No matter what activity you are pursuing in the winter, a warm pair of boots is absolutely essential to your comfort! There is something magical about the winter; a crispness to the air, a certain sensation in the tips of your fingers and the inside of your nose that brings back memories and a fondness for fireside chats. If you are lucky enough to live in a place with snow, this winter brings on an entirely new set of challenges to stay warm and dry. If you are looking for the warmest winter boots for men or the best brands of men’s winter boots, you have come to the right place!
There are many brands and models on the market so in order to compare “apples to apples” I am going to break down my top picks by style category to give you the absolute best choices in each group.
Before we get into my top choices for best men’s winter boot, let’s talk sizing!
Sizing for a good winter boot is very important. Winter socks tend to be thicker and in the event you are in a extremely cold environment you might go with a sock+ liner or even two pairs of socks. This means you need to size-up at least a half size from your normal summer sneaker. However, even with a size up, be sure to check your boot toe for adequate slide room.
THERE ARE SOME EXCEPTIONS! Be sure to read my Pros/Cons to find them, some of these boots actually run larger than true-to-size, depending on the brand.
With the sock on and the boot laced properly walk down an incline of at least 20deg to test the toe. If you feel pressure or pinching from the toe of the boot, this boot is too small or too loose in the case of a slip-on. No matter how tightly you lace the boot, your body weight will set strain against the laces to a certain tolerance. Every boot has some natural flex and if your toes are cramped, this can lead to condition known as “hammer toe.” More importantly, it is uncomfortable and just gets worse over the lifetime of your boots as they wear out!
Many times rather than sizing up a WIDE SIZE boot is preferable. The increased bulkiness of the winter sock does not solely (pun intended!) extend to the toe box! Having a wide sized boot can mean a much higher level of comfort in the wintertime.
Let’s get started! I am going to break my choices down into three main categories; Pac Boots, Slip-on Boots, and Insulated Boots. If you are looking for great winter hiking boots for men or snowshoeing boots, check out my top picks for those categories as well. All of my choices make for great winter walking boots; the extra strain of hiking or snowshoeing usually means you need a tougher sole.
TOP CHOICES FOR BEST WINTER PAC BOOTS
Pac Boots are a specific category of winter boot made for areas that experience a wide range of temperatures. For example, if your area of the world experiences multiple snow falls and melts throughout the winter, there will be many times when you are not just fighting snow, you are also walking through ice-cold puddles and slush too! Using a normal boot in these conditions is not appropriate because no matter how well the leather upper has been sealed, being submersed in water for hours or days will eventually result in wet feet.
I do not consider Pac Boots a great option for hiking or snowshoeing. These boots generally do not have great ankle support and are extremely bulky. However, for general purpose winter use, walking on well-packed trails or in the city, doing chores outside like scraping your car or shoveling your driveway, Pac Boots are the way to go! This is by far the top choice of styles for warm winter walking boot.
The issue with cold, wet weather is that once water begins to soak your boots, your feet will become cold extremely fast. Water transfers heat four times faster than air; this means once wet your feet will lose heat four times faster than when they were dry!
The Pac Boot has neatly solved this problem by incorporating a fully waterproof, sealed shell between the sole and upper. This shell is made from a variety of great materials; in my top choices I have tried to include an example of each material and will be sure to hit on the reasons you might go with one material vs another.
Pac Boots are available in warmer weather models, with less insulation. If you plan on using these boots during the winter be sure to chose a model with appropriate levels of insulation or your feet will be cold!
The Warmest Men’s Winter PAC Boots
1. MEN’S WINTER PAC BOOT – THE CABELA’S LACE-UP NEOPRENE SNOW PAC BOOT WITH 4-MOST SHIELD
The Cabela’s Lace-Up Snow Neoprene Pac Boot is my top choice for best winter pac boot because of the neoprene. This is something that does take some getting used to; neoprene is not as sturdy as leather, moves differently, and conducts heat and moisture differently.
The reality of winter living is that sometimes your boots will be wet!
Pulling them off and on in the mud room, snow wandering into the upper from a drift or snowfall, or splashing through slush and puddles will invariably result in a certain level of moisture in your boots. In extremely cold climates, where the temperature is below zero for all of the winter, it is actually easier to stay warm because you can stay drier! Remember my note on water vs air heat transfer?
