At What Temperature Do You Need Winter Boots: What Materials To Choose?


The snowflakes may not be falling from the sky just yet, but it’s never too early to start planning for winter. As temperatures start to dip, one of the most important questions is: What temperature should you break out of those winter boots? After all, nobody wants cold toes!

Winter boots are essential for staying warm, dry, and comfortable in cold temperatures. Shopping for the right pair of winter shoes can be overwhelming, as there are many factors to consider such as fit, materials, insulation, and temperature. It is important to choose winter boots that provide enough protection for the conditions you will be facing. The temperature ratings below will help guide you toward the right winter boot for your needs.

Cold: For temperatures above freezing (32°F/ 0°C) look for cold-weather-rated boots with insulation of 200 grams or more.

Subzero: For extremely cold weather (-25°F/-32°C), choose a winter boot offering 400 grams of insulation or more along with waterproofing and fur-lined collars if possible.

Benefits of Winter Boots


They provide warmth, traction, and a barricade against the elements. Insulated winter footwear allows you to keep your feet warm in colder temperatures, often as low as -25°F to -50°F. They also typically feature special treads in the sole that help you stay steady on slick surfaces like ice, snow, and mud. Furthermore, waterproof models will help keep your feet dry even if you’re trekking through slush and snow puddles for long periods of time.

Different types of boots come in different shapes and materials to suit different preferences and needs. You can choose between insulated leather- or fabric-lined boots that are closer to your ankle; e.g., hiking or snow boots with a thicker sole which provide even more protection against cold weather conditions; fur-lined or faux shearling styles that double up your warmth factor; long rubber rain pair with extra insulation; or tall lace-ups made with lighter materials when you need protection but still want a little style. Whatever your preferences are, you can find a pair for you at

Footwear Materials

Depending on what kind of weather you normally face, different materials can be used to make winter boots. Certain materials are better for cold and wet conditions, while others are better for extreme cold. Let’s take a closer look at some of the materials used to make winter boots so you can make the best choice for your feet.


Leather is a popular material for winter boots because of its durability and flexibility. It is extremely water-resistant and can help keep your feet dry and warm in very cold climates. It’s important to note that leather does not insulate as well as other materials so you will need to choose a style with thermal insulation and waterproofing linings to really stay warm. Leather tends to be available in full grain, which is more durable, or suede, which is softer but not as water-resistant. For really cold temperatures, it’s wise to opt for thicker leather boots with fur lining for extra warmth.


Synthetic boots are usually composed of some combination of textiles, plastics, and rubber. This type of winter boots can typically be found in moderate to low temperatures, although some materials may hold up slightly better than others under certain conditions. Textiles like Nylon and Polyurethane, for example, generally provide the insulation needed for moderate winter temperatures. Reinforced materials such as ballistic nylon are ideal for working in colder temperatures or harsh conditions.

Waterproof fabrics


Waterproof fabrics are designed to keep water from permeating through to your feet, making them a key element in protecting your feet from cold weather. When shopping for winter boots, look for high-performance materials like Gore-Tex that wick moisture away from the foot and protect against the elements.

Types of waterproof fabrics that are found in many winter boots include sturdy full-grain leather and texture leather upper materials, waterproof breathable membrane linings, and synthetic top covers. Many of these boots also have Thinsulate layer which adds extra warmth inside your boot. When purchasing winter boots, it’s important to choose a material that is both waterproof and breathable to keep your feet warm and dry during all types of weather conditions.

Factors to Consider When Buying Winter Boots

There are a number of factors to consider when shopping for winter boots, with the temperature being only one of them. In general, you’ll want to consider the following when selecting winter boots:

* Insulation and breathability. Make sure the boots you buy offer plenty of insulation to keep your feet warm and are breathable, so your feet don’t overheat in cold weather.

* Ankle Support. For much-needed protection in deep snow and slushy conditions, look for a pair of boots with higher-cut support that covers your ankles.

* Traction & Grip. To help prevent you from slipping on snowy or icy surfaces, it’s best to look for soles with great traction and grip. Additionally, many shoes come with built-in ice grippers as an added measure against winter slips and falls.

* Waterproofing/Water Resistance: To protect against water saturation in wet snow environments, waterproof or water-resistant materials will help keep your feet warm and dry in any conditions Mother Nature throws at you!

* Temperature Range: Depending on where you live and what kind of climate you face during the colder months, select a boot that meets the temperature range needed for your area—from the extreme cold down to milder climates. Be sure to check the label on each pair before buying!



To ensure that your feet stay warm and dry, it is recommended to wear winter boots when the temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. You may choose to wear lighter winter footwear if temperatures are warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Ultimately, the type of boot you wear should consider your activity level and climate — as well as the temperature outside — so that you always feel comfortable no matter where you go.