Choose your own cold-weather footwear adventure.
When you think of the best winter walking shoes, a clear image may not come to mind. That's because it's difficult to find ones that are comfortable, warm, durable, and don't look totally horrendous (and don't transition into the winter boots or regular walking shoes categories either).
And although style is always a priority, function and safety are key. That's why we tapped an expert to get some cold weather shoe shopping recommendations, and Michael Fishkin, certified pedorthist at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists has quite a few.
How to shop for winter walking shoes
Look for waterproof and insulating materials
Water-resistant can mean snow-resistant, too, because we all know what happens when flakes melt. “Some shoes have a Gore-Tex lining to them which is a waterproof membrane that will help keep feet dry,” Fishkin says. For warmth, he recommends looking for a Thinsulate or shearling lining. They vary in weight measured in grams, and each one is best suited for a different activity level:
- 200 grams works best for little to no activity in cool temperatures, or high activity in cold temps.
- 400 grams works best for moderate activity in cold temperatures.
- 600 grams works best for low activity in colder temperatures.
- 800 grams works best for low activity in very cold temperatures.
- 1,000+ grams works best for very little activity in extreme cold weather conditions.
Avoid an overly tight fit
“If a shoe is too tightly fit, your feet are exposed to the elements, as snow or cold air is right on them,” Fishkin explains. “Having some airspace in winter shoes allows the warmth your feet create to be trapped inside the footwear.”
Fishkin recommends grabbing shoes with a lugged, chunky outsole when you can. It makes for the best slip resistance, which is important when icy conditions can pop up out of nowhere.
Below, with Fishkin's advice in mind and some of his recommendations, we've outlined a list of top-notch winter shoes fit for all your seasonal activities. And before you discover it for yourself, let us warn you that—gasp!—there are no UGGs in sight. Fishkin says they're not actually that great: “The suede uppers absorb moisture, salt can destroy the suede, they have no support or structure, and they don't provide enough traction.”
Read on to discover what kicks did make the cut.amazon.com $75.00
1. BZees Golden Ankle Bootie
This ankle boot-sneaker combo is as cozy as it is cute. They're available in 15 styles, feature a comfort cone gel insert for supportive shock absorption, and they're machine washable, which explains the hundreds of five-star Amazon reviews. “These shoes are fantastic. They are cushioned, supportive, and very lightweight. The fabric is incredibly soft,” one shopper wrote.
Women's Revel IV Polar Boot Polar keenfootwear.com $180.00
2. KEEN Revel IV Polar Boot
“I like to recommend a mid-boot or high boot for winter walking. These will provide protection from snow and water from getting into your shoes,” says Fishkin. This pair in particular features KeenDry (the brand's version of Gore-Tex waterproof lining), 200 grams of KeenWarm insulation, and great traction.
3. Skechers Easy Going Heighten Boot
If you need something you can quickly slip on without slipping down your ice-covered driveway, this pair of casual, affordable boots is a great option. They feature an air-cooled memory foam insert that will keep your feet supported and sweat-free, and just look at that adorable sweater-like ankle cuff.
4. Eagsouni Snow Shoes
BEST BOOT ALTERNATIVE
These nifty fur-lined shoes have all the perks of a snow boot without being super heavy or clunky. They're also water-resistant, have a non-slip rubber outsole, and even protect the toes with a reinforced anti-collision structure.
5. North Face Sierra Mid-Lace Waterproof Boot
A leather waterproof upper, Surface Control™ rubber outsole, and 100 grams of synthetic insulation check all the right (shoe)boxes for Fishkin. You really can't go wrong with this pair, plus they're super cute.
6. Ryka Everest Boot
If these boots don't scream winter and comfy, we don't know what will. You'll especially like their bungee laces with a toggle closure to keep snow out, as well as their cushioned memory foam insert. Reviewers say they're also super lightweight.
7. KEEN Kaci 2 Winter Slip-on Clog
Oiled nubuck and a full-grain leather upper keep these shoes dry and durable. They're also insulated to maintain warmth in temps as low as -4°F. The high-traction rubber outsole makes them slip-resistant and very ideal for winter weather conditions.
8. Skechers On-the-Go Joy Bundle-Up Chukka Boot
These 100% leather booties will stand the test of time and brave the elements just fine. They have a faux fur lining and rubber sole for good traction, and with over 3,500 Amazon reviews, they clock in at a solid 4.5 stars.
9. SOREL Tivoli™ IV
Fishkin says lots of Sorel models are great for winter, but this one is his favorite because it has 100 grams of insulation and excellent traction.
10. Hey Dude Wendy Corduroy Shoe
Memory foam insoles and a warm faux fur lining make these slip-ons an obvious winter footwear choice. “I love these Hey Dudes!!!” one Amazon buyer wrote. “They are sooo comfortable and will keep my feet nice and warm for the winter!” With over 1,000 reviews, they maintain an impressive five-star rating.
11. Vasque Breeze WT GTX Boot
This durable boot is great for really dedicated outdoorspeople, according to Fishkin. It has 200 grams of Thinsulate, great traction, and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining.
12. BomKinta Snow Boot
A quick-dry upper, anti-skid sole, and insulating plush lining make these the perfect winter boots made look like chic high-top sneakers.
13. Jeffrey Campbell Cloudy Waterproof Chelsea Rain Boot
Going for an edgy aesthetic? Look no further than these chunky, stylish, and sturdy boots. “The thick elevated sole, excellent tread, and waterproof material will keep your feet out of the winter slush and dry!” Priya Parthasarathy, D.P.M., spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association previously told Prevention.
14. L.L. Bean Snow Sneakers
High-grade PrimaLoft insulation in these classic shoes keeps your feet toasty even when it's a teeth-chattering 15°F out. They're also waterproof and stain-resistant.
15. Merrell Siren Sport 3
Breathable waterproofing in these active-friendly kicks blocks wetness while still allowing sweaty moisture to escape. A leather upper and bellow tongue help keep debris out, including frigid snow.
16. Dr. Martens 2976 Leonore Chelsea Boots
These stylish boots are perfect if you want something fur-lined, but not flashy. The faux fur peeks out from the ankle only slightly, and the sole is air-cushioned and slip-resistant.
This story originally appeared on: Prevention.com - Author:Kayla Blanton