Best Winter Hiking Boots: Stay Warm While Walking Through the Snow
These winter hiking boots are great for keeping your feet warm and comfortable
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.
PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019
Just because you haven’t seen the sun in days and the world around you is carpeted in thick, white snow doesn’t mean you can’t get outside and go hiking. A good pair of winter hiking boots can keep your feet warm and secure in just about any weather. After all, just because the bears are hibernating doesn’t mean that you have to. Here are some of the best winter hiking boots to keep you warm and comfortable as you venture outside in the cold.
- Best OverallKamik Nationplus Winter Hiking BootSummarySummary
Made with durable leather uppers on top of a rubber base, these boots are rated for temperatures up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The tall 10-inch shaft provides plenty of protection from the elements.ProsProsThe rust-proof speed-lacing system lets you get these boots on and off in a hurry, even if your hands are numb. A moisture-wicking lining makes quick work of sweat, helping reduce the risk of frostbite.ConsCons
It can be difficult to get them laced tightly, which can lead to some movement while walking. Limited lining means you should wear thick, heavy socks with them.
- Best ValueNortiv 8 Waterproof Winter Hiking BootSummarySummaryA waterproof shell allows you to splash through rivers and streams, or simply to slosh through deep snow. Multi-directional lugs provide excellent traction, regardless of the terrain.ProsProsThanks to their cushioned EVA footbed, these boots have plenty of padding while also keeping your tootsies warm. The wide opening lets you put them on and remove them easily while wearing thick socks.ConsConsThe eyelets aren’t very durable, so don’t use too much elbow grease when tightening them. They’re rather large and bulky, so don’t expect to be too nimble when you have them on.
- Honorable MentionSorel Conquest Winter Hiking BootSummarySummaryThis pair has a barrel-lock snow collar running around the shaft, letting you secure them tightly to keep snow and water out. There’s also an Achilles adjustment strap for users who want as much ankle support as possible.ProsPros
The sealed seams do an excellent job of keeping the cold at bay. The Thinsulate insulation that runs up the shaft helps your entire lower leg stay warm. These boots offer lots of support for both the foot and ankle, making them a smart choice for users with chronic lower leg issues.ConsConsThey tend to run extremely small and be tight even when you find a size that fits, limiting the type of sock you can pair with them. While the leather components should last for years, the rubber parts may give out sooner and need to be replaced.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
- More than regular hiking boots, winter models need to offer well-rounded protection. You never know what conditions you may encounter, so try to find some boots that are versatile enough to handle almost anything.
- Look for a pair that’s waterproof, even if you don’t think you’ll be coming in contact with any bodies of water. It doesn’t take much snow to penetrate a regular pair of boots and freeze your feet, and you never know when you’ll accidentally stomp in an unseen puddle.
- A removable liner is a smart choice, regardless of whether the shoe is waterproof or not. That way, if your feet do happen to get wet, you can simply take out the soaked liner and replace it with a dry one.
- Winter hikes tend to be slippery, so any pair you choose needs to have plenty of traction, regardless of what kind of terrain you’re walking through.
Q: Do my boots need to be insulated?
A: Yes, typically, but keep in mind that the more insulation you have, the less room you have for your feet and thick socks. Many boots use something called Thinsulate, which offers a barrier of warmth without crowding your feet too much.
Q: Are winter hiking boots a wise long-term investment?
A: Only if you plan on hiking in the winter. Most winter boots are made with seasonally appropriate material, which means that in addition to being more comfortable, they’re better able to handle the rigors of wet, snowy weather than their regular counterparts. As a result, they should last much longer than regular hiking boots worn in winter.
Q: Is there any way to prolong the life of my winter hiking boots?
A: Yes. While these boots are made to handle wet conditions, moisture is still their enemy. Avoid walking through water if you can, and once you get home, clean and dry your boots thoroughly. Leave them in a dry, dust-free area when not in use, preferably with shoe trees inside. You can also treat them with special cleaners periodically if you so desire.
Q: Is there any way to get more benefit from my boots while I’m wearing them?
A: That depends on the conditions you’ll be wearing them in. If you’re going to be climbing, investing in a pair of crampons is a must, and you should wear gaiters if you expect to clamber across streams or other bodies of water.
The Kamik Nationplus Winter Hiking Boots are an excellent choice for use in frosty conditions, as they can protect your feet in sub-zero temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re made with rust-proof components as well, ensuring they’ll be around to offer you years of faithful service.
For a budget pick, choose the Nortiv 8 Waterproof Winter Hiking Boots, which are fantastic for keeping moisture at bay. They’re also thin and comfortable, so your feet should feel great, even after a long hike.