Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Finest Winter Climbing Boots of 2023, Examined and Reviewed

We could earn income from the merchandise obtainable on this web page and take part in affiliate applications. Be taught Extra

Printed Mar 27, 2023 10:03 AM

Anybody who has ever tried to hike in snow is aware of the significance of an awesome winter mountain climbing boot. First, there’s the slip issue on surfaces that vary from deep powder to black ice. Then there’s all that moisture surrounding your foot—if there’s a weak spot within the waterproofing of your boot, winter will discover it. Lastly, it’s simply so chilly. That will help you stage as much as a pair of the very best winter mountain climbing boots, I took 5 high fashions into the sector for a sequence of side-by-side checks.

Testing the Finest Winter Climbing Boot 

Checking the comparative traction of the Danner Arctic 600 and the Oboz Bangtail throughout testing.

All the boots on this story had been examined beneath the identical standards as these in my finest waterproof mountain climbing boot story, however the winter boots had been subjected to a further set of checks. For the primary take a look at, I stood in every shoe within the Center Fork of the Snoqualmie River in March to check their insulation, noting how lengthy it took for my toes to begin to get chilly. In between checks I warmed up my toes once more by briskly mountain climbing earlier than shifting on to the following set of footwear. 

Subsequent I checked their traction on icy surfaces. Lastly, I checked the extent of safety offered by the boot after I postholed by means of the higher crust of mid-morning snow. I additionally examined a number of winter mountain climbing boots greater than as soon as (usually carrying a special boot on every foot) to get a greater really feel for his or her comparative efficiency. 

When selecting a winter mountain climbing boots, needless to say the match of every boot, in addition to your private choice for arch assist, can differ extensively. What boot suits finest for one individual might not be what suits finest for one more. Earlier than making a closing buy resolution, attempt every boot on at residence and assess whether or not the consolation and stage of assist offered is sufficient to your wants. 

The Finest Winter Climbing Boots: Evaluations and Suggestions

Finest Total: Danner Arctic 600

Key Options

  • Sizes: Males’s 7-14 (huge obtainable); ladies’s 5-11
  • Outsole: Vibram Nisqually Arctic Grip
  • Insulation: 200g Primaloft Gold
  • Danner Dry liner


  • Finest traction on ice in my take a look at
  • Very heat
  • Facet zip permits for simple on and off


  • Facet zip represents a degree of failure

The Danner Arctic 600 carried out exceptionally nicely on each take a look at I threw at it. The Vibram Arctic Grip outsole (together with this shoe’s lug design) was extraordinarily spectacular. The stickiness of the traction meant I may barely inform I used to be strolling on ice—it was nearly unattainable to slide with these footwear. Equally this shoe stayed hotter than each different boot in my take a look at whereas standing within the early spring runoff of the Center Fork of the Snoqualmie River, and no moisture made its means into the boot. I did observe, nevertheless, that this boot was the coldest on the aspect zipper. 

The versatile higher of the Danner Arctic 600 offered loads of safety when postholing.

The Danner Arctic 600’s aspect zipper was an uncommon function among the many boots that I attempted. Whereas placing on and taking off boots seemingly each fifteen minutes, I appreciated that I may placed on and take away these footwear with out having to untie and retie the laces.

The aspect zip of the Danner Arctic 600 permits for simple on and off, however it additionally represents a degree of failure on the boot.

However as everybody who spends time outside is aware of, zippers signify a major failure level on nearly any piece of drugs—and that goes double for waterproof zippers like these on the Arctic 600. In case you are involved concerning the long-term sturdiness of the zipper (and I might be), contemplate not utilizing this function on a day-to-day foundation.

Finest Worth: Oboz Bangtail

Key Options

  • Sizes: Males’s 8-14; Girls’s 5-12
  • Outsole: Vibram Arctic Grip
  • Insulation: 200g Primaloft BIO
  • B-Dry waterproof membrane


  • Nice traction
  • Very heat
  • Waterproof


  • Simply barely outperformed by the Danner Arctic 600

Throughout testing, the Danner Arctic 600 and the Oboz Bangtail had been neck and neck. Each used a variation of the best-in-class Vibram Arctic Grip outsole, and thus each had glorious traction on ice—however the Arctic 600 simply squeaked forward. Then, after I was testing the heat of the footwear, I needed to run a separate take a look at simply to check these two footwear aspect by aspect, with, once more the Arctic 600 simply forward. It was nearly too near name.

