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A generation or two ago comfort wasn’t a big priority for boot manufacturers. Make them functional, make them durable and everybody’s happy. Then along came the baby boom generation with its higher expectations, and lo and behold, boots had to be comfortable, too. “Boot construction is a lot different than it was in the 1950s,” says B Rocky® Boots. “A lot of new technology has been able to satisfy higher expectations of customers.”

Ah yes, technology. New materials and new manufacturing methods have greatly improved bootware over the past decades. For example, advancements in rubber manufacturing have enhanced the quality and feel of boot soles. And new methods of molding have allowed better contouring of the sole and boot to the foot.

Rocky has a Mountain Stack model with a five-layer outsole and an air cushion foot bed to keep the foot dry and comfortable.  3M’s Thinsulate™ has become extremely popular with boot manufacturers, providing heat without bulky construction.  But there are other ways to keep your feet warm in boots. “Virtually any boot with a liner is going to be warmer,” says Itasca Boots. “It’s the principal of layering.”

Fit is even more important in boots than other clothing because the wrong boots can cause blisters. Itasca says to error on the side of more room, especially with insulated boots. “If the boot fits too tight, the insulation will be compacted, and that will reduce the R factor of the material.”

Itasca says that boots are like most products in that you get what you pay for — up to a point. “Sometimes you can pay a lot of money and not get any more than you get in a lower-priced boot.”

Read the labels, compare the products, and find the value. What a concept.

-Deer Abby

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