7 Best Winter Hiking Boots in 2023

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
7 Best Winter Hiking Boots in 2023
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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 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 winter hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is a lightweight, supportive and waterproof hiking boot made to look and act like it’s from the 21st century. Hikers love the mixture of grip and waterproofing that makes it an all-weather boot.


  • 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

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Any color
Trooper/Black/Evening Primrose (L416246)
Black/Magnet/Pearl Blue (L413834)
Deep Lichen Green/Peat/Kelp (L417398)
Kelp Black Safari (L412941)
Legion Blue/Black/Fall Leaf (L416245)

Best lightweight winter hiking boots

What makes it the best?

Euro Hiker's comfort is what dreams are made of. It's so much worth the investment especially when you take into account its weight, durability and grip. Recycled rubber is a nice touch! The Euro Hiker by Timberland may arguably be a cut above with its wealth of positive traits working into a fine synergy.


  • Amazing in-shoe comfort
  • Above-average traction
  • Insanely lightweight
  • Supportive arch
  • Lasting construction
  • Above-average traction
  • Recycled rubber used
  • Attractive design
  • Affordable


  • Subpar ventilation
  • Unruly laces
Full review of Timberland Euro Hiker

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Any color
Wheat (09156)
Brown (09510)
BLACK (56038)
Wheat as pictured (C95100)

Best wide toe box winter hiking boots

What makes it the best?

Wearers had better be ready to give the Coldspark UltraDry a resounding round of applause as the boot offers outstanding heat insulation. They should also be prepared to be completely mesmerized by its superb lightness. With all that said, those who are more likely to go on serious winter hikes may be taken aback with the boot’s reported setbacks.


  • Sufficient warmth
  • A-grade waterproofing
  • Fantastic lightness
  • Supportive collar
  • Grippy
  • Worth the purchase


  • Padded collar bunches up
  • Not sturdy enough
  • Toe box lacks rigidity
Full review of Vasque Coldspark UltraDry

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Any color
Anthracite / Grey (7850)

Best waterproof winter hiking boots

Asolo Arctic GV

What makes it the best?

When the going gets tough on snowy trails, the tough (a.k.a. the Arctic GV) gets going. With the latest advancements in insulation, this mesmerizing boot will make the biting cold bow down in submission as you blaze through frigid terrain. And although there are budget-friendlier options out there, the Asolo Arctic GV hits it out of the park with its excellence in both form and winter-focused function.


  • Thermal wonder
  • Light
  • Precise fit
  • Comfy
  • Sticky (particularly on ice)
  • Heavy-duty
  • Attractive


  • Quite expensive
  • Might not secure lace-hooked gaiters properly
Full review of Asolo Arctic GV

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Any color
11170 (A12536176)

Best winter hiking boots for backpacking

What makes it the best?

Grippy, warm, comfortable, and waterproof - the Garmont Integra High WP Thermal wins the hearts of the young and dynamic spirits, it’s essentially lightweight as well. This tough hiker has truly won the hearts of many with its protective and functional features.


  • Exceptional lightness
  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent grip
  • Keeps the feet warm
  • Excellent ankle stability


  • Runs very narrow
Full review of Garmont Integra High WP Thermal

Today's best price

Any color
Grey (481051603)

Out of stock in all 50 shops

Garmont winter hiking boots  

Best value boot

What makes it the best?

Outdoorsy individuals may appreciate this Merrell winter boot for providing a comfortable and warm experience in cold weather. It provides water protection and arch support are also qualities buyers value.


  • Remarkably comfy
  • Sufficiently warm
  • Waterproof
  • Excellent arch support
  • Excellent grip
  • Durable


  • Long laces
  • Wide toe box
  • Stiff ankle stiff
Full review of Merrell Thermo Snowdrift Mid Shell Waterproof

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Any color
Olive (J19293)

Comparison of the 7 best winter hiking boots

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Don’t let a spell of chilly weather keep you inside for months on end. A pair of warm and steady hiking boots made specifically for winter lets you get outside even when the snow comes and keeps you off your favorite trails. Here’s what you need to know when looking for the best winter hiking boots.

