10 Best Winter Hiking Boots (2021)

Best Winter Hiking Boots
Winter is different for everyone. What may be wet and snowy for some may be cold and dry for others, so if you think you’re getting an article on snow boots, don’t go anywhere. We’ve got the 7 best winter hiking boots for everyone in all types of wintry conditions.

Best Winter Hiking Boots – Winners

Check out our quick recommendations here, or keep scrolling for detailed reviews:


Best Men’s Overall Winter Hiking Boots

1. Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry Hiking Shoe – Men’s

Quick View Information:

  • 1 pound 7oz
  • Waterproof
  • Textile lining
  • Sawtooth sole
  • Dual-density midsole
  • Lace closure

The Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry Hiking Shoe for men is the best winter hiking boot because they are versatile, durable, and comfortable.

They weigh a relatively lightweight 1 pound 7 ounces and are completely waterproof. They are called the Sawtooth because they have a sawtooth outsole that helps you grip rugged terrain and improves traction. The midsole is dual-density which makes the boots both comfortable and supportive.

This waterproof boot is made of a combination of Nubuck leather and abrasion-resistant textile. They are also textile-lined to give you a little extra insulation. While they provide warmth and waterproofing, you can wear this winter hiking boot in any weather conditions or during any season.

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Best Women’s Winter Hiking Boots

2. Oboz Women’s Bridger 7″ Insulated B-DRY Waterproof Hiking Boot

Quick View Information

  • 5 ounces
  • Waterproof boot
  • 200-gram 3M Thinsulate insulation
  • Thermal insole
  • Winterized granite peak outsole
  • 7” shaft height

The Oboz Badger 7” has virtually everything you’re looking for in women’s winter hiking boots. They are waterproof, insulated, and have a winterized outsole that will grip all types of rugged terrain. The outsole is thick enough that you won’t feel the rocks or roots underneath your feet as you hike but lightweight enough that they don’t feel heavy on your feet.

One of the best features of the Badger 7” winter hiking waterproof boot is how they are ideal for medium-high volume feet. If your feet are slightly wider with high arches, these boots are made for you.

This women’s boot has a 7” high shaft with a gaiter D-ring so you can easily attach your gaiters to your boots to keep snow from entering the top of your boots.

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Men’s & Women’s Runner Up

3. KEEN Targhee II Waterproof Mid – Men’s

Quick View Information:

  • 1 pound 1.4 oz
  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height cut
  • All-terrain rubber outsole
  • Hydrophobic mesh lining

The Keen Targhee II waterproof mid hiking boots are our choice as runner-up for the best overall winter hiking boots because they are lightweight, durable, and waterproof. They have multi-directional soles that grip rocky terrain and roots while hiking.

For wet conditions, they are made of waterproof and breathable inserts to keep your feet both cool and dry while you’re on the go. They have a mid-boot height cut that will protect your ankles without making them too bulky or heavy. You can wear these hiking boots all seasons of the year.

View Men’s on Backcountry >>

Also Available on Amazon


4. KEEN Targhee II Waterproof Mid – Women’s

Quick View Information

  • 14 ounces
  • Waterproof
  • Non-marking rubber outsole
  • Arch support
  • Torsion stability
  • 8” shaft height

The Keen Targhee II waterproof mid hiking boots for women are very similar to the men’s version. They have a non-marking rubber outsole that is rigged and will grab terrain, like rocks or roots, to give you traction without adding weight. They weigh less than a pound, so you don’t have to worry about your feet getting tired during prolonged hiking.

Another great feature of the women’s Keen Targhee II winter hiking boots is the arch support. Many women have high arches so designing these boots with arch support is a much-needed feature.

They are waterproof, breathable, and lack thick insulation, so you can use these for all types of weather and seasons, not just winter and cold weather.

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Best for Narrow Feet – Men’s

5. ECCO Biom-C Trail — Men’s

Quick View Information

  • 8 pounds
  • Waterproof
  • Gore-Tex Prism lining
  • Rubber sole

The ECCO Biom C-Trail Gore-Tex hiking boots are the best for narrow feet because they are made with the ECCO Biom X-Tensa technology that keeps the boot tight around your foot. If you have a wide foot, the Ecco Biom C-Trail boots are not for you.

They’re lined with the Gore-Tex Prism lining for breathability and waterproofing. They have a rubber sole that will grip the terrain and prevent slipping as you hike. They’re slightly heavier than some other options weighing 1.8 pounds.

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Best Minimalist Boot – Men’s & Women’s

6. Xero Alpine Boot – Men’s

Quick View Information

  • 9 ounces
  • Insulated
  • Insulation rated up to -25°F (-32°C)
  • Removable 22mm heat-reflective insole
  • 5mm FeelTrue rubber sole
  • Water-resistant

Don’t let the headline fool you. For a minimalist boot, it does not lack any features. This is one of the warmest, weather-rated boots on our list. If your goal is to keep your feet warm this winter while hiking, you won’t find a better boot on our list.

