These boots were made for...
January 23, 2010 8:13 AM   Subscribe

I need some new boots. I need some boots that will keep me warm and dry in extended periods of standing around outside, all night long on concrete. I would like them to be warm and durable, I want the best!

I work in the film business and often am called to stand around in the cold, dark, damp of night. Sometimes it is raining, sometimes we make rain. Sometimes it is snowing, sometimes we make snow. I have worked at temperatures well below zero for hours at a time.

I have many items of footwear, and feel pretty happy with each one, but the cold weather boot has eluded me for my entire career. I even have a pair of Northern Outfitters moon boots rated to -50 below zero (no support and absurd looking)

I had a pair of Columbia boots that I was pretty happy with, but they just expired, so I am looking for a new boot.

I have been told time and time again that Danner makes the best boot int he world. I wanted to know what MeFi thinks?
posted by silsurf to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest that no matter what boot you're wearing, the socks are just as important. Visit an outdoor outfitters and come up with a combination of socks that works for you. A really good thin inner sock (silk or man-made fibres) coupled with a layer or two of warm ski/hiking socks makes a huge difference for me when I'm outside for extended periods in a Canadian winter.

I also know people who swear by the insoles that have a reflective liner.

And while you're at the outfitting place, see if they have toe-warmers. Small chemical pouches that activate to create heat and keep toes nice and warm for hours. Highly recommended.

Some combination of the above will work with any boot, at which point you can focus on comfort/support and dryness.
posted by valleys at 8:28 AM on January 23, 2010

In an unprecedented twist of fate, I literally saw your solution in action this week.

I, too, work in the film biz, but up in scandinavia where we're dealing with -5 C and dark damp cold mid of night kind of situations. The head gaffer (not sure the english/american equivalent) brought these Neos boots and was doling them out to whoever he could get fitted into a pair. I think he must be a supplier or getting some kind of cut.

Regardless of where he's at, these "over shoes" seem to be where it's at. Unfortunately I rock a size 15 and the XXL he had wasn't going to work for me. But it looked like everyone else on set was cozy and warm down to the toes in these suckers.

I'd give them a look. I'm going to see if they have anything that I can fit, cuz waiting around in the snow and rain and whatnot sucksss when your toes are freezing (moved here from LA!)
posted by talljamal at 8:33 AM on January 23, 2010

After trying almost 10 different pairs of cold weather boots on, I ended up buying a pair of Sorel Caribou boots and really am enamored with them. They are rated to -40 and find them extremely cozy here in the cold Minnesota winter.
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:44 AM on January 23, 2010

Muck Boots look warm & dry. Maybe the Arctic Sport Boot would work for you.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 8:47 AM on January 23, 2010

Muck boots are awesomely warm and dry.

Valleys' right: Combine them with 1-3 layers of socks of different weights and you've got a winning combination. Don't try to buy "the" boot. Buy a boot that is absolutely waterproof and has basic warmness, then build the needed warmth with layers of socks. If you're making rain, all you may need is waterproof and one sock layer; if you're making snow, you need the waterproof + cold protection, so just add more socks. The beauty of this is that you can adjust your comfort as you go during day as conditions change.
posted by webhund at 8:59 AM on January 23, 2010

I love my Baffin Boots. The Polar (men's) and Arctic (women's) lines are good to way below 0 degrees Fareinheit and are water proof. Plus they have removable linings so you can have more than one set, which helps avoid funkiness. Whatever you choose, consider drying them using any of the many technologies developed for ski boots (hair dryer-like wands, stands for inverting them over forced hot air ports, etc.).
posted by carmicha at 9:08 AM on January 23, 2010

I just got on the Duck Boot bandwagon and man are they awesome. LL Bean knows a thing or two about boots. I have the unlined version (for versatility) but the goretex/thinsulate are probably warm, especially when combined with nice socks (which they actually recommend). The build quality in crazy good, and they fit like a glove.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 10:04 AM on January 23, 2010

Frye makes my favorite boots. They are extremely durable and well-made. Socks are vital to their warmth in a variety of conditions, as is the ability to tuck in your pants. You can find good Frye boots on sale in places like for around $150, but the good ones run about $300-$400. They're worth it.
posted by Mizu at 11:01 AM on January 23, 2010

The best boots made are Red Wing. They have several insulated models. Get good socks too.
posted by sanka at 12:25 PM on January 23, 2010

I have the women's version of these Uggs and they've kept my feet really warm and dry for two New England winters. They're pretty comfortable, too. I know someone who has these (the men's) and likes them a lot. They aren't the sexiest things out there, but they are warm. I think the fleece lining really helps, but you'll need good socks too.
posted by min at 12:49 PM on January 23, 2010

Seconding Sorels. I love mine.
posted by transporter accident amy at 12:58 PM on January 23, 2010

I just took off my Muck boots. They stood up to hours in the barn, garden and wetlands. Love 'em. Unlike some other boots, they are easy to hose off when they get muddy. They're warm in mild cold; true cold requires wise sock use, as others have noted. My mucks are tough as nails (although they are not impervious to a pig bite, as I discovered to my sorrow) and while not cheap, are not break-the-bank expensive and are widely available, at least where I am. Insoles can also be purchased for a little extra padding. When this pair goes, I'll be buying another pair the same day.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:30 PM on January 23, 2010

Ecco offers an excellent line of boots, designed with comfort in mind and to deal with alpine/sub-Arctic weather. They aren't the most stylish of boot, but they offer goretex models that are solid (mine are 4 years old and still water tight), and paired with a good set of socks and you're golden. I recommend getting wool or smart wool socks, and contrary to what some others are suggesting, don't wear more than one pair of socks at a time, it'll make your feet sweat and then get even colder as the day/night goes on.
posted by furtive at 6:17 PM on January 23, 2010

I ADORE my Danner boots! I just got a new pair this year, for only a few dollars more than I bought the first pair for!

They are waterproof, and grip well on any surface! I've hiked up very steep hills without any slipping or sliding. They dry quickly, I had walked through a stream, took off the boots, wrung out the socks, and put the boots back on, By the time I reached my car (1/2 mile away), the boots were dry, and I had no blisters!

They are made in America, can be bought on Amazon, and have a prorated repair/resole program. For warmth, try silk or bamboo socks. Some of the lighter and shorter Danners may not keep your feet warm so much as dry.
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 8:02 PM on January 23, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by silsurf at 10:05 AM on January 26, 2010

Danner FTW. Made in America (Portland, OR to be exact) as above and they are awesome. When I was in Search and Rescue I wore only Danners and they did awesome. Lately I have been wearing a 'light' hiker (Agitator GTX, now discontinued) and everything held up on them. I had to get new shoes when I wore the soles down. If you get a Virbam sole Danner any shop that is a Vibram reseller will be able to re-sole them.

Customer Service is also awesome. When our dog was a pup he went to town on the shoes. The only wear was the laces. I contacted them to see the length and if I can purchase the exact ones, and they sent me a pair for free! They also manufacture most of the armed forces boots. Good enough for the military, good enough for me.
posted by NotSoSimple at 3:23 PM on January 26, 2010

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