SHOES & BOOTS

The Best Winter Hiking Boots: There’s a Pair for Everyone

Hiking boots for winter
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

After the holidays have past and a new year has begun, you may be ready to get out of the house and get active with a new hobby or a favored hobby. Winter hiking is great fun for beginners and experts alike. However, you must make sure you are prepared to handle the incline, weather, and terrains you will be wandering. And if you think you can mosey through the trails with any old hiking boot, you’ve got another thing coming.

The best winter hiking boots are not hard to find, but you must do some research before you can find the perfect boots for you and the conditions you plan on hiking in. You will definitely have a better idea about the boot that is best for you after looking into these features.

How Do They Fit?

When looking for the best hiking boots, you want to make sure they fit you right. I know this may seem like a “duh” moment. However, different boots are made for different sized feet. Some are narrow and some are wide. Based on your own two feet you will want to pay close attention to the size specifics when looking for your perfect boots. Remember to keep in mind the thickness of your socks too.

Green winter hiking boots

Most boot brands will tell you in the description about their sizing. But if you want to take your research a little further, it never hurts to look at what customers are saying. The reviews are there for a reason and you will often see a trend in comments if the sizing is a bit off. Oh, and going into a store and trying them on for size is never a bad idea either. When you find the right sized boots, your feet will thank you.

Will They Keep You Warm?

As you probably could imagine, making sure your tootsies are warm on cold winter hikes is quite important. The key to not freezing your appendages off lies in insulation. There are many types of insulation that are used to trap your heat inside and keep the cold out. You will find the combination of insulation and waterproofing material is the best solution for warmth, but waterproof materials will be discussed later.

The most popular insulation type is synthetic insulation. Many times, the insulation is integrated into removable boot liners with plasticized fibers that are often found in coats and sleeping bags. This insulation liner creates an extra barrier between your feet and the boot for a cushiony feel.  This goes back to sizing because you will also want a little wiggle room to allow the heat to circulate within the boot.

Warm hiking boots

Though synthetic insulation is the most used option of warmth in winter boots. That does not mean there aren’t other options available. Many brands will come up with their own ingenious versions of insulation that isn’t featured in any other boots. A few examples of brands creating their own insulation is included in our list of products below, so make sure to keep an eye out for them!

After you see these examples, it should be known that insulation comes in many shapes and materials. So if you are interested in a boot that does not feature synthetic insulation, it is worth looking into it. It may fit your needs perfectly.

Will They Keep You Dry?

When you are hiking in the winter, there is almost a guarantee that you will encounter snow, ice, slush, or some form of precipitation that can alter your experience on the trails. It is important to look for boots that incorporate a waterproof exterior to ensure your feet stay dry. Many times the best route to go when looking for waterproof features will include leather or rubber. Normally these boots are treated to be even more water resistant than they were before to resemble materials similar to rain jackets.

When searching for waterproof boots, you will find features in the description that include the prior information or exterior toe shells for added resistance. Make sure to pay attention to outer materials as well. Certain fabrics can allow a feeling of wetness or dampness inside the boot, which can ruin a hiking trip fast. Look for customer reviews and many will share how well the boot stands up to wetness.

Leather winter boots

Now that you know the most important features to look for in finding winter hiking boots, make sure to look at our list below for some great options. These features will be found in different variations throughout our choices listed. When you begin your research with us, we can almost guarantee something will strike your fancy!

The List!

Sorel Men’s Caribou II Boot

Sorel Mens Caribou II BootPrice: $100-$190

Weight: 6.2 lbs. together

Product Features: Features a rubber sole, waterproof leather and a removable “ThermoPlus” inner boot. The shoe is made to protect your feet in temperatures higher than -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Uses: hiking in the snow

When you want a versatile boot that is tough yet comfortable, the Caribou II is a great option. The boot features traction that is great for hiking up hills in treacherous elements. The Sherpa Pile cuff is made to keep the warmth in and the cold out.

With a removable inner boot, you have access to a cozy cushion between your foot and the boot that allows for wear throughout the day. The style of these boots are perfect if you are wearing them as work boots or for casual wear outdoors.

Even on the slickest of ice and in the tallest snow, The Caribou II’s are sure to perform with its waterproof outsole. However, some customers say they are not very durable, so these boots might be better for light use rather than extensive use.

Related Product: The Sorel Caribou Wool Boots have very similar features to the Caribou II boot, except the inner boot is made with wool instead of fleece for warmer feel. However, the wool boots are more expensive compared to the others.

Check the price on Amazon

Irish Setter Men’s 882 Elk Tracker WP 600 Gram 12″ Big Game Boot

Irish Setter Mens 882 ElkPrice: $200-$260

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 in.

