7 Best Insulated Hiking Boots in 2023

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
7 Best Insulated Hiking Boots in 2023
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Explore the winter wonderland with these best-rated insulated hiking boots. Whether you are strolling a snowy trail or heading off into the backcountry, trudging through deep snow and slushy mud, wearing a dependable pair of boots is crucial to your comfort and protection.

Seasoned hikers and backpackers would tell you that more insulation is better on subzero temperatures. If you’ll be heading out on a long cold trip with a heavy pack, having the right winter hiking footwear that is grippy, warm, and comfortable will be a lifesaver.

To find the very best, we’ve rounded up and tested 60+ insulated hiking boots from different top brands out there. After hours of testing in cold and snowy conditions, we’ve highlighted our favorite picks below for your quick reference.

Best insulated hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

In our lab tests and out hiking, everything about the Colombia Bugaboot III screamed "winter"! With 200g of insulated padding, they keep our feet warm in sub-zero temperatures, whilst also being stable and grippy and possessing a comfortable midsole that keeps its properties in the cold. Altogether a worthy candidate for the best overall insulated hiking boot.

The Bugaboot III takes stability seriously. We found it nigh on impossible to twist an ankle on our trial hikes, and our torsional flexibility test in the lab showed us why. We could barely force a twist onto this boot, so we awarded it 5/5 for flexibility - the stiffest rating possible.

We noticed the boots bite well on slippery slopes, and when we measured the depth of the lugs, our calipers showed 5.7 mm. This is 1.2 mm deeper than average and helps to grip a range of loose or soft terrain such as mud, gravel, and snow. In addition, in our hardness tests, our durometer showed 85.5 HC. Marginally softer than average, it's actually a bonus in this boot, as the softer outsole is a bit tackier on hard, frozen surfaces.

Our feet felt comfortable yet supported in this boot. We measured the midsole with a durometer to put a number to the plush feel we noticed. At room temperature, the midsole measures 27.5 HA, around average for hiking boots. Better yet, after leaving them in the freezer for 20 minutes to simulate winter conditions, the durometer only showed a small increase of 32.5 HA. Great news for winter hikers - these boots don't need much breaking in when it's chilly out!

On the flip side, these boots are very weighty, tipping our scales at 26 oz (737g)! Since the average for a 200g insulated boot is 19.4 oz (550g), this is quite a statement. Winter hikers looking for a more streamlined boot may want to look at our other picks.


  • Jaw-dropping comfort
  • Remarkable insulation
  • Watertight upper
  • Excellent durability
  • Plenty of cushioning
  • High level of support
  • Reliable grip
  • Affordable for its kind


  • Restrictive toebox
  • Heavier than average
Full review of Columbia Bugaboot III

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Any color
Brown (1791221231)
Graphite/Black (1791222053)
BLACK (1791221010)

Best insulated Oboz hiking boots

What makes it the best?

Those who primarily seek comfort and warmth on their outdoor ventures will surely enjoy the Oboz Bridger 10" Insulated BDry confines. It was also complimented asit has a low weight and a supportive build. With these satisfying features of the Bridger 10” Insulated BDry, sizing up won’t be an issue.


  • Insulated insole
  • Provides cozy feel
  • Lightweight
  • Short to zero break-in period
  • Sticky outsole
  • Excellent ankle support


  • Runs a bit small
  • Expensive
Full review of Oboz Bridger 10" Insulated BDry

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Carbon Black (82501K)

Best insulated KEEN hiking boots

What makes it the best?

Dubbed by KEEN as among their warmest boots, the Revel IV High Polar keeps frostbites several miles at bay as you mow down miles upon miles on the trail. Reviewers' feet are also grateful for the superb traction on ice in this comfy winter-specific pair. As it conforms to your feet, which happens almost instantly, leveled-up hikes in cold conditions are quite guaranteed!


  • Thermal wonder
  • Day-one comfort
  • Supportive
  • Waterproof
  • Sticky
  • Light


  • Cramped
  • Lacing issues
Full review of KEEN Revel IV High Polar

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Canteen/Black (1023619)
magnet/red carpet (1023621)

Best insulated hiking boots for backpacking

What makes it the best?

