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Inside The Outdoors

How to Choose Snow Boots

08.12.2021 | Ski Buying Guides


Snow boots are designed to keep feet warm in cold conditions and for this reason are a popular choice of winter footwear in ski resorts and here in the UK. We’ve put together this snow boot guide to explain the different features and help you find the right snow boots for you.


Snow boot Construction

Uppers– The uppers of snow boots can be made from many different materials. Some of the most common include padded or quilted nylon, textile, suede and leather. All of our snow boots at Mountain Warehouse have a water/snow repellent treatment on the upper to help keep your feet dry.

Midsoles – It is common for midsoles (the layer between the outsole and the upper) to be made up of phylon which is a lightweight foam to give extra comfort & cushioning it also aids in shock absorption.

The footbed/insoles of snow boots may also be lined with thermal and warm fabrics to keep you warm. On our extreme range our boots are lined with a thermal thinsulate lining to retain heat.

Snow boots tend to have a softer more flexible sole than walking or hiking boots to aid traction on the ice. Some of our Ultra range snow boots feature a IceLock outsole which has micro-glass fiber pieces in the outsole to aid grip on the ice. It dramatically increases traction/grip on ice and wet surfaces to prevent you from slipping. The slip resistance of IceLock is 6 times stronger than a regular outsole.

Temperature Ratings

Snow Boot Temperature RatingsMany manufacturers will use temperature ratings to help you choose the right snow or winter boots for your activity/destination. Temperature rated snow boots are laboratory tested for their performance.

The temperature rating refers to the lowest temperature your feet will be warm and comfortable. For example a rating of -20 degrees means they are capable of keeping your feet warm to temperatures as low as -20 degrees. The ratings should always be taken as guidance as there are many factors that can affect this. Health, physical activity, exposure time, correct socks, weather conditions and perspiration will all affect performance and comfort.

Snow Boots Vs Walking Boots

When winter hiking you may be wondering if you need to start reaching for the snow boots over your regular walking boots. Quality footwear is important for a comfortable trek in any weather but it may be even more vital in the potentially dangerous terrain of snow and ice.

We’ve put together a few similarities and differences to look out for below.

The differences between snow boots and walking boots

Snow Boots Walking Boots



Snow boot outsoles have been engineered to perform better in snowy & cold weather conditions.



Walking boots can be worn in snowy conditions but snow boots are better suited.



All snow boots are insulated with a fleece lining. Our Extreme snow boots have a Thinsulate lining and some of our Ultra styles have PrimaLoft insulation to provide plenty of warmth. How warm your walking boots are can depend on the type of boot, but most often it will not be as warm as a snow boot as they are designed with a mesh lining for breathability as opposed to be built for warmth.



All snow boots have a water repellent finish. Many have full rubber cup outsoles almost like a welly that keeps water out. Our waterproof snow boots feature a built-in waterproof membrane to help stop water from getting in.



Walking boots can range from non-waterproof to waterproof depending on the style.




Because of how warm snow boots are, you may find they are less breathable than a walking boot. We recommend a high-wicking sock like our Isocool range to wick away any sweat.



Walking boots can be more breathable than snow boots as they generally have a breathable mesh lining.

Snow boots are specially designed for snowy terrains, so if you’re planning to go hiking throughout the winter or just want the security of a tight grip on an icy pavement, we would recommend investing in a pair. Such as the Ultra Iceberg Grip Waterproof Boots or the Bank Snow Boots.


Ultra Iceberg Grip Waterproof Boots


Bank Snow Boots



Shop The Mountain Warehouse Winter Range