The cold, white winters of Bozeman can turn morning walks to class into a terrifying tango of numb toes and soggy socks. Many might already think they have a boot ready to handle breaking trail to campus, but Doc Martens and Converse high tops might not be the best choice when the inevitable cold snap cranks the thermometer down to ten below.
When looking for a good boot, the most important aspects are warmth, calf height, water-resistance and platform thickness. Obviously, a winter boot should be warm, but good height will keep annoying snow from creeping down your shins. Without waterproof material, the melted snow and spring slush will soak through and evaporate, taking your foot’s warmth with it. Finally, a good boot won’t let the ground sap your heat by keeping you well above the earth on platform soles.
Perhaps the best and most classic of winter boots are the Sorel Caribous. The waterproof exterior will keep feet dry even after the globbed snow melts halfway through your lecture. They’ll keep you cozy even on the coldest days of the year, offering insulation for temps as low as -40℉ (though temperature ratings should always be taken with a grain of salt).
Though they don’t offer much insulation, a pair of Muck Boots and a warm pair of wool socks can trudge through thick wind drifts and spring slush all while keeping your feet dry. They even come in an “Arctic Ice” version that offers greater insulation—though not at the level of other boots like Sorels.
If you just want something to keep you cozy on the drive up to Bridger Bowl, the classic Uggs perform surprisingly well even in harsh weather, plus they’re the easiest boot to drive in that you can find. You don’t have to worry about stuffing sweaty feet back in at the end of the day, as they’re lined with naturally antimicrobial wool to prevent any stank buildup.
However, if you need a boot to serve you all day, Uggs also makes fully winterized boots called the Adirondack and Butte. Complete with laces, thick platform soles, and typical Uggs comfort, they’re set to stomp around all day (the only drawback being their high price).
If you just can’t part with the Docs, they do make several winter versions with fleece or fur lining, waterproof material or special soles to help grip icy sidewalks.
As winter arrives in full swing, the list of reasons not to go to class starts to pile up. It’s too cold, too icy and maybe you’re just too tired. But in times like these, the value of in-person learning has become apparent. Making the journey to class as easy as possible is more important than ever.