Though shoes are often best suited for summer conditions, when you have to worry less about things like wet conditions, there’s no reason that a good pair of winter hiking shoes cant do the job of keeping your feet dry and warm, even when there’s snow on the ground. The main advantage of a shoe, of course, is that they tend to weigh less than boots. Boots, being larger and bulkier, tend to weigh quite a bit, and every pound on your foot is equal to about five pounds on your back, so those heavy boots are a real drag on your energy.
Winter Hiking ShoesWhat to look for when you're looking for winter hiking shoes.
- Waterproof – The most important thing that you want to find on your winter hiking shoes is waterproof of some sort. There are a few companies out there that have their own waterproofing methods and technologies, but a dependable and fairly common option is a Gore Tex liner that will both keep your feet dry and allow them to breath a little.
- Quality – Shoes are often a little less durable than those bigger and better boots. Which is fine in summer conditions, but in winter, the last thing that you want is a pair of shoes that are coming apart. For that reason, it’s a good idea to look for a quality pair of winter hiking shoes, so that they don’t start falling apart one you.
Best Winter Hiking ShoesSome of the better hiking shoes that you could take in to winter conditions, for both men and women.
Men's Winter Hiking Shoes
- Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX - First up, a very solid pair of hiking shoes that would be well suited to winter conditions. The upper portion of the shoe is a breathable polyester, while the Gore Tex liner inside keeps water out while allowing your feet to breath. Always welcome is Salomon's one pull lacing system, which makes getting the shoes on and off easy. The average weight for the pair is 1 pound 12.4 ounces, or 810 grams.
- Patagonia Footwear Drifter GTX - With a combination of leather outer material and a Gore Tex liner inside, the Drifters are ideally suited to hiking in winter conditions. The leather helps to keep water out, and the Gore Tex liners stop whatever makes it past the leather, without suffocating your feet in the process. And a durable, rugged Vibram sole rounds out this excellent winter hiking package. The average weight is 2 pounds 1 ounce, or 935 grams.
Women's Winter Hiking Shoes
- Montrail Badrock OutDry - These are a combination of nylon mesh upper and an Outdry waterproof but breathable liner, making them ideal for winter hiking where you wont be encountering an especially large amount of moisture. You might want something more durable for snow and rain, but for less extreme conditions, these are a good choice. They weigh an average of 1 pound 5.2 ounces, or 600 grams.
- Patagonia Footwear Drifter GTX - The uppers on these are a combination of synthetic nubuck and mesh nylon, to offer some additional protection from the elements without sacrificing too much in terms of breathability. They also come with a Gore Tex liner, which keeps moisture away from your feet without keeping moisture in. And these have a rugged Vibram sole that would be right at home in most winter hiking conditions. The pair weighs 1 pound 8.8 ounces, or 703 grams.