The 11 Best Women's Winter Boots of 2021

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With the thousands of women’s boot brands available today, there’s no reason style has to go out the window just because there’s snow and ice on the ground. So while you may not want to rock your favorite slip-on flats during a snowy morning commute, there’s a good chance you can find a pair of boots just as appealing—and certainly far more practical—on this list of the best women’s winter boots for 2021. You'll also find plenty of more serious boots for outdoor adventures.

For some people, winter boots need to be capable of trudging through deep snow almost daily, but most city buyers will probably need a boot that’s warm, waterproof, and has a little extra traction in case you hit an icy patch running out for your morning coffee. 

Ready to warm your feet? Check out the best picks for women’s winter boots for winter 2021.

The Rundown
If you only buy one winter boot, make it the Sorel Carnival Explorer.
It’s certainly well suited to winter conditions.
The Abigail has a fleece lining and a flannel upper to help trap warmth, making it much warmer than your average duck boot.
A truly fantastic and classically designed winter boot that ensures your feet stay toasty in sub-freezing temperatures.
Blundstones are a no-brainer when it comes to the perfect mix of insulation, waterproofing, style, and versatility.
It successfully combines the benefits of a winter boot with the height and style of an urban boot.
It has the winter-ready features Columbia is known for in a less clunky boot.
This boot should suffice for almost everything you want to do this winter.
Best for Extreme Cold:
Baffin Escalante at Amazon
It's hard to find a non-professional boot warmer than the Baffin Escalante.
The cute, solid-color rain boot has a faux-fur lining to keep your foot warm.

Best Overall: Sorel Women's Explorer Carnival

Sorel Explorer Carnival
What We Like
  • Stylish and versatile

  • Insulated and waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers reported the sizing being slightly off

To put it plainly, if you only buy one winter boot, make it the Sorel Carnival Explorer. If you are trudging through snow, the waterproof materials and 100g of insulation should keep your feet toasty. If they’re the only boot in your closet, you’ll be happy to know they’re comfortable enough for all-day wear, and they have a pull-on tab in the back so they’re easy to slip on in a hurry. They also come in a tall version if you do need the extra coverage for deep snow.

Weight: 10 ounces each | Insulation: Sherpa Pile™ snow cuff, 6-millimeter removable washable recycled felt inner boot

Best Budget: Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boot

Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boot
What We Like
  • Affordable but winter-ready

  • Comes in multiple colors and widths

  • Insulated and waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Some colors may be pricier

The Ice Maiden is a classic winter boot, and while it may not be the most creative style-wise, it’s certainly well suited to winter conditions. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s usually around less expensive than many other options, comes in wide and regular widths, and is from a reputable outdoor brand. While you can find some shoes with similar insulation and features on online retailers for slightly less, buying from a reputable brand should ultimately be cheaper, as it means you won’t need to replace your boots every year due to questionable materials or construction.

Weight: 16.8 ounces each | Insulation: 200-gram insulation

Best Tall: Kamik Abigail

Kamik Abigail
What We Like
  • Warm and waterproof

  • Stylish design

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Not warm enough for freezing conditions

Tall boots come in everything from knee-high leather boots for urban wear to all-rubber boots made for working in barns. But for winter wear, the Kamik Abigail is a great choice. All-rubber boots get cold very quickly and can make your feet very chilly, even with thick socks. But the Abigail has a fleece lining and a flannel upper to help trap warmth, making it much warmer than your average duck boot. The boots also have a classic New England look that pairs well with jeans and chunky sweaters.

Weight: 1 pound, 3 ounces each | Insulation: Fleece lining, flannel upper

Best Ankle: Kodiak Surrey II

Kodiak Surrey ll
What We Like
  • Waterproof and heavily insulated

  • Classic design

  • Removable memory foam liner

What We Don't Like
  • Leather requires some upkeep

  • Short breaking-in period 

You might not have heard of Kodiak as a brand (unless you spend time outdoors in Ontario), but it makes truly fantastic and classically designed winter boots. Style-wise, the Surrey II boots retain a bit of their original 1910 workwear roots, but with some modern updates, like 200 grams of Thinsulate™ insulation and a moisture-wicking liner to both help with odor management and ensure feet stay toasty in sub-freezing temperatures.

Weight: 1 pound, 5 ounces each | Insulation: 200 grams of Thinsulate™, fleece ankle cuff

Best Ankle: Blundstone Women's Thermal Chelsea Boot

Blundstone women's chelsea
What We Like
  • Waterproof and insulated

  • Easy pull-on design

  • Removable footbed

What We Don't Like
  • Limited colors

  • Pricey

  • Runs a little small

Sure, these boots are suited for wearing to your neighborhood brewery for a weekend get-together, but they've also got the bona fides for wear on your winter ski trip. Blundstones are a no-brainer when it comes to the perfect mix of insulation, waterproofing, style, and versatility—they go with almost everything, which is probably why you'll see them on the feet of every other low-key cool local in mountain towns in the West. The classic Chelsea comes in several variations, but the winter version with insulation and waterproofing is the best bet for wear from December through March.

