7 Best Snow Hiking Boots in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Snow Hiking Boots in 2024
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Hiking in the snow is a quite beautiful, calming experience. But as the landscape transformed into a cold and slippery yet still magical wonderland, you need to protect your feet with comfortable footwear with reliable traction and insulation.

After sliding, slipping, and trudging through snowy roads and icy trails, we, a team of wear testers, chose our best picks of the most dependable snow hiking boots based on our real-life experiences and lab tests. We stand by our choices as these shoes have kept our feet dry, and comfortable and upright throughout the entire journey.

We’ve done the legwork, the lab tests and reviewed all the shoes very carefully. Check out our top highlights in various categories depending on your style and preferences.

How we test hiking boots

To come up with our fair and objective rankings, we get our hands on 30+ of the best snow hiking boots and examine them right away! Our favorite part is when we do our real-life hikes in our local trails and other challenging locations.

Here are exactly the things we do:

  • We use our own money to procure snow hiking boots from various brands. This keeps our reviews 100% independent.
  • After hiking at least 30 miles on each boot, we evaluate its fit, protective features, stability, durability, insulation, outsole traction, and overall performance across all kinds of trails and terrain. We also check all parameters of the boots, particularly their reliability and comfort level during the most challenging part of the outdoor adventure.
  • We get more data from the tests we perform in our lab. We even slice the shoes into pieces to see everything inside. 

One of the things we investigate is how a shoe reacts to cold weather. We take the midsole hardness and shoe flexibility using our durometer and digital force gauge. Following that, we emulate a chilly condition by sticking the shoe inside our refrigerator for 20 minutes. After that, we measure the said properties again and we compare how much the shoe firms and stiffens up. Through this, we are able to determine if a shoe is great for snowy settings or not. 

Best snow hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

A winter boot that keeps your toes warm and dry, phenomenal grip and incredibly lightweight? Does such a boot exist? It sure does: after extensive tests both in the lab and the great outdoors, we found the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is the best overall hiking boots for snowy conditions.

We really put these boots through their paces, standing them in a stream for over a minute to see how much water would come in. No surprises there: the Gore-Tex membrane is 100% effective and our feet didn’t get even slightly damp! The fully gusseted tongue and the mid-height collar both play their part in keeping water, snow, or gravel out of the boot.

Salomon’s iconic Contragrip outsole did a marvelous job at keeping us from slipping, even when we were hiking on snowy hillsides. In the lab, we measured the lugs with a caliper. The 41 lugs measure 5.1 mm, 16% deeper than average, giving a good amount of extra bite when the going gets rough.

For a winter-ready, partially leather boot, this one is surprisingly lightweight. Our scales showed just 13.8 oz (390g) per boot. Given that the average for waterproof boots is a whopping 19.5 oz (553g), we felt like we were skimming over the snow!

Whilst these are great for hiking in snow, they don’t perform so well in the mud because the tightly-spaced lugs struggle to shed mud easily. We don’t recommend them for regular hiking along muddy trails.


  • The boot of choice for multi-day hikes
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Excellent grip
  • Supportive midsole
  • Detailed ground feel
  • Great ankle support
  • Protective
  • Perfect lacing system


  • Midsole may be thin for some
  • Very stiff in colder climates
Full review of Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Best snow hiking boots for backpacking

What makes it the best?

As adventurers who love winter backpacking, we can’t say no to the Salomon Quest 4 GTX. This waterproof boot has integrated stability features of epic proportions, it’s superbly comfortable, even in cold conditions, and defied our Dremel in our durability tests. All this and more is why we had to choose the Salomon Quest 4 GTX as the best snow hiking boot for backpacking.

Like many Salomon options, the Quest 4 GTX comes with the unbeatable ADV-C 4D Chassis stabilizer. Connecting the laces to a shank in the midsole, it provides us flawless support and stability, especially when we are carrying heavy packs. We put it to the test in the lab by twisting the boot torsionally. It’s an incredibly rigid boot, so we rated it 5/5 for torsional flexibility. On the trail, we feel surefooted and safe from painful twists.

