Stride through the white stuff on your next ski holiday, or just head out to play in these comfy, cosy snow boots
Let it snow! Walking through a freezing cold blizzard (or a winter wonderland, depending on your feelings about snow) isn’t a problem so long as you’ve got a sturdy pair of winter boots to protect your feet. Snow boots come in a variety of designs that all have a few things in common – they’re essentially warm, waterproof and with grippy soles similar to hiking boots. They’re also often lined with cosy fleece or faux-fur, adding an extra level of comfort. They’re ideal for walking on snow and ice, and their toasty linings keep your tootsies from feeling some of the ill effects of the temperature outside.
Well-made snow boots don’t come cheap, however – after all, they have to stand up to the harshest environments – so it’s worth doing your research and making sure you get the best ones possible. There are, of course, bargains to be had out there. Read on to find out the best way to find the perfect snow boots, and which made our list of top picks.
How to choose the right snow boots for you
What features and materials should I look out for?
Any boots designed to tackle snow should have a waterproof – or at least water-resistant – outer layer. The general rule is that boots described as waterproof can usually deal with deep snow and rain, and are suitable for winter hiking and working in the snow. “Snowproof” boots will only repel light snowfall and are better suited to après-ski activities in mountain resorts, or walking around cities in light snow.
Whatever boots you go for, make sure they have tough, chunky soles made of rubber, with deep lugs to give you ensure you have a good grip on ice. High-performing snow boots often feature the same technology found in hiking boots, such as Gore-Tex waterproofing and tough, bouncy Vibram soles.
Will all snow boots keep my feet equally warm?
The other most important element to a good snow boot is warmth. Some boots come with a temperature rating (such as -10°C), which means they’ve been tested and proved to perform at low temperatures. You’ll also want to look for padded insoles and a lining of faux sheepskin, fleece or faux fur, for comfort and extra warmth. Some brands, such as Sorel, make boots which have entire removable booties inside, which you can keep on your feet like slippers when you’re indoors.
How do I get the right fit?
Just like hiking boots, snow boots should feel comfortable and roomy, with plenty of space to move your toes around and no tightness anywhere. The difference is that you don’t need to break in snow boots – they should feel gloriously comfy from the get-go. You’ll want to wear thick socks (ski socks are ideal) inside your snow boots, so take some with you when you’re testing pairs out. If the boots you’re trying out lace-up, check that they feel snug and secure once done up. Soles should feel cushiony and grippy, but not too heavy and clunky. Ideally, there won’t be much room between the opening of the boot and your leg, to avoid snow getting in.
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The best ski boots to buy in 2022
1. Sorel Explorer Joan for women: Best all-rounder snow boots
Price: from £70 | Buy now from Amazon
Sorel’s much-loved snow boots are a safe bet for any winter adventures. Designed in Canada, they’re built to deal with big dumps of snow and are uniformly warm and waterproof. We tested out the new Cozy Joan boot, which aims to feel comfy and lightweight just like your favourite trainers. The soft faux-fur lining is super warm, and the smart suede and leather uppers are fully waterproof (and tougher than they look). A great all-rounder, the Cozy Joan can go from off-piste hiking to après bars without blinking and is breathable enough to wear in autumn and spring, too. You can’t go wrong.
Key specs – Material: Waterproof leather and suede; Lining: Microfleece; Sole: Rubber; Weight: 341g per boot; Sizes available: UK 3 – 6 (some sizes unavailable in some colours)
2. Moon Boot Monaco for women: Most stylish snow boots
Price: from £145 | Buy now from La Redoute
With the Moon Boot signature branding, a statement lace-up fastening and soft faux-fur trim, these lunar-inspired boots are sure to make a big impact on the slopes. Lots of padding and a soft textile lining keep your feet warm and comfortable, while the textured rubber sole nicely grips to slippery surfaces – which is perfect for navigating snowy terrains after après-ski. The smooth, water-resistant shell is made from a synthetic fabric that easily wipes clean and it’s available in a range of colours with a short or knee-high design. For a snug fit, we’d advise buying the next size up because the boots tend to run small.
Key specs – Material: Water-resistant synthetic nylon; Lining: Textile; Sole: Rubber; Sizes available: UK 3.5 – 7
3. Keen Women’s Elena Waterproof Hiker Boots: Best snow boots for après ski
Price: £120 | Buy now from Keen
The Elena boot is one of Keen’s own après ski picks, and we can see why – they’re warm, waterproof and breathable. Fitted with an EVA rubber midsole, they’re quite lightweight as far as winter boots go, yet thanks to a fleece lining and lightweight insulation made from charcoal bamboo, they don’t lose any warmth.
