If you are heading to a snowy getaway in Europe, and wondering what to wear, we got you covered. In this post, we will share some of the best boots for European winter, that you must pack for your trip.
This post is packed with useful tips about different types of boots, colors, and how to style them. You can easily purchase them online via Amazon, REI, or Nordstrom. The boots mentioned here are tried and tested by real travelers. Included within the post are temperatures and regional variations in the European continent to help you prepare for your winter trip. You will also find a free packing list to use for your holidays in this post.
10 Best Boots for European Winter
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Europe in Winter
Europe in winter is a varied landscape. The temperatures and activities that you can enjoy across the continent are very unique and diverse.
For the purpose of this article, we will be sharing boot options for cities/places where there is a distinct winter season – temperatures around 5 degrees or lower, with or without snow. This won’t include many warm islands or countries in the Mediterranean where it is fairly warm throughout the year.
If you wish to check out packing in Europe in all seasons, here is a detailed guide
WINTER IN EUROPE
Western Europe: High C 7 (42 F); Low -1 C (30 F)
Northern Europe: High -6 C (20 F); Low -17 C (6 F)
Eastern Europe: High 0 C (32 F); Low -5 C (21 F)
Southern Europe: High 15 C (58 F); Low 6 C (40 F)
- Cities in Western Europe like Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, etc. experiences mild winters (as compared to winters in northern Europe, or even back home in Canada). Winters set in November, and last till the early weeks of February.
- Depending on the month of travel and the amount of time you plan to spend outdoors – an ankle-length, mid-calf to tall boots, which can withstand up to – 10 degrees are a good idea. Of course, everyone’s cold threshold is different, so wearing thick warm socks or long johns is essential. For the most part, rely on the shoe label – if it says withstand up to “XX” degrees – it is true. If the temperatures drop or feel cooler to you, layer on – that’s what I normally do (and this gal has walked/braved up to – 45 degrees in Canada. And the places we have visited in Europe so far, we have not experienced such extreme temperatures – at least not yet).
- Popular cities in Eastern and Northern Europe are much colder as compared to their western counterparts. Whether you are on a winter hike or skiing, or not, wear proper winter boots, those that can withstand up to -25 degrees. My preference is taller boots to keep warm, but mid-calf boots are also great. Just layer on!
Types of boots for European winters
- Ankle length boots – Ankle length boots are perfect for winter cross-over months like early November or January – February. They are easy to wear and to take off. Most ankle-length boots that I own don’t have any zipper details – so it is easy to take off and on. They also look super chic. Perfect to wear indoors and outdoors.
- Mid-calf length boots – Mid-calf length is the MOST popular, as it is not too short nor tall. It provides warmth to your legs, even in extreme winters. Mid-calf boots are also great for those who have larger calf muscles. Because the boots are not tall, ladies who are blessed with calves will find it comfortable to wear these types of boots. The only limitation of mid-length boots is that some boots may not be versatile to wear indoors or style with other outfits. For example, if you are wearing a sweater dress, ankle-length or tall boots are better than casual/sporty mid-length boots.
- Tall boots – Tall boots are great for crossover as well as extreme winter months. On one hand, you will find fashionable gorgeous pair of black suede tall boots that can go very well with a pretty dress. But they are not for outdoors, nor for extreme winters. Faux leather or synthetic material tall boots lined with fleece/warm material are perfect for that. They provide warmth, and their outsoles have a strong grip to walk on slippery-snowy surfaces – those are great for wandering outside.
We have listed some of the best boots for European winters and have included pictures and temperatures for reference.
NORTH FACE Shellista II Winter Boots
I am a BIG The North Face fan, and I own jackets, backpacks, and shoes/boots from them, so let’s start the list with the NF Shellista. The Shellista II is a great boot for European winters. They are mid to tall in size, and they come with pretty designs on the exterior.
LOVE the soft oversized collar detailing, these boots will add a character to a plan coat or sweater dress.
