When temperatures drop, some people use this as an excuse to remain indoors. In fact, some will only leave their homes, when they are rushing to grab some groceries. On the other hand, there are others who see winter as the perfect opportunity to venture outdoors and enjoy a seemingly untouched and new landscape, which very few others are able, willing or ready to explore. Winter hiking also presents challenges that are rare during the warmer hiking months. However, the rewards are always greater.
What Makes a Hiking Boot a Winter Hiking Boot?
Every outdoor enthusiast understands the importance of a good hiking boot. In order to brave the challenges presented by the extreme winter conditions, you need appropriate winter hiking boots that will provide support, comfort and protection. A good pair of winter boots can create all the difference between a great hike and a regrettable hike. Buying winter boots might seem like a very simple thing to do. However, if you pay more attention to know more about the product or item that will be protecting your feet and keeping them warm and safe, you will spend less time worrying about your feet and more time enjoying a nice winter hike. Keep in mind that a winter boot isn't necessarily a snow boot, which is an entirely different animal!
Types of Winter Hiking Boots
Winter hiking boots are available in different types, varieties, sizes and designs. There are three main types of winter boots. These are Pac boots, insulated winter hiking boots and slip-on boots. The three types are discussed below.
Slip-ons are those boot varieties, that don’t use a lacing system for securing the boot. Most of them come with pull tabs or large handles, or even loose cuffs in some. This design makes slipping them on and off easy and effortless. They can be made from many materials such as leather, neoprene, textile, rubber or sheepskin. Based on the application of the boot, it may or may not contain insulation. They also have varying levels of walking comfort and water resistance, in order to favor the convenience of not having to adjust laces every now and then.
Remember the mukluk boots (aka: kamik) that were introduced by Inuit to handle the harsh Arctic conditions? Well, pacs are the modern version. A pac boot comes with a flexible and soft boot liner, fitted inside the waterproof boot. The liner can be removed from the boot in case you want to wash them. The liner is like a pair of socks, only that it has designed to match the interior dynamics and shape of the boot. Pac boots are among the warmest winter hiking boots, mainly due to the thick insulation inside. They are also waterproof to a certain extent, thanks to the rubber or leather exterior used to form the outer boot. Pac boots are also lightweight, when you consider the level of comfort and warmth they offer. They also provide good protection from snow and water. Due to the inner boot design, they don’t produce a nice or secure fit as you would expect. They also tend to be clumsier when you are walking in them, as compared to single-layered winter boots. Additionally, after some time, the removable inner lining tends to soften or wear down, which might leave you with a very loose and uncomfortable boot.
Insulated Winter Hiking Boots
Any single-layered winter boot that is insulated, does not have removable liner, and has a lacing system to provide a secure fit belongs to this category. Unlike the slip-on models and pac boots, insulated winter hiking boots are designed for long distance hikes. Therefore, they should have a perfect fit, without interior slipping. Insulated winter hiking boots are perfect for daypacking trips. However, they are not suitable for overnight winter camping due to their difficulty in drying as well as insufficient insulation. If you intend to have an extended winter camping expedition, then you should opt for double-layer mountaineering boots.
How Do Winter Boots Differ From Summer Hiking Boots?
Winter boots have certain features that set them apart from summer hiking boots. First, the material used on the upper should be highly impervious to wetness. That means that it needs to be 100% waterproof or at least water resistant since winter conditions are always muddy, wet or slushy. Secondly, they have a better level of insulation than summertime boots, if daytime temperatures are higher. Thirdly, since many winter hiking boots will be exposed to deep snow and other similar conditions, insulated winter boots should have a higher calf or shaft height to prevent slush and snow from getting inside the boot over the top.
How to Choose the Best Winter Boots
With so many brands, models and varieties of insulated, water resistant and comfortable winter boots to choose from, many hikers especially beginners might be confused. If you find yourself in such a situation, here are some of the factors to consider, when choosing the best boots for winter hiking.