Weight: 1 pound, 1 ounce each | Insulation: Thermal Thinsulate™

Best Heeled: Sorel Women's Joan Uptown Chelsea Bootie

What We Like
  • Stylish

  • Waterproof

  • Wedge-style heel maximizes traction

What We Don't Like
  • Not made for deep snow or off-road wear

  • Not heavily insulated

Heeled boots don't have to mean losing traction or being unprepared for winter conditions. And the Joan Uptown successfully combines the benefits of a winter boot with the height and style of an urban boot. Though they may look a little impractical, they're actually surprisingly grippy, opting for a wedge-style rather than a separate heel to maximize your contact with icy walkways. Whether you opt for leather or suede, you can count on a waterproof finish and a cushy footbed. The heel is 3.5 inches tall, though the platform bottom accounts for half an inch of height.

Weight: 15 ounces each | Insulation: Light fabric liner

Best for Wide Feet: Columbia Women's Minx Shorty III Boot

What We Like
  • Available in regular and wide

  • Short, more subtle style

  • Very warm and waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly uninspired style

Columbia makes fantastic boots for wide feet (including the Ice Maiden, above), but what should buyers who need a wide size do if they don't want to look like they just finished a winter hike? Enter the Minx Shorty III, a wide boot with a shorter shaft and more minimalist design. It has the winter-ready features Columbia is known for, like 200 grams of insulation and the Omni-Heat™ reflective lining, but it may be a better pick for buyers who need a boot slightly less clunky than the Ice Maiden.

Weight: 11 ounces each | Insulation: 200 grams insulation, faux-fur cuff

Best Leather: L.L. Bean Women's Bean Boots, 10" Shearling-Lined

Bean Boots for Women
What We Like
  • Timeless design

  • Generous craftsmanship guarantee

  • Waterproof with a thick liner and insulation

What We Don't Like
  • Leather may require upkeep

  • “Rustic” look could be a con for urban buyers

Founded in Maine, L.L. Bean is a company practically synonymous with cold New England winters. The brand's signature leather boot is available in a winter version that should suffice for almost everything you want to do this winter. With a totally waterproof construction and a duck-boot rubber foot, they're perfect for splashing through melting snow. The shearling liner and 200 grams of Thinsulate™ insulation make them nearly as cozy as slippers, and they also come in different heights in case you regularly open the door to half a foot of fresh snow on February mornings.

Weight:  1 pound, 12 ounces each | Insulation: Shearling liner, 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation

Best for Extreme Cold: Baffin Escalante

What We Like
  • Timeless design

  • Made for sub-zero, tundra conditions

  • Tall shaft and cuff tightener for deep snow

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly boxy/bulky style

  • No half sizes

It's no surprise that a boot designed and tested in northern Canada scores high points when it comes to low temperatures. Baffin's boots are waterproof, heavily insulated, and made to trap your body heat in your shoe for added warmth. It's hard to find a non-professional boot warmer than the Baffin Escalante, which has a multi-layer insulation system with hollow chambers to store warm air. And to keep your feet dry, the super-soft inner footbed is made with moisture-wicking fabrics. And the drawstring lacing system and cuff closure are ideal for keeping your feet warm when you're in snow up to your knees.


Weight:  11 ounces each | Insulation: Thermaplush™ inner layer, B-Tek™ foam liner, B-Tek™ Heat fiber insulation

Best for Rain: Bogs Crandall II Mid Zip

What We Like
  • Eco-friendly materials

  • Insulated for extreme cold

  • Grippy outsole

What We Don't Like
  • No half sizes

  • Some buyers may prefer a taller boot

Rain boots are usually made of mostly rubber, which is fantastic for keeping your feet dry but doesn't do much to keep them warm. So it's not surprising that the Bogs Crandall II Mid-Zip boot has very high reviewer ratings. The cute, solid-color rain boot has a faux-fur lining and 3MM Neo-Tech waterproof insulation to keep your foot warm in anything above 40 below, plus the comfortable footbed is made with eco-friendly padding sourced from algae blooms. Oh, and the rubber is 40 percent recycled, too.

Weight: 1 pound, 8 ounces each | Insulation: Faux-fur lining, 3MM Neo-Tech waterproof insulation

Most Comfortable: Teva ReEmber Mid

What We Like
  • Slip-on, slipper-style boot

  • Light waterproofing

  • Made with partially recycled materials

What We Don't Like
  • Very “outdoorsy” look

  • Expensive for a casual shoe

The Teva ReEmber may not be typical by modern fashion standards, but among campers, backpackers, hikers, and anyone else who regularly puts their feet through the wringer, they're the gold standard of cold-weather boots. The Teva ReEmber is essentially a down jacket for your feet. The slip-on ankle boots have quilted pockets of insulation, a comfortable footbed, a soft lining, and a rubber outsole that makes them just as usable in the city as around the campfire.

