Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Despite boots being considered more sturdy and protective than shoes, that doesn’t mean all boots can stand up to cold weather conditions equally. There are three main factors that need to be looked at to determine whether or not a boot is suitable for bad weather: traction, warmth, and ability to repel water.
Some boots that meet this criteria are kept stocked while others may require a custom order. As such, we’ve compiled a list to help you select a boot that properly fits your needs.
1) L.L. Bean: 8″ Bean Boot with Goretex and Thinsulate
L.L. Bean Boots are the gold standard for bad weather boots. Their leather shaft and rubber sole will keep your feet dry without fully sacrificing breathability. Their tread offers fantastic traction and is designed to not accumulate snow on the sole. This particular model features Thinsulate to maximize warmth and Goretex to ensure your feet stay dry, although these features do make the boot less breathable. When it comes to cold weather boots, sometimes you have to accept the negatives along with the positivess.
Available for $189 from L.L. Bean.
2) Rancourt: Shearling Lined Chukka Moccasins
Thinsulate is not the only way to make a well insulated boot. One more traditional method is to line the boots with shearling, which is not only warm but also incredibly comfortable. This option by Rancourt takes just this approach. The Christy sole on this model might not be ideal for icy conditions, but it would be more than adequate for most levels of precipitation. Furthermore, Rancourt takes custom orders, so adding a shearling lining to one of their other models is far from out of the question. If you live in an area with heavy ice and snow, customizing a pair to have both a shearling lining and a large tread would be an excellent option.
Available for $340 from The Field Outfitter.
3) Danner: 5″ Mountain Light
Not everyone finds hiking boots to be stylish, but if you do then the Mountain Light might be the perfect pair of winter boots for you. They are seamlessly constructed from a single piece of leather to keep water out, which is further ensured by their Goretex lining. Their sole offers incredible traction and Danner’s stitchdown construction is fully rebuildable. Keep in mind, these boots are shorter than many of the other models on this list, which is less than ideal for deep snow.
Available for $360 from Danner.
4) Frye: 7.2″ Warren Battle
Frye boots don’t always get the love they deserve from the raw denim community, but some of their products really hit the nail on the head. The Warren Battle boot is a Goodyear welted boot with a heavy lug sole and shearling lining. Not only will they give you excellent traction in icy and snowy conditions, but they will be incredibly soft and comfortable while doing so. This combat boot is finished with brass hardware, rawhide laces, and tonal stitching.
Available for $478 from Frye.
5) Red Wing: 6″ Ice Cutter
Many of boots in Red Wing’s Heritage line are not ideal for bad weather due to a lack of insulation and soles that lack traction; however, the Ice Cutter addresses both of these problems. This boot is lined with wool to keep your feet warm and toasty, and the lugged sole offers excellent grip in all weather conditions. Finally, these boots are finished with a stormwelt to keep them watertight.
Available for $390 from Nordstrom.
Plus One – Russel Moccasin: 9″ Featherweight Double Vamp Birdshooter
Russell Moccasin produces custom boots using traditional moccasin construction, which helps to create the perfect boot for winter. This model features a double vamp, which means there are two layers of leather around your foot instead of one–this helps to ensure that no water will leak into the boot. And to help with warmth, four different levels of Thinsulate are available for a small fee between $22 and $37. Since most of their boots are custom, Russell is able to offer a multitude of soles, vamp layers, leather types, and the aforementioned Thinsulate levels to make exactly the boot you want.
Available for $448 from Russell Moccasin, which includes the double vamp and 200g of Thinsulate.