Tips for Buying Winter and Snow Boots

In this guide:

Buying winter and snow boots is a crucial shopping task when the weather starts to turn. But because winter boots come in all shapes, colours and sizes, you might find the array bewildering.

As a starting point, think about where you’d like to wear your winter boots. If you need them to withstand the rigours of hiking in the snow, sturdy snow boots fit the bill. For casual wear and lighter activities, Chelsea boots could serve you well.

Here you’ll discover everything you need to know about how to choose the right pair of winter and snow boots.

Buying winter and snow boots: four golden rules

  1. Try them on with the socks you want to wear with your new boots, as this can affect the fit. If you try your boots on with thicker socks, but usually wear thinner socks, you might find your boots feel a little too loose.
  2. If you’re trying on winter boots before buying them, arrange this for the afternoon if possible. This is when your feet are likely to be at their largest, as they swell over the course of the day, meaning you’ll be able to get the right size.
  3. Make sure you try on both boots – it’s normal for feet to be slightly different in size, so you want to be sure they’re comfortable on both feet.
  4. Take a walk around the shop (or your living room if trying on at home) to make sure your boots are easy to move around in.

What to look for when buying winter and snow boots

Warmth

We lose most of our body heat through our head, hands and feet – so buying a pair of winter boots that keep your feet warm will help you prevent the winter chill. Traditional linings, such as shearling, are great for keeping your feet warm and cosy. Synthetic substitutes are often used on more fashion-conscious designs to provide lightweight but equally effective insulation. Before buying winter and snow boots, check the materials they’re made from.

Comfort

While going after the latest trends might be your primary focus, you’re best off prioritising comfort and fit. Struggling along in boots you can barely walk in is not a fashionable look anyway. Think about how winter boots are supposed to fit: they should support your ankles and give your toes wiggle room, so they’re not pinched. It’s also worth considering if you want to wear them with thick socks for greater warmth and comfort. If so, buying a size up might be a good idea.

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Waterproofing

Not all winter boots are waterproof. However, there’s a lot you can do to make sure those beautiful shearling boots do the job on slushy, wet days. Leather, especially when treated with a specialist spray, can provide durable protection along with classic good looks which last from season to season. There are also plenty of synthetic alternatives on the market which will fit the bill for a better price.

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Grip

Rubber soles are ideal for keeping out the rain and snow – but check the grip, too. Bumps and crevices provide traction to make sure you can stay on your feet on slippery paths and roads.

Fastening

Different fastenings will affect how your winter boots fit you. Lace-ups will adjust to the shape of your leg if you are serious about walking long distances in all weathers. Many winter boots, though, rely on zippers for getting them on and off quickly and easily. Zip them up and down several times so that you know the zips are smooth, reliable and secure. Pull-on boots are even more convenient to put on and take off. Look out for elasticated panels in the sides – these stretch for ease of access but provide a snug fit once on, and are a must-have for wider calves.

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Best winter boots

Some winter boots have heaps of practical benefits, while others place a greater focus on style. Look out for:

  • Leather or leather-look uppers, which provide a degree of waterproofing while giving the luxurious appearance of dress shoes.
  • Subtle seaming or brogue styling on the toe, which gives boots more character.
  • Dark colours so they’re potentially formal enough for work, too.
  • Moisture-wicking linings, making the most of the latest boot technology.
  • Rubber soles with tread, which make the boots more subtle and less obtrusive.
  • Pull-on Chelsea boots– a classic style that are quick and easy to get on and off, providing a more casual look.
  • Lace-up and desert boots – these can provide a rugged, sporty look.

Buying winter boots for toddlers: top tips

There are a few important aspects to consider when buying winter boots for toddlers, including:

  • Fit. Children’s tender feet are easily damaged, so get them measured regularly and make sure there’s plenty of wriggle room at the toes. It’s a good idea to wear thick socks when trying boots on – if necessary, go up a size to accommodate the extra thickness.
  • Flexible, rubber soles with grip are the best. These features will ensure even the most active of kids don’t fall over too often in slippery conditions.
  • Tiny tots will get frustrated if they’re running around outside in chilly weather and their feet get too cold. Keep their toes toasty with warm linings such as fleece or modern thermal insulation.
  • Ankle boots may let in too much rain or snow for busy little ones who find it hard to stay upright. Mid-calf or below-knee heights are best, and some boots even have a drawstring top to keep out the worst of the winter weather.
  • Easy fastening. Toddlers aren’t known for their patience, so make life easier (for you and them) by choosing an easy opening which will also help to build your child’s dressing skills.

Buying winter boots is a key part of getting your wardrobe ready for the change in seasons. Make sure your new boots are comfortable and practical – as well as complementing your sense of style.

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