It isn’t long after the first flakes start to fall that we’re rummaging through our closets in search of our trusty winter boots. There’s something special about that first walk about the neighborhood when the snow starts to accumulate, and whether you’re aiming to dive headlong into a winter of outdoor adventures, or just make it out with your toes intact, you’re going to need a good pair of winter boots to see yourself through to spring.
To give you a jump start on the season, we’ve kicked the rubber on a lot of soles to find the best winter boots for men. Because winter varies so much around the country — from slush and mud to deep powder — we included a variety of boots from puddle-stomping to hell-freezing over.
Our recommendations aren’t given unearned, either. We’ve saddled up in nearly 20 different pairs of winter boots over the seasons, and have worn them everywhere from elk hunts in the high-alpine of Colorado, to digging out our rigs from Sierra snowmageddons and approaching North Cascade fire lookout towers after the first snowfall. All those miles add up to a pretty good impression of what flies when the mercury plummets.
Throughout it all, we kept tabs on our feet and compared boots based on their warmth, durability, waterproofing, comfort, and style. We’ve tested all the boots we could get our hands on and used them through rain, snow, mud, and sun on countless adventures around the world. And we’ve whittled it down to our favorites here. These are the boots we recommend to family and friends — the boots we get excited to wear all winter long.
At the end of our list, be sure to check out our comprehensive buyer’s guide, as well as our comparison chart. And if you still have some questions about winter footwear, take a look at our list of frequently asked questions.
Editor’s Note: We updated this guide on September 22, 2023 to include our new favorite winter pac boot, the L.L.Bean Leather Snow Boots, as well as expanding our testing regimen, and adding information on boot types, and price.
The Best Winter Boots for Men in 2023-2024
Best Men’s Winter Boot for Rain
Versatile Vibram outsole offers traction on a wide variety of surfaces
Rubberized rand and toe caps improve waterproofing
Not quite stiff enough for use as a workboot or rugged hiker
Best Men’s Winter Pac Boot
4 lbs., 5.2 oz. (pair, men’s size 10)
Removable liner is easy to dry out
Durable leather is pre-softened for out-of-the-box fit
Rubber lowers are supremely waterproof
Softer upper doesn’t provide much support
Not much traction on ice
Men’s Winter Boot Comparison Chart
|Men’s Winter Boot||Price||Weight (per pair)||Waterproof||Upper Material|
|KEEN Revel IV Mid Polar Boot||$180||2 lbs., 4 oz.||Yes||Leather and mesh|
|Kamik Nation Plus||$100||3 lbs., 10 oz.||Yes||Suede with sealed seams|
|Baffin Control Max Heavy-Duty||$260||3 lbs., 7 oz.||Yes||Leather upper with sealed seams|
|Huckberry All-Weather Duckboot (AWD)||$188||3 lbs., 3 oz.||Yes||Leather|
|Allen Edmonds Park City Lace-Up Weatherproof Boot
||$475||3 lbs., 1 oz.||Yes||Leather|
|L.L.Bean Leather Snow Boots||$159||4 lbs., 5.2 oz.||Yes||Tumbled leather|
|Blundstone 566 (Thermal)||$260||2 lbs., 2 oz.||Yes||Leather|
|XTRATUF 6″ Deck Ankle Boot||$115||2 lbs., 11 oz.||Yes||Rubberized neoprene|
|Bogs Bozeman Tall||$160||2 lbs., 9 oz.||Yes||Rubberized synthetic material|
|Crispi Briksdal GTX||$435||3 lbs., 10 oz.||Yes||Nubuck leather|
|Danner Recurve 400G||$250||2 lbs., 14 oz.||Yes||Leather and suede|
|Danner Mountain 600 Insulated||$220||2 lbs., 3 oz.||Yes||Leather and suede|
|Columbia Bugaboot Celsius Plus||$170||3 lbs., 3 oz.||Yes||Leather|
|Stio Colter Boot||$169||2 lbs., 2 oz.||No||Oiled suede|
|Helly Hansen Garibaldi V3||$160||3 lbs.||Yes||Leather|
How We Tested Men’s Winter Boots
Our team includes skiers, hunters, climbers, thru-hikers, and cyclists, and our activity doesn’t stop when winter rolls around. Every year, we field-test dozens of winter-ready boots on the market and compare notes to determine our favorites. We’ve tested boots while trudging through the snow with heavy packs and pursuing elk through frozen mud.
