Winter means different things to different people, often depending on where they live. For many men, it means facing weather that packs a not-so-subtle punch.
It also means that it’s time to pull out winter boots that help make the daily grind more palatable when the weather turns frightful.
Not just any boots, mind you, but the best winter boots for men, including the Blundstone Thermal Series .
There’s a wide range of winter boot styles, which we’ll cover here, as well as ways to wear them.
We’ll start with a look at winter boot buying tips.
Table of Contents
Before you buy: 8 Things to consider when purchasing winter boots
What you require from a winter boot may be different from the requirements of another man. Several factors come into play, and it never hurts to have a game plan before you decide on the right boots for you. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:
A good fit equals good footwear, especially when it comes to comfort. A comfortable boot offers sufficient arch and foot support while enabling you to maintain a proper walking posture. There should be enough room in the toe box to wiggle your toes with restriction.
A looser-fitting boot may provide better warmth and comfort – in some cases – but won’t be as comfortable for walking long distances. Also, size your boots according to the thickness and type of socks you wear.
In general, try on boots in your shoe size and work your way up or down from there.
Winter boots are heavier than the shoes you wear in almost every case. But weight varies from one boot to another and can affect overall comfort. A little extra weight may not matter if you wear your boots sparingly, but can take its toll if you spend most of your day in boots.
Carefully consider a boot’s material before you buy it. A boot with a high-quality leather upper will serve you well. Tanned leather is thicker and generally needs less waterproofing.
Winter often creates slippery surfaces and your boot’s tread and traction must keep you upright when conditions become slick or ice-covered. Tread technology is ever-evolving and materials made from Thermo Plastic Rubber (TPR) are softer than other materials and provide excellent grip.
Another important factor to consider is the boot’s height. A taller boot provides warmth for a greater portion of the leg and keeps it warm when trekking through deeper snow.
Also, consider boots that have an adjustable collar you can pull tight around your leg. It will help keep snow from entering your boot’s interior.
Nothing ruins a walk in winter quite like cold or wet feet. Your boots must have insulating material that traps heat within the boot. But it should be breathable enough to prevent your feet from sweating.
Among the most common insulation materials is synthetic fiber, which consists of plasticized fibers integrated into the boot lining. Most boots with synthetic fiber linings include information about the amount of insulation used; in particular, the denseness of the material.
Many boots feature removable liners that you can take out and let dry between uses. The disadvantage of removable liners is that they may move and cause friction as you walk.
A boot with full lacing, i.e., the lacing covers the full height of the boot, provides a tighter fit than pull-on styles or those with zipper closures.
8. Intended use
Last, but not least, you should choose boots that fit your needs. A boot that you use for snow shoveling is different from one that you wear every day. Similarly, a winter hiking boot is different from a winter work boot.
The 11 best winter boots for men 2020
- Good for everyday wear
The best winter boots for:
Men who want an everyday shoe or boot that can handle winter’s extremes
Blundstone has nearly 150 years’ worth of experience in designing sturdy, unique boots. They’ve continued to innovate and break new ground along the way, and their Thermal Series takes casual winter boots to a stylish level.
Blundstone’s Thermal Series boots are suitable for everyday work and casual wear, and have the added benefit of keeping your feet protected from winter’s elements. It also hard to beat their versatility; they allow you to transition from casual office wear to a night on the town.
And, if you walk to work or spend time on hiking trails occasionally, these boots are up to the task.
The thermal Blundstone boot features Thinsulate insulation and a removable sheepskin-lined insole. The exterior consists of 100% Australian leather produced at Blundstone’s tanneries. Additionally, the thermal version is waterproof.
Comfort comes from a lightweight design that never feels too bulky or uncomfortable, even when you spend a lot of time on your feet.
- The synthetic sole provides plenty of traction and grip on uneven or slippery surfaces.
- Blundstone’s boots have an excellent reputation for durability
- The removable insole makes it easy to adapt to changing weather conditions.
- The sizing may run large.
Blundstone knows a thing or two (or three) about making boots and their Thermal Series is excellent for men who want a casual-yet-warm type of footwear.