Winter hiking presents the perfect chance to pamper your feet. More often than not, people opt to sacrifice style over comfort during normal hiking conditions. However, in winter, you cannot afford to compromise on comfort. Cold temperatures and snow give you the perfect opportunity to leave behind your designer sneakers or heels, and go for something more comfortable. That is not to mean that you cannot have both style and comfort when it comes to winter hiking boots. There are various brands and models that have managed to blend style and comfort, giving you a perfect winter boot. The bottom line is, if you were to choose between style and comfort when selecting a winter boot, comfort should always take priority.
Sizing and Fit
When it comes to sizing your boots, you need to consider the circumstances under which they will be used. For example, a loose boot will provide great comfort and warmth over short distances. However, it will be very uncomfortable when you hike with it over long distances. Conversely, if you want a long distance snow hiking boot, go for one that provides a snug fit everywhere. Moreover, it should not be overly tight and should also leave enough room at the toe area for you to wiggle your toes. In this light, it is of the utmost importance to know the width, length as well as your foot’s arch length. You should also consider the type of socks that you intend to wear with the boots, during your hiking. Breaking the boots is also important, so that you can have a nice fit during the actual hike.
Slip Resistance and Traction
Winter hiking conditions are usually characterized by mud, ice and snow. These conditions might cause you to slip which might lead to injuries, during the course of your hike. Therefore, when selecting winter trekking boots, ensure that have good slip resistance and traction. Watch out for traction features like treaded soles which will provide grip on slippery and wet ground.
Winter boots are mainly preferred over regular hiking boots due to their generous insulation. To keep your feet warm during cold weather, they should contain some insulating material for trapping heat inside them. When insulation is combined with good exterior waterproofing material, the result is a reliable piece of footwear, which can perform excellently in both cold and wet environments.
Most winter trekking boots have two main forms of insulation; neoprene and synthetic fiber insulation. However, neoprene is not as widely used as synthetic fiber insulation. In fact, it is more common Scuba diving wet suites and fishing gloves. It is durable and warm but very poor in terms of breathing. On the other hand, synthetic insulation is very effective in trapping heat especially when it’s allowed to loft. The amount of insulation applied, together with the sewing technique inside the boot will also affect the warmth and fit of the boot. Synthetic insulation is preferable over neoprene since it offers more cushioning and also feels softer.
Preventing water or moisture from entering your hiking boots is important for several reasons. Once insulation becomes wet, it immediately loses its effectiveness. On top of that, cold wet feet are very uncomfortable. You will not enjoy your hiking when you are walking with wet socks and feet. Boot manufacturers rely on two main forms of waterproofing. First, some boots are made from materials that are entirely waterproof such as rubber or treated leather. Others are fitted with thin waterproof membranes, preventing the interior from external moisture. Fully waterproof materials like rubber and neoprene will keep moisture out, but the boot will not breathe. Therefore, try to strike a balance between waterproofing and breathability, whenever you are buying your winter hiking boots.
The lacing system used will also affect the water resistance and fit of the boot. Pac boots usually have more eyelets which can provide a comfortable fit. However, it is difficult to secure a tight fit when the eyelets are too many. As much as many lacing eyelets enhance breathability, they are also opening up the boot for more water penetration. Go for a winter backpacking boot with a speed lacing system. With speed lacing system, you can get a secure, quick and comfortable fit.
Best Winter Hiking Boots For Women - Reviews
1. Dream Pairs DP Warm Faux Fur Lined Mid Calf Winter Snow Boots
- Winter snow boots keep your feet dry all day
- Cold-weather boot featuring 200g Thermolite insulation rated to -25F
- All-weather protection and a toasty layer of insulation
- Side Zipper Closure for a perfect fit
- Heel height: 1" (approx), Platform Measures: 0.75"(approx), Shaft Height: 10"(approx)
Are you looking for a pair of boots that can withstand the harsh winter weather and at the same time deliver a comfortable hiking experience? If yes, then the Dream Pairs DP should be an obvious choice. These winter hiking boots feature a sturdy, waterproof upper, which keeps your feet warm and dry even when you encounter snow, rain or other forms of condensation. Also, these boots are seam-sealed, thus adding another protection against water or moisture.
