Winter hiking isn’t for everyone. The environment is more hostile, the views are often obscured by clouds, the gear is heavier, and the workout is decidedly more demanding. However, the rewards are fantastic! A frozen lake ringed by snow-covered mountains is an awe-inspiring view. Standing atop a hill or mountain looking out across the blinding white mountains with the sun in an azure sky will make you feel like you’ve conquered Mt. Everest.
Careful thought needs to be given to the equipment you use when venturing out on the wintery trails, starting with your boots.
When buying winter hiking boots, you should look for boots that are made of waterproof materials, such as Gore-Tex, to keep your feet dry in snow and slush.
The boots should also have good insulation to keep your feet warm in cold temperatures, and a sturdy soles with good traction to prevent slipping on snow and ice.
In terms of fit, the boots should be snug but not too tight and should have enough room for you to wiggle your toes.
There are several different types of winter hiking boots, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and the type of terrain you'll be hiking in.
And before you go hiking in the winter, make sure you've checked the weather and read the latest trail reports at a site like All Trails.
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Insulated boots: These boots are designed to keep your feet warm in cold temperatures and are typically made with a waterproof outer shell and a thick layer of insulation. They are suitable for cold, snowy conditions and are often used for winter hiking and snowshoeing.
Three-season boots: These boots are designed for use in cooler temperatures and offer a good balance of warmth, waterproofing, and breathability. They are suitable for late spring, summer, and early fall hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering.
Pictured: Salomon Women's X Ultra Mid 3 Aero
Mountaineering boots: These are the most technical and rugged type of winter hiking boots and are designed for use in extreme cold and on technical terrains such as ice and mixed climbing routes. They are typically made with a waterproof and insulated outer shell and a stiff sole for support and stability.
Pictured: Salewa Men's Condor EVO GTX
Pac boots: These boots are similar to insulated boots but feature a removable liner that can be removed to allow the boots to dry out or to add extra insulation. They are suitable for cold, wet conditions and are often used for winter hiking and snowshoeing. The term is derived from the Delaware Indian word “pacu,” meaning “shoe.”
Lightweight winter hiking boots: These boots are designed for use in mild winter conditions and offer a good balance of warmth, waterproofing, and breathability. They are typically lighter in weight than other types of winter hiking boots and are suitable for less challenging nature trails.
PIctured: Skechers Men's Relment-Pelmo Hiking Boot