9 best women’s snow boots to keep feet warm and dry this winter

Wool is good at trapping in warmth yet also stops you getting sweaty, while synthetic insulation is often lighter to wear (iStock/The Independent)
Wool is good at trapping in warmth yet also stops you getting sweaty, while synthetic insulation is often lighter to wear (iStock/The Independent)

There’s nothing worse than cold, wet feet. Invest in a decent pair of snow boots and you can comfortably tackle anything the winter brings, whether you’re hitting the slopes or building a snowman in the garden with the kids.

There is a huge selection of styles to choose from, but good snow boots should keep you warm and dry so the weather won’t hold you back. First, it’s essential they’re waterproof to make sure they’ll keep out the damp even in deep snow. Check the upper is water-resistant too, to keep your ankle and lower leg just as dry as your toes.

Inside, boots need top-notch insulation to keep you warm even when you’re out in the cold all day. Wool is good at trapping in warmth yet also stops you getting sweaty, while synthetic insulation such as Thinsulate and Thermolite are often lighter to wear. Some brands will even list the minimum temperatures the boot can handle, which is useful if you’re planning a ski holiday or heading somewhere particularly chilly. Other features to look for include adjustable toggles, padded insoles, breathable membranes, reinforced heels or toes and anti-odour technology.

Finally, check out the sole of any boots before buying. A pair with good traction and grooves in a chunky sole is essential for winter hiking but will also stop you slipping on black ice when running for the bus each morning.

How we tested

While we haven’t faced any snow flurries yet, we still put these boots through their paces by wearing them all in heavy rain and biting winds to guarantee they kept our feet cosy. We tried them hiking through muddy forests and up hills to test their soles, and splashed through every puddle in sight to make sure they kept our feet dry. We also considered how easy they were to get on, how comfortable they were and if they were suitable for everyday wear or strictly for the slopes.

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The best women’s snow boots for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Hunter women’s insulated short snow boot: £115,

  • Best everyday boots – Lands’ End women’s insulated cuffed snow boots: £37.50,

  • Best budget buy – Quechua women’s warm waterproof snow lace-up boots – SHX500 x-warm: £39.99,

  • Best trainer-style boot – Columbia women’s slopeside village omni-heat mid boot: £100,

  • Best for skiing – Merrell women’s snowcreek cozy polar waterproof nylon: £110,

  • Best in the city – Keen women’s Greta waterproof Chelsea: £124.99,

  • Best hiking boot – Helly Hansen W sorrento: £120,

  • Best adjustable boots – Dare 2b women’s cazis faux fur collar trim boots black: £44.95,

  • Best on ice – The Original Muck Boot Company women’s arctic ice nomadic vibram all terrain short boots: £185,

Hunter women’s insulated short snow boot

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

British brand Hunter is best known for its iconic wellies, worn by everyone from Kate Moss to the Queen, but its snow boot is well worth the investment too.

Available in short and tall versions, they are 100 per cent waterproof and certified vegan, and feel more like wearing a cosy pair of socks than boots. They don’t skimp on the technical details either. There’s a fleece lining to keep feet snug in temperatures as low as -22°C, a hydroguard waterproof internal membrane to keep toes dry and an ortholite footbed that made us feel we were floating over the ground. The pull-on style makes them super-easy to slip on in a second, while the handy kick spur means you won’t have to wrestle them off. We especially loved the drawstring around the opening too, which really fastened the boot tightly around our leg to keep snow out and warmth inside.

Just be aware, they do come up a little large so you may need to size down if you’re between sizes. Then just hope for snow so you can show these beauties off.

Buy now £115.00,

Lands’ End women’s insulated cuffed snow boots

Best: Everyday boots

Rating: 7/10

These definitely don’t look like boots you could go stomping up mountains in. With a black or dark grey suede upper and plush faux-fur trim, you could easily wear these boots to work or somewhere smart and no one would bat an eyelid.

Yet they’re hardier than they look. Weather-resistant with an adjustable toggle to keep rain and snow out, they have decent sturdy rubber soles which have a surprisingly good grip to keep you steady. They also have microfleece lining and 200g Thermolite insulation although we needed an extra pair of socks when the weather was really cold. We also found them a little snug across our upper foot so anyone with wider feet should try them on carefully before buying to check they’re comfortable. However, if you’re looking for a pair of boots to see you through the winter and still look smart, these are a great well-priced buy.

Buy now £37.50,

Quechua women’s warm waterproof snow lace-up boots – SHX500 x-warm

Best: Budget buy

Rating: 9/10

These look far more expensive than the price tag and would work just as well on the slopes as on a snowy day popping to the local shop. We loved the fact they are a little taller than most boots and really felt super snug on, with thermal insulation that protects to -5C when static and -18 when moving. The furry upper edge adds an extra cosiness too.

The boots are waterproof over their full height and 4mm studs on the sole mean you will have a good grip even in the slipperiest conditions. They’re available in dark blue, light grey or beige and can easily be widened down the whole boot length. This makes them a great choice for anyone who struggles with taller boots fitting over their calves or who just wants extra room for wearing over jeans or thick socks.