- Excellent cushioning
- Lightweight design
- Omni-Heat technology
The best winter boots for:
Any man looking for boots with superior warmth
Columbia goes the extra step in ensuring that its Bugaboot Plus boots will keep your feet warm.
Among the Bugaboot’s many excellent features is Columbia’s Omni-Heat technology. The latter represents a reflective lining that radiates the wearer’s body heat back to their feet to help keep them nice and toasty.
Combined with Columbia’s already-sufficient synthetic insulation, the Bugaboot is a boot you can rely on when temperatures take a nosedive.
The Bugaboot is waterproof and lightweight enough to keep your feet comfortable and fatigue-free even if you spend long periods on your feet.
You’ll also appreciate the Bugaboot’s slip-resistant rubber outsole that adapts well to whatever type of terrain you choose.
- The insulation of these boots is second-to-none and will keep your feet warm in the coldest weather.
- They’re lightweight enough to keep your feet comfortable whether you’re walking around town or on a woodland terrain.
- The 7-inch rise of the arch helps to ensure that your feet won’t get wet if you step into a stream or puddle.
- Too warm for non-winter use.
It’s hard to beat the Bugaboot’s combination of breathability, water-resistance, and traction.
- Thick outsole
- Moc toe design
- Excellent work boot
The best winter boots for:
Men who want a versatile work boot
The Red Wing brand dates to the turn-of-the-century – the turn of the 20th century, that is. The U.S. company knows a thing or two about making quality footwear, and their Heritage Moc Boot is a classic.
The latter consists of tough, durable leather that can handle everything you throw at it, from hard outdoor work to casual weekends on the town. It’s also water and stain-resistant.
Another key feature is its rugged, thick outsole that includes a “Traction Tred” cushion crepe wedge that provides all of the grip and stability you need.
The moc toe design is a Red Wing classic and represents an iconic look. And its Norwegian welt construction provides further strength and stability.
- It’s hard to beat the durability of these boots.
- The leather construction is waterproof and resists stains.
- It features triple-stitching and Goodyear welt construction.
- Takes some time to break in.
It’s hard to beat Red Wing footwear for overall quality and rugged construction. The Classic Moc Toe boot is excellent for the winter, but also all seasons.
- Removable thermal lining
- Excellent traction
The best winter boots for:
Men who participate in active winter sports
The first version of the Sorel Caribou entered the market in 1962 and to say it’s still going strong is an understatement.
The Caribou is, for starters, a winter snow boot and not just a boot made for winter. It can handle deep snow while keeping feet warm and dry in extreme conditions. And it’s ideal for winter activities such as snowmobiling and sledding, or even hunting and fishing.
Superior warmth comes from a removable ThermoPlus inner lining that’s rated effective for -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The liner is thick, insulated, and fits comfortably around the foot.
We also love the Caribou’s rubber sole, which features lugs to provide slip-free traction, but that also wicks away water and slush to make your path less treacherous.
The Caribou’s leather and synthetic upper provides rugged protection, is waterproof, and has a lace-up metal shaft. All in all, it’s a comfortable boot that you might not wear for a long hike, but more than suitable for most winter outdoor activities.
- It’s an excellent boot for activities that demand maximum protection from the elements.
- The ThermoPlus inner lining keeps your feet warm as temperatures plummet.
- It features seam-sealed waterproof construction that prevents moisture from entering the boot.
- Sizing runs large
The Sorel Caribou remains a favorite winter snow boot some 57 years after its introduction. It’s warm, rugged, and built to take whatever winter dishes out.
- Classic styling
- Good traction
The best winter boots for:
Anyone who prefers a trendy style combined with winter protection
Timberland’s boots are iconic in men’s footwear or a lot of reasons, including that well-known rappers started wearing them with frequency during the 1990s.
While they remain a style trend, they also serve a variety of functions. In the case of the men’s Timberland 6-inch Premium Waterproof Boots, a key function is helping men get through winter.
It’s also a boot that Timberland started producing when it first opened its doors more than 30 years ago. It’s served millions of men since then as a boot that looks good and helps make the colder winter months more bearable.