Featuring 200 grams of insulation and a rating of -25F, these boots will keep your feet toasty, even during subzero temperatures. In fact, they are so warm inside that your feet will barely notice that it’s winter. Their lacing system features a standard lace-up closure, combined with straps on the calf. They also come with a side zipper. Therefore, you can easily adjust the fit according to your preferences. These winter hiking boots for narrow calves are further equipped with a shaft that rises beyond the ankles. The shaft opening is also lined with premium quality fur. As a result, your legs and feet will have ample protection against the elements.
During the course of your hike, there is a high chance that you will encounter different conditions, from muddy trails to snow-filled terrains. Well, as long as you are wearing these boots, then you don’t have to worry about the trail conditions. These winter hiking boots for women are ready to tackle whatever you encounter along the way. They have a sturdy rubber outsole, which is also slip resistant. This outsole gives you a firm grip on the trails, thus helping you to hike faster and easier.
2. BEARPAW Desdemona Winter Boot
- COMFORTABLE HIGH-QUALITY MATERIAL - Wind, snow, sleet and hail don't stand a chance. Your feet will stay dry and warm, and all your friends will say, 'Where did you get those great winter boots?!
- COZY SHEEPSKIN & WOOL BLEND LINING: Our 10-inch shaft height Women's Desdemona Boot features a sheepskin and wool blend lining that regulates body temperature to keep your feet warm and provides additional softness and reduces foot fatigue.
- DURABLE OUTSOLE FOR INDOOR & OUTDOOR USE: The BEARPAW Desdemona's durable, lightweight molded EVA midsole and molded rubber outsole makes this women's boot the perfect indoor/outdoor choice.
- WATERPROOF CONSTRUCTION:Action leather suede upper and flat tri-color nylon lace. It is designed to provide strong water resistance, this added protection against the elements is perfect for rainy or snowy days!
Complete your winter wardrobe with the BEARPAW Women’s hiking boots. Featuring a lightweight athletic construction and waterproof leather upper, these ones are designed for the ultimate thru-hiker. A rubberized toe cap provides protection to the toes and front of the foot. On the other hand, the wool blend lining makes sure that your feet will never experience any external moisture or cold. With a sheepskin footbed, you will be walking around in amazing comfort.
Exceptional traction is provided by the lightweight rubber outsole while the construction with quality materials ensures that you can wear this shoe all year round. The laces are designed in a way that they can be easily loosened and tightened for fast and easy putting on and off. Since they are fully waterproof, you don’t even need to apply wax or other waterproofing materials. The position of the tongue is designed in a way that there will be no water leaks even when you are sloshing through water or snow puddles.
Unlike other brands that are too narrow around the shaft, these ones come with the right size. They will not appear awkward when they are laced up. Plus size girls, as well as those with big calves will not have to worry about fit. In fact, once the fur lining flattens a little bit, you will be able to secure a better fit. They also provide great ankle support. Additionally, you don’t have to carry thick socks during your winter hiking trip with these boots, thanks to the generous amount of fur lining. The natural fur lining also ensures that your toes remain warm, which is a rarity. Most winter hiking boots are lined with quilt, which is not as effective as the material used in these ones.
3. London Fog Melton Cold Weather Waterproof Snow Boot
- shaft height 8.25 inches
- Warm Lined
- 1 inch heel
- Fur Topline
Battle the cold winter weather with style and comfort, with these amazing boots by London Fog. This is one of the most-established and oldest brands in the US fashion industry, and they still remain a big hit. They are designed to keep your feet warm and prevent them from getting wet in rain or snow. These winter hiking boots for very wide feet are also fully waterproof. You don’t have to worry about sloshing through a puddle of water or snow. They have a 6 cold weather rating, based on a scale of 1 to 10. With a shaft measuring 12 inches from the arch, they will cover the leg almost up to the knee, depending on your height. Upper is made of durable and lightweight synthetic, while the sole is manmade.