Neoprene acts to insulate your feet, much like a wet suit warms your body while you are scuba diving. The material is so insulating and so waterproof that it will actually warm the water around your body or feet and keep that valuable heat inside. This is a great addition, although it does look a little non-traditional in the Pac Boot category, as you will see a bit later with my next choice.
- A full neoprene upper is encapsulated by NuBuck shells to create an incredibly waterproof PAC boot!
- The 4MOST Shield is water, blood, and oil resistant (great for hunting!)
- Fleece lining keeps your feet warm and wicks sweat and moisture
- Molded heel cup
- Neoprene can tear easily in comparison to leather or NuBuck (see the unguarded tongue)
- Outer NuBuck shell will saturate with water eventually, becoming heavier.
If you have been trying to find the warmest winter boots for men, or looking for the best boots brand for winter, you have seen the name Sorel come up more times than any other company. There is a good reason; Sorel was founded in Canada in 1962 and since then has consistently produced some of the highest quality, warmest winter boots on the market. With the testing conditions in the Great North it is easy to see why; in brutal Canadian winters only the warmest winter boots will work!
The Sorel Caribou is an industry standard. The craftsmanship is second to none; these boots have been around for years and will be keeping feet warm for many more years to come.
- Full leather upper with a rubber sole, classic design pac boot!
- Removable 9mm wool inner liner stays warm when wet!
- Wellington toe
- Durable sole
- Rated to -40deg!!!!
- More expensive than average (Pac Boots are thought to be a great economic option for winter boots)
- Some issues with sole delamination (isolated cases, but definitely a con)
The Kamik Men’s Nation wins my pick for best economic men’s winter pac boot. If you look around you can find these boots for as little as $29.95! With this low price the boot will not be as durable as the higher-end models but comes packed with some great options to get the most out of your money!
This is a great option for kids; when growing feet ensure your boots will not be usable the next season, a cheaper boot is great to make sure you don’t end up with a pair of boots for each year, one size up!
- Suede and nylon upper
- Full rubber lower and sole (sealed and waterproof!)
- Meant for wet weather; rust-proof lacing grommets!
- Rated for -40deg
- One of the most economic men’s winter boots on the market!
- Less insulated than a higher-end boot
- Foam Liner wears out quickly
INSIDER TIP: Here in my article you are going to find some technical ratings for boots that might appear to allow you to compare efficiently. For example, at $29.95 the Kamik seems a no-brainer choice when comparing with the Sorel Caribou Wool at almost $200.00! However, let’s chat for a moment about ratings.
There is no independent rating organization for winter boots. This means that most likely the companies themselves are rating the boots. Warmth and comfort are completely subjective; one person might feel comfortable in a certain pair of boots while another person is unable to feel their toes. Some companies rate on “survivability” meaning that yes, you could survive and keep your toes in sub-zero temperatures, but you won’t have a great time! Be sure to read reviews about the boots you are choosing, if you normally have cold feet, an economic winter boot is not for you.
BEST MEN’S WINTER SLIP ON BOOTS
A men’s winter slip on boot can be a great option for a warm winter walking boot, or general purpose winter boot. These boots are sealed and do not come with laces. These are great to stash in your mud room or foyer, so you can leave them there to dry while using your sandals or Cros in the house to keep slush and mud outside.
The slip on style of warm winter boot is not recommended for extended hiking or back country adventures. Without lacing this tends to be a loose, comfortable fit; with too much movement it can be dangerous to try and use them on steep inclines or deep powder. However, for comfort in level, packed areas these are a stylish option for winter boots!
North Face men’s snow boots are simply fantastic; you are going to see this company pop up in my top choices in other categories as well. North Face has consistently manufactured excellent equipment for outdoor activities for many years and any product I have used from this company generally exceeds my expectations!
The ChilKat II is a great men’s winter slip on boot for many activities!
- Rubber sole and full leather upper
- Constructed with 200 grams of HeatSeeker® insulation
- Gore slides for easy on and off!
- Run SMALL – size up 1-2 larger than normal for a comfortable fit
- Loose fit is comfortable but not suited for heavy activities
OK, with the side zip this is not a traditional slip on boot, however, the benefits outweigh the zip! If you have a larger foot like me this extra expansion can really help you slide your feet into the opening. This style of slip on boot tends to come with a snugger fit around the ankle. I consider this a good middle ground between a full-lace Pac Boot and a full-slip boot.
