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Winter's variable conditions require a boot that can handle extreme cold, snow, ice, and the salt build-up and slush that inevitably cover (most of) the world from November through March. Luckily, today’s men’s winter boots are better than ever, with high-tech features that provide sure grip on the slickest of black ice, keep your toes and feet warm even in extremely low temps, and fend off all the other fouler aspects of Old Man Winter.
When considering the right winter boot, first outline your typical winter-centric travel exploits. Those who hit the slopes will want boots that are warm and waterproof, naturally, but would also appreciate boots that are easy to slip on and off to make both airport security checks and getting in and out of your ski or snowboard boot a lot easier. Those who plan on braving seriously cold temps, meanwhile, should look for winter boots that deliver maximum heat via insulation and tech features that help bounce your body heat into the boot’s interior. Mountaineers already know there’s no substitute for a good cold-weather climbing boot, while those who mostly stick to urban escapes could likely get by with a stylish pair that will shrug off the elements without making your feet feel like they’re trapped in an oven. If your plan includes stomping through deep snow, go for taller boots. Hiking? Consider boots that are waterproof/breathable and those that offer flexibility and weigh less than more bomber models. Fashionistas, meanwhile, can tap into heritage designs (often updated with modern features to keep things comfortable) or lean into faux-fur or fun winter-inspired fabrics for a touch of whimsy or grace.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Danner Mountain 600
Portland, OR-based Danner Boots has been making some of the most reliable footwear since 1932, and all that experience is personified in the Mountain 600. Designed to withstand the rugged climate of the Pacific Northwest, the boot comes with full-grain leather uppers that have endured six different quality-assurance tests before being implemented in the design. Inside, the company's Danner Dry Tech provides 100-percent breathable waterproof protection, so your feet stay dry and comfortable all day. A removable ortholite footbed constructed from three layers of varying-density open-cell polyurethane also delivers max cushioning, support, heat distribution, and air circulation. For the mid and outsole, Danner has partnered with industry-leader Vibram. The former is constructed of a rubberized EVA that’s crazy comfortable and won’t break down as easily as some lesser midsoles. The Fuga Outsole utilizes self-adapting lugs and a specially formulated Megagrip compound that offers legit grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
At only 4.5 inches tall, the boots won’t block out really deep snow, but its overall fit makes it ideal for cold-weather hiking and urban exploration. Matching its performance is its aesthetic which is both timeless (that all-leather upper and traditional silver hiking boot eyelets) and contemporary (that bold white sole). The Mountain 600 comes in sand, gray, walnut, and a special-edition brown model with pops of green and yellow, made in partnership with Portland’s Major League Soccer team, the Timbers.
Best Buy: Columbia Bangor Slip Omni-Heat Boot
Buying the right winter boot should be considered an investment, something that will last you several seasons, and the Bangor Slip Omni-Heat Boot comes with that same assurance — just sans sticker shock. The waterproof boot uses Columbia’s proprietary Omni-Heat Reflective technology, breathable material lined with tiny silver dots that reflect the body heat back into the boot without over-heating your feet. This warmth is further buoyed by 200 grams of insulation to handle temps as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Sealed-seam uppers are made of durable nubuck suede and leather that can handle snow, slush, and rain, while the Techlite midsole is lightweight and provides long-lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return. The outsole, however, may be where the boot really separates itself from the pack. Made in partnership with tire-maker Michelin, Ice Control Technology uses anti-slip rubber combined with a special tread design for solid grip on snow and ice down to -22 degrees. Even though it’s a slip-on boot (making it easy to get on and off) the fit feels very snug without choking off your circulation. Functionally, the Bangor is all business. But its black-and-white liner, which can be folded down and proudly displayed, also adds a welcome touch of style.
For Stylish Warmth: Blundstone Thermal Boot
Blundstones were born in 1870 in the unforgiving environs of Tasmania, and are today a classic piece of footwear with legions of followers, from hipsters to hikers to field workers. Their Thermal Boot takes the company’s traditional slip-on design and upgrades just about everything to make them winter-ready. The rustic leather uppers are 100-percent waterproof, paired with waterproof elastic and latex seams which keep things forever dry. The boot also has thermal Thinsulate insulation which delivers serious warmth, with a removable sheepskin footbed that’s almost too hot to handle, but will keep you warm when you spend hours standing around on the frozen ground. The midsole is cushioned for comfort, with an SPS Max Comfort system for serious shock absorption, while the outsole is made of slip-resistant TPU. Twin pull handles making getting the boot on and off a breeze. And — as many Blundstone loyalists will testify — they’re built to last a lifetime. It comes in a rustic brown with black contrasting soles or in all black.