These boots will last you in light to severe winters. They are made of water-resistant and breathable material, making it comfortable to wear by keeping moisture out. There is another reason why I have this on the top list – these boots are LIGHTWEIGHT!
It is made of sturdy material, and has a good grip for outsoles, and still it is LIGHTER as compared to other mid/tall boots. The rubber outsoles provide increased traction in cold and slippery surfaces.
The Shellista II comes as tall boots for me (I am 5.2 inch), but on the website, you will see that it is labeled as mid. The North Face has many variations of the Shellista line, yes it is super popular. You can choose from tall, mid to ankle boots. They come in many sizes, colors, and composition.
Merell Encore Kassie Tall Boots
I have been wearing Merrell shoes/boots for years. This one was a recent addition. Merell Kassie are tall boots, made of waterproof leather material.
As with tall boots, many of us have slight issues or uncomfortableness (due to calf sizes especially – ask me!). So if you normally wear Merell or whatever your regular shoe size is, order a size bigger for these tall boots. They will fit like a glove.
The boot opening is generous and wide, and comes with a zipper pull – so it is easy to wear and take it out.
The boots do not have any laces or specific design on the exterior, so it looks very plain and simple – which can be great for those looking for a minimalist look (and it looks great in black). But for some it could be very plain-Jane, depending on your style. You can check out more photos of the boots here
Merrell Sugarbush Waterproof Winter Boots
Lightweight, beige suede winter boots are an amazing pick for winter. They are waterproof and super easy to clean – just wipe it off!
These Merrell Sugarbush waterproof winter boots are composed of membranes that seal water and moisture out. These boots fall in between ankle and mid length for me (I am 5.2 inches), and it is great for travel to places with less snow.
These boots are easy to pair with jeans and leggings. You can wear merino wool socks for an additional layer of warmth. The color of the boots go well with festive colors – red and green. Pair them with a scarf or long sweater in those colors.
I admire the waterproof feature of these shoes – it keeps them in good condition should it rain or have sudden snow/flurries out of nowhere.
Sorel Joan of Arctic Boots
By Michelle from The Wandering Queen
One of my favorite boots I love to wear in Europe during the winter is the Sorel Joan of Arctic boots. These boots are some of the most stylish yet warm boots. They are great for harsh winter temperatures and for sloshing around in deep snow. I have even used them in cold, muddy situations. They are incredibly durable and will keep your feet warm and dry.
Some of my favorite places that I have used the Joan of Arctic is in Switzerland and Iceland. The boots kept me comfortable throughout the harsh cold winter days in Europe. I was able to walk around Zermatt and Southern Iceland without having to worry about getting cold and wet feet.
I also loved how they looked in my pictures. The Joan of Arctic boots is one of the most stylish shoes in the market. It is an excellent buy for any winter European trip.
Sorel Caribou Winter Boots
Super attractive boots are these Sorel Caribous. Made of waterproof material and built to temperatures around 0 to 4 degrees celsius, these winter boots look and feel great upon wear.
The boot has been tested and worn in Iceland in crossover months like October, November, February and March. For wearing during severe winters, we recommend layering with merino wool socks for extra warmth, in addition to the fleece/felt interiors.
The outsoles are great for all weather conditions, including heavy snow and slush (as it is common in crossover months).
One thing to keep in mind about the Sorel Caribou is that the boots are mid-length, and slightly on the heavier side (as compared to other mid-length boots). However, the weight is due to the sturdy material and added outsole and felt liners. Try wearing lightweight and warm (not thicker) socks for comfort.
Terradora boots from KEEN
By Chelsey from My Explore With Me
One of my most favorite winter boots is the women’s Terradora boots from KEEN. There are many reasons as to why I love this boot, however, the most prominent reason being they kept my feet warm when it was -5 degrees out. This San Diego born and raised girl is not used to cold temperatures, so I knew I needed to find a good winter boot that would keep my feet warm.