What are winter hiking boots?

There are two main categories of boots to consider when thinking about hiking in the snow. 

Mountaineering boots for extreme conditions

Firstly there are mountaineering boots which are a great choice for people who are looking to summit snowy mountaintops and plan routes up the biggest mountains in the world.

Insulated hiking boots for cold weather

The other type is insulated hiking boots. This is the type that we’ll look at in this article. On a very basic level, they’re essentially regular hiking boots with added insulation for colder temps, but with a few other smart, winter-specific decisions made.

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.

Key features of winter hiking boots

So now you know what winter hiking is all about and why you should consider doing it, but what exactly do you need to look for when trying to find the best winter hiking boots?

We think there are five key things you need to look out for:

  • High amounts of insulation
  • Reliable waterproofing
  • Grip in icy conditions
  • Adaptable for use in different scenarios

High amounts of insulation

This is the big one. Your winter boot-buying experience likely hinges on buying a boot with the right insulation for you. This part of the process is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If you don’t have enough insulation, you’ll be too cold, and if you have too much insulation you risk overheating. It’s vital that you get the balance correct.

What level of insulation is needed?

Insulated boots are widely available with either 200-gram or 400-gram levels of insulation, which refers to how warm they are. 200-gram boots are good from 20°F, while 400-gram boots will keep you warm to 40°F. There are boots out there with 800-gram of insulation, but you’ll find them in mountaineering boots rather than hiking boots.

200-gram or 400-gram?

If you’re planning short hikes in cold weather rather than day-long epics and if the temperatures don’t get extremely cold, then 200-gram insulation would be a good choice. However, if you find yourself spending multiple hours out in the cold where the temperatures plummet well below freezing, then 400-gram is likely the best choice for you.

Insulation with Thinsulate

Nowadays, hiking boots are insulated with synthetic materials, with the most popular of these being Thinsulate. Thinsulate is a thermal fiber that is compact and thin, and most importantly, doesn’t lose its ability to insulate when it gets wet.

Reliable waterproofing

If you’re not dry on the trail during winter, then there’s no way you can keep warm. Staying dry is a huge part of staying warm, so it’s no surprise at all that the best winter hiking boots are waterproof.

Natural waterproofing

Leather has been used as uppers on hiking boots since they were first created, due in part to leather being a naturally waterproof material. That’s why you’ll see manufacturers choosing full-grain leather to make dependable and reliable waterproof hiking boots. Leather does have the ability to wet out though. This is when leather reaches saturation point and is no longer able to keep moisture away from your foot.

Synthetic waterproofing

The draws backs of leather led to the creation of man-made, or synthetic, waterproofing materials with the most popular of these being Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is a layer of material with tiny holes in it that allows moisture to escape from the wearer’s body but prevents water from passing through. It’s more dependable in very wet conditions than leather but isn’t as breathable as the natural material.

Grip in icy conditions

If you’ve ever experienced sub-zero conditions, you’ll know that ice goes hand in hand with snow. That’s why a lot of winter boots are designed to have grippier soles with deeper lugs. These deep lugs give you a better grip on uneven terrain and the tackier soles are able to latch onto the trail surface as well as possible.

Adaptable for use in different scenarios

Some of the best winter hiking boots out there are adaptable to their conditions. Mountaineering boots are compatible with crampons (additional grip systems that attach to your boots) letting you hike in very challenging conditions, and you’ll find this feature on some winter hiking boots as well.

If your winter hiking boots aren't crampon-compatible, you can add another layer of grip by snapping on a pair of spikes. These aren’t as dependable as crampons, but they do work with any pair of boots.

What are the differences between winter hiking boots and hiking boots?

The key difference between winter hiking boots and regular hiking boots, sometimes called three-season hiking boots, is the levels of insulation.

Three-season boots are great all-rounders

Consider where and when you use your three-season boots. They’re specifically designed to be decent all-rounders that perform in warm, dry conditions and also colder, damper conditions. Generally speaking, they do a pretty good job in these conditions, but it’s when the temperatures drop below freezing that these boots come up short.