Weight: 12 ounces each | Insulation: Quilted recycled synthetic fill

Final Verdict

Footwear choices are subjective, but if you’re in the market for a trendy, warm, do-it-all boot that’ll make quick work of snow and icy surfaces, the Sorel Explorer Carnival is our top pick (view at Zappos). Sure, you’ll need a different boot for knee-height snow, but for most women, the Explorer Carnival will check most of the boxes.

What to Look for in a Winter Boot

Weather Features

Winter boots vary wildly, and the best winter boot will depend primarily on where you live. If you live at a high elevation or in, say, northern Idaho, you're likely going to need a different pair of boots from someone who lives in the Mid-Atlantic and doesn't contend with snow more than a few inches deep. 

While it's tempting to buy the warmest boot possible, buying a boot with too much insulation could ultimately make your feet colder if you sweat in them. When your sweat cools down, that moisture will make your foot cold. And it's also important to pick a boot with some level of practicality in mind. Tall, lace-up boots can be great for snow, but they're a bit of a pain to take on and off or wear under a table at a cramped city cafe. 

When it comes to pricing, you don't have to spend a lot to get a good boot, as evidenced with brands like Columbia. However, be cautious of buying the cheapest brand you can find, tempting as it may be. If you can afford it, try to buy a high-quality boot that'll last you for multiple seasons. It'll ultimately be easier on your wallet than having to buy a new pair every year.

If you plan on wearing winter boots through most of the winter season, you'll probably want two boots: one for everyday wear and one for more significant snowfall and winter storms. 

Insulation

Keeping your feet warm is a little more complicated than just buying the shoe with the most insulation. One key part of a winter boot is breathability and moisture management. While entirely waterproof boots are great for walking through deep puddles, they tend to be less breathable, which can trap foot sweat in your shoe. That's why many brands opt for semi-waterproof styles: those with waterproof materials around the foot, but water-resistant materials around the ankle to increase airflow. 

Wearing warmer socks can, of course, make your feet warmer, and some winter boots fit a little larger to accommodate thick socks. But wearing a thick sock with a tight boot can actually cut off your circulation, which makes your feet cold. Most of the "outdoorsy" looking boots above, like those from Baffin and Columbia, are made for thick socks, while more style-focused options like the Sorel Carnival and Uptown will probably fit more like a standard shoe. 

Traction

Winter boots are about more than just warmth—they need to have good traction so you don't slip on icy or snowy surfaces. The more points of contact you have with the ground, the better, which is why wedges and chunky shoes are a better bet than stiletto-type heels. And a tread pattern (rather than a solid rubber bottom) is always better. Winter boots usually have deeper tread patterns to grip deep into the snow and push moisture away from under your feet. It's a very similar process as a winter tire, and just like people who live in snowy conditions have to put winter tires on their cars come December, so too should you put winter boots on your feet. 

Care and Comfort 

Most winter boots are going to last you for a few seasons—and possibly a few decades—without too much care, though you may have to replace an eyelet here and there. To extend their lifespan even more, make sure to always bring your boots in the house, especially if they're leather. Leather can crack and stiffen in the cold, which will make your boots a bit brittle and stiff over time. 

Boots may also have a longer breaking-in period than other shoes since they're stiffer and tend to cover more of your foot and ankle. Wear them around the house with thick socks to break them in.

Finally, if you frequently wear your boots in the snow, you may want to invest in an affordable boot warmer. Not only will they keep your boots dry and free of mold and moisture, but they'll ensure your boots are warm when you slip them on in the mornings, even if your mudroom or foyer got a little chilly overnight.

FAQs

How do I know the right size for winter boots?

Winter boots should provide support at your ankles to keep you safe and comfortable in inclement conditions. You also want enough room in the toes that you’ll still have wiggle room after you pile on the thick socks you’re likely to wear under them. For that reason, you might need to get one size up from your normal shoe size.

How can I waterproof winter boots?

Many winter boot options come with waterproofing. But if yours don’t, you can build up a shield by using a spray protectant specially designed for your boots’ particular material.

Which winter boots are warmest?

When the extremities get cold, it chills the whole body. So if you’re looking for the warmest possible winter boots, choose something with a thick sole to keep you removed from the cold ground. Also look for substantial insulation. And make sure your boots keep water out—wet feet are cold feet!

Why Trust TripSavvy?

TripSavvy writers are experts in their subject areas and remain objective in their assessments. Suzie Dundas is a freelance writer and editor who lived in Lake Tahoe, California. She writes primarily about travel, the outdoors, and millennial culture. When she's not working, you can usually find her hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking, or otherwise doing something outside. While writing this review, she relied on personal experience from more than a decade of living in the mountains as well as customer reviews, other expert recommendations, and her knowledge of outdoor gear and technology.

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