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What to know about
winter boots 2

In part 1 of What to know about winter boots, I covered:

  • Boot types (pull-on, lace-up, zippered)
  • Boot styles (high, low ankle boots)
  • Boot styles (work, dress, outdoor, rubber, shearling)
  • Boot insulation (shearling and man-made synthetics)
  • Outside boot materials (leather, rubber, man-made synthetics.

Now here's the rest of what you need to know about winter footwear.

Boot sizes

Your boots should fit snugly with only a little wiggle room. You also need to keep in mind how it fits with the different variety of socks you intend to wear. Both thin and thick socks provide warmth to your feet and keep them dry although this may depend on the kind of blended sock material used as well.

The thicker socks will certainly add more cushioning and in some cases, may push you to get boots slightly bigger. You don't want your feet to slip too much inside the boots, as that will be uncomfortable. It may also cause some problems like corns or calluses forming where your foot is slipping. If you buy a lace-up boot, you can control how firm you want your boot to be. The lace-up boot style has a little more 'give' if you plan to wear a thicker sock besides providing better ankle support.

Boot soles and treads

You want to solidly grip the ground - that's a no brainer! The kind of boot tread and therefore the traction it gives you on the underside of your boots is hugely important.

The best kind of non-slip soles is thick rubber soled or waffle treads give the best kind of traction on all types of winter grounds.

The thicker the tread, the better the insulation it is between your feet and the cold ground.

Deep treads with a pattern work the best to grip icy or snowy surfaces. A thick non-slip sole is pretty much all that stands between you safely standing upright or sprawling unexpectedly on the ground!

Even with thick non-slip soles, there's always a chance you might fall unexpectedly. Not seeing or not being able to avoid ice while walking outside is an all too common way to fall and hurt yourself.

Keep in mind that dress boots and shoes are most likely to have smooth sole surfaces. If you do wear them outside, it will quite likely increase your chances of falling unexpectedly as there is nothing to grip the ground with.

Same goes for women's winter boots with heels as you can take a nasty fall with elevated heels with smooth soles. Smooth treads are fine for indoors only where you can only trip over your feet for the most part! You can buy overshoe protectors if you still want to wear your smooth surfaces shoes or dress boots outside.

Winter boots and Snow boots

What's the difference? A winter boot is for more everyday use like going to work or going shopping.

Now, a snow boot is much heavier and bulkier and best worn for clearing snow or stomping around in muddy winter weather or watery snow and slushy muck. What makes them ideal and essential is the lower part of the boot is completely waterproof (rubber) and has a high nylon upper to protect your lower legs from snow getting inside your boot. These boots will last for many seasons and many miles of snow stomping.

Heated boots

For any true outdoor winter enthusiast, you can get heated boots. All the same features apply that make good outdoor boots good winter boots like insulation, deep rubber treads, a durable exterior and are waterproof. The difference being that these types of boots also has a rechargeable battery-powered heating system that can provide heat for up to 9 or more hours. You can also buy heated clothing to go with your heated footwear.

Boot protectors and traction aids

In really icy conditions, you can add traction slip-ons or ice grippers over your outdoor boots. These ground-gripping shoe devices are also known as the brand name, "Yaktrax" but there are other brands available that do the same thing. Our mail person just loves them and wears them all the time in winter.

Having a pair of waterproof rubberized overshoe or overboot protectors allows you to still wear your "good" or dress shoes in winter without damaging them. 

What next?

Now that you are know some key things about selecting about winter footwear, you need to decide what kind of winter footwear you really need for the winter season for both you and your family.

Return to What to know about Winter Boots 1

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