The 9 Best Winter Boots For Your Feet, According to Podiatrists
Boot season can take a toll on your feet. Keep them warm and comfortable no matter the terrain with these podiatrist-approved boot options.
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Winter boot selection 101
Depending on where you live, boot season could last up to nine months. That’s 273 days of the year—give or take a few—of wearing boots.
Whether you’re looking to reap the specific benefits of hiking or the overall benefits of nature, show your feet some love. It’s essential to buy a comfortable pair of winter boots that will protect your feet from the elements—no matter how long or how often you wear them.
Before you buy your next pair, check out these podiatrist-approved tips for finding the right boots. Keeping their criteria in mind, we rounded up some of the best boots for all your hiking and walking needs.
What to consider when buying winter boots
Proper fit is more important than brand names when it comes to winter boots for hiking or walking, says Bruce Pinker, DPM, a podiatrist in Westchester and Rockland, New York. “It is important to remember that comfort is always in style.”
Above all else, wearing the right size boot is key to avoiding foot shoe pain. “The width should be snug, but not tight, across the toes from largest to smallest,” Dr. Pinker says. Some women’s style boots rise above the knee, while ankle boots cut much lower. But the fit should still be the same. For the best fit, there should be 3/8 of an inch distance between your longest toe and the front of the boot, he says.
Ankle and arch support
Whether you’re hiking through trails or just walking in the snow from your home to the deli, your boots must provide ample ankle support. “Boots should be supportive around the ankle, fitting snug, but not tight,” Dr. Pinker says. Hiking boots should lace up properly and fit securely around the foot and ankle, with adequate cushion in the ankle region.
The outer sole of a hiking boot should have significant treads to provide traction to help avoid slips, falls, and potential injury, says Dawn Figlo, DPM, member of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, founder of The Organic Foot, and podiatric surgeon in New York City. Some of the brands that fit all of these criteria: Sorel, Born, and Hunter & Merrill, among others, according to Dr. Figlo.
The quality and fit of your winter hiking or walking boots are the main priorities. But they aren’t the only ones. Proper socks, for example, are among the hiking gear essentials to invest in. And there are lots of options. “Wool, silk, or combinations of cotton mixed with polyester (65 percent cotton/35 percent polyester), and nylon or rayon materials are preferred to wick away moisture from feet and keep them dry,” Dr. Pinker says. “Too much moisture build-up can lead to conditions of toenail fungus (onychomycosis), athlete’s foot fungus, and plantar warts.” To keep your tootsies in even better shape, apply foot powder to help absorb moisture from sweat.
Now that you know what to look for when selecting a pair of winter boots, here are the best hiking boots to try out, according to podiatrists.
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boots
$79-$239 (depending on size)
These hiking boots from Columbia are lightweight, waterproof, and have comforting cushioning. Those are just some of the reasons why these boots have rave customer reviews on Amazon and a perfect 5-star rating. The rubber outsole gives enough traction to weather the elements during your walk or hike. As a bonus, this fashionable design comes in 11 colors.
(Here’s what podiatrists won’t tell you.)
Sorel Women’s Out ‘N About Plus Boots
$100-$219 (depending on size)
For people who hate parting with their walking shoes and sneakers during the winter, these Sorel boots are for you. A blend of sneakers and barn boots, they offer plenty of traction and waterproof leather and wool to take on cold, wet days while out and about.
BomKinta Women’s Snow Boots
$30-$40 (depending on size)
If you’re looking for casual booties that can withstand turbulent weather, consider this pair from BomKinta. These simple-looking boots look more elegant than other boots, but have non-slip soles and plush lining to keep you from slipping or getting cold feet.
Kamik Autumn Winter Boots
Take combat boots up a notch with this pair from Kamik. They have an odor-controlled insole, a waterproof sealed seam, and a rubber outsole for great traction. Plus, the laces provide extra support. These boots also go well with a variety of outfits. If your style is combat chic, they just might become your go-to pair.
Vionic Brynn Ankle Boots
Sport this block heel style winter boot from Vionic that offers both arch support and waterproof technology. People with plantar fasciitis won’t have any trouble finding shoes at Vionic. Many styles carry the APMA Seal of Acceptance, so it’s worth poking around the company’s site for additional options.
L.L. Bean Women’s Alpine Hiking Waterproof Boots, Insulated
Women’s hiking footwear requires both style and comfort. And these L.L. Bean boots can tackle any cold-weather activity without sacrificing fashion. These lightweight waterproof hiking boots have a padded ankle cuff for comfort and support. They pair well with any of the best cold weather jackets, too.
Bonus: Feideer Women’s Hiking Walking Socks
Wool, silk, or a cotton and polyester-blend are the best sock options, according to Dr. Pinker. These cushion crew socks from Feideer are 78 percent cotton, 20 percent polyester, and just 2 percent spandex. The 2,000-plus Amazon reviews are stellar, with an average rating of 4.8 stars.