GearJunkie’s Editorial Director Sean McCoy is no stranger to a snow-bound romp in the highlands, and regularly pursues big game in the alpine of Colorado where cold feet are simply not an option. McCoy spearheaded the testing of winter hunting boots for this guide and aimed to balance a test of grizzled durability with the need for undying off-trail traction when testing winter boots.
Staff Writer Austin Beck-Doss has a front-row seat to the brutality of a Wyoming winter from his station in Lander, where his transition from climbing season to snowboarding can be as short as a 48-hour storm cycle. Beck-Doss has been putting boots on the ground for this guide since 2022, and maintains a broad view over the category from slush-city cruisers to insulated après ski lot slippers.
Finally, Senior Editor Nick Belcaster may have a problem understanding the concept of a “shoulder season”, and regularly sets out into the mountains of the North Cascades as the first snows of the season are blowing in. An accomplished backpacker, mountaineer, and splitboarder, Belcaster has also advised and outfitted thousands of mountaineering clients in appropriate cold-weather footwear in his time, and knows that cold toes won’t do when the summit is calling.
When we test a boot for cold weather performance, we pay extra attention to warmth, ice and snow traction, and durability. Our waterproofing testing involves exposure to rain, snow, puddles, mud, and other elements that you’re likely to encounter between October and May. And if the weather fails to materialize, we improvise and bust out the garden hose. All told, we have drowned about 20 pairs of boots through our testing since 2021, and most all come out on the other side shining.
Our recommendations are not fixed in time. As new winter boots hit the market, we’ll be waiting to put them to the test. If they’re exceptional, we’ll be sure to add them to this list.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Winter Boots for Men
Winter boots come in all sorts of shapes and styles. As our list of recommendations demonstrates, the winter boot market contains everything from extreme weather work boots to stylish formal footwear. With so many options, it can feel daunting to sift through the pile and select the perfect pair.
When choosing the best boots for you, it’s important to understand some of the key factors that differentiate one pair from the next. In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we thoroughly explain each of these factors to help you make a confident and informed choice.
This list doesn’t cover every boot out there, but it’s quite comprehensive. We have a separate article if you’re looking for the best winter boots for women.
Types of Winter Boots
As sure as there are at least 50 words for snow, winter too can come in many different forms, from middling skiffs of transient powder to full-blown arctic blizzards that will get down to where Fahrenheit and Celsius meet. Because of this, not every winter boot will be the same, nor should they be.
Some are perfectly suited to setting out on one last hike of fall, while others prefer the brief transit between the door and the mailbox. When looking for a pair of winter boots, begin here by deciding on what exactly you’re angling to get done in your boots, and purchase based on what a boot excels at, not just what it can be pressed into service doing.
Casual Winter Boots
While they won’t be the warmest or the most waterproof, casual winter boots undoubtedly get the job done for cruising around a snowbound downtown or slipping into after a ripper of a day on the ski hill. Boots of this ilk won’t pile on the rubber, and more often use a higher leather or synthetic content to keep things light. Insulation levels will be around the mid-range, and support and comfort will be in high measure when compared to overall ability. These are your all-day snow shovelers (if it’s not too deep).
Insulated Chelsea boots like the Blundstone 566 (Thermal) are perfect examples of winter boots that are capable enough for a plowed sidewalk, but not quite tall enough to brave the drifts. You’d also be hard-pressed to keep us out of our Stio Colter Boots for après activities, and for more wet-weather climates like the Pacific Northwest, the XTRATUF 6″ Deck Ankle Boot are a fisherfolk favorite for when the waters are rising.
Snow Hiking Boots
If the first snowfall of the season ignites some primal fire in you to get out into it, you’ll likely need a bit more than your regular hiking kicks. Winter hiking boots are best thought of bulked-up hikers with additional insulation and traction, but maintain a similar mid-height boot cut to not impede foot control. Traction, too, is important here, with snow and ice-specific rubber outsoles like Vibram’s Arctic Grip being unrivaled in slick situations.
For light-duty use, the Helly Hansen Garibaldi V3 has enough chutzpah to hack it on groomed urban trails, but if real trekking is what you’ve got in mind, the rugged 5 mm outsole and added toe room for insulation of the KEEN Revel IV Mid Polar Boot has our hearts.
