The 10 Best Shoes for Walking on Ice of 2022

The Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boots will keep you steady on your feet

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Winter weather doesn’t mean putting all your outdoor activities on hold for a season. With the right pair of shoes, you can walk on ice and snow with little worry about slipping and falling. “Wearing proper footwear is important whenever you’re outside,” Gaby Pilson, a mountain guide and outdoor educator at Outdoors Generations, says. “But doing so is particularly vital when walking in icy conditions because there’s an increased risk for slips and falls in ice-covered terrain.”

Reviewed & Approved

Our top overall selection is the Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boots for their light weight and exceptional gripping traction. The Mishansha Winter Snow Hiking Boots have similar features at a more budget-friendly price.

The best shoes for walking on ice have exceptional traction. They should also offer protection from wet and cold conditions to keep your feet warm and comfortable. “Not only can proper footwear provide a stable platform and prevent one from slipping, but it can keep an individual's feet warm and safe from frostbite,” Bonie Shupe, mountain athlete, and General Manager and Director of Product at Ibex Outdoor Clothing, points out. “For outdoor adventures, there are few investments more important than proper footwear. Few things ruin a trip as quickly as cold or sore feet.”

When navigating icy weather, you need traction and warmth. We reviewed shoes based on their level of traction and grip, their water resistance, and their insulation.

Here are the best shoes for walking on ice on the market.

Best Women's Overall : Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boot

4.7
Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boot

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Insulated

  • Adjustable lace-up design

  • Available in standard and wide widths

Cons
  • May not be fully waterproof

These warm winter boots from Columbia are out best overall pick and will protect your feet, while also keeping you safe from slips and falls. While some winter boots are bulky and awkward to walk in, the Ice Maiden II boots have a lightweight midsole that provides excellent, long-lasting cushioning and high energy return.

The boots’ Omni-Grip advanced traction rubber sole offers exceptional grip, so you won’t be wobbling on snow and ice. Your feet should stay warm and dry, thanks to the waterproof membrane construction and ample insulation. Available in women’s sizes 5 through 12 and in wide or medium widths, these stylish boots come in a range of colors, including black, brown, red, and gray. 

Sizes: 5 to 12 (standard), 5 to 10 (wide) | Color Options: 11 | Waterproof: Water-resistant (may not be fully waterproof)

Best Women's Budget: Mishansha Winter Ankle Hiking Boots

Mishansha Winter Snow Hiking Boots

Amazon

Pros
  • Lined with warm faux fur

  • Adjustable lace-up design

Cons
  • Not waterproof

  • May feel too hard for some

  • May not be very durable

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a pair of shoes that provide exceptional grip and stability on ice. These hiking boots from Mishansha have many of the same features as much more expensive options—but at a very reasonable price.

The boot’s anti-collision toe cap design and anti-slip rubber outsole help keep you safe when walking on icy or snowy surfaces. You also get long-lasting comfort and warmth from the boot’s cushiony EVA midsole and thick faux fur lining.

With a wide range of colors and sizes to choose from, spanning from a women’s 5.5 to 15, these boots are an affordable, stylish pick for outdoor activities or casual wear.

Sizes: 5.5 to 15 | Color Options: 18 | Waterproof: No (water-resistant)

Best Men's Overall: Merrell Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Boots

Merrell Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Boots - Men's

Courtesy of REI

Pros
  • Insulated for warmth

  • Lightweight, low-bulk lining

  • Adjustable lace-up design

Cons
  • Only available in one color

Merrell’s Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Boots should keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable in cold weather. The upper is constructed with a combination of waterproof-coated leather and mesh for weatherproofing and breathability. And a grippy rubber outsole should provide plenty of traction in rainy, snowy, or icy conditions.

While these features keep your feet protected, the boots’ insulated inner lining will keep them warm and comfortable. The shoes are lined with 200 grams of lightweight insulation, which promises to keep your feet warm without adding too much bulk to your shoes. 200 grams of insulation is a solid minimum for winter boots, but if you're shopping for especially frigid temperatures, a higher amount would be better. The shoes are currently available in men’s sizes 8 through 14 and in just one color: black.