Wearing the Lowa Hunter GTX Evo Extreme to conquer the great outdoors is a sound idea as it offers stellar warmth and waterproofing. It also doesn’t require too much break-in time. However, owning this boot might be an uphill battle for some as it costs an arm and a leg. To sum up, the Lowa Hunter GTX Evo Extreme comes out swinging thanks to its synergy of defining traits.


  • Effective waterproofing
  • Zero break-in period
  • Impressively warm
  • Extremely durable build
  • Dependable ventilation system


  • Too pricey
  • Heavy
Full review of Lowa Hunter GTX Evo Extreme

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Brown (2108940492)

Best mid-top insulated hiking boots

What makes it the best?

If zooming past your friends on snowy trails is your thing, then the Revel IV Mid Polar is for you. Keeping adventurer’s tootsies cozy, this homey KEEN offering will warm both your heart and feet as you outwit the biting cold outdoors. Skipping hikes in the winter is no longer an option! However, some were dissatisfied with its lack of support in the midfoot section.


  • Excellent insulation
  • Immensely comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Superb water protection
  • Grippy performance
  • Lightweight
  • Fast break-in


  • Loose heel
  • Not particularly supportive
Full review of KEEN Revel IV Mid Polar

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Any color
Blue Nights/Magnet (1026600)
black/magnet (1023618)
Steel Grey Magnet (1025454)
black/magnet (1023891)
Dark Earth Caramel Cafe (1024136)
Black/Harbor Gray (1023631)
Dark Olive/Marmalade (1027721)

Best insulated hiking boots for urban hiking

What makes it the best?

Users love the top-notch comfort that the Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip offers, along with the roomy fit, quality build, and toasty insulation. While a few people render the side zipper useless, this boot still makes a great footwear choice for your trail and city adventures on cold winter days.


  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Toasty insulation
  • Gripy sole
  • Stylish design
  • Well constructed boot


  • Useless side zipper
Full review of Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip

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Brown/Red (67338)

Best lightweight insulated hiking boots

What makes it the best?

The Columbia Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot is well-touted for its quality comfort, protective features, durability, flexibility, and toasty insulation. What has delighted customers, even more, is its amazing price tag. This boot, however, falls a little short on waterproofing.


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Amazingly comfortable
  • Offers plenty of protection
  • Zero break-in period
  • Stylish design
  • Quality construction
  • Reasonably priced


  • The strong chemical smell didn’t go away
  • Too narrow
  • Lack of waterproofing
Full review of Columbia Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot

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Any color
Black (1746011010)
Green (1746011384)
Brown (1746012288)
Graphite/Dark Moss (1746011054)

Comparison of the 7 best insulated hiking boots

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How to choose insulated hiking boots

No matter how cold the temperature or harsh the weather, insulated hiking boots will provide a comfortable environment for your feet. With their specially designed insulation technology, you'll stay warm and protected from the elements.


Here's all you need to know to find the best-insulated hiking boots to suit your needs.

The benefits of insulated hiking boots

When heading out on a hike during winter, insulated hiking boots are perhaps the important piece of equipment that you'll bring. In cold and icy conditions, they keep your feet warm and dry, providing you with comfort and protection from the elements.

A specific tool for a specific job

Insulated boots are built specifically for winters, so they often provide extra traction on slippery surfaces like ice or snow to help prevent falls. They also add extra cushioning for greater foot comfort, helping you to stay on your feet longer.

The best insulated hiking boots let you hike further and stay outside longer during the colder months, so you can maintain your fitness, see more incredible places, and enjoy hiking year-round.

How do insulated hiking boots work?

Insulated hiking boots use a combination of different insulating materials to keep your feet warm and dry. The best insulated boots are usually made from a mix of quality leather, nylon, and synthetic fabrics like GORE-TEX or Thinsulate, or natural materials like wool. This helps the insulation work more efficiently by blocking out moisture and sealing in warmth.

Hiking boot insulation ratings explained

Some boot brands make boots for bitterly cold conditions, while others make them for milder temperatures, but you'll often see both of these boots all marketed as 'insulated hiking boots'. So to fully understand what conditions they're suitable for, we need to look at the insulation rating. Insulation usually comes in 5 different weights:

100g for an urban boot

The lightest type of insulation is great for your daily driver pair of boots if you live in a region with cold winters. They're perfect for walking to the shops or running errands about town. Unless you live in a place with mild winters, they're usually not insulated enough for long periods outdoors.

