Snow boots aren’t just something to put on when you’re leaving the ski lodge, and more people are realising their benefits, whether you’re trudging through the slush that’s left in town or country walking after a fresh fall of the white stuff.
We’ve broadened our definition of what constitutes a snow boot so that it’s not just a collection of classic moon boots: we’ve looked at any footwear that could clearly stand up to snowfall, whether that’s a light dusting or something that’s going to shut down the schools.
One of the most important things in testing the boots was their comfort factor, as they should be able to relieve and warm up feet that have been stuck in tortuous ski boots for hours on end. They needed to feel light but leave a heavy impression on the ground through a well-designed outsole.
And they also needed to be easy to get on and off, so you stand the best chance of getting the prime spot by the fire in the chalet.
How we tested
The snow might have been artificial at the snow dome where we tried all our boots, but the two slopes gave us an ideal opportunity to put the outsoles to the test and we were able to keep an accurate record of how many times we ended up on our backside while trying to get up to the top and back down again. Comfort, warmth and overall practicality were also tested, while we did our best to avoid the snowboarders and tobogganists.
The best men’s snow boots for 2021 are:
Danner cloud cap
These low-profile boots with a drawstring that opens and closes with ease are perfect for those times when you’re in and out in more extreme weather and don’t want to be constantly wrestling with your shoes at the door.
The outsole, made from Vibram arctic grip AT, was very impressive in giving us a secure footing on snow and slush, and it even did a good job on flat icy surfaces thanks to a deep, multi-directional lug pattern and the flexible all-rubber outsole. These boots put down the maximum amount of rubber with every step to give you the best chance of staying grounded.
Ugg X stampd tech tasman slipper
Best: For snowbound socialising
If you’re staying clear of rugged, snow-swept back-country trails and have decided to enjoy the winter standing around a fire pit with a warming glass of something in hand, then we can think of no better pair to be doing it in than these supremely comfortable, stylish slipper boots. The cuff closes via an easy-reach toggle so you can keep all the heat in and the slush out, and there is even a removable liner that you can use as a slipper when you finally retreat indoors. The traction wasn’t the best on test, but when you’re only going as far as the fridge to top up your glass, you won’t have to worry about spilling a drop on your way back.
Vivobarefoot tracker all weather SG mens
Best: For longer walks
This updated version of Vivobarefoot’s classic hiker definitely qualifies as a snow boot. It offers good-looking comfort with its naturally-scarred leather, has plenty of give, and the wide last adds to the stability.
The high top keeps out drifting snow and the upper is totally water-resistant, so we never had to worry about soggy socks. The thermal insole was very warm to begin with (when we needed it most) but as our feet warmed up the boot was breathable and kept us comfortable. The sticky rubber compound offered up great traction and the impressive flexibility of the outsole maximised ground contact so the deep, chevron lug pattern could do its job and dig into snow – both slushy and packed. The boot comes in “obsidian” or “bracken” colourways.
Adidas terrex choleah cold.RDY boots
Best: For light snow
These well-insulated slip-ons are super easy to get on, with a clever hook and loop closure that opens up the side of the boot so that you can transfer from ski boots or heavy-duty hikers to start the thawing process as quickly as possible. They were very toasty thanks to PrimaLoft insulation, which has been tried and tested by us many times before and has always proven itself against extreme temperatures. We had no issues with slipping and sliding thanks to the effective outsole, while the textile upper means these are best suited for lighter dustings of the white stuff.
Rossignol apres-ski boot
Best: Après boot
Although these boots are specifically designed for the ski slope, or rather the bars and restaurants at the bottom of the piste, they are equally suited to wintry walks at home. We particularly liked the speed lacing system which tightened or loosened quickly, and the cinchable toggle that makes them a doddle to get on and off. The lug pattern digs into wintry conditions well and there’s plenty of cushioning on the upper and the midsole to ensure a very snug fit, while the thick outsole puts plenty of distance between your feet and the snow so feet feel well insulated, even if you’re standing outside for an extended period.
The North Face nuptse boots II
Best: For warmth
The always popular, laceless nuptse boots have now been fully winterised by The North Face and are water and windproof so you can take on any trudge. They have a slipper-like feel to them and you can easily get them on from a standing start without using your hands thanks to a generous opening that doesn’t lose its shape even after plenty of use.
Once in, your feet are encased in responsibly sourced down, which is at the higher end of the fill rating (700), meaning that more insulating air pockets are trapped between the fine filaments of the bird down. This results in boots that are well suited to thawing out already cold feet or keeping the cold out in the first place. The outsole is grippy, performing well in snowy conditions, and overall the boots felt breathable, keeping our feet cool.
Columbia men’s hyper-boreal omni heat
Best: For drifting snow
Columbia’s “omni-grip” rubber will give you the traction you need so you can confidently stride through heavy snowfall – the rubber compound outsoles feature multi-zoned tread patterns, which seemed to really hold their own over compacted, icy snow. The waterproof upper worked well at keeping feet dry and the reflective lining also did a good job of keeping the heat within the boot.
Muck Boot men’s apex pro AG boots
Best: For daily winter chores
You can’t have a snow boot round-up without including a pair of wellies, and the apex pros have managed to improve on the original pull-on by constructing the boot from 4mm waterproof neoprene, making them very flexible when walking. Muck Boot has also added plenty of protection against icy crusts and hidden rocks, with rubberised overlays in strategic areas like the shin. They’re also well-armoured with wear-resistant rubber around the foot itself, and the Vibram rubber sole does a good job of holding onto slippery snow and slick, wet ice. The neoprene and rubber mix also makes the boot more breathable than all-rubber wellies, so you can spend the day in them without getting sweaty feet.
The verdict: Snow boots
Looking like a traditional snow boot, the Danner cloud cap is as suited to a day in an alpine town as it is sitting by the front door at home. Easy and fast to get on and off, the boot offers immediate comfort and warmth, while being rugged enough to stand up to heavier dumps of snow.
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Take the British winter in your stride with one of these pairs of men’s boots
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