If the fit is too loose, your heel may slip and irritate the Achilles tendon or cause heel pain,” says Dr. Spielfogel. He suggests that the most comfortable winter boots will only live up to their potential if the fit is right. He also mentions a good pair of winter boots should accommodate a thick sock. “Wool is breathable and wicks away moisture,” he says.
Heavy-duty wool or a smart merino wool are a great option for socks because they will help the feet feel warm and dry in a pair of insulated boots. Plus, Gelwicks explains that socks can elevate your winter boots style. “Make a fashion statement in your winter boots with your sock choice, as well as also how you cuff your trousers.”
From customer- to expert-approved picks, read on to find the best winter boot for women in just about every category this cold-weather season. Plus, they’re a great Christmas gift for women that will make the cold months of winter far more tolerable and stylish. Happy boot hunting!
L.L. Bean 8” Bean Boots
Best Women’s Winter Boots for Plantar Fasciitis
Since technology is always advancing, we typically like to prioritize the latest and greatest products on the market. But sometimes, it’s an oldie that proves to be the best season after season. That’s the case with L.L. Bean’s iconic Bean boots. They’re equipped with Gore-Tex waterproofing, an insulated lining and durable mixed material stitching that can withstand it all. They’re a great everyday pair of boots that emphasize arch support and have a sturdy heel, making them a top option for people with plantar fasciitis.
Birkenstock Upsalla Suede Boots
Sure, Birkenstocks are on-trend right now. But more importantly, they provide sufficient support for all foot types. Just like the brand’s classic Arizona sandals, Birkenstock’s Upsalla boots include the contoured anatomical footbed we all know and love. The trick is to break these in, and soon enough, they’ll feel custom-made for your feet.
The boots are less technical than others on this list, but they’re a great option to complement a more sophisticated outfit. Plus, thanks to their oiled suede finish, they’re weather-resistant and can hold up in a storm just fine. The inner lining is made with shearling fur, which means your foot will never feel cold even in dramatically low temps.
Stuart Weitzman Ryder Ultralift Bootie
These luxury winter boots by Stuart Weitzman are worth every pretty penny. The glossy finish brings a water-resistant function with a stylish appearance. They’re a lace-up combat style featuring a lugged sole ,which is both on-trend and keeps your foot on the pavement, even in icy conditions.
Sorel Winter Carnival Boots
Best Women’s Winter Boots for Heavy Snow
These boots are up for anything. Whether for a trip to the grocery store in the middle of a snowstorm or trekking to the bar after a long day on the slopes, these boots will keep you warm, dry and supported. They’re made of durable waterproof nylon and are seam-sealed to ensure that cozy feeling even when you’re trekking through the worst conditions. They extend just below the calf, making them easy to pack, carry and wear. But for that reason, if you’re walking through over a foot of snow, you may want to keep scrolling.
Ugg Adirondack Boot III
Ugg’s Adirondack III is the total package. Not only are they cute winter boots, but they’re also super easy to slip on and off and provide neutral arch support for optimal foot health. With a super cozy fleece liner and waterproof leather outer, they’ll keep your feet warm and dry in frigid climates. And the liner is insulating, featuring 200 grams of wool for toasty effects at any temperature.
Hoka Kaha Gore-tex Boots
The Hoka Kaha Gore-Tex boots are a favorite among outdoors enthusiasts. NASM-certified strength coach and avid hiker Simone Tchouke just summited the highest mountain in the contiguous U.S. in her Hokas. “My favorite boots are the Kaha Gore-tex from Hoka,” she says. “They’re waterproof, have great ankle support and are super lightweight. I walk, run and skip in them and feel safe.”
As for winter, they feature a mega grip for versatile traction and Gore-Tex to keep your foot dry, but we recommend a hefty wool sock for added warmth to the responsive and supported technology.
