Snow boots are an essential item for any snow trip. Damp feet can definitely make you uncomfortable, cold and even ill in some cases. Sneakers soak through quickly, low cut hiking shoes can leave socks exposed to moisture at the ankles and gumboots, while waterproof, offer no warmth and have a wide opening at the top which lets in snow, moisture and cold. So what should you look for? A good pair of snow boots should be:
waterproof (made from padded or quilted nylon, rubber, suede or leather)
have a high structure to reduce snow flicking in at the ankles when walking
be lined with synthetic fleece or wool for added warmth
be seam sealed and have taped zippers
have a grip sole designed for walking on slippery surfaces
But beware, the checklist above is not enough to keep your feet dry. Here are few extra things to consider:
Wear your pant gaiter over your boots - this provides an added protection from snow getting down the top of your boot. Tucking your pants into your boot will only provide a nice channel for snow to slide down your pant leg into your boot. It also leaves the opening of the boot exposed allowing snow and cold air to get inside.
Wear breathable socks - sweat is often a cause of damp feet. Walking in snow and undulating terrain can be hard work. Wearing heavy socks, layering socks or simply wearing low quality socks will cause you to sweat and make your feet damp. If you can, opt for technical snow socks or sport socks that wick sweat. Take a spare pair to change into, just in case.
Fully lace or zip - do up all laces and zips fully and ensure that any openings are fastened closed. Snow and moisture will find its way into the smallest opening making socks and the inside of the boot wet.
Avoid taking boots on and off - make sure your boots are on comfortably before you head out and then leave them on. Avoid taking them off at rest stops or throughout the day to adjust socks or fit. Taking your warm feet out of the boot into the cool air will cause condensation which in turn will make your socks wet. On the flip side, wet socks in cold temperatures will also begin to freeze. Leave boots on where possible.
Fully dry boots after use - make sure your boots are fully dried out before using them again.
Remember snow melts, so as soon as it gets into your boots, your body temperature will turn the snow to water which will ultimately make you wet and cold. This can be avoided by having the right boots. You can find a range of great snow boots th