Best Winter Hiking Boots For 2021

If you want to do some winter hiking or backpacking you will need some additional gear to stay warm, comfortable, and to be safe. An essential item on your winter hiking gear checklist is footwear that is insulated. For very short day hikes you might be able to get away using your regular hiking boots or hiking shoes. However, if you want to spend an entire day on the snowy trails (or longer) you will need winter hiking boots to keep your feet warm and comfortable.

In this guide, we will cover all the important features that you should look for in a quality pair of winter hiking boots. Then, we will present our top picks of the best winter hiking boots that you can get for this upcoming winter hiking season.

How to choose winter hiking boots

To help pick out the ultimate pair of winter hiking boots, first think about where you will hike, the likely weather and conditions, how long you will hike, and your style of hiking. This will help you zero in on the best pair of boots and the key features that will be important to you. Okay,

Insulation

Okay, this is kind of obvious. This is the primary feature that is key and the main reason to buy some hiking boots that are meant for cold and snowy conditions.

The most popular type of insulation is a synthetic material called Thinsulate. It is available in different weights, usually 200 grams or 400 grams. Keen

Boot height

Think about the conditions you will encounter. Do you get big dumps of powder snow where you live or hike? If so, look for a boot that that is mid shin in height, probably about 8-10 inches. If you don’t expect to be hiking in very deep snow, then you can opt for a mid-cut boot that is just above your ankle.

Waterproof

Most winter hiking boots are waterproof. They will have a Gore-Tex lining, or a proprietary waterproof lining made by the manufacturer of the boots.

The outsole (tread + grip)

There are two main things to consider when it comes to the outsole. You want to make sure that the outsole is made of a rubber compound that will work on slippery ice and snow. The idea is much the same as winter tires. The rubber just works better in very cold conditions.

Also, take a look at the tread on the bottom of the boot. You want to go for a multi-directional deep (5mm) lug tread pattern so that you can dig into deep or hard-packed snow. This is especially important if you are hiking up steep inclines. However, we highly recommend getting a pair of microspikes for the best traction on ice and in snow.

Athletic vs casual hiking style

Some boots are going to be bigger, heavier, and thus warmer. These types of winter hiking boots are ideal for easy-going leisurely hikes. On the other hand, some boots weigh less and are designed for power hikers that like to move quickly or even run on the trails.

TPU or nylon shanks

A TPU shank that is embedded between the midsole and the outsole provides additional support and stability. A more robust shank will offer some protection against stone or rock bruising under your feet.

Rubber toe cap

This is a good option to look for in a winter hiking boot. If you are hiking in very deep snow, you may not be able to see the rocks underneath. A rubber toe cap will protect your feet in the front in the event that you unintentionally kick a rock.

Bellows tongue or gusseted tongue

A bellows tongue or gusseted tongue is where the tongue of the boot is attached to the upper. This feature will help to keep ice, snow, or other debris from entering the boot.

Gaiter D-ring

This allows you to secure gaiters. If you don’t go for a tall pair of boots, you may want to get gaiters to keep the snow from entering your boots.

The best winter hiking boots for men and women

The best brands that make winter hiking boots

Not every hiking boot manufacturer makes hiking boots that are designed specifically for winter hiking or hiking in the snow. We have done all the research for you. These are the best brands to consider. Each has a unique offering, and we will look at each.

  • Vasque
  • Merrell
  • Salomon
  • Keen
  • Oboz

The best men’s winter hiking boots

This year there are more winter hiking boots than we have ever seen. This is awesome! More hikers should get out in the snow and hike. It is a fun and rewarding experience to see your regular hikes with a fresh layer of snow. Total scenic transformation.

What is best for you depends on your foot shape, the climate (temperature and snow depth), and what type of hiker you consider yourself to be. Okay, let’s look at the best winter hiking boots available this year. These boots are organized from the heaviest weight insulation (warmest) to lightest weight insulation.

Keen Men’s Revel IV High Polar Boot

If you are planning to be out in the cold for long periods of time in deep powder this winter hiking boot is a good choice for you.

  • KEEN.WARM recycled polyester insulation (400 grams) is rated to extremely cold temperatures (-40°F/-40°C)
  • KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane keeps feet dry and manages moisture
  • Environmentally preferred premium leather upper
  • KEEN.Polar Traction outsole delivers grip on snow and ice
  • 5mm multi-directional lugs
  • Stability shank for support

Check Keen website price. Also available in a mid-cut version.

Vasque Snowburban II Ultradry

This is the warmest winter hiking boot made by Vasque. I own this boot and it has been amazing for both hiking and doing other winter activities.

