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The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024

We found the best winter hiking boots for tackling snow, rain, mud, and cold. Get ready to hit the trail all season long.
Lowa Renegade GTX winter boots
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Winter means different things depending on your location. From the snowy Colorado mountains to the dry Arizona desert and the perpetually wet Pacific Northwest, we put these boots to the ultimate test.

Winter hiking can either be a miserable, wet sufferfest, or a fun, dry adventure through wild terrain. Much of it boils down to the outfit you choose, from top to bottom. Soggy feet will quickly leave you with numb toes, and shoes without traction will have you slipping and flailing all over the trail. Durable, weather-resistant boots are essential for effortlessly moving through the white stuff, or slogging through muddy sludge.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the GearJunkie squad has collectively tested thousands of boots on their various forays into the chilly wild. Pooling our team’s overall knowledge and drawing from extensive personal experience in the frozen backcountry, staff authors Peter Reese and Mallory Paige clocked endless miles in just as many winter boots to whittle the selection down to the eight deserving models you see today.

For 2024, we brought in contributing writer Matthew Medendorp, who put updated silhouettes through the day-to-day paces in the snow and sleet-filled forests and dunes of a Michigan winter. In addition, we took the finalists to a post-blizzard Mammoth Lakes CA to compare specs and performance in head-to-head stress testing, determining which boots earned the crown and which left us with frozen toes.

With so many options on the market, narrowing in on the best winter hiking boots for any escapade can be no small task, but it’s an important investment for maximizing comfort and safety in cold conditions. We’ve broken this list into categories to help you find the best boot for your particular scenario.

Read on for the full list, and if you need more help choosing, check out our handy comparison chart, buyer’s guide, or FAQ sections at the bottom of this article.

Editor’s Note: We refreshed this article on April 10, 2024, by adding the Vasque St. Elias to our line-up and by adding additional details about our testing practices, expanding our FAQs, and expanding the information regarding the warmth and comfort of winter hiking boots.

The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024

Best Overall Winter Hiking Boot

Lowa Renegade GTX


  • Best for Treks from day strolls to extended hikes in moderate winter conditions
  • Weight  2 lbs. 7 oz. | 2 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Waterproofing GORE-TEX waterproof/breathable membrane
  • Upper Nubuck leather
Product Badge The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Efficiency
  • Agility


  • Temperature range
Best Budget Winter Hiking Boot

KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid


  • Best for All-around winter wear, extending before and after hiking
  • Weight  2 lbs. 2.8 oz. | 1 lb. 12.4 oz.
  • Waterproofing KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper Oiled nubuck leather
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Adaptability
  • Durability


  • Temperature range
Best Women’s Winter Hiking Boot

Oboz Bridger 7” Insulated


  • Best for Sketchy or variable trail conditions from fall to spring
  • Weight  2 lb. 9 oz.
  • Waterproofing B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane
  • Upper Waterproof nubuck leather
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Traction
  • Warmth


  • Upper height
Best Minimalist Winter Hiking Boot

Xero Alpine Boot


  • Best for Stretching budgets where ice, slop, and mud are part of winter
  • Weight  1 lb. 14 oz. | 1 lb. 7 oz.
  • Waterproofing Fully seam-sealed inner bootie and a water-resistant membrane
  • Upper 100% vegan-friendly rubber
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Warmth
  • Comfort


  • Support
Best Winter Hiking Boot for Traction

Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GORE-TEX


  • Best for Making miles with or without a pack
  • Weight 1 lb. 13.2 oz. | 1 lb. 9.4 oz.
  • Waterproofing GORE-TEX waterproof/breathable membrane
  • Upper Synthetic textile
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Traction
  • Durability


  • Temperature range
Best of the Rest

Vasque St. Elias GTX


  • Best for Hiking in tough conditions or carrying loads
  • Weight 2 lbs.14 oz.,| 2 lbs. 6oz.
  • Waterproofing GORE-TEX
  • Upper Full-Grain Leather and Nubuck Leather
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Comparatively lightweight for its burly construction
  • Out-of-the-box comfort, little to no break-in time
  • Extremely waterproof
  • Good breathability


