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.