With its youthful look it’s among the best boots for college students, and durable enough to last more than a handful of semesters. They’re rugged, dependable, and designed to keep your feet dry, comfortable, and warm in every type of weather.
They’re also very supportive and comfortable. The boots include padding at the top of their collar to help get the best fit and support. You’ll also appreciate the boots’ traction on slippery or uneven surfaces.
Timberland pairs well with jeans and slim pants while creating an instantly recognizable look.
- They consist of waterproof leather that keeps your feet dry.
- Made by a company that specializes in outdoor wear and is known for its craftsmanship.
- They combine performance and style.
- A bit heavier than some other winter boots.
Timberland makes boots that serve their purpose and look good in the process. Their Premium Waterproof Boot will get you through the winter but also serve you well during other seasons.
- Comfortable insole
- Excellent traction
The best winter boots for:
Men looking for the most comfortable winter boots without sacrificing style
The Skechers brand is reputable for a lot of reasons and often associated with trainers and other athletic-style shoes. They also have an excellent line of casual and dress shoes, including their Melego leather chukka boot.
The Melego goes well with both casual and dressier wear and has the added benefit of being an excellent boot for winter. It’s waterproof, for one, and has a rubber outsole that provides plenty of traction on slippery terrain. For another, it has a comfortable fabric lining that’s warm but not too warm, and that helps lessen foot fatigue.
Other features help place the Melego among the best winter walking shoes, including a gel-infused memory foam insole that absorbs the shock of every stride. It also features Skechers’ Relaxed Fit design that makes it roomy and comfortable, as well as perforations in its upper for better breathability.
- A padded collar and tongue, along with gel-infused memory foam, create a very comfortable fit.
- The slip-resistant rubber sole provides the traction you need in slippery conditions.
- It looks good and pairs well with a variety of clothing.
- May run a little narrow.
You’ll love the feel of Skechers’ Melego Chukka boot but also how it handles the elements – including winter’s elements. It’s one of the best chukka boots available today.
The best winter boots for:
Men looking for the best waterproof boots
Anyone who lives in a climate that features challenging winters understands the need for a top-quality winter boot. By “challenging,” we mean lots of snow, and temperatures that take a nose dive frequently.
If that describes where you live, you need a boot such as Keen’s Summit County Waterproof Winter Boot. The Summit County boot is warm, waterproof, and designed to handle winter’s extremes.
For starters, it consists of 100% leather that’s comfortable and breathable. The toe area features extra insulation – which is a nice feature considering that the toes are often the first part of the foot to get cold.
The leather upper also features insulation which helps to make this boot warm enough to handle those days when temperatures won’t rise above single digits.
But one of these boots’ best features is its rugged rubber outsole, which hardens during cold weather to provide an even better grip on packed snow.
- Not only are these boots waterproof, but also among the warmest boots around.
- Their synthetic insulation keeps your feet cozy even if a bit of snow slips inside the boot.
- They’re also very lightweight and excellent for taking long walks during winter days.
- They may run a bit wide for your foot. Check sizing carefully.
Keen’s Summit County boot offers everything you need to get through a long winter: warmth, overall comfort, and excellent traction in snowy conditions.
- Stylish design
The best winter boot for:
Men seeking the best stylish winter boots
It’s not hard to find stylish winter boots for men. It’s more challenging to find stylish winter boots of high quality, however.
Cole Haan has just such a product in its Cole Haan Wagner Grand Chelsea Boot. While it’s not a traditional snow boot – and isn’t intended to be – it’s waterproof and suitable to wear during seasons when the weather turns a bit volatile.
The Wagner Grand Chelsea features nubuck leather construction, a design that’s suitable for office and casual wear, and a leather-covered mold footbed that’s very comfortable. Its design includes elastic side panels and grosgrain pull tabs that make it easy to take on and off.
It also features Cole Haan’s Grand.360 construction. The latter represents an overall design approach that affects the construction of the shoe’s upper, as well as an outsole that ensures comfort and flexibility.
The full rubber outsole features Cole Haan’s GrandControl for superior traction on slippery surfaces.
