Winter slop and cold weak havoc on your warm season hiking and work boots. But solid winter boots don’t have to be bulky and awkward. Case in point: The following winter boots give you all the insulation and weatherproofing you need to deal with nasty weather alongside all the feel of standard hikers and other less-battened down boots. They’re also comfortable and stylish. That makes them our top choices for everything from snow hikes to urban rambling to shoveling the driveway this winter.
Blundstone Thermal Boot
We have already sung the praises of the Blundstone Classic 500 as the ultimate do-it-all dude boot, a tough, comfy boot for everything from hiking Italy’s Cinque Terre to shoveling manure. The insulated version gives you that same versatility and casual style but adds an inner layer of Thinsulate insulation alongside the waterproof leather outer to cut the chill.
Danner Raptor 650
Drawing on the classic Danner hiking boot style, this winter boot provides a lot of warmth, making it a favorite for snow shoveling or just kicking around in the bars in a place like Jackson, Wyoming. A cozy layer of PrimaLoft Gold insulation, which offers the most heat-retaining bang for your buck at its weight, and Danner Dry waterproofing, protect your feet from the worst Ma Nature can drum up—but a blend of leather and wool on the outside mean it doesn’t look too technical. Plus, the grippy Vibram Escape sole helps you keep your footing on slick trails or sidewalks.
Columbia Canuk Titanium Omni-Heat Outdry Ex Boot
A boot for serious endeavors that can withstand brutal conditions, the Canuk packs a lot of technology into the frame of a trekking boot. A buff 600 grams of insulation give it a cold comfort rating down to -65 Fahrenheit and a tough outer with Columbia’s Outdry waterproof membrane all combine in a surprisingly light — just one pound 6.5 ounces peer shoe —and agile shoe. Plus, the Michelin (yes, the tire brand) outsole features a lug pattern hat provides a lot of traction in packed snow, making this an ideal boot for serious work or climbing up snowy trails. That grip and insulation also make it perfect for a long day on a sledding or tubing hill with the kids.
Merrell Thermo Rogue Mid Gore-Tex
Seeking comfort and security? Here’s a winter hiker that gives you some breathing room. Made with a soft mesh upper reinforced by a breathable Gore-tex membrane this boots feels light and airy on the trail. Don’t fear, however, it’s also puffed up with Primaloft insulation to keep out the chill when you stomp through fish snow. But the real game changer here is the Vibram Arctic Grip Dura sole which grips on wet ice like an octopus. That traction will give you a lot of confidence both on steep, rocky winter trails and simply walking your dog on an icy day.
Dressy enough for a night on the town or a shift in front of your computer, the Wintrerhaven proves the perfect cold-weather companion for urban explorers. Lightly insulated and seam-sealed enough to withstand a dunking in a slush puddle, they weigh less than a pound per shoe. Best of all, the lacing system comes from Keen’s hiking boots, meaning the fit stay snug whether you are running to catch a bus or cutting it up on the dance floor.
Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 Spikes GTX
There’s no reason wintry weather should cut off your hiking addiction and this beefed-up Gore-tex adventure shoe can tackle even the most intimidating snowed-in and iced-over paths. Credit that gusto to Salomon’s Spikes soles, which indeed feature embedded carbide-tip micro-spikes that keep you from slipping out on the slick stuff. That makes the a godsend on icy pavement, too Just don’t wear them on wood floors.