Looking for winter boots for women that actually stand up to Canadian winters? It can be easier said than done. Bone-chilling temperatures mean we need cozy, insulated footwear that will keep our toes toasty, plus, support is always key. According to Erin Kesler, a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, you'll also want to look for a boot that has enough grip to keep you safe — especially when ice and compacted snow becomes challenging to navigate.
Women's Revel IV Polar Boot$230
UltraRange EXO Hi Gore-Tex MTE-3 Shoe$260
Madalynn Buckle Water Repellent Bootie$120$199Save $79
Women's Betty Waterproof Short Boot$165$220Save $55
Women's Adirondack III Boot$300
Women's Tivoli IV Parc Boot$150$250Save $100
Women's Pyrenees Waterproof Hiking Boot$230
Billiee Black$75$115Save $40 with code
"You don’t want a boot that has a running shoe-like bottom to it, as there isn’t enough grip to keep you safe in the snow. Treads should be firm and made out of a harder material," she explained. "Mid-cut boots with ankle support are always a plus because the snow can be slippery and make us prone to more injuries. Having that additional ankle support can keep you more stable."
Kesler said that it's also important to note the difference between a shoe being waterproof and water-resistant.
"Boots that are water resistant are good for quick trips to and from the car, but not my ideal pick for days that require more time outside," she said. "Waterproof guarantees that your feet do not get wet as the snow melts and turns wet, and can keep your feet dry when walking through slush, or even standing in a puddle."
What to look for in women's winter boots: Expert
It's important to research and choose winter boots based on individual needs and the specific conditions they will be used in.
When it comes to shopping for quality winter boots, Kesler suggested starting by looking at the insulation levels needed for the area you live in or plan to travel to.
"Some regions require warmer insulators than others. Check that it's waterproof and that the tread is thick and multidirectional," she said.
When it comes to comfort and wearing your winter boots for an extended period, Kesler suggested avoiding canvas or mesh fabrics and thin leather because they can break down with exposure to salt.
"Shoes with thicker leather uppers tend to be more durable — and the same goes for shoes with rubber 'bumpers' at the toes. You want a boot that will move with your foot like a running shoe does," she explained.
She said that you don't want your winter boot to fit loose and have your heel moving up and down with every step you take.
"This can cause blisters, or make your socks continuously fall down. Boots with laces are always my first pick," she added.
Best winter boots for women | Expert picks
To ensure you're choosing the right boot for winter, we had Kesler pick out some options. Check out her picks — and reasoning — below.
Kesler said that the Keen Women's Revel IV Polar Boot is her favourite winter-specific boot and they are the perfect choice for staying warm outside.
"It can take you on winter hikes, shoveling ankle-deep snow, or back and forth on many trips up and down a tobogganing hill," she said. "It is equipped with ice grips on the bottom, which do wonders to prevent falls and create more traction on those slick days, and good insulation to keep those toes warm."
She said that these are the boots that she and her husband wear, adding that they've already lasted several seasons.
Kesler said that if you look for Gore-Tex lining, you're set for any type of wet weather.
"These are great for people with narrower feet, and a narrower shape in their arch. Think of an hourglass-shaped foot, rather than those with a rectangular-shaped foot," she explained.
Kesler also said that these Vans would be good for trendy adults and teens who still want to have more of an edgy style, but without soaking through their usual canvas version of the shoe.
Naturalizer's Madalynn Buckle Water Repellent Bootie are made of breathable, fabric lining for added warmth and comfort. They also have a thermal sock liner for advanced heat retention and a rubber traction outsole for slip resistance.
Kesler said these are a great option for those who still want to look chic in the winter.
"This is a good option for an elevated heel that has some additional tread on the bottom to help with slippery sidewalks. But be careful where you step. A lower heel is always going to keep you safer in the snow and slush," she said.
These Keen boots have Thermal Heat Shield insoles that capture warmth, and they also feature generous space across the forefoot for toes to spread out. That's why Kesler saidKeen is one of her favourite brands for winter boots.
"They fit a variety of foot shapes, have great treads, a wide base, and some models come in wide widths. This specific shoe is one that I recommend frequently to patients because it can take you on your daily errands and out to play in the snow," she said.
Kesler said this classic sheepskin-lined boot delivers warmth as it's rated up to -32 degrees Celcius.
"It's a great boot for keeping warm and keeping your feet happy all day. The option of a higher cut is a nice feature to provide extra warmth to the leg too," she added.
These Sorel boots feature a microfleece lining to keep your feet cozy in those freezing-cold temperatures. This boot does run small, and it's recommended to order the next size up for an optimal fit.
"This is a great choice for those who want that extra cozy feel on their foot, as well as having great traction in the snow," Kesler said.
This Keen hiking boot can take on any type of terrain because it has a higher-traction grip.
"I always, always tell my patients that a waterproof hiking shoe will give the most bang for your buck. It has all the stability you need, and by throwing on a wool sock, you can stay warm, even on cold days. Four seasons of wear, you can’t go wrong with this one," she explained.
These boots are made with a durable rubber outsole and features a slip-on design with elastic side panels, allowing for easy on-and-off wear.
"These are a trendy, elevated version of a Chelsea boot. You won’t get the warmth from these boots, but they are a great option for all-day wear," Kesler said.