Sporting a mighty stack height of 38 mm, there is a ton of cushioning below the heel. We found it especially welcome while hiking with heavy loads. At room temperature our durometer declares the midsole to have an almost average softness of 27 HA, blending support with comfort. What really blew us away was the way the midsole performed in the cold. After 20 minutes in the freezer, we tested the midsole with the durometer again. It had only stiffened to 32.9 HA. It feels and performs almost the same in cold weather as on warmer days, so we didn’t have to adapt ourselves to the change.

This impeccably waterproof and ultra-durable boot keeps us protected from whatever the outside world can throw at us. The Gore-Tex membrane and fully gusseted tongue stopped snow, rain and stream water from getting in, keeping our feet warm and dry all day. Rocks are no match for the sturdy multi-layered upper, which came away from a 12-second duel with our Dremel practically unscathed. If it were allowed, we’d award it 10/5 for durability!

A boot that packs in so much can be expected to weigh over the odds. The Salomon Quest 4 GTX weighed a hefty 23.4 oz (663g) on our scales, 24% heavier than our other waterproof hiking boots. Hikers looking for a lighter boot for more moderate hikes can look into the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX instead. 


  • Exceptional durability
  • Top-notch waterproofing
  • Excellent impact protection
  • Highly secure ankle support
  • Fantastic stability
  • Comfortable in-boot feel
  • Effective grip on various terrain
  • Fits as expected


  • A bit heavy
  • Gets very stiff in cold
Full review of Salomon Quest 4 GTX

Best snow hiking boots with a wide toebox

What makes it the best?

Cold, snowy days are a different ball game with the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid. The wide toe box is comfortable for anyone who doesn’t like cramped toes, the waterproofing is exceptional, and this boot is incredibly comfortable, even in the cold. There is a lot to love in the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid, which is why we have chosen it as the best snow hiking boot with a wide toe box.

A glance at the toe box already tells us that this boot has plenty of wiggle room for our toes, but it was only in our lab tests that we discovered just how much. At the widest point of the toe box, we measured 106.4 mm, compared to the average of 102.1 mm. The space around the big toe is really where this boot shines, though. Measuring 85.5 mm, it offers an extra 6.5 mm of space. This is a boon for hikers with wide feet, and we enjoyed the freedom for our digits during our test hikes.

The high collar and leather upper of this boot is a natural barrier to snow getting into the boot, and it is complemented by the waterproof KEEN.DRY membrane. The tightly woven fabric of the tongue lets no water through, and yet it still allowed some smoke to escape during our smoke test for breathability. We awarded it 2/5 for breathability, making it more breathable than many other leather boots. In the winter, our feet stay warm and dry in all weather, and the breathable tongue makes this boot suitable for warmer days too.

While cold weather inevitably firms up most boots, the KEEN Targhee III Mid is one of a kind. Testing the midsole with our durometer at both room temperature and after 20 minutes in the freezer, we found the difference is slight, with the midsole becoming only 10.4% firmer in the cold. For comparison, the average difference in most other hiking boots is 21.5%. This makes the KEEN Targhee III Mid a consistent player, and we can rely on it to behave as we have come to expect on warmer days.

Despite 2 shanks in the midsole, the KEEN Targhee III Mid treads the line between stability and natural movement. We twisted it manually in the lab, awarding it a middling 3/5, less rigid than we had expected. We don’t recommend it to hikers looking for a very rigid boot for carrying heavy packs.


  • Extremely stable
  • Great ankle support
  • Generously padded and comfortable
  • Secure heel hold
  • Flexible
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Laudable warmth
  • Performs very well in the cold
  • Excellent grip on various terrain
  • Short to zero break-in period
  • Commendable toe cap
  • Roomy toebox


  • Stuffy in the summer
  • Lackluster outsole durability
  • Firm midsole
  • Not ideal for narrow feet
Full review of KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Best insulated snow hiking boots

What makes it the best?