Sizes: 8 to 14 | Color Options: One | Waterproof: Yes

Best Men's Budget: NORTIV 8 Men's Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boots

NORTIV 8 Men's Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boots

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Insulated

  • Moisture-wicking inner lining

  • Adjustable lace-up design

Cons
  • Limited sizes available

  • May not be very durable

These affordable boots keep your feet warm and dry in frigid conditions, without feeling too bulky or heavy. Made with 200 grams of insulation, they also have a waterproof shell on the bottom, which will help keep your feet dry in snowy or wet weather.

With a cushioned insole and ergonomic design, they provide excellent support and comfort that you might expect only from much higher-priced boots. The durable and stable rubber sole is slip-resistant, even on the ice. Available in men’s sizes 6.5 to 8 and 13 to 14, these boots are a good, reasonably-priced pick for outdoor work or play in winter weather.

Sizes: 6.5 to 14 | Color Options: Three | Waterproof: Yes (at the base)

Best for Snow: North Face Shellista IV Boot

North Face Shellista IV Boot
Pros
  • Insulated

  • Lightweight, low-bulk lining

  • Adjustable lace-up design

Cons
  • Some colors sold out in some sizes

  • May run small

Waterproof and insulated, The North Face’s Shellista IV Mid WP boots are a perfect pick for the snow. Along the top of each shoe, you’ll find a sturdy upper, crafted from leather and nylon. Meanwhile, the lower boot is waterproof, so it should keep your feet dry and comfortable, even when you’re walking in the snow and slush. It comes equipped with a grippy outsole, which should give you ample traction as you navigate icy conditions.

Slip your feet into the shoes, and you’ll discover their cozy inner lining. Each boot is padded with 200 grams of The North Face’s Heatseeker insulation, which is designed to keep your feet warm without adding much bulk or weight to your shoes. While not the highest amount of insulation out there, 200 grams is ideal if you're prone to overheating or are layering with thick, wintry socks.

The snow boots are currently available in women’s sizes 6 through 11. And they come in four versatile colors: taupe, brown, dark brown, and black.

Sizes: 6 to 11 | Color Options: Four | Waterproof: Yes

Best for Commuting: Columbia Heavenly Shorty Omni-Heat Boots

Columbia Heavenly Shorty Omni-Heat Boots

Courtesy of Zappos

Pros
  • Insulated

  • Breathable

  • Adjustable lace-up design

Cons
  • May be loose around the ankle

  • May run narrow/small

If your commute to work or school involves some walking on ice or snow, these boots are a comfy option to keep you from slipping and sliding. The waterproof, breathable membrane keeps your feet dry from the elements, while the Omni-Heat Reflective Warmth technology keeps them toasty.

You’ll get additional warmth and protection from the 200 grams of insulation and the waterproof, quilted synthetic textile uppers. The boot’s Omni-Grip outsole delivers exceptional grip and traction. Choose from three different colors in women’s sizes 5 through 12.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Color Options: Five | Waterproof: Yes

Best for Running: Icebug Haze RB9X GTX Shoes

Icebug Haze RB9X GTX Shoes

REI

Pros
  • Adjustable lace-up design

  • Textured outsoles

  • Abrasion-resistant

Cons
  • Not insulated

Icebug’s Haze RB9X GTX Shoes manage to be both low-profile and high-traction—a combination that makes them great for running in winter weather. At first glance, the shoes look like ordinary athletic shoes. Thanks to their low-cut collar and sleek silhouette, the shoes should give you (and your ankles) the flexibility you need to comfortably move around. But since the shoes are both waterproof and abrasion-resistant, they should also keep you protected as you navigate rough weather and terrain.

At the base of each shoe, you’ll find a high-traction outsole. Crafted from rubber, this outsole is designed to give you plenty of grip as you navigate wet and icy surfaces, as well as textured terrain like mountains or hills. Icebug’s Haze RB9X GTX Shoes are currently available in women’s sizes 6 through 10. And they’re available in two colorways: black with orange details and black with light blue details.

