Winter Footwear: do’s and don’ts

man shovelling snow, winter boots, driveway, shovel, orthotics

Getting the Right Winter Boots

by Matt Vidler

In the cold winter season, we rightfully tend to focus on whether our boots will keep us warm, but it’s also important to get the right fitting footwear to ensure that we have the support we need walking, shovelling, or engaging in winter activities.

Boots that are too small will not only cramp our feet, but also compromises our circulation resulting in cold feet. Consider sizing your winter boots a half-size larger than your shoe size. This will allow blood circulation, thick fuzzy socks, and create a surrounding pocket of insulating air.

Make sure your boots can accommodate your thick winter socks, and choose socks that wick moisture away from the foot such as polypropylene, acrylic, or wool. Cotton socks should be avoided as they hold moisture against the skin which is a recipe for cold feet and potential frostbite.

Useful tips for Getting the right Winter Boots:

  • Removable Insoles – allow you to properly remove and dry insoles between uses or remove completely to accommodate a custom-made orthotic.
  • Rubber Soles – provide you with secure traction and stability in cold temperatures to help prevent slips or falls. A lower heel and wider outsole provide you with the broadest base of support offering maximum stability.
  • Laces – provide the most adjustability and support in boots for walking and overall comfort. Velcro straps offer moderate support and pull-on styles offer much less. An athletic, lace-up winter hiker style of boot will generally provide the best support and comfort.
  • Waterproof Leather or Membrane – keeping your feet dry is the single most important step to ensuring warmth and comfort. Choose boots that have been treated to be waterproof or ideally, styles that have a waterproof breathable membrane such as Goretex that allows your feet to breathe while keeping moisture out.

Preventing Injuries and increasing enjoyment:

Proper footwear makes winter walking and shovelling safer and more enjoyable, especially with the use of custom orthotics which help correct our gait as we switch from summer shoes to winter boots. Orthotics also help prevent ankle, knee, hip, and low back pain when walking in difficult winter conditions, or when we’re out enjoying the beauty and splendour that winter has to offer!


We hope these tips help! Remember, you can have your gait and posture analyzed at our clinic to see if custom orthotics would be right for you.

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