The Best Winter Snow Boots of 2024: Staff Picks

Keep your toes warm in the fourth season with our nine favorite winter boots.

Heather Balogh Rochfort|Updated November 15, 2023

A model wearing The North Face VECTIV Fastpack Mid FUTURELIGHT Hiking Boots jumps on a snowy day

We subscribe to the saying, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear." These boots are proof that we don't need to shiver in order to enjoy wintry outdoor playtime. Modern footwear technology is constantly evolving toward improved warmth-to-weight ratios and sticky-as-glue traction with more approachable price tags.

But which boot is best for you? We've rounded up a selection favorite winter footwear currently available at REI Co-op, as reviewed by co-op staff, members and customers. Regardless of whether you're trekking across town to the grocery store or uphilling steeps in your snowshoes, you can rest assured: You'll wear these boots all season long.

Turns out, you can have it all—at least when it comes to the Oboz Bridger 8". These brawny boots check all the boxes: warmth in chilly temperatures, solid traction on slick trails and enough ankle support for heavy loads. The over-the-ankle boots will keep your feet dry thanks to a burly nubuck leather upper that naturally repels moisture and an Oboz B-DRY waterproof breathable membrane inside. Gaiters easily clip to a front D-ring for extra protection in wet conditions without adding stress to the laces. Meanwhile, 200 grams of 3M Thinsulate™ keep toes toasty even in heavy snow. One customer reviewer in Pennsylvania hasn't worn another brand of boots since he "discovered" Oboz almost a decade ago."Best boots I've ever owned," the reviewer notes. "They are comfortable, and they last me, on average, about three years of hard wear and tear."

Thanks to the high ankle collar, it's easy to keep snow and muck out of the Bridgers: The 8-inch height puts them just below your shin. Also like the women's 7" version, the men's uses a dual-density midsole with a TPU chassis and nylon shank. This means they're stiff enough for snowshoes or longer technical treks on packed snow. You'll also never worry about slipping: The brand's proprietary outsole features large, deep lugs around the perimeter that bite into the earth like teeth. Some customers report a tighter fit on the Bridger 8" so consider buying a half-size larger than usual.

If you're looking for a boot to four-wheel drive your way through winter, consider the waterproof Oboz Bridger 7". Its dual-density foam EVA and TPU midsole is thicker than a typical hiking boot for up-level comfort, but a nylon shank and TPU chassis keep the boot stiff enough for snowshoeing. The traction is also top-notch: The Bridger has a rubber outsole infused with silica—the sandy stuff in quartz—to give it extra friction and keep hikers upright on slick or icy surfaces.

But a winter rig would be nothing without guaranteed warmth—which the Bridger has. A whopping 200 grams of synthetic 3M Thinsulate™ insulation keep the boot so toasty that you might not notice frigid temps. "My toes are always cold, but I pulled this on in my bath robe to shovel the driveway, and my feet were the only things warm on my body," reports a co-op member-tester. A wool-topped insole is cozy and prevents heat from escaping through the bottom of your foot, and the proprietary Oboz B-DRY waterproof membrane repels water.

Children have two switches: On and Off. Enable that power up with the Snow Bank 4.0 boots from Merrell, which are equipped with 200 grams of Thinsulate™ synthetic insulation and are temperature rated all the way to -25°F. When combined with the waterproof leather upper and a warm fleece lining on the interior, these boots are the cozy foot protectors you've been searching for. Need further proof that Merrell knows kids' feet? Instead of traditional shoelaces, the brand opted for bungee closures that cinch with a toggle. Not only can kiddos manage them on their own, but they can also do it while wearing mittens.

Entry-level adventurers looking for moderate warmth at an affordable price will appreciate the out-of-the-box comfort of the Merrell Thermo Chill. Thanks to 200 grams of proprietary insulation, these midcuts keep toes toasty in temps above freezing (but won't be your best bet when the mercury plunges into the teens). A combined leather-and-mesh upper easily molds to the foot: "I didn't see a single hot spot, even on my first hike!" raves one reviewer. The EVA midsole feels plush, adding to the overall comfort, but won't support backpacking loads. The rubber outsole's 5 mm lugs claw into most wintry terrain types.

It's tough to look this good and perform even better, but that's the secret behind the Chloe and Snow Monster snow boots from Baffin. These winter boots both have a built-to-last leather upper with a D-ring lacing system that makes it super easy to cinch-and-go even when you're wearing bulky gloves. And they're both incredibly warm thanks to a removable multilayer inner boot system that boasts a wicking interior layer, a form-fitting foam liner for comfort and a polywool blend for absolute warmth that still breathes: With moderate activity, the Chloe stays cozy in temps as low as -40°F and the Snow Monsters all the way to -94°F. When combined with a waterproof rubber outsole, these kicks are ready for snowshoeing, midwinter hikes, shoveling snow—just about anything that heavy winter weather can throw at them. The Snow Monsters also feature a waffle-comb footbed that locks in warm air and, as a bonus, is odor-repellent.

"They're very warm and work great in deep snow, below-zero temperatures and work great with snowshoes," says one customer reviewer from Colorado who has the Snow Monsters. Despite clocking in at a whopping 6-plus pounds for the pair, the customer says the boots "feel light and [I] can also drive my truck without having to change them." (The Chloe boots aren't featherlight either, and at more than 4.5 pounds they're the heaviest women's boots on the list.)

