What are the Warmest Boots on the Planet? +3 Options to Buy

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by  Jon Wadsworth | Last Updated: 

When it comes to finding boots for extreme weather, getting it wrong isn’t an option that bears thinking about. If you’re serious about working out in the ice and snow, you’ll need boots that can handle anything mother nature can throw at them.

After recently looking into the history of the Bunny boot, I started wondering; what is the warmest boot on the planet?

Anyone can stick a -250 °F rating on their boots, but will they actually stand up to scrutiny? What do people who actually work in extreme cold wear to protect their feet?

So today, we’re going to look at the warmest boots on the planet. I’ve had to take into consideration not only their temperature rating but whether I could actually find evidence that these boots will work in insanely cold temperatures.

What are the Warmest Boots You Can Possibly Get?

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Let’s set the record straight; I hate the cold with a burning passion, and I dress appropriately for it whenever possible. But having a warm jacket and waterproof pants mean nothing without a pair of boots that can handle the cold.

My boots always keep my little piggies toasty warm, regardless of how deep the snow is. And despite my claims that I’m nearly frozen to death when the temperature hits -6 °F, it turns out the average human can survive in temperatures as low as -68 °F. 

If you live in a cold climate, you’ll know the grim feeling of icy feet and just how debilitating it can be. Frostbite looks as bad as it sounds and probably feels worse than it looks. Going from cold to frostbitten isn’t a massive leap, and just a quick glance at the American Burn Association information on frostbite should push you towards buying some cold weather boots.

The warmest boots on the planet don’t necessarily mean those with the best cold weather rating. A boot that can handle -148 °F doesn’t have to feel warmer than a pair that can handle -40 °F. 

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I looked for boots with great reviews that were proven to keep the wearer’s feet warm for long periods and worked in real-world situations. 

A favorite of mine is the Bunny boot, which was designed by the U.S military to keep soldiers operating even in the most extreme of conditions. The bunny boot is the upgrade to the original cold weather boot, the Mickey Mouse boot, which was rated for -20°F.

The Bunny boot had to stay off my list due to the scarcity of being able to actually buy them; you need superb boots that you can easily buy and that keep your feet warm in harsh weather. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives on the market, especially now that more and more people have taken up cold weather pastimes.

Who Needs Cold Weather Boots?

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If you work outdoors in cold climates or enjoy recreational activities such as hunting or hiking, having boots that can endure the cold can be the difference between comfort and abject misery. 

While few people work in Antarctica, plenty of folks work inside the Arctic circle, and boots that can withstand freezing temperatures are a must. Anyone from a delivery driver to a construction worker will find a pair of warm boots incredibly helpful.

You don’t have to be an Arctic explorer to find a use for the warmest boots on the planet. If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know that pooch needs exercising no matter the weather. 

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We’ve all stood at the door about to go for walkies in the icy snow, head bowed, wishing we had bought a fish instead. Being able to slip on your warm boots really puts the spring back in your step. 

If you enjoy spectating at winter sports, standing on frozen ground for hours can be hard on your feet. Wearing a pair of boots that are comfortable and can handle sub-zero temperatures will have you cheering your favorite skier on for hours. 

Most of us that don’t live in a tropical climate can benefit from keeping a pair of warm boots to hand in case of bad weather. It’s better to be prepared, and a good pair of cold weather boots can last for decades, especially if looked after and used only when the weather is awful.

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Despite most of the warmest boots around being able to keep your feet warm even at -40 °F, it’s rare that most people will have to deal with these levels of cold. 

Unless you’re an Inuit living on an ice shelf in January, on a particularly cold day, boots rated for -148 °F, such as the Baffin Impact Winter Snow Boot, are probably overkill. At those types of temperatures, your feet will be the only part of your body that’s not an icicle.

Baffin Impact Winter Snow Boot

Tested at both the North and South Poles, Impact performs flawlessly under the most demanding conditions. Impact is appropriate for extended periods of time in extremely cold weather, snow and/or ice-covered environments, where activity level may be low to moderate.

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What Do People From Cold Climates Wear?

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It makes sense for us to look at what people indigenous to cold weather climates wear to keep their feet warm; you don’t survive long in the harshest weather conditions imaginable if you can’t look after yourself. Arctic aboriginal peoples such as the Inuit and Yupik have traditionally worn the Mukluk, a boot made from either reindeer skin or sealskin.

The Mukluk is a soft boot that’s light, breathable, and insanely good at keeping out the cold. Often weighing up to ten times less than a modern cold weather boot, the Mukluk is such an incredibly versatile and efficient boot that you can buy a modern Mukluk counterpart. If a design isn’t broken, why fix it. 

Steger Mukluks Arctic with Ribbon

Steger Mukluks Arctic is a perfect example of old technology being married to new materials. With the traditional look of the Mukluk and all of the insane features, too, you can wear these comfortably at up to -40 °F. 

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3 Extreme Cold Weather Boots That Are Easy to Find

1. Steger Arctic Mukluk with Ribbon

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To further our look at a timeless classic, the Steger Mukluk is a perfect example of old technology being married to new materials. With the traditional look of the Mukluk and all of the insane features, too, you can wear these comfortably at up to -40 °F. 

A modern rubber sole has been added to help grip (not that you ever see an Inuit falling flat on their face in the originals). The weather treated, 17″ canvas upper looks comfier than any boot I’ve ever seen. 

The Steger Mukluk has a traditional look that just can’t be mistaken for anything else. People know you’re serious if you’re wearing a pair of these historic boots. If they’re good enough for making an attempt on Everest, they’re good enough to wear delivering pizza in Alaska.