  • Tight lacing system
  • Leather scruffs and wears easily

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 C.RDY


  • Best for Going big even in colder temperatures
  • Weight  2 lbs. 5.7 oz.
  • Waterproofing GORE-TEX
  • Upper Stretch ripstop upper with seamless overlays
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Protection
  • Convenience
  • Grippy outsole


  • Pricing

Women’s Danner Inquire Mid Insulated


  • Best for All-around winter wear including backcountry day hikes
  • Weight  2 lb. 13 oz.
  • Waterproofing Danner Dry barrier
  • Upper Suede and synthetic
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Comfort
  • Versatility


  • Low upper height

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX


  • Best for Wide-footed hikers keen to trek without cold feet
  • Weight 2 lbs. 1 oz. | 1 lb. 6 oz.
  • Waterproofing GORE-TEX SURROUND waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper Nubuck leather
The Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2024


  • Comfort
  • Durability


  • Temperature range

Winter Hiking Boots Comparison Chart

Winter Hiking BootsPrice Weight (per pair)WaterproofingUpper
Lowa Renegade GTX$2552 lbs. 7 oz. | 2 lbs. 2 oz.GORE-TEX waterproof/
breathable membrane

Nubuck leather
KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid$1652 lbs. 2.8 oz. | 1 lb. 12.4 oz.KEEN.Dry waterproof
breathable membrane
Oiled nubuck leather
Oboz Bridger 7” Insulated$2102 lb. 9 oz.B-DRY waterproof/
breathable membrane
Waterproof nubuck leather
Xero Alpine Boot$1601 lb. 14 oz. | 1 lb. 7 oz.Fully seam-sealed inner
bootie and a water-resistant
100% vegan-friendly rubber
Salomon Cross Hike
$1901 lb. 13.2 oz. | 1 lb. 9.4 oz.GORE-TEX waterproof/
breathable membrane 
Synthetic textile 
Vasque St. Elias GTX$2302 lbs.14 oz| 2 lbs. 6ozGORE-TEXFull-grain and Nubuck leather
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 C.RDY$2602 lbs. 5.7 oz.GORE-TEX Stretch ripstop 
Women’s Danner
Inquire Mid Insulated
$2002 lb. 13 oz.Danner Dry barrierSuede and synthetic
La Sportiva Nucleo
$2392 lbs. 1 oz. | 1 lb. 6 oz. GORE-TEX SURROUND waterproof breathable membraneNubuck leather 

How We Tested Winter Hiking Boots

Slogging up slushy alpine slopes, trekking over muddy, root-strewn trails, or simply trotting around town — the GearJunkie team doesn’t mess around when testing hiking boots. We rifled through our closets, talked with veteran backpackers, and scoped the retail shelves to lace up with the best winter hiking boots around. You can rest assured that each boot on this list has been rigorously tested on real-world treks in the backcountry.

Staff authors Peter Reese and Mallory Paige — both seasoned outdoor enthusiasts — curated our initial roundup of 12 boots in February of 2021, and have been putting new models and brands to the test ever since to bring you the streamlined selection you see today. Each of the boots on this list have been vetted by these stone-cold pros and put through the wringer in demanding winter environments — all proving to be worthy.

In addition to daily wear and tear hikes and general usage, in 2024 we sent gear tester Matthew Medendorp to the winter playground of Mammoth Lakes, CA toting a carry-on and checked bag filled with winter boots finalists, determined to carry out head-to-head testing or to perish in the deep snow of the recent spring blizzard that trapped motorists on the high passes of the Eastern Sierras.

Full disclosure — he was never in danger of perishing, but there was still a lot of snow. Matt tested the boots in deep snow alpine conditions, groomed trails, and the windy high deserts of Bishop, sometimes packing several boots on one hike and changing footwear mid-trail to better get a feel for each boot’s strengths and weaknesses.

And because every foot is different and every hiker has a different goal, we solicited feedback from our wide range of contributors, editors, and friends of the publication to make sure we had something for everyone. But as much as we love our friends and family, we didn’t just trust their word: we tested these boots with a mind for comfort, weather protection, and durability.