However there are many causes to decide on the Oboz Bangtail over the Danner Arctic 600. First off, it’s inexpensive for a similar high quality, which makes a distinction with dear boots. Subsequent, it has higher safety. The additional padding on the higher and a extra strong bumper on the toe, whereas nonetheless weighing about the identical because the Danner Arctic 600. Lastly, it doesn’t have a aspect zip, which, whereas handy, represents a degree of failure that the majority severe adventurers could be happier with out.

Finest Light-weight: Merrell Thermo Rogue

Key Options

  • Sizes: Males’s 7-15; ladies’s 5-9
  • Outsole: Vibram Arctic Grip All Terrain
  • Insulation: 200 grams Primaloft Gold Eco Collection
  • GORE-TEX waterproof membrane


  • Light-weight
  • Good traction


  • Will get chilly pretty shortly when subjected to chilly water
  • Versatile higher supplies much less safety when postholing than different winter mountain climbing boots

Every part about mountain climbing in winter is heavier. Your pack is heavier, your garments are heavier. And your footwear: they’re so much heavier—doubtless twice the burden of your warm-weather kicks. And whereas it’s simple to overlook that your footwear are heavier whenever you first begin mountain climbing, the fact is that the biomechanics of your physique are such that additional weight in your toes is value as a lot as 5 instances that in your again. So there’s a great cause to look out a top quality light-weight winter mountain climbing boot.

Not solely was the Merrell Thermo Rogue the lightest winter mountain climbing boot I checked out—simply over two kilos for a pair, it additionally carried out impressively throughout most of my testing protocol. Just like the Danner Arctic 600 and the Oboz Bangtail, it sports activities a variation of the Vibram Arctic Grip and was fairly grippy when strolling on ice. I needed to step extra fastidiously than with the opposite two boots, however I might be assured strolling on most stage icy surfaces with the Merrell Thermo Rogue. It additionally dealt with the waterproofing take a look at admirably nicely, staying dry for 14 hours when left in standing water.

Once I first laced up the Merrell Thermo Rogues I seen they warmed up quick in comparison with the Oboz Bangtail on the transient, fast-paced hike I took them out on earlier than the insulation take a look at. However after I stepped into the icy chilly water of the Snoqualmie River, the state of affairs modified quickly. In truth, my toes bought so chilly so shortly that I assumed water was seeping in by means of the highest of the shoe (which was not included as a part of standing water take a look at) and I ended the take a look at sooner than deliberate. Nevertheless, after I went to verify my sock after wrapping up with the Oboz Bangtail, I discovered that my foot was fully dry: the Merrell Thermo Rogues had simply misplaced its insulative powers after solely a few minutes of standing in chilly water. To verify this, I retested the footwear, this time being certain to lace them up tightly to stop as a lot water from seeping in across the laces as attainable. This made a slight distinction in how shortly my foot bought chilly, however it was nonetheless nowhere close to the efficiency of both the Oboz Bangtail or the Danner Arctic 600.

Finest for Bluebird Days: Asolo Arctic

Key Options

  • Sizes: Males’s 8-12; Girls’s 6-9
  • Outsole: Vibram Ghiaccio with Arctic Grip Compound
  • Insulation: Gore-Tex Insulated Consolation Footwear
  • Additionally options water resistant suede 


  • Consists of RECCO Rescue System Expertise
  • Resoleable
  • Warmest boot in my take a look at when dry


  • Not totally waterproof
  • Much less grippy on ice than different boots in my take a look at
  • Costly

The Asolo Arctic was simply the most effective winter mountain climbing boots I checked out, apart from one fairly severe Achilles heel: it’s not totally waterproof. It’s, nevertheless, extraordinarily water-resistant. It was solely barely damp on the within after 14 hours in standing water, and in the course of the insulation take a look at it took about six minutes for the chilly water of the Snoqualmie River to make its means into the boot. Till that time, the Arctic Asolo was arguably the warmest boot I had examined, however after that? Sport over.  So when you dwell in a dry local weather— you Coloradans—then this is a superb selection for all these bluebird days.