There is no need to set aside our hiking boots to wait out the cold winter months when we have the Columbia Bugaboot III to hand. With a cozy 200g insulation, this boot keeps our feet toasty in sub-zero temperatures. It is superbly supportive and grippy in icy conditions, not to mention boasting a high-performing midsole that works as it should in the cold. It’s no wonder, then, that we chose the Columbia Bugaboot III as our best insulated snow hiking boot!

Well-packed with 200g of insulation both around and below our foot, the Bugaboot III remains cozy in temperatures down to 30°F (-1°C). The 7 inch (17.8 cm) collar stops snow and cold air from getting in, as well as the warmth from our feet out. We pumped smoke into the boot to test for breathability, and not surprisingly it scored the least breathable rating of 1/5. This is definitely a snug winter boot!

The high collar not only keeps deep powder snow out of the boot, but also supports our ankles.  The fully gusseted tongue provides a comfy cushion against the laces, and the heel counter is rigid enough to keep our heels snugly in the boot. In our manual tests, the heel counter scored 4/5, where 5 is the stiffest. Altogether, it’s almost impossible to injure ourselves by rolling an ankle in these boots.

The traction didn’t let us down in slushy, snowy conditions. We measured the lugs to be 5.7 mm, 1.2 mm deeper than average. In addition, our durometer tests of the outsole showed 85.5 HC, slightly softer than the average 87.5 HC. It gives us an advantage in cold weather, as the softer outsole grips better to slippery surfaces. Altogether, we felt confident striding out in the snow.

The Bugaboot III has midsole material in bucketloads! Its impressive heel stack height of 46.9 mm offers an extra centimeter of insulation from the frozen ground compared to the average hiking boot. But what we love most about the midsole is how it performed in our winter durometer tests. After 20 minutes in the freezer, the midsole was only 21.5% firmer than at room temperature, meaning this boot’s cushy and supportive characteristics remain intact, even on the coldest day.

The Columbia Bugaboot III looks hefty, and our lab scales confirmed our suspicions. At 26 oz (737g), it is 34% heavier than the average for winter hiking boots. As such, we don’t recommend it to hikers looking for a lightweight winter option.


  • 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

Snow hiking boots with the best support

What makes it the best?

Our wilderness explorations are guaranteed safe thanks to the Asolo Fugitive GTX. Its protective nature and rigid build shelter us from all unwanted elements on multi-terrain hikes — water, wind, sharp debris, slips, and awkward trips. Crowning Fugitive GTX as our most supportive snow hiking boot is a no-brainer.

The Gore-Tex membrane’s defense against water and snow is unquestionable. We crossed river streams and slush with dry and toasty feet. It has a fully gusseted tongue and a high collar to ensure debris stays out and heat stays in. The boot even includes a toe bumper and suede layers for extra protection.

The midsole highlights support by putting together a firm cushion and a rigid platform. Our durometer confirms the foam is 34.0% denser than average, while the boot bends to a force 97.2% greater than average. Both elements enhance surefooted strides on uneven ground.

This boot takes traction seriously, and the patterned outsole works its magic on all types of terrain. Whether on frozen paths, loose ground, or rocky terrains, we're blown away by its grippy bite.

Outsole durability is a let-down as it started peeling away only after a few test hikes. Though the boot is designed to be resoled when needed, it should still last several months.


  • Superb adhesion and traction
  • Great impact dampening
  • Worth the price
  • Waterproof
  • Reliably supportive
  • Feels light on the foot
  • Zero break-in
  • Balance preserver


  • Outsole started peeling off
  • Not-so-cushy footbed
Full review of Asolo Fugitive GTX

Best lightweight snow hiking boots

What makes it the best?