Finally, this is an organic, constantly evolving guide that we strive to update regularly with the top models on the market, so it stays fresh and relevant as brands release new versions of beloved classics or quietly phase out old stalwarts, this guide will stay up to date and relevant.

We tested these boots with a mind for comfort, weather protection, and durability. We also wanted to make sure to include a wide variety of shoes for the different adventures we find ourselves on, so there’s something for everyone. Finally, this is an organic, constantly evolving guide that we strive to update regularly with the top models on the market, so it stays fresh and relevant.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Winter Hiking Boot

Men's Winter Boot Height
Good-fitting, warm hiking boots are key for all-day comfort in winter conditions; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Where Are You Hiking?

Winter is a term that means wildly different things depending on your location. So, before seeking out the perfect boot, take a moment to think about your location. Is it wet, snowy, or mostly dry?

Do you regularly see temps in the single digits? Or do you enjoy a milder winter average? Answering these questions will help you weigh the importance of waterproofing and insulation.


The importance of warm feet can’t be argued. This goes beyond avoiding frostbite or cold damage to your feet and toes. Improperly insulated feet can both ruin a winter hiking experience and change a life, dramatics aside.

Targeting the right level of insulation and weather protection for each hiker — given their location and types of trips — is part of picking the right boots. For some, an insulated boot is the antidote to cold weather. Others thrive with merino wool socks inside their synthetic or leather boots.

Winter boots don’t have to include insulation to be considered for winter travel. Many people like the freedom of being able to keep their feet warm with thick socks in waterproof boots, and put thinner socks on when the temps increase and they want more breathability. For those, our unsolicited but still waterproof picks, like the Salomon Cross Hike GTX, make a good pick. Others prefer thick, cozy insulation at all times when trudging around in frigid conditions — and may gravitate to models like the Oboz Bridger 7” Insulated.

It’s important to consider the type of adventure you’ll be going on before picking out your winter hiking boots, like this packed snow on a trail in Mammoth Lakes; (photo/Matthew Medendorp)

Waterproof Boots

Waterproofing fights back against the incursion of water, being impervious to incoming moisture at any temperature. These models are particularly attuned to deep snow and temporary immersion in shallow standing or running water.

This puts water protection inside a more durable exterior layer of leather or fabric. As with resisting or repelling water, the boot’s tongue and lacing system are potential weak points in achieving a tight seal.

Caution is needed here, as allowing the foot to maintain a 60% humidity level in the middle of exertion is a balancing factor. Those who get hot, sweaty feet while walking benefit from the ability to release excess perspiration even during colder months, and even when there’s wet outside the boot itself.

Many, if not most, winter hiking boots identified as waterproof now have “breathable” as a critical caveat to accomplish this feat, incorporating Gore-Tex or Gore-Tex-esque tech to prevent water from entering the boot but allowing vapor to escape.


Most winter hiking boots have some level of insulation. It’s measured in grams and generally ranges from 100 g up to 600 g. Most of the boots included here are in the 100-200g range. We find that offers the best warmth, without overheating during active hiking.

Bridger 7 Insulated Waterproof 2
A well-insulated hiking boot makes snowy slogs much more manageable; (photo/Oboz)


Comfort, for the purposes of this guide, is defined as “supporting good blood circulation, moving easily across variable terrain, and allowing minor fit adjustment for sock and weather conditions.”

Being easy to put on and take off is also a plus. As with traction, the thickness and composition of the sole system have an effect on comfort. A thick and robust sole prevents sharp underfoot rocks from poking into the ever-sensitive bottom of the foot.

From initial fit to general comfort at rest and in motion, a smart boot pick comes with box-to-backcountry confidence every time the trail calls and laces get tied. Sore feet are a bummer, but fortunately, they’re completely avoidable.


Winter boots have a lug pattern designed for snow and ice. In addition, the rubber compounds used are made to stay soft and grippy in frigid conditions. This is adequate for most casual winter outings. However, in extreme ice, we still reach for a traction device like those featured in our Best Winter Traction Devices guide.


Winter boots are susceptible to wear-induced failure in at least three ways. First is in the closure or lacing system, where pulling to tighten the boot stresses the seams, including the tongue’s attachment.

