A hiker stands at the end of snowy walkway with a view of mountains and lakes in the background.

Finding the best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024

Winter hiking can be a thrilling and invigorating adventure, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. And one of the most essential pieces of gear every hiker needs is a reliable pair of winter hiking boots.

Winter hiking boots are designed to provide warmth, traction, and protection against the harsh elements. Whether you’re planning to tackle snowy trails or icy terrains, choosing the right boots can make all the difference in ensuring a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about winter hiking boots – from essential features to consider when buying them to our top recommendations. As always, thanks for reading and supporting my work!

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

A Guide to Winter Hiking Boots

When it comes to hiking during winter, having the right gear is crucial. And one essential item you should never overlook is a good pair of winter hiking boots.

These specialized boots are designed to keep your feet warm, dry, and protected while traversing snowy trails and icy terrain. In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about winter hiking boots.

What to Keep in Mind when Choosing Winter Hiking Boots

Must be Waterproof

You HAVE to have waterproof hiking boots for winter excursions. (Unless your winter looks something like Arizona.) Hiking in the rain or snow will leave you wet, and if you don’t have waterproof winter hiking boots, you’ll have wet feet and be pretty miserable.

Needs Good Traction

Make sure you have deep rugs and lots of traction while looking for winter hiking boots. This will help in snowy and icier conditions (though note that if you’re on straight ice, you will slide no matter what.)

Extra Space for Thicker Socks

As you choose your winter hiking boots, think about your foot size and the potential to wear thicker socks – or even two pairs of socks. If you’re going to have thick socks on, you might want to go up half a size so things aren’t as squished.

Aim for Mid or Taller Ankle Length

Many enjoy low ankle-length hiking shoes in the summer to move quickly on the trail. But for those hitting the winter trails where snow and mud will be present, you’ll want higher ankle support to keep your feet dry.

Bring Extra Socks on your Winter Hikes

Pro tip: Even waterproof winter hiking boots might still get damp. Bring extra socks just in case that you can put on at the midway point to keep your feet warm and dry.

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

7 Options for the Top Winter Hiking Boots

LOWA Renegade Hiking Boots

The LOWA Renegade Hiking Boots are the epitome of adventure footwear, redefining comfort and performance on the trail. These iconic hiking boots are engineered for explorers who demand the best in durability, support, and style.

With their sleek design and premium construction, Renegade boots offer unparalleled stability and protection without sacrificing flexibility. You can confidently tackle diverse terrains, as their Vibram outsoles provide superior traction and grip on everything from rocky trails to muddy paths.

LOWA’s signature Climate Control technology ensures your feet stay comfortable in all seasons, while the Nubuck leather upper offers rugged durability and a refined look. Whether you’re a casual hiker or a dedicated outdoor enthusiast, the LOWA Renegade Winter Hiking Boots will take your adventures to new heights, ensuring every step is a comfortable and secure one.


Oboz Bridger Insulated Winter Boots

Introducing the Oboz Bridger 8″ BDry Insulated Winter Boots for Men – your ultimate companion for conquering the cold. These rugged and stylish boots are built to withstand the harshest winter conditions, featuring an 8-inch height for extra protection against snow and cold winds. Oboz’s BDry waterproof technology lets your feet stay dry and comfortable, no matter the weather.

These winter hiking boots aren’t just about staying dry, though. They’re equipped with a warm insulation layer, making them your go-to choice for frosty adventures. The Bridger Winter Boots are designed to provide exceptional traction and support, even on icy terrain, thanks to their grippy outsole and stable construction.

Whether exploring snowy trails, shoveling your driveway, or simply braving the winter chill in style, the Oboz Bridger 8″ BDry Insulated Winter Boots are ideal for any outdoor enthusiast. Keep your feet warm, dry, and ready for action all season long.


Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Keen Polar Boots

Elevate your winter adventures with the KEEN Revel IV Mid Polar Boots, the ultimate footwear choice for frigid temperatures. These winter hiking boots are designed to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable in the harshest of winter conditions.

Featuring KEEN’s signature insulation and thermal heat shield, your feet are wrapped in a cozy cocoon of warmth, making these boots your go-to option for frosty excursions. The waterproof yet breathable KEEN.DRY membrane ensures your feet stay dry, even when trudging through deep snow or wet slush.

With their mid-cut design, the Revel IV boots provide excellent ankle support and protection against the cold, while the grippy rubber outsole delivers confidence-inspiring traction on icy terrain. Step into winter with confidence and style with the KEEN Revel IV Mid Polar Boots – the perfect blend of comfort, warmth, and rugged performance for your coldest adventures.

Men’s (These here are 31% off.)
Women’s (These here are 31% off)

Merrell Moab 3 Thermo Boots

Meet the Merrell Moab 3 Thermo Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots – your trusty companions for cold-weather adventures. These boots are designed to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable in even the harshest outdoor conditions.

With their waterproof membrane, these boots ensure that your feet stay completely dry, regardless of the weather, while the breathable materials keep you comfortable. The Thermo Mid design offers additional ankle support and protection, making them perfect for tackling challenging terrains.

Merrell’s renowned comfort and traction technologies are seamlessly integrated into these boots, ensuring you can confidently conquer any trail, no matter how rugged. Whether hiking through snow-covered woods or venturing into wet and chilly landscapes, the Merrell Moab 3 Thermo Mid Waterproof Winter Hiking Boots are your go-to choice for staying warm and dry while enjoying the great outdoors.


Salomon Winter Boots

The Salomon Outchill Thinsulate ClimaSalomon Waterproof Hiking Boots are your reliable companions for outdoor adventures in cold and wet conditions. These boots are meticulously designed to keep your feet warm, dry, and well-supported, no matter what nature throws your way.

