Waterproof winter boots fashion
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The Insider Pick:
All too often, women's winter boots put fashion above function and you end up with cold wet feet. We tested dozens of winter boots to find the best ones for warmth, style, and comfort. Our picks run the gamut from stylish city-friendly boots to heavy-duty ones that can take on frigid temperatures and feet of snow.
Winter boots are one of those things that are really hard to shop for — especially when you're a woman. After all, you want a pair of boots that are both warm and cute. Besides, you shouldn't have to choose between fashion and comfort.
In the process of writing this buying guide, we researched winter boots from all the top brands and several lesser-known names to find pairs in a variety of styles that were highly rated. We tested dozens of winter boots to find the best ones for different women's needs.
After all, we know that not every woman needs heavy-duty boots that can take on sub-zero temperatures and six-foot snowbanks, but we also know that most women who are looking for a great pair of snow boots won't be satisfied with a cute pair of water-resistant boots that can't handle more than a light flurry. As such, we've included a fair mix of different options here so there will be something for everyone.
To test these boots, we dunked them in a tub filled with icy water and tried to make them slip on patches of ice. We wore them on cold days to see how warm they were and stepped into deep puddles on rainy days to test water resistance. We walked for miles on snowy stretches of sidewalk in New York City and waded through snow banks in Central Park to vet these boots.
Our opinions are also backed up by expert reviewers and actual buyers, so rest assured — these winter boots are guaranteed to keep your feet warm, dry, and happy all winter long and for many winters to come.
Updated on 02/12/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Many of the boots are now on sale, so we've included sale prices along with the original price tag. We also added a few more testing notes after using the boots in snowy and cold conditions for three to four months.
Read on in the slides below to learn why we love the UGG Adirondack II Boots, the Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots, the Columbia Bugaboot II Winter Boots, the Sorel Slimpack II Lace Boots, the L.L.Bean Shearling-lined Bean Boots, the Columbia Heavenly Organza II Omni-Heat Boots, the Kamik Sienna Boots, the L.L.Bean Pro Wildcat Boots, and the UGG Fraser Boots.
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The best winter boots that are both stylish and warmUGG
Why you'll love them: The UGG Adirondack II Boots are super cute winter boots that can handle extreme cold and deep snow without any problems.
UGG makes super stylish boots, and the Adirondack II boots are made for intense cold and tons of snow. With these boots on your feet, you'll be ready to brave anything winter throws at you.
The boots are made of waterproof leather and they have a super cozy insulating wool lining that's as fuzzy as it is warm. You can roll the tops down to expose the wool for style, or flip them back up to keep more of your ankle and lower calf warm.
The Vibram outsole is strong and provides great traction on icy surfaces, plus, these boots can handle extremely cold temperatures as low as -20°C, which is -4°F. You can buy the Adirondack boots in a few different colors, including white, black, and brown.
When I first put these boots on, I was impressed by how light, warm, and cute they were. By all rights, they should be clunky, but they're not. UGG's boots look cute enough to pair with skinny jeans or leggings and a dress all winter long in even the snobbiest of cities.
These boots are tough enough to handle rural areas with tons of snow, too, so you really can't go wrong with them. In my mind, they're the perfect boots for just about every woman. The only downside is the high price, but they'll last you for years.
Pros: Waterproof, pure wool lining, made for very cold temperatures, good traction, cute style
Buy the UGG Adirondack II Boots from Zappos for 4.97 (originally 4.95)
Buy the UGG Adirondack II Boots from Nordstrom for 9.96 (originally 4.95)
The best tall winter bootsSorel/YouTube
Why you'll love them: The Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots are absolutely perfect for stomping through snow banks and tackling intense winter conditions in style.
When the winter winds blow up a crazy snow storm and you have six feet of snow to contend with in sub-zero temperature, you need some serious winter boots that will keep more than just your feet warm. Sorel's Joan of Arctic Boots are just the ticket.
These boots are nearly a foot tall, so they'll keep your entire calf warm and dry even in deep snow. The suede leather shaft is fully waterproof and a faux fur cuff finishes the boots off in style. They lace up from a sturdy vulcanized rubber section that covers your toes and keeps them dry.