Weight: 6 lbs. together

Product Features: Features a leather outsole, synthetic sole, “thinsulate” insulation, and “GORE-TEX” fabric lining for comfort. For additional comfort, a removable memory foam foot bed is included.

Best Uses: hiking and hunting in any terrain

The Elk Trackers are made specifically with work grade leathers to create a great fitting boot that is sturdy enough for any terrain. As soon as you put these boots on your feet you won’t have to worry about breaking them in or finding a comfortable insole.

The removable “comfort cork” foot bed is made with memory foam so you can stand on your feet for long periods of time without much discomfort. Even when your long days are over, you can be assured the stench of the day won’t follow you because of the Irish Setter ScentBan for odor control.

People who have purchased these boots love them and recommend them to anyone who spends long days on their feet. These boots are perfect for those who like to hunt and hike on unruly grounds.

Related Product: The Helly Hansen Men’s Garibaldi D Ring Winter Boot is similar to the Elk Tracker because they are both excellent for working, hunting, and hiking in harsh environments. Both boots have a rubber sole for traction in rough terrain. However, the Elk Tracker does not feature waterproof materials and the Garibaldi Boots do.

Check the price on Amazon

Merrell Moab Polar Waterproof Winter Boot

Merrell Moab Polar Waterproof BootPrice: $85-$110

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 in.

Weight: 5 lbs. together

Product Features: Features a synthetic sole, protective and waterproof shell bootie, and an ice grip outsole. The 1.25 in. heel is offered with a 6.5 in. shaft for ankle protection.

Best Uses: hiking in snow and slush

The Merrell Moab boot is mid-height and waterproof, which is perfect for hiking in both winter and spring months. They are made to keep your feet warm and dry in cold temperatures.

The boots don’t need to be broken in and the molded midsole and foot bed are featured for comfort. These boots feature a shell toe that provides great resistance to moisture even during all day wear. Those who have the shoe use them the most when they are on all-day hikes and snowshoeing trips.

However, it is recommended that you order a half size bigger because they run a little small. These shoes are best for the active hiker who isn’t afraid of the winter’s harsh temperatures and extreme moisture.

Related Product: The Merrell Polarand Rove Winter Boots are waterproof just like the Merrell Roab Boots. However, the Rove boots do not feature the shell toe or the height that the Moab boots have. The Rove boots have a style that can transition easily into daily wear. The Moab boots are better suited for the more adventurous.

Check the price on Amazon

Salomon Toundra Mid WP Winter Boot

Salomon Toundra Mid WP BootPrice: $185-$200

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 in.

Weight: 4 lbs. together

Product Features: features a rubber sole, 8 in. shaft, waterproof features, and an Aerogels thermal insulation sleeve. A rear pull loop is offered for convenience and for the use of a snowshoe strap.

Best Uses: hiking and snowshoeing in temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit and above

The Salomon Toundra Mid-High Snow Boots are made with the unique feature of a gusseted tongue that keeps the boot’s shaft close to your ankle and calf. This is beneficial in protecting your ankle and shins from the cold and wet slush.

Not to mention, the built in thermal insulation is used to keep your feet warm in the coldest of weather. A fun fact about the insulation is that NASA protects the probes on Mars from the extreme temperatures with the same Aerogel that is used for insulation. The Aerogel is also a lighter material than the thinsulate and synthetic insulation that other boots use.

People who own the boots love that the boot offers superior warmth with a lightweight feel. However, you might need to order a half size up because they are known to run small. As a lightweight, extremely warm, and waterproof boot, the Toundra boots are perfect for snowshoeing and hiking.

Related Product: The Salomon Pro Snow Boot is made for trekking in extreme ice and snow and has a higher shaft for ultimate protection in the cold. The Toundra Mid Boot offers very similar features, but is not made for aggressive weather like the Pro Snow Boot.

Check the price on Amazon

Pajar Men’s Tour Boot

Pajar Mens Tour BootPrice: $150-$170

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 in.

Weight: 5 lbs. together

Product Features: features a leather upper, rubber sole, 7 in. shaft and easily adjustable shaft circumference. Offers great insulation and waterproof capabilities.

Best Uses: hiking and commuting in temperatures around 25 degrees Fahrenheit

The Pajar Tour Boots are made with a trendy look like an older leather sneaker.  However, don’t let the look of these boots fool you into thinking they cannot perform in extreme temperatures.

The boots offer up to 400g of insulation and features a waterproof membrane that is sure to keep an individual warm in cold temperatures. Not to mention, there is a fleece lining that is featured throughout the shaft. Many people like this boot because it offers a different look that other winter boots and they are not as bulky.

However, many users recommend buying a size up because they run small. These boots are great for general winter use and hiking in less extreme temperatures.

