Winter Shoe Guide: 3 Most Important Things You Need to Remember may earn commission when you buy something through the links or banners on this page.

Our favorite white, cold flakes are starting to fall from the sky again, which means it’s time to break out the winter shoes.

Yep, it’s officially time to pack away the flip-flops and sandals and replace them with warm, winter-ready shoes.

There are three important things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect pair of winter shoes: are they waterproof, warm, and do they have traction?

Are my shoes waterproof?

With winter comes the snow, and even worse…the slush. Snow and slush will not only freeze your toes but will ruin your shoes if you’re not wearing the right pair.

There’s a difference between waterproof and water-resistant shoes, so be sure to check the label before buying.

Water-proof means the shoe can be completely submerged in water without water soaking into the material.

For boots, this usually means an inner-bootie has been built into the shoe that prevents water from reaching your feet. When searching for a water-proof pair of shoes, look for materials such as rubber, neoprene, and polyurethane.

Water-resistant shoes repel water but don’t guarantee that water won’t soak into the material of your shoe over time or seep through the seams.

Water-resistant materials such as leather and nylon are more breathable than waterproof shoes, but they will soak in water over time.

If your feet tend to sweat a lot, then it may be best to buy water-resistant shoes that offer more breathability to your feet rather than non-porous shoes like rubber boots. If your feet are starting to show athlete's foot symptoms, then it may be a good idea to look for shoes with both breathability and protection from water.

There are also waterproof and water-resistant solution sprays to help regular shoes repel water better.

Are they warm?

Rain boots might be a tempting option since they’re made of waterproof rubber, but they typically don’t keep your feet very warm. If you’re looking to buy a pair of rain boots for winter, then make sure the boots are properly lined with enough insulation to keep your toes warm.

Common insulating materials include fleece, fur, and synthetic materials. Take a look at the soles of the shoes as well; the thicker the sole, the warmer the shoe will be.

Some shoes like hiking boots will have a toe box that extends over the toes for extra protection. Certain toe boxes are built with an extra layer of insulation for warmth.

Do they have good traction?

Cold and wet weather is a recipe for slippery surfaces. To avoid those embarrassing and painful slips on the ice, find a pair of shoes with good traction. The best way to tell if a shoe has good traction is to look at the tread patterns on the bottom of the sole.

Look for patterns with grooves to allow water to escape under your feet. The liquid will find the pathway of least resistance, so look for soles with plenty of channels for water to escape with each step.

To add extra traction to your shoes, there are attachments you can purchase that will add extra traction to your shoes designed for all kinds of occasions. Whether you’re walking, running, or hiking, there are grip attachments available to latch onto your shoes.

Don't settle for wet and cold feet this winter. Find the best shoes for each occasion, and look for the materials that best fit your feet in order to avoid excessive sweat and athlete's foot.

When doing your shoe shopping this winter, remember to ask yourself if they’re waterproof, warm, and have good traction.

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