If you know you’re going to encounter snow during winter, then go with it and choose a quality pair of snow boots. These are boots that should be waterproof and with a rubber sole without the need to add anything special to them. Practically, you need a snow boot that is easy to wash after wear. On the fashion side, choose boots with faux sheepskin layers or warm fabrics.
- The most important factor to consider is what you want the boots for in winter — mountaineering, hill walking, climbing or all of the above.
- Spend some money. Cheap is expensive. Snow boots are expensive, but considering how useful they are over the years, it’s a small price to pay. Don’t be afraid to spend, because when you are caught in a howling blizzard, you’ll not be regretting it.
- Check on the stiffness of the boot. The B Rating system is the most used method to confirm a boot’s stiffness.
. B0 — Flexible 3 season boots made for summer only.
. B1 — 4 season hill walking boot designed with a mid-sole and a supportive upper. Good for summer mountaineering and some simple winter hill treks.
. B2 — 4 season hill walking boot with almost fully stiffened mid-sole, an ankle and upper support. This shoe is suitable for all winter walking activities and some simple climbing and mountaineering.
. B3 — This is a complete technical mountain boot. It is excellent stiffness for winter climbing and mountaineering in the higher grades. While you might be tempted to choose B3 stiffness boot, know that these are heavy shoes and won’t be comfortable for long days snow walking compared to B2.
- Crampon compatibility. Once you have chosen the stiffness you need, match it with crampons that work with your boot. Crampons are classified as:
. C1 — Flexible or fully strapped crampons. They have 8 to 10 points good for winter walking. They are compatible with all the types of stiffness.
. C2 — These crampons have 10 to 12 points with a heel or cradle clip. They are good for higher levels of hill walking and easier climbing. They are compatible with B2 and B3 boot stiffness.
. C3 — These are rigid crampons made for professional climbing. They are suitable for B3 boots only and not comfortable for a day out winter walking.
It’s always important to ensure that your crampon fits your boot. Depending on the size and the shape of your boot sole, some crampons may not work, while others may be compatible. Ask for a technical advice when fitting a crampon to your boot.
- Style of the boot
Snow boots come in two varying styles; single or double boot.
.A single boot has only one single upper. While the upper may be designed with multiple layers or linings, they are not separated from each other in any way. They are light and suitable for outdoor winter walking, easier climbing and mountaineering.
.A double boot on the other hand is made up of a separate inner and outer making it heavier than an ordinary boot. It’s much warmer and suitable for colder weather. The inner can be removed for cleaning and drying. They are cheaper plastic boots that also fall into the double boot category. Although they are durable, they tend to lose the grip under the foot after sometime.
Modern shoe designers combine single and double boot designs to create hybrid boots. These are made up of a permanent inner boot and outer gaiter. The hybrids provide the warmth you require and protect the laces from abrasion, but take long to dry out once they get wet. This is because the airflow around and in the boot is constricted.
- Do your research and try before buying.
Read reviews and what manufacturers say about a specific boot. Shop in reputable store with knowledgeable staff to assists you buy the boot that is best for you. Try the boot for some while, feel the insole and stiffness. It’s also important to buy a separate insole. Most snow boots in the market come with a card posing as an insole. It’s time to Black Friday 2017. It’s the best time to shop.