Boot season is here but, if your plans will land you in the rain, snow, dirt or mud, boot season means something quite opposite from the trending fashion of ankle boots and knee highs.
For the Outdoors men and women, ankle support, water resistance and the best brands for winter weather are what we search for in a good winter boot.
Outdoor winter apparel is all about having reliable, quality gear that will keep you safe and comfortable in the elements, for as long as humanly possible.
With a moody season like Winter, it's hard to pick one boot and say "Yes! This is the best winter boot for outdoor activities - go buy it now." There are just too many variables at play for winter time in the Outdoors.
So, instead of reviewing the single "Best Winter Boot of 2017," we decided to compare a variety of winter boots based on different climates and outdoor activities.
We broke it down into best winter hiking boots, best winter boots for travel, and best winter boots for coastal activities.
This way, you can find the best winter boot to suit your personal Outdoor lifestyle.
Best Winter Hiking Boots
We referred to our friends at Outdoor Gear Lab to pin down the best winter hiking boot on the market. They tested a range of winter boots and came up with a few great ones. The North Face Chilkat 400 and the Vasque Snowburban II Ultra Dry were their top rated winter boots for men. However, in my opinion, their top picks for women's winter boots seemed be lacking as far as hiking practicality goes.
To compensate, we shared their top two men's winter boots, along with a similar women's version of each boot. Then, we added a review of our personal favorite winter hiking boot from Salomon.
The North Face Chilkat 400 Womens
Vasque Women's Coldspark Ultradry Snow Boat
Review of Salomon X Ultra Winter CS
Salomon's line of winter boots has been my hiking companion through many a snow storm. The Salomon X Ultra boots, in particular, are lightweight when compared to other options on the market. Which, is a huge plus for my winter hiking. They are great for mild snow conditions, with a focus on comfort and warmth.
Where these boots come up short is under heavy snow conditions. Their traction is not the best, and I definitely wouldn't head into harsh or extremely icy winter weather without gaiters on these boots.
Best Winter Boots For Traveling
Winter boots can get clunky and, as a result, make travel unbearable. They successfully take up every inch of the already small foot space on an airplane. And, if you sit for too long, there's no promising your feet won't fall asleep.
If you aren't headed for the ice covered trails, a minimalistic, lightweight, winter boot might be your best traveling companion. Here are a few of our favorite stylish, yet practical, 2017 Winter Boots.
Best Winter Boots For Coastal Activities
As a coast dwelling creature myself, I spend the majority of the Winter season in a rainy, unpredictable climate. Especially, living south of the Mason-Dixon line, where Winter means it might be 30 degrees and snowing or 70 and raining.
A boot that is both waterproof, and comfortable in a variety of temperatures is ideal for coastal winters. Whether you are hunting, fishing, or trekking through the muck, a water-resistant boot just won't cut it here. Water Proof is a huge qualifying factor for the best winter boot in a coastal environment. By waterproof, I mean like Neoprene, wading in the water kind of waterproof.
Unfortunately, the comfort and support of a hiking boot is lost when you start looking for Neoprene. However, there are a few options for quality Neoprene boots that are comfortable enough to walk in for miles.
Review of XTRATUF Legacy 15 in. Boot
After spending a summer commercial fishing in Alaska, my Neoprene loyalty lies in a love for Xtratufs, and I'm not alone. It is the boot of America's Last Frontier - and if anyone knows about living in the elements, it's Alaska. These boots are comfortable enough to hike in and durable enough to keep your feet dry.
If your coastal Winter has more snow than slush, these boots aren't going to keep you warm. Luckly, a lined version or a few inserts can help solve that problem. Another rising problem with the Xtratuf brand is the good ol' fashion "they ain't as good as they once were." After switching manufacturing from USA made to China (whomp) the quality of the Xtratruf brand has notably declined. As a result, a once loyal customer base has started considering other options. Brands like Grudens have introduced similar boots into the market, as Xtratuf works to return their once reliable quality.