After testing in the lab and out on hikes, The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX had us in raptures! An incredibly lightweight boot, it retains its flexibility in the cold, and is spectacularly waterproof - it even has an extra trick up its sleeve regarding the latter. All this led us to believe without a doubt that the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is the best lightweight snow hiking boot.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, there is nothing clunky or heavy about the Ultra Raptor II! It feels light and agile on our feet, and the scales confirmed our suspicions! This boot weighs 14.6 oz (415g), which is 19% less than average! We walked further and faster on our hikes, and still had energy to burn at the end of it!

Both at room temperature and on our chilly hikes, this is a flexible boot when compared to the average. We bent it to 90° with a force gauge, which registered 32.4N at room temperature, 18% more flexible than average. But we also wanted to know how it performs in winter conditions, so we left it in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing it again. Of course, it stiffened up, but only to 40.2N. Since most hiking boots register 53.8N in the cold, the Ultra Raptor II clearly crushes the competition in cold conditions!

We tested the waterproofing of these boots by standing in 5-inch puddles, and they didn’t let a drop of water in. The Gore-Tex membrane and gusseted tongue work together to keep the water out (and heat in on cold days!). An elastic gaiter-like tongue around the collar adds to the appeal, helping to keep snow, water and debris out of the boot. This little gem should be a given on all waterproof hiking boots, as far as we are concerned!

This is not a boot for hikers with wide feet. Our average-width feet were already bordering on pinched. When we checked in the lab, we found the forefoot to be 106 mm, 6.9 mm narrower than average, and the heel an even more surprising 8.3 mm narrower than average. We advise wide-footed hikers to look into other options.


  • Unbelievably lightweight
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Doesn't let debris and falling rain/snow inside
  • Exceptionally robust and durable
  • Phenomenal grip on technical terrain
  • Not so stiff and firm in low temperature
  • Great impact protection
  • Highly supportive collar
  • Ample flexibility


  • Tight fit
  • Narrow platform
Full review of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX

Best snow boots for urban hiking

What makes it the best?

We took snow hiking boots to our city adventures and cut them open in the lab in search of the best urban hiking pair — the roads led us to Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot. This pair proves winter boots don’t always have to feel bulky and stiff. It's like we only have sneakers on but with more comfort and warmth for all-day wear.

We’re mindblown with Fairbanks’ unmatched lightness. At 15.5 oz (439g), it significantly sheds off grams vs. the average hiking boot (18.4 oz/521g). This is due to the lower-than-average stack, which makes room for more flex. And flexible it is! Fairbanks required the least force of 16.6N to bend to 90° of all the boots tested in our lab. That’s 58.5% lower than average! 

Our feet feel cozy at home even with freezing temperatures. The upper is made of tightly woven Cordura fabric to keep snow and cold air out. The reflective Omni-Tech interior lining packs the boot with 200 grams of insulation, giving us a toasty experience by trapping body heat inside.

Underfoot, the 3.0-mm lugs keep us steady through snow and slush on level ground. The lug depth is more than enough for urban hikes. Yet we don’t recommend it for serious hiking because it lacks traction for more technical and uneven terrains.


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Keeps you warm in cold weather
  • Effective waterproofing
  • Amazingly comfortable
  • Zero break-in period
  • Soft cushioning
  • Exceptionally flexible
  • Hard-wearing outsole
  • Reasonably priced
  • Stylish design


  • Not for serious hiking
  • Not so sturdy Cordura
Full review of Columbia Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot

4 features to look for in snow hiking boots 

Before heading out on that snowy hike, it’s important to know what type of the terrain you’ll cover and the temperatures that are expected. 

