Greetings intrepid ladies! We take it you are shopping around for a brand new pair of winter hiking boots? But how do you determine the top-rated backpacking boot?
Should you get a pair of Merrels? Asolo