I need warm winter boots. Help!

My winter boots are showing their age and are no longer waterproof. I would like my new pair to be versatile, but the most important thing is keeping my toes warm. Any recommendations?

Dec 16, 2011
Outside Magazine
Baffin Impact

Baffin Impact    Photo: Courtesy of Baffin

Chaco Credence Tall Nurl

Chaco Credence Tall Nurl

Arcop├ędico L-31

Arcop├ędico L-31

Patagonia Atlee Tie

Patagonia Atlee Tie

Oboz Beartooth

Oboz Beartooth


Nobody enjoys cold toes. Depending on what you'll use the boots for—hiking, traveling, even dogsledding—one of these five pairs should work perfectly.

Chaco’s leather Credence Tall Nurl ($200) is an excellent choice for kicking around town. The Credence is made from a full-grain, unlined leather upper, which sits on a high-performance Vibram outsole. That means you'll be just as comfortable wearing them out to dinner as you are chasing down an errant child on a runaway sled. Plus, they stay dry with seam tape and no zipper, and there’s plenty of room inside for a warm, wicking pair of socks.

Travelers and vegans take note: The Arcopédico L-31 ($175) is comfortable, environmentally friendly, and packable. Arcopédico constructed the boot to reduce friction and prevent blisters, and their shape allows blood to circulate to the entire foot, a boon for long hours on a plane. Better yet, because they're made from 100 percent vegetal leather and latex, they're biodegradable. The uppers are flexible and easy to pack into a tight space, and you can even toss them into the washing machine.

If you happen to spend a lot of time in, say Antarctica, the Baffin Impact ($219) is your boot. Rated to -148F, the 14-inch-high Baffin has an expandable gaiter and an eight-layer liner that provides warmth, comfort, and breathability. Easy to release “Power Buckles” make the boot a cinch to put on and take off, even while wearing fingerless choppers.

Chances are Patagonia's Attlee Tie ($180) will be your slip-on of choice from winter's first snowfall. The Attlee Ties are waterproof and come with a calf-high, pigskin-leather upper that's lined with fully recycled fleece and mounted to a sticky rubber outsole.

I loved the burly Oboz Beartooth ($200) for winter hiking. The boots are loaded with a waterproof nubuck leather outer, a breathable inner membrane, and tough eyelets that kept my laces in place. Somehow Oboz packaged plenty of tech—a two-part, dual-density midsole, injection-molded polypropylene lasting board, and a non-marking carbon outsole—into an old-school, high-performance hiker that comes in a pretty blue and gray-hued package. Just note that the footbed runs a little wide.

—Stephanie Pearson

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