I love these boots because they have a freeze rubber outsole for traction and a thermal heatshield footbed that helps capture warmth to keep your toes all warm and snuggly.
I find these boots to be extremely comfortable to wear not only around town but also while hiking. They offer the ability to stay active all winter long.
KEEN offers tons of different winter hiking boots, but I chose these ones because they appeared comfortable, they are waterproof, they are lightweight and they can actually be worn in up to -25 degree weather. These winter boots have stayed true to the online description and I absolutely love them.
If you are looking for a pair of winter boots for your next adventure then I highly recommend checking out KEEN.
KEEN Footwear Women’s Elena Boot
KEEN footwear is one of my favorite shoe brands. What I like about them is the durability, style options, and comfortable soft insole/footbed, paired with a tough outer sole. They are super easy to clean as well.
These pair of Elena boots are trendy with nice fabric and color detail. They are perfect for cross-over months when the temperatures are above 0 degrees, and also for colder months up to (minus) – 20 degrees. The outer sole grip is good for uneven and cobblestoned lanes. And due to the unique detailing, they are also great for indoors – they give a nice polished, yet a casual vibe.
Marks/DH Laura Lace Up Boots
One of the reasons for curating this post was due to the fact that I had received so many inquiries about my boots pictured in our Iceland posts. The tall brown boots are from Marks WareHouse, a Canadian retailer. These boots are perfect if you are looking for warmth while keeping things trendy!
One of the main reasons, I went for this pair of boots is that the toe portion doesn’t have additional material or colors. The entire boot is seamlessly made up of one tan brown color, lined with faux Sherpa inside and fur trim on top. It has a sock for added warmth, and laces as well as a zipper pull, which is super handy.
These boots were worn in Iceland, in up to (minus) -8 degrees. I had walked/climbed over uneven slippery surfaces in southern Iceland while chasing waterfalls. They have deep lugs on the outsoles that help improve traction on road surfaces.
These boots are best suitable for mild to moderate winters up to – 10 degrees. They will keep you warm, protected and in style!
UGG Adirondack III Snow boots
If you are looking for boots to withstand over minus 20 to 25 degrees, then I would suggest another pair of boots. Although I have not tried them in Europe, they work like magic in Canada – so they are best recommended if you are indulging in snowshoeing activities, or walking in areas with lots of accumulated snow.
They are not tall boots but the “look” is quite similar to the boots mentioned above (Marks/DH Laura boots). These UGG Adirondack III Snow boots can withstand cold up to -32 degrees, is waterproof, and SUPER warm. It beats the DH Laura boots in that aspect. They are wide, and it will comfortably fit all (regardless of calf sizes!)
Shoe and calf comfort are an important factor when I buy my boots – they shouldn’t be tight. They should be wearable comfortably; if it can expand – ever better.
However, keep in mind, most tall winter boots (that are meant for walking in snow) won’t have any expandable fabric, as it will not retain heat. But these UGG Adirondack III Snow boots are not tall length, so you won’t need the expandable option. And it comes with wider sizing, so it fits perfectly.
Eastland Women’s Blair Boot
By Taylor from Brown Eyed Flower Child
My absolute favorite boot for European travel during the colder months is the Eastland Women’s Blair Boot. I swear by these ankle-length boots because they are convenient, comfortable and stylish!
Since Europe is where I mainly travel to and also where I walk the most, my Blair boots are perfect as it offers the Eastland Exclusive Active Memory Foam comfort insole that supports and conforms to the curves of my foot. It makes walking over cobblestone streets as easy as walking over a powdery sand beach.
In addition, to support and comfort, the Eastland Women’s Blair Boot also features a heel zipper so you could easily take your boots on and off. This comes in handy when you need to take off your shoes during airport security!
I also don’t have to worry about ever tying and untying my shoes. The Eastland Women’s Blair Boot is also fashionable and chic and they go well with almost every outfit. I wore my Blair boots with a dress in England and Scotland; a pair of jeans and overalls at the European Christmas markets and even with insulated leggings during my ski trip to the Italian Dolomites.