The Asolo Arctics carried out nicely on plenty of checks, and offered loads of safety when postholing in mid-morning snow

These adventurers may also respect among the added options of the Asolo Arctic. First off: these boots could be resoled, which considerably cuts down in your prices over time (and saves you on having to interrupt in a brand new pair of winter mountain climbing boots each few seasons). I additionally preferred that it included RECCO Rescue System Expertise, permitting skilled rescuers geared up with RECCO detectors to extra simply discover you within the case of an SAR occasion.

Learn Subsequent: Finest Avalanche Shovels

The Asolo Arctic (proper) was as heat because the Danner Arctic 600 (left) till six minutes had elapsed, and water began to seep contained in the boot.

Whereas the outsole of the Asolo Arctic does include among the Vibram Arctic Grip compound, my expertise throughout testing was that care will should be taken on particularly slick and icy surfaces to keep away from falling.

Finest Funds: Vasque Coldspark 

Key Options

  • Sizes: Males’s 8-12; ladies’s 6-9
  • Outsole: Vasque Monolith with ColdHold compound
  • Insulation: Retain
  • UltraDry waterproofing 



  • Not waterproof
  • Poor traction on icy surfaces

For loads of individuals, it may be laborious to justify the associated fee outlay of a real winter mountain climbing boot. They’re costly—usually as a lot as $100 costlier than their summer time counterparts—and, for most individuals, merely don’t get as a lot use. The Vasque Coldspark stood out in my take a look at for its comparative affordability, however it’s value the way it carried out throughout testing earlier than deciding it’s the appropriate boot for you. 

The largest situation with this boot is that it merely isn’t waterproof sufficient for mountain climbing in both wet or slushy situations, and it actually isn’t waterproof sufficient to cross shallow streams in. Throughout my insulation take a look at, not solely did my toes begin to get chilly as quickly as I stepped into the chilly water, they had been additionally moist in lower than two minutes. 

I used to be additionally dissatisfied by the traction of the Vasque Coldspark on icy surfaces. Whereas different winter mountain climbing boots on this take a look at offered sufficient grip that you may get away with leaving your YakTrax at residence (at the least so long as you had been cautious), these footwear slipped and slid throughout the icy floor, offering solely marginally extra grip than my customary mountain climbing boots. 

That every one being mentioned, these are nonetheless higher for winter than a lot of the finest mountain climbing boots, so when you’re trying to improve your winter package and wish to save funds for different elements of your setup, that is an choice to think about. 

Finest Minimalist: Xero Footwear Alpine

Key Options

  • Sizes: Males’s: 6.5-15; ladies’s: 5-10.5
  • Stack Top: 7.5mm 
  • Weight: 28.6 ounces for a ladies’s 9
  • Suits true to measurement


  • Heat sufficient to take out into snow situations
  • Moderately waterproof
  • Comparatively reasonably priced


  • Much less versatile sole than different minimalist footwear or boots
  • Not applicable for people unaccustomed to minimalist footwear

Throughout my take a look at of the very best minimalist footwear for mountain climbing and path operating there was one choice that was far and away the very best for winter mountain climbing: the Xero Footwear Alpine.

The Xero Footwear Alpine was greater than up for an in a single day snowshoe in heavy snow

I took the Xero Footwear Alpine out on an in a single day snowshoe that noticed temps dip nicely beneath freezing and was impressed with how nicely they carried out. On the trek up, my toes had been fully heat in a single pair of thick ski socks, together with throughout breaks (they did lastly get just a little chilly once we had been consuming dinner). Throughout testing, I discovered that these footwear had been fairly waterproof. My toes had been dry over 14 miles of snowshoeing. They’d be fantastic to trek by means of a mountain stream, I simply wouldn’t keep there longer than it’s essential to. I did observe, whoever, that the textured ruff on the high of the shoe had an inclination to gather snow, which might then stick with my leg and finally soften. Whereas this moisture didn’t journey additional down the shoe (or impression my legs, which had been protected by a number of different layers), it did imply that after I tried to go away the tent for a loo break in the course of the evening I discovered that my footwear had been frozen in place, and it took some elbow grease to wrench them aside sufficient to slide again on.

Throughout preliminary testing, I additionally famous that this was the one boot in my take a look at that didn’t have any break-in time—it’s able to hike proper out of the field.