200g for short winter hikes

With double the insulation of the 100g boots, these warm hiking boots are best suited to short hikes, walking the dog outside, or exploring the outdoors. They're still lightweight enough to be worn every day and will be a great choice for most people.

Example: Columbia Bugaboot III (200g insulation)

400g for long winter hikes

With 400g of insulation, these boots are often specialist hiking boots, meaning that they're built for long winter hikes, being in the snow for extended periods of time while being durable. They're often heavier and not best suited for walking about the city.

600g for winter backpacking boots

Stepping up to 600g, you'll find this level of insulation in lots of work boots and winter backpacking boots. They're strong, warm, and durable, but heavy. This level of insulation can be too warm in any season but winter.

Example: Columbia Bugaboot III XTM

800g for mountaineering

Planning on a trek up Mount Everest? Then you'll be looking at boots with 800g of insulation. This is overkill for anything but the coldest and most extreme situations.

Synthetic insulation materials

Winter hiking boots come with a range of levels of insulation, from lightweight to heavily insulated. Some insulated boots have synthetic materials and technologies to help keep your feet warm in temperatures down to -30°C. Here are two of the most common technologies that you're likely t encounter.

Thinsulate technology

Thinsulate technology is patented insulation that helps keep your feet warm even in extreme temperatures. It contains millions of tiny fibers that trap air, providing superior warmth without the bulkiness or weight of traditional insulated boots. Thinsulate is lightweight and breathable, so it won't weigh you down while keeping your feet warm and dry.

PrimaLoft insulation

PrimaLoft insulation is designed to keep your feet warm while also providing additional cushioning. It's lightweight and breathable, so it won't weigh you down or feel too bulky in your boots. PrimaLoft also wicks away moisture and dries quickly, helping to keep your feet feeling dry and comfortable even in wet weather.

Natural insulation materials

Some of the best insulated hiking boots use natural insulation to keep your feet warm and comfortable in cold temperatures. Some organic materials are naturally insulating, breathable, and lightweight so they don't feel bulky.

Shearling is great in extreme cold

Shearling sheepskin is a popular natural insulation used in insulated hiking boots. It's made from the hide of sheep, which has been tanned and then sheared to create a soft, lightweight material. Shearling sheepskin is naturally insulating, and breathable, and helps keep your feet warm even in extremely cold temperatures. It also provides extra cushioning and comfort, making it a great choice for winter hiking boots.

Wool is a natural insulator

Wool is another popular natural insulation used in the best insulated hiking boots. Wool is also naturally insulating, breathable, and lightweight so it won't weigh you down. It also wicks away moisture which helps to keep your feet dry and comfortable even in wet weather.

Key features of insulated hiking boots

There are a variety of features that make insulated hiking boots best suited for winter hiking that we'll explain in detail below.

Generally, you'll want to make sure you have:

  • a decent level of waterproofing, designed to keep your feet dry even in wet conditions
  • insulation to help keep your feet warm; reinforced toe caps and midsoles for extra protection against rocks and roots
  • traction systems like lugs or cleats to provide extra grip on slippery surfaces

Insulation to stay warm

As we’ve mentioned, insulation is one of the most important features when looking for the best insulated hiking boots. Insulated winter hiking boots come in a variety of options, containing varying amounts of insulation to best suit your needs. In general, you’ll want something that will keep your feet warm and comfortable in cold temperatures. The amount of insulation needed largely depends on how cold it is where you’re hiking, as well as your personal preference.

Waterproofing to stay dry

Another important factor to consider is waterproofing. You'll want your hiking boots to be designed with a waterproof membrane, like Gore-Tex or eVent. This helps keep your feet dry even in wet conditions, so you don't have to worry about cold and soggy feet during your hikes. If you're wet, it won't be long until you're cold.

Breathability to let moisture escape

Breathability is important when it comes to hiking boots, as it helps to control your foot's temperature and keeps them from getting too sweaty. If your feet are constantly wet or clammy, then this could lead to blisters or other issues on the trail. A breathable pair of boots will let you naturally regulate your temperature.

