Your guide to shopping for the best winter boots for women
I have a love hate relationship with winter. On one hand, it’s the universal season of cheer and I’m counting down the days until Christmas, on the other I’m dreading all that lovely snow that looks so beautiful in pictures, yet makes going outdoors just plain miserable.
Here in Canada winters are a serious thing. So when it comes to winter boots, they need to be able to withstand all kinds of weather this unpredictable season will throw at you.
From snow and slush, to pouring rain rain – you just need to be ready for anything! So keep reading for my 5 key checklist on how to choose the best winter boots for women.
Winter Boot Guide:
What to Look For in Your Next Winter Boot
1. Waterproofing – Winter boots that will keep your feet dry
Dry Feet = Warm Feet. The best winter boots will be fully waterproof and will protect your feet when that beautiful snow turns to day old slush.
One of the primary reasons your toes and feet get cold in the winter is that they’re wet, either through poor waterproofing or through non-breathable materials that trap moisture in the boot (aka sweat). If you can keep them dry, you can prevent many cold feet and toe problems before they start.
Cougar shoes is a Canadian company that make some of the best winter boots for women. Their boots are made with sealed seams and stitched from a non-wicking material to prevent it from absorbing water, plus they have waterproof membrane that encases your foot like a sock that acts as a barrier against leaks under the seams. Snow boots from Cougar even have an ‘always waterproof guarantee’ for a full 6 months after purchase, so staying dry won’t be an issue!
2. Warmth – Comfort/Temperature Rating
Another important thing to consider when shopping for your winter boots is the warmth factor. If you’re going to be out walking in the frigid cold, look for boots with a lining and/or insulation to help keep you warm.
How to find the warmest winter boots? On the best winter boots, you’ll find comfort ratings, also known as temperature ratings. Many boots will have a tag that lets you know what temperature range the boots will work best in, so you can know you can be comfortably warm while you’re outdoors.
The Cougar boots that I’m wearing in this post have a polar plush lining and rated to withstand temperatures of up to -24°C/-11°F. Cougar make some of the best winter boots for women. Both the Durand boot (tall brown boot) and Vanora Boot (grey & white ankle) boot have really stood the test of winter last year, keeping my feet perfectly cozy and warm during my morning treks into work.
3. Leg coverage from boot height
When shopping for your next winter boot, the height of your boot shaft is another thing you’ll want to consider. A lower ankle boot is more comfortable for day-to-day walking where you want more flexibility of movement around your lower legs. They’re also easier to put on and take off and store if you’re making any shoe changes.
On the other hand, a tall snow boot is more suitable if you know you’ll be trudging through a deeper snow. This will prevent snow from coming in from the top of your boots. Taller boots may also give you more ankle support as well. You’ll have to consider the kind of activities and functions you’ll be using your boots for to see what might be best for me.
For day-to-day, I love my Vanora Suede Winter Boots (winter boots with fur shown above). They’re an ankle height snow boot that’s perfect for my day to day where I do a fair amount of city walking. I find them comfortable and keep my toes warm, while being great to walk in.
But on those big snow days when I’m walking through a high snow or some extra warmth around my lower legs, I also have a tall pair of winter boots as well (Durand Leather Winter Boot shown below).
Since winters are so long here in Toronto, I find it worthwhile to have both styles of winter boots. Each is great for different circumstances, so you’ll want to consider the activities you’ll be doing when you pick out your snow boots.
4. Shoe sole material
When the temperatures start to really drop, I find that the cold will often creep in up from the ground through the soles of your shoes. The best boots for winter will have a thick boot sole that will keep out the cold and help to hold your footing while walking on ice and snow.
Rubber soles are ideal for keeping out the rain and snow, but walking on slippery surfaces can be a big concern when the temperature drops and things start to freeze up. Be sure to check what kind of tread the sole offers as well, soles with bumps and crevices provide traction and grip to make sure you’ll stay upright on slippery paths and roads.
Another reason Cougar is one of the best winter boots brands is great thick sole that have an amazing grip while being super lightweight too. This makes walking comfortable with the lightness of a sneaker with the durability and grip of a rubber boot.
5. Style Factor
Is it too much to ask for to have cute, stylish winter boots that can also withstand the Canadian winters? Well it turns out, it’s not! There are plenty of chunky, boots that will keep your warm and dry, but many of them are not the most attractive.
But the one things I love about Cougar boots, is that they make the best snow boots that are both functional and stylish. They have a wide range of boots that look like everything from fashionable sneaker boots to more elegant boots that you could even wear indoors as well as outdoors. All their boots have great little details that make them unique, from a bit of fur trim to great stitching details and design.
Thank you to Cougar for gifting me with these winter boots!
As always opinions are my own!