Are rubber boots good for snow?
If you are wondering about what winter boots to use in snowy weather so that your feet stay warm and dry then I can help you understand what footwear might be useful and what you need to disregard when the temperature drops.
I know that plenty of people consider wearing rain boots in the cold weather but are they suitable for snowy conditions and for keeping your feet comfortable?
Let’s talk about the complexities of choosing the right footwear for the winter months.
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Can You Wear Rain Boots in Snow?
Firstly can you wear your rain boots in the snow?
Well, the fact is there is no easy answer to this question as it will depend on what your definition of rain boots is. What the temperature is where you are planning to wear them, the depth of the snow, and the length of time you are going to be wearing the boots.
Rain boots are typically known as wellies or wellington boots and are rubber footwear that is known for being waterproof. As the name states, they are traditionally known for being great footwear to wear when it is wet.
Most of the traditional style rain boots are uninsulated meaning they are good at keeping your feet dry but less helpful with dealing with cold weather.
Times have however moved on and there is now a whole range of rubber boots that are now hybrid rain boots. They are great for wearing in the rain and also in freezing temperatures because they have insulation material for heat retention. Examples of these types of boots include Muck Boots and Duck Boots.
This means that when you ask are rubber boots good for snow it will depend on the type that you buy.
Traditional Rain Boots Can Work in Mild Snowy Conditions
The fact is that if you have a typical pair of rain boots they are probably going to be fine in the snow provided you aren’t out in the snow for too long and the temperatures are not too low.
Wearing rain boots in the snow in the UK for example is perfectly normal. Most people don’t have specialist snow boots because on average we get less than 20 days of snow a year in most parts. When it does snow it is often not very deep and the temperatures don’t go much below freezing.
Most people would put on a pair of thick warm socks and use their rain boots to walk to the car or commute to work.
Things are very different when you look at countries with more extreme weather conditions. Canada or parts of the United States can get extremely cold in winter and these low temperatures can last for months. In these snowy conditions, most people will invest in good snow boots or insulated rubber boots.
Traditional rain boots are useless in these types of weather conditions as they are nowhere near warm enough. So snow boots whilst more expensive become an essential purchase.
Snow Boots Vs Rain Boots
Are rubber boots good for snow? Well, in order to really look at that question you need to understand the differences between snow boots vs rain boots.
As I mentioned earlier rain boots tend to be uninsulated waterproof boots that tend to be good for keeping your feet dry in wet weather. Rain boots are generally made from rubber that isn’t particularly thick and the traditional styles don’t have lining materials to keep your feet warm.
Whilst rain boots have a rubber outsole and tread on the bottom to prevent you from slipping in wet weather the traction is not adequate enough for deep snow.
Snow boots differ firstly because they aren’t just made from rubber. Snow boots can be made from leather, neoprene, or nylon as well as rubber. Snow boots also tend to have a shaft that hugs the leg so that snow can’t fall inside the boot.
A good snow boot will also have extra traction so that you can walk on slippery surfaces like snow and ice more easily. This traction is usually far superior to that found on rubber boots.
Finally and most importantly snow boots tend to have fully insulated to keep your feet warm in freezing temperatures. They are designed to be worn out in very cold conditions in harsh winter months.
A good example of a great snow boot is the Sorel Caribou Waterproof Boots for men (there is also a woman’s version).
Whilst traditional rain boots may enable you to get to your car or walk very short distances they are not going to keep your feet warm for any considerable period of time.
Hybrid rain boots made from rubber with leather and neoprene are an entirely different story and work for both wet conditions and snow.
Are Rain Boots Slippery In The Snow?
Are rain boots slippery when it is snowy outside? Well, the answer is yes if they are the traditional style wellies.
Ordinary rain boots simply don’t have the deep treads that are slip resistant in snow and ice. Avoid walking in them if you can when there is ice and snow around because you are likely to slip and potentially injure yourself.
Traditional brands such as Hunter Boots and Muck Boots do however now make a number of different designs and styles of boots and some of these are built for snow and ice.
Hunter for example has a specialist range of snow boots that can be worn in freezing temperatures. Their Hunter Insulated Metallic Snow Boots for example have a waterproof rubber bottom but are fully insulated to protect your feet from cold surfaces up to -22°C (-8°F).