Related Product: The Pajar Guardo Boot offers features that are similar to the Pajar Tour Boots. Both lack the large and bulky look or traditional snow boots and leather upper for a trendy look. However, the Guardo Boots offers a shorter shaft and is not waterproof like the Tour Boots.

Check the price on Amazon

Hi-Tec Terra Lox Mid 200 I

HiTec Terra Lox Mid200 IPrice: $90-$150

Dimensions: 15 x 14 x 5

Weight: 4.8 lbs together

Product Features: features a rubber sole, leather and textile upper, and a mid sole that offers compression for increasing warmth and reducing density.

Best Uses: winter hiking and long wear even in the office

The Hi- Tec Terra Lox Boots are made to keep your feet warm with Thinsulate insulation and micro fleece lining. With waterproof suede upper, you can be warm and dry in the snow regardless of the terrain.

These boots offer maximum traction when you are walking through a wet or dry area. You can easily slide these boots on because they don’t have laces or a tongue. However, you can be assured your feet are protected regardless of the lack of laces because the snug grip of the midsole.

Customers like the shoe because they are comfortable and easy maintenance. These shoes are great for an individual who requires a lightweight and durable boot that can be worn for sport or style.

Related Product: The Keen Anchorage Boot is lace less like the Tera Lox Boot and offers a waterproof upper that can be worn and accepted in a professional work environment and the trail. However, the Anchorage boots offer a rubber toe for added protection against wetness.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Omni-Heat Boot

Columbia Mens Bugaboot Plus IIIPrice: $80- $240

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 in.

Weight: 3 lbs. together

Product Features: features a 7 in. shaft, waterproof seam inside the boot, and a “techlite” midsole. The boot also offers an Omni-Grip rubber sole for traction.

Best Uses: hiking in the snow, shoveling, and staying warm in the cold

The Bugaboot Plus III is made to keep your feet wrapped in a warm, lightweight, and durable material. The boots offer 600g of insulation and a Techlite midsole for cushioning, energy return, and lasting comfort that you can wear all day long.

When you are in extreme temperatures of -65 degrees Fahrenheit, there are not many boots that will keep your toes warm, but these boots will. The Omni-Heat Reflective thermal insulation capabilities are not featured in many boots, and you can tell the difference when you are wearing the BugaBoot Plus’.

Not to mention they are waterproof so your feel will be dry as you trek through snow, ice, and slush. Many customers recommend these boots because they are durable and not overly priced. Some people recommend that buying a size up is necessary for a comfortable fit. These boots are a great option for a hiker who does not yield to sub zero temperatures.

Related Product: The Kamik Nationplus Snow Boot offers extreme warmth for their users similar to the Bugaboot Plus III Boots. However, the Nationplus Boots offer a 10 in. shaft for maximum coverage and warmth. The Bugaboot stays conservative with a 7-inch shaft.

Check the price on Amazon

The Final Verdict

Now that we have taken you through the many options of winter boots that are built for comfort, warmth, size, and functionality, we hope you have a better idea of what you want moving forward. Investing in reliable winter boots that can last you through season is a key to a successful hiking trip.

Boots on snow

If you are uncomfortable in your current winter boots or you are having a hard time making it through a hiking trip, they are not the best winter hiking boots for you.  But don’t give up! You will know when you have chosen the best out of the best.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding winter boots, please comment below. We understand it may be hard finding the perfect boots for hiking, but we are here to help! Not to mention, we enjoy and appreciate the feedback

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Tyler LeBlanc

    I got myself a pair of Sorel men’s Caribou boots for a trip to Colorado. I haven’t had any issues with them! I’m pretty pleased with my purchase. My feet were pretty warm for the entire trip and it can get pretty cold in Colorado. I even stomped around in some snow and no problems. Fantastic pair of boots.

  • Josephine Charles

    My husband and I. It’s like Helly Hansen. I can wear one pair of pretty thick comfortable socks and just the boots and still be able to fee my toes after being outside for awhile. That’s definitely the best test for me. I have to be able to feel my toes. I like to hike in the cold and winter so I really need protection against potential frost bite. Helly Hansen are pretty amazing in this regard.

  • Jerry Mueller

    Thanks for sharing to your your passion for your boots! Indeed this pair of shoes are great to use. They’ve very stylish and still does a great job of making sure you are walking comfortably and safely when you’re walking on snow! Love the Caribou boot – they look y oung and current!

  • Jerry Mueller

    As long as your boots are the ones you really love – go for it! Make sure it has perfect fit, very comfortable, will protect your feet, has great traction on the snow and will keep you dry. As in other important gear, invest in a great pair. Sure, it has to be affordable – nevertheless, just don’t settle for lemons!

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