We will break it all down by the features needed in snow hiking boots: 

  1. Waterproofness: waterproof upper stops the snow/water from getting inside of your boots and keeps your feet dry. The most common waterproof material is called Gore-Tex but many brands develop their own waterproof membranes. 
  2. Grip: we recommend looking for lugs that are at least 4 mm deep. Such lugs bite well into the snow and prevent slipping. 
  3. Insulation: depending on the temperatures, you might need insulation in your hiking boots. If you’re not hiking in especially cold weather, thicker socks can do the job. For sub-zero temperatures, consider getting insulated hiking boots. 
  4. Not turning into a brick at sub-zero temperatures: we examine this by measuring the softness and stiffness of a boot at room temperature and after exposing it to the cold. The smaller the difference, the more similar the experience when hiking (room temp vs very cold weather!). 

So, it’s all about what’s on the inside of the shoe (waterproof membrane, insulation) and measuring the lugs precisely. Fortunately, we do it all in our lab after wear-testing the boots, freezing them and cutting them in half. 

snow hiking boot ripped apart in runrepeat lab

Snow hiking boot ripped apart in RunRepeat lab

Insulation 101 in snow hiking boots

Insulation means warmth. The more insulated the boot is, the more extreme cold weather you can take in it! 

Columbia Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot Drop

Insulation (white) visible between the upper layers on a snow hiking boot cut in half

Insulation is measured in grams. You can see specifications like 100-gram insulation, 400-gram insulation, 800g insulation. The same specifications apply to other outdoor apparel, not just footwear. The higher the number, the more insulated the boot is. But, make no mistake, it does not make your boot 100, 400 or 800g heavier! 

Columbia Bugaboot III Drop

Thick 200g insulation visible in Columbia Bugaboot III that has been cut in half

The number that describes the amount of insulation tells us how heavy that material is per square meter. Not per boot, shoe or a jacket. Of course, more insulated boots weigh more, but not as much as implied in the specification of the insulation. 

See the table below to better understand the amount of insulation and which occasions it is best used for: 

Weight (Grams/ Square Meter)

Recommended Temperature Range


Recommended Uses

100 grams

40 to 50 degrees F

3- season

  • Urban winters
  • Chilly evenings

200 grams

30 to 40 degrees F


  • Playing outside in the snow
  • Winter hikes

400 grams 

14 to 30 degrees F


  • Snowy and wet weather
  • Long exposure to cold

600 grams

-5 to 10 degrees F


  • Very cold weather
  • Winter backpacking 

800 grams

-20 to -10 degrees F


  • Long exposure to extremely cold weather

Freezer test: boot performance at cold temperatures

When you first try your hiking boot on, you might love the level of softness or how flexible it is. But, what if that changes when hiking in very cold weather? What if that changes a lot?

Snow hiking boot in the freezer runrepeat lab

Freezing snow hiking boots for 20 mins before repeating the softness and stiffness tests

Here’s how we go about it. We showcase the difference in softness change and in stiffness change: at room temperature vs after being exposed to freezing temperatures. When these changes are smaller, it is more likely for a boot to feel and perform in cold weather, similarly to how it felt and performed at room temperature. 

Testing the stiffness of a snow hiking boot using a digital force gauge

When testing the stiffness, the bigger number on the force gauge means more force is needed to bend the boot to 90 degrees, which means it is stiffer. And when doing the durometer tests, bigger number means it is firmer.

measuring softness of the midsole in snow hiking boots

Measuring softness of the midsole in snow hiking boots using a digital HA durometer

Bigger changes between these numbers at room temperatures and post-freezing them are a red flag and might mean you should keep the boots inside and still, they might not perform similarly. 

To help you out with this decision, we sorted the hiking boots by the smallest difference in softness in the table below. 

Waterproof means not breathable 

Snow hiking boots are waterproof so that the snow can stay out and your feet stay dry. However, that waterproofness and sometimes even insulation, mean that the boot can’t breathe properly or.. At all. 

We test the breathability of hiking boots by pumping the smoke inside and watching where the smoke comes out, at which pace, and how long it takes. Based on this, we rate the breathability of the boot on a 1-5 scale, where 1 is the least breathable. 