  • 400 gram Thinsulate insulation by 3M
  • Vasque UltraDry waterproofing system keeps feet dry and manages moisture
  • Molded EVA midsole
  • TPU Shank for stability
  • Vasque Nordic Rover with ColdHold Compound outsole
    • Aggressive tread delivers awesome grip
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather (1.6-1.8mm thick) upper
  • 1540 grams in weight

Oboz Men’s Bridger 10″ Insulated Waterproof Boot

Another great pick if you plan on doing long snowy winter hikes in very cold weather.

  • 400 gram Thinsulate insulation by 3M
  • Oboz B-DRY waterproof lining
  • TPU chassis for support and to prevent rock bruising
  • DWR treated nubuck leather
  • Winterized Oboz Granite Peak outsole
  • Rubber toe cap for protection
  • Gaiter D-ring
  • 1526 grams

Merrell Men’s Thermo Overlook 2 Tall Waterproof

This is the warmest and tallest winter hiking boot by Merrell that is perfect for deep snow hikes. It is also available in a mid-cut version.

  • Merrell waterproof membrane keeps feet dry and manages moisture
  • 400 grams lightweight and low bulk insulation
  • Full grain leather upper
  • Lightweight EVA foam midsole delivers stability and comfort
  • Merrell Air Cushion absorbs shock in the heel area
  • Bellows tongue keeps out snow and debris
  • Snowshoe strap ridge
  • Fleece lining for extra warmth and comfort
  • Nylon arch shank to help with stability
  • Vibram Arctic All Terrain outsole for excellent traction in icy and mixed winter conditions
  • 5mm lug depth
  • 1260 grams

Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP For Men

This is a super protective and warm winter hiking boot that performs well in very cold temperatures.

  • Aerotherm Aerogel technology keeps your feet warm in extreme cold (-40C/F)
  • Full ClimaSalomon waterproof bootie keeps your feet dry
  • Gusseted tongue keeps everything you don’t want out of the boot
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather upper
  • EnergyCell EVA foam midsole
  • Contagrip W rubber compound outsole provides excellent grip in freezing temperatures
  • Faux fur lining for comfort
  • Protective toe cap
  • 1800 grams in weight

Keen Men’s Revel IV EXP Polar Boot

A mid-cut winter hiking boot that performs well in very cold temperatures.

  • KEEN.WARM recycled insulation (200 grams) is rated to extremely cold temperatures (-25°F/-32°C)
  • KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane keeps feet dry and manages moisture
  • Performance synthetic mesh upper with TPU overlays for durability
  • KEEN.Polar Traction outsole delivers grip on snow and ice
  • 5mm multi-directional lugs
  • Stability shank for support

Check Keen website price.

Vasque Snowblime Ultradry

The Snoblime Ultradry by Vasque is a midweight winter hiking boot. It has more leather in the upper compared to the Vasque Breeze WT GTX hiking boot which has a blend of leather and synthetic materials used in the upper.

  • 200 gram Thinsulate insulation by 3M
  • Vasque UltraDry waterproofing system keeps feet dry and manages moisture
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather (1.6-1.8mm thick) upper
  • Molded EVA midsole
  • TPU Shank for stability
  • Venture ColdHold outsole
  • 1358 grams

Vasque Breeze WT GTX

This high-quality winter hiking boot is based on the Vasque Breeze hiking boot and hiking shoe series. It is pretty much the same boot style but with insulation to keep your feet warm and is mid to lightweight. I own a pair of the Vasque Breeze All-Terrain Low GORE-TEX Hiking Shoes, and they are super tough and durable suited for the aggressive mountain hiker.

  • 200 gram Thinsulate insulation by 3M
  • Waterproof – Gore-Tex
  • Vibram Contact Grip with Megagrip Compound outsole (exclusive to Vasque)
  • Nubuck leather (1.8-2.0mm thick) upper with synthetic air mesh panels for ventilation and breathability
  • All Terrain Compound midsole with EVA Cushioning Pods
  • TPU Shank for stability
  • 1294 grams in weight

Vasque Coldspark Ultradry For Men

This is a lightweight insulated and waterproof winter hiking boot. It is better suited for shorter periods of time out on the trails.

  • 200 gram traditional insulation (not Thinsulate)
  • Vasque UltraDry waterproofing system
  • Dual-Density EVA midsole
  • Vasque Monolith with ColdHold Compound outsole
  • Multi-directional lug pattern for solid grip on snow, ice, and wet surfaces
  • Dual-Density EVA midsole
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather (1.6-1.8mm thick) and synthetic mesh upper
  • 1030 grams in weight

Salomon X Ultra Winter CS WP 2 For Men

This is an awesome lightweight athletic winter hiking boot with Thinsulate insulation that is great for aggressive fast-moving hikers. This boot is also available in a mid-cut version.

