Published Jun 22, 2022 9:23 AM
Our article on winter work boots is popular with those looking for footwear to keep their feet warm and dry in tough conditions, but those choices are quite function specific.
In this article we wanted to look at a few general-purpose solutions. The right pair of winter boots for men that probably aren’t going to be worn all day, every day, but will offer handy protection from the elements when needed. So in the review that follows, we have put together some advice on how to choose the best winter boots for men for a range of circumstances, and we have used a few of our favorites to showcase the important features.
Things to Consider Before Buying Winter Boots for Men
The range of winter boots for men is vast, but there are a few key factors that will impact choice regardless of style.
You may not need a pair of winter boots for your job, but there could well be times when you want a pair for a stroll along a snow-covered trail, or for shoveling the driveway, or just for getting across town when the weather is bad.
In order to find the best winter boots, it is important to think about what you expect from them. This will allow you to look at different styles and assess how well they meet your needs.
Protecting your feet from cold is probably the single most important factor. Various levels of insulation are available, and it’s usually possible to find a comfort rating (minimum temperature limit).
You should also consider shaft height. If the snow is more than a few inches deep it will go over the top of low boots, and feet will get cold whether insulated or not. Waterproofing is another consideration. Wet feet soon get uncomfortable.
Some winter boots have thick treads with aggressive lugs to cut through snow on a wide variety of surfaces. However, these boots can be large and a bit cumbersome. Others have clever designs that while less aggressive, still provide excellent traction on less challenging terrain.
Why It Made The Cut
The Salomon Men’s Toundra Pro CSWP Snow combines hard-wearing materials with advanced technology to deliver effective protection in the harshest conditions, while still retaining good mobility.
- Material: PU-coated Leather and Rubber
- Size Range: 7 to 14
- Comfort Rating: -40°F
- Tough leather uppers
- Tremendous thermal efficiency
- Waterproof internal bootie
- Occasional stitching faults
- Premium price
Salomon’s Toundra Pro winter boot offers a wealth of features that make it an easy pick as our best winter boot for men. Construction standards and materials are all of the highest quality.
Leather is still the most durable material for boots, but it isn’t waterproof. Salomon overcomes the problem by coating the upper in polyurethane (PU). Then to make absolutely sure water can’t get through, they fit a waterproof bootie inside. A faux-fur-padded collar, and a gusseted tongue seal the boot against the elements. Aerotherm Aerogel, originally developed for NASA, provides super-light insulation for protection down to -40°F without adding unnecessary bulk.
The composite rubber sole uses Salomon’s Contagrip technology. This has different densities in different areas, and provides excellent traction regardless of temperature. It is also very flexible for such a heavy-duty boot, weighing under 2 pounds each.
The Salomon’s Toundra Pro winter boot makes an excellent choice for just about any outdoor activity in cold weather. We have seen occasional reports of stitching faults, but it doesn’t appear to be a regular problem.
Why It Made The Cut
The Canadian-made Kamik Forester Insulated Rubber Boot is the ideal footwear to slip on for tackling those winter chores, and is also very competitively priced.
- Material: Synthetic Rubber and Nylon
- Size Range: 7 to 15
- Comfort Rating: -40°F
- Warm and waterproof
- Excellent value
- Not the lightest
- Large without liner fitted
The Kamik Forester Insulated Rubber Boot is made in Canada. It uses synthetic rubber, which is much more durable than the natural product, and not prone to cracking when it gets hot or cold. It is 100% waterproof.
To keep the feet warm an insulated Thermal Guard liner (made from recycled material) is added. This has a comfort rating of -40°F. It is also moisture-wicking so it draws sweat away if activity results in the feet getting hot. A drawstring nylon collar keeps the cold out.
The liner can be removed. So, in theory, taking out the insulation would then make the Kamik Forester a useful waterproof boot for summer. The challenge is that the liner is 8mm (0.31”) thick, so once removed the boot is a whole size larger.