Born out of necessity, duck boots trace their lineage back to an old Mainer by the familiar name of Leon Leonwood Bean, who grew weary of his leather hiking boots slowly becoming soaked on his forays into the depths of the Northeast. Working with a cobbler, Bean glommed the lower portion of a rubber rain boot onto the leather upper of hunting boots, and created one helluva winter tromping boot. Duck boots today are still identified by this hybrid construction, which makes them perfect footwear for getting chores around the cabin done.
If you’re a sucker for the real deal, the L.L.Bean Leather Snow Boots draw a direct line from the OGs, and are dang tough to boot. And if you want all that classic styling, but refuse to compromise on things like comfort and support, the Huckberry All-Weather Duckboot (AWD) is the idea taken to its natural (and cozy) conclusion. These duck boots won’t be the best for big days, but for kicking around they make the grade.
With roots in the military, pac boots were originally rubber-soled overboots that soldiers would place over their boots to add additional warmth and waterproofing. Today, the term pac boot has evolved to mean pretty much any boot that sports a removable liner. It can be said that many pac boots also exhibit the characteristics of duck boots, but the liner is the key difference, and one that makes these boots far more versatile for multi-day use. Sizing is typically fairly generous to accommodate large socks, and as such, overall control is a bit limited.
Our top pick for a pac boot was the L.L.Bean Leather Snow Boots, which incorporate a felt liner that was easy to pull in and out of the boot and dry over our wood stove. The budget-minded Kamik Nation Plus boots will only cost you $100 and also perform the same feat, and for a high-end no-compromises boot, the Baffin Control Max Heavy-Duty loads up on tech to keep your feet warm.
Winter Hunting Boots
The chase doesn’t have to end when the weather turns for the worst, and in fact, many hunters enjoy the challenge of tracking quarry through the snow. Hunting boots for winter don’t make any concessions in the traction department, and anticipate muddy, rocky, and slick conditions. These boots require a good bit of added insulation to ensure your feet don’t go numb sitting in a tree stand for hours on end. Look for at least 300-gram insulation in any winter hunting boot, with some going all the way to 1,600 grams.
The stiff soles on the Crispi Briksdal GTX Boots won’t wilt under the full weight of packing out an elk on your back, and our Editorial Director has the notched tag to prove it. For more fleet-footed hunts like chasing pheasants, the Danner Recurve 400G is a slightly more forgiving and nimble boot that still packs in 400-gram insulation.
Winter Work Boots
Nobody said that mucking out a barn in -15 was going to be easy, but somebody has got to do it. Winter work boots don’t often have the luxury of a clean slate of untouched snow to traipse across, and if icy mud is more your office, then a good pair of winter work boots is in order. Waterproofing in these boots is an absolute, and rubber and neoprene constructions reign here. High-cut boots are also a necessity, with calf-highs not being uncommon.
The Bogs Bozeman Tall Boots are easily the most work-ready winter boots out of our tested bunch, with a 14.5″ collar and 7 mm thick neoprene insulation that kept us warm while splitting wood this previous winter. And for serious work, Bogs even makes a line of insulated boots that incorporate a steel toe.
Any winter footwear worth its weight will offer plentiful warmth. Many winter boots come with a specific temperature rating. While these ratings can be helpful guidelines, the actual feel of a pair of boots will always be a better indicator of warmth than a manufacturer’s rating.
Often, boots claim to have very impressive temperature ratings well below zero. Because there is no standardized test for boot temperature ratings, always take these numbers with a grain of salt. The warmth of a boot comes from various factors, including sock thickness, activity level, personal cold tolerance, and much more.
A winter boot rated to -10 degrees F will likely feel warmer than a boot rated to zero made by the same manufacturer. Using temperature ratings to compare boots from different manufacturers is a less reliable practice. We certainly recommend trying boots on to get a real impression of their warmth and comfort.
Winter boots utilize a variety of different insulation types to achieve the desired combination of warmth and comfort. The most common types of insulation are synthetic, felt, and sheepskin.
Most modern winter boots are equipped with synthetic insulation. Between the outer shell and the inner lining of the boot, synthetic materials provide lightweight and durable warmth. Perhaps the most important benefit of synthetic material is that it can insulate even when wet.
Popular name-brand synthetic insulation options include Thinsulate and PrimaLoft, though many other quality options are available. No matter the name brand, the total weight of synthetic insulation will always be a better indicator of warmth than the name brand.