Sorel says these boots can handle temperatures as low as -25°F or -32°C. The tread on the bottom is grippy and good for ice and snow. You can even get them in a number of different colors and styles if faux fur isn't your thing or you don't want leather.
When I first took them out of the box, I thought these boots would be super clunky and bulky, but looks are deceiving. Once they were on my feet, they looked great. I can easily see these boots being perfect for both the city and the country because they are super stylish yet rugged enough to take on serious snow.
Pros: Tall boots, extra warm, rated for cold temperatures, good grip, comfortable, cute, many colors
Buy the Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots from Sorel for 9.90 (originally 0)
Buy the Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots on Amazon for 6.25 - 1.85
The best light but tough winter bootsColumbia
Why you'll love them: The Columbia Bugaboot II Winter Boots protect your feet from the fierce cold of winter and wet icy slush puddles — plus, they're light on your feet.
When you think about tough gear that'll last you through an epic snowstorm, chances are, Columbia comes to mind. The company's coats, boots, shoes, and other gear are known for being of the highest quality. Columbia's Bugaboot II Winter Boots are no exception.
I tested a pair of these popular and very highly rated winter boots and came away impressed by how light and toasty warm they were. By the look of them, I expected these boots to be as heavy and awkward to wear as the old winter boots I used to wear to survive the brutal winters in upstate New York (right across from the Canadian border, so we're talking six feet of snow and -30 windchills here). Imagine my surprise when they turned out to be light and nimble like a good pair of hiking boots.
The secret is in their design: Columbia used a mix of waterproof leather and textiles on the uppers to keep out all the snow, slush, and wet of winter without adding any unnecessary weight. The 200 grams of insulation inside keep your feet piping hot, too. These boots are so cozy that Columbia says they can handle temperatures as low as -25F or -32C.
Of course, it's not just the uppers that keep these boots light, it's also the special Techlite midsole and the Omni-Grip outsole that keep the weight down. Both are lightweight and specially designed for great comfort, stability, and traction on slippery surfaces.
These are the kind of boots I'd want on my feet during the cold nasty winters snowy climates. They're perfect for walks through the snowy woods, shoveling out your driveway, and heading out to the grocery store. They obviously will not win any beauty contests and those who have more mild winters or live in cities where style is more important than strength won't need tough boots like these.
However, for anyone who needs a super warm, waterproof, stable, and lightweight pair of winter boots that are ready for action, these are the ones I'd recommend.
Pros: Lightweight, very warm, rated for low temperatures, relatively affordable
Cons: A bit bulky, not the most beautiful boots you'll ever see
Buy the Columbia Bugaboot II Winter Boots on Amazon for .99 - 0.00
Buy the Columbia Bugaboot II Winter Boots from Columbia for .90 (originally 0.00)
The best stylish winter boots with a small heelSorel
Why you'll love them: The Sorel Slimpack II Lace Boots are fully waterproof, slim, and cute with a slight heel and fun color options.
If you don't want to wear clunky winter boots all the time, you may want a lighter, slimmer pair for days when there's less snow on the ground. These Slimpack Lace II boots from Sorel deliver. They have the distinctive duck boot design you see on many winter boots and rain boots, but Sorel adds cute little design elements like wool accents and fun laces to make them stand out.
The full-grain leather upper is fully waterproof as is the vulcanized rubber part that wraps around the lower part of your foot. You can splash in the rain or stomp through slush puddles in these boots without getting wet. The wool felt collar around the top of the boot adds warmth and style to the basic boots.
Inside the boots, there's a nice microfleece lining that will keep your feet warm but not sweltering. If you live in milder climates where you may get some snow, but it's never that bad, you can call these your only winter boots and use them as rain boots in any weather.
These are comfortable, breathable boots that Sorel says are best for heavy rain instead of snow. However, if you wear them with a nice thick pair of socks, they are perfect for cold winter days and a few feet of snow. The waterproof construction and the grippy outsole give perfect traction on ice.
