While winter boots are mostly about “warmth”, they also need to be about “fit”. Ensuring your winter boots fit properly while providing the appropriate support you require is critical to having feet that are both warm and comfortable.
A boot that is too tight or short may lead to cold feet. When consulting a footwear expert such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, don’t be surprised if you end up being fit in a winter boot in a half size bigger than your regular footwear. The larger size allows for a layer of warm air to surround your foot inside the boot, keeping you warmer.
Be sure to try on your boots with the same thickness of sock you plan to wear in your boots. Ideally the socks you wear should be made of a moisture wicking material like polypropylene, acrylic, or wool that creates a dry layer against your skin. Cotton socks should be avoided as they hold moisture against the skin which is a recipe for cold feet and potential frostbite.
Some key features to consider when purchasing your winter boots include:
- Removable Insoles – allow you to properly remove and dry insoles between uses or remove completely to accommodate a custom-made orthotic.
- Rubber Soles – provide you with secure traction and stability in cold temperatures to help prevent slips or falls. A lower heel and wider outsole provide you with the broadest base of support offering maximum stability.
- Laces – provide the most adjustability and support in boots for walking and overall comfort. Velcro straps offer moderate support and pull-on styles offer much less. An athletic, lace-up winter hiker style of will generally provide the best support and comfort.
- Firm Heel Counter – similar to other everyday footwear, a firm heel counter provides you with the necessary ankle and heel support to help prevent foot and leg fatigue while providing an added sense of security and confidence while walking.
- Waterproof Leather or Membrane – keeping your feet dry is the single most important step to ensuring warmth and comfort. Choose boots that have been treated to be waterproof or ideally, styles that have a waterproof breathable membrane such as Goretex that allows your feet to breathe while keeping moisture out.
If you just can’t find a boot that fits as good as your shoes, then consider anovershoe to wear over your footwear that can provide the same type of warmth and protection as a winter boot.
Submitted by: Brian Scharfstein, C. Ped (C) Winnipeg, MB