The North Face Thermoball Lace-Up Boots
Best Winter Boots for Walking
These North Face boots will instantly up your cool factor while saving your feet from the harsh elements of winter. Similar to the effect of wearing a puffer jacket, these include Thermocball Eco insulation so you stay toasty without feeling weighed down. They’re made with an Ortholite footbed for added support and all-day comfort along with a rubber sole for increased traction on any wet or dry surface. They feel like a sneaker/slipper hybrid with the support and protection of a hard-working boot, making these the best women’s winter boots for long walks outside. Added details like bungee cords at the collar to prevent snow from getting in and a synthetic mudguard make this pair extra special.
Columbia Women’s Keetley Shorty Snow Boot
Best 2021 Innovation
Columbia’s new Keetley Shorty boots are among the brand’s best and latest innovations. They are a part of the Omni-Heat Infinity collection, which brings outstanding insulation to the boots’ lining in a lightweight and cozy design. They are waterproof, breathable and have a Techlite+ responsive cushioning for added support without sacrificing comfort. Plus, the outsole is made with something called Adapt Trax, which provides optimum traction in wet and dry conditions.
Dadawen Waterproof Frosty Snow Boots
Best Winter Snow Boots for Under $50
If you’re looking for a good pair of under-$50 snow boots, look no further. These women’s winter boots have 3,000 near-perfect Amazon reviews for its full waterproof upper, faux-fur lining, and an anti-skid sole. They’re a great choice for an outdoor activity on snow days.
Dr. Martens 1460 Serena 8 Eye Boots
Every woman deserves a pair of Dr. Martin combat boots. They are an icon for a reason, and this winter version features plush faux fur lining for colder temps. These are the type of winter boots that get better with age and mold to your feet, making them more comfortable with each wear.
Keen Revel IV Polar
Best Backcountry Boots
If you’re big into winter hiking, or pretty much any winter activity that doesn’t require a board-specific boot, you’re going to want to invest in Keen’s Revel IV Polar boots. They’re compatible with microspikes for added traction during rigorous hikes and climbs, as well as snowshoes for trekking up the backcountry. They can handle snow, mud, slippery rocks, and icy logs. Plus, they’re extremely durable and get more comfortable as you break them in. We’re not here to tell you they can’t be worn off the trail, but they’re specifically made to keep your feet dry, warm and supported while you trek the backcountry. Both testers and reviewers mention they’re plenty roomy, making them appropriate for wide feet and able to accommodate a nice, thick sock, too.
Forsake Lucie Boot
Most Versatile Winter Boots
Forsake is a climate neutral-certified footwear brand that pays exquisite attention to detail in everything it makes. The company was born out of a passion for exploring the outdoors, and you can’t help but feel that love when you slip on a pair of its boots. The label’s small-but-mighty collection is innovative in terms of style, function and sustainability. And its new Lucie Boot is a standout for snowy winters.
It’s made with waterproof leather and suede, making them a super stylish option for commuting, going out on the town or posting up in the backcountry. The styles features a memory foam footbed and the brand’s notable Peak to Pavement outsole, which brings a stable grip from the street to the trail. Plus, the slip-on style makes getting ready a breeze so you can get out the door faster on a busy schedule.
Muck Boot Arctic Ice AG Sport Boots
Best Non-Slip Winter Boots for Women
Verified Amazon reviewers rave that these boots have great traction on slick driveways. They include arctic Icetrek grip technology and a Vibram sole to ensure non-slip traction on any surface. They’re also 100% waterproof and feature a bioDewix footbed insert that offers odor control and moisture management. And, your feet will never be cold in these, as they include 200 grams of insulation.
Despite their beefed up look, these boots are actually quite lightweight. “They aren’t too heavy, so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing bulky boots, even though the boots have warming features,” says one reviewer.
Koio Cortino Boots
Koio’s Cortino Boots are a classic, streamlined pair of winter footwear for both running errands and nights out on the town. For comfort, these Italian leather boots have a fitted cushion insole, water-resistant construction and a lugged platform sole for added traction. Available in a three different colorways, we consider these one of the best pairs of winter lace-up boots for women on the market.
Ugg Classic Clear Ankle Boots
Best Slipper Boots
The slipper-like winter boots are probably the easiest, coziest pair on this list. While you can still score a pair of classic Uggs you once owned, this pair comes with a clear TPU coating that makes them fully waterproof. Plus, they have a new Treadlite bottom for better traction on slippery surfaces.
Stuart Weitzman Yuliana Leather Ankle Boots
Best Ankle Boots
Holiday parties and winter events call for a bit of dressing up, even if the weather forecast shows a harsh winter storm. These heeled ankle boots are the perfect, wear-with-anything choice for when you have to dress up for a more formal occasion and still tackle cold weather. Now, obviously we wouldn’t shovel a driveway in these fashion winter boots, but they come equipped with a solid tread for traction and thick block heel for balance. We consider these both the best designer winter boots for women and the best heeled winter boots to cater to the more formal outings.
Aether Apparel x Fracap Dolomite Boots
It’s no secret that Aether Apparel makes some of the most insulated, durable, and stylish winter performance wear. The Woman’s Dolomite Boots are the brand’s first venture into footwear. They collaborated with an iconic Italian shoemaker, Fracap, to create what we consider the perfect short boots. They’re handmade with a durable Vibram sole and 100% vegetable-tanned Italian leather. If red is too bold for your style, these top winter boots are also available in camel, black and white, too.
Hunter Original Insulated Short Boots
Best Slip-on Winter Boots
Hunter has become renowned for its stylish rain boots, so the brand knows a thing or two about all-weather footwear. These insulated snow boots from the brand are meant to keep your feet warm like a fitted sleeping bag. And the Ortholite footbed adapts to support a high arch or flat foot. These boots are entirely waterproof with a hydroguard internal membrane for added protection. They were specifically developed to provide maximum grip on wet surfaces.
Overland Hudson Shearling Lined Suede and Leather Boots
Overland is known for their extremely warm shearling-lined winter footwear, and this pair of tall boots live up to their reputation. They feature a durable lug sole for traction, waterproof suede and leather for the great insulation, and their infamous shearling lining for that cozy hygge warmth we call crave.
Bogs Women’s Snowday Mid Waterproof Insulated Boots
Bogs’ boots are known being easy to slip on and off, and the label’s Snowday boots are no exception to this rule. With these, you can forget about needing to sit down, stuff your foot inside and tie a bunch of laces. You can be in and out of them in seconds.
In addition to being accessible, the style is lightweight, yet ultra-warm, thanks to insulated fleece on the interior. It also includes sweat-wicking technology to keep feet dry and fresh-smelling. For a low-maintenance boot, they provide great rebound and traction and are entirely waterproof. An exceptional detail comes from the adjustable elastic closure at the top of the shaft that prevents snow from trickling in.
Oofos Oomg Boot
Most Supportive Winter Boots
Oofos helps fitness enthusiasts recover from repeatedly working out on hard surfaces. The brand’s recovery technology lies in a biomechanically engineered footbed featuring proprietary OOfoam made to absorb 37% more shock than traditional footwear foam. The result is cloud-like comfort and arch support that takes the pressure off the ankles, knees, hips and lower back. The foam is flexible, lightweight and inside these hefty snow boots. These aren’t for trekking through snow and puddles, but they will keep your feet happy when it’s cold out.
Timberland Jenness Falls Boots
Timberland’s boots are known for having exceptional outer treads, including this stylish pair that is practically slip-proof on any terrain. Once you lace these up (which according to the reviews, might take a minute) your feet will thank you. You’ll get consistent support and stay consistently warm down to the toes. These are waterproof and extremely lightweight. Plus, their classic aesthetic with modern details makes them perfect to wear from day to night and around the city.
Altra Lone Peak All WTHR Mid
Best Boots for Long Hikes
Altra makes performance footwear with specifications you won’t find anywhere else. For starters, the brand is notable for its signature FootShape toe box. This feature enhances comfort and allows more space for your foot to sit naturally, addressing the biological differences in men’s and women’s feet (and making them a great option for anyone with wide feet). The company’s shoes also feature a platform with balanced cushioning that positions your heel and forefoot at an equal distance from the ground for better alignment and low-impact landings.
This particular style is durable with a grippy rubber outsole for exceptional traction and canted lugs to keep you from slipping. These active winter boots are as sturdy as they look, making them a great pair of footwear for winter trail running, hiking and month-long excursions.