Many manufacturers include the insulation weight in their boot specifications. Lightweight to midweight boots will usually have a fill rating of 200-400 g. If you are seeking heavy-duty boots for extreme cold, look for a fill rating of at least 300 g.
Felt and Sheepskin
Felt and sheepskin are materials that have long been used to insulate winter footwear. While synthetic insulation is by far the current norm, some manufacturers opt for classic and traditional materials.
The downside of felt and sheepskin insulation is they tend to be heavy and bulky. Still, these materials can be warm and comfortable. Usually, felt and sheepskin is utilized in a boot’s lining where they can be in direct contact with the foot. While these materials provide warmth even when wet, they may become extra heavy when saturated and require lots of time to dry.
As you might expect, heavier boots are usually built for the worst conditions, while lightweight winter boots are better for moderate temperatures and less demanding uses. As the thickness of the outsoles and the fill rating of insulation increases, the overall weight goes up. Lightweight winter boots are great for active use, but they often sacrifice some stability, grip, and warmth.
Almost all winter boots are ankle-high or higher. Boot height is a major factor that determines the intended function of the boot.
On the low end of the boot height spectrum are lightweight hiking-style boots such as the Danner Mountain 600 Insulated. Lower-cut boots typically measure around 7 inches from the footbed to the top of the boot. Lower-cut boots are ideal for hiking, as they tend to be relatively light and flexible.
The downside of lower-cut boots is they allow snow to seep in, especially when post-holing through a deep snowpack. If you find yourself in bottomless snow with a pair of ankle-high boots, a pair of gaiters may offer a simple solution.
If you plan to use your boots in regions with lots of snow accumulation, you’ll probably want to pick boots at least 8 inches tall. Work boots and boots for extreme weather are designed to sit higher on the leg, keeping the elements out and the warmth in. On this list, the Baffin Control Max is a high-cut and extremely warm boot ideal for the coldest, snowiest conditions.
Nothing beats a reliable pair of boots that keep your feet warm and dry no matter how bad the weather gets. Waterproofing is the difference between blissful comfort and soggy misery.
Waterproofing is ultimately a product of the materials incorporated into a boot’s design. Features such as rubber outer layers and an exterior water-resistant treatment are standards of the most waterproof boots.
All of the boots we’ve selected are designed to keep water out as much as possible. Some of the more robust included models feature a two-piece system that includes an outer waterproof barrier and an inner removable liner. On this list, the Kamik Nation Plus is a great and affordable two-piece boot that successfully keeps moisture out.
One-piece boots typically feature a waterproof membrane sandwiched in between the outer material and the lining. While one-piece boots usually don’t have the failproof waterproofing of many two-piece styles, they tend to be lighter and more flexible.
On this list, the KEEN Revel IV is a burly one-piece boot that refuses to let the weather in. Plus, it comes in two different heights.
The downside of built-in insulation and waterproof membranes is decreased breathability. While boots that trap heat are certainly desirable, overheating can be a real concern, even in extremely cold weather. For this reason, a reasonable degree of breathability is an asset in winter boots.
Generally, lightweight hiking-style winter boots are more breathable than gravy-duty work boots or two-piece models that thrive in extreme cold. While hiking or performing other strenuous activities, breathability can help to prevent sweating and blisters.
Ultimately, breathability is a trade-off. Winter boots simply cannot be completely waterproof and extreme weather-ready and fully breathable at the same time.
If you’re simply looking for top-notch warmth or waterproofing, breathability doesn’t need to be a major consideration when selecting boots. If you plan to wear your boots for active use in a wide range of conditions, be sure to select a breathable pair.
A winter boot’s exterior material will significantly affect its waterproofing, breathability, and weight. Rubber and leather are the most common outer materials.
The waterproof qualities of rubber boots are unbeatable. For decades, brands such as Muck Boot and XTRATUF have been well-regarded for their nearly impenetrable rubber boots. In constantly wet and rainy regions such as the Pacific Northwest, rubber boots are a rightfully popular choice.
The downside of rubber as an outer material is its lack of breathability. In the same way that rubber boots successfully keep moisture out, they also keep moisture in. For long hikes and active use, rubber is not the ideal outer material.
Leather boots have been a popular winter footwear choice for hundreds of years. While leather does not provide the impenetrable qualities of rubber, it is a supple, durable, and relatively water-resistant material.
