You gotta take care of your feet. There’s absolutely no chance of getting anywhere, on any type of hiking trail if your hooves are hurtin.’ And when it comes to hiking in the winter, it’s essential your feet are nice and snug in a decent pair of boots.
But I’m betting you already know all this. So rather than lecture you good folks about why you need to lace up quality footwear, I’ll provide you with some info you can actually use — assuming you’re the type who loves to dabble in winter hiking or snowshoeing.
So without further ado, here are 6 of the best winter hiking boots around. And yes, there are affiliate links down below.
These super-slim midcut winter hiking boots are designed for those who want to move through the snow like a freakin’ gazelle. Weighing in at a mere 2.5 pounds, the Vasque Snow Junkies are far lighter than most snow boots.
Best part is they don’t skimp on warmth — a thin layer of lightweight synthetic insulation combined with an ‘UltraDry’ waterproof membrane make these little beasts shine in snow, slush and mud. No wonder Backpacker Magazine gave these boots their Editors’ Choice Snow Award last year. You can grab a pair of the Vasque Snow Junkies for about $130. I saw Campsaver had ’em 20% off right now.
Here’s another light-weight snow-stompin’ option that’s even a touch more affordable than the Vasque Snow Junkies. The North Face Snow-Chute registers just 2 pounds, 8 ounces yet still provides ample warmth and total water protection. North Face uses its propriety Heatseeker insulation in these suckers, which is the same synthetic material used in all its jackets and pants.
But what I like most about these winter kicks is the fairly aggressive ‘Ice Pick’ treads that react to the weather to provide better grip. A pair of the The North Face Mens Snow-Chute will run ya about $108. Check them out at Massey’s.
If you’re looking for winter hiking boots just for day-trekkin’ through moderate terrain, you won’t need these. The Nepal EVO GTX is one ice-crushing monster that’s designed for the most hardcore of mountaineers.
These super-light-weight stompers have seam-sealed Gore-Tex Duratherm liners to keep your dogs warm and dry, plus snow gaiters to keep stuff from sneaking in through the top. There’s also a 3D flex system at the ankle that stabilizes your feet. I’ve provided a far-too-brief description of these expedition-worthy beauties. Click here to find out more about the Nepal EVO GTX. And as you might have guessed, they ain’t cheap: a pair will run ya about $500. REI’s got ’em.
Here’s a solid boot with some nice, toothy tread. The Garmont Momentum Icelock GTX features micro-glass filament pads designed to tear up icy surfaces. They’re also light-weight and built with a waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
Now, Garmont says that this boot has a warmth rating of -50°F/-46°C. Hmmmmmmm. Some outdoor gear gurus have given Garmont jabs in the past for the Momentum Snow GTX‘s inability to keep your feet warm at the rated -35°F unless you keep moving. Garmont added 600 grams of Thinsulate insulation to these puppies to boost the heat factor, but they still may not deliver what you need for extended periods of time in the snow.
I’m thinking these are a great pair for rugged day treks, but perhaps not the best choice for over-nighters. The Garmont Momentum Icelock GTX costs between $150-$200. If you want to give the somewhat more affordable Momentum Snow GTX a shot, you can get ’em for half-off at Campsaver.
These boots are robust and super-comfy. Perhaps they’re not the sleekest kicks around, but the Keen Summitt County III does have a certain old-school aesthetic charm. These boots are a tad on the hefty size as well (weighing in at three pounds, four ounces) when compared to some of the more nimble offerings on this list. But what it lacks in speed it makes up for in pure comfort.
It uses a KEEN.Dry waterproof membrane that’s breathable, allowing sweat to evaporate before it soaks your feet. There’s 400 grams of insulation with heavy cushioning around the toe. These actually might be too warm and heavy for snowshoeing, but they’re great for trekking through the woods. A pair of the Keen Summit County III will run ya about $150 at REI.
These are a good option for tackling a variety of terrain because they have a semi-rigid build that allows decent flexibility. With a warmth rating of -40F thanks to the Merrell Conductor Fleece, they’ll keep your dogs warm while providing terrific traction. You can also slip crampons onto these suckers, as long as they have a universal attachment. The Merrell Men’s Noresehund Alpha is priced between $175-$200 at Amazon.