man resting foot on log outside in snow

Winter Boot Buying Guide from Your Foot Specialist in Toronto

Shopping for new winter boots can be an overwhelming and confusing endeavour. Aside from the style and aesthetic appeal of the boots, there are a number of important features to look for, which can significantly impact your foot movement and overall foot comfort. Identifying where and when you plan to wear your winter boots can better help you determine what type of boot fits best with your specific use.

How to Choose the Right Winter Boots

Wearing adequate foot gear during the winter is imperative, especially during extreme temperatures. The best way to keep your feet safe and warm in frigid weather is by purchasing a pair of boots that offers a combination of the following features:

  • Temperature rating and warmth: Temperature ratings involve scientific testing on cold weather extremes. Most boots that are rated at -40°C work well in cold Canadian winters even though temperatures are typically closer to -20°C. Buying winter boots with a lower temperature rating will ensure your feet remain warm in whatever temperature you encounter. If there is no temperature rating, check out the lining material. Boots that are designed for outdoor sports and need to dry fast have linings that are made of polypropylene, wool, acrylic, or special materials like Zylex. Removable liners are usually made of thermal materials, including Thinsulate. Keep in mind that higher grams of insulation are best for cold weather, whereas less grams work best during fall and spring. Additionally, the insole also contributes to the warmth of the boot. A good insole will prevent the cold air from seeping in, which is why they are often insulated as well. 
  • Breathability: Most quality winter boots are designed with antibacterial materials that fight foot odours and bacterial growth, which can spring from foot perspiration. Quick-drying technology can help your feet breathe by keeping them dry. Materials like Gore-Tex, which is both waterproof and breathable, can help move air through the boot to prevent foot fungi or frostbite from developing. 
  • Comfort: A good winter boot should properly support the foot and arch to promote good walking posture. Insoles with padding and arch support and lacing are an important part of your comfort. If you plan to use orthotic insoles from your foot care clinic in Toronto, be sure to get the right size. If you are walking long distances with your boots, opt for ones with pronation control, which can help with the inward roll of the foot when it hits the ground. If you purchase boots without laces, keep an eye out for the shaft measurement, which helps ensure a secure fit. 
  • Boot traction: This is determined by the size and depth of the outsole lugs, which are the grooves in the rubber that prevent you from slipping and falling. An outsole may even consist of a heel brake, which provides further support on sharp descents and uneven ground. Rubber is the most common material found on the outsole, while others are made with both rubber and carbon. Though this combination is much harder and provides durability and longevity, it may be more slippery on icy surfaces. Other types of winter boots consist of interchangeable outsoles that can be switched out once they have become worn.

Call the Foot Care Clinic at 416-638-FEET(3338) to learn more about custom orthotics in Toronto with all types of shoes, including winter boots. You can also contact us online to find out more about our services and get answers to your foot care questions.

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