Chilly mornings and shorter days are a sure sign winter is approaching. Which also means it’s time to pull out the winter gear from the back of the closet. But chances are last year’s winter boots are a little tight. We’re here to help. Picking out the right gear for your kiddo doesn’t have to be a struggle even when the “cool” boots aren’t exactly practical. So with all the options out there, how do you choose what will work best for your kids?

There are two main factors to consider when choosing winter boots: the climate you live/play in and what activities you will be doing. Generally speaking, any winter boot you choose should be waterproof and warm with good traction regardless of the climate or activity. However, there are some other important features to look for when considering the following:


There is a huge difference between buying winter footwear for a snowy, frigid northern climate and a drizzly, mild southern climate so consider the temperature rating of the boot. This number is the lowest temperature the boot will retain its warmth. Keep in mind, temperature ratings are only a guide, and can be affected by many conditions, including weather, wearer’s activity level, metabolism, perspiration, circulation, exposure time, type of sock worn and cold sensitivity. You know your kid best.

Another factor to consider is the height of the boot. If you live in a climate that sees heavy snowfall, a taller boot will be more effective at keeping feet dry vs. a shorter boot. For colder climates, one great option is the Snow Quest Lite from Merrell (Also made in a version for little kiddos) because it is not only a taller boot with a temperature rating of -35 degrees Fahrenheit but also lighter and more flexible than many of the snow boot options on the market.


Along with climate, you will want to consider the activities your child will wear the boots for. If you are looking for a boot that can be worn comfortably at school all day while also keeping feet warm during recess, flexibility is key. Footwear that feels like a sneaker for comfort but works like a boot for those slushy puddles on the playground is ideal, such as the Snow Crush Boot (also available in little kid sizes). If hiking and trail fun is often on your schedule, you’ll want to aim for a flexible, warm boot with a little added traction to handle whatever the trail has in store, from dirt and mud to slush and ice. The Snow Bank 2.0 Boot does the trick with M Select® GRIP technology in a sneaker-like boot with a temperature rating of -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other Tips

Try on the boots with the socks your child is most likely to wear with the boots. Have them wear the boots for a bit at the store or in your home to make sure they are comfortable, secure to the foot. If you’re purchasing online make sure to print out a sizing guide like this one from Merrell to make sure you order the correct size. Toggle closures make getting the boots on and off a breeze while also ensuring a snug fit—something any parent can appreciate! Lastly, if water or snow does get inside the boot, avoid drying boots directly in front of an open heat source, like a vent or fire. This could cause damage to the boot materials. Instead, dry them upside down on a boot drying rack or simply in a warm, dry location. Packing boots with newspaper can also help them to dry out quickly if you’re on a time crunch.

By selecting a boot that meets the needs of your climate and activity level you’ll set yourself up for less stressful winter outings, from hiking and playing outside to running to the grocery store.

Exclusive partner discounts, educational resources, and community support are just a few of the benefits of a Hike it Baby membership. Learn more about membership options and join or donate today!

About Hike it Baby

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

This post is sponsored by Merrell. We would never recommend a product we do not love. All opinions are our own.

Photo by Michelle Craig


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