Finding the best winter hiking boots is difficult. There are many things to think about.
The hiking boot guide is a great place to start. However, winter hiking boots have some extra things to think about.
What we will cover
- Type of hiking
- Temperature rating
- Appropriate socks
- Gater use
- Return policies
- One of the most important considerations is how comfortable your feet are going to be.
- Make sure they fit snugly not tight. For winter hiking boots, you need to make sure you have enough room for your hiking socks.
- If it’s possible, try on the boots you’re thinking of buying. Walk around with them to get a feel for what they are like.
2. Types of winter hiking
- Another thing you need to think about is what kind of hiking you do in the winter. If you’re planning on doing some glacier hiking, obviously your needs are going to be different than someone who wants to do some light winter hiking.
- In winter you’re going to be hiking through mud and deep snow at times, so it’s essential to get waterproof boots. Check the shoes you’re looking at to make sure that they are waterproof.
- Most winter boots are, but you don’t want to get out on the trail and find out they aren’t.
3. Temperature rating
- Apart from comfort, the temperature rating is the next most important consideration. Depending on where you hike, and what time of year you hike, you need to think about temperature.
- Specifically, what is the temperature rating on your boots.
- Sometimes places like Amazon don’t list what the temperature rating is, but they do record the amount of insulation. Be sure to check, the manufactures site for the temperature rating if you’re not sure.
- Temperature ratings aren’t the ultimate number. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all. You will have to decide for yourself what are the best winter hiking boots for you.
- Also, there is no standard for all companies so that each company will have a different rating based on different things. Keep that in mind.
- Finally, when boots are rated for temperature the assumption is that you’re wearing proper socks and liners.
4. Amount of insulation
- If the temperature rating isn’t listed, the amount of padding usually is.
- When we talk about insulation, we are talking about Thinsulate insulation. It is measured in millimeters.
- The higher the amount of insulation, the warmer the boot.
- The amount of insulation ranges from 100mm all the way up to 1000mm. 1000mm being the warmest. Some insulations are measured in grams, for example, 200 grams of Thermolite insulation. Again, the higher the number of grams the warmer the boots are intended to be.
- For a lot of people 100mm to 300mm will work just fine, but each person is different.
5. Use with proper socks
- When hiking in the winter you must wear the right socks. They help you keep your feet warm and dry.
- In the winter, a midweight to heavyweight sock will work best. Also, using a liner will help keep your feet warm and dry.
- If you’re buying winter hiking boots in the store, wear your winter socks to see how the shoes fit with the sock.
6. Gaters use
- Most people who go winter hiking use gaters. Think about how your gaters fit with your boots. Consider bringing your gaters with you when you buy a pair of boots, to see how they work together.
- Sometimes you can run into minor issues with gaters and your boots.
- If you plan on doing any glacier hiking, crampons are a must.
- However, not all boots come equipped to use them. When looking for the best winter hiking boots, check to see if you can use crampons with them.
- Final thoughts
- Now you know what to look for when buying a pair of winter hiking boots, get out there and start looking the pair that’s right for you.