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Gentlemen, winter is when we do some of our best work. Long months of shortened daylight and frigid temperatures are your time to shine. Chop wood, pull fish out of frozen lakes, and drive a team of sled dogs through a blizzard to deliver medicine to kids–you know, be legendary. In between your acts of heroism, you might find yourself shoveling the driveway or building snowmen with the kids. No matter what winter throws at you, give your feet the protection they need with a pair of quality snow boots. If the cold is making you numb, water is soaking your socks, or snow is falling into your boots, you won’t be much good to anyone. Luckily, there are plenty of options that provide just what you need.
The thing is, all snow boots are not the same. Staying warm and dry all winter isn’t as easy as picking the best boot and being done with it. As with any piece of gear, the key is matching your equipment to the tasks at hand. The most rugged boots are unbelievably warm, but they’ll also have you walking like the world’s scariest paranormal creature. Lightweight boots are nearly as lightweight as high-top sneakers, but they sacrifice a lot of insulation in the name of comfort. Most of you can probably get by with something in the middle, but if you live someplace where winter is the dominant season, it’s worth investing in different snowboots for different activities.
We found snow boots that even a Viking would be proud to wear in the harshest conditions and a few lighter options for enjoying milder winters as a man about town. We scoured the men’s snow boot market to find options for every use and budget. Read on to learn about the features and materials that make each of these boots worthy of a spot on our gear roundup.
If the Sorel Caribou looks familiar, it’s because this boot has been a cold-weather standard for decades. They do everything a snow boot should do. At this price, they’re also a fantastic bargain. The thick rubber outsole offers excellent traction in snow and lifts your foot off the cold ground to help keep you warm. Sealed seams keep your feet high and dry when conditions turn slushy. The 10.5-inch shaft adds a nice bit of height and is topped with a mixture of wool and synthetic material to keep snow out. A removable liner makes it easy to keep these clean and dry all season long. These winter workhorses are rated for temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
For extended use in unforgiving climates, up the ante with the Kamik Nationplus. This men’s snow boot takes the classic combination of a rubber lower and leather upper and raises the bar with heavy-duty construction built to take a beating. Take a classic snow boot’s already thick outsole, add even more material between you and the ground, make the tread more aggressive, and you’ll get the Nationplus. Insulation is improved to perform in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit with a thinner profile to increase mobility and reduce weight. Rust-proof eyelets add to the longevity of this high-end boot. When it’s time to ditch the snow boot smell, remove the liners for easy cleaning.
If your idea of a snow boot needs to handle mud and slush in addition to snow, the Muck Boot Arctic Ice has you covered. Seam-sealed layers of rubber extend from the 0.75-inch outsole well past your ankle to provide excellent waterproof protection. The chunky tread pattern affords outstanding grip when the going gets messy. A five-millimeter-thick neoprene upper reaches mid-calf and is much more flexible than rubber, but still waterproof. Fleece inside the boot adds comfort and warmth, so you won’t even notice the utilitarian exterior. Underfoot, two millimeters of thermal foam contribute to overall warmth and all-day comfort. For messy job sites and yard work after the leaves fall, this is the boot you want.
If you live in a climate that demands the most hardcore snow boot available, don’t settle for anything less than the Baffin Wolf. Plenty of options share this boot’s rating of -40 degrees Fahrenheit, but we’re confident this boot will make all the difference between surviving and thriving at that temperature. Advanced polymers make the outsole rugged and improve grip on frozen surfaces. Heavy-duty nylon replaces leather in the upper portion to keep weight down. At the cuff, a locking snow collar keeps winter outside, where it belongs. A pair of buckles let you tighten down the shaft of this boot while eliminating the need for laces. These are overkill for most situations, but when you need a boot as extreme as mother nature, look no further.