Sizes: 6 to 10 | Color Options: Two | Waterproof: Yes

Best for Wide Feet: Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Merrell Moab 2
Pros
  • Shock-absorbing heel

  • Adjustable lace-up design

  • Available in standard and wide widths

Cons
  • Some colors not available in wide widths

  • Not insulated

If you’ve struggled to find boots that accommodate wide feet, check out this high-quality pair from Merrell. They come in medium or wide widths, providing some extra space around the foot. With reliable Gore-Tex waterproof protection and a Vibram TC5+ outsole with 5-millimeter deep lugs, they’re a good choice for walking on snow or ice.

These boots also feature exceptional comfort from the compression-molded EVA midsole, while the Merrell air cushion in the heel delivers shock absorption and stability. Available in women’s sizes 5 to 12, they’re versatile enough to wear hiking or when heading out for weekend errands in cold, winter weather.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Color Options: Ten | Waterproof: Yes

Best for Narrow Feet: Sorel Whitney II Short Lace Boot

Sorel Whitney II Short Lace Boot

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Insulated

  • Adjustable lace-up design

  • Run narrow and long (great for those with narrow feet)

Cons
  • Some colors sold out in some sizes

Anyone with narrow feet knows how annoying it can be when your feet are sliding around and not properly supported in boots. This adorable pair from Sorel offers a narrow fit, so your feet will feel snug and stable inside.

With a durable rubber outsole, they’re ideal for commuting, outdoor winter activities, or just slipping on to walk the dog when it’s icy and snowy out. Available in women’s sizes 5 through 12, they feature a lace-up closure so you can customize the fit even more.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Color Options: Eight | Waterproof: Yes

Best Traction Cleats: Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats

Yaktrax Walk Traction Cleats

Amazon

Pros
  • Designed to add traction to your go-to shoes

  • Lined with abrasion-resistant, anti-rust steel coils

  • Should stay in place once you’ve slid them on

Cons
  • May be hard to put on

  • May break with prolonged use

If you don’t feel like buying a new pair of shoes just for walking on ice, Yaktrax has you covered. The brand’s Walk Traction Cleats are designed to make your go-to athletic shoes grip better on snow and ice. Simply stretch the cleats over the outsoles of your sneakers, and your shoes should become much grippier on snow and ice. (You know how some people add traction to their tires by wrapping them in snow chains? These cleats do the same thing for your shoes.)

The cleats are made from a stretchy plastic polymer, and they’re lined with abrasion-resistant steel coils. These coils add texture to the outsoles of your shoes, allowing you to plant your feet more firmly on ice and snow. And since they’re finished with a zinc coating, you shouldn’t have to worry about them rusting after they get wet.

The cleats are available in four size ranges: extra-small (2.5 to 6), small (6.5 to 10), medium (10.5 to 12.5), and large (13 to 15). And thanks to their elasticity, they should stay securely in place once you’ve fastened them to your shoes.

Sizes: 2.5 to 15 | Color Options: One | Waterproof: Yes (but they will not make your shoes waterproof)

Final Verdict

While all of these picks can help keep you safe when walking on ice, we highly recommend the Columbia Ice Maiden II Snow Boot (view at Amazon) for women and the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Boots (view at REI) for men. Both boots are durable, versatile, waterproof, and provide exceptional traction and lightweight warmth.

What to Look for in Shoes for Walking on Ice

Grip

Grip is the most important factor when choosing a shoe that will provide stability and confidence when walking on icy surfaces. “Wearing the right footwear can help lower your risk of falling while walking on ice, so you can spend more time enjoying yourself in the great outdoors and less time worrying about every step you take," says Gaby Pilson, mountain guide and outdoor educator at Outdoors Generations.

Look for shoes with rubber outsoles, large treads, or aggressive lugs that will offer good traction. “As a general rule, you’ll want to look for sturdy shoes that have deep treads on their rubber outsoles,” Pilson advises. “These thick lug soles can provide better traction in snowy, slushy, and muddy conditions, so they’re ideal for all-purpose winter use.” Small treads, on the other hand, “won’t give you much traction in inclement weather,” she says.

Water-Resistance or Waterproofing

If there’s ice, you'll generally encounter snowy and wet conditions as well, so you’ll want a shoe that’s waterproof or at least water-resistant to help your feet stay warm and dry. Shoes that are made of Gore-Tex, neoprene, leather, PU, PVC, or rubber offer the best protection against water. Note: If a boot is water-resistant, it won't totally block water. If that's what you're looking for, make sure you get a waterproof boot.