Featuring Thinsulate insulation and Salomon’s advanced ClimaSalomon waterproof technology, these boots ensure that your feet stay comfortably protected, even in the most challenging weather. The mid-cut design offers excellent ankle support, making them ideal for tackling rugged terrains and adverse conditions.

Salomon is renowned for its exceptional fit and performance; the Outchill boots are no exception. The rugged outsole provides dependable traction, giving you the confidence to explore any landscape, from icy trails to wet and slippery surfaces.


The North Face VECTIV Insulated Boots

Introducing The North Face VECTIV Fastpack Insulated FUTURELIGHT Hiking Boots – the ultimate fusion of innovation, style, and all-weather performance. These boots are engineered to tackle the most challenging terrains, all while keeping your feet warm and dry in any outdoor adventure.

These boots feature The North Face’s cutting-edge FUTURELIGHT technology and impeccable waterproofing and breathability. Thanks to the advanced insulation, your feet will remain comfortable, regardless of the conditions, which keeps you warm when the temperatures drop.

The VECTIV Fastpack winter hiking boots are designed for hikers seeking peak performance, with streamlined construction and a grippy outsole that ensures exceptional traction on all terrain. Whether navigating rugged mountain trails or simply exploring your local wilderness, these boots provide the support and protection you need for your outdoor pursuits.


lake Wenatchee washington
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Danner Mountain 600 Insulated Hiking Boots

The Danner Mountain 600 Insulated Hiking Boots boast exceptional insulation that’s designed to keep you cozy during frosty treks. At the same time, the waterproof lining ensures your feet remain dry even when Mother Nature has her own plans.

With their timeless and versatile design, these boots are equally at home on the trail and in the city, offering the perfect fusion of form and function. The Vibram outsole guarantees reliable traction on various surfaces, giving you the confidence to explore wherever your heart desires.

Whether traversing snowy landscapes or navigating rocky trails, the Danner Mountain 600 Insulated Winter Hiking Boots are the reliable choice for those seeking a perfect balance of style and performance in colder climates. Elevate your winter adventures and stay comfortable throughout your journey, all in timeless, rugged style.


What Else to Keep in Mind About Winter Hiking Boots


Winter hiking boots are typically equipped with insulation materials such as Thinsulate or Primaloft that provide excellent heat retention without adding excessive weight. Insulated boots help trap body heat, keeping your feet cozy even in freezing temperatures.


Snow and slush can quickly seep into regular shoes, leaving your feet wet and cold throughout the hike. Look for winter hiking boots made from waterproof materials like Gore-Tex or similar membranes that create a barrier against moisture. This feature ensures your feet stay dry and comfortable regardless of weather conditions.

snowshowing lake Wenatchee washington
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch


Walking on snow-covered or icy surfaces can be treacherous without proper traction. Winter hiking boots often come with specially designed outsoles featuring deep treads or lugs for enhanced grip on slippery terrain. Some models also incorporate advanced technologies like Vibram soles for superior stability and traction.


The height of your winter hiking boots matters, too! Higher-cut boots offer better ankle support, preventing injuries when navigating uneven paths or managing potential slips on ice patches.

Fit and Comfort:

Make sure to try on different brands and models to find the perfect fit for your feet’s shape and size—comfortable padding around the ankles, cushioned footbeds, and supportive arches—all contribute to an enjoyable hiking experience during winter.


While warmth and protection are critical factors when choosing winter hiking boots, it’s also important not to neglect their weight since heavy footwear can quickly tire out your legs. Look for boots that strike a balance between insulation and weight, ensuring you can hike longer distances without feeling weighed down.


Winter hiking boots should be built to withstand the harsh conditions of snowy trails. Look for sturdy construction, reinforced toe caps, and durable materials that will hold up against abrasion and impacts from rocks or branches.

Other Winter Hiking Gear You Might Like
If you’re looking for other winter hiking gear, here are 16 I recommend.

FAQ: Winter hiking boots

Can hiking shoes be used as winter shoes?

Yes, your hiking shoes can totally be used for winter shoes. Most of the time, you won’t have any issues. However, you may have problems if your regular hiking shoes are not waterproof or have low ankle support.

If they have either, you may find your feet getting wet and cold and/or snow getting into your shoes. However, you will be perfectly fine if you’re not hiking in show or wet conditions!

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Are hiking boots good for the cold?

Yes, they will work great in the cold. You might find that you need to wear some extra socks to keep your toes and feet warm if your normal hiking boots are on the lighter side. I would test yours out and see if anything needs to happen.

Do hiking boots work as winter boots?

For most of you, yes, you will be fine. Just make sure to check to see if your hiking boots are waterproof. If they are, you should be good to go. If not, opt for new waterproof boots to keep your feet dry during winter adventures.

Can you wear winter hiking boots in summer?

Most of the time, yes, you can. The only thing I would note is that if they are extra furry or insulated, you might feel really hot during the summer hiking season. Additionally, if your winter hiking boots are more fashion-forward vs useful, you may opt for different hiking boots in the summer months.

I wore my LOWA’s to the Katla Ice Cave and had no issues.

Wrapping Up – Winter Hiking Boots

In conclusion, winter hiking boots are essential for anyone planning to trek through snowy and icy terrains.

These boots provide the necessary warmth, insulation, traction, and waterproofing to keep hikers safe and comfortable in harsh winter conditions. With a wide range of available options, choosing a pair that suits your specific needs and preferences is essential.

Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking to explore the winter wonderland, investing in high-quality winter hiking boots will significantly enhance your outdoor experience while ensuring your safety throughout your journey.

Until next time adventurers, take care.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside