Snow Boots vs. Winter Boots: Why Would You Need Both?

As winter dawns, the end of the year is usually marked by less-than-ideal weather. Certain states receive an average of nearly 90 inches of snow per year. So as snowflakes fall and fill the ground, creating that signature white look that’s synonymous with winter, there comes the need to keep out the cold. Winter coats, cozy gloves, and beanies all form the itinerary of winter must-haves.

But what goes on your feet also matters, and that’s where snow boots and winter boots come in. There’s the all-too-common misconception that snow boots and winter boots are synonymous. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s a breakdown of how the two differ.

Snow Boots

There are places where it snows; then there are places where it really snows (if you’re from Vermont, then you’ll understand). So, if you’re from one of those areas where average snowfall is measured in feet and not just inches, then a pair of snow boots is what you need. Or if your next vacation just happens to be a ski vacation, then snow boots should serve you well.

That begs the question, what makes a good pair of snow boots? Well, the best snow boots are waterproof while also offering a cozy interior and a rubber sole for better grip on icy ground. Thick soles provide insulation against cold, and deep treads add some much-needed traction. It’s worth noting that snow boots aren’t solely designed for snow, but also wet conditions.

Snow boots may be considered as specialist boots. They are designed to provide both protection and warmth in extreme weather. For instance, snow boots with 100 grams of insulation have a rating of up to -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, if you get your sock combination all wrong, then your feet could become especially wet owing to the inability of the foot’s sweat to escape the boot.

When sporting a pair of snow boots, your best bet is on wool socks. These socks add some much-needed warmth while also soaking up any sweat from your feet. Wool is also a better option than cotton because wool continues to insulate your feet even when wet. Wool draws away any wetness, leaving your feet feeling dry and comfy.

Winter Boots

Think of winter boots as a sort of laid-back version of snow boots. Yes, winter boots may be waterproof, but not always. Some pairs may be water-resistant, but that’s not the same as being waterproof. Prolonged exposure of winter boots to moisture will eventually lead to some damage.

What should you look for in a pair of winter boots, more so if you’re a man? Well, the best men’s winter boots have a durable upper construction while also offering anti-slip treads for traction. Winter boots are ideal for places that experience milder winters or for spending little time outside, say a dash to the grocery store.

Winter boots offer some level of insulation but not as much as snow boots. While offering a degree of water repellence, winter boots may not keep snow from entering the inside of the boot opening. Therefore, wearing average winter boots in deep snow will allow some snow in and get your feet wet. To avoid this scenario, you might want to wear a separate snow gaiter.

Wool plays a vital role when it comes to winter boots. Given its temperature regulating properties, winter boots with a wool interior offer the best wearing experience. Taller winter boots will keep your calves warm and protected from any snow entering. However, shorter winter boots are more comfortable to walk around in with the downside of letting snow in if you end up trekking in deeper snow.   

Why Would You Need Both?


Weather is one of those things the human race hasn’t fully mastered. As such, winter conditions could sharply vary from day to day. One morning, you could wake up to half an inch of snow, then 24 hours later, you could wake up to a front door barricade of snow.

Having both pairs of shoes offers you versatility. A pair (or two) of each would make it easier to transition when conditions change. From snowy to wet and slushy mornings, snow boots and winter boots afford you the luxury of choice.


Your typical day will most likely involve running a couple of errands. Perhaps you have kids who you have to drive to and from school. Then comes the drive to work. In the evening, you might have to pass the dry cleaners then the store to pick up a few home necessities.

If you’re driving in snow boots, you might find it a tad uncomfortable. Therefore, having a pair of winter boots in the car that you could slip into would help ease your daily drive. Also, snow boots tend to be significantly heavier than winter boots, and as such, clomping them around will get exhausting pretty fast.


When it comes to choosing between snow boots and winter boots, functionality is the main criteria to consider. However, given the fact that snow boots are bulkier, they tend to have less of an aesthetic advantage. Winter boots, on the other hand, have thinner soles and tend to have more of an aesthetic appeal. So, having both pairs makes it easy to swap into your winter boots when and if the conditions allow for a more fashion-conscious choice. 

Snow boots and winter boots are fundamentally different in functionality and appearance. While snow boots offer more excellent protection against snowy weather, they might be a tad too extreme for less extreme weather. Winter boots, on the other hand, are lightweight compared to their bulky counterparts and are therefore suited for lower levels of snow.

When choosing whether to go for either of the two, put in mind the benefits that each pair brings. If you had to choose, both boots make a case for some shelf space in your wardrobe. So, why choose at all? Get a pair of each and enjoy the convenience that each offers.

Resources – Land Send, Englin’s Fine Footwear, Big Sky Fishing, Good House Keeping

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