Issues to Take into account Earlier than Shopping for Winter Climbing Boots

To study extra about how to decide on between mountain climbing boots, I chatted with Kim Kelley, a member of REI’s digital outfitting crew. Right here’s what she informed me: 

Ankle Help

A typical false impression is that the higher of a mountain climbing boot helps stop ankle rolling. Sadly, the uppers of most mountain climbing boots are usually not practically stiff sufficient to stop ankle rolling. These uppers do, nevertheless, assist stop path particles from getting inside your boot, and within the case of waterproof boots, may also help maintain your toes dry throughout stream crossings. What’s defending your ankle from rolling, nevertheless, is the rigidity of the bottom of the mountain climbing boot. The factor that connects the heel to ankle assist is the talus bone, which sits simply above the heel bones and connects to ankle ligaments. To check the ankle assist, merely twist the bottom of the boot. If it doesn’t transfer, the boot supplies ankle assist. 

Arch Help

On lengthy hikes or backpacking journeys, it’s frequent for the arch of the foot to develop into fatigued, which may result in a standard ailment of hikers: plantar fasciitis. One reason for this, particularly amongst day hikers and backpackers is over pronation, the place the foot leans or collapses inward. Anybody experiencing this, or affected by ache whereas they stroll, can profit from the most effective insoles for mountain climbing. 

Boot Dimension

With mountain climbing boots, it’s necessary to have some house between your toes and the top of the boot—purpose for a couple of finger’s width of house between the top of your toes and the tip of the boot. For most individuals, that works to a couple of half measurement bigger than they usually put on. Nevertheless, Kelley cautions that many individuals, particularly ladies, depend on shoe sizings that they acquired once they had been youthful and don’t take note of the pure development of the foot over time. Getting your foot sized by an expert—one thing you are able to do by means of REI’s Digital Outfitting with out visiting the shop—is a crucial a part of selecting a mountain climbing boot.

Remember the fact that you’ll doubtless be carrying thicker socks along with your winter boots than you do along with your customary mountain climbing boots. Take into account sizing up a half measurement in case you are in-between sizes with the entire boots on this record apart from the Asolo Arctic, which runs massive. 


Q: Do I want winter mountain climbing boots?

In case you constantly discover your toes chilly or wrestle with slipping on snow and ice whereas out mountain climbing in winter, than a pair of the very best winter mountain climbing boots (coupled with a pair of the very best mountain climbing socks) could make an enormous distinction in your consolation and want to get after it in the course of the coldest months of the 12 months. 

Q: How a lot do mountain climbing boots value?

Climbing boots usually run from $100 to as a lot as $500, with winter mountain climbing boots usually beginning at $200. When contemplating worth, it is best to analysis whether or not the boot you’re could be resoled. It’s at all times cheaper to resole a boot than purchase a brand new one. 

Q: Ought to I get waterproof mountain climbing boots? 

Most mountain climbing boots are waterproof or provide waterproof choices. One of many major features of mountain climbing boots is to guard your toes from the weather, together with rain, snow, and river crossings. That mentioned, some people discover that sweat can result in soggy toes anyway, one thing that the poor air flow usually related to waterproof mountain climbing boots solely exacerbates. Take into account the kind of terrain you intend to hike (waterproof boots could also be much less helpful within the desert, as an example) and your individual foot sort to find out the appropriate match for you.

Why Belief Out of doors Life?

Since 1898, OL has been a number one authority in testing and reviewing searching gear, fishing deal with, weapons and capturing gear, and rather more. We have now greater than a century-long historical past of evaluating merchandise, and we’re now bringing that experience to on-line evaluations. Our editors are skilled outdoorsmen and ladies, and most significantly, we’re educated journalists. We prioritize discipline testing and goal information when reviewing merchandise. We conduct interviews with gear producers and engineers in addition to out of doors consultants in order that our readers have an understanding of how and why a product works—or doesn’t.

Promoting doesn’t affect our gear evaluations and it by no means will. Whereas we at all times focus our protection on standout merchandise—as a result of we wish our readers to pay attention to the newest and best gear—we additionally cowl the issues and quirks of any given product.

Remaining Ideas on the Finest Winter Climbing Boots

After rigorous testing, I’m assured that the entire mountain climbing boots in my take a look at are higher for winter situations than an ordinary mountain climbing boot or the most effective mountain climbing footwear. I used to be significantly impressed by the Danner Arctic 600 and the Oboz Bangtail, and would extremely suggest them for anybody trying to put money into the most effective winter mountain climbing boots for severe winter situations. 

Previous Post Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *