Published Jan. 27, 2021

You don’t want to get cold feet before a big event … and you don’t want to get cold feet going about your life when the temperature drops. So, we found answers to an essential footwear inquiry: What are the best winter boots for women? The ones that can keep feet warm in the bitter doldrums of mid-February? Not slip on ice? Not weigh you down? Perhaps even look semi-stylish?

Here we lay out the best women’s winter boots for every type of wearer and why we chose them—digging into the features to consider, and what you can and cannot ignore, in making your selection. Whether you’re looking for waterproof boots, women’s boots for snow and ice, the warmest snow boots, the best cheap winter boots, or the best winter boots for walking, we have some suggestions.

Best Warm Winter Boots for Women: Ugg Adirondack III Boots

Best Lightweight Winter Boots for Women: Sorel Tivoli IV Tall Boots

Best Women’s Winter Boots for Traction: Danner Women’s Inquire Mid-Winter Waterproof Hiking Boots

Best Stylish Winter Boots for Women: Sorel Women’s Joan of Arctic Wedge II

Best Waterproof Winter Boots for Women: Sorel Glacier XT Waterproof Insulated Pac Boots

Best Budget Winter Boots for Women: POLAR Women’s Mid-Calf Mountain Walking Tactical Boots

Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Winter Boots for Women

Winter boots for women exist in abundance, turning that quick note-to-self about finally buying better winter boots into an overwhelming and readily postponed plunge into endless, competing options. Keep this mind: What matters most in your decision is when and where you’ll be wearing the boots. That means you have six considerations: Warmth, weight, traction, style, waterproofing, and budget.

Are Your Feet Often Cold?

Warmth is non-negotiable for any winter boot. It is, after all, a winter boot. If your feet are freezing, it hardly matters if the pair get points for style, weight, price, or any other consideration—and we’ve evaluated all of our picks accordingly. But depending on the climate where you live, the duration of time you spend out in the cold, and if you’re someone that always carts a sweater around, insulation may be the deciding factor in your choice, not just another one on the list.

Insulation is very much a question of quality, not just quantity. On the natural and synthetic sides, respectively, sheepskin (or shearling) and Thinsulate are the most common insulating materials you’ll find in boots. With sheepskin, look for quality and density, as what gets labeled as sheepskin can vary widely in insulative quality. Thinsulate warmth ratings are typically given in gram measurements, with the range approximating to 100g as taking the dog for a quick walk on a cold winter day and 1000g as trekking the Arctic tundra. While this number offers a starting place, it’s important to remember that temperature, wind, water, amount of time you’ll be wearing the boots, your circulation and metabolism, your sock choice, and the fit of the boots all impact how warm your winter snow boots will actually feel.

With this in mind, in our search for the warmest boots for women, we looked for not only top-quality insulation, but also for waterproofing and an easily customizable fit.

Best Warm Winter Boots for Women: Ugg Adirondack III Boots

Warm and Snug

In the city or on the trails, the Ugg Adirondack III’s smart design and mix of synthetic and natural materials keeps feet and ankles cozy. Ugg

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Ugg Adirondack III boots are ideal for cold winters, for several reasons. The top-grade sheepskin interior is unmatched for warmth. The close-to-foot construction, tall cut, and laces keep excess air and elements out, and multiple mechanisms for waterproofing ensure a stronghold against the freeze. (If you’re looking for boots for Arctic-like conditions, see our Best Waterproof Winter Boots for Women pick below.)

Will You be Doing a lot of Walking in Your Winter Boots?

In news that will not shock anyone who has tried to get somewhere in a hurry during frigid temperatures, winter gear can be cumbersome. But when looking at boots, it’s far too easy to neglect weight as you consider style, warmth, sole, and the rest. If you have to walk a lot in heavy boots, every step will remind you that you should have chosen a lightweight winter boot.

Of course, you may choose a heavy boot for a reason, such as relying on the boots as a tether to keep you anchored on uneven ground. (And if you do, we like the Sorel Caribou boots—just note that they run quite wide, so check sizing information carefully, as boots that are too wide for your foot can interfere with both warmth and stability.)

But if you’re planning to cover any kind of distance, heavy boots will feel less like a tether and more like a ball and chain.Lightweight winter boots will place far less strain on the foot and ankle and will be much easier to lug around.

Best Lightweight Winter Boots for Women: Sorel Tivoli IV Tall Boots

Light and Mighty

These women’s winter boots are lightweight, but don’t sacrifice other features like warmth, traction, waterproofing, or style. Sorel

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Sorel’s Tivoli IV winter boots for women feel impossibly light, considering the deeply treaded rubber sole, warm upper, and full waterproofing they boast. They’re an excellent daily winter boot—and are also our pick for the best women’s winter boots for walking.

Will You be Walking on Ice?

Whether you’ll be walking on a city sidewalk, going down a driveway to get the mail, or hiking along an iced-over section of rocky trail, traction is an essential consideration.

For snow, depth of tread is what you want. The boot treads bite into the powder, acting as claws to keep you steady and find the hold to power your next step. Walking on ice, though, is different. There’s not much you can do to stop sliding on wet ice unless you’re wearing ice cleats. Even so, boots with an aggressive sole will allow you to get a better grip than those without.

