Icy pavements not only make it more difficult to go about your daily errands, but they can also make it more dangerous. I myself have been a victim of icy pavements — and while I
am a bit of a klutz, the main thing that led to my bruised bottom wasn’t my lack of grace, but the wrong pair of shoes. That’s why I reached out to ABMSP-certified doctor of podiatric medicine, Dr. Dana Canuso, who filled me in on the main features to look for in the best shoes for icy pavements — namely, good traction, ankle support, and arch support.
Slipping on icy pavements can cause harmful injuries, so the shoes you choose are important. “Wearing a supportive shoe that stabilizes the [foot] and ankle in case of a slip could prevent a host of problems,” Dr. Canuso says, like pulls, sprains, or bone fractures that can take months to fully heal. So, what does a supportive shoe consist of?
Traction: This is Dr. Canuso’s number-one advice when it comes to finding the best shoes for icy pavements. Look for shoes that have deep grooves on the outsole, and “avoid ‘plastic’ feeling soles that are slippery,” she says. Ankle support: According to Dr. Canuso, “Your ankle has multiple muscles, tendons, and ligaments that work together to stabilize your foot and ankle in order to walk effectively.” For this reason, she advises looking for ankle-height shoes with laces or adjustable straps, so that you can decide how and where to tighten them to provide the most support. Naturally, lower-cut shoes offer less ankle support, but they do offer more flexibility when it comes to activities (you can run in shoes, for instance, but not in boots!). Arch support: The flatter the shoe, the less stability they provide. That’s why Dr. Canuso suggests opting for shoes that offer adequate arch support — so look for ergonomic features like padded, contoured footbeds, constructed of durable yet comfortable materials. Not only do they keep your feet stable on ice, but shoes with arch support are also ideal for people with painful foot conditions, like plantar fasciitis, for example.
Another factor to consider is moisture. While not all winter shoes are 100% waterproof, choosing a pair that’s at least water-resistant, or can be treated with a
waterproofing spray, will help keep your feet warm and dry. (For extra coziness, you might also consider a pair of fleece- or fur-lined boots.)
If braving slush and ice is a common occurrence in your neck of the woods, this list of the best shoes for icy pavements will help you find a pair that strikes the perfect balance between style and safety.
1 A Fan-Favorite Hiking Shoe For Icy Pavements
With almost 12,000 ratings and a 4.8-star rating overall, these Columbia
hiking boots have earned legions of fans for being able to tackle slippery situations. These leather and suede boots are fully waterproof, while a textured rubber outsole provides traction suitable for all terrains (including icy city sidewalks). Hitting just above the ankle, you can lace up these boots as high and tight as you’d like for plenty of ankle support. They’re also super comfortable, thanks to a lightweight, bouncy midsole that offers the stability Dr. Canuso advocates for. Helpful review: “Like other reviewers said, I didn't need to break them in -- they feel like a pair of good sneakers from the get-go. They've kept traction across ice, slippery mountains/hills, muddy terrain, through small streams, normal (rocky/wooded/grassy) trails and off-trails in Iceland, Alaska, and Illinois ... They keep my feet dry and warm; they're really comfortable to stand in all day; and they keep traction on the compacted ice/snow sheet -- haven't slipped once.” Available colors: 12 Available sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide) 2 The Classic Duck Boot With Over 20,000 Glowing Reviews
Another widely loved option, these classic
duck boots from Sperry have over 20,000 glowing, five-star ratings and reviews on Amazon. The rubber soles are outfitted with wave-shaped grooves that can tackle icy pavements and slippery slush alike, while a micro-fleece lining offers just the right amount of warmth. Laces offer customized ankle support for a secure, snug fit, and side zippers make them easy to slide on and off. While these offer some arch support thanks to a cushioned insole, reviewers suggest using a padded insert if you have more severe foot conditions. Although the rubber-and-leather construction is waterproof, customers who live in very snowy or wet climates recommend treating them with a waterproofing spray for extra protection. Helpful review: “These boots provide sturdy support to the front of the foot and ankle [...] The leather was of good quality, and the side zipper stays put and is of a heavy enough duty to keep secure throughout the day. Another notable difference is the 'gription', so to speak, on slick surfaces. On a snowy day, perfect for sledding, I found the slick snow covered hill much easier to maintain my footing as they held to the ice, not sliding nearly as much as similar pairs I had worn in the past.” Available colors: 55 Available sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide) 3 Some Dr. Martens That Combine Fashion and Function
Adored by punks and fashionistas alike,