These boots even have a little heel that's just under two inches. It adds a touch of class and a bit of height for shorter women. As a 5-foot-2 lady, I appreciated that. I love these Sorel boots and I wear them whenever it rains. This winter, I wear them when we have light snow because they're both cute looking and practical for city winters.
If you need heavy-duty winter boots for extreme cold and snow, check out our other more rugged picks.
Pros: Slight heel, cute color options, good traction, waterproof, slim, comfortable, warm
Cons: Not as rugged or warm as some
Buy the Sorel Slimpack II Lace Boots from Sorel for 4.90 (originally 5)
Buy the Sorel Slimpack II Lace Boots on Amazon for .77 - 9.95
The best winter boots made in AmericaL.L. Bean
Why you'll love them: The L.L.Bean Shearling-lined Bean Boots are super cozy, classic looking, and made to last — right in America.
L.L.Bean's boots are quintessential winter gear for a reason: They're extremely high quality. These classic duck-style Bean Boots are lined with real sheepskin shearling to keep your feet extra warm even in the cold winters of Maine where these boots are made.
The uppers are made from full-grain leather that's waterproof, while the rubber covering on the bottom half of the boots keeps your feet totally dry even if you step into a nasty puddle. The boots have a tiny heel and a high-traction rubber chain pattern on the bottom for extra grip on slippery ice.
It's not often you find boots that are made in America, so these Bean Boots are special. They're very high quality and they should last for years before you need a new pair. Longevity is going to important because these boots cost 9, which is an investment. L.L.Bean does make cheaper versions of its classic Bean Boots without the shearling if you want to save some money.
I tried a pair on a wet rainy day and they handled puddles with aplomb. They handled snow equally well. These boots are very warm, so they're well-suited to cold conditions and a foot or two of snow. Because the design is simple, classic, and cute, you could wear the Bean Boots in any situation from a trek in the snowy woods to a jaunt into town for milk.
Pros: Made in America, real shearling is warm, durable, great traction, waterproof
Buy the L.L.Bean Shearling-lined Bean Boots from L.L.Bean for 9
The best mid-calf winter bootsColumbia
Why you'll love them: The Columbia Heavenly Organza II Omni-Heat Boots feel like cute light slippers on your feet, but they're super cozy and fully waterproof mid-calf winter boots.
If the other Columbia boots in our guide are just too clunky and rugged looking for your tastes, you'll love these Heavenly Organza II boots. First things first: These boots look way cuter in person than they do online. When I put them on the first time, I knew I could easily wear them with skinny jeans or a dress and tights in the city without shame. Columbia has a bunch of fun colors, too, so you can buy the pair that'll look best with your style.
Believe it or not, these cute boots are just as warm, waterproof, and comfortable as the chunkier Bugaboots. The waterproof woven textile uppers hit your leg mid-calf and boast a cute faux fur lining that peeks out at the top and along the sides where you lace the boots up. They'll keep your feet and part of your legs warm even in a foot or two of snow.
Columbia's Omni-Tech waterproof seam-sealed membrane keeps water, slush, and snow out of your boots and the 200 grams of insulation inside keep your feet and legs super warm. Just like the Bugaboots, these ones can withstand temperatures as cold as -25F or -32C, thanks to the Omni-Heat reflective lining.
These boots will fare just as well on the snowy city streets as they will in the driveway shoveling snow or out walking on snowy paths. I consider these boots to be the perfect stylish alternative for colder climates where you still need serious boots.
Pros: Warm, comfortable, good traction, rated for very cold temperatures, cute looking, higher rise
Cons: A bit expensive
Buy the Columbia Heavenly Organza II Omni-Heat Boots on Amazon for .99 - 4.90
Buy the Columbia Heavenly Organza II Omni-Heat Boots from Columbia for .90 (originally 0)
The best winter boots made with sustainable practicesKamik
Why you'll love them: The Kamik Sienna winter boots are cute, cozy, and best of all, sustainably made in Canada.
If you care more about where and how your boots are made than anything, Kamik is a good brand to know. The company makes 73% of its products in North America, and these Sienna boots are actually made in Canada. Kamik also works to recycle 100% of its waste and has a recycling program for worn out boots.