Compared to rubber boots, leather models tend to breathe slightly better. If you plan to wear your boots in a wide range of weather conditions, leather boots are an excellent and versatile choice.
Outsoles and Grip
The outsole is the part of a boot that makes direct contact with the ground underneath. Good grip is essential to a winter boot’s value and performance.
True winter boots come with outsoles designed to provide reliable grip in cold and snowy conditions. To account for subfreezing temps, many winter boot outsoles feature soft rubber compounds that don’t overly harden in the cold. Additionally, thoughtfully designed tread patterns can prevent snow and mud from building up.
Outsole compounds and tread patterns vary wildly across the winter boot market. Generally, models geared toward hiking will have a deep tread and superior grip. Work boots typically come with heavy, bulky outsoles that prioritize durability above grip.
In severe conditions, you may want more winter traction than your boots can offer on their own. No matter how deep and sticky your tread is, chances are it won’t help on solid sheets of ice.
Traction devices such as Yaktrax and MICROspikes can be fixed onto the bottom of winter boots for improved grip on ice and hardpack. These devices have metal components designed to dig into ice and improve traction — just like tire chains on a car.
Fit and Sizing
Properly sizing winter boots can be a tricky process. Unlike with most footwear, you’ll likely wear extra thick socks with your winter boots, and it’s important to consider this when picking a size.
Ideally, your winter boots will be comfortable and free of major air pockets and hot spots. Of course, the best fit for you depends on the type of activity you’re using the boots for.
If you’ll be hiking or working on your feet, we recommend a snug fit for maximum performance. If you plan to use your boots for hanging out casually or simply wearing them about town, a looser, comfort-first fit is the way to go.
As always, there’s no substitute for trying on shoes, and we highly recommend you do so if possible.
Winter boots typically start out at a bottom dollar of $100, and for the budget price, there’ll be some concessions made to hit the price point. This is the realm of casual winter boots, which typically are less insulated, and likely to use suede leather or synthetics in their uppers. The outsoles will also often be molded together with the boot lowers, which is a cheaper manufacturing process but not as durable. For the money, the Kamik Nation Plus was a boot that absolutely punched above it’s weight class.
Mid-range boots will often run between $150 and $300, and this is where most winter hiking and snow boots reside. These boots will often spring for a more top or full-grained leather, and may incorporate a proprietary waterproof lining into the build. Vibram soles also make an appearance here, which can greatly enhance the traction on hard-packed snow or ice. The Baffin Control Max Heavy-Duty and KEEN Revel IV Mid Polar Boot are two mid-range boots that give a lot for a moderate amount of money.
Anything north of $400 means you’re paying for either luxury or extreme durability, with both the Allen Edmonds Park City Lace-Up and Crispi Briksdal GTX being prime examples. For the high dollar, boots like these utilize name-brand technologies that lead the market in terms of warmth, traction, and durability, such as Italian Nubuck leather, Vibram outsoles, GORE-TEX liners, and the higher-end PrimaLoft insulations. All of these materials cost more to produce, and as such command a higher dollar amount.
What makes a boot winter-worthy is weather protection. Insulation and waterproofness keep the feet warm and dry. So consider waterproofness a requirement, not a nice-to-have.
Ask yourself if you’ll frequently be in rainy, or wet conditions or if slushy snow is a common occurrence. If so, prioritize waterproofness. Just be aware that it often comes at the cost of breathability and excessive heat retention.
These days, shoe sole technology is a science all its own and can truly make or break the shoe. If you find yourself walking and hiking in icy conditions, pay special attention to the tread grip and look for one designed for ice.
Vibram makes an arctic-grip lug that has a tackiness on slick, icy surfaces. It’s not as grippy as microspikes, but it adds extra confidence when walking on ice.
Many boots have replaced the liner with insulation directly in the boot. The benefit of the liner is you can remove it and set it out to dry between uses. The downside is that liners can sometimes cause extra movement and friction, which can lead to blisters and discomfort.
The main considerations with height are ankle articulation, keeping snow out, and comfort. If you regularly get out in deep snow and want a lot of support, choose a taller boot.
Be aware that taller boots can have different diameters. If you have larger calf muscles, you may need to try a few pairs on to see if they fit your legs.
We tested the best winter boots for women in 2023, including winter hiking boots, snow boots, extra-warm boots, and winter rain boots.
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