The Best Footwear To Keep Your Feet Warm & Dry As We Head Into Winter

Finding the right footwear to keep your feet warm and dry for the winter isn't as easy as it sounds. There are so many choices available in stores that you really have to think about the kinds of activities you will be doing before you make your choice.

Do make a point of going shopping for boots in the afternoon. By that point they will have expanded to their full size and you won't be choosing a boot that is too tight. You'll also want to wear socks that are similar to those you will be wearing with the boots outside. This is a good way to ensure that the boots will still have ample wiggle room for your feet once you put on your heavy winter socks.

Boot Height

Snow boots are available at 11 or 12 inches in height. The taller the pair of boots you choose, the warmer your ankles will be. This style is rather heavy and bulky, though. It's a good choice if you are planning to go for a short walk, but not the best choice if you plan to go hiking or snowshoeing. If you want to pursue one of the latter activities, consider an insulated hiking boot that measures seven or eight inches in height.

Temperature Ratings

Some manufacturers will provide warmth ratings for their products. Consider this a guideline, since other factors, such as clothing, activity and the amount of perspiration also determine boot warmth.

Water Resistance

To keep your feet dry in the winter, look for a style with one of the following features:

•   Rubber shell: A rubber shell protects the lower portion of the boot

•   Leather upper: Most winter boots are manufactured with a leather upper that is either pre-treated to be water-resistant or can be treated when you get it home

•   Waterproof/breathable lining: A waterproof/breathable lining keeps your feet dry and lets sweat escape

When shopping for winter boots, note that "fashion boots" are meant only for short trips outside and are not meant to keep your feet warm for long outings. They may keep your feet warm but they probably won't do much to keep them dry. If you choose this boot, you will need a backup pair for nasty weather days.