Choosing right clothing and footwear is key when it comes to winter travel. Whether you are traveling to Canada, Alaska, Iceland, or Scandinavian countries, your winter packing list will be pretty much the same and good winter boots are probably the most important item when visiting Arctic regions in winter. I often see people asking what are the best winter shoes for travel and I also see what fellow travellers recommend on the internet forums and Facebook groups.
So here is a small selection of the best winter boots as recommended by real travellers based on their experiences. I also included my personal favourite waterproof winter boots. At the bottom you can also find the very best boots for extreme winter temperatures, best-rated budget winter boots as well as the best winter shoes for active kids. Find out!
In order to choose the best winter boots for your trip make sure that you know what kind of functionality you expect. In my opinion, all winter boots for travel have to be waterproof and keep your feet warm up to at least -10°C (14°F). Good grip is also important – I once had to throw away a pair of winter boots because I kept slipping in them and fell several times. If you plan to do hiking, then laced winter shoes are a must. Whereas if you only plan some activities in the snow, Moon Boots might be a better choice since they are much warmer. There is not one perfect winter shoe for every situation, but the boots in my selection below should get you covered most of the time.
This list has now been updated for the winter 2018-2019. However, most of the shoes featured here are timeless winter boots that you can wear for many years to come. Some models or colors might change a bit, but the most important in my view is functionality, especially when you are traveling. Warm and dry feet will make any winter trip more enjoyable, so choose your shoes wisely.
Sorel winter boots
Sorel is one of the most frequently mentioned brands when it comes to the best winter boots. Sorel has many models of winter shoes for men and women in all price ranges (60-300 USD), but from everything I read it seems that the Sorel Caribou boots are one of the very best price/ quality options when traveling to really cold places.
Here is what travellers say:
- I am from Canada and my Sorels keep my feet toasty warm.
- They have lasted me through four New England winters and still look great!
- I bought Sorel Caribou boots for several Antarctica And Falklands trips where we needed waterproof boots for wet landings and walking in snow. Love them.
Columbia waterproof snow boots
- I live in Minnesota and my favorite boots are Columbia. They have this silver material inside that reflects your own heat back. So warm!
- We wanted good snow boots for snowshoeing and each got a pair of the Comumbia omni-heat boots and we love them. They keep our feet very warm and dry.
Merrell waterproof winter boots
Merrell offers some of the most affordable waterproof warm boots for active winter trips. They have several highly-rated models of winter boots for men, women, and children. Merrell winter shoes are not too bulky, therefore perfect for winter hiking trips. Price range of most Merrell models is between 60 and 160 USD.
- My feet have never ever been cold in my Merrells. I went to Iceland in February, walked on a glacier in them and they were completely awesome.
- I live in an area where it snows and gets under -20 fairly often, and these boots kept my feet dry walking through the deep snow.
Bogs winter boots
Bogs is another highly recommended brand when it comes to good and sturdy winter boots that keep your feet warm and dry. They seem to be less suitable for hiking though, but are perfect for short walks in the snow and day to day outdoor activities in winter. Bogs has a variety of models of winter boots for men, women and children. Most Bogs cost between 65 and 150 USD.
- We live in the mountains and these great boots keep our feet warm and dry.
- I’m Canadian, Bogs are my jam.
- I’ve worn these boots for walks in freezing cold weather and to go sledding with my kids and my feet always stay toasty warm and dry.
- Should have bought these years ago. They are so warm and sturdy.
UGG waterproof winter boots
A bit on the expensive side, UGG waterproof winter boots are my personal favourites. I have worn them in Iceland in winter, on every ski vacation for the last 3 years, and also every time I have to spend hours outside watching kids play football in the middle of the winter. As I said, I had them for over three years now and they look like they will last quite a few more years. It was worth the investment. UGG has just a few models of waterproof winter boots, both for men and women. Price range 200-300 USD.
I want to add that I also have a pair of classic UGG boots and they are my daily shoes for cold but dry winter days.
North Face winter bootsThe North Face winter boots are perfect for everyday use in cold places, but probably not for the Arctic regions. They are lightweight and therefore comfortable to wear on longer hikes.
- These boots are great for short-time winter activities. I’m not sure I would find them insulated enough for snowmobiling or ice fishing.
Best winter boots for extreme cold conditions
If you are looking for the warmest possible winter boots for extreme winter temperatures, then you may consider Baffin Impact boots. They are really warm and heavy and are not really suitable for milder winters. But if you are visiting the North Pole in winter and need the best protection available, you cannot go wrong with these shoes. According to Baffin, their Selkirk winter boots will keep you warm in the temperature range up to -70°C (-94°F).
Best budget winter boots
If you only need winter boots on rare occasions and don’t feel like spending too much, you may want to look into buying winter shoes from Kingshow or Kamik. They may not have the same insulation or grip as the more expensive boots from this list, but you cannot beat the price. Don’t expect them to last forever, but once again – if you only need winter boots for occasional use, it’s worth looking into these.
Best winter boots for kidsSince kids winter shoes only last one season we always look for sturdy waterproof boots that allow our boys to run and play and can be used in all situations: school, travel, winter holidays in the snow. Here in Europe we buy Viking winter boots; Columbia has a similar model in the US. Below you can find my selection of the best-rated winter boots for children on Amazon.
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