5 Things to Look For in Your Next Winter Boot

A guide for buying the perfect pair of winter boots

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. 

With winter weather comes the need for solid winter boots that can withstand all kinds of weather this unpredictable season will throw at you – from snow and slush, freezing rain – you just need to be ready for anything!  Especially here in Canada where winters are a serious thing, not just any cute little boot will do, so keep reading for my 5 tip checklist on how to choose the perfect boots for winter and what to look for.

Winter Boot Guide:
5 Things to Look For in Your Next Winter Boot

1. Waterproofing

Dry Feet = Warm Feet. Having a waterproof snow boot is essential 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 winter boots use a number of different materials and construction techniques to keep you dry. 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. They even have an ‘always waterproof guarantee’ for a full 6 months after purchase, so staying dry won’t be an issue!

Wearing the Vanora Suede Winter Boot from Cougar

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. Comfort ratings, also known as temperature ratings, can also give you guidance when selecting winter boots for the weather conditions you’ll be wearing them in. Many boots 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 your outdoors.

Both my Cougar boots, the Vanora Suede Winter Boot Temperature (shown above and below)  and Durand Leather Boot (bottom of post) have a polar plush lining and rated to withstand temperatures of up to -24°C/-11°F.  Winter came early this year, so  I’ve had a chance to test them both out in -10 degrees just the other day, and they passed with flying colours, keeping my feet perfectly cozy and warm during my morning treks into work.

3. Boot Height

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 (shown above), which are an ankle height boot for my daily commute to work because 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 on extra frigid days need some extra warmth around my lower legs, I also have a tall pair of the Durand Leather Boot (shown below). Since winters are so long here in Toronto, I find it worthwhile to have both.  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.

Wearing the Durand Leather Boot from Cougar

4. Shoe sole

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. A good thick boot sole will help keep out the cold and help 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.

Both my cougar boots have a 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

Is it too much to ask for to have cute boots that can also stand the Canadian winters? 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 great 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.

About Cougar 

Cougar is Canadian footwear company that’s been making shoes and boots for the past 70 years. Their boots are built to brave the Canadian winters and made to last. They incorporate technology and great design to make shoes and boots that are functional, comfortable, and stylish.

My first pair of Cougar boots, were their classic Pillow Boots lasted me 4 years of heavy daily wear through the winter season. Aside from being warm and waterproof, every pair of Cougar shoes I’ve owned has been incredibility, comfortable, and lightweight. They have a unique cushioning in their soles to make them a dream to walk in, and l never have to worry about my feet getting wet or walking on slippery surfaces.  They make all around great shoes and boots and if you’re in the market for some winter boots you should definitely check them out at www.cougarshoes.com.

Thank you to Cougar for partnering with me for this post!
As always opinions are my own

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  • poutineandprada
    November 14, 2019

    Your picks are gorgeous. I need boots that are warm enough for -40, at least, I wonder if Cougar do boots that work for those kind of temps??

    • Eileen
      November 14, 2019

      Thanks so much Sarah! Wow -40 is really chilly, I’m not sure but I think they might on their website! Stay warm! 🙂

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5 Things to Look For in Your Next Winter Boot