Setting your excursion in a cold environment calls for the use of insulated hiking boots. This type of gear is specifically crafted to protect your feet from low temperatures by keeping them warm. These hikers accomplish this feat by optimizing a layer of insulation within their design to trap and retain heat. Moreover, they also render sufficient grip, support, and durability to keep you going in this kind of terrain. Rather than risk your upcoming trip, it’s better to equip yourself with insulated hiking boots before heading out.
Reasons why you men and women should have insulated hiking boots
There are different kinds of hiking boots, but if you’re going to a place with cold weather then choosing an insulated pair of hikers is a must. Shown below are the advantages you stand to gain with this type of hiking footwear.
The main reason for getting insulated hiking boots is the warmth they provide your feet. They are built with layers of insulation to trap heat inside the gear. These layers help stave off low temperatures that can freeze your feet. Thanks to this benefit, you can go on hiking with fewer worries in a frigid terrain.
Insulated hiking boots are equipped with outsoles designed for cold conditions. They are made of a durable rubber compound that won’t freeze in this kind of environment. These specialized outsoles are also intended to give you enhanced traction against snowy and icy surfaces.
Hiking through frosty conditions might require you to have essential outdoor items in a backpack. The extra weight you’re carrying may cause you to lose balance, especially when you’re tackling various trail obstacles. Insulated hiking boots offer ample coverage and support so your ankles won’t buckle under the additional weight on your back.
There is a chance you will encounter water-related challenges while you’re hiking in this certain terrain. The best insulated hiking boots feature a waterproof liner to keep the elements out. Thanks to this component, your feet are protected from water while you’re out and about.
What are the disadvantages of insulated hiking boots?
The finest boots for winter hiking are often equipped with sturdy leather uppers and stiff sole components. This footwear construction contributes to a long break in period for these hikers. If you don’t break these new insulated hiking boots for your trip, your movement outdoors will be compromised.
Most insulated hiking boots come with robust leather uppers and grippy outsoles to withstand cold conditions. As a result, these hikers add a lot of weight on your feet. Wearing these boots will slow you down and moving in them is going to take some effort.
The additional technologies found in a pair of insulated hiking boots contribute to its high price tag. Those who are planning to hike in low temperatures should save a bit more to get this kind of gear for their excursion.
What you should look for in the best insulated hiking boots
When finding new insulated winter hiking boots, you need to look at certain footwear aspects. Here are some questions you should ask when searching for an insulated pair.
How much insulation do these boots possess? It’s important to determine how cold your upcoming trip is going to be. Once you have this piece of information, you can decide how much insulation your boots should have. If you’re expecting very low temperatures, around 400 grams of insulation should suffice. On the other hand, footwear products with 200 grams are just right for moderate winter conditions.
Are they crampon compatible? In some cases, the traction supplied by these insulated hiking boots won’t be enough to secure your footing. If you’re particular about grip, you should choose a pair of insulated hikers with crampon attachment points. This specific accessory will help you move more securely in challenging cold conditions.
Are these insulated hiking boots waterproof? The inclusion of a waterproof membrane in a pair of insulated hikers is vital if you’re going for a cold hike. When the snow melts, your feet may come in contact with water and freeze them off in this terrain. A waterproof liner protects your feet better during a cold hike and even contributes to the gear’s overall warmth.
Do they fit you? Getting the right fit from your insulated hiking boots is crucial to your performance. It’s important to get a pair that matches your foot size. Walk in them too to see how they feel on your feet before you use these boots outdoors.
Do they provide ample protection? Insulated hiking boots should come with certain features that keep your foot safe. One example is the toe cap. This component adds rigidity to the gear’s forefoot area so you won’t get stubbed while hiking. A gusseted tongue should also be included to prevent snow and debris from entering the boot.
Notable brands that offer the best insulated hiking boots for men and women
American brand Merrell has a line of insulated hiking boots features the brand’s patented M Select Warm technology. This layer of insulation is designed with an emphasis on lightness without compromising on comfort. Their insulated footwear products are also equipped with outsoles that can withstand winter conditions.