Think of a Columbia Bugaboot as a cold-weather work boot or tactical boot that you can count on when normal boots tap out. Columbia is known for making high-quality gear for the outdoors, and the Bugaboot meets expectations with a rugged exterior that thrives on hard knocks. Aggressive tread and a rubber lower provide solid footing and waterproofing in wet conditions. The proprietary nylon upper manages to keep water out while remaining breathable for extra comfort. Efficient insulation keeps feet warm and toasty without adding unnecessary bulk. These aren’t your traditional winter boot, so they might not be the best choice for trudging through knee-deep snow. They are sure to please if you wear them to the deer stand or fishing hole, though.
Versatility is the name of the game with the North Face Chilkat IV. This mid-height boot uses a seven-inch upper to keep snow out without going all arctic explorer. Treated leather is waterproof and durable without being stiff, so you can walk comfortably. Proprietary Heatseeker insulation delivers the warmth you expect from The North Face and the DryVent liner allows moisture to escape to keep your feet dry. Moisture is your worst enemy in the cold, so it’s critical to have gear that’s breathable. The one-piece rubber outsole provides excellent grip on cold surfaces. These snow boots are rugged enough for hiking, plus they’re compatible with gaiters and snowshoes. They’re also light enough to be an everyday boot that you can wear around town. The Chilkat does tend to run small, so you might want to size up when ordering––especially if you plan on wearing thick socks.
Staying warm doesn’t have to come at the cost of looking good, and that’s where the Timberland Earthkeeper excels. The all-leather upper is classy enough for a day at the office or a night on the town, but double-stitched seams and regular upkeep can keep out the elements just as well as a winter work boot. The outsole is thin enough to walk comfortably in, and features a proven tread design for ideal traction. The breathable inner lining is built using recycled plastic bottles, so you can feel as good about your purchase as you do in your boots. If you want boots that are as tough and ruggedly handsome as you are, give these a look. They run a little big, so order a size down from what you usually wear.
Types of snow boots
Every snow boot is designed for a specific environment. Traditional snow boots use leather, thick rubber soles, and a fluffy cuff to keep you warm for extended periods in deep snow. Others are more like cold-weather hiking boots that prioritize the mobility and traction you need to stay active when temperatures drop. In warmer climates, look for a snow boot that combines waterproof protection against mud and slush with more insulation than you’d get from a rain boot. Finally, style-forward options will keep you warm and comfortable while still being able to serve as your all-day boot. If you can, we recommend picking up a few pairs so you’re ready for whatever winter throws at you.
Key features of snow boots
One of snow boots’ primary functions is keeping your feet warm. Take a look at how each boot is built. How thick is the insulation? What is it made of? New materials can be much more compact than traditional insulation, so thicker may not always mean better.
Even in warmer climates, wet feet can spell misery and even present a health risk. All good snow boots will offer a layer of protection against rain and slush. Some are essentially cold-weather rain boots, and that might be just what you need.
When you’re dealing with snow, sometimes a little extra height is necessary to keep it from falling into your boots. If you’re staying within city limits for work or running errands, a shorter boot that’s comfortable indoors and outdoors might suit you better. Look for boot shaft heights ranging from just above the ankle to mid-calf.
Snow boot pricing is determined by the features they offer, not necessarily by the quality of their construction. Expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $300. Before you spend top-dollar on a boot built for Arctic exploration, determine what features are most important to you.
Benefits of snow boots
After winter coats, snow boots might be the most important piece of clothing you can have when the snow starts to fall. At the lighter end of the spectrum, snow boots offer a little more insulation and waterproofing than casual or hiking boots. The warmest options are sufficient for arctic expeditions or outdoor jobs in subzero temperatures. When you’re shopping for a pair of snow boots, you’ll want to think about what you want to get out of them and pick something that matches your prioritization of warmth, waterproofing, and style.
Snow boot pricing
Basic snow boots for men start around $60. These might not have frills and innovative features, but they’ve proven their merit for decades so you can buy with confidence. Moving up in price will get you more advanced insulation, better water protection, more fashionable design, or some combination of the three. Men’s snow boots can exceed $200 in price, but you can trust that you’re getting your money’s worth. Luckily, there’s something good at every price in between, so use our recommendations to find exactly what you need.