How to Size Snow Boots

How to Size Snow BootsSizing snow boots for winter use is very much like sizing hiking boots, with a few extra considerations. You need enough room in cold weather boots for your blood to circulate freely; if the boots pinch your feet or toes and restrict circulation, your feet will get cold and you may even be at risk for frostbite. You may also have other pieces of cold weather gear--snowshoes, overboots, crampons or gaiters, for example--with which your snow boots should be compatible.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Winter socks
  • Snowshoes, crampons, gaiters or overboots (optional)
Step 1
Bring your winter socks to the store. These should consist of either a wool or fleece sock on its own or a thin liner sock--made of wool or synthetic material--combined with a wool or fleece outer sock.
Step 2
Try the snow boots on, starting with a pair in your standard hiking boot or walking shoe size. Actual sizes and shapes of snow boots will vary from manufacturer, so be prepared to try as much as a full size larger or smaller than your usual size if necessary.
Step 3
Lace down or otherwise fasten the boots as if you were going for a hike. Wiggle your toes. If there isn't enough wiggle room, the boot is too small and will restrict circulation, thus causing your feet to become cold, no matter how warm your socks are. Try on a larger boot.
Step 4
Walk around in the boots. Are there any "hot spots" or uncomfortable points in them? If so, the boot is either too small for you or simply the wrong shape for your foot.

Try on a slightly larger boot or a boot from a different manufacturer. Raise up on your toes, then rock back on your heels. As with regular hiking boots, if your foot moves around in the snow boots instead of the boots flexing with your foot, the boot is too large, so try on a smaller boot.
Step 5
Test the snow boots in any snowshoe bindings you may be planning to use. Most snowshoe bindings are highly adjustable and will accommodate many boot sizes, but it's worth spending time to verify that these two important pieces of winter gear will be compatible. Likewise, bring any overboots, crampons or gaiters you use and try them on over the snow boots to make sure they fit.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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