The rubber sole comes with a unique lug design to make sure that you can navigate through wet or slippery snowy conditions easily. With fur lining in the inside, you will not have to worry about cold toes anymore. The opening is also fur-lined, which prevents cold air from entering the shoe. A round toe design ensures that your toes have enough room to wiggle and flex. Their lace-up system allows adjustment depending on your fit. It has also been designed in a way that you can loosen them easily, whenever you want to put on or remove these shoes. They are also very stylish and can be combined with different hiking outfits. The laces are thick and strong to make sure that the shoe remains laced-up, everywhere you go.
4. Mishansha Unisex Warm Winter Ankle Boots, Fur Lined
- CLASSIC DESIGN: High top snow boots design with elastic lacing system and feature artificial leather vamp for fashion appearance Leather: Animal leather and artificial leather are called leather. Mishansha's brand concept: From the perspective of protecting the world's ecological environment and responding to the call of the World Animal Protection Association to achieve a balance between humans and animals, Mishansha's hiking boots are made of artificial leather.
- TPR TOE CAP: These ankle booties are designed with improved rubber material for slip resistance and foot protection and can be used as work shoes.
- WARM INSIDE: Hiking shoes are covered with a thick warm lining to keep temperature and offer comfortable touch.
- UPGRADE SOLE: Winter boots meticulously features flexible EVA midsole and non-skid rubber outsole to provide wear resistance and cushioning support.
- PERFECT FOR: Skiing, hiking, walking the dog, walking, mountaineering, camping, casual, working, shopping, driving, vacation. These winter booties also is a good holiday gift. NOTICE: The warm boot is water resistant not waterproof.
If you are looking for a lightweight, comfortable and versatile winter boot, then you will be pleasantly surprised by the Minasha Unisex winter boots. These winter hiking boots for sub-zero temperatures deliver premium protection, solid waterproofing as well as excellent traction on all types of surfaces.
They come with an artificial leather upper, which is sturdy enough and water-resistant. Thanks to this sturdy upper shell, your feet will remain dry and cozy, even when you are trekking through wet conditions. Their front section has been reinforced with a rubber toe cap, designed to protect your toes whenever you strike your foot against a hard surface. These lightweight winter boots for walking have also been outfitted with a lace-up closure, which you can use to customize their fit according to your personal preferences.
Inside these shoes is a thick fur lining, which will keep your feet warm cozy and thick, especially during the cold winter conditions. The fur lining extends all the way to the collar and the tongue, for additional warmth, cushioning, and comfort. A flexible EVA outsole supplies underfoot cushioning and shock absorption while the TPR outsole is responsible for traction and grip. From winter hiking to skiing, mountaineering to dog walking, these boots are perfect for almost all outdoor winter activities. They will wrap your feet in premium comfort, wherever your winter excursions lead you.
5. KEEN Revel III Cold Weather Hiking Winter Boot
- Waterproof boot featuring hiking laces with speed-hook eyelets and diamond-quilted collar
- KEEN.DRY breathable waterproof membrane
- 200g KEEN.WARM insulation
- Tri-layer Heat TRAPOLATOR insulation system underfoot
- Grippy traction outsole
If you are looking for one of the best insulated hiking boots for cold weather and winter hiking, then you should try out the KEEN Women’s Revel III. One of the main features separating these ones from the conventional hiking boot is the additional insulation which keeps your feet warm. The Keen.Warm wraps around your feet, especially around the ankles thus providing both support and warmth. The use of Keen.Dry makes the KEEN Women’s Revel III waterproof. This technology also helps to keep the cold out, and trap heat inside.
Whether you are shoveling or walking through slushy trails your feet will always remain dry. To ensure that snow does not get inside the shoe, there is a gaiter ring on the front especially for compatible snow pants and gaiters. Since these ones don’t go all the way to the calf, the gaiter ring will come in very handy during extreme snow or icy conditions. If you intend to use these ones for winter summiting or snowshoeing, there are various technical features to facilitate that. First, the hardened rubber protection layer on the back helps to protect the leather from getting worn down easily. Secondly, there is the inclusion of a metal gaiter loop towards the front of the toe.
Just like other Keen boots and shoes, an oversized rubber toe bumper helps to keep the toes protected while preventing the shoes from wearing down prematurely. For boot traction, this one works great under various conditions and surfaces. Hiking in the snow is a breeze. No slipping or falling over. For women who are after style, these ones still provide a clean casual look. They can be paired with jeans, khakis or whichever outfit you would want to wear them with. The Keen Revel III can be worn by different people, but they tend to perform better for women with wider feet. You should also note that the insulation will work better if you keep moving. If you will not be moving around, like a camping situation, double up on socks.
Best Winter Hiking Boots For Men - Reviews
1. Sorel Conquest Boot (Fashion!)
- INSULATED WARMTH: Features 400g of Thinsulate Ultra insulation to keep you warm in extreme cold; Built in gaiter with barrel lock closure for added protection from the elements
- WATERPROOF BOOT: Made with waterproof full-grain leather with synthetic textile upper; Seam-sealed waterproof construction ensures toes stay cozy and dry
- EXTRA GRIPPY: Rubber outsole that keeps your feet on the ground in icy conditions; Injection molded thermal rubber shell wraps around the boot for added protection and warmth
- LOCKED-IN FEEL: Achilles strap with shatter-resistant buckle closure provides additional adjustability and locks your foot into the boot for a secure fit
- FUNCTION MEETS FASHION: SOREL creates bold, always-ready footwear that's built to take on non-stop days and nights in the city
Deep snow hiking, demands superior protection and waterproof protection. That is exactly what you get, when you go hiking with these boots. It is the ideal winter hiking boot for men who dare to tackle those slippery, rocky and rough trails and terrains. These provide great ankle support thanks to the firm upper part. Although the firm part might slightly reduce flexibility, it goes a long way when it comes to protecting and preventing broken or sprained ankles. As previously indicated, this is the ideal winter hiking boot for deep snow.
It is fitted with a snow gaiter that has a barrel lock for allowing it to be securely tightened against the leg. The extended rubber lower offers 100% waterproof protection. This means that you don’t have to worry when walking through slosh or mud. Another feature that makes these top of the range boots for cold weather hiking, is the -40 degrees rating. With this in mind, these can be comfortably worn during cold weather for the whole day. You should also note that they will require one or two days for breaking in and getting used to them. However, once they stretch, you will have one of the most comfortable waterproof winter hiking boots.
These are perfectly suited for that hiker that wants a boot that can be relied upon in different conditions. They provide warmth thanks to the 400g Thinsulate Ultra Insulation without addition of too much weight. Apart from that, you get solid ankle support as well as reliable traction on all manner of wet or slippery surfaces. With the addition of a snow gaiter, these should be your preferred boots for those rocky or rough areas. They can also be used as hunting boots, especially during inclement weather. They are seam-sealed to keep out any form of wetness or moisture while the molded EVA midsoles offer cushy underfoot comfort while improving thermal protection.
Some professional hikers are of the opinion that Sorel Pac boots aren’t serious options for hiking. It all kind of depends on how easy or hard your hike is. Use your own common sense before purchasing these boots.
2. Polo Ralph Lauren Dover III Boot
- Rugged, duck-inspired boot with adjustable strap
- Metallic pony logo
- Mid-cut height
Whether you just want to brave winter streets or you just want a rugged shoe for winter hiking, the Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Dover III will keep your feet comfortable and warm, wherever you go. Featuring a sturdy nubuck upper that can withstand the elements, together with a rubber sole for support and traction, these winter boots have the feel and look of any great occasion. They have a high top silhouette which provides sufficient ankle protection. On the other hand, the midfoot straps give them a stylish accent together with a personalized fit.
You don’t have to abandon your style during the cold weather, thanks to these classic boots. These ones come with a lace up front enhanced with antiqued metal gourmets for that rugged and rustic style, which will always stand out, even in ice and snow. These duck-inspired boots are fitted with an adjustable strap for providing an extra secure fit. A deeply treaded sole provides good grip, wherever you go with them. They also come with a padded collar and tongue, for added comfort while keeping debris out.