Winter hiking boots thrive in cold conditions

Simply put, it’s very likely that you’ll be cold and uncomfortable wearing regular hiking boots in the snow and if conditions get extremely cold, you’ll be taking an unnecessary risk with boots that aren’t properly insulated. Winter hiking boots are commonly insulated with either 200, 400, or 800-gram insulation. We touched on the lower levels of insulation earlier on in this article and how they’re suited to different conditions.

What are the differences between winter hiking boots and mountaineering boots?

There are two main differences between winter hiking boots and mountaineering boots.

Different insulation for different situations

The first of these is insulation. Mountaineering boots are made for extreme conditions where hikers are in freezing conditions for hours, or even days, on end. That’s why mountaineering boots tend to have 800-gram insulation rather than the 200 or 400-gram usually found in winter hiking boots.

Decide what crampons you’ll need

The second of these differences is sole stiffness. If you’re buying a mountaineering boot, it’s very likely that you’ll need crampons at some stage too. That’s why mountaineering boots have very stiff mid-soles that provide a solid platform in snowy conditions.

With winter hiking boots, the expectation is that you may need crampons at some point, but it’s not necessarily a given. That’s why the mid-soles on winter hiking boots are more flexible to make them more comfortable on the trail.

What is winter hiking?

First things first. What exactly is winter hiking? Without sounding too obvious, it’s hiking that takes place in wintery conditions. Think temperatures around or below freezing, snowy surrounds, and the possibility of ice on the trail. It’s a way of extending your hiking season and enjoying a new discipline of hiking at the same time.

The benefits of winter hiking

So why even consider swapping cozy days by the fireplace bundled up with a good book for snow-covered trails and rosy cheeks? There are four main reasons why people go winter hiking:

  1. Maintain a good level of base miles
  2. Hike on quieter trails
  3. See new scenery
  4. Improve your technical hiking skills

Maintain a good level of base miles

Serious hikers and people wanting to take their hiking to the next level need to build up their base level of fitness and get as many miles under their belts as possible. If you’re locked up for months on end, this can be very tricky to do. 

Hike on quieter trails

The trailhead can be a very busy place during summer. Everyone from weekend warriors to tourists, and serious hikers share these spaces and they can become very busy and sometimes even overcrowded. Winter hiking thins this herd a lot, leaving some of the most beautiful trails in the world peaceful and serene.

See new scenery

There’s something truly special about being outside in the snow. Even the most familiar of scenes are completely transformed by a coating of snow, landscapes become quieter, mountains glisten in the sunlight and the trails feel completely different.

Improve your technical hiking skills

Thinking about taking your first steps into the world of more technical hiking or fancy upping your skills? Then winter hiking could be a great place to start. The trickier terrain and conditions make you consider each foot placement and how to adapt to more challenging situations.

Frequently asked questions about winter hiking boots

Winter hiking boots are a category of boots with a number of nuances that separates them from the rest. Here are a few more things to consider when shopping for the best winter hiking boots.

Do you need winter hiking boots?

This completely depends on you and your conditions. If you’re in a region that experiences very cold winters and you want to keep hiking, then you should definitely consider getting a pair of winter hiking boots.

But if your winters aren’t that harsh and if the cold doesn’t make you uncomfortable on the trail, then you might be fine with a regular pair of hiking boots. It’s a personal preference and one that might change once you try a pair - I know mine did.

How should winter hiking boots fit?

Winter hiking boots have an insulated liner, so you should size up, right? Not quite. Synthetic liners are quite thin and don’t take up much room so you’re safe to stick with your normal size. Much like other hiking boots, they should fit snugly in all areas, but not feel tight or cause any pain.

Can you wear winter hiking boots in summer?

You can definitely wear winter hiking boots in summer, but you probably won’t want to. Essentially winter hiking boots are regular hiking boots with proper insulation, so while they’ll perform like regular hiking boots on the trail, you’ll run the risk of getting too hot.

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.