Boots have to provide two qualities to be suitable for use during the winter: insulation and water-resistance. If your boots can’t keep your feet warm and they can’t keep your feet dry, then they’re just not suitable for wintertime use.
And of those two imperative qualities, waterproofing is the most important factor. Once your socks grow sodden after snow, slush, or rain inundate your footwear, the insulation properties of the boots are no longer of much importance. It’s no coincidence that most of the boots on our list have the word “waterproof” right in the product title.
That said, what someone living in the country looks for in a winter boot may be totally different than someone living in the city. Because of that, we’ve tested a number of boots, and round up our top 10 best winter boots for men available on the market.
Top 10 best winter boots for men in UK 2021
1. Muck Boots’ Arctic Sport boots
Muck Boots are a popular choice for all seasons and terrains, but the Arctic Sport boots are designed with an additional 2mm of thermal foam atop 8mm of neoprene, earning a broad comfort rating between -40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
They’re great for shoveling the driveway or running to the store while keeping you and your clothes muck-free. They’ll also suffice for a light hike, and are excellent on any flatland adventures.
The Arctic Sport boots are also fleece-lined, completely waterproof right to the top, and incorporate a breathable “airmesh” lining, keeping your feet dry from within and without.
The lightweight rubber sole is reparable, so if you find a fissure after a few seasons of wear and tear, a quick patch job will have them ship-shape in short order.
2. Blundstone 566 (Thermal)
Blundstone’s sleek silhouette has earned the Ozzie Chelsea iconoclast status. The brand’s Thermal Boots have a touch of Thinsulate under the leather vamp that stretches their utility beyond the Australian outback.
The Blundstone 566 ($206) is deceivingly slim — so slim, in fact, that when we unboxed the boot, we weren’t sure we received the right model. But don’t let its svelte lines keep you inside. The Thinsulate liner punches above its weight, is fully waterproof, and is warm enough to wear to work on frigid days. What seals the deal, though, is the plush shearling footbed that feels like you’re walking on a cloud.
Two generous pull tabs and elastic stretch panels make it easy to pull the boot on and off.
The boot feels a little stiff, and the low cut won’t keep deep snow from funneling in. But for Blunnie-hounds looking to kick the classic styling well into the cooler months, the Thermals are a solid bet. The fit is true, but keep in mind Australian sizes run one full size smaller (for example, a U.S. 10 is an Australian/U.K. 9).
3. Adidas terrex free hiker cold
Adidas has taken its proven free hiker boot and effectively winterised it, encasing the upper in Gore-Tex “duratherm” for undeniable waterproofing and insulation and underlining it all with a winter specific continental rubber. The outsole will help keep you on track over cold, hard ground with a full-length boost midsole for comfort and ease of walking.
The stretchy Gore-Tex at the boot’s high collar stopped any ingress from snow when ploughing through a drift and provided a barrier against stones and grit when walking over more open ground. The lengthy front zipper means you won’t end up with any lacing issues and provides a totally enclosed snow boot that will keep feet dry and insulated for as long as you need to be outside.
4. Timberland 6-inch premium waterproof boot
Decades of rap videos might have convinced you that Timberland’s iconic six-inch work boots are a thing best kept box-fresh and pristine, steered clear of the elements altogether. But that’s doing your Timbs a massive disservice. Fact is, those nubuck uppers you’re being so precious about are fully waterproofed, lined with PrimaLoft insulation, and built to combat much more extreme conditions and strenuous environments than you probably ever encounter on a day-to-day basis. Spray ‘em down first if you must, give them a quick wipe every once in awhile, but don’t be afraid to treat them like the true-blue winter boots they are.
5. Blundstone 550 Boots
Technically part of the Australian bush boot lineage of boots, Blundstone’s 550 boot is one of the best values you can get. It’s a top choice for people in every industry thanks to the tough leather upper, shock-absorption and classic design.
6. Merrell Thermo Chill
Merrell is known for providing a lot of bang for your buck, and we like what they’ve come up with in the Thermo Chill. The hiking boot-inspired design has a soft and cozy lining, roomy toe box that pairs well with heavyweight socks (something a surprising number of boots don’t allow), and enough flexibility in the construction to be comfortable while walking or even driving. Moreover, the boot’s sturdy upper and waterproof lining do a nice job repelling moisture. Tack on a price of $110, and the Merrell adds up to one of the better values currently on the market.
Where the Thermo Chill comes up short is in the backcountry. The lightweight 200-gram insulation does a pretty good job of keeping you warm without overheating, but the boot is noticeably lacking in stability. We found the heel cup to be overly roomy to effectively lock in your feet on the uphill, and the basic lacing system doesn’t offer a very solid hold overall. Further, the padding is rather thin around the ankles and is missing the confidence-inspiring support that you get with higher-end options like Salomon’s X Ultra Winter over rough ground. But these complaints don’t matter much for around-town wear and light winter walks in less-than-extreme conditions. For these uses, the Thermo Chill is a well-priced and perfectly suitable choice.
7. Globe x YES Apres Boot
World-famous Aussie skate shoe brand Globe has teamed up with the radical snow crew of YES to create the answer to every hard-partying ski and snowboarder’s problems – a good-looking boot that won’t have you slipping and sliding around after one too many post-piste beers. With an ankle-high, waterproof design, a reliable Vibram sole and a quilted Cordura collar for comfort, this premium leather clodhopper will ensure the only ice you’re getting a mouthful of is from your drink and not on the bar’s decking.
8. Salomon Utility Freeze CS WP Boot
In both peat green and black color options, the Salomon Utility Freeze CS WP Boot is a waterproof shoe for everyday winter wear. With all-important winter traction and a modern, sleek look, this boot proves bulky winter shoes aren’t your only option for function. Faux-fur lining keeps your feet warm, while the 100% waterproof outer keeps your toes dry.
