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The prevailing trend among boots this winter? Lightweight, low-profile, comfortable designs that don’t sacrifice performance, whether you’re wearing them to tromp through deep snow drifts, get out for a quick hike in what little sunlight there is, or simply stay upright on icy sidewalks.

Check out the quick reviews below of our top five snow boots, then scroll down for helpful buying advice and full reviews of these pairs and other top performers.

The Bushman stands up to water, odor, oil, and acid without the typically clunky feel of a work boot.

Snow boots offer two main advantages over work boots and hiking boots: They are insulated to keep you warm and have higher-traction soles to contend with slippery conditions. Winter boots are typically also waterproof, an important feature if you live in a climate where it snows or rains regularly.

Most boot makers use synthetic insulation—such as 3M Thinsulate, PrimaLoft, or their own proprietary material—because it works better when wet than natural insulation, like wool or down. It works by trapping the warmth coming off of your body in tiny air pockets within the fabric. To create those toasty pockets, engineers intertwine fine strands of the individual synthetic fibers (often polyester) within the boots. The smaller the strands are (allowing more to be packed into the same space), the more air pockets there will be within the insulation. And that retains more warmth, explains Ken Cox, lead specialist application engineer at the 3M Thinsulate Insulation Lab. It also means that insulation is often comprised of more air than anything else—the Thinsulate commonly used in footwear is made with microfibers that have an average diameter of six microns (human hair measures 25 or more) and is about 95 percent trapped air. You won’t see micron counts on most hang tags when you’re shopping, but know that if a boot has 3M Thinsulate or PrimaLoft, you’ll be shielded from the cold. And synthetic insulation is measured in grams. It doesn’t mean that there’s, say, 120 grams worth of insulation packed into the garment, but that a one square-meter piece of that insulation weighs that much. So the higher the number is, the warmer the insulation will be.

“There are over 20,000 people [in Ontario] in a typical winter who fall down and end up in an emergency department,” says Geoff Fernie, the Creaghan family chair in prevention and healthcare technologies at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the University of Toronto. Primarily, these people are older adults, but as Fernie and a team of researchers discovered, many of us are at risk simply because of the boots on our feet. “Until we started rating winter boots, they were really dreadful,” Fernie says. “When we did a survey in 2015 and we rated 100 boots, 90 of them were crap. Only 10 of them passed our minimum standard.” Shoe and sole manufacturers paid attention, though, and some even met with the scientists to learn how they could improve their products. In the most recent ratings, 28 men’s boots and 17 women’s boots earned at least one out of three snowflakes. People who wore boots that met the team’s minimum standards were four times less likely to slip than people wearing other boots, Fernie says.

Fernie says two technologies provide superior traction on ice: Green Diamond and Arctic Grip, a product produced by Vibram. Green Diamond works by adding small hard granules to a sole that scratch cold, hard ice, whereas Arctic Grip—designed with microscopically small fibers protruding from the sole that work similarly to a gecko’s foot—excels on slush and wet ice. “On a micro-level, you’ve got millions of mini-crampons, essentially,” Fernie says.

Aside from comfort and style, it’s important to consider when you plan to wear your boots. Choose a pair with more insulation and taller height if you will be in extremely cold settings, outside for a long period of time, or won’t be very active (and therefore not producing your own warmth). But if hiking, snowshoeing, or shoveling snow is in your future, less can sometimes be more, says Heather Svahn, the vice president of Mountain Hardware and Sports, an outdoor gear shop with locations in northern California where the average annual snowfall tops 200 inches. Thick insulation combined with the body heat you generate from moving around can cause you to sweat, which could then freeze when you cool down and make you colder. To move the sweat away from your skin and give it a chance to evaporate before it can freeze, opt for moisture-wicking synthetic or wool socks.

We evaluated these snow boots based on their price, weight, comfort, warmth, style, and waterproofing ability. When it came to determining comfort, we weighed each pair and walked around in them over the course of several days to assess their fit, support, and overall feel. We tested how well the boots insulate by measuring their internal temperature with an infrared thermometer before and after placing each pair in coolers filled with ice water for five minutes. To test how well they could keep feet dry, we submerged the boots in 2.4 inches of water for an hour, then, in the cases where moisture got in, measured how much they leaked.

Forsake designed this lightweight boot, and its women’s equivalent, the Patch, to feel almost as comfortable as a sneaker. With a soft EVA foam midsole, cushioning throughout the upper, and a gusseted mesh tongue, the Wilson is soft, squishy, and fairly breathable for a leather shoe. We felt no hot spots even after wearing the boots for 10 hours straight. However, following heavy outdoor use, the Wilson showed scuffs and abrasions—not unexpected for a shoe that’s more frontcountry than backcountry. Its upper did absorb moisture during our test, but the waterproof membrane successfully kept the inside dry.

Costing less than $100, a pair of the Kamik Nation Plus is a bargain. But the boot can still withstand the worst of winter. Its tall height protects you when tromping through deep snow, and the seam-sealed construction and large synthetic rubber shell surrounding your foot keep moisture out. (The boot stayed completely dry during our waterproofing test.) Insulated with a 200-gram 3M Thinsulate removable liner, this boot—and the women’s version, the Momentum 2—has a temperature rating down to -40 degrees. In our insulation test, it was one of the top performers. The Nation Plus felt plush underfoot even after we wore it for hours, and the soft lining didn’t itch or scratch against our tester’s bare skin. The trade-off for all that protection at a great price? This thing is heavy, and each step lands with a thud.

The North Face Chilkat III and Chilkat 400, for women, will keep your feet toasty in sub-freezing temperatures. One of the warmest we tested, this boot is packed with 200-gram Heetseeker insulation and thick cushioning throughout the fleece-lined upper. That, combined with an EVA midsole, made for a comfortable fit, though we found there was more room around the calf than other boots so it took some time to adjust to the fit. We also discovered the laces are too thick to slide easily under and around the low-lying plastic hooks at the top of the lacing system. (If you don’t want to fuss with that, The North Face sells a slip-on version of the Chilkat.) Still, we liked the boot’s flexibility, and the winterized rubber soles should handle well in slippery conditions. Be wary of wet weather, though. The seam connecting the rubber to the leather upper let in the most water of any boot in the test—12 ounces, to be precise.

13~300 Gsm Woven Fabric

Danner’s handmade Mountain Light occupies the “stylish but functional” space in the ideal closet. The full-grain leather upper and trademark red laces have a gorgeous retro outdoors look we love, but performance features abound. A Gore-Tex membrane works in concert with the upper’s one-piece construction, which folds over itself at the toe to keep you nice and dry. Combine that with a knobby Vibram outsole and you have a boot that can grip on pavement, muddy trails, and snowy rocks. The Mountain Light is a bit thicker and warmer than most hiking boots today, so it might be almost too warm at times, and the solid leather construction may dig into your ankles at first.

Non-Woven Fabric, Pp Non-Woven, Pp Non-Woven Fabric - Yixin,