Dr. Martens have stood the test of time both for their timeless style and durability. Made of full-grain leather, these Docs are a great defense against icy pavements, thanks to waterproof, grooved rubber outsoles that offer lots of grip and traction. The eight-eye laces provide coveted ankle stability to help prevent strains and sprains, while the moisture-wicking lining and memory foam insoles offer all-day comfort. Docs are notorious for being tough to break in (nothing a thick pair of socks can’t solve), but once you do, they get softer and comfier with each wear. The leather construction is water-resistant, but to make them even more functional for wet, icy conditions, you can spritz them with a waterproofing spray. Helpful review: I love my Docs! They go well with everything and they keep my feet warm and dry with a lot of ankle support, which are important things during winter in Omaha with all the snow and ice.” Available colors: 12 Available sizes: 5 — 15 4 A Pair Of Time-Tested Timberlands That Can Stand Up To Rigorous Conditions
Like Docs and Sperrys,
Timbs have their own cult following — and for a good reason. A perennial go-to for rigorous activities, these leather boots are fully waterproof with tractioned outsoles that grip onto icy pavements. The laces can be tied securely, and the padding around the ankle not only offers support, but also helps prevent blisters. Lastly, a padded footbed provides comfort and arch stabilization. Helpful review: “These shoes are fantastic. [...] The shoe is very sturdy, insulated, NOT bulky, soft nubuck feeling on the exterior, and supportive for the feet. [...] I go to college in Storrs, CT and it's very, very cold up there, not to mention the ice. I mainly bought these boots for their rugged and anti-slip nature and as I run around outside and inside, these boots keep up and grip to the ground very well! Available colors: 8 Available sizes: 5 — 11 (available in wide) 5 These Trendy Moon Boots Made With Recycled Materials
Recently seen on fashion plates like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner,
moon boots are one of this season’s biggest shoe trends — not to mention one of the comfiest. These North Face boots are made of water-resistant, recycled ripstop nylon — one the most durable forms of nylon out there — and are insulated with synthetic down. Surprisingly lightweight, these lace-up boots have an adjustable bungee in the back to keep out snow and add extra ankle support. The grooved, rubber sole means they grip onto ice instead of sliding over it, and a fleece lining keeps your feet warm in the snow. Helpful review: “[H]ave already tested the boots in ice, snow, and water puddles. I was warm and dry all the time :) LOVE THEM TOO much, great purchase.” Available colors: 7 Available sizes: 5 — 11 6 A Pair Of Tall Rubber Boots With A Warm Fleece Lining
If you prefer taller
boots, these durable neoprene ones from Muck Boot could be just what you’re looking for. While the rain boot style may not offer the same ankle support as lace-up boots, the specially engineered lugged soles that provide intense grip and traction more than make up for it. A fleece lining keeps your feet way warmer than your traditional rain boot would (these are designed to keep you warm in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit!), while contoured insoles offer the support you need to maintain stability when walking on ice. Helpful review: “These boots are high enough to keep my feet dry even in deep snow. The rubber part is surprisingly flexible even in very low temps. [...] The neoprene uppers are really warm with the right amount of stretch; enough to put on easily, but not so loose as to let snow in. [...] The footbed is really cushiony with nice arch support and keeps my feet surprisingly sweatfree. [...] So far, I've worn them in mud, snow and ice and they have good grip over all three.” Available colors: 4 Available sizes: 5 — 11 7 A Pair Of Slip-On Hiking Shoes You Can Wear All Year Long
While laces do offer good ankle support, sometimes it’s nice to have an option that you can easily slip on and off while running errands. Made of 100% leather, this pair of highly rated
hiking shoes from Merrell are especially great for those prone to foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, thanks to a contoured footbed and heel cushioning that offer critical arch support to keep you steady on icy surfaces. The slip-resistant outsoles provide plenty of traction for slippery surfaces; but this lightweight, year-round shoe will serve you just as well on warm-weather hikes as it will in icy conditions. Note that the brand doesn’t specify whether these shoes are waterproof, but several reviewers report that they stand up well in the rain — according to one shopper, these “always keep my feet warm and dry, even in half hour walks in a downpour!” Helpful review: “There is nothing that holds up better for winter walking than the Merrell Jungle Moc. I've worn these shoes since I broke my ankle on ice every winter. Just this week I started to slip on the ice and the shoot immediately grabs like it always does when I'm about to go down. I live in Minnesota so the winters are rough and these shoes have literally saved me from breaking my ankles over the years.” Available colors: 7 Available sizes: 5 — 11.5 (available in Wide) 8 These Cozy Winter Booties That Are Like Pillows For Your Feet
Like the Merrells listed above, these
