Person putting on cozy winter boot with snow on the ground

Winter boot guide: warm, waterproof and versatile

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 splashing through ankle-deep puddles 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 for different winter weather, from coast to coast, for adults and kids.

Best winter boots for warmth

Warmest winter boots

Check out: Kodiak Shari Arctic Grip Waterproof Insulated Boots (left) or Keen Summit County Boots (right)

These boots are for you if: You battle icy cold winters, walk through a lot of snow and slush, and want something dependably warm, day after day.

Why they’re great: Waterproof uppers, grippy soles for traction, and insulation to keep your toes toasty. How cold are we talkin’ here? The Shari Arctic Grip Boots provide warmth and comfort down to -30°C.

Other toasty options:

Best boots for hiking and outdoor activities

Keen Revel III winter boots

Check out: Keen Revel III Winter Boots – women’s (left) or Keen Revel III Winter Boots – men’s (right)

These boots are for you if: You navigate park or snowshoe trails, spend lots of time on your feet, or commute in slush and ice.

Why they’re great: High performance for cold-weather hiking or snowshoeing. A few features? EVA footbeds cushion your feet, grippy soles keep you upright, and the waterproof-breathable membrane lets your feet breathe when you’re active.

What our members are saying:

“Absolutely love them! I have used them for three winters and hundreds of hikes, super comfortable, no blisters, hope Keen keeps making them, perfect for my feet. Highly recommend them.” – review by Amie on mec.ca

We also like these active options:

Most versatile boots for urban 9 to 5ers

The North Face Back to Berkeley waterproof boots

Check out: The North Face Back-to-Berkeley Redux Waterproof Boots

These boots are for you if: You commute in gnarly weather but are also going somewhere that requires something slightly more professional-looking than rugged hiking boots.

Why they’re great: Almost all the performance of a waterproof-insulated hiker with the appeal of a nice-looking boot. They’re a hit with MEC’s photo and video producer, who owns a pair and wears them all the time:

“I spend a ton of time outside on shoots, and these boots have never failed me in nasty weather. They’re way easier to scramble around in compared to giant rainboots, and they’re awesome for dog walking too.” – MEC staffer Jaime

We also have our eye on:

Best waterproof boots for soggy, cold days

Xtratuf Salmon Sisters Rain Boots

Check out: Xtratuf Salmon Sisters Rain Boots

These boots are for you if: You live in a place where rain, puddles and slippery sidewalks are the main winter culprit (hello, Raincouver).

Why they’re great: Durable waterproof rubber keeps your socks dry, and you can roll down the cuffs to show off the liner on gloomy days. For every pair purchased, Salmon Sisters donates a can of wild Alaska salmon to the Alaska Food Bank.

What members are saying:

“I’ve had these for just over a year and they are amazing. I’ve worked in streams and in the intertidal zone with them fully submerged and still no leaks. The soles are very supportive and comfortable – surprising for a rain boot. The non-slip grip can’t be compared. I am constantly on and off boats onto slippery docks, and these provide incredible traction.” – review from Westcoast19 on mec.ca

Want waterproof with more insulation? Check out:

  • Bogs Bozeman Tall Waterproof Insulated Boots: Dry and warm to -60°C, slip resistant, durable stretch rubber, named Outside Magazine‘s best winter boot.
  • Bogs Neo-classic Tall Waterproof Insulated Boots: Waterproof and comfort-rated to -50°C. Comfy gel-cushioned footbeds.

Best winter boots for toddlers

Best winter boots for toddlers

Check out: Kamik Snowbug 3 Boots or Sorel Snow Commander Winter Boots

These boots are for you if: You’re getting used to this whole walking thing, and learning what makes winter fun: sledding, snow angels and climbing piles of snow.

Why they’re great: Simple closure system makes them easy to pull on and off so you can dress yourself (thank you very much). Stuffed with synthetic insulation to keep playing outside longer.

What our members are saying:

“Best kids’ boot for winter. I’ve bought this same pair of boots 3 times now, as my now 5-year-old child has grown. She goes to an outdoor school so is outside for 99% of her day, rain or shine, even at -30°C. They are warm and very durable, and fit toe warmers easily on the colder days…”review by RedStarfish for the Sorel Snow Commanders on mec.ca

Best warm winter boots for kids

Best warm winter boots for kids

Check out: Kamik Snobuster 3 Reflective Boots

These boots are for you if: You love spending hours outside building snowmen after school and going sledding down the big hill at the park.

Why they’re great: The waterproof rubber can handle a million flexes and isn’t affected by temperatures as low as -32°C. Comfy liners keep feet warm and the snow collar is easy for kids to adjust with mitts on.

Other excellent options for serious cold:

  • Columbia Powderbug Forty Boots: With an active temperature rating of -40C, these waterproof boots keep feet super warm in icy slush and snowdrifts.
  • Baffin Mustang Winter Boots: Solid member reviews are proof these boots keep toes toasty. Sturdy seam-sealed outers keep water out, and the plush seven-layer liner is comfy.

Best rain boots for kids

Best rain boots for kids

Check out: Bogs Classic Waterproof Insulated Boots

These boots are for you if: You love stomping around in the rain (no matter what your parents say) and make it your duty to leave no puddle un-splashed.

Why they’re great: 100% waterproof (need we say more?). The 7mm neoprene insulation is flexible and super warm. Fun designs, too.

What our members are saying:

“These boots are the best option for the soggy season that is the ‘wet coast’ reality much of the year. I have bought a few pairs for my kids over the years, they are totally worth it cause they are good for puddle jumping or snow days at the ski hill and are really durable…”review by Brackendale Mom on mec.ca

Bonus: traction devices

Kahtoola microspikes

Check out: Kahtoola Microspikes Traction Devices

These traction devices are for you if: You have to navigate slick sidewalks, packed snow and slippery trails. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how solid your boots are when sheer ice is around.

Why they’re great: They turn any regular boots or shoes into grippy walking machines. Excellent for walking, hiking or even running packed snow. Easy to bring along for “just in case it’s slippery” situations.

What our members are saying:

“These were such a great purchase! The east coast has a lot of ice on the trails this year and I wouldn’t be able to hike safely without them. They don’t shift on my feet and I can basically walk up an icy riverbed without any difficulties because they grip the ice very well. I never slip…” review by JRow on mec.ca

No bad weather, only bad gear

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

Joyce Chua

One of the first to learn about new gear at MEC. Perfect day: hiking, biking or kayaking, plenty of snacks, and squeezing in a nap with her dog Moki.