- The stylish design makes it an excellent urban and casual wear boot.
- The boot’s outer layers provide a barrier against rain and snow.
- It has the kind of traction that gives you confidence on any terrain.
- Not many, but you shouldn’t use it as a true snow boot.
If you’re looking for stylish winter boots that keep your feet dry and comfortable, then check out Cole Haan’s Wagner Grand Chelsea Boot.
- Soft lining
- Suitable for work or leisure
- Excellent traction
The best winter boots for:
Men looking for a boot that’s good for most seasons
The Original Muck Boot Company focuses first on functionality, not style. Not that its Arctic Sport Rubber High-Performance Winter Boot is unattractive, but it’s first and foremost a boot that allows you to handle a variety of tasks and activities with ease – and warmth.
Plus, it has a lot of features that help separate it from other boots of lesser quality, including:
- Insulation that keeps your feet warm in even the coldest of temperatures.
- A sealed rubber shell that extends above the ankle and provides added protection against moisture.
- A rubber outsole with molded lugs that offers excellent traction on slippery and uneven terrain.
- Support and comfort whether you’re shoveling your driveway or heading out to run a winter errand.
- The Arctic Sport is lightweight and features a reinforced toe for additional protection.
- The midsole adjusts to your foot shape to help prevent blisters and rubbing.
If nothing else, you have the confidence of knowing that the Original Muck Boot tests all of its products in every element to ensure that they’re versatile enough for use in a variety of conditions, winter or otherwise.
- The Arctic Sport is tested to keep your feet warm for up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The molded outsole is durable and offers excellent traction no matter the terrain.
- It features a fleece lining that’s soft, durable, and very warm.
- Lining can get hot and isn’t removable
The Original Muck Boot Company has you covered if you need a boot that gets you through the “muck,” but also is versatile enough for work and leisure activities.
- Good for work and casual wear
The best winter boots for:
Men who want an oxford that’s good for all seasons.
Rockport’s Northfield Oxford offers a high-performance style that’s excellent for office wear but also built to take on a variety of weather conditions, including winter.
The Northfield Oxford features Rockport’s Hydroshield waterproof protection that repels water through a combination of seam-sealing waterproof materials and a waterproof insole. Your feet will stay dry and comfortable when inclement weather occurs.
It’s also comfortable for anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, whether it’s standing or walking, thanks to Rockport’s stability control. The biomechanically designed outsoles support the wearer’s natural walking motion.
The shoe’s upper consists of 100% imported leather, and features a lace-up oxford design with a plain toe and padded collar. Meanwhile, the rubber lug outsole offers plenty of traction on slick surfaces.
- Kinetic Air Circulation Technology helps make the shoe very breathable.
- There are extended size and width offerings that make it easier to find the right fit.
- They’re excellent for everyday use and pair well with many types of clothing.
- Some wearers say the soles could be more durable.
Rockport’s Northfield Oxford combines fashion and function in a shoe that’s stylish yet tough enough to handle winter’s weather extremes.
- Easy slip-on design
- Built to handle the coldest weather
The best winter boots for:
Men who prefer a slip-on boot design
That’s one reason why Kamik’s Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot is popular. It features a slip-on design that makes it easy to take it on and off, which many men prefer.
But a winter boot needs to provide more than convenience, and the Kamik Greenbay 4 does just that with a boot that’s lightweight, waterproof, and tested to withstand frigid temperature.
The Greenbay 4 features nylon construction and comes with a Thermal Guard felt liner that can handle temperatures that dip well below zero degrees. A thickly-treaded rubber outsole supplies the traction you need on slippery surfaces, while a mid-foot Velcro closure enables you to adjust the fit to your feet.
- It offers a roomy, comfortable fit that you can adjust to your liking.
- You can tighten the snow collar to keep cold air and snow out.
- It’s very affordable when compared to many other winter boots.
- It’s not an ideal boot for long walks and hiking.
It’s hard to beat the Greenbay 4 regarding user-friendliness, and it’s a boot that keeps your feet warm in the coldest conditions.
