Many people enjoy hiking during the winter. It’s relaxing, allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature, and burns a lot of calories. However, winter hiking isn’t as enjoyable if you don’t have a pair of high-quality boots that can withstand the low temperatures and harsh conditions.
We’ve created a list of the five best winter hiking boots and discussed their strengths and weaknesses to help you make an informed decision.
- Best Winter Hiking Boots: Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
- What Are the Differences Between Insulated Winter Hiking Boots and Mountaineering Boots?
- Why Can’t I Use My Regular Hiking Boots for Winter Hiking?
- How Important Is It to Have Gore-Tex or Waterproof/Breathable Insulated Winter Boots?
- How Much Insulation Should Winter Boots Have?
- How Should Winter Hiking Boots Fit?
- Final Verdict
Best Winter Hiking Boots: Reviews
Kamik Men’s Nationplus Boot
The Kamik Men’s Nationplus Boot is comfortable, durable, and provides excellent traction, ideal for winter hiking. Due to their classic design and warmth, these boots are the No. 1 choice for many hikers, hunters, and people who live in areas with harsh winters.
If you’re looking for a high-quality winter boot and don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars, the Kamik Men’s Nationplus Boot is excellent. We first noticed the design, which features a moisture-wicking lining, padded footbed, and seam-sealed construction. Thanks to the impeccable design, these boots are water and snow-resistant and will keep your feet warm. In addition, the boots are temperature rated to -40° Fahrenheit.
Unlike many boots that feel heavy after a few hours, the Kamik boots are lightweight and give the feet room to breathe. Hence, they are ideal for long hikes and walking through piles of snow. In addition, you don’t have to worry about your feet getting overheated and moist, thanks to the moisture-wicking lining.
What I Like
The Kamik Nationplus Boot will keep your feet warm, dry, and cozy even in extreme weather conditions. Many people say these are the most comfortable hiking boots they’ve ever had. They provide plenty of traction and a perfect fit, so they’re well worth their price.
We also love the boots’ durability. Due to their design, these boots can take a beating and still look as good as new. The rubber sole and leather upper combination deliver excellent results, so it’s no surprise these boots can be worn for many years.
One of the most talked-about features of these boots is their price. Customers love that they can purchase top-quality boots without spending a fortune.
What I Don’t Like
The main disadvantage of these boots is the extensive lacing systems. Some people even decide against purchasing the boots because they don’t want to take time lacing them up and loosening them. This isn’t a problem because you only need to unlace the first few loops to put on or take off the boots. Once you learn to work with the laces, the boots are easy to put on and take off.
- Comfortable and warm
- Excellent design
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot
With superior cushioning and an advanced traction sole, the Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot is designed for winter adventures. It offers a secure fit, support, and a modern design many women love, so it’s one of the best winter hiking boots.
These boots guarantee superior comfort and support no matter how long your hike is. You may feel tired, but your feet won’t feel like bricks, allowing you to enjoy your hikes. What makes these boots so special? First of all, their impeccable design offers superb arch support. Moreover, the boots have a slightly soft bottom, so they aren’t as stiff as other models. Many customers agree that Columbia hit a sweet spot when it comes to the sole’s softness. In addition, they are cozy and offer plenty of support. These Columbia boots also have cushioning in the insole, which increases comfort.
Of course, we can’t forget to mention the style. The boots are modern, and many women enjoy wearing them with everyday, casual attire.
What I Like
Many women claim these boots are some of the most comfortable hiking boots on the market, and we couldn’t agree more. They break in quickly and provide utmost comfort. Although they may look stiff due to the leather, the boots are incredibly cozy. They feature Columbia’s lightweight, durable midsole, high-quality cushioning, and traction rubber sole. Thanks to the boots’ design, you can enjoy slip-free hiking on any surface.
Another reason many love these boots is their adjustability. They have a lace-up closure that provides a secure, adjustable fit.