A cushioned insole absorbs underfoot pressure, provides energy return and provides additional comfort. In terms of construction, you will rarely notice any misplaced stitches or even the soles separating from the upper. They can serve you for more than seven years, and still retain their comfort factor. The Polo Ralph Lauren Men’s Dover III Boot are one of those shoes that never seem to go out of style. The rubberized material at the front ensures that your toes are always protected when you strike your foot against rocks and tree stumps. It also protects the uppers from wearing out. The same rubberized material has been fitted at the back to prevent moisture from leaking inside the shoe.
3. Salomon Toundra Pro Cswp Snow Boot
- NASA technology for temperatures that are out of this world, Aerogels, makes the Toundra Salomon's warmest boot. Warm to -40°.
- Full ClimaSalomon waterproof bootie guarantees that moisture will not penetrate the boot.
- Trudge through Snow and ice with more confidence than Sno-Cat. The aggressive treads on this winter Contagrip sole offer outstanding traction on ice and snow.
- Salomon 2 year limited warranty
Whether you are trekking across snow-filled mountain trails or you are just looking for a protective, warm and comfortable pair of winter hiking boots, then you should look no further than the Salomon Toundra Pro. These lightweight boots are perfect for winter hiking and snowshoeing. The upper features 100% waterproof synthetic material, with a cold weather rating of -40F. These boots are insulated with Aerogel – one of the most efficient and effective forms of insulation available today. Unlike other forms of insulation used in winter hiking boots, the Aerogel foam doesn’t rely on loft or thickness, thus making it perfect for cold weather conditions.
Despite their exceptional levels of insulation, these boots are so light that you will feel as if you are wearing a pair of training sneakers. Therefore, they will significantly reduce the amount of fatigue that you would experience when breaking trails or during steep ascents. Apart from the Aerogel insulation, these winter hiking boots with good arch support also come with faux fur lining, which provides additional warmth and comfort. Their toe box is spacious, thus allowing enough room for wiggle. On the other hand, a gusseted tongue supplies additional protection against trail debris and water ingress, with a clearance of 5 inches.
Their upper is fully waterproof, which means that moisture will not reach your feet. And as much as they are waterproof, they allow enough circulation of air, to keep your feet fresh and comfortable. Once you slip on these boots for the first, time, you can tell immediately that you have invested in quality footwear. Also, they offer maximum flexibility. These super comfortable winter hiking boots for men also come with a pull-on tab at the rear, which provides an easy on and off. You can now trudge through snow and ice with confidence, knowing that your feet are protected against the elements, thanks to the Salomon Toundra Pro.
4. UGG Hannen Tl Winter Boot
- Insole: vildona and foam lined with uggpure wool for additional warmth and comfort
- Outsole is treadlite by ugg to provide maximum cushioning and traction
- Uggpure wool lining
- Waterproof and seam-sealed construction
If you are looking for winter hiking boots that you can use to slog your way through mud or blast through the snow – while keeping your feet comfortable, then the UGG Hannen TL is a perfect choice. These men’s hiking boots for cold weather are ready to tackle whatever you might come across during your hike. As much as they might not flashy or stylish, they get the job done with minimum ease. They feature a refined leather upper, which is seam sealed and waterproof. Therefore, whenever you are hiking with these dogs, your feet will never have contact with any form of moisture. And with a shaft that rises 7 inches from the arch, you no longer have to avoid early morning hikes due to wet blades of grass. These boots will supply all the protection you need.
Their interior is fully lined with UGG pure wool lining, which helps to keep your feet warm and cozy. On the other hand, a Vildona and foam insole provides cushioning and shock absorption, while enhancing support. If you will be out hiking in the wilderness for an extended period, then these boots will make sure that you have sufficient warmth, protection, and support to keep going. These winter hiking boots for arthritic feet are further equipped with a Treadlite outsole, which provides lightweight cushioning, durability and most importantly, traction. And with a shaft that rises 7 inches, a lightweight construction as well as an extra set of laces, the UGG Hannen is your ideal hiker for use when it's snowy outside.