Best Women’s Winter Boots for Traction: Danner Women’s Inquire Mid-Winter Waterproof Hiking Boots

Sure-Footed

A custom Vibram Inquire outsole with multi-directional lugs, adaptive heel and Megagrip technology let you get a good grip on winter. Danner

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From the side, Danner’s Inquire snow boots for women belie their remarkable traction. But an emphasis on grip as well as warmth make these an excellent winter boot for places where traction is a concern.

Do You Need Stylish Winter Boots?

It’s the essential sartorial dilemma when it comes to winter boots for women: How do you find boots with all the features you need to take on the cold and snow, but in a boot attractive enough that you’ll happily wear in public?

Some manufacturers recognize this dilemma and have come out with boots in a variety of looks, from modern-futuristic to classic-rugged that you want to wear out and about. Style is objective, of course, but no matter your choice of fashion, make sure you look at boots made by a manufacturer that takes function as seriously as form.

Best Stylish Winter Boots for Women: Sorel Women’s Joan of Arctic Wedge II

Style and Substance

These cute winter boots are so comfortable that you might forget they’re built for snow and rain. Sorel

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Sorel makes serious winter boots, but also has the cute winter boots category on lock, with enough options to outfit a whole gamut of aesthetics. A cult favorite for good reason, the Sorel Joan of Arctic Wedge II boots would get high marks for style in any boot lineup. But we love them for the sturdy, comfortable footbed and walk-all-day supportive wedge, as well as the thick, grippy tread and waterproof exterior.

How Wet Will Things Get?

Second only to warmth, being waterproof is an essential quality for all-around winter boots. Snow melts, rain falls, and snow shoveling and plowing build up mountains of slush. The moment your socks or feet get wet, cold deeply sets in, is crazy uncomfortable, and if you can’t dry out and warm up, things can reach more dangerous territory.

Many winter boots are waterproof, and we’ve kept this in mind in our selections throughout. But if you know you’re headed for some deep slush, you need to prepare accordingly. GORE-TEX, vulcanized rubber, polyurethane-coated fabrics, and certain treated leathers all keep boots waterproof, and which one you opt for will depend on the severity and relative wetness of circumstances you’ll be encountering.

Beyond waterproof materials, the best winter boots for wet conditions will also prevent water, snow, and ice from entering the boots around the tongue, laces, or other features. They will be constructed to fend off cold if immersed in wet snow or frigid water, and they will feature solid traction to keep you steady in slippery conditions.

Best Waterproof Winter Boots for Women: Sorel Glacier XT Waterproof Insulated Pac Boots

Beast of a Boot

Major grip, top-notch materials, and distance from the cold ground make these waterproof boots a step above. Sorel

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Built for every type of extreme winter condition (they’re rated to -100°F!), the Sorel Glacier XT boots guard against the gamut of ways water can get inside of winter boots. What made them our pick: Not only are there multiple, effective means of waterproofing (vulcanized rubbers, simplicity of leg design, lacing and top cinch-lock, etc.), but there are the same for warmth around the leg and between the foot and frigid conditions below. And for all that functional prowess, they’re still pretty darn attractive.

Best Budget Winter Boots for Women: What You Get for Under $40

Winter boots are an investment, and the right pair will last season after season. That said, freezing temperatures and snowstorms are not going to hang tight until the timing is right in your bank account to make that investment. Luckily, you can still find solid boots on a budget, bearing in mind that cheaper materials do mean less effective warmth, so you’ll want to sock up and limit the duration of outdoor time, until you know how your feet do in your boots, in your climate.

Best Cheap Winter Boots for Women: POLAR Women’s Mid-Calf Mountain Walking Tactical Boots

Around Value

Solid tread, solid style, and solid lacing make these an entirely suitable pair of cheap winter boots. POLAR

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These ladies winter boots do fairly well across the categories we considered, and at a fraction of the price of our other recommendations. With all synthetic materials and lacking a specific push for warmth, they will not insulate as well as others on our list, but for short excursions, they’ll do the job.

FAQs

The internet’s top winter boot questions, answered.

Q: What are the best winter hiking boots?

As with winter boots in general, the best winter hiking boots will vary depending on setting, but traction (including ice vs. snow) and warmth are the most essential factors to consider. Pay close attention to size, as well as manufacturer recommendations about fit and socks, because boots that are too loose will have you slipping around, and too-tight boots will hurt, cut off circulation, and make your feet cold.

Q: What are the best winter boots for walking?

Lightweight boots are the best winter boots for walking long distances. We like the Sorel Tivoli IV Tall Boots for walking in winter conditions that may vary unpredictably.

Q: What brand has the cutest winter boots for women?

Our favorite brand for stylish winter boots is Sorel. The boots are well made with sturdy, quality materials that keep us feeling safe and prepared for the elements, but without sacrificing form for function — and with a much wider aesthetic range than other brands.

A Final Word on Shopping for the Best Winter Boots for Women

When it comes to the best winter boots for women, warmth and waterproofing should be non-negotiables. From there, it’s a question of what matters most to you, how you will be using the boots, and the particulars of your surroundings and tendencies. Be picky about fit: You want the boots to be comfortably snug, especially with sheepskin, which works with your body’s warmth rather than layer upon layer of socks. And whether you want the best boots for ice or stylish winter boots for regular wear, the quality of the construction and the materials matters, a lot.

Related: Best Winter Boots for Men

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