They’re pretty stylish too, and don’t look nearly as bulky as some other winter boots. They come in a range of three colours, though we particularly like them in black/drizzle, for that cool monochrome look.
Key features – Material: Waterproof premium leather; Lining: Fleece; Sole: EVA rubber; Sizes available: UK 2.5 – 8.5
4. LL Bean Duck for men and women: Best waterproof snow boots
Price: from £211 | Buy now from LL Bean
So popular there was a waiting list when they were first sold in Britain, the iconic duck boots from LL Bean are a magical combination of beautiful looks and excellent performance. Designed in 1912 and still hand-made in Maine, the rubber, wellie-style toes of the Bean boot (as it’s affectionately known) will keep you dry whilst leather uppers mould to your feet for serious comfort. Be warned, though, these are seriously smart, luxe boots and are priced accordingly. Sizing can be a bit tricky, too – if you want to wear your boots with thin socks, order a size smaller than your usual.
Key specs: Material: Leather; Lining: Fabric; Sole: Rubber; Sizes available: UK 6 – 11
5. Merrell Polar Coldpack for men: Best for working in the snow
Price: from £160 | Buy now from Merrell
The Polar Coldpack is for when you really mean snow business. These slick boots look like something James Bond would wear with an all-black ensemble in a ski pursuit scene, and they pack in enough technology to impress even Q, including high-quality Vibram soles, a posh nubuck leather lining and seriously warm insulation. The insoles are as supportive as you’d find in high-end hiking boots, and panels on the soles change colour when they detect icy conditions. The Polar Coldpack’s incredible grip and warmth make it perfect for anyone working outdoors in the snow; well worth splashing out on for a winter season in the mountains.
Key specs: Material: Nubuck leather and mesh; Lining: M Select WARM insulation; Sole: Vibram Arctic Grip; Weight: 992g per; Sizes available: UK 9.5, 10.5, 11, 12 shoe
6. Karrimor Snow Casual for men: Best budget snow boots
Price: from £39 | Buy now from Amazon
The Snow Casual is amazingly affordable, yet boasts a list of its good qualities, including durable soles with great traction, a waterproof upper, a soft faux fleece lining and a comfortable, generous fit that’s good for those with wider feet. If you’re searching for a decent snow boot for occasional wear, or to take on a week’s ski holiday there’s no reason to pay more – the Snow Casual is great for cash-strapped seasonnaires or as a warmer alternative to a wellington boot.
Key specs: Material: Weathertite; Lining: Faux fleece; Sole: Rubber; Sizes available: UK 7 – 11
7. Hanwag Aotea for women: Best snow boots for hiking
Price: from £168 | Buy now from Alpine Trek
It may be priced over £150, but Hanwag’s Aotea is a snow boot worth splurging on. It’s carefully crafted with nothing but the best materials, including nubuck leather, a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and Michelin rubber soles – yep, like the tyres. We especially rate the Aoteas because they’re so versatile; thanks to their warm yet very breathable design, they work equally well in deep snow or on long-distance hikes. They feel fantastic to wear, too – tough as nails, yet light and flexible. And they’re ideal if you suffer from bunions, as they include more room for the big toe to sit straight in the boot without getting bunched up. A smart choice in every sense.
Key specs: Material: Nubuck leather; Lining: GORE-TEX® Sierra; Sole: MICHELIN® V-ROUGH PU and rubber; Weight: 980g; Sizes available: UK 4 – 7.5
8. Cole Haan Zerogrand boots for men: Best leather hiking boots
Price: from £95 | Buy now from Amazon
Featuring a classic hiker boot style with silver hardware, wool detailing and quirky coloured laces and rubber soles, you’ll be pleased to have the Cole Haan Zerogrand boots protecting your feet from the elements. They’re comfortable enough to be worn on short and long-distance hikes since the soles are cushioned with an energy-foam footbed that feels lightweight and flexible, and with a water-resistant leather upper there’s no need to worry about unexpected downpours. The Zerogrand boots fit true to size and come equipped with a GrandControl rubber tread that offers a firm grip on most terrains.
Key specs: Material: Leather; Lining: Polyester; Sole: EVA/rubber; Weight: N/A; Sizes available: UK 6 – 12 (some sizes unavailable in some colours)