Modern snow boots have evolved substantially since they was first created over 5000 years ago.
The first confirmation of their use was found on an ancient iceman that archaeologists unearthed in 1991. He was known to be more than 5000 years old and was found to be wearing an unsophisticated style of snow boot, produced with wide soles made of bearskin to keep the feet dry and warm while spreading his weight across a greater area of snow.
Additional protection on the inside of the boot was made up of grass which surrounded the toes to keep out the cold and retain body heat, while the rest of the boots were made from deer pelt and bark, the most efficient natural insulators for the job in that area at the time.
A similar method was embraced by Stone Age Native Americans who also wore a combination of soft grass and animal skin, introducing other breeds of fur that they also wore for the rest of their clothes as well. The introduction of beads and other decoration gives some indication of how necessary these tribes thought these shoes were to them.
Of course, it is well known that these ancient tribes understood the excellent protection provided by animal furs and even today, natural fur is recognized as being more efficient than similar man-made fibres, although its popularity is now on the decline for animal welfare reasons.
It also seems that lightweight, soft and warm fur-lined snow boots made from moose hide, reindeer pelts and seal skin were made by natives from Canada and Alaska. These were called mukluks and this is a phrase that continues to the present day. Back then however, their strong and lightweight construction made them popular with hunters who had to be nimble and fast on their feet if they wanted to catch their prey.
These days, many designs of men and women's snow boots are produced from simulated fur to keep the feet warm and have sturdy soles to improve grip in icy weather. Leather and suede are also fashionable materials and mass-produced products including nylon offer a high degree of insulation and water resistance too.
Both the traditional and modern designs are normally calf-length or taller to function in deeper snow and an increasingly popular addition these days is a pull-cord or elasticated top to help keep the foot dry.
As we become more and more fashion conscious, designs have changed to keep pace with the most popular trends and many products that are being promoted as snow boots can be equally correctly described as fashion boots, offering comparatively minimal resistance to water.