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To protect your feet during our long, cold winters, choosing the right pair of boots is extremely important. Similar to the protection of the extremities of our ears, head and fingers, our feet are not to be neglected at the risk of getting frost bite.
To make the best choice possible, here are five key questions to ask yourself before you shop your winter boots:
If you plan to be active in the snow, which includes activities like snowshoeing, trekking or sliding with your kids, go for a mid-length boot, rubber outsole, a good waterproof and breathability rating and removable insoles. Look for a good insulation with reliable cushioning for extra comfort.
In contrast, if you do a lot of city walking, take the subway or go to a mall, choose a pair of lightweight boots, mid-calf for comfort. Ideally, they should be seam-sealed waterproof to protect you from the slush often found in urban areas. Superior underfoot protection for increased flexibility is important. For activities that involve less movement such as snowmobiling, winter camping, for example, the focus is rather on a much higher waterproof boot with a thicker felt liner.
In general, zippers provide a better seal over the laces. They are more practical and easier to put on. You can quickly put them on or take them off in a ‘standing’ position. However, boots with laces better support the ankle and fit more snug to suit your comfort. They are suitable for larger calves and give you the option of ‘tucking’ pants or leggings in the case of heavy snow days.
Even the warmest insulated boot can give you icy, freezing toes in the long run because the moisture that accumulates around the foot will freeze with the cold. If you tend to sweat a lot in your feet, opt for a pair of boots with removable insoles that can dry in wet conditions and will prevent odors.
More importantly, without the proper pair of socks, your boots will lose their effectiveness. Avoid wearing cotton socks on very cold days, since they are not breathable. Rather, a synthetic ski sock is preferred with a minimum of 10-15% Merino wool blend. These socks allow for ‘wicking’ meaning the sweat will evacuate, keeping your toes warm.
Water resistant boots are not seam-sealed and do not have a Dri-defense membrane. These type of boots are compatible for everyday wear such as ‘quick’ indoor & outdoor activity, ‘in & out of the car’, walking on colder and ‘drier’ days of winter. The waterproof boots are ideal if you spend more time outdoors in the snow, in all conditions. For school aged children, waterproof boots are indispensable.
A reliable winter boot must have rubber traction for a solid grip on the snow and good ankle support. Boots with crampons offer better traction on slick frozen ground. You can walk without fear of falling or slipping. These folding cleats conveniently tuck into the sole of the boot when not in use (so as to not damage floors). They are generally more expensive.
Above all, be aware that the price of a boot does not always guarantee its quality. Be sure to purchase from a company that specializes in winter gear and will guarantee them to last several winters. Be a vigilant consumer. Ask the right questions. You will be satisfied with your choice boots suitable for your lifestyle. Were you satisfied with your last purchase of boots?
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