Choosing A Winter Hiking Boot

As the temperature starts to drop, avoid the risk of cabin fever by getting outside for some winter hikes. When you're well-prepared to tackle cold conditions, hiking in the winter fills your ordinary trails with new opportunities to enjoy spectacular, snow-filled views.

Of course, nothing spoils a beautiful hike faster than numb toes or falling from snow and ice. Avoid these disastrous outdoor fates by planning ahead and selecting the proper footwear for your winter outings. Choosing the best hiking boots for winter weather might seem like a challenge, but if you follow these tips you'll have no trouble picking out a great match for your needs. Don't forget to pair your boot with wool socks, and you're good to go for the season.

When considering your options, make sure you look for added insulation without too much bulk, a rugged outsole for handling any icy terrain and waterproof features to keep feet dry in the snow. Most quality boots share high-tech features designed to challenge the elements. To help you find the best winter boot, here's a breakdown of the top features you'll want to look for:


A boot's insulation is measured in grams, and the higher the number, the warmer the boot. Some boots use Thinsulate, which is a form of insulation that keeps feet dry and warm without adding bulk or weight.


If you'll be navigating icy terrains, a rugged outsole is key. Rubber outsoles will grip to slippery surfaces and help maintain footing on the wintry trails. And you can't go wrong with Vibram soles.


When you're trekking through the snow, it's important that no moisture seeps through to your socks. Find a boot that has a waterproof feature like Gore-Tex lining or nubuck leather to keep toes dry.

A few good brands to try:

Hi-Tec creates winter-friendly footwear that includes the Altitude Snow, with 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation and a nubuck leather construction to keep feet warm and dry on your hike. A compression-molded EVA midsole comforts feet for the long haul, and the boot boasts a hardcore winter-lugged rubber outsole. The Altitude Snow also has an affordable price point, which is a nice bonus.

Rocky manufacturing styles like their Arctic BearClaw boot that cater to winter needs. Equipped with 1400 grams of Thinsulate insulation and a Gore-Tex lining keep the cold and moisture out. This is a pricier option, but the construction of Rocky boots make them built to last at long time.

Katie Frasier is a contributing writer at Hiking Boot News, a blog dedicated to providing the latest hiking boots news, reviews and commentary for the outdoor gear enthusiast.