Posted On January 18, 2014 By In Fashion For Men, Manzone

Surviving the Polar Vortex: A Guide to Men’s Boots in Extreme Weather


Since we endured a polar vortex recently, and it was a refreshing -30 degrees F here in Michigan, I felt that it was fitting to write an article on the highest rated winter boots on the market. I also wanted to clarify what to look for and the quality of different boots before you went and made a final purchase. We still have a lot of snow days ahead of us this year, so you might as well be prepared for the worst!

There are many factors that contribute to the quality of a boot. Before you decide what boots to pick, you need to figure out the height you desire. One of the advantages of tall boots is that they are more effective at keeping snow from entering your boots and freezing your feet during large snowfalls. Snow gators, however, also do an excellent job of this — regardless of height. A snow gator is any design feature that is made to keep snow from falling into your boot, such as a drawstring at the top.

Some qualities to think about when choosing boots should include how water resistant they are, how toasty they keep your feet, and how heavy they are to walk around in. Also, make sure that the sole has great traction and that it is durable enough to withstand winter elements. Your boots should provide stability on ice and snow to help prevent you from slipping. Rubber is a great material for soles because it provides 100% waterproof protection and is easy to clean. Men have more of an advantage when choosing how aesthetically pleasing they want their boots to look — since most heavy-duty boots are masculine looking.

One boot that stands out in ratings is the North Face ‘Chilkat II.’ North Face, in general, is a quality manufacturer of winter attire and provides a lifetime manufacturer warranty. These boots are sporty, include waterproof uppers, and have outsoles that contain grip optimization features. They also are made with 200g Heatseeker insulation in order to keep your feet from freezing. These boots are temperature rated to -25 degrees F and only cost around $100.

The North Face provides many great boots for men.

The North Face provides many great boots for men.


Another boot that comes highly rated is the UGG ‘Butte’ ultra warm snow boots. I, personally, love UGG and have always been satisfied by their products. They are always extremely warm and feel amazing to step into. Do not make the mistake of generalizing UGG Australia as a woman’s brand. Their men’s products are just as amazing and they continue to be one of the only brands that manufacture sheepskin boots. This boot is crafted to handle extreme conditions and it provides stay-dry technology with a cuffable, waterproof, full-grain leather and ballistic nylon. They have a Vibram® outsole and are detailed with a repeating-lug pattern. An eVent® membrane and moisture-wicking sheepskin lining provide warmth and keep your feet dry while staying comfortable. Overall, these boots are reasonably sold for $250 and you are able to choose from four different colors.

Tom Brady is man enough to wear Uggs. You should be too.

Tom Brady is man enough to wear Uggs. You should be too.

The company Sorel, is another manufacturer that is known for their excellent quality. Consequently, a lot of their boots are highly rated. One well-known boot they produce is called the ‘Caribou Wool’ classic men’s snow boot. They have a classic style while providing warmth due to a wool inner boot that keeps feet warm, dry, and comfortable. Not only are they temperature rated to withstand -40 degrees F, they also feature seam-sealed waterproof leather uppers, knit wool cuffs, removable wool inner boots, and outsoles that are designed specifically for extra traction. These boots come in two different colors and cost a sensible $160.

Sorel Boots: classic and classy.

Sorel Boots: classic and classy.


After you purchase boots that fit your standards, wearing them daily may require you to do some upkeep on them. This is especially true when they get dirty from the salt used on roads. Most men, at least the ones I know, do not care about how their shoes look. Although the, “I don’t care what anyone else thinks,” mentality is great, just remember that you make an impression on someone the moment they check out you and your shoes. To help you stay stylish, I have the solution to keeping your shoes looking brand new…


Mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in 1 cup of water. Dip a clean, soft rag into the solution and then wipe away the salt stains. Just allow them to dry and they should be as good as new!


DO NOT use oil based cleaners since they will stain your shoes more than the salt will. Suede needs to stay dry so it does not lose its texture. To preserve the material, take a kneadable eraser and rub off excess dirt and salt. If the nap of the suede is flattened you can raise it by taking a clean toothbrush and brushing your shoes with it. If this still does not work, apply steam to the shoe for a few seconds and then brush it again. If the stains need more attention than just simply brushing them off, you can also take a mild blend of 1 tablespoon of dish washing detergent and fabric softener in 500 milliliters of lukewarm water. Put this in an empty spray bottle, spray the solution evenly over the suede, and lightly brush it in. Then wipe it off with a cloth that is dampened with clean water. Finally, allow them to dry and rub the suede with light sand paper or a toothbrush to recover the texture. If this sounds like too much work to add to an already full schedule, you can always try asking for suede cleaner at a leather clothing store or shoe store.

Ultimately, you want to stay warm this winter, especially since frostbite can set in after only four minutes of being exposed to harsh temperatures. However, this can be avoided by keeping those feet bundled in well-made boots. Before you make a large purchase, research the qualities of materials and the manufacturers. Just because a shoe may be more expensive than the others, it does not mean that it will better withstand the harsh temperatures that have plagued us this winter. After all, they do say we are in for another polar vortex…. If it were me, I would make sure I have a good pair of boots ready. However, whether you believe the weatherman or not, well that is up to you.


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Victoria Wilmoth is a fashion writer for Writtalin. Victoria is a published fashion designer who is currently featured in André Leon Talley's world-wide "Little Black Dress" exhibit. Her expertise is in haute couture and bridal gowns. She is currently studying trends and fashion merchandising in the fashion industry. You can email Victoria at: [email protected]