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The Best Winter Hiking Boots for 2022/2023

Winter's warmest and most rugged new hiking boots

Just because the temperatures are dropping and the snow is flying doesn’t mean you have to give up hiking until spring. In fact, winter hiking offers fewer crowds on the trails and an opportunity to experience the outdoors with a different perspective. One way to ensure you enjoy your winter hiking adventures is by having the proper footwear. Unlike conventional hiking boots, winter-specific boots are insulated and offer greater weather protection, ensuring you stay warm and comfortable during your winter adventures.

Here are the top 10 winter hiking boots for 2022.

Hanwag Alaska Winter GTX Trekking Boots – $439
With its classic leather upper, waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex lining, and 400 grams of G-Loft Fit insulation, the Alaska Winter GTX Trekking boots are warm and supportive enough for longer winter hiking while still being sufficiently nimble for shorter day trips. Hanwag specs its proprietary IceGrip outsole that contains microscopic glass particles for additional grip in icy conditions. The boots’ relatively trim profile and reinforced construction also make these a solid choice for snowshoeing.
Weight: 1680 g/pair

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Salomon Quest Winter TS CSWP Boots – $239
Based on Salomon’s popular Quest hiking boots, this winterized version offers similar hiking performance with the additional warmth often required in colder weather. The boots feature a ClimaSalomon waterproof-breathable membrane for protection in sloppy weather, while 400g of Thinsulate insulation helps keep feet warm in sub-zero temperatures. Salomon leverages its trail-running shoe construction expertise to ensure these boots provide stability and support without excessive weight.
Weight: 1200 g/pair

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Keen Revel IV High Polar Insulated Hiking Boot259
With their slightly taller upper and Keen Warm recycled insulation, the Revel IV High Polar boots provide excellent warmth and protection in deeper snow conditions. Keen also adds its Keen.Dry waterproof-breathable membrane for additional protection in sloppy conditions. Finally, the Keen.Polar Traction outsole delivers solid traction on snowy and icy trails.
Weight: N/A

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Baffin Snostorm Boots – $239
The futuristic-looking Snostorm Boots deliver exceptional snowshoeing performance thanks to their innovative materials and construction. The boots’ uppers consist of a waterproof-breathable, welded softshell fabric that allows for easy movement while still providing some support. For warmth, Baffin employs its proprietary B-Tek™ Heat hollow-fibre insulation for comfort in a surprising range of colder temperatures. Baffin’s aggressive outsole provides reassuring traction when conditions don’t require snowshoes.
Weight: 2317 g/pair

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Oboz Bridger B-Dry 10″ Insulated Winter Boots – $269
Sporting a 10″ tall upper nubuck leather upper, the Bridger B-Dry 10″ insulated boots are an excellent choice for winter hiking in deeper snow conditions. Weather protection is provided by the waterproof-breathable BDry membrane, while frigid temperatures are kept at bay with 400g Thinsulate insulation. Oboz employs durable and protective rubber toecaps and heel counters for additional stability and improved compatibility with snowshoes.
Weight: 1530 g/pair

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Lowa Hunter GTX Evo Extreme Boots – $549
Featuring a high-cut leather upper, a Gore-Tex lining and Primaloft 200 insulation, the Hunter GTX Evo Extreme boots are a perfect choice when carrying heavier loads in cold conditions. Lowa has speced a Vibram Masai Tec outsole for excellent traction in snowy or rocky terrain, while the rigid midsole provides additional support and stability on demanding trails.
Weight: 2080 g/pair

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Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Winter TS CSWP Boots – $199
As a winterized version of its wildly popular summer hiking boot, it’s not surprising that the X Ultra 4 Mid Winter TS CSWP boots deliver similar performance in colder conditions. The upper is constructed with a combination of leather and synthetics for durability while avoiding unnecessary weight. For cold-weather comfort, the boots use Salomon’s proprietary waterproof-breathable membrane and are insulated with 200 g of Thinsulate. The result is a lightweight and highly comfortable boot that will keep your feet dry and warm in less extreme winter weather.
Weight: 876 g/pair

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Merrell Moab 3 Thermo Mid Waterproof Boots – $214
With a mid-height upper, these boots do not sacrifice mobility for warmth and weather protection. Merrell uses a waterproof-breathable membrane to keep out slush and snow and adds 200 grams of Primaloft Gold Eco Series insulation for warmth. A moderately aggressive outsole offers traction in the snow without feeling clunky when walking on paved surfaces.
Weight: 850 g/pair

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Baffin Borealis Winter Boots – $249
While the Borealis has a space-age aesthetic, its construction borrows greatly from the time-tested designs of traditional plastic mountaineering boots. The boot’s shell is constructed with a Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) that is lightweight, supportive, extremely durable and completely waterproof. For insulation, the Borealis uses a removable inner boot that moulds to your feet with use. Removing the liner facilitates faster drying and allows you to use the liners as hut slippers at the cottage.
Weight: N/A

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Icebug Speed2 BUGrip Waterproof Insulated Boots – $279
With its light fleece lining, the Speed2 BUGrip boots may not be the best choice for extremely cold weather. Where they do excel, however, is in icy and slippery snow conditions. Unlike most winter footwear, the Speed2 BUGrip shoes feature 16 carbide-tipped steel spikes per shoe, giving them unprecedented traction. Additional weather protection comes from the BUGdri waterproof-breathable membrane recycled synthetic upper. These are an excellent choice for winter fitness walkers or anyone day-hiking on icy trails. Just remember to take them off before walking on any wooden floors.
Weight: 800 g/pair

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Here are some common FAQs (and answers) about winter hiking boots:

How accurate are the temperature ratings?

The short answer is they’re not. The more nuanced answer is that it depends on a lot of factors, including your personal metabolism (do you run hot or cold?) and your activity level. If you’re moving quickly and carrying a big pack, you’ll be generating more heat than if you are standing around. Temperature ratings should be used as a guideline rather than a hard rule. Consider your sensitivity to the cold temperatures and your anticipated activity level and shop accordingly. One final note. Even with all technological breakthroughs in insulation, there are no magical solutions; bigger, clunkier boots will tend to be warmer than slimmer and less bulky footwear.

What soles provide the best traction?

Modern winter hiking soles have improved radically over the last few years. The primary advances stem from companies like Vibram, who have introduced specially formulated rubber compounds that contain micro-particles for added grip on ice. Think of these outsoles like the winter tires you get for your car. They genuinely provide better traction, but you may want to save them for winter as the softer rubber compound does not wear as well on harder surfaces. Aggressive lug patterns will also increase traction in loose snow conditions but do not significantly improve grip on ice trails. Finally, some companies are employing small carbide-tipped spikes in their outsoles. These provide exceptional traction on icy surfaces but will quickly wear out on pavement. And let’s not even talk about the damage they will do to your wooden floors!

Can I just wear extra socks with my summer boots in the winter?

While this might seem like a good (and cost-effective) idea, the reality is that unless your boots are very spacious, you will likely end up with colder feet. Warm blood needs to circulate to your feet so that they can stay warm. Stuffing extra socks into a properly fitting boot will create a tight fit that will restrict blood flow resulting in colder feet. The best solution is to buy properly fitting winter boots that are sized to accommodate the socks you plan on wearing.

What should I look for if I want to use my boots for snowshoeing?

While you can use almost any boot with modern snowshoes, more snowshoe-compatible footwear will increase your efficiency and comfort. Look for boots with a more structured toe box to help minimize pressure from snowshoe bindings. Also, make sure your boots have a robust heel cup for the same reason. Many snowshoe-specific boots also have a taller and more built-up external heel counter to better lock in the rear snowshoe strap.