These Canadian-made boots have a nice warm 3M Thinsulate Insulation to keep your feet toasty during cold winter days. The bottom half of the boot is made of Kamik's unique RubberHe material, which is 50% lighter than natural rubber and is 100% recyclable. It keeps your feet dry and doesn't damage the environment — it's a win-win. The bottom of the boots is waterproof, though the leather and quilted flannel uppers aren't.
The Kamik Sienna boots are slim and light enough to wear in mild winter weather or rain. They look super cute with jeans or dresses and leggings.
Having tried them myself, I'd recommend them for mild climates or days when you just need to wear cute waterproof boots around town. However, with a good pair of winter socks inside, they'd be great for winter weather.
Pros: Lightweight, comfy, warm, waterproof, relatively affordable, sustainably made Canada
Cons: Not as heavy-duty as some
Buy the Kamik Sienna Boots on Amazon for 7.99 - 5.99
The best tough winter bootsL.L. Bean
Why you'll love it: The L.L.Bean Pro Wildcat Boots are heavy duty boots that are made for intense cold and lots of snow.
When you live in a very cold place with tons of snow and you need a serious pair of boots, the L.L.Bean Pro Wildcat Boots are a good pick. These boots are rated to keep your feet warm during light activity in temperatures of 30°F or during more intense activity in temperatures as low as -20°F.
The waterproof leather upper and L.L.Bean's TEK2.5 waterproof technology make these boots all-but impermeable. You can dunk your feet in a huge icy slush puddle without fear — These boots will keep your feet totally dry and warm. There's even a toe bumper in the front to protect you from stubbing your toe on a fallen log or what have you.
The PrimaLoft insulation inside the boots wicks away moisture while also keeping your feet comfortably warm. On the bottom of the boots, you have very good grip and traction even on slippery ice and snow, thanks to the Vertigrip outsole. The way it's designed prevents snow from getting trapped in the treads and messing up the traction.
Although these boots are a bit bulky, they're quite light on your feet. I tried a pair and I was surprised by how comfortable they were to walk in. Most heavy-duty winter boots make you feel like a giant stomping around, but these Wildcat Boots felt more like a tough pair of hiking or work boots.
Obviously, L.L.Bean's Wildcat boots aren't ones you'd choose if you live in a mild climate or a city where you have to look your best, but out in rural areas where you really need a good pair fo hard-core boots, these are perfect. They're also great for outdoorsy ladies who love to snowshoe and walk in the wintry woods.
Pros: Warm, made for tough winters, waterproof, leather and fabric design is breathable
Cons: Not so fashionable
Buy the L.L.Bean Pro Wildcat Boots from L.L.Bean for 9 (originally 9)
The best stylish winter boots for cold weatherUgg
Why you'll love it: The UGG Fraser Boots are perfect for city slickers who don't deal with much snow but still need super warm boots with great traction.
Full disclosure: These are not serious winter boots. You should definitely not wear them in feet of snow or run through deep puddles in them. However, if you're walking around the city and you need to look fashionable while staying toasty warm, the UGG Fraser Boots are the ones for you.
As a city slicker myself, I love these boots. They look cute with skinny jeans or dresses with tights and the sheepskin and leather design made me want to show them off. I wore them on the first 30-degree day in New York City and I was amazed by how warm my feet were. These are definitely the boots I'm wearing all winter long (providing we don't get feet of snow, of course).
The real sheepskin lining covers the tongue and top of the boots to add warmth and style. Inside, you'll find a cushy pure wool insole and tons of sheepskin that'll wick sweat and keep your feet extra warm. On the bottom of the boots, you get excellent traction and a subtle 1.5-inch heel for a bit of height.
The leather is water-resistant and you can treat it with waterproofing agents to make it even tougher. You can get these boots in a few different colors, including black, brown, gray, and a subtle purple tone. The color of the sheepskin also varies to match or contrast with the leather.
Although these aren't true winter boots for serious snow, they are perfect for stylish city folk who want to look cute and stay warm on the city streets. They're also great for mild climates that get cold, but not snowy.
Pros: Cute design, great for the city, water resistant, sheepskin lining is warm, comfortable, good traction
Cons: Not fully waterproof, not for serious snowfall