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Winter Boots Buying Guide

Links to Winter Boot Information
MaterialsFeatures
ComponentsTechnology

Introduction

With cold weather and imminent winter precipitation each year, it is important to gear up with your perfect pair of winter boots. There are many types of winter boots available for your entire family to keep warm and comfortable throughout all climate changes. Understanding how you will wear your boots will be important in choosing the right pair. If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to contact an associate at your nearest Dick's Sporting Goods.

Materials

Sheepskin

  • Most commonly found in fashion boots.
  • Ultimate warmth satisfaction, great for cold temperatures and indoor use.
  • It is important to waterproof sheepskin boots prior to exposing to the elements.
  • Twinface sheepskin is preferential for superior warmth and insulation.

Fur-Lined

  • Warmth and comfort are the main functions of fur-lined boots.
  • Synthetic materials are often used for faux-fur lined styles.
  • Lining at the top of a boot is designed to fit snug against your leg, blocking out snow and ice.

Leather

  • Full-grain leather is often treated for water-resistance during construction.
  • Ultra breathable and the most durable boot material.
  • Supportive and offers protection from the elements.

Rubber

  • Not only are rubber soles important for slip resistance and shock absorption, but rubber uppers can provide the best protection against wet elements.
  • Insulated rubber boots deliver warmth and comfort, along with being waterproof.
  • Rubber boots that are not insulated can be worn with heavy socks or liners, adding warmth, comfort, and protection.

Suede

  • Most commonly found in fashion boots.
  • Warmth and comfort are the main focus for suede boots.
  • Be sure to treat suede boots with a waterproofing agent prior to outdoor use.

Components

Upper

  • This area above the midsole is traditionally made of genuine leather, many of which are waterproof; however, synthetic materials are also seen on athletic or fashion-oriented styles.
  • Synthetic rubber shells are 100% waterproof by nature.
  • Uppers are built around a last, which is a mold used to shape the bootís materials.

Lining

  • Can be made up of multiple parts or one solitary fabric offering comfort, support, and warmth.
  • Types of lining can include but are not limited to: fleece, fur, and single or double-sided sheepskin
  • Typically fabric or leather is used for the layer of lining closest to the foot for comfort and to wick away moisture, keeping feet dry.
  • Insulation is often built into boot lining with the use of Primaloft®, Thinsulate™, or other brand-specific heat-seeking technologies, such as Columbia's Omni-Heat®.
  • A waterproof lining or bootie, such as GORE-TEX® is suggested for outdoor or wetness-prone excursions.

Midsole

  • Molded EVA midsoles provide comfort, support and also warmth, as the thicker the midsole, the further from the cold ground your feet are.
  • Polyurethane midsoles are suggested for increased support and durability due to the rigid construction.

Outsole

  • Typically rubber or a variation of rubber compounds make up this part of the shoe beneath the foot.
  • Different compounds can include: composition rubber, carbon rubber, and green rubber which is increasingly seen in winter boots.
  • Refer to the thickness and deepness of the lugs/spikes on the outsole to determine if a boot will match your gripping and slip resistant needs Ė the deeper the lug, the tighter the shoe will grip the ground.

Toe Box

  • This part of the shoe offers a thin layer of protection for your toes and is often covered with a layer of insulation for warmth and comfort.

Features

Traction/Slip Resistant

  • Snow and ice can be dangerous; therefore, it is important to find boots with slip-resistant technology.
  • Look for boots with heavily treaded rubber soles for gripping wet and icy terrain.
  • Soles with multiple lugs are suggested for keeping snow from building up beneath your boot.
  • Traction devices are recommended for added safety on slippery terrain, as they grip packed snow and ice allowing you to walk naturally on any winter surface.

Waterproof

  • Protection from the elements is what differentiates winter boots from one another, so knowing how you will put your boots to use will come in handy when choosing your new pair of winter boots.
  • If you plan on wearing boots while running errands, then you can look for any winter or water-resistant style boot.
  • If you plan on exposing your boots to snow, ice, and rain, waterproof boots with GORE-TEX® are important to ensure maximum endurance and durability.
  • Protect your winter boots with one of our waterproofing agents sold online and in stores.

Insulation

  • Important for recreational use and outdoor activities, insulation is responsible for keeping your feet and legs warm during cold winter months.
  • Many boots have removable boot liners, making boots versatile for changing weather.
  • Insulation is often shown numerically as grams (i.e.: 400g). The higher the weight (in grams), the more insulation is built into the boot. On the contrary, the lower the weight (in grams), the less insulation.
  • Primaloft® and Thinsulate Ultra™ are excellent insulating technologies. You can learn more about these below.

Width and Closures

  • The majority of our boots come in regular-medium width; however, wide-width winter boots are available in certain Menís and Womenís styles to ensure a more perfect fit.
  • Our assortment offers various closures and lacing systems. Consider VELCRO® or elastic closures for ease or with kidsí boots

Technology

Winter Boots are constructed with a variety of weather-specific technologies to provide maximum performance. Technologies can be widespread or brand-specific, all contributing to warmth, comfort, breathability, and more. The most commonly featured winter boot technologies include, but are not limited to; GORE-TEX®, PrimaLoft®, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation, and Columbia Omni-Heat®. Each brand has a unique style, so be sure to read product descriptions for a well-rounded understanding of each bootís functionality.

GORE-TEX®

  • Durability meets performance with the "GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY" GORE-TEX®promise.
  • Technology designed specifically for a waterproof, yet breathable, fabric featured in winter boots and outerwear.
  • Porous lining, approximately 1/20,000 the size of a water droplet, keeps out moisture but still allows proper air circulation.
  • Most commonly used in a liner that features nylon or polyester to reinforce strength and comfort level in boots.

PrimaLoft®

  • Synthetic thermal insulation designed to be water-resistant, but still keep the feet warm.
  • Able to keep its insulating capabilities, even when exposed to water, retaining heat and keeping your feet warm and comfortable.
  • Features a soft, silk-like material to maintain a softer feel to the boot.
  • Unique construction allows for quick drying capabilities, which are ideal for cold weather wear.

3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation

  • Common insulation that is thin, warm, and light, allowing for easier movement during physical winter activities such as shoveling or sledding.
  • Thinsulate™ Ultra applies to styles with a minimum of 400g of insulation.
  • Superior ability to retain warmth when wet, absorbing less than 1% of its weight in water in order to keep the user warm even during damp conditions.
  • Uses smaller fibers in the material to reduce heat flow, but still allows moisture to escape.
  • Often identified in terms of grams of insulation (i.e.: 400g, 800g, etc.). The higher the weight (in grams) the more insulation was built into the boot.

Columbia Omni-Heat®

  • Thermal reflective technology regulates your temperature by reflecting and retaining the warmth your body/feet generate.
  • Reduces excess heat and moisture to keep you comfortable in cool climates.
  • Provides an average heat boost of +20% without any additional weight or bulk.
  • Also comes in an electric capability featuring a rechargeable USB battery that lasts, on average, around six hours to keep your boots warm and comfortable.