10 Best Winter Hiking Boots in 2021

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
10 Best Winter Hiking Boots in 2021

No one wants cold feet while winter hiking. So, if you want to keep your tootsies warm and cozy on your next chilly hiking escapade, check out our list of best winter hiking boots.

We have reviewed 20+ pairs to let you know our top picks for winter hiking. Whether you want the warmest, the lightest, the most comfortable, or all-in-one boot, we’ve selected the best option in each category.

On top of that, we also included the need-to-know facts and tips on winter boots in the guide section below.

How we test and review winter hiking boots

As a pop-up-free and ad-free site, RunRepeat is here to give you the best of the best winter hikers based on reviews from over 60 experts and over 6000 users. 

As a bonus, we also took our time to calculate and rate each shoe in terms of their likeability. When we say likeability, we’re actually referring to the summarized opinions of both users and experts rather than what the brands dictate.

Best overall

Hold on to your seats because the Asolo Fugitive GTX will rock your winter world in every possible way!

“Bombastic” is how we’d describe the Fugitive GTX’s surface traction. It stayed glued on both wet and dry terrain. But what we were head-over-heels about was its grip performance on icy surfaces. We never lost our footing in this boot, no matter where we took it.

Although non-insulated, we greatly enjoyed our cold-season hikes in the Fugitive GTX. Out of the 100+ winter hiking boots we’ve tested, this bad boy here we deem as the comfiest of them all. And the cherry on top? Its insane amounts of comfort were available to us the moment we put the boot on!

A stable ride in the Fugitive GTX? You got it! Never did we lose our footing on rocky terrain in this—yes, not even once. We link this awesome capability to the boot’s wider-than-usual toe box, which gave us more forefoot balance than we anticipated.

And before we forget, the Asolo Fugitive GTX will keep everything on the inside dry for you. It’s a stellar waterproof offering indeed!

If you are looking for the best winter hiker with insane comfort and performance to boot, you are looking at it right now!

See our full review and facts

Don’t let the frigid weather keep you indoors. Instead, take on winter hikes head-on in the Revel IV Mid Polar from KEEN!

Sufficiently insulated, this KEEN winter boot will keep your tootsies toasty, especially where temps frolic around 0° and -10°F. The bite of the snowy outdoors didn’t give us cold feet in the entirety of our two-hour-long winter adventure.

The warmth we got out of the Revel IV Mid Polar was not without insane comfort. Straight from the box, this winter boot just felt divine on our feet. We got no hotspots and sustained no toe or heel blisters in it!

Water intrusion? That term doesn’t exist in the Revel IV Mid Polar’s dictionary. Moisture-free feet are what we got in our time in this boot, and we are confident that you will experience the same, too.

Lighter by a hair than the Fugitive GTX, the KEEN’s Revel IV Mid Polar made us negotiate slippery surfaces with no issues. Its winter-ready outsole was simply magnificent, giving us purchase wherever we went, no matter the terrain condition.

As for arch support, the Revel IV Mid Polar could be better. Still, we strongly urge you to give this bad boy a shot.

See our full review and facts

Best lightweight

After trying on and testing about a hundred similar boots, we bring you the most propelling hiker in the Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot!

Where most burly boots weigh above the 500-gram mark, the Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot swims in the opposite direction. At 440 grams a shoe, this winter hiker gave us insane amounts of freedom like no other. Did we ever get tired feet in it? No way!

The Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot kept our feet warm non-stop. A huge part of its exceptional level of comfort also comes from the shoe’s insulated padding. Speaking of comfort, we got it on day one (no breaking in required).

In spite of its lightness, the Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot felt solid, no, protective! We find the boot a win in this regard because, while its shell looks uneventful, the way it protected our feet against sharp rocks was highly commendable! Props to its rubber bumper, too, for allowing us to haphazardly kick away medium-size rocks out of the way without stubbing our toes!

So, if you wish to go light and be a rebel in the winter, the Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot is your best companion.

See our full review and facts

Sport the OUTblast TS CSWP and rack up winter trail miles with boosted mobility!

It’s clear that in terms of weight, the OUTblast TS CSWP deserves the spotlight. At 800 grams a pair, this Salomon winter boot felt like a feather. Yup, “barely-there” is how we’d describe its extraordinary lightness.

Now, the OUTblast TS CSWP is cozy. Thanks to its top-to-bottom insulation, we never felt cold in it. Our toes were especially warm throughout our cold escapades. Fantastic insulation, indeed!

Matching the OUTblast TS CSWP’s campfire-like warmth is the boot’s highly comfortable interior. Its padded collar was the star of the show in this regard. Never did our ankles feel oh so pampered before this Salomon winter boot came along.

