Ah, wintertime. Snow fluttering down in the yard, hot chocolate on the kitchen stove, kids outside happily building snowmen, and some youngster screaming cause his feet are frozen. Avoid the meltdowns by outfitting your kids with proper winter boots to keep the snow out and warmth in. Here’s what to look for to keep winter-boot-shopping hassles to a minimum.

Top Pick

This pair has a whopping 12.5-inch opening circumference and is rated to -25F. Amazon

Average snowfall: How much snow does your hometown normally get? If you live in an area that gets hammered every winter, chances are your kids are going to be spending a lot of time in their snow boots. Buying up will ensure boots will last and your kids’ feet will stay warm and dry all winter long.

Winter temperatures: Again, if the average temperatures where you live are icy cold, you’ll want to make sure your kids’ boots are well insulated to handle freezing and even sub-zero temperatures.

Activity levels: Are your kids active outdoors all winter long? If so, good footwear is an investment. More expensive models will generally provide better arch support as well as premium insulation. And if their feet are comfy and warm, kids will enjoy staying outside longer.

Stylish Choice

A removable felt inner boot pulls out easily for quick drying. Amazon

Easy On and Off: Make sure your child can put their boots on and off by themselves. This means looking for models with easy, hook-and-loop fasteners and large-diameter openings.

Totally Waterproof: Make sure the boots you buy are completely waterproof (a one-piece, injection-molded shell helps ensure this). Take a pass on “water-resistant” or “water-repellent” styles.

Draw-String Collar: Models with a toggle on their topline cinch up easily to keep snow and cold out.

Insulation: Synthetic insulation for boots is measured in grams. Look for boots with 200 to 400 grams of insulation (or more) depending on where you live.

Removable Liners: Breathable liners that “wick” moisture away from feet are best. Look for removeable liners that slip out easily to thoroughly dry damp boot shells.

Craftsmanship: Look for double stitching and added reinforcement at key stress points.

Great Value

These have handles molded into their tops for easy on and offs, and they’re rated to -30F. Amazon

If you’re looking for a pair of boots for your oldest, with the idea that these will be handed down to someone younger in the family in a season or two, invest in a quality boot that will last. Conversely, if you’re buying just for your youngest, you can almost count on them growing out of their snow boots in a season, so you don’t need to spend a fortune. Boots need to fit properly, however. Have your child try on a pair while wearing a good pair of wool or wool/synthetic-blend socks that wick moisture away from feet. When in doubt, buy a half-size larger to accommodate heavy socks.