9. Inov8 Roclite 345 Gore-TEX Trail Walking Boots – AW19
If you’re all about practicality, then these babies from Inov8 have that in abundance! These technical hiking boots are built using synthetic materials to keep their weight down, which could become a problem when the heavens open, but thanks to their Gore-Tex lining, your hooves will stay bone dry.
On top of that, they’ve got a rubber sole infused with Graphene for additional strength and flexibility. These efficient boots even came number one in our hiking boots for men article, we just don’t think most folks need this much functionality for walking around their town center.
10. Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Hundreds of five-star reviewers describe these Timberland boots as “waterproof,” including one who says, “I hiked through mud, snow, and water and my feet stayed completely dry.” Another reviewer attests, “I’ve had no issues with tromping through streams and deep snow with these.” Durable is another word that comes up in hundreds of reviews, including this one, from a customer who’s on his second pair of these boots: “My first pair lasted me almost 10 years. That’s 10 years of hiking, hunting, dog walking, Michigan winters, shoveling snow, chopping wood, etc.” He also describes them as, “more comfortable than any tennis shoe that I’ve ever worn,” and that sentiment is echoed by other reviewers, including this one who says, “I broke them in with one week of light wear before the trip and I never had any discomfort, pain, or blisters.” They’re also versatile and stylish enough that they can be worn to the office: “These shoes are not only tough, but good looking. I’ve worn these things to work (an office environment) about 90 percent of the time due to the comfort derived from them.” As this reviewer sums it, these boots are “Completely awesome. Light as a feather. Comfortable and warm. Look good too. Really fantastic boot.” They’re available in ankle height, too.
It’s fair to say there are a wide array of choices when it comes to finding the right winter boot! Although the aesthetic will play a big part, there are some other factors to consider too. In this section, we’ll be taking a closer look at these nuances.
Choose a Style That Will Suit Your Needs
The first factor you’ll need to consider is the style of boot you want. Now, if we were to go through all the different styles of bloke’s boots, we would need a much bigger word count. So instead, we’ve grouped them into three easy categories – formal, casual and technical.
Look for Formal Boots if You Want to Maintain a Sharp Look
If you’re keen to maintain a sharp look throughout the colder months, but the extreme drop in temperature has taken the oxford shoes off the table, don’t fear! There are still many formal styles that you can turn to.
The formal or dress boot, such as a classic Chelsea boot or brogue boot, adopts timeless characteristics and silhouettes from more traditional shoes. The difference is, they’ll reach higher up the ankle and have better-equipped soles. If you’re looking to keep it professional, stick to classic colours like browns and blacks.
Casual Boots Look Elegant and Are Still Easy to Wear
A casual boot will be stylish, yet easy to wear, and look smart with practically anything. This style will usually have a lower height than either formal or technical boots with fewer eyelets for the laces.
Some of the most popular styles are the desert boot, chukka boots and the classic Timberlands. While this style works well in winter with thicker socks and other weather-appropriate attire, they’re really the only boot that can make the transition to summer months due to their lighter construction.
Technical Boots Are Perfect for the Man Who Prioritises Function Over Aesthetic
Technical and hiking gear seem to be having a bit of a moment in fashion right now, and if we’re being honest, we love it! These types of garments are great for outdoors-y types as they have specific features that protect in trickier terrains and challenging climates.
Technical boots will provide excellent weatherproofing, and total coverage, which in turn means more security and stability. However, due to their cumbersome nature, they could have limited flexibility and movement.
The Material You Choose Can Affect the Price and Durability
Another important choice is what material they are made from. The most common, and obvious choice is leather. This is because leather is hard-wearing and durable, comfortably outlasting other materials in this arena. They’re also waterproof and offer natural support to your feet, though it’s worth remembering that leather often requires breaking-in.
However, not everyone will want to wear products made from animal skins. In which case, you have two options; boots made from synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon or canvas will be lighter and can be worn straight from the box. They’re often cheaper too! They just won’t be as durable, or as weatherproof, unless they come with a lining (more on this later).
You may instead want to try a pair of boots made from faux leather or faux suede. These materials are created using a plastic base which is then treated with wax, dye or PU (polyurethane) to get the same colour and texture as the material they’re imitating. The biggest selling point is that you can get a similar look and feel to the original, without the harm caused.
Look for a Lining for Added Comfort and Warmth
This is a surprisingly infrequent feature, so you’re most likely only going to find a lining in casual styles that focus on comfort and some technical boots. A good lining will take away the need for thick winter socks and will usually be made from insulating synthetic materials or wool. You might prefer a waterproof lining, such as Gore-Tex, especially if the outer material isn’t already waterproof.
As a boot provides more coverage than your trainers or other shoes, they tend to offer more warmth anyway. So, while a big thick woolly lining may sound tempting initially, it’s important to think about where you’ll be wearing them. If you’re going to be spending more time on the tube than walking, then you could end up with very sweaty feet.
Have They Got Sole?
The best bet is a pair of boots with a rubber sole, which most companies prefer to use. This is because the material is durable, slip-resistant, waterproof and generally hard-wearing.
The other options available are PVC, which insulate heat well but aren’t the best when it comes to grip, or synthetics which are lighter, more flexible and good at absorbing impact. However, neither of these materials are anywhere near as reliable as rubber.
So there it is, our comprehensive guide to picking the perfect pair of winter boots. Whether you’re searching for a smart pair for the office, or something you can slip on before you head out for a winter wander, we hope you’ve found this article useful. Who knows? You might even need a second pair with how long our winters seem to last!