7 Tips for wearing winter boots
Boots should be part of your wardrobe if you’re serious about your look and fashion. And they earn “must-have” status if you live in a place where winter weather may turn frightful.
There’s no sense ruining a pair of good shoes – or any shoe – by slogging through snow, freezing rain, ice, and everything else that winter often inflicts upon most of us. That’s one reason why boots are so important.
Keep in mind, however, that there’s a way to wear boots that don’t make you look like a lumberjack felling trees in a howling December wind – unless that’s your occupation. And there’s a time and place for wearing them, too.
1. Wear them when it matters
A typical northern winter has temperatures between 0 and 30 degrees – on average. When is it cold enough to wear winter boots? Temperatures that dip under 30 degrees beg for the warmth of a winter boot, even if there isn’t ice or snow on the ground.
You can wear non-winter boots year-around, of course, depending on the style and the occasions for which you wear them.
2. Getting the look you want
An easy way to achieve a casual look with winter boots is to pair a relaxed style – such as a work boot – with jeans and a t-shirt. For a smarter look, combine a quality pair of Chelsea or Chukka boots with dressier pants, a button-down shirt, and even a blazer.
The popular Timberland boot is excellent for casual wear but also smarter styles, such as with dark jeans and a simple blazer. Pin roll or cuff your pants to show off your boots.
Ankle boots are versatile enough to wear with a range of outfits, both casual and smart. Chukka boots and lace-up styles look great with jeans, trousers, button-up shirts, and sweaters.
Meanwhile, Chelsea boots in brown leather or suede help make for a casual look when paired with jeans, t-shirts, a sweater, and a jacket, while darker-colored Chelseas look good with a suit.
3. The hearty look
Many fashionistas suggest that colder weather demands not only a more substantial shoe (or boot), but also a heftier outfit. Plaids, flannels, sweaters provide a heartier style that looks good and helps protect against winter’s chill.
4. Boots and a suit
While it’s not a bad idea to add some bulk to your day-to-wardrobe during the winter, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a suit now and then. You can pair your suit with a pair of boots, but make sure the boot is both sturdy and has clean lines.
5. Jeans and boots
It’s rarely, if ever, a good idea to tuck your jeans into winter boots, unless you’re doing actual weather-related work such as shoveling snow, etc.
The general rule of thumb (or foot, in this case) is that men should choose a boot that’s a half-size bigger than their shoe size. You can wear thicker socks if the boots feel a bit loose, but make sure that they’re not too loose.
7. The fit
Many boots don’t have laces which makes the fit all about the instep. Your boot should feel snug in the instep, but never too tight. The boot will slip too much if it’s too loose.
8 Types of winter shoes and boots and how they differ from one another
The good news for consumers is that winter boots come in a wide variety of types, styles, and sizes. Which one you choose depends on a lot of factors, as we mentioned above. In general, however, the following types of boots are suitable for wintry conditions:
1. Snow boots
The term “snow” boots is somewhat all-encompassing, although it refers to a specific kind of boot. Snow boots typically don’t have a full rubber shell – unlike pac boots – which makes them less bulky and heavy.
Snow boots aren’t as durable as pac boots and may not offer a similar level of weather protection. But they may include some fashionable features and are ideal when you have to hop outside and shovel the driveway.
2. Pac boots
Pac boots are different from snow boots in that they have a thick, rubber shell. They’re excellent for keeping feet warm and comfortable during the harshest winter conditions.
A pac boot’s shell is waterproof and its upper may be waterproof or, at the least, water-resistant. The interior usually features a thick, insulated liner that may be removable and also warm enough for extended winter outings, such as ice fishing or hunting.
3. Slip-on boots
The convenience is revealed by the name of these boots, i.e., slip-on. They don’t have a lacing or zipper system which makes them easier to take off than other types of winter boots. They often come with pull tabs, however, to simplify the process.
Slip-on boots may consist of rubber, leather, textile, neoprene, and even sheepskin, and may or may not feature insulation. While they’re not great for trudging through snow or shoveling the sidewalk, they’re hard to beat for convenience (and even style).
