Snow boots; they sound like something that you might find on the packing list of an arctic explorer. The name alone conjures images of clumpy, heavy, shoes with a tennis racket attached to them but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Despite their name, snow boots aren’t just for wearing during snowy weather. They are designed to keep your feet warm, comfortable, and dry in even the most extreme of British weather conditions. If the idea of icy water seeping through your shoes and soaking your socks makes you go “ugh”, then perhaps a pair of snow boots are just what you need…
How to Choose Snow Boots
As we’ve already mentioned, snow boots aren’t just for Arctic explorers and mountain climbers (if you are either of these then be sure to purchase a pair designed specifically for the task at hand). For the rest of us though, the styles and types of snow boots available on the high street are designed to not only look good, but to protect your feet during inclement weather, too.
If you’re wondering “what snow boots should I buy?” then you’ll be pleased to know that we’re about to cover that right now.
What to Look for in a Pair of Snow Boots
When it comes to which snow boots to buy for yourself, or your family, there are a few considerations to think about before you make your purchase.
First, what do you intend to use your snow boots for? Are you just looking for a pair to keep your feet warm and dry during winter walks? Do you want to keep your kids’ toes toasty whilst they’re playing outside? Are you looking for a pair of snow boots for hiking and climbing and other adventure activities? Once you know what you plan to do in your boots, finding a pair will be so much simpler.
You don’t need a pair of high-end, tech-filled, snow boots if you just wait to avoid cold feet whilst you’re walking your dogs on a winter evening. So, if you just want to keep out the cold and wet, then here’s what to look out for:
Lining and Insulation
Cold feet? Look for winter boots with fur, fleece, or insulated linings to keep your feet warm.
Make sure that your boots are comfortable. When you try them on, try them on wearing the socks you’d normally wear to check for fit. Thicker or thinner socks can make your shoes fit differently and could be the difference between feeling like you’re walking on air, or on hot coals.
When it inevitably rains, or the snow starts to melt, you can bet that your feet will endure most of the soaking. Most snow boots are waterproof, or at least water-resistant, by design (what use are boots for wet weather when they don’t keep out the wet), but it’s always worth checking the labels for waterproof synthetic or textile materials.
Are Snow Boots Better than Wellies?
Whilst there’s something nostalgic about a traditional welly boot, nostalgia won’t keep your toes dry and your feet warm during the winter. The key difference between snow boots and wellington boots is the construction.
Whilst the simple rubber design of a wellington boot is waterproof, it’s not great at retaining heat meaning that the icy temperatures of the ground beneath our feet feel all too close. Even a thick pair of socks (or ten) won’t do much to keep the cold at bay. Snow boots, on the other hand, often have a waterproof outer and a textile lining (opt for a pair with a fleecy lining for the ultimate comfort), which helps to retain the heat that your body produces, and keeps the cold outside, where it belongs.
In addition to this, the rubber soles of wellington boots offer little in the way of grip on icy surfaces. On the other hand, the deep tread and composite materials used to create the sole and outer sole for snow boots means that you’re on the receiving end of greater grip and resilience; perfect for days with you find yourself battling mushy leaves, melting slush, and freezing ground temperatures.
What Kind of Snow Boots Should I Get?
As we mentioned earlier, the kind of snow boots that you invest in will heavily depend on the kind of activities that you plan to take part in.
Snow boots are designed to be worn in the snow, so it comes as no surprise that they also perform well under other winter conditions such as rain, sleet, hail, frost, slush, and sludge. Their deep treads mean that navigating ice is much safer than in a pair of standard winter boots, and the extra padding means that your feet and ankles and more protected should you happen to take a tumble or find yourself splashing through some puddles.
The main considerations when it comes to choosing what kind of snow boots you should buy are:
Insulated or Un-Insulated Snow Boots?
If you know your feet feel the cold quickly, then an insulated pair of snow boots are the warmest option. If you’re planning to use your boots for lots of hiking and walking and know that you get warm quickly, then an uninsulated pair might be the best choice for comfort.
Snow boots with removable liners provide the perfect middle ground as you can add, or remove, the insulated layer depending on what you plan to get up to during the day.
Waterproof or Water-Resistant Snow Boots?
If you’re looking to buy a pair of snow boots, then it’s most likely because you want to keep your feet warm and dry.
One of the questions we get asked most frequently is “are snow boots waterproof?” However, there are different levels of waterproofing. Water-resistant is very different to waterproof. Shoes that are water-resistant are designed to repel light rain and splashes. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry during mildly bad weather, but anything heavier and you’ll still end up with wet feet.
Ankle, Calf, or Knee-Rise Snow Boots?
The rise of your boots is an important consideration, too. Ankle boots tend to be easier to get on and off and are usually more lightweight. However, the low rise means that sloshing water or slush can get up and over the back of the boot and trickle down. Taller snow boots with a calf or ankle-rise offer more protection against the elements, but can restrict movement and can be more tough to get on and off.
Are Snow Boots Good on Ice?
If you suspect that you’ll be facing some icy conditions (and let’s face it, this is the UK) then investing in a pair of snow boots with good traction is a good idea. When walking on ice, you want to make sure that you’re wearing a pair of boots designed for those conditions. So, if you’re looking at snow boots, you’re already on the right path.
Snow boots are, generally, good for walking on ice. They have waterproofing features which mean that any melting ice won’t be able to penetrate through to your socks, and they often have a deep, large, and thick, tread which is required for walking on ice.
Can I Wear Snow Boots to Work?
There’s nothing stopping you wearing a pair of snow boots to work. In fact, if you walk to work then they might be your best option for those cold, wet, winter mornings and evenings. The only thing to consider is whether you want to wear them throughout the day, too.
Snow boots, due to their added insulation and waterproof (or resistant) properties mean that they’ve often got a more rugged appearance than your typical work shoe. This means that they don’t really pair up particularly well with any sort of formal office wear. If your office is more casual, then you may well be comfortable wearing your snow boots with jeans or thick leggings throughout the day.
Our favourite suggestion is to keep a pair of smart shoes at the office that you can change in to once your commute is done. This means that you can enjoy the benefits of your grippy and waterproof shoes during your commute without sacrificing your professional appearance during your working day. Then, at the end of the day, you simply swap your more formal shoes for your snow boots, and make your merry way home. This does mean on the first day you’ll be carry two pairs of shoes to work, but it’s worth it in the long run.
So, Which Snow Boots Should I Buy?
Hopefully you’ve found our guide to what to look for when buying snow boots useful. Remember; comfort, fit, and purpose are all vitally important when choosing a pair of snow boots that will see you through the cold and wet autumn and winter seasons.
Don’t forget that Shoe Zone stock a range of snow boots for men, women, and children at a great price. Shop online or visit us in store and keep those toes toasty.