Insulation

Proper insulation will help keep your feet warm and toasty. Insulation is typically measured in GSM (grams per square meter)—with a higher GSM indicating heavier insulation. To find a shoe that provides the warmth and protection you need, check the temperature rating, note the insulation weight (GSM), and look for materials such as fleece and Thinsulate. “Most shoes made for ice are insulated,” Bonie Shupe, mountain athlete, and General Manager and Director of Product at Ibex Outdoor Clothing says. “Shoes and boots generally come with 100 GSM, 200 GSM, or 400 GSM of insulation. They may even be labeled with a comfort range for the performance of the boot.” (This 'comfort range' or 'temperature rating' will tell you what temperature range the insulation may be suitable for. There is no general temperature rating standard, so ratings might mean different things across brands).

Comfort

Comfort is an important consideration, especially if you’re using the shoes for commuting or outdoor winter activities, such as hiking. A cushioned footbed with good support will improve shock absorption and reduce the risk of pain in your feet and other areas. And of course, you’ll want to make sure the shoes fit you properly. “The best option is to try some on,” Shupe says. “Who cares about features if the fit is miserable?”

Usage

Before buying any shoes, it’s a good idea to consider what you plan to do in those shoes. “Purchasing footwear for cold weather is really dependent upon the end-use,” Shupe explains. “One may purchase vastly different shoes for running, hiking, snowshoeing, or mountaineering.” So use the cold-weather activities you’d like to complete as a starting point. Then, make sure the shoes you’re looking at will help you safely and comfortably complete those activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you walk on ice with sneakers?

    Walking on ice is a risky thing to do. But if you have to walk on ice, try to do it in a pair of shoes designed for walking on ice—rather than a standard pair of sneakers or athletic shoes. “It’s probably not the wisest to walk on ice in sneakers, as they are not constructed for that surface,” Dr. Rob Conenello, D.P.M., founder and podiatrist at Orangetown Podiatry, says.

    In a pinch, you can use cleats—like Yaktrax’s Walk Traction Cleats (view at Amazon)—to make your sneakers more suitable for walking on ice. “There’s really no magical trick to transforming regular sneakers into ice trekking machines,” Pilson says. “You could put a pair of Microspikes or Yaktrax on a pair of sneakers that you use at the gym, and you’d likely get decent traction with them. But it’s not a good idea to do so, because regular sneakers simply don’t provide the insulation you need in cold conditions.”

  • Does putting socks over shoes stop you from slipping on ice?

    The short answer? No. “Putting socks over your shoes is a fantastic way to take revenge on a great pair of socks,” Shupe says. “Outside of that, it won't do much for traction.” So if you’re looking for a way to make your shoes more grippy, consider sliding on a pair of traction cleats—and leave your socks inside your shoes, where they belong.

  • What should you wear when walking in icy conditions?

    When getting dressed for icy conditions, be sure to layer. “Anyone venturing outside in the winter should come dressed in layers so that they can stay warm and dry at all times,” Pilson says. And wherever possible, favor fabrics that don’t retain moisture (like wool) over fabrics that do (like cotton). “Cotton can hold 27 times its own weight in moisture, and that moisture can freeze,” Shupe says. “At the end of the day, any fabric that doesn't retain moisture and can provide insulation should do the trick.” 

    Once you’ve piled on the warm clothing, be sure to slip into a great pair of snow boots. Then, consider carrying a set of trekking poles with you for extra traction, or sliding on a set of gaiters to keep snow out of your boots. “When you’re on a slippery and icy surface, trekking poles are a truly indispensable tool,” Pilson says. “And a pair of gaiters can also help keep snow from getting into your boots so you can have a more enjoyable time in the woods or in the mountains.”

Why Trust Verywell Fit

An avid runner, marathon running coach, and fitness writer, Christine Luff has researched and recommended lots of cold-weather outdoor gear, as well as personally tested them in cold, blustery winter weather.

Additional reporting to this story by Lindsey Lanquist

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.