  • 200 gram Thinsulate insulation by 3M
  • ClimaSalomon waterproof technology
  • Faux fur lining for extra comfort
  • Nubuck leather upper is durable
  • EnergyCell high-performance EVA foam midsole
  • Advanced chassis and internal shank delivers torsional rigidity and stability
  • Protective mudguard and rubber toe cap
  • Gusseted tongue keeps out all trail debris
  • Contagrip W rubber compound outsole provides excellent grip in freezing temperatures
  • 1140 grams

Merrell Men’s Thermo Rogue Mid Gore-Tex

The Themo Rogue mid Gore-Tex is Merrell’s lightweight winter hiking boot that is perfect for less extreme winter climates and fast moving hikers.

  • Gore-Tex waterproof membrane
  • 100 grams of Primaloft Aerogel lightweight insulation
  • TPU coated synthetic mesh upper
  • Bellows tongue keeps out any debris
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Nylon arch shank provides stability
  • Vibram Arctic Grip Dura outsole with 5mm lugs
  • 960 grams in weight

Salomon Quest Winter GTX

The Quest Winter GTX is a great hiking boot for the casual hiker that likes to do easy-going winter hikes that are generally on the shorter side.

  • GORE-TEX insulated membrane keeps your feet dry and warm
  • Water-resistant (not waterproof) boot
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather upper
  • EnergyCell high-performance EVA foam midsole
  • Grippy Contragrip W rubber outsole has a tread built to perform in icy conditions
  • Gusseted tongue
  • 1100 grams

Also available at Salomon.com.

The best women’s winter hiking boots

Some of the best winter hiking boots for men are also available for women. You will find them below. The technical specifications are mostly the same. They are just a bit smaller and lighter in weight.

Vasque Laplander UltraDry

This is the warmest winter hiking boot for women made by Vasque. It has the highest weight of insulation, is waterproof, and made of a durable leather upper. Perfect for long casual snowy hikes.

  • 400 gram Thinsulate insulation by 3M
  • Vasque UltraDry waterproofing system
  • Nubuck leather (1.4-1.6mm thick), suede, and knit mesh upper
  • ColdHold rubber compound outsole
  • 1062 grams

Keen Women’s Revel IV High Polar Boot

If you get cold feet then this boot should be a top pick for you. These winter hiking boots will keep your feet warm in temperatures as cold as -40°F/-40°C. The Keen Revel IV Polar boot is also available in a mid-cut version.

  • KEEN.WARM recycled insulation (400 grams) rated to -40°F/-40°C
  • KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane keeps feet dry and manages moisture
  • Environmentally preferred premium leather upper
  • KEEN.Polar Traction outsole delivers grip on snow and ice
  • 5mm multi-directional lugs
  • Stability shank for support

Check Keen website: High Polar Boot | Mid Polar Boot

Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP For Women

The Salomon Toundra Pro will keep your feet warm in extremely cold temperatures. They are also one of the tallest and lightest boots on this list so they are perfect for deep snow hikes.

  • Aerotherm Aerogel technology performs in extreme cold (-40C/F)
  • Full ClimaSalomon waterproof bootie
  • Gusseted tongue keeps snow and debris out
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather upper
  • EnergyCell EVA foam midsole for comfort
  • Contagrip W rubber compound outsole
  • Faux fur lining for extra comfort and insulation
  • Protective toe cap
  • 780 grams in weight

Oboz Women’s Bridger 9″ Insulated Waterproof Boot

Here we have the Oboz Bridger for women. This is one of the warmer boots with 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation. This winter hiking boot is also available in a 7-inch tall version.

  • 400 gram Thinsulate
  • Oboz B-DRY waterproof lining
  • TPU chassis for extra support and stability
  • DWR treated nubuck leather
  • Winterized Oboz Granite Peak outsole
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • D-ring for gaiters
  • 1378 grams

Salomon Vaya Powder TS CSWP

A brand new winter hiking boot by Salomon, the Vaya Powder TS CSWP will keep your feet warm on the go and while you are taking a break on the trails. This winter hiking boot is designed specifically for women. It is the lightest boot with 400 grams of Thinsulate.

  • 400g Thinsulate insulation
  • ClimaSalomon Waterproof (CSWP) waterproof membrane
  • Contagrip W rubber compound outsole delivers solid grip over ice and snow
  • EnergyCell EVA foam midsole cushions your feet
  • Faux fur lining for extra soft comfort
  • Synthetic upper is treated for extra weather resistance
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • 730 grams

Also available at Salomon.com.

Keen Women’s Terradora II Winter Waterproof Boot

This is a winter hiking boot for women that was designed by women. It is one of the warmest boots on this list and is also waterproof. The Terradora II is an attractive, modern-looking, and athletic winter hiking boot.

