Guide to Buying Winter Boots for Kids


With chilly weather on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about your winter gear. When it comes to boots for the kids, the vast array of choices can be daunting. Here is a guide to buying winter boots for kids that will help you figure out exactly what the kiddos need to stay warm and dry all winter long.

Waterproof or Not?

Waterproof boots are a must if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, sleet, ice, or snow. If you live in a drier climate, you'll need boots to keep their feet covered and warm, but you shouldn't have to worry about them being waterproof.

Slip-ons, Velcro, or Laces?

There are a few things to consider when you're thinking about what style of boots to get. Slip-ons are great for rain boots, but may prove problematic when it comes to all-day winter shoes or snow boots. They often aren't tight enough to keep out snow, or great for running and playing. Velcro is a great option for kids who don't tie their shoes yet or struggle with fine motor skills. This will save you time and patience. Laces are a must if your kids are old enough to tie their shoes, or if they're extremely active. Laces will make their winter shoes fit better since they offer a custom fit. Look for sturdy laces, or replace flimsier versions with thicker laces for added strength.

Rain, Snow, or Regular Boots?

Rain boots are perfect for places that get little to no snow. Kids can wear them on rainy days and in light snow (with boot socks for added warmth). Snow boots are necessary if you live where there's consistent snow accumulation. Look for waterproof snow boots that fit tight to shins and ankles. For those days when the snow's really coming down, check out the Kids Activities Blog for some fun ideas for playing with snow.

Faux-fur or fleece-lined boots or regular fashion boots are a fun way for kids to dress on trend, and they'll give their toes some extra warmth during colder winter months. These are great for everyday wear and can be treated with a waterproof spray for an added layer of protection.

How Many Pairs?

Whether you're buying boots for boys or boots for girls, you may opt to purchase one or two pairs, depending on the weather where you live. Consider sticking to one pair of boots per kid, unless you have a specific need for more options.

Do Babies and Toddlers Need Snow Boots?

In a word ... no. It's unlikely you'll be taking them out and plopping them down in the snow, so instead, look for warm booties they can wear inside.

What About Traction?

If they're walking to and from the bus stop or school, you need to be sure to buy boots that can stand up to snow and keep them upright in slippery conditions. Heavy snow boots are great for sledding, but they aren't the easiest to walk long distances in. Instead, consider a waterproof walking boot with skid-proof soles.

Do They Really Fit?

When you're buying winter boots for kids, look for a half-size to a full size up from what they usually wear, so they (hopefully) last all winter long. Be sure to bring along the socks that they'll wear with the boots when you go shopping — probably thick, high socks.

Otherwise, try to find boots that will make them happy. If you've got little ones, find boots you won't struggle to get on and off. With older kids, find something that suits their tastes, so that the boots don't end up in their closet when they should be on their feet!