• What's the task? Shovel snow (5), take a long city walk (3), ride a bike (2), walk the dog (8), strike a pose (1).
• "Cement overshoes" effect makes driving difficult. You can barely feel the gas pedal (6, 7).
• "Waterproof" is a relative term. Some were impressive (2, 3, 6, 7). Others not (4).
• Zippers, shoelace eyelets, seams are your danger zones for water, cold air. Make sure there are multiple layers or rubber there.
• If you're wearing heavy socks, tucking in your pants, allow for that when choosing your size and style.
What the testers said
Ugg Australia Edmonton, $350, uggaustralia.com: "Where's the toe and ankle lamby softness we love in classic Uggs? Not as warm or dry as I'd hoped," says Ellen. "Fairly warm. … Oh my gosh, so comfortable!" says Regina.
Toe Warmers Women's Active Boots, $85.95, amazon.com: "My favorite! Sheepskin from toes to top: Bliss. Great walking comfort, good looking and waterproof too! Wish they were cheaper," says Ellen.
La Canadienne Iza, $285, lacanadienneshoes.com: All testers agree that our feet were cold and wet. What's the point?
Aetrex Berries Bungee Boots, $149.95, aetrex.com: "Toasty … so clunky … difficult to walk in and very noisy," Regina says. "The warmest of the lot," Barbara says.
Neos The Explorer overshoes, $89.95 reduced from $128.50, overshoesonline.com: "Best combination of style and warmth," Regina says. "Scary to drive in. So heavy, exhausting to walk in," Ellen says.
Sorel Cate the Great, $200, sorel.com: "More trim and closer-fitting than most heavy-duty boots, and also better looking. … A little chillier than some others in the test," Barbara says. "My ankles kept rubbing together, making walking difficult," Ellen says.
The North Face Greenland Zip II, $120, thenorthface.com: "They banged against my ankle until the zipper slid down, at which point I started to come out of them," Barbara says. "Irritated by the zipper continually coming undone," Regina says.
Columbia Bugaboot Plus Zip Omni-Tech, $115, columbia.com: "Though they had the stiffness of other substantial winter boots they were comfortable. ... Best overall," Barbara says.
L. L. Bean Wildcat Lace-up Boots, $119, llbean.com