Muck Boots also sell traditional rain boots but also specialized designs that are great for cold winters. Muck Boots Arctic Pro boots can deal with -50°C which is extremely cold because they have a fleece lining. The treads are also more capable of dealing with snow and ice.
If you look at the design they look very much like normal rain boots but the design and insulation make all the difference.
Wearing Yaktrax With Your Rain Boots
If you want to improve traction when you are out on snow and ice then you need to invest in Yaktrax to help you in cold weather.
Yaktrax and other traction cleats are designed to be slipped over your boots and shoes to enable you to get a more secure footing when you are out in winter weather.
These devices have stainless steel spikes that sink into the ground and help you to stay upright even when the conditions are less than ideal.
Think about investing in these if you do have to spend time out in slippery conditions as they are going to prevent you from falling and injuring yourself.
Are Rubber Boots Warm?
The biggest problem with standard rain boots is that they are usually not designed to keep your feet warm. Rain boots by their very nature are built to keep your feet dry when it is wet not to help in the harsh winter months when it is freezing.
Whilst you can wear rain boots for short periods of time in colder weather without the insulation you are going to lose body heat and feel cold extremely quickly.
There are however plenty of rubber boots that are now made to deal with wet weather as well as snow and ice. Duck Boots, Muck Boots, and Hunter Boots are all examples of brands that have created designs that can do both.
Buying Rubber Boots With Insulation
Buying insulated rubber boots is certainly the easiest way to make sure that you can wear your footwear in all winter conditions.
A quality pair of winter boots will keep your feet warm and give you that much-needed waterproofing that can help with snow and rain.
Remember that every boot manufacturer will have different levels of rubber boot insulation so make sure that you look carefully at the temperatures that the boots are able to deal with.
For many people, boots with basic lining materials may be enough for your needs. If however, you know that you have to deal with long periods in sub-zero temperatures then you should spend a little bit more to get top-of-the-range rubber boots that can give you adequate warmth.
Examples Of The Best Rubber Snow Boots Currently Available
BOGS Classic High Snow Boots are a great example of a rubber and neoprene boot that is 100% waterproof but also able to deal with very cold temperatures. They are comfort rated to -40˚F/-40°C which is extremely cold.
These boots also have a special max wick system that helps to evaporate sweat inside the boots so that your feet remain dry whilst you are wearing them.
This Women’s Arctic Sport Boot is another great design by the Muck Boot brand that is great in colder weather conditions.
These are fleece lined and can deal with very low temperatures from -40 °F to 40 °F (-40°C to 4°C). They are also known for being extremely comfortable which is great if you are going to be wearing them for long periods of time.
Buying Welly Boot Liners Can Help With Warmth
It is worth noting that if you do have a pair of rubber rain boots and are reluctant to splash out on buying insulated boots there are some additional things you can do.
Wellington boot liners for example are removable inner liners that you can use to help keep your feet warm and toasty. A great example of this is the Hunter Boot Socks which can make a difference by helping to trap heat inside your boot.
Just remember if you do buy these make sure you have enough room inside the rubber boot for a proper fit as some boot liners can be bulky.
Insulated insoles can also help to improve the warmth of standard rain boots. Hunter Boots Luxury Shearling Insoles are an example of additional insulation you can add to your rubber boot to keep your feet extra warm.
Will Rubber Boots Crack in Snow?
There is another problem with many rubber boots that are meant for rain and that is they are not manufactured to withstand cold temperatures. When the weather starts to dip below freezing the rubber can start to become brittle and you may find they start to crack either on the sole of the shoe or on the shaft.
There is no standard temperature at which this problem occurs as it will depend on the boot, how long you are wearing them outside, and the temperature.
It, therefore, makes sense to exercise caution with unlined rubber boots that have not been specially designed for colder conditions otherwise you could make an expensive mistake.
So are rubber boots good for snow? Well yes but only if you choose the right ones. Traditional wellington boots are not designed for very cold weather and snowy conditions. They might work in milder climates such as the UK but are going to be useless in the freezing cold winter in places such as Canada or the United States.
You can however invest in the new hybrid designs that are perfect for both winter and rainy conditions.
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