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots
Warmest Winter Boots
The Joan of Arctic boots from Sorel live up to their catchy name. They’re the warmest pair of winter boots on this list. If you’re seeking a solid pair of boots to keep you cozy and comfortable for an entire day in the snow, look no further. They’re made with a gusseted tongue to keep your toes protected, since they’re normally the first part of the foot to go cold.
The shaft is 11.5 inches high, offering generous coverage in deep snow. While these are a bit on the heavier side, they offer ultimate protection against the elements, not only thanks to a high shaft but also a waterproof outer, plush interior and grippy rubber sole.
Columbia Ice Maiden II Snow Boots
Best Winter Boots for Icy Conditions
From deep snow to black ice, these boots have conquered it all — just read their over 12,000 near-perfect reviews on Amazon for proof. Offering the support of a sneaker with the coverage of a winter boot, they have a waterproof leather upper with extreme insulating properties, plush-yet-responsive cushioning ,and Omni-Grip traction for slip-free movement. Even reviewers that live in areas with the coldest climates, like Minnesota and Alaska, rave about the Ice Maiden II snow boots from Columbia.
Sperry Maritime Repel Suede Boots
Most Stylish Winter Boots
Sometimes, the most technical boots don’t always agree with your style. Sperry gives us the best of both worlds with these cute winter boots for women. Not only are they fleece-lined for extra warmth, but they’re also seam-sealed to keep feet bone dry. Plus, the rubber outsole is made with the brand’s “razor-cut wave-slipping” technique for ultimate traction on slippery surfaces. Multiple New Yorkers have written great reviews about these boots, claiming their feet never get wet or cold. They’re great for walking miles in cold-weather cities as they offer their arch support, traction and an overall more urban aesthetic.
Cougar Vanetta Waterproof Boots
Cougar’s Venetta boots may just get you excited to tackle harsh weather this winter. Complete with a plush lining, they offer the coziness of your favorite pair of slippers, but are also rugged. Not only are they done in waterproof suede that won’t get ruined in slush, but they’re also temperature rated -11 degrees Fahrenheit. The thick platform sole and dramatic tread make these walkable, durable and, of course, chic.
Ugg Classic Weather Hiker Snow Boot
Ugg makes some of the best boots on the market. Come winter, reach for Ugg’s Classic Hiker. They’re just as comfortable as the brand’s everyday boots and slippers, but also feature a waterproof leather upper, gusseted tongue for extra warmth and grippy rubber sole with far better traction. And, they’re pretty darn cute.
Merrell Tremblant Tall Polar Snow Boots
Best Tall Winter Boots
Moab hikers, who? Also from Merrell, these tall snow boots are so technical and stylish, they almost make us forget about the brand’s claim-to-fame hiker. Not only will the Tremblant waterproof boots pair perfectly with a chic winter coat, but they will also hold up in harsh weather conditions, too.
They’re made with waterproof leather and a faux fur collar for an on-trend look and snow-tackling capabilities. They have 200 grams of added insulation for extra warmth and an outsole tread that can hold up on black ice. Keep in mind, though, that like most durable footwear styles, these might take a few wears to break in.
Mou Stivaletto Eskimo Jogger Boots
Mou Boots are an après-ski fashion favorite, inspired by classic moccasin shoes. The round toe, cushioned footbed and fur lining will make you never want to take them off. Plus, the brand’s new tread delivers a sneaker-like traction to keep your foot balanced and sturdy while walking on icy pavement.
How to Care for Your Winter Boots
It’s also important to take proper care of your hard-earned footwear investment, especially when it’s difficult to avoid salt, snow, and slush that takes a toll on your winter boots. You can erase scuffs with baking soda and banish odor with essentials oils.
Salt stains however, can be especially tricky. You can check out our full guide of how to remove salt stains in winter boots, but know that leather stains come out best with white vinegar and water, while suede boots require a brush. And to protect winter boots from future stains, go ahead and use a repellant that prevents water and dirt from penetrating your shoes.