4. Winter hiking boots
Hiking boots fall into a wide-ranging category that features footwear that enables wearers to walk over long distances. Winter hiking boots differ from warm-weather hiking in that the material used to make the outer shell are more impervious to wet, wintry conditions. They also feature better insulation than summer hiking boots, as well as secure lacing.
5. Winter dress boots
Winter dress boots feature an exterior that’s stylish enough to wear to the office, or even to formal events in some cases. They feature a lined interior that keeps feet warm and rubber soles for increased traction.
You can even buy wing-tip boots that rank among the classiest winter footwear and are suitable for other seasons besides winter.
6. Chelsea boots
Chelsea boots, like dress boots of any type, are good for all-season wear and represent a timeless style that remains very popular. Unlike chukka boots, Chelsea boots don’t have laces but feature elasticated side panels that adjust to your feet. There’s a small loop on the back of the boots to help pull them on and off.
7. Chukka boots
Chukka boots started as desert boots worn by British soldiers. Today, they’re among the most fashionable boots around and suitable for winter wear (as long as it doesn’t entail shoveling, outdoor work, hiking, and so on).
The Chukka features open-lacing, a low ankle fit, and typically is made of suede or soft calfskin. Their soles consist of crepe rubber rather than leather in most cases. Chukkas serve as a great alternative to oxfords and loafers that often dominate office style.
8. Winter hunting boots
Winter hunting boots aren’t all that different than pac boots and snow boots. They’re usually lighter and less bulky, however, and often feature a waterproof membrane that keeps feet dry. While not to be confused with hiking boots, the less-bulk design of hunting boots makes them ideal for traveling over rugged terrain.
You may want to use pac boots for hunting if you spend long periods standing or sitting in the cold, such as in a hunting blind.
How we chose these winter boots
A primary goal in picking the right winter boots for men was to include boots from a wide range of categories. That included traditional snow boots, boots such as chukkas, boots designed to endure the coldest of temperatures, and even shoes that hold up to winter’s demands.
Price was another factor – we always try to include products in a wide price range – as was the overall quality of the boot, from its exterior to its interior to its outsole. Other features, such as lining and water-resistance were important, as well.
We also considered the reviews of others carefully, not the least of which were the reviews of customers.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do you waterproof leather boots for winter?
Waterproofing your winter boots involves three steps – cleaning, drying, and applying a waterproofing solution. A good way to clean winter boots is with a toothbrush and water (pay close attention to the seams). Let them dry without overheating the leather, and then apply a small amount of waterproofing agent with a soft cloth or rag.
What are the best winter boots?
It’s hard to choose one pair above all the rest, but we like the Blundstone Thermal Series, an Australian made boot that’s versatile enough to wear for many occasions.
What are the warmest winter boots?
Choosing the warmest winter boots is like choosing the best winter boots overall, i.e., there are many from which to choose. Sorel’s Caribou winter snow boot, which we cover in our reviews above, will keep your feet toasty.
How to wear winter boots?
Winter boots lend themselves to more casual types of clothing, although that’s not true in every case. There’s no rule that says you can’t wear winter boots during other seasons but that depends on the type of the boot. Our section above on tips for wearing winter boots should help.
How do you store winter boots?
A few rules for storing winter boots including cleaning them before storage, using plastic boot shapers or trees, cleaning dirt or other particles from the lug soles, and putting them away in a dry and dark location.
How do you clean winter boots?
A common way of cleaning boots involves scrubbing or wiping them with a solution of water and white vinegar. A toothbrush is handy for cleaning the seams, while you can soak removable liners in a mix of laundry detergent and water.
How do you choose winter boots?
There are several factors to consider when buying winter boots, as we discuss earlier in the post. In general, you want boots that fit how you intend to use them, that are waterproof, that can keep your feet warm, and that fit correctly.
Winter boots can provide function and fashion for anyone who endures long, cold winters. The type and style you choose depend on how you plan to use them but, no matter their purpose, you’ll find a pair that suits you. You’ll want to choose wisely, of course, because winter’s unforgiving nature demands it.
We’d love to hear from you, too. What brand and type of winter boots do you wear? Have you worn any of those listed in our reviews? We always welcome your feedback.