  • KEEN.WARM insulation (200 grams) keeps feet warm in very cold temperatures (-25°F/-32°C)
    • Recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) aka polyester insulation
  • KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane
  • KEEN.FREEZE rubber outsole delivers grip in extreme cold
  • Low-density EVA midsole for cushion
  • Comfy fleece lining for extra warmth
  • Recycled PET plastic upper
  • Stability shank

Merrell Women’s Thermo Aurora 2 Tall Shell Waterproof

The Thermo Aurora 2 Tall is the warmest by Merrell and is perfect for deep powder snow hikes. You can also get this boot in a mid-cut version.

  • 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation
  • Merrell waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry
  • Full-grain leather and wool upper
  • Traditional metal hooks lacing system
  • Fleece lining for additional comfort and warmth
  • Bellows tongue keeps snow and debris out
  • Snowshoe strap ridge
  • Vibram Arctic Grip All-Terrain outsole
  • 1200 grams

Vasque Snowblime Ultradry For Women

The Vasque Snowblime Ultradry is also available for women. This is a mid to light weight winter hiking boot in a mid-cut style.

  • 200 gram Thinsulate insulation
  • Vasque UltraDry waterproofing system
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather (1.6-1.8mm thick) upper
  • Molded EVA midsole
  • TPU Shank for stability
  • Venture ColdHold outsole
  • 1148 grams

Vasque Breeze WT GTX For Women

This is the most premium winter hiking boot made by Vasque that is built for performance. It is super durable and made for aggressive power hikers that do not slow down in the snow.

  • 200 gram Thinsulate insulation by 3M
  • Waterproof – Gore-Tex
  • Vibram Contact Grip with Megagrip Compound outsole (exclusive to Vasque)
  • Nubuck leather (1.8-2.0mm thick) upper with synthetic air mesh panels for ventilation and breathability
  • All Terrain Compound midsole with EVA Cushioning Pods
  • TPU Shank for stability
  • 1084 grams in weight

Salomon X Ultra Mid Winter CS WP Boots – Women’s

The Salomon X Ultra Mid Winter CS is best suited for fast moving hikers. Strap on some gaiters to keep snow off your legs and get moving.

  • 200 gram Thinsulate insulation
  • ClimaSalomon waterproof lining
  • Faux fur lining for soft comfort inside
  • Leather upper is durable
  • EnergyCell high-performance EVA foam midsole
  • Advanced chassis and internal shank delivers torsional rigidity and stability
  • Protective rubber toe cap and mudguard
  • Gaiter hook
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Contagrip W rubber compound outsole for grip
  • 900 grams

Also available at Salomon.com.

Salomon Vaya Blaze TS CSWP

This is a really cool winter hiking boot that is a women-specific design that is almost like a shoe. It is the lightest weight option on this list, yet is still going to keep your feet warm.

  • 200g Thinsulate insulation
  • ClimaSalomon waterproof bootie
  • EnergyCell EVA foam midsole cushions your feet
  • Faux fur lining
  • Synthetic upper is treated for extra weather resistance
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Contagrip W outsole with a deep aggressive lug tread pattern
  • 664 grams

Also available at Backcountry.

Vasque Coldspark Ultradry For Women

This hiking boot is best suited for moderate winter temperatures and easy casual hikes. It is a lightweight winter hiking boot for women.

  • 200 grams of traditional insulation (not Thinsulate)
  • Vasque UltraDry waterproofing
  • Dual-Density EVA midsole
  • Vasque Monolith with ColdHold Compound outsole
  • Multi-directional lug pattern for solid grip on snow, ice, and wet surfaces
  • Dual-Density EVA midsole
  • Polyurethane (PU) coated leather (1.6-1.8mm thick) and synthetic mesh upper
  • 838 grams

Merrell Women’s Thermo Cross 2 Mid Waterproof

If you like Merrell hiking boots, but are looking for a mid-cut lightweight winter hiker, then check out the brand new Thermo Cross 2 for women.

  • Lightweight, low bulk insulation
  • Waterproof membrane
  • Synthetic and TPU upper
  • Bellows tongue keeps snow ice and debris out
  • Fleece lining for extra comfort and warmth
  • Vibram Arctic Grip All-Terrain outsole provides excellent traction on wet slippery ice
  • Nylon shank for stability
  • 950 grams

This concludes our review of the best winter hiking boots you can get for this upcoming season.

What else will you need on snow hikes? We recommend some fresh hiking socks, winter hiking pants, gaiters, a fleece jacket, and a hiking jacket that will keep you protected and warm. A pair of sunglasses is a good idea too since the snow can be super bright and blinding.

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