Smoke test: non-breathable upper (left) vs a very breathable upper (right) in hiking footwear

To get a better understanding of these bad breathabilty ratings in snow hiking boots, we examine the upper under the microscope. 

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Breathability microscope

Examining the upper of a snow hiking boot under the microscope in RunRepeat lab

So, it’s not “just” the insulation and a waterproof membrane, it’s also how the upper is made, being more tightly woven and having no ventilation holes (when compared to the upper of a breathable summer hiking boot). 


Non-waterproof vs. a waterproof upper in hiking boots under the microscope

Best grip for snow

Snowy conditions mean you need deep lugs and, ideally, ones that are not too close to each other. Lugs that are spaced very far from each other are best for mud, those that are too close to each other are best for versatility - covering a bit of everything, and somewhere in the middle are those best for snow. 

outsole closeup in snow hiking boots

Closeup of the outsole in snow hiking boots: lugs are deep and not placed too close to each other

For snow, we recommend lugs that are at least 4 mm deep. We measure the lugs in our lab and always note the number down in every hiking boot review. 

thickness of lugs in snow hiking boots

Measuring the depth of the lugs in snow hiking boots using a digital caliper

Not just that but we also measure the hardness of the rubber. This is important because harder rubber provides more protection and is more durable. Softer rubber is usually more pliable and stickier. 

measuring the hardness of the rubber in snow hiking boots

Using a HC durometer to measure the hardness of the rubber in snow hiking boots

Wide-feet friendly snow hiking boots

Snow hiking boots have a lot of it going on. It’s not just the upper, but a waterproof membrane, and then also insulation (in some cases). Because of this, uppers are stiffer, toes have less room in the toe box, and you might want to look for something roomier. 

In our lab, we always measure the width of the toebox in 2 places. Based on this, we can examine which boots are pointier (taper more) and which boots are better suited for, say, Celtic or Roman type of forefoot. 

upper width in snow hiking boots

Measuring the toebox width at the big toe (up) and where it's widest (down) in snow hiking boots

In this table, you have an overview of the widths of toeboxes: 

New to hiking boots? Nail the fit

In case this is your first time buying a pair of hiking boots and you’re not sure how to go about it, here are our recommendations that are a result of extensive research and testing: 

  1. You should go boot shopping in the afternoon or evening. We advise this because by then, our feet are swollen up a bit, and similar swelling happens on the hike as well. 
  2. When trying the boots on, use the hiking socks and also orthotics (if you’re using them). 
  3. When you lace up the boot, there should be one thumb’s width of space in front of your toes. Or, you can push the foot forward as much as possible and check if your thumb can fit behind your heel. 
  4. When trying the shoe on there should be no hot spots. It should feel comfortable: not too wide and not too snug. 
  5. If you’re trying the shoe on in the specialized store, use the ramp covered with different materials like artificial grass and rocks. Go up and down. Your heel should not slip and your feet should not be sliding to the sides inside the shoe! 

snow hiking for runrepeat wear tests

And, as always, keep in mind that many hiking boots need to be broken in before embarking on a (longer) hike. Do this to avoid blisters (best case scenario) and other inconveniences!

Up the ante: more waterproof protection

While snow hiking boots are as good as it gets - with their superb waterproof protection and maybe even insulation, water still can get inside of the boots and then it’s a nightmare to get it out. Such boots can’t dry out on their own while you keep hiking because they don’t breathe enough. 

hiking in snow wear tests for runrepeat

Because of that, we recommend getting knee-high waterproof gaiters They offer additional protection and work wonders at keeping the lower parts of the pants, boots, socks, and feet dry. 

If you worry about perspiration and sweating inside snow hiking boots, we also recommend getting wool or bamboo socks. They come in different thicknesses, so you can choose thinner ones for not-so-low temperatures and narrower boots, or thicker ones when it’s really cold and you have enough room for them inside the boots.

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic
Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.