Second is the cuff around the ankle, where simple wear can break down the collar or padding at the top of the upper. Third, the material on the toe; coarse snow can act like sandpaper to abrade the leading section of the boot. Often, as on a work boot, this toebox area is reinforced against scraping from the outside as well as repeated toe impact on the inside.

Keep in mind that the materials affect the durability. The leather of a boot like Vasque’s St. Elias GTX may require more care upfront, but ultimately, it will last longer than the synthetic and textile options. But if you don’t take care of it, it may deteriorate sooner. Durability can often come down to regular maintenance, and, above all, always drying your gear before storing. Especially important with snow and mud that are winter hiking mainstays.

Keep your feet warm and dry with a quality pair of winter boots; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Winter Hiking Gear

Along with a good winter boot, these pieces of gear will make cold, snowy outings that much more enjoyable.


Good winter hiking socks regulate temperature and humidity inside the boot, add comfort by cushioning the foot, and can improve the boot’s fit to some degree. Most winter hiking simply requires a single, midweight sock.


Insoles (often called footbeds) have loomed larger in the last 5 years, as some manufacturers put thin factory inserts into boots as placeholders. In the case of winter hiking, season-specific insoles add a modicum of insulation. Others also improve the mechanical support for the foot inside the boot. The cost of a merino or hybrid foam product ranges from $25 to $60 and lasts up to 3 years.

A full winter kit of clothes and footwear makes chilly adventures much more pleasant; (photo/JR Berry)

Traction Devices

These turn many boots into a multitool that can move competently across slippery surfaces, crusted snow, and glare ice. There are many options, and those with miniature cleats or crampons allow safer travel.

These devices are convenient to carry, use, and then repack. Plan to spend between $40 and $120. Strong choices include the Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System and the Korkers Ice Walker, both at about $70.


They are seen most often in mountaineering photos or those of old-time backcountry skiing. While the low versions are most helpful for keeping debris out of hiking and trail running shoes, the taller models help prevent deeper snow and harsh rains from working their way into the boot’s cuff.

With gaiters, only a few worthwhile, waterproof-breathable options exist, most in the $100-120 range. Classic and hard to beat are Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters that add only a few ounces, defy abrasion, and come in all sizes.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles come with or without ski baskets that allow their use in snow accumulations over 5 inches. Most are collapsible to attach to a daypack and earn their keep on steeper slopes on slipperier surfaces, as well as when carrying a heavier payload.


Like many of the other system components, snowshoes deserve serious consideration if deeper snow conditions are common or anticipated. Boots with stiffer soles are great candidates for use with binding-equipment snowshoes.

Bridger 7 Insulated Waterproof 2
Winter hiking boots are essential for pushing through the white stuff in comfort; (photo/Oboz)


What’s the difference between a winter hiking boot and a regular winter boot?

While a winter hiking boot will work for all general winter activities, a general winter boot may not work for hiking. What’s best for running to the bus stop or shoveling snow may not hold up to extended miles on the trail or time in the backcountry. We tested these boots specifically for hiking applications so you know you can trust them to perform when it counts. 

Should I order a larger size for winter boots?

Over 90% of the time, the answer is “no” as the manufacturers have accommodated a midweight hiking sock into their sizing calculations. When possible, we recommend heading to your local gear shop for a fitting. Bring along the socks you plan to use and any aftermarket insoles to find the most accurate fit.

What are the best boots for ice and snow?

The big concerns with winter boots are warmth, traction, and keeping snow out. And while all of the boots listed here can hold their own in these categories, there are a few standouts if your winter hikes are particularly snow- and ice-laden.

What’s better, hiking shoes or hiking boots?

This really depends on the terrain, weather, and personal preference. Boots offer better ankle support and come in more insulated options. Hiking shoes are preferred by many for their light weight and improved maneuverability.

If your winter hiking entails lots of powder, it’s worth investing in a boot. If you live in a milder climate, a shoe can easily transition from winter to summer with the addition of wool socks and traction devices.


The Best Hiking Boots of 2024

If you’re looking for the best hiking boots, look no further. We’ve tested dozens of hiking boots over hundreds of miles to help you stay happy and comfortable on the trail.

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