If you're looking for a fashion-focused boot that will also keep your feet warm, these sneaker-like boots from Sorel are a great lightweight option. In addition to looking stylish at your favorite watering hole, the waterproof ONA Rmx Glacy's suede leather upper and faux-fur collar can comfortably handle a mellow trail on a warmer winter day. The 100 grams of polyester insulation will take the edge off on brisk outings around town, but this lighter boot isn't intended for severe cold or snowy weather. The cushioned midsoles are made with 10% BLOOM, a type of biomaterial made from algae. While the boots will keep you snug and snazzy-looking, the shallow lug pattern on the sole won't help you much on steep hiking terrain, so stick to nontechnical adventures.

For the backpack-haulers, sled-pullers, snow-trudgers and child-carriers among us: Take a flyer on the VECTIV Fastpack Insulated Hiking Boot from The North Face. (If the Oboz Bridger is your all-terrain vehicle, this is your speedier roadster.) The highly aggressive lugs grip into icy and wet terrain, virtually ensuring you stay upright and mobile in the worst of conditions. The leather uppers are naturally resistant to debris and moisture, and 200 grams of 100% recycled polyester fiber insulation is just enough to keep you toasty on the trail. The high-rebound EVA midsole boasts rocker geometry (it's slightly turned upward like a smile) that helps propel your legs forward—even when the terrain gets tough. (Says one reviewer, "I have bone-on-bone arthritis in my ankle and these shoes are the most comfortable pair of shoes that I own.") All that, combined with TPU plates beneath the forefoot for extra pep in your step, will have you practically running up those snowy trails.

Vegan friends (and anybody looking for a lightweight, great-looking winter boot on a budget): The Alpine from Xero Shoes is your boot of choice. Built for crisp-and-cool adventures, the synthetic upper and over-the-ankle cuff deflect moisture to keep your feet dry, but the seam-sealed inner bootie and waterproof membrane really seal the deal by keeping nature out and heat inside. Thanks to 200 grams of synthetic insulation, the boots can keep feet cozy in temps as low as -25°F—and there is no down to be found: Instead, polyester fleece lining and heat-reflective insoles provide remarkable warmth without the use of any animal products. Like all Xero shoes, the Alpine snow boots have a wide toe box to let your toes splay instead of scrunch and are zero-drop, which translates to a more "natural" midfoot stride—but may require adjustment for those wearers used to more traditional cushioning. That's why the Alpines' removable 3 mm insoles are a top selling point: They allow you to decide how much lower drop you're ready for.

There's a lot to love with these Waterproof Pacific Insulated Puffer 2 boots. Stylishly cut just above the ankle, the full-grain and suede leather upper is rugged but snugs comfortably to the foot like a glove. (Fit note: Customers report that these run small, so consider buying up a full size.) Faux shearling lining warms your tootsies in temps all the way down to -1°F, and the slip-on design means you'll be ready to step out in no time. Canadian bootmaker Manitobah is an Indigenous-led company that draws on long-held generational expertise with the craft, and is a certified B Corp, meaning that the company meets high standards of social and environmental performance. All Manitobah boots are designed with Indigenous artists; the soles on these are from Haida artist John Brent Bennett, who drew inspiration from the rippling water surrounding the Haida Gwaii archipelago, his people's ancestral homeland.

Buying Advice

Warmth

It’s basic math: The more insulation, the warmer the shoe. Boots that boast north of, say, 400 grams of insulation will be warm, warm, warm in subzero temps. But if you plan to wear your boots when you’re moving, you don’t need that kind of a hot box. If you’re hiking, backpacking, mountaineering or even snowshoeing, 200 grams should suffice. (More than that and you’ll start to sweat, and sweat can eventually cool and cause your toes to turn numb when you stop working.) Of course, you’re the only person who knows your toes, so you may prefer more or less insulation based on your own experience.

Waterproofing

Winter = snow. Snow = wet. A true winter boot needs to be waterproof. Every pick in this lineup is such, so you’re good there, but be sure to read the fine print. Our gear editor once “accidentally” sent a tester up Colorado’s 14,439-foot Mt. Elbert (the tallest mountain in Colorado) in winter to test boots that lacked a waterproof membrane. He returned with frostnipped toes and an attitude. Lesson: Only hike through snow with waterproof boots. It’s also good to keep in mind that certain features—like laces—aren’t waterproof, so there is also a variability of uncertainty.

Traction

Whether you’re eager to join the neighborhood broomball game or you simply don’t want to slip when you’ve got to walk your doggo, look for boots that grip icy, snow-covered surfaces.

The lugs, or the bumps on the boots’ rubber outsoles, provide grip, much like an athletic cleat. For maximum traction, invest in boots with deep (more than 4 mm), angular lugs, as these patterns hug the ground while expelling mud and muck. Outsoles infused with fabric, silica or even fiberglass enhance friction on slippery stuff. Shallower lugs work best on large surface areas, like icy sidewalks or driveways.

Activity Level

If you need a practical pair of boots to help you transition from work to adventure, seek out a trail-to-town crossover shoe like the Sorel ONA Rmx GlacyXero Alpine or Manitobah Waterproof Pacific Insulated Puffer 2. If you plan to snowshoe, hike or even backpack in winter, you’re going to need something more technical, like the 7" or 8" Oboz BridgerThe North Face VECTIV Insulated Fastpack or the Baffin Chloe or Snow Monster boots. These have more supportive midsoles, plus features you’ll appreciate on the trail like tall ankle collars and more aggressive lugs.

At times, winter hiking boots aren’t tall enough for deep snow. In these instances, our Expert Advice team suggests investing in a pair of gaiters.

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Methodology

We polled REI staffers for their favorite winter boots sold at REI Co-op, then vetted their nominations against purchase-verified online member reviews. These are their top choices.