winter booties are another good option if you’re looking to forgo laces in favor of a slip-on style shoe. But these up the cozy factor — they’re fully lined with faux fur to trap in heat, while the pillowy outside is made of a waterproof, tear-resistant oxford nylon to keep your feet safe and dry. The shock-absorbing, non-slip rubber soles help prevent sliding on icy driveways or sidewalks. Unlike the previous pair, though, these don’t offer as much arch support, so you may want to add your own cushioned insoles. Helpful review: “I just moved from Florida to the Midwest and these boots were perfect when we got our first snow storm of the season. Very comfy and warm, plus they have a good grip for snow and ice.” Available colors: 14 Available sizes: 5 — 10 9 These Stylish, Non-Slip Winter Boots That Come In So Many Shades
With 20 colors to choose from, these laidback
winter boots will pair perfectly with whatever you’re wearing, whether a pair of leggings and a windbreaker on a low-impact hike, or jeans and a cute top to head out to dinner. These fashionable shoes still work well on icy terrains, thanks to a non-slip sole made of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and water-resistant, faux-leather construction, while the laces offer ample ankle support. The faux-fur collar on the style pictured adds extra coziness, but you can also opt for a plaid or plain collar. Note that some reviewers recommend choosing half a size smaller, depending on what socks you plan to wear. Helpful review: “I went on a minor hiking trip in Asheville and these were great. Some rocky, muddy and icy paths and the grip worked pretty good! I’m not sure if they are for intense hiking but for moderate hike they were great. Also very comfortable and very warm. And supper cute!” Available colors: 20 Available sizes: 6 — 10 10 This Sneaker-Boot Hybrid That Offers The Best Of Both Worlds
Constructed of waterproof leather and suede, these
shoes offer the functionality of a boot with the style and comfort of a sneaker. The rubber outsole offers top-notch traction, perfect for navigating icy city sidewalks, while a micro-fleece lining offers insulation to keep your feet toasty. A removable EVA footbed creates cushioned, shock-absorbing arch support for all-day comfort. Whether you pair these with leggings or jeans, you’re guaranteed to look chic and stay safe from slippery ice. Helpful review: “Love these shoes. They’re insulated for cold weather but give you the comfort of sneakers, so they’re perfect for walking long distances in the city or elsewhere while also keeping warm. I bought a half size up from my normal size, and they fit perfectly.” Available colors: 5 Available sizes: 5 — 12 11 These Grippy Running Shoes You Can Wear For Winter Workouts
If you think that running shoes can’t be worn in the winter, think again. Featuring rubber outsoles with strategically placed lugs, these
sneakers have maximum grip and traction so you can focus on your run, not panicking about an icy fall. Specially designed cushioned footbeds provide arch support and shock absorption for added comfort. Plus, a quick-dry fabric promotes draining, which is ideal for wet snow or ice (and sweaty feet). Helpful review: “Bought these for New England winter weather runs on pavement/ice and snow. Kept my feet dry in light rain, puddles of melting snow and ice. Comfortable fit right outside the box [...] and [...] the grip seems formidable. I have wide feet and a bunion issue. These worked perfectly and fit exactly to my usual size.” Available colors: 8 Available sizes: 5.5 — 12 (also available in wide) 12 These Extra-Warm, High-Performance Clogs
These waterproof, 100% leather
slip-on clogs are a great alternative to bulky boots and perform just as well. Deep lugged soles offer just the right amount of traction to keep you steady, while a fleece lining keeps your toes warm in low temps. Removable EVA footbeds are specially molded to provide arch support, shock absorption, and extra stability against icy environments. A loop on the back makes them super easy to slip on and off. Helpful review: “The vibram sole cuts through snow and ice so beautifully, you will be so confident on your feet in any weather. This is my second pair, and the first pair was about 15 years old when she retired [...] I absolutely love anything Merrell does, and everything lasts!!!!” Available colors: 2 Available sizes: 5 — 11.5 (also available in wide) 13 Also Consider: These Removable Ice Cleats That Make Any Shoe Winter-Ready
If you have a favorite pair of running shoes (or any other type of shoe, for that matter) that you wish had better traction against ice, you might be interested in these removable
cleats that transform any shoe into a winter-ready alternative. These ergonomically designed rubber cleats feature patented spikes made of military-grade tungsten that penetrate ice for grip and traction, so you’ll stay safe on icy pavements during winter walks and runs. Helpful review: “I have been running year round for ten year’s and can’t believe I waited this long to get them. I ran over ice with a breeze. I mainly trail run and these helped with grip in the snow especially on slippery hills. I also have large feet and these fit with both of my road and trail shoes. Also they come with a couple of extra spikes.” Available colors: 1 Available sizes: Small/Medium; Large/Extra-Large Expert: Dana Canuso, podiatric surgeon and the founder of Dr. Canuso Skincare
Get Even More From Bustle — Sign Up For The Newsletter
From hair trends to relationship advice, our daily newsletter has everything you need to sound like a person who’s on TikTok, even if you aren’t.
Subscribe to our newsletter >