Insulated hiking boots from this company come with lightweight layers of Keen.Warm to help your feet withstand cold weather. Along with this technology, the brand’s best winter footwear products are equipped with Keen.Dry waterproof membranes and Keen.Freeze rubber outsoles for a boost in protection and performance.
Danner’s insulated footwear offerings contain 400 grams of PrimaLoft to achieve optimal heat retention and repeated compression. This layer of insulation is paired with the brand’s Danner Dry waterproof membrane. Full-grain leather uppers are also used in these Danner insulated hiking boots for improved durability in cold weather.
The North Face
The North Face offers a number of quality hiking boots for winter excursions. These footwear products feature PrimaLoft or Heatseeker technology for warmth. They come with temperature-sensitive outsoles that render improved grip over snowy terrain. Moreover, The North Face’s finest insulated hiking boots come with compression-molded EVA midsoles to create a cushioned and balanced ride.
The brand’s insulated hiking boots come with Columbia’s layers of Omni-Heat to counter low temperatures. This component is paired with an Omni-Tech membrane to protect your feet from water while maintaining sufficient breathability. The gear’s Techlite midsole grants lightweight cushioning and high-energy return.
Insulated hiking boots offered by Vasque come with layers of Thinsulate to trap heat in cold conditions. These footgear models come in either a mid-cut or a high-cut design. Winter-ready traction is granted by Vasque’s proprietary outsole design made of a ColdHold Compound. Also, certain insulated hikers from this company are compatible with snowshoes for an enhanced grip.
Frequently asked questions about insulated hiking boots
Are insulated hiking boots a good use of my money?
The answer to this question depends on what kind of outdoor activity you’re into. If you prefer exploring locations where snow and low temperatures are prevalent, getting this type of footwear is going to be a wise investment. On the other hand, if you find yourself in humid places or terrains with moderate temperature, a pair of day hiking boots are more than enough for your needs.
Can I use insulated hiking boots during a mountaineering trip?
A mountaineering excursion is one of the hardest outdoor activities you can engage in. It involves a set of skills and specialized equipment to help you conquer great heights. Insulated hiking boots do not offer sufficient protection and performance in this kind of terrain. The best course of action is to invest in quality mountaineering boots. They are tough enough to shield your feet from harsher conditions without compromising your move in this environment.
Should I wear cotton socks with my insulated hiking boots?
Steer clear of any sock made of cotton for your adventures. These socks trap moisture far longer than you would want, causing your feet to smell over time. Pairing your insulated hiking boots with Merino wool socks is a better idea. They help keep your feet warm in cold conditions while wicking excess moisture from them. They are also known to possess anti-microbial properties to keep your feet fresh outdoors.
I often see warmth ratings when looking for insulated hiking boots. How accurate are they?
Some footwear companies include warmth ratings when advertising their respective line of insulated hiking boots. While this is standard practice, there is no precise way to measure the warmth of these hikers. Outdoor enthusiasts have different experiences based on their gender, weight, metabolism, and health, among others. A better suggestion to determine warmth is to read footwear reviews or ask those who have worn these boots for their thoughts. In this way, you get a more accurate opinion on how these products perform in the cold.
How can I prevent getting blisters while wearing insulated hiking boots?
The first step to getting a blister-free experience from your insulated hikers is to break them in before heading out for your trip. Your boots will soften up before you actually use them outdoors. Lacing your hikers properly will hold your feet in place and prevent any unnecessary friction from happening.
15 best insulated hiking boots
Columbia Firecamp Boot
Merrell Moab FST Ice+ Thermo
Danner Mountain 600 Weatherized
Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP
Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat
Vasque Snowblime UltraDry
Columbia Fairbanks Omni-Heat Boot
Columbia Bugaboot III
Vasque Coldspark UltraDry
Salomon Utility Winter CS WP
Salomon OUTblast TS CSWP
Merrell Thermo Cross 2 Mid Waterproof
Garmont Integra High WP Thermal
Columbia Fairbanks 1006 Boot
Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.