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The list of professions and pastimes for which the Mukluk can be used is comprehensive. You know a boot has you covered when just being from a particular country is reason enough to buy them. Alaskans, Canadians, Northern Europeans, ice fishermen, winter sports race officials, South Pole Station Workers (no thanks!), and many more can all benefit from a Mukluk boot.

If you look at any photos of the early Arctic explorers, you’ll see that they appear to be wearing Mukluk-style boots. There’s an excellent reason for this; they asked the indigenous people of areas where the weather can be frighteningly cold what they wore. Great footwear doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, and Mukluks are superb cold weather boots.

Steger Mukluks Arctic with Ribbon

Steger Mukluks Arctic is a perfect example of old technology being married to new materials. With the traditional look of the Mukluk and all of the insane features, too, you can wear these comfortably at up to -40 °F. 

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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Pros

  • The Inuit wear them. Say no more.

  • Rated at -40°F. 

  • Insanely comfortable.

  • Recommended for extended use in extreme conditions.

  • Proven, conclusively, to work in harsh conditions. 

  • Used by every extreme profession and sport – from Ice Fishing to North Pole Excursions.

  • Classic looking boots.

Cons

  • Not the cheapest.

  • For regular use, two pairs are advised so one pair can dry out.

  • Not really suited to wearing to work in towns or cities.

2. Sorel Caribou Boot

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Not everyone who needs boots that can handle the extreme cold will be wading through snowdrifts or across the frozen tundra. The Sorel Caribou Boot is a perfect example of a sturdy work boot that can handle the bitter cold while still being functional enough for all conditions.

I can see this boot being ideal for those who work outdoors on deliveries or even on machinery; you want to keep your feet dry and warm but need to be able to work efficiently and safely. The Caribou looks like a normal boot, which is probably better for working in less rural areas; it doesn’t stand out as much as a pair of Mukluks would.

Sorel Men's Caribou Wool Boot

The Caribou is a favorite for everyday cold weather activities. This ultra comfortable boot features seam-sealed waterproof construction, with a suede and ballistic nylon upper. Iconic Caribou lug design provides proven traction on various terrain.

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The Caribou boot is an all-terrain boot with a shorter shaft, so your movement won’t be restricted, and it’s perfect for areas where ice and snow are a regular occurrence. Working on machinery outside, or even for use while driving in cold weather, the Caribou is a great choice.

Pros

  • Available in half sizes.

  • Waterproof and warm upper.

  • Shorter shaft for freedom of movement.

  • Ideal for working around towns or cities where the weather can be extreme.

  • Perfect for heavy snow.

  • Long-lasting and durable.

Cons

  • The laces and zipper aren’t waterproof.

  • Sizing can be a problem. I advise going down at least one size.

3. Baffin Impact

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The menacing-looking Baffin Impact is an extreme weather boot that’s explicitly designed for sub-zero temperatures. The Impact boot is designed to keep out the cold, wind, and snow while offering excellent comfort while in the great outdoors. 

One thing the Impact isn’t is waterproof, but that’s not a design flaw. If you’re working or playing in extreme weather, you’re not supposed to be getting wet; you’re supposed to be getting cold. Once you hit a certain temperature, you’ll find that your boots aren’t getting damp, they’re just freezing. 

And even in temperatures as low as -40 °F, the Baffin Impact will protect your feet from the cold, and as an added bonus, they look like they mean business. Looking like they belong on a Stormtrooper is great, but Baffin boots are also very sturdy, which helps when wading through deep snow.

Baffin Impact Winter Snow Boot

Tested at both the North and South Poles, Impact performs flawlessly under the most demanding conditions. Impact is appropriate for extended periods of time in extremely cold weather, snow and/or ice-covered environments, where activity level may be low to moderate.

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What I Like

  • Double toggles for increased stability.

  • Foam-based inner boot for superior comfort and heat retention.

  • The high shaft is perfect for deep snow.

  • Looks great.

  • Snowshoe compatible.

What I Don’t Like

  • Not completely waterproof.

  • Rumors persist that during periods of inactivity, they lose heat quickly.

Conclusion

It was tempting to put the Baffin Impact Winter Snow Boot on the list of extreme cold weather boots, but availability is sketchy, and while they’re rated at -148 °F, realistically, you’ll never experience that kind of weather. 

Baffin Impact Winter Snow Boot

Tested at both the North and South Poles, Impact performs flawlessly under the most demanding conditions. Impact is appropriate for extended periods of time in extremely cold weather, snow and/or ice-covered environments, where activity level may be low to moderate.

Buy Now at Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

I love everything about the Steger Mukluk, the authenticity, the look, and the fact that they’re proven to be world-class at keeping your feet warm and protected. If I was heading out any further than the city limits in freezing weather, these would be my absolute number one pick.


FAQs

What boots do they wear in the Arctic?

Antarctica and the Arctic circle have very extreme temperatures, and regular cold weather boots won’t be able to handle some of the worst weather on the planet. Bunny boots and Mukluk boots are the most common boots worn in these environments due to their ability to handle up to -65 degrees Fahrenheit. Mukluks, in particular, have been worn by indigenous people in places like Canada and Alaska.

What does the U.S Military use for cold weather boots?

The development of the Mickey Mouse boot for use in the Korean war allowed soldiers to operate at extremely low temperatures. The Mickey Mouse boot was later replaced by the Bunny boot by the U.S military as the premium extreme cold weather boots. The Bunny boot is rated at -65 degrees Fahrenheit and is widely regarded as one of the most practical boots of its type ever created. 

How many layers should you wear at 0 degrees Fahrenheit?

Having incredibly warm boots is only half the battle; you’ll also need to keep the rest of your body from freezing too. At 0 degrees, you’ll need to wear three layers of clothing to maximize the heat you retain and allow your body to breathe. Sweating in cold weather can be even more dangerous than being cold.

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