Lastly, we need to highlight the boots’ water resistance. Since they have very few seams and are made of full-grain leather, these boots will keep your feet dry.
What I Don’t Like
While these boots provide decent traction, they aren’t great for heavy-duty trails. If you often hike on rough terrain or like to go off-trail, these boots may not be the right choice for you. However, they are excellent for beginners and those who like moderate hikes.
- Very comfortable
- Superior support
- Soft bottom
Not great for heavy-duty hikes
KEEN Women’s Revel III Cold Weather Hiking Boot
The KEEN Women’s Revel III Cold Weather Hiking Boot is an excellent option for many women. They have additional insulation that keeps the feet warm, and they provide superior traction and stability, regardless of the terrain.
KEEN used innovative technology to create boots with the utmost comfort and warmth. These boots feature KEEN.DRY, a waterproof, breathable membrane that prevents the feet from overheating by letting the vapor out without letting water in. Let’s not forget the two types of insulation that keep the feet warm. The first type is KEEN.WARM insulation and the other is Trapolator. Trapolator represents three layers of underfoot insulation that hold the warmth in.
Many love these boots because they don’t require a break-in period out of the box, meaning you can hit the trail as soon as you buy them without worrying about blisters.
What I Like
It’s noticeable KEEN invested a lot of time and effort into creating hiking boots that can be used on all terrain. The boots feature an innovative design and offer maximum comfort.
We also love that KEEN paid attention to detail. They feature gaiter rings to ensure pebbles, snow, water, or dirt don’t get into the boots. You can wear them off-trail and be confident you’ll get superior protection.
Whether you’re a hiking novice or a pro, these hiking boots are a great choice. Their comfort, impressive insulation, and stability are why many women love them.
What I Don’t Like
These boots may not be the best choice if you like a tight fit. They offer more space for those with wide feet. However, people with narrow feet may find the shoes too bulky, affecting the overall comfort while hiking.
- Innovative technology
- Double insulation
- Gaiter ring
- No break-in period
Not ideal for people with narrow feet
The North Face Men’s Chilkat 400 II Insulated Snow Boot
If you’re looking for an all-around winter boot performer, the North Face Men’s Chilkat 400 II Insulated Snow Boot is the way to go. These boots keep the wearers comfortable, warm, and dry, regardless of the weather conditions.
North Face always tries to come up with ways to create innovative boots that tick all the boxes for even the most demanding customers. These boots feature weatherproof leather and 400 grams of PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco. This insulation offers high breathability and excellent thermal properties and increases comfort. Your feet will stay warm even in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thanks to the full-grain leather upper and rubber outsole, you can explore nature comfortably, even in the harshest weather conditions.
Because they are mid-calf height, these hiking boots trap more body heat than mid-ankle boots, so you won’t get cold feet regardless of the temperature.
What I Like
With the North Face Men’s Chilkat 400 II Insulated Snow Boot, it’s all about warmth and comfort. The winter grip outsole allows you to explore nature confidently and enjoy maximum traction on all types of terrain. In addition, the thick soles offer superb insulation from the cold ground and are incredibly cozy.
If you’re trying to be more eco-friendly, you’ll love that North Face uses recycled insulation for these boots. This insulation combined with a cozy fleece lining equals warm and dry feet.
These boots feature the DryVent construction. The fabrics used are breathable, windproof, and waterproof and have a water-repellent finish. The water will turn into droplets and slide off instead of remaining on the boots, thanks to this technology.
What I Don’t Like
Many customers have complained about the boots’ size. Namely, they run a full-size small, so it’s best to order one size up to ensure the right fit. Moreover, people with wider feet may find the boots a bit tight. However, this shouldn’t be a problem after breaking them in.
- Excellent, recycled insulation
- Keep the feet warm in extremely low temperatures
- Mid-calf height
- Water-repellent finish
Sizing runs small
XPETI Women’s Thermator Mid High-Top Waterproof Hiking Outdoor Boot
These boots offer durability, superb heel stability, and a higher-traction grip. They can easily adjust to any surface and perfect indoor and outdoor activities. If you’re looking for boots you can use on hiking adventures and daily life, these are an excellent choice.
