Are Work Boots Good For Snow? (What You Must Know)

working in the snow wearing safety work boots

If you want to know if you can use your regular work boots in winter when it’s icy and snowing outside, let me tell you it might not be the best option.

In this article, we’ll touch as well on the differences between a regular safety boot and winter insulated work boots.

Some pros and cons of using your work boots on slippery surfaces and other rough winter conditions. Plus other cool and helpful related topics.

Let’s get into it!

Work boots vs snow boots: Are there any differences?

Snow boots offer more protection than work boots in a number of key ways. 

Work boots are generally waterproofed, but snow boots are specifically designed to deal with vast quantities of moisture.

Both the external leather and the internal fur will protect your feet not just from small puddles but huge quantities of slushy ice-mud and dirty snow.

This can’t be said for weak work boots made of thin leather.

It all depends very much on the make of boots of course, but generally, snow boots are designed to resist moisture penetration, whereas with work boots it is just an added feature, not a top priority. 

But, more importantly, snow boots will be cut well above the ankle to provide that extra warmth in cold conditions which, work boots being designed for all seasons, do not factor in.

Snow boots also possess gaiters, which are simple guards that cover the gap between the bottom of your trousers and the top of your boots.

Such a gaiter does not always exist with work boots, and the snow gaiter plays a crucial role in keeping the snow out from your boots.

Most snow boots have a fur lining on the inside, again providing that extra layer of warmth and protection for your cold feet. Find more differences between work boots and snow boots here.

Pros of using work boots in the snow

Work boots are at least somewhat waterproof, and their thick materials should provide a decent level of protection against snow, certainly compared to regular work boots. (for a list of great waterproof boots check out the best waterproof work boots page)

Also, unlike hiking boots, they are very insulative, which can make them a nightmare of work boots to wear in the hot summer. But this thickness is an added advantage in the cold winter. 

Cons of using work boots in the snow

But even in winter, work boots are not as snow resilient as snow boots for the reasons we have already gone into.

They are slightly less waterproof, they do not have snow gaiters and they are slightly shorter. This means that, compared to snow boots, they will not provide as much coverage against the snow.

Plus if your boots won’t resist the water from melted snow, your boots will get wet inside. And if not dried properly and fast, fungus might develop inside your boot and you’re risking getting infected with athlete’s foot fungus.

What type of boots are good to wear in snow?

When you are going out in the snow, for work or some fun appropriate boots are essential both for safety and to keep your feet warm.

On the warm front, you want boots with a good internal fleece lining, nice and soft but thick to keep the cold out. 

A good example of a snow boot is a Palladium pampa sport cuff WPS, with a luxurious pure wool lining that keeps your feet nice and warm at all times.

As already mentioned, you also want snow gaiters at the cuff to stop snow falling into your boots if you are walking around while it is snowing. 

As well as for warmth, safety is key.  You really don’t want your work boots to damage your ankles. Ankle support is key, one good pair for this is the Haglofs duality AT1 GT, which extends the heel on its boot slightly for extra support.

And it is also essential to buy boots with rubber soles and deeper treads, meaning deeper groves, so that you get enough friction on the surface to prevent slipping.

What makes a good boot to work in the snow?

Unlike kids, there are no snow days on-site. If the boss or the client calls you in, you must be there.

Now of course weather conditions mean that you should be extra careful when working, an accident is the last thing you need on-site.

Safety must be the #1 priority.

And that is why the Muck Boots Arctic Ice must rank as the best boots for you to have on a worksite due to their arctic grip and outsole pods providing superior traction to comparable brands. 

The midsole of these boots also provides excellent shock absorption which allows for maximal comfort.

And comfort is of course vital if you are going to be moving around a lot in icy and snowy conditions on the worksite. 

Are steel toe boots good for winter?

While the traction provided by steel toe boots means that they are a good ‘safety’ pick, there are a couple of problems with choosing them for snowy conditions.

The most obvious is that steel is an excellent conductor of heat. It is why they are used to make pans and baking trays.

So even if fur lining and specially designed rubber keep the top and soles of your feet warm, using a steel cap means that you are not protecting your toes, the part of your extremities that are the hardest to keep warm. Depending on what industry you work in, maybe a soft toe work boot might be the best option for you.

You can get good traction, good insulation, and adequate toe protection from many other branded boots.

Are Dr Martens good for snow?

Dr. Martens boots are a poor choice for the wintry weather for several reasons. First and foremost, none of the Dr. Martens boot designs are waterproof. (at least not at the time this article was created)

Going out into the snow puts you at a huge risk of getting your feet wet and horribly cold unless you buy protective spray. Which, given the numerous superior snow brands out there, why go to the extra expense?

And then you must consider the fact that Dr. Martens are made from much thinner leather than snow boot brands.

So even if you succeed somehow in protecting your feet from the wet, you will not be able to keep them as warm as you would with other work boots.

Not only that but the soles of Dr. Martens boots are made out of PVC and they are soft and grippy when it’s nice and warm. But you better not go out with these boots when it’s icy. In cold conditions, the soles become very stiff providing you with zero traction and grip on icy flat surfaces.

If you want to know more read my Dr. Martens Icon steel toe work boots review here.

Conclusion: Can you wear work boots in the snow?

It’s probably better to have a separate pair of boots that you wear on worksites in the summer and another pair of snow boots that you wear in winter.

Having for instance only snow boots would be excruciating in the summer heat.

However, depending on the year-round temperature where you live, how often you expect it to snow and the type of work you are expecting to do, and the other hobbies you have in the year such as hiking or trail running,

Team Members Working On This Page

Adrian – Web Master / Construction Professional

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!

Theo Cox / Researcher, Writer

I’m an MA student currently working on a research project for King’s College London Museum of Life Sciences alongside my MA dissertation. I have been published in my student newspaper, The Spectator, and the Adam Smith Institute. I’m doing part of the research and writing of the content you’ll read on Enjoy!

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