The sole is also synthetic rubber, and is oil and acid resistant. Deep lugs provide good traction in thick snow and mud. All materials used in the Kamik Forester are recyclable.
Why It Made The Cut
The North Face Men’s Snowfuse Insulated Snow Boot looks good anywhere, and offers warmth, dryness, and comfort. It also combines good foot support with high levels of traction.
- Material: Suede and EVA
- Size Range: 7 to 14
- Comfort Rating: -25°F
- Protective EVA shell
- Recycled polyester insulation
- High traction sole
- Laces can wear quickly
- May run small
The North Face Men’s Snowfuse Insulated Snow Boot uses a hiking style that is popular as casual wear, though despite the appearance this is full-on cold-weather footwear. The upper is suede, which wouldn’t normally be waterproof but North Face have treated it to meet the independent BLC testing standard. The suede is stitched and seam-sealed to an EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) shell that is durable and protective.
Inside the boot, there is 200g of Heatseeker insulation, made from recycled polyurethane fibers. There is also a soft synthetic fleece lining. An EVA foam midsole provides cushioning and impact protection, and there is further foot support from a nylon shank that prevents the boot from twisting lengthwise, while still allowing natural foot flexing.
The sole uses the brand’s own Winter Grip rubber, specifically developed for traction on snow and ice. The mixed tread pattern has cleat-like sections in the toe and heel area to maximize grip where the most force is exerted.
Some have commented that the North Face Men’s Snowfuse Insulated Snow Boot runs a little small. Others have said that the speed lacing hooks rub the laces, and so increase wear, though the fault doesn’t seem common.
How We Made Our Picks
The range of winter boots for men is vast. What we have tried to do in this concise article is identify the times when men would specifically want a pair of winter boots—rather than just making do with their normal footwear—and then focus on typical solutions.
This resulted in us selecting a tough all-rounder that can withstand extreme conditions, a general-purpose work boot you might throw on for working in the yard, and one that looks a lot like casual footwear but actually provides excellent winter performance.
Price is always a major issue, but we always look at long-term durability and overall value, rather than low cost. That said, each of our picks is competitively priced when compared to similar models from rival makers.
Q: What should I look for in winter boots?
What you should look for in winter boots will depend on the conditions you are likely to encounter. Warmth, and comfort are perhaps the two main features. The information above will help you assess your needs more accurately.
Q: How much do winter boots for men cost?
Good winter boots for men cost anywhere from $50 to $200. In our view it is worth investing in quality. Cheap winter boots seldom provide the warmth, dryness, or durability expected and can be false economy.
Q: Do You Need a Waterproof Boot?
You need a waterproof boot if you are going to encounter a lot of water or snow melt, which is why a rubber boot made our top picks. However, breathability can be an issue if you need to wear them for long periods. Most winter boots for men have some degree of water resistance, and for many that will be enough.
Q: Should I wear some special socks with my winter boots?
Whether you should wear special socks with your winter boots is largely a matter of personal preference, though some winter boot makers say it improves insulation. We have an article on the best socks for warmth that you may find interesting.
Q: Does Tread Matter?
Tread matters in wet and slippery conditions, providing traction that will help prevent falls. A tread that will cut through snow, and grip securely on ice, is often a key feature of the best winter boots for men.
Q: Which Boot Height Is Best?
The best boot height will depend on the weather conditions, and the mobility you need. Tall boots offer greater protection especially in snow, but can sometimes be stiffer. Hiking/ankle boots are a good compromise for many people.
The Salomon Men’s Toundra Pro winter boot has warmth, strength, comfort and flexibility so it can be used for just about any task, in all weathers, and on all terrains. However, such an excellent boot does come at a high price.
The Kamik Men’s Forester boot is an affordable option that is handy to have at home, in the trunk of the car, or at the cabin in the woods for all those chores that still need doing regardless of the weather.