The XPETI Women’s Thermator Mid High-Top Waterproof Hiking Outdoor Boot has a Hydroshield Membrane and a waterproof mesh upper that keeps your feet warm and dry. In addition, the integrated EVA midsole provides excellent traction and a firm grip in all kinds of terrain, while the molding TPU at the heel offers support with premium cushioning. Thanks to these characteristics, these boots are a favorite to many.
Another reason customers love the boots is their adaptability. You can wear them to work, hit the hiking trail, or go for a casual walk, and the boots will adjust to the surface to provide maximum comfort.
What I Like
These boots are neither too high nor too low, measuring around eight inches from the arch. Thanks to their ideal height, pebbles, mud, and other debris won’t be able to sneak into the boots, and they won’t feel bulky on your feet. In addition, since they are made of top-quality materials, these boots offer exceptional durability and will be your partner for many hiking adventures.
Many love these boots because they offer superior arch and ankle support. This is crucial for hikers and everyone who spends a lot of time outside in the cold weather. In addition, they are great for every woman who has foot and ankle pain but doesn’t want to give up hiking.
What I Don’t Like
While these hiking boots will keep your feet warm, they are rated for -13° Fahrenheit. This may not be enough if you live in areas with extremely cold winters. Also, keep in mind that the sizes run small. The manufacturer recommends purchasing a half or a full size up.
- Modern technology
- Ideal height
- Excellent support
Not ideal for extremely cold temperatures
Since people have different needs and expectations of hiking boots, it’s impossible to say one pair is universally the best. For this reason, it’s crucial to understand what to look for in hiking boots and then find a pair that matches your criteria. Then, you won’t regret your purchase and will get exactly what you’re looking for. Here are some of the hiking boots’ features you should focus on.
Winter hiking often means you’ll encounter rain, snow, and ice, and having waterproof boots is a must if you want to stay dry and warm. Most hiking boots can survive deep snow and temporary immersion in shallow water. However, not all models are suitable for long hikes.
After a few hours, some boots may let some water in. In addition, while most manufacturers claim their boots are waterproof, this isn’t always the case. Hence, it’s essential to carefully read customer reviews.
While waterproofing is the No. 1 criterion for most hikers, it’s not relevant for those who live in dry areas. So there may be no need to worry about this factor if that describes you. However, having waterproof hiking boots can’t hurt, especially if you plan on traveling to places that get more rain.
Nowadays, waterproofing often goes hand in hand with breathability. If your feet tend to sweat while hiking, you want boots that release this moisture, even in winter. On the other hand, there’s no point in having waterproof boots if the sweat will remain trapped inside.
Most winter hiking boots have a lug pattern designed to provide excellent grip, regardless of the surface. However, hiking boots without adequate traction won’t be able to “handle” pebbles, snow, ice, and mud, potentially resulting in awkward falls and injuries. So even if you plan on hiking on well-maintained, easier trails, you want to ensure your boots have enough traction in case of severe weather.
Different manufacturers use different insulation for their boots. The most common material nowadays is Thinsulate. It features increased fiber density that keeps the heat in and lets moisture out. Other insulation materials are wool, polypropylene, Zylex, and others.
With insulation, there’s no right or wrong. The type you’ll choose will depend on your needs and preferences.
As you’ve seen, winter hiking boots are manufactured in different heights. Many agree that high-ankle boots are the sturdiest and provide the best support. Such boots have a cuff that rises a few inches over the ankle bone. However, since they cover the ankle, these boots may not provide a great range of motion.
If you want flexibility while hiking, low-cut shoes are the right choice. But keep in mind that these shoes expose your ankles, thus increasing the risk of injury. Also, if you’re hiking on rough terrain, these shoes aren’t the best option.