Durability to last

Durability is an important factor too, as hiking in winter can put a lot of strain on your boots and you'll want them to last for many, many hikes. Look for boots with reinforced toe caps, durable midsoles, and tough outsoles that can handle any terrain you might come across on your outdoor adventures.

Traction to cross icy patches

Traction is essential when it comes to hiking in freezing temperatures, as icy and wet surfaces can be slippery and dangerous. Look for a boot with a good grip system, like lugs or cleats, that you can trust to keep your footing on slippery trails. They should also provide cushioning and shock absorption to help prevent fatigue over long hikes

The right fit for comfort

Comfort and fit are essential when it comes to any type of hiking boots, as you'll want to wear them for long periods of time without discomfort. But when it comes to boots that you'll wear in winter, look for boots with inner linings made from materials like wool or synthetic fabrics that help keep your feet warm and comfortable in cold temperatures.

Always make sure your boots fit properly, as an ill-fitting pair of boots can lead to blisters, soreness, and other issues. They should also be lightweight and flexible enough to keep you agile on the trail.

Pros and cons of insulated hiking boots

Unfortunately, there is no one perfect boot that does all jobs brilliantly, instead, we need to carefully consider what it is that we're trying to achieve and pick the best tool for the job.


  • Keeps feet warm and comfortable even in cold temperatures
  • Waterproof membranes help keep feet dry
  • Breathable to regulate temperature
  • Durable, reinforced toe caps and midsoles for extra protection
  • Traction systems like lugs or cleats provide extra grip on slippery surfaces


  • Can add weight to your feet
  • Not good for warmer climates
  • More expensive than regular hiking boots
  • Can cause blisters if not fitted properly
  • Require extra care and maintenance for the best performance

FAQs about insulated hiking boots

How do I break in my insulated hiking boots?

Breaking in insulated hiking boots is a process that you should plan for before you hit the trail. Start by wearing your new boots around the house to get used to them and form an idea of their fit and support. Once you feel ready, venture out on short hikes, gradually increasing the time and distance as your feet become more accustomed to the boots.

Do insulated hiking boots make noise?

Yes, insulated hiking boots can actually make more noise than regular hiking boots when being broken in due to their thicker materials and insulation. This extra sound is usually just a bit of extra creaking or squeaking from the boot's construction and materials rubbing together as you move.

What should I do if my insulated hiking boots get wet?

If your insulated hiking boots get wet, it’s best to dry them as soon as possible. First, remove the insoles and laces and air-dry in a well-ventilated area. You can also use a fan or hair dryer on cool setting to speed up drying time. If your boots still feel damp after air drying, use a boot dryer to eliminate any remaining moisture. Waterproofing your insulated hiking boots with a spray or wax can help protect them from water damage.

What are some common problems with insulated hiking boots?

Common problems with best insulated hiking boots include discomfort due to an incorrect fit and reduced breathability due to the thicker materials. If your boots are not waterproofed properly, they can become soggy and heavy when exposed to rain or snow.

Are insulated hiking boots waterproof?

Most insulated hiking boots feature a waterproof membrane that helps shield your feet from wet conditions. They’re often treated with durable water repellent (DWR) which acts as an additional layer of protection against moisture. For the best results, you should waterproof your boots periodically with a spray or wax.

How we test hiking boots

We rate each model based on several factors such as the quality of materials, technological innovations, and actual performance in the field. All the boots in the database go to the same process in lab analysis and comprehensive wear tests in real-life winter hiking adventures.

Our selection method involves the following:

  • Investing our own money buying insulated hiking boots across a wide range of brands. This makes sure that our reviews and top rankings are all based on objectivity.
  • Hiking at least 30 miles for each winter boot to have a solid assessment of its fit, waterproofing, insulation technology, and comfort trudging through challenging snowy trails. We also take note of its traction, durability, other protective features, and more.
  • Assessing all other aspects of the boots and their overall performance and reliability in extreme outdoor conditions.
  • Taking into account the reviews and testimonials from other backpacking experts and outdoor enthusiasts.

We complete the process by finalizing the overall rankings of all the insulated hiking boots. The CoreScore will show you the top-ranked models in this selection.

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.