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How Do I Know If My Snow Boots Fit?

A few seasons of mild winters have led to a new trend that you may not have noticed.  It's a lot more difficult to buy snow boots locally. Local shoe stores are stocking fewer winter boots than ever. Online shopping has become the go-to destination when the cold weather sets in and you want warm feet!   One drawback to online shopping, however, is the absence of the all-knowing salesperson who can help you determine if your snow boots fit correctly.

At we've become pretty adept at helping customers gauge fit over the phone.  The greatest benefit of online shopping is that you have time to truly test the boot's fit.  Be courteous to your retailer and do not wear the boots outside, but do use that time to your advantage.

First and foremost, always try your boots on within a day or two of receiving them.  Know your online store's return policy.  Some websites allow 365 days for a free return; others offer 14 days and no credit after that.  Do your due diligence so you know exactly how long you have to make a decision.  The last thing you or your favorite online store wants is a miscommunication on a return deadline.

Five Steps to Size Up Your Snow Boots


1. Research Snow Boot Fit Before You Buy Online

You can even increase the chances of your snow boots fitting with some stealthy online investigation.  Most websites either provide fit recommendations or post consumer reviews so others can share their experience with various models.  Like snowflakes, no two boots fit the same.  One Sorel style will NOT fit the same as every other Sorel style so don't assume that the Sorel Alpha Pac size 8 will fit the same as the Joan of Arctic size 8.  The mold for most boot bases can vary by model and is not always consistent across a brand.  While Timberland tends to run narrow and Baffin tends to run small, it's always smart to study up on each boot you're considering.  Going to UPS to return your package takes time ~  you can up the odds of a perfect fit if you do your homework before you buy.

2. Make Sure Your Boots are at Room Temperature Before You Try Them

If you need winter boots, chances are, it's cold outside.  If your boots have been on a multi-day trip in the UPS truck, they will be stiff, half-frozen and uncomfortable.  When you receive your boots, bring them inside and let them come to room temperature.  You won't feel the true fit until they have defrosted.

3. Don't Skimp on the Socks

Second, try the boots on with the socks that you'll be wearing when you're outside.  Some of us like thick socks, others prefer a thinner style.  Either is fine as long as your boots are warm enough, but the thickness of your sock could change the fit of the boot so be mindful when you're fit testing.

4. Try Your Boots On For at least 20 Minutes

Third, when it comes to winter boots, there is no snap judgment.  First impressions don't count in this instance.  In fact, because snow boots have an inherently different fit than your everyday shoes and sneakers, you want to avoid making a quick decision.  As you wear the boots, think about the initial fit and if you notice changes with some time spent in the boots.

  • How does the length feel?  You should have about a finger length at the back of the boot. 
  • How does the width feel?  Your toes should be able to wiggle.  Bear in mind that the width of a snow boot is likely to open up with wear especially if the boot has a foam or shearling liner or a soft upper material like suede or nylon.
  • Take an hour or so a few days in a row to make sure the fit works over time.  Some boots just hit your ankle in an uncomfortable spot.  You may not realize this if you've only worn the boots for five minutes.  But, if you develop a painful blister once you've been out on the town, you won't be able to return the boots.  It's always a great idea to wear boots inside for a stretch to keep them in brand new condition and avoid buyer's remorse!

5. Snow Boots Fit Differently Than Every Day Shoes

Most importantly, snow boots do not fit like a shoe.  Because snow boots need to be bulkier to provide warmth, you may experience heel lift.  While heel lift can be uncomfortable at first, remember that you need airflow inside the boot to keep your feet warm.  If the boot is too tight on the foot, cold feet ensue.  The balance between too big and too small is a delicate decision.  Comfort is truly up to you.  What feels great on my foot may not suit you.  The 20-minute test helps to facilitate making an informed and confident purchase.  Don't be afraid to repeat the 20-minute test a few times before making your final decision.  

You and your snow wants want to have a long-term relationship.  Take your time to size them up so you're certain you've got keepers on your feet! 




We take pride in providing you the best online winter boots shopping experience. If you have any questions or comments please dont hesitate to contact us.


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