And let’s not forget its watertight shell. We never did once feel invaded by moisture in the Salomon OUTblast TS CSWP. It would’ve been a disaster if water seeped in, as it was unusually cold outside when we plunged the shoe in some melted ice!

So, yeah, the OUTblast TS CSWP is highly recommendable, but perhaps only during the winter season.

See our full review and facts

Best for backpacking

For your extended backpacking trips in the cold, we can’t recommend the Lowa Tibet Superwarm GTX strongly enough!

This brawny bad boy from Lowa has a powerful midsole. The amount of stability we got out of it was through the roof. We felt like frozen rocks were bowing down to it, and no amount of gnarly roots made us lose our steady footing.

But how about the boot’s warmth, you ask? Brilliant! The Tibet Superwarm GTX lived up to its name—we got cozy feet outdoors, where it was about -5°F, give or take.

Over to its outsole, the Lowa Tibet Superwarm GTX didn’t fail to floor us (figuratively speaking, of course). Its aggressive lugs gave us multi-directional grip on semi-wet terrain (due to melted snow) and dry ground alike.

Now, we wouldn’t leave out comfort in this Tibet Superwarm GTX discussion. This winter hiker is your straight-out-of-the-box affair in this regard. We took it out, strapped it in, and got greeted by plush comfort all around. We never looked back after that!

There’s also nothing else to say about its waterproofing. It worked like a charm for us, and we know it will do the same on your winter treks, as well.

See our full review and facts

Best budget boot

You can stop looking now. The Firecamp Boot from Columbia is here to stun you with its humble price tag and winter-specific prowess!

Don’t worry; your eyes aren’t deceiving you—the Columbia Firecamp Boot is so affordable (at $100 a pop) it hurts.

Well, scratch that hurting part because your time in the Firecamp Boot will be the contrary. Case in point: We were spoiled right from the get-go with the boot’s immense comfort. Its plushness, particularly around the midfoot, was downright amazing!

Oh, but we can’t leave out the Firecamp Boot’s insulation, can we? Whether or not we were around snow, this Columbia winter kick kept its confines at room temperature. It does live up to its name; it IS your portable campfire!

Did we ever slip on ice in our expeditions in the Firecamp Boot? Not at all! Its outsole did nothing but keep our feet planted on frozen terrain. Going up snowy paths was also quite reassuring in this cold-weather hiking boot.

And last but not least, its waterproofing worked flawlessly. So, what are you waiting for? Grab this affordable winter boot ASAP!

See our full review and facts

3 reasons to get winter hiking boots

As the name suggests, winter boots are ideally used in cool to freezing temperatures. It’s pointless to wear these in humid, warm, and tropical settings, where a pair of breathable, lightweight hiking boots reign supreme.

Outdoor excursions in a cold environment are more challenging than you think. It’s important to prepare yourself (including your feet) for low temperatures and trails with slippery surfaces. Winter hiking boots are made specially to handle these types of conditions by providing you with the following: 

Possible consequences of NOT using winter hiking boots

Using hiking boots that fail to provide the protection needed for wintry conditions can lead to severe end results. Here are a few:

A nasty case of frostbite. This winter-related injury refers to the freezing of the skin and the muscle tissues underneath it. This causes pain and discomfort that makes moving around impossible.

Blisters. Boots that trap moisture, more often than not, generate friction causing the build-up of serum filled bubbles on the skin, commonly known as blisters. 

Hypothermia. Prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to a sudden drop to the body’s temperature. It can range from mild to severe, with symptoms that include shivering, fatigue, nausea, weak pulse rate, coma, and even death.

Special features to look for in winter hikers

Not all winter hiking boots are created equal. Some are built for damp, cool weather while others are capable of protecting your feet from sub-zero temperatures. Keeping an eye on the features of the boot you’re eyeing to buy will help you have a regret-free purchase.

Insulation and temperature rating. If you’re after a boot that’s equipped to keep your feet toasty all throughout your trip, then checking its insulation features and temperature rating is a must. 

Waterproofing. Keeping your feet dry is critical especially in cold weather. The water inside a boot can cause all kinds of havoc. To avoid this, hiking boots made for winter are equipped with waterproofing tech.

Crampon-compatibility. Yes, crampons are often linked to heavier and bulkier mountaineering boots, but winter hiking boots also use these. Crampons enhance traction and stability, allowing you to walk on slippery surfaces. Going for a pair of lightweight crampons is the better option if you don’t have to deal with technical terrain.

Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran 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 analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.