Mid-cut hiking boots are the golden middle. Their cuff usually rises just above the ankle, thus protecting it from the elements and minimizing the risk of injury. They offer more freedom of movement than high-ankle boots.
If you’re not sure what boot height will work best for you, think about the terrain you’ll be hiking. Those going off-trail or hiking on rough terrain will probably benefit from high-ankle boots because they protect the ankles.
Those hiking over flat terrain or terrain with heavy elevation changes in dry weather can wear low-cut shoes. However, keep in mind that these aren’t recommended during the winter. High-cut or mid-cut hiking boots are the best options to hike in snowy and icy conditions.
Besides the terrain type, your preferences are critical in determining the right boot height. It’s best to try on different models and find the one you feel most comfortable in.
Removable Liners vs. One-Piece Boots
Traditional winter boots usually have a two-piece design with removable liners protected by outer shells. This construction type has numerous advantages. The boots are extremely tough and durable and do an excellent job keeping the feet warm. Moreover, the liners are soft and cushioned, thus contributing to your comfort. Perhaps the crucial advantage of removable liners is their ability to dry out quickly. They are ideal for harsh conditions and shorter walks.
On the other hand, many boots feature a one-piece design. As a result, they are lightweight and offer more control and stability during hikes. Moreover, one-piece boots are ideal for winter hiking and long walks.
What Are the Differences Between Insulated Winter Hiking Boots and Mountaineering Boots?
Mountaineering boots are used for mountainous terrains like snowfields, glaciers, etc. Unlike hiking boots, mountaineering boots usually have a metal or plastic underfoot used in steep snow for ice climbing. They offer a lot of foot support necessary for complex terrain. Mountaineering boots are taller and stiffer than hiking boots because they are used in more extreme terrain.
Technically, you can wear mountaineering boots for hiking. However, since they are stiff, you won’t be very comfortable.
Why Can’t I Use My Regular Hiking Boots for Winter Hiking?
Regular hiking boots aren’t the best choice for winter hiking for two reasons: insulation and traction. Traditional hiking boots usually don’t have enough (or any) insulation to keep you warm while hiking in low temperatures. Plus, their soles may not be able to handle snow and ice, increasing the risk of accidental falls.
How Important Is It to Have Gore-Tex or Waterproof/Breathable Insulated Winter Boots?
Since winter hiking usually means hiking in snowy and icy conditions, having waterproof/breathable insulated winter boots is essential. Besides the waterproof outer fabric, Gore-Tex and waterproof boots typically have an additional inner layer of fabric that ensures no water can penetrate. However, the biggest problem is that Gore-Tex and waterproof boots don’t let the moisture out, meaning your feet may become wet with sweat.
For this reason, it’s essential to find boots that are both waterproof and breathable.
How Much Insulation Should Winter Boots Have?
All winter hiking boots have some insulation level measured in grams. Usually, insulation ranges between 100 grams and 600 grams. Therefore, good-quality winter hiking boots should have at least 200 grams of insulation.
How much insulation you’ll need depends on the average temperatures in your area. For example, if you get extremely cold winters and hike through deep snow, you’ll need more insulation and vice versa.
How Should Winter Hiking Boots Fit?
When trying on the boots, slide your feet forward until they reach the end and measure how much space you have behind the heel. You should be able to squeeze in one finger between the boot and the foot. For the best results, it’s good to have someone help you measure the space.
The boots are too wide if you can move your feet from side to side when it comes to the width. In contrast, the boots are too narrow if your toes are crunched.
Keep in mind that you should try on the boots with the socks you plan to wear while hiking.
Now that we’ve covered the five models, it’s time to decide on the best winter hiking boots. As far as men’s boots, our top choice is The North Face Men’s Chilkat 400 II Insulated Snow Boot. This model is comfortable, innovative, and has enough insulation to keep your feet warm.
For women, we recommend the Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot. They break in quickly and have a soft bottom that provides superior comfort.