With winter boots, wearing the right pair can mean the difference between frozen, wet feet and cozy comfort. Therefore, you really need to choose winter boots that have the right features for the weather conditions in your area. And, you need to consider what activities you plan to do while wearing your boots. Because walking on shoveled, city sidewalks is vastly different than walking in foot-high snow while sledding with the family.
You may wonder why you get cold feet while out and about in winter weather. In colder temperatures, your body strives to keep your vital organs warm. Since your feet are the furthest away from your heart, in cold temperatures, the blood vessels in your feet will constrict. This results in less blood flow to your feet, causing them to lose heat and become cold.
But having the right winter boots can help keep your feet warm and dry. Therefore, when you’re choosing boots to buy, it’s important to consider the following qualities in your footwear choice.
Since your feet can become cold quickly, you need to buy a pair of boots designed to keep out the cold as much as possible. If you’re lucky, the boots may have a tag which tells you the temperature range, they work best in. If not, you need to look at the lining or insulation within the boot to determine if it’ll keep the heat trapped inside.
Traditionally, winter boots may be lined with fur or shearling. However, these fabrics can add to the cost of the boots. Other options include:
- Synthetic insulation – This fabric is made of spun plasticized fibers. These fibers are then integrated into the boot lining. “Thinsulate™” or “Thermolite” are some common synthetic insulation fabrics. These fabrics help trap heat within the boot while also allowing moisture to escape, so your feet stay dry.
- Neoprene – This fabric is made of synthetic rubber. It’s the material used in wetsuits. Neoprene is made of small closed cells that are filled with air. These air pockets help provide insulation by trapping the heat in. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer the boot will be.
When buying winter boots, you should remember not all boots are water resistant. Therefore, on slushy, wet days, they may not keep your feet dry if they’re not water repellent.
To ensure water stays out of your boots, they must be waterproof. Some good options for water-resistant boots are waterproof leather, rubber, or synthetic materials. The outer boot could be made using these water-repellent materials. Or, it could be constructed using a thin, waterproof membrane, like neoprene or rubber. Depending on the outer shell material, the boot may still need to be treated periodically to make sure it remains waterproof.
To test how water resistant your boots are, spray water on them. The water should bead up and roll off the surface of the boot. If not, you should treat your boots with a durable water repellent to ensure your feet are protected.
Like any other pair of footwear, you should make sure your boots are comfortable and fit properly. If you’re not sure how to fit your winter boots correctly, refer to the WalkEZStore Shoe Fitting Guide for more information. Other things to consider:
- Always try your boots on during the afternoon when your feet are at their largest.
- Try on your boots with the socks you plan to wear with them. You may want to consider a half to full size bigger to see how they feel with thicker socks.
- Make sure to give your toes plenty of wiggle room, so they’re not pinched.
- Check to ensure the boots support your ankles properly.
In winter weather, you don’t want to slip and slide as you’re walking on snow or ice in your boots. Like winter tires, the soles of winter boots should have deep grooves and bumps to provide ample traction to keep you upright on your feet. Therefore, make sure there’s plenty of tread on the soles for added grip.
Winter boots can sport a variety of different fastenings. The type of closure can affect how your boots fit and how easily you can get them on and off.
- Laces – Some common lacing systems include eyelets, D-rings, hooks, webbing loops, or a combination of different types. Often, eyelet laces can result in a looser fit, especially across the top of the foot. Hooks, especially at the top of the boots, can allow you to tighten the boots around your ankle. Overall, laces are more labor intensive to use.
- Zippers – Winter boots that use zippers can be easy to put on and take off. Just make sure the zipper operates smoothly. Also, if the boots have a fur cuff, check to ensure the fur doesn’t constantly get into the zipper when zipping it up.
- Pull-On – Boots that just pull on are the easiest to get on and off. If you have wider calves, look for winter boots with elastic panels in the sides. These will allow for extra stretch and comfort.
By considering these 5 features, you’ll be able to buy a good pair of boots that will keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable throughout the winter months.
Walk Bio-mechanically Better this Winter with Custom Orthotics
While your boots provide you with a good foundation during winter weather, your feet are THE foundation for your entire body. If your feet aren’t aligned correctly, your whole body can be affected, causing you pain.
Custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, are designed to support your feet and help you stand and walk in better alignment. By changing how force and stress affect your feet, custom orthotics can change how these forces and stresses affect your whole musculoskeletal system. They can fix any bio-mechanical issues you may have while alleviating pain.
For more information about ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, visit the WalkEZStore.com. To schedule a foot and gait assessment with Kathy Carandang, a certified pedorthist and owner of the WalkEZStore, to learn more about your feet and the correct shoes and boots to wear for your feet, click here.
If you don’t live in Indianapolis area or are unable to come in for an appointment, you can still order ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics online. Click here to visit our online store. You’ll received detailed instructions on how to create the proper molds of your feet for your custom orthotics.
Don’t let foot pain keep you inside and on your couch all winter – get moving with ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics. Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo: 123RF / Vaivirga