Tips on Buying Winter Boots and Snow Boots Online
If you live in or are going to visit a cold climate, like Upstate NY, then you know the importance of keeping your feet warm and hence the importance of having a good pair, or two, of warm and waterproof winter boots.
In recent years winter boot and shoe selection was limited and shopping for them was time consuming, however, thanks to the internet the selection is much, much bigger and more diverse. The downside is that you don’t have a shoes salesperson there to talk you through the process.
It is easy to get overwhelmed when shopping online from all of the questions that could come up about the boot that you are interested in and with no-one there to answer them.
This article was intended as a quick guide to help answer some of the most common questions that come up, ones that before the internet a shoe salesperson would have been happy to answer.
Of course winter boots are made, and bought, to keep your feet warm, so a very common question when looking at Men’s or Women’s winter boots online is:
Just How Accurate is the Warmth Rating?
Most quality winter boots will have a warmth rating system, but just how accurate is it?
It turns out that the warmth rating system that is used for winter boots is not really that accurate. It would be impossible for it to be when you consider all of the factors that can affect the warmth of your feet. There is much more to consider than the outside temperature, i.e., health and age (circulation) of the wearer, the activity that you are doing, the environment, the type of socks that you will be wearing, and the list continues.
That having been said, however, the warmth ratings that are used are very helpful. They are a great way to compare the warmth factors of two or more boots. They give you a good idea of how extreme or mild weather can comfortably be. The capacity of the boot to keep your feet warm is obviously one of the most important factors so choose wisely.
What About Boot liners?
There are many different boot liners on the market and this can seem confusing at first, but it’s really not that hard to figure out. Many boots, such as most Pac boots (the ones with a rubber lower shell) have removable liners. A removable liner, is just that, a liner that can be removed. This is a plus because the boots can be dried out much quicker after being out in mud or snow all day.
Shearling lining is used in many high-end winter shoes and boots. Shearling is made from sheared sheepskin that is suede on one side and still has the sheets wool on the other side. Boots, such as Huggs, uses this material frequently. Shearling cannot be reproduce synthetically, so it is always real sheepskin. It is generally very comfortable and warm.
Thinsulate is a very common synthetic thermal material that is used in winter boot linings and winter clothing in general. Thinsulate is not usually removable, and it isn’t as comfortable or prestigious as Shearling, but it offers good insulation warmth and has a cheaper production cost.
Is Leather, Gor-Tex, or Nylon better?
This is a difficult question to answer since the answer depends on several factors. The main factor being what you will be doing and where you will be walking. If you are working, hiking, or hunting in the mountains you will need different winter boots than if you are shopping in Manhattan or commenting to work on a train.
The three main materials to choose from are Leather, Gor-Tex, and Nylon materials. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Leather is my personal favorite because it is beautiful, natural, and it lasts a long time. Of course I love buying new shoes, however, I prefer to be the one to decide when to replace a pair, instead of the boots falling apart when they feel like it 🙂 Of course no quality boots will fall apart quickly, however, leather seems to stay nice the longest. The downside is that it is not very breathable and can be heavy. It also needs to be treated in order for it to be waterproof.
Gor-Tex is one of the most popular materials for winter boots because of its amazing capability of being lightweight, waterproof, and breathable all at the same time. The downside is that it may not be that fancy if you are looking for more of a luxurious look.
Nylon can be a great option for snow boots as it is lighter and can be quite waterproof when prepared right. However, it obviously isn’t as nice looking as leather. Many boots use nylon uppers or accents in a nice looking and practical manner.
What is the Difference Between a Snow Boot and a Winter Boot?
The difference between Snow Boots and Winter Boots is small, but there are several differences. They both obviously are made to keep your feet warm, however, the environment that they are designed for changes several key characteristics.
Snow boots usually have grooved tread to help walk on icy, slippery conditions and better ankle support. They downside is that they are usually quite a bit heavier and usually less glamorous. Whereas winter boots are generally lighter, fancier, and more versatile making them better more day to day activities.
We hop this article helps clear things up a little bit. For help with hiking boots check out our article on Hiking Boot Jargon.
Remember that warm and dry feet can make the difference between loving the winter or dreading it. The right winter boots make a huge difference!