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4 Features To Consider When Buying a Boot

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4 Features To Consider When Buying a Boot

Winter boots do more for your feet than just keeping them dry in snowy, slushy weather. They also keep your feet warm when temperatures drop to dangerously low levels. Your toes are the farthest from your heart than any other part of your body; without the right boots to keep them warm and dry, a little discomfort could turn into serious frostbite. Here’s what you should look for the next time you’re shopping for winter boots.

Consider Activity Level

If you’re just shuffling out to the car, or occasionally shoveling a light snow from the driveway, you can choose a lightweight boot that provides a moderate amount of insulation. If you must walk through heavy snow for longer durations, choose a high-cut, well-insulated boot that is waterproof. If you spend long periods of time sitting or standing still, you’ll need the most heavily insulated boot you can find as your feet will become colder faster due to the lack of activity.


Making sure your boots are waterproof from the outside is important. However, if moisture cannot escape the inside of the boot, your feet can become uncomfortable and bacterial growth inside the boot can cause unpleasant odors.

The tradeoff for breathability is usually lessening of the water resistance of the boot. If you do not have to spend extended periods in deep snow, some boots feature a mesh upper area that allows moisture to escape—but can let water in. If your feet perspire heavily, or if you must have completely waterproof boots, it can pay off to spend more on specialty materials like Gore-Tex which offer the best of both.


Just like a good tire for your car, you’ll want to make sure your boots have good traction to keep you from slipping and sliding. Depending on the terrain, you’ll want to make sure your boots have the right features to keep you safe.

For hiking and other outdoor activities, look for large lugs and a heel brake to prevent falls on uneven surfaces. For walking on sidewalks, choose a softer rubber sole that grips on slick, even surfaces. If you put a lot of miles on your boots each year, look for boots with an interchangeable outsole that you can change after it wears out to prolong the life of your boot.

Comfort & Support

Trudging around in heavy boots can put extra strain on your legs and back. Most of today’s boots feature lightweight materials, but if you are very active outdoors during the winter, be sure to find the lightest boot that is warm and waterproof enough for your needs.

Lacing and ankle support are also important to keep you stable. Not every tall boot provides ankle support; look for a padded, firm ankle with lacing all the way to the top of the boot. Make sure to choose a boot that offers correct insoles and padding for proper arch support.

Fit is also important for comfort and support. A boot that is too large can be too unstable, and a too-small boot can lead to foot and back pain. Have your feet professionally measured before choosing your boots to ensure the best fit for a safe, comfortable winter season.

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