The boot’s sole is 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber, making it easy to grip any kind of terrain or wintry conditions in which you’ll be hiking. These boots are only water-resistant and not waterproof, so keep that in mind if you plan on hiking in wet conditions.

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7. Xero Alpine Boot – Women’s

Quick View Information

  • 9 ounces
  • Removable 2mm heat-reflective insole
  • Insulation rated up to -25°F (-32°C)
  • Water-resistant
  • 5mm FeelTrue rubber sole

Like the men’s Xero Alpine boots, the women’s are packed with just as many features. For winter boots, it doesn’t get more insulated and warmer than these. Combine the insulation with the 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber sole, and you’ve got a great winter boot with the women’s Xero Alpine boots.

Like the men’s Xero Alpine boots, they aren’t 100% waterproof. Instead, they are water-resistant. If you plan to do a lot of hiking in the snow, your feet will stay warm and dry, but they may become wet if you are hiking in wet conditions for prolonged periods.

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Best Traction – Men & Women’s

8. Salomon Cross Hike – Men’s

Quick View Information

  • 14 ounces
  • Waterproof

Solomon is one of the best hiking boot manufacturers on the market. They are comfortable, lightweight, and strong enough to endure hiking miles of rocky and rugged terrain. It has a rubber lug sole with a chevron pattern that will grip various types of terrain and stick into mud or snow to provide excellent traction and stability.

They are lined with breathable mesh and a Gore-Tex membrane that makes them 100% waterproof. One of the best features may be just how simple the boots are to tie. They are designed with a quick lace system that makes tying the boots extremely fast and simple. The Solomon Cross Hikes are great for hiking in winter, but they can also be worn any time of the year.

View Men’s on Backcountry >>

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9. Solomon Cross Hike – Women’s

Quick View Information

  • 14 ounces
  • Waterproof

The Solomon Cross Hike winter boot for women is nearly identical to the men’s winter hiking boots. They share the same rubber lug sole with a chevron pattern so that you can grip all types of terrain while hiking. They are also designed with the same quick lace system as the men’s, so it’s easy to secure this winter boot onto your feet and go.

The Gore-Tex mesh waterproof membrane makes this winter boot 100% waterproof. While there is no added insulation for warmth, you can enjoy wearing these boots in summer without worrying that they will be too hot.

View Women’s on Backcountry >>

Also Available on Amazon


Best for Long, Snowy Miles

10. Salomon X Ultra Winter CS WP 2

Quick View Information

  • 2 pounds
  • 7” shaft height
  • Thinsulate insulation
  • Gaiter hook
  • Waterproof

It’s no surprise that we have two models of Solomon winter hiking boots on our list. Unlike the Cross Hike model with no added insulation, the X Ultra Winter is made with Thinsulate insulation for added heat and comfort, making these perfect for wintry conditions.

This winter hiking boot has a Contagrip rubber outsole that grips all types of terrain while you’re hiking for stability and grip. The outside layer of the boot is made of full-grain leather that will keep your feet warm and dry.

Finally, there is a gaiter hook to easily attach your gaiters to while hiking in snowy, wet conditions. There’s no better choice for long hikes in the snow than the Solomon X Ultra Winter boots.

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Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Winter Hiking Boot

Choosing winter hiking boots means more than just choosing the warmest or most waterproof boots you can find. While warmth and temperature ratings are important considerations for winter hiking boots, various features make some boots better than others, and we’re here to help you know what to look for.

Warmth and Temperature Rating

Since we’re talking about winter hiking boots, we’ll start with warmth and temperature rating. You’ll need boots that provide warmth when hiking in cold or wet conditions. These boots will have extra insulation to provide added warmth.

Look for boots that describe what kind of insulation they have. Boots that lack insulation can also lack warmth, especially if they’re not temperature rated.

The temperature rating is important because it reassures you that your feet will stay warm in various cold temperature ranges. These cold temperatures range as follows:

  • 41°F to 14°F (100g insulation)
  • 32°F to -4°F (200g insulation)
  • 14°F to -13°F (400g insulation)
  • -4°F to -40°F (600g insulation)
  • -13°F and colder (600 to 800g insulation)

If you know you’ll be hiking in mild conditions during winter, you may be able to get by with a temperature rating of 41°F to 14°F, but if there’s any chance you’ll be hiking in extremely cold conditions, you’ll want to spend more for the hiking boots that have a higher temperature rating.

Insulation Types

There are approximately seven different types of insulation that boot manufacturers use to insulate boots, but the most common are Thinsulate, removable felt liners, and fleece insulation.

Thinsulate

Boots lined with Thinsulate are ideal because it is an extremely lightweight material that holds in heat and keeps cold air from penetrating. It doesn’t add extra padding or weight to the boot, yet it keeps your feet warm as if they had thick padding.