The Eastland Women’s Blair Boots are perfect for all types of travel and I honestly don’t know what I would do without mine!
PACKING TIPS FOR EUROPE WINTER
As mentioned, winter months in Europe are from December to February. Northern European countries are the coldest, as compared to the winters in western, eastern, or southern Europe, where the weather is much warmer.
The key to enjoying winters in Europe is to carry a warm outerwear and layer on. One of our top winter travel tips is this – you do not have to pack TONS of clothing to stay warm, just focus on a key piece – OUTERWEAR like a parka or wool coat. Add long johns and thermals to stay warm and enjoy Europe in winter.
Travelers heading for a European winter trip love to include Christmas markets into their itinerary. To enjoy a festive time outdoors, carry a warm sweater dress, warm leggings, wool coat, a warm hat, and booties.
In terms of cold weather, you can expect snow in all 3 regions (N, W, E – northern Europe being the coldest). And warmer weather in Southern Europe and little to no snow.
- Western Europe winters are mostly mild. The temperature hovers in single digits, with a high of 7 degrees Celsius (42 F) and a low of -1 degree Celsius (30 F). Amsterdam, Brussels, Switzerland and many places in Germany (like Berlin and Cologne) experience moderate weather in winter.
- Winter in Northern Europe experiences colder temperatures than the rest of the continent. It has a high of -6 degrees Celsius (20 F) and a low of – 17 degrees Celsius (6 F). Places include Moscow and others in Russia, Iceland, and Minsk in Belarus. Exceptions include London and Reykjavik – where the temperatures are more like Western Europe for winters.
- Eastern Europe experiences a cooler winter, with temperatures of a high of 0 degrees Celsius (32 F) and a low of – 5 degrees Celsius (21 F). Cities include Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, and Prague.
- Southern Europe is the warmest in winters, with temperatures of high of 15 degrees (58 F) and a low of 6 degrees (40 F). The warmest temperatures are experienced in Lisbon (Portugal), Barcelona (Spain), followed by Athens (Greece).
WINTER PACKING LISTS FOR EUROPE
- Tops, blouses or T-shirts – 2
- Thermals or long john – 2 – Get merino wool thermals, they will keep you warm throughout winter
- Fleece jacket – 1
- Pants/ jeans – 1-2
- Sweater Dresses or skirts – 2
- Cardigan – 1 – Check out this Merino Wool Cardigan from Nordstrom
- Waterproof jacket parka or wool coat – 1 – Buy a warm jacket for winter activities in Europe
- Warm travel scarf
- Warm Socks – 2-4 pairs, preferably lightweight
- Compression socks (for flight) – Buy compression socks here
- Comfortable walking winter shoes – one pair – Click here to buy yours
- Winter boots – one pair
- Warm gloves or Mittens – Check out these warm gloves for men, -20 deg
- Warm hat or beanie
- Earmuffs – Buy yours here
- Neck warmer – Buy yours here
- Travel documents – Passport, resident cards, ID, hotels and tour reservations, Insurance details. Place them in a travel wallet organizer – Buy your document organizer here
- Carry on backpack or suitcase – Click here to buy your anti-theft backpack OR suitcase
- Buy Day pack or a cute purse
- Packing cubes to carry all the clothes, travel shoes and accessories – Purchase packing cubes here
- Prescription and common medicines (jetlag, pain killers, band-aid, other required medications) and lady products
- Cosmetics – Clear pouch with light makeup, hand sanitizer, moisturizer, sunscreen, travel size perfume and shampoo, toothbrush, and paste. Click here to buy your clear pouch
- Electronics and related travel gear – Cell phone and sim card, camera, tablet, or kindle. Buy your charging cables and universal adaptor here
We hope you found this post useful! Let us know if you have a favorite pair of winter boots for Europe!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.