When you live in northern Minnesota, staying warm in the winter is a top priority. A good pair of winter boots is a necessity.
I’ve learned a few tricks to making shopping for kids winter boots easier over the last decade with my three boys. If you follow this system for shopping for kids winter boots, you’ll find great quality boots, save time in the store, and save money, too.
Shop before the snow flies.
The best time to shop for new winter boots is in mid-to-late fall – before snow is on the ground. Many stores offer early, pre-season sales on their kids winter boots, and the selection is the biggest at this time. If you wait until the threat of snow is eminent, you’ll be stuck paying full price and have a harder time finding the sizes your kids need.
You can save big money buying kids winter boots in the spring when they are being clearanced, but it is a risk. I’ve guessed wrong on what size my kids will wear the next winter (one boy skipped two shoe sizes in a year!) and then I was stuck with too-small boots I couldn’t return to the store. I’ve also bought the boots at the end-of-the-season clearance only to discover a son with sensory issues didn’t like a particular seam inside his boots. So while the savings may be big, I have found that it’s better to wait until the fall to do my shopping.
Consider the rest of your kids’ winter gear.
What color is your child’s winter jacket and snow pants? You’ll want to consider colors that would go with them. I like buying boots in colors that go with the most things, so I watch for black, navy and gray.
Measure your children’s feet before you head to the store.
It’s hard enough to convince the kids to go to the store to shop for shoes or boots without having to take the time to figure out what size they wear at the store.
I have a child’s shoe sizer that gives me a ballpark idea of what size shoes or boots to look for. Once I get to the store, we can go right to work trying on the size we need without wasting time guessing.
Look for quality winter boots.
You can go too cheap when it comes to winter boots. I know because I have done this. Boots that get wet inside or fall apart are not a bargain. I’d much rather buy one, more expensive pair of boots that last all winter, than buy several cheap pairs that make my kids whiny all winter.
What makes a pair of good quality kids winter boots? Look for good temperature ratings. Because we sometimes see school day temperatures in the -30º F, range, I look for boots that state they are rated to -40ºF. Look for boots that have a lot of rubber material or waterproofing to keep the cold and moisture out. Be sure to check that the traction is good on the bottoms so that your child doesn’t slip on the ice. When my boys were little, I had good experiences with the Circo brand winter boots at Target. As my boys got older, I found that Kamik, Sorel and Ranger brands seemed to hold up the best and keep their feet warm and dry.
Take the liners out of the boots.
When it comes time for your children to try on winter boots, remove the liners from the boots. Removing the liners will give you a good idea of the quality of the boot. Removable liners can always be replaced (if you’re passing a pair of boots onto a younger sibling), and are a sign of a better quality boot.
Have your child try on just the boot liners.
This is my top tip for trying on kids winter boots. You can easily see how much toe room your child has if they only try on the boot liner. If you have them try on the boots, you won’t be able to tell how the boots fit them because of the hard toes of the boots.
I find that having about a thumb tips’ space between the end of the boot liner and my child’s big toe makes for a good fit that will last the season. They’ll be able to wear thick socks on cold days and still have a little room for their feet to grow.
Then try the boots on with the liners back in.
Once you’ve determined that the liners fit, you need to have your child try the boots on with the liners in them. This ensures that they still fit well and are comfortable. You want to make sure that nothing is rubbing or uncomfortable.
Use any coupons if you can.
Use any store coupons and online coupon codes that you can and be sure to look for mail-in rebates from the manufacturer to save even more. Sometimes if you ask nicely, a store employee will tell you when coupons or sales will be available on winter boots so you can find the best deal.
Using these shopping tips, I was able to get out of the store with winter boots for three boys in less than 20 minutes. I saved money by taking advantage of early sales and was able to choose from a wide variety of kids winter boots.
These tips work just as well when you are shopping for adult winter boots, too, so keep them in mind as you shop for boots for yourself.
If you buy the best quality you can afford, and you buy boots that repel water and keep your feet warm, you’ll be able to survive whatever winter throws at you. That’s money well spent!
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Money Beagle says
I love the idea of the boot liners. Never thought of that. Will have to share that one with my wife. For us, it’s a timing issue. If we buy them too early (before the snow flies), inevitably our kids go on massive growth spurts and the boots (or shoes, whatever the case may be) end up being too small. Murphy’s Law, I suppose!
Christina @ Northern Cheapskate says
If you bought now, you’d probably be okay on sizes. I find that if I’m really on the fence about a size, I just pick the next one up just to be safe.