Merrell makes a great line of footwear and the company really stands behind their products!
- SUPER “GRIPPY” with the patented Merrel Sole and footbed!
- 200 grams of Thinsulate® insulation for the cold days
- Snugger on the ankles than standard slip ons
- Full Leather/Fabric construction
- Can run a bit small – size up!
- Zipper issues have been reported (Merrel is in the process of addressing these concerns)
Ah, the Bugaboos. What is in this name? The Bugaboos are granite spires in Eastern British Columbia. I have a buddy who recorded a first ascent there back in the 1970’s, and he told me an interesting story.
He had been soloing an unlisted peak in hopes to log his first ascent with the Canadian Mountaineering Club and had fought rough weather with terrible snow conditions to reach the top. As he crested the summit, his heart fell to see a small stack of rocks already piled up, indicating that someone had already been there.
As he sat back and looked at the pile, he had an epiphany. Someone had bagged this peak for the simple joy of climbing it. No press, no records; this unknown climber had just rocked it for the love of climbing. As he looked out on the spectacular view he realized this was almost better than being the first. There were other people in the world who understood the joy of climbing and felt it resonate just as deeply as he himself did.
He might not have been the first, but knowing he was not alone in the world, this was just as good.
The Columbia Bugaboo does justice to it’s storied namesake!
- Leather and synthetic
- Pac Boot shells for great waterproofness!
- Non-marking OmniGrip® soles
- Great economic option!
- Runs VERY small, size up twice for wide feet
BEST MEN’S INSULATED BOOTS FOR WINTER
The insulated boot category is reserved for those serious snow days. These bulky books will keep your feet and lower legs toasty while trudging through knee-deep powder on the way to school, as my father assured me he did every day as a kid (uphill both ways, too :). The outer is fully rubber or synthetic to make sure no matter how long you are outside your feet will stay dry.
These boots are excellent for hunters or people who live in areas of regular deep snow. They are also great for slush and cold water bogs. The thick insulation is HOT so this is not a great option for areas that have warmer days with snow, much above freezing and your feet will be too hot. The fully waterproof rubber shell also will not breathe to let your sweat and moisture out of the boot. However, for extreme cold and deep snow, these boot just can’t be beat!
The Kamik Icebreaker is also my top economic pick for warmest winter boot. As you can see from the design, this includes an integrated gaiter enclosure at the top of the boot to prevent snow from entering in; this is made for deep snow!
- Laced gaiter keeps the snow out!
- Removable 8mm Zylex liner is sweat wicking and incredibly warm
- Fully waterproof; oil and acid resitant as well
- Rated for EXTREME cold and comfort in -40deg!
- Wide calves might find the top a bit tight
- Size up for maximum comfortable
While the Kamik Icebreaker is my top choice for best economic insulated winter boot, this is a category I feel is worth it to look into a higher-end boot. If you are not familiar with MuckBoots, let me fill you in!
MuckBoots are used in the most extreme conditions on Planet Earth. We are talking expeditions and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, at the extreme poles of our world. These boots are rated to -50deg!
MuckBoots are available with an ASTM rating for use as protective wear in dangerous environments!
- 8MM 4-way stretch foam
- Fleece Lined
- Guaranteed warmth!
- Synthetic sole with molded outsole
- Neoprene upper with rubber lower means this boot will keep you warm!
- Double the price of my first pick
- Issues with upper and lower separation
- Neoprene can wear out quickly
The Baffin Men’s Hunter Waterproof Boot is another great economic option when considering an insulated boot for winter wear. The Baffin Hunter has a full rubber outer with thick insulation to keep your feet warm in the deepest of snow, and also keeps you dry with the enclosure at the cuff.
- Removable inner boot
- Fully waterproof!
- Great price at just around $50
- Durable, high quality boot
- Runs BIG! Size down at least one size to ensure comfortable fit
So now you have a good idea of what to choose when you need a good all-round warm winter use boot. For more great tips on my top picks for hiking or snowshoes, check out my articles on those specific categories here!
Good luck and may I wish you warm feet for the winter!