MEC Pride Logo

Winter boot guide: warm, waterproof and versatile

October 19, 2020

Found in Gear

I’ve lived in Ontario, Alberta and BC, so I have experience with Canada’s different flavours of winter – and I know just how important the right pair of winter boots is.

Whether you’ll be building snowforts in Toronto or navigating muddy winter trails in Vancouver, a trusty pair of boots is key. To help you wade through the many options out there, we’ve pulled together our top winter boot picks.

Best winter boots for warmth

These boots are for you if you battle double digit cold temps, walk through a lot of snow and slush, and want something dependably warm, day after day.

  • Baffin Icefield Waterproof Winter Boots (above left): For winter’s most extreme conditions. Active temperature rating is -100°C. Runs a bit small so consider sizing up.

  • Baffin Snow Monster Waterproof Winter Boots(above right): Ready for polar expeditions. Shells stay flexible in temperatures that would crack lesser footwear.

  • Columbia Heavenly Omni-Heat Winter Boots: Reflective lining with toasty 200g Omni-Heat insulation for an active temperature rating of -32°C.

  • UGG Adirondack Boots: Rated down to a brisk -32°C and has a fuzzy wool lining. One of our best-selling winter boots.

Grippiest boots

Do you have a lot of slippery trails or slick dog walking routes to contend with? Get a pair of winter boots with incredibly grippy soles. (Or scroll down for traction devices to make any boots instantly grippy.)

Best waterproof boots

If you live in a place where wet slush and deep puddles are the main winter culprit, these are for you. They’re way warmer options than flimsy rubber boots.

  • Muck Arctic Ice Arctic Grip Tall Winter Boots (above left): A rugged rubber exterior, 8mm of neoprene, and a soft fleece lining. Available in women’s and men’s.

  • Zamberlan 960 Guide GORE-TEX® RR Hiking Boots (above right): The GORE-TEX membrane is thermo-sealed into a bootie that provide waterproofness with breathability.

  • UGG Butte Waterproof Chelsea Winter Boots: Waterproof leather uppers over a waterproof bootie seals out the elements.

  • Keen Revel IV EXP Mid Polar Waterproof Winter Boot: Warmth without bulk. The waterproof-breathable membrane keeps feet dry, while the insulation keeps feet toasty.

Best boots for winter hiking and outdoor activities

Don’t let winter slow you down. These active winter boots will keep your feet warm while hiking, snowshoeing, or shoveling the driveway in cold temperatures.

Most versatile for urban 9–5ers

For winter walks that might end up somewhere that require something a little nicer than rugged hiking boots. Outdoor patio season might be a popular thing this year, after all.

  • Timberland Mt Maddsen Chukka Shoes (above left): Waterproof membrane construction with gusseted tongues to keep out splashes. Tough lugged soles too.

  • Timberland Mt Hayes Waterproof Chukkas (above right): Full-grain leather upper with a waterproof-breathable membrane, plus winter-ready Primaloft insulation.

  • UGG Selima Waterproof Boots: Waterproof leather and suede is fully seam-sealed for weather protection. The wool and lyocell lining and wool insole keeps feet warm.

  • Blundstones: Winter versions of Blunnies are completely waterproof (including the elastic gore panels) with sealed seams. A cozy sheepskin footbed provides additional warmth.

Bonus: traction devices and gaiters

Turn any regular boots or shoes into grippy walking machines. Traction devices are excellent for walking, hiking or even running on packed snow. Easy to bring along for “just in case it’s slippery” situations.

  • Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction Device (above left): Our top-selling traction device. The stainless steel spike design is excellent for walking, hiking, or running on packed snow, and provides excellent traction on ice.

  • Kahtoola NANOspikes Footwear Traction (above right): Strong tungsten carbide spikes bite into hard ice, and the rubber remains flexible down to -35C. Excellent for winter running.

Gaiters add an extra layer of protection between you and deep snow or slushy puddles. Pop them on to keep snow and ice from sneaking into your boots when you’re hiking or walking.

  • MEC Kokanee Gaiters(above left): Technical gaiters with waterproof-breathable GORE-TEX® uppers and a nylon lower that resists water and snow pick-up.

  • MEC Nylon Gaiters(above right): Water-resistant gaiters with a double-layer bottom panel for durability.

All backed by our guarantee

The right pair will keep you playing outside longer without worrying about cold feet. If they don’t work out like expected, know that everything at MEC is backed by our Rocksolid Guarantee – and we offer price matching too.

Recent articles