Felt Liners

These are traditional insulation liners that many boots still use today. Felt liners can be removed from the boots so that they can dry out. You can also remove them to wash them as well. The downside to felt liners is that because they are a removable liner, they can allow moisture to enter or heat to escape.

Fleece Insulation

Boots with fleece insulation provide both warmth and comfort. Fleece insulation is often found in winter boots that can double as fashion boots. Because of their added comfort, fleece-insulated boots are a great option if you plan to hike for long periods.

Boot Height

Boot height is also known as the shaft height, and this may be a feature you consider if you need extra ankle support. Boots with short shafts or boot height will be ankle boots and won’t provide any ankle support when hiking, while taller boots with a shaft of 6” or higher will provide more ankle support.

Weight

How much the boots weigh is important because heavy boots can cause you to become fatigued quicker than lightweight boots will. However, it’s important to remember that some lightweight boots also lack insulation that can keep your feet warm.

Unless they are lined with Thinsulate insulation, lightweight boots will likely be less weather-rated than heavier boots, so keep this in mind when choosing how much emphasis you want to put on how much the boots weigh.

Waterproofing and Gaiters

Waterproofing is a feature you should absolutely consider for a winter hike because of how likely you’ll be to hike in the snow. If you think you’ll be hiking in snow or wet conditions, you should highly consider waterproof boots or boots that have hooks for you to attach gaiters to.

Let’s talk waterproofing first. The best waterproofing material will be Gore-Tex. Boots with Gore-Tex waterproofing will ensure that your feet stay 100% dry from any outside moisture, including snow, rain, puddles, or shallow creeks.

If your boots don’t have any waterproofing capabilities, but you want to ensure that your feet stay dry as you winter hike, you should consider boots with gaiter hooks that you can attach gaiters to.

Gaiters are a waterproof material that covers the top of your hiking boots and the bottom of your pants. They are best secured to boots that have gaiter hooks to ensure that water doesn’t come into contact with the boots.

Breathability

Another important feature you will want to consider when choosing the best winter hiking boots is their breathability. This may not seem like an important feature for winter hiking boots, but it’s one you should consider. Breathable hiking boots will serve two purposes.

First, they will let sweat escape from your boot without entrapping it. Second, it will ensure that moisture stays outside your boots without reaching the inside. While you want your feet to stay warm from insulation, you don’t want them to sweat. Breathable hiking boots will make sure that your feet don’t feel clammy after a long hike.

Boot Outsoles and Grip

This feature is extremely important if you plan to hike on strenuous trails with rugged terrain. The outsole of your boot is what the boots will be made of. For the best grip, you’ll want outsoles that are made of rubber.

Likewise, you’ll want the outsoles to have lugs with patterns that allow you to easily grip various types of terrain, including rocks, roots, mud, and snow.

Fit and Sizing

Like any shoe, you’ll want to know how the hiking boots are sized. Some hiking boots are designed to fit more snugly than others, so you’ll need to know how the boots fit to determine your size.

Wearing hiking boots that are too tight can be uncomfortable, while wearing hiking boots that are too loose may cause you to rub a blister on your foot, so you’ll need to make sure you choose a hiking boot that has the right fit for your foot.


Winter Hiking Boots Gear

Any time you plan to go hiking in winter, you should consider investing in gear that will help make your hike easier.

Socks

Winter hiking boots socks will be thick socks that are padded and provide adequate insulation for cold weather. A good pair of boots should be accompanied by a quality set of hiking boot socks. Merino wool socks are popular as they insulate your feet rather than trapping the heat.

Insoles

Insoles are important because this is what will keep the bottom of your feet comfortable as you hike. Insoles will also help you with support and cushion as you hike. If you have a high arch, you should consider adding an insole to your hiking boots to help support your feet as you hike.

Traction Devices

If you know you’ll be hiking in deep snowy conditions, you may want to add some type of traction device to your hiking boots, such as microspikes, crampons, or tracts. These excellent traction devices will help you gain traction in slippery snow or icy conditions.

Gaiters

As we mentioned when discussing waterproofing, gaiters are a great way to keep your feet dry, especially if your hiking boots aren’t waterproof. Gaiters will attach to your boots through rings, hooks, or straps that will keep water from entering them. Gaiters are important if you want to keep your feet dry while hiking and you don’t have waterproof boots.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are important for hiking in snowy or icy conditions because they will keep you stable and help save your knees from being overworked. You should consider purchasing trekking poles for your winter hike if you know you’ll be hiking in snowy or icy conditions.

Snowshoes

When you know that you’ll be hiking in deep snow, you should consider investing in snowshoes. Snowshoes can be easily attached to your hiking boots so that you can navigate through deep snow more easily.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many different types of winter boots that you can choose from, and each have their own respective features, so it’s important to know what to look for and what you want in a winter hiking boot when choosing the best pair for you.

We suggest thinking about where you plan to do the most hiking and build your boots accordingly. This will help you determine which boots you need to consider based on what type of features they have.

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    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.