Bear-paws are elongated objects, made with bent wood and leather strips, and are lashed onto the bottoms of boots. This allows the wearers to walk on top of snow without breaking through the crust. Some clansmen even have bear-paws made for their horses to wear on their hooves. Bear-paws are also used beyond the Wall by the free folk.
A Dance with Dragons
During the march on Winterfell, Asha Greyjoy sees the northmen putting on bear-paws. At first she judges them as strange things, but she quickly realizes how useful they are when she sees the northmen easily outpassing Stannis Baratheon's southron knights. The knights try to put bear-paws on their horses, but the palfreys and destriers refuse to move, or try to shake them off their feet. One destrier breaks an ankle trying to walk in them.