For Lots of Snow: Bogs Classic High Insulated Work Boots
If your typical winters include frolicking through feet upon feet of fresh snow, the Classic High Insulated Work Boot will keep all that white stuff on the outside. The pull-on ten-inch-tall boot is 100-percent waterproof, made from a mix of durable hard rubber as well as a stretchy upper section to make pulling them off a breeze. Inside, seven millimeters of four-way stretch Neo-Tech comprise the inner bootie providing warmth and comfort down to a frigid -40 degrees, while the non-slip, non-marking, self-cleaning outsole will find solid purchase on snow, slush, and ice thanks in part to the over-aggressive lug pattern. At 5.24 pounds per pair, they’re not the lightest boots on the market, but they might be some of the warmest, which is probably why they also include DuraFresh bio-technology that actively fights unwanted odors. Bonus: for every boot purchased, Bogs donates two percent of the revenue to outdoor education programs.
For the Love of Faux Fur: Helly Hansen Garibaldi 2
Whether you’re haunting the haute confines of Aspen’s rarefied air or just enduring cold walks from bar to tapas restaurant, faux fur is a winter style mainstay — and it’s not simply because it looks warm. Witness the Garibaldi 2, which uses a faux-fur lining to deliver serious insulation. Weather protection in this tall boot comes from its premium-quality full-grain leather uppers, partnered with a water-repellent synthetic textile. A protective band that stretches from the toe to the heel marries with the HellyGrip rubber outsole to provide durability and traction on wet and dry terrain. Both the tongue and collar are padded for comfort, and the EVA footbed can be swapped out for custom models.
For Icy Situations: Icebug Ivalo2 BUGrip Boots
Very few boots can reliably find purchase when trying to navigate a trail or road covered in sheets of black ice, but the Icebug Ivalo2 is one of them, thanks to its BUGrip outsole, which employs 16 dynamic carbide studs that cling to all winter surfaces from snow to ice to wet wood. The uppers are a heady mix of weather-proof materials: treated ripstop nylon, suede, and polyurethane rubber, delivering an aesthetic that almost looks space-aged thanks to its center zip and back pull tab. Fleece lining adds warmth and an EVA midsole is equipped with ESS stabilizers for sure-footed steps.
Really, Icebug is all about that BUGrip. But don’t think the studs mean you’ll sound like a tap dancer when walking around on pavement. They’re slightly embedded into a special rubber compound on the outsole, and they work independently from each other. When weight is applied, the studs push in toward the surface of the sole to provide the best possible traction in whatever terrain you might try to navigate One caveat: don’t wear them inside. Those studs can make quick work of hardwood floors.
For Hikers: Salomon Quest Winter GTX
Dedicated adventure travelers know that outdoor exploits don’t end when winter starts. Rather, you just need the right footwear — and Salomon’s Quest Winter GTX is a one-boot solution for even the most extreme conditions. The mid-height boot is tall enough to ward off the elements without restricting movement, and Gore-Tex breathable waterproofing will keep you dry and your feet forever comfortable. Born from Salomon’s backpacking line of boots, this model comes with additional insulation rated down to -25 degrees, an EVA-injected midsole, and non-marking Winter Contagrip underfoot for solid purchase on snow-covered trails. A heel cap and rubber toe cap will protect your feet from the inevitable stumbles — which might happen due to exhaustion, not because of the boot. The Quest Winter uses Salomon’s Advanced Chassis between the outsole and midsole to maximize motion control and energy transfer, and push to deliver an efficient, stable, and responsive ride.
For Mountaineering: Arc’teryx Acrux AR Boot
With a price tag equivalent to an overseas airplane ticket, the Acrux AR ain’t cheap. But, as any mountaineer will tell you, there’s no substitute for a solid piece of winter-ready footwear. This crampon-compatible boot was designed specifically to suit the needs of climbers and professional mountain guides to provide support and security on mixed routes, ice climbs, and glacial traverses. The double-boot utilizes Arc’teryx award-winning Adaptive Fit tech in the inner bootie, with stretch textiles and minimal seams to create instant comfort with no pressure points. Made of Gore-Tex membranes for climate control, the removable inner layer also comes with perforated PE foam that dries quickly, and a rubberized sole, so you can use them as camp shoes. The polyurethane inner shell of the outer boot is pre-formed to marry perfectly to the outer bootie with a laminated water-tight construction and an additional Gore-Tex gaiter. Everything is compressed in a streamlined package thanks to one central zipper, with a snap closure at the top. The outsole also flexes the company’s love of technology. It was specially developed with Vibram, with a tread and construction that features a semi-blocked toe, anti-slip grooves, a medial climbing support zone, and a heel designed to provide breaking on steep descents.