Buy now £39.99,

Columbia women’s slopeside village omni-heat mid boot

Best: Trainer style boot

Rating: 7/10

If you’re a dedicated trainer wearer and can’t bear to be parted even in the snow, these boots are the perfect solution. Available in black or a clay colour, they look like a padded trainer but are entirely waterproof with a seam-sealed construction and even a waterproof zipper so you can get them on and off in no time.

Though we think you’d need something a little more sturdy if you were hitting the slopes, the Omni-Grip high traction rubber sole means you definitely won’t go flying if you’re late on the school run on an icy morning. The boots will also fend off frostbite with 200g insulation and an Omni-Heat reflective lining to retain body heat. Unlike some snow boots, we found these really easy to wear all day too, thanks to fantastic responsive cushioning and a lightweight Techlite midsole that won’t give you tired legs by lunchtime.

Buy now £100.00,

Merrell women’s snowcreek cozy polar waterproof nylon

Best: For skiing

Rating: 9/10

We felt like we were walking on air in these brilliant boots which have air cushions in the heel to absorb shock and add stability. They were easy to wear all day as a result, though we did feel they came up on the large side so we needed to fasten the boot-length laces tightly to ensure they felt secure. They’re very easy to adjust for all widths as a result and we felt well supported around our ankles.

Slightly taller than some of the other boots we tested, these would be great in deep snow and on a ski holiday as they really kept our feet warm and dry. They have a synthetic upper, faux fur collar and 200g of lightweight, low bulk insulation that felt extremely cosy. The soles really wowed us though. Made of Merrell mountain-grade Quantum Grip rubber, they didn’t feel overly bulky yet made us confident we could handle the iciest ground without a slip. This is definitely a boot that means business.

Buy now £110.00,

Keen women’s greta waterproof Chelsea

Best: In the city

Rating: 8/10

If you’re more likely to be tackling icy pavements after a night out than heading up the mountains this winter, these are the perfect boots for you. They look like a standard pull-on Chelsea boot but have all the technical muscle of a decent hiking boot so you can get on with life whatever the weather – and look good too.

Incredibly, the brands lightweight Keen.Warm insulation keeps feet cosy down to a teeth-chattering -32°C, while the thermal heat shield insole retains warmth and is heavenly to walk on. They tick the waterproof box too, with a breathable membrane that lets vapour out without letting water in. Made with environmentally preferred premium leather, they have a hefty rubber outsole for traction and are also a great choice for those with wider feet as they are generously sized across the front. While they’re a little too short to tackle deep snow, we reckon these are a brilliant winter staple for any city dweller.

Buy now £124.99,

Helly Hansen Sorrento

Best: Hiking boot

Rating: 9/10

Winter hikes will be a breeze with these great boots made of waterproof suede and synthetic leather. They have a serious no-messing rubber sole which we found didn’t budge an inch on even the slipperiest ground, and the boots dry astonishingly quickly, making them great for long walks. They lace up very securely too so you feel ready for anything.

Best of all, they’re extremely comfortable from the very first day, so we didn’t need to break them in at all before wearing them for several hours. The ortholite foam insoles are a dream to walk on, with a high level of breathability and plush cushioning that really makes a difference under-foot. They’re fairly lightweight too with a faux-fur lining and 100g of Primaloft insulation, although they weren’t quite as warm as some of the others we tested. However, they’d be a great choice to wear all winter-long in the UK.

Buy now £120.00,

Dare 2b women’s cazis faux fur collar trim boots black

Best: Adjustable boots

Rating: 8/10

If you always avoid taller boots because you struggle getting them over your calves, this clever pair is the answer. Made of a woven textile and PU upper, they have a lace all around the leg from the sole to the trim that can be tightened or adjusted accordingly to get the perfect fit. This makes them ideal to fit all leg shapes but also means they can easily go over jeans or extra socks as needed, with a handy toggle fastening on the trim to keep snow out.

We also found them very comfortable to wear, thanks to a die cut eva footbed for added support, while the microfleece lining kept our toes toasty. They weren’t quite as grippy as some other pairs, but still have a decent rubber sole that won’t send you flying at the first flurry.

Buy now £44.95,

The Original Muck Boot Company women’s arctic ice nomadic vibram all terrain short boots

Best: On ice

Rating: 8/10

You’re going nowhere if you have a pair of these boots on your feet. Made by a brand that offers 100 per cent “muckproof” footwear to withstand every element, these camo print boots have one seriously sturdy sole, featuring vibram arctic grip all-terrain technology to perform on wet and dry surfaces. We felt we could tackle anything wearing them, from a hill slick with wet mud to a road glittering with black ice.

They feel exceptionally snug too, with 200g of cosmo therm insulation and a fleece lining within a 100 per cent waterproof exterior. There’s also plenty of other winter wizardry to tough out even the bleakest weather including a lightweight midsole, a bioDEWIX dry antimicrobial footbed insert top cover and an oversized pull-tab to make getting them on and off a doddle. Our only complaint is the ankle opening is quite wide, so deep snow could sneak inside if you were particularly unlucky. Otherwise, these are a great investment you’ll pull out every year.

Buy now £185.00,

The verdict: Women’s snow boots

We were smitten by the Hunter women’s insulated short snow boot as they were so comfortable to wear yet really kept out the wet and cold. We’d also feel as happy wearing them on a winter walk in the city as we would in a ski resort. If you want to spend less and still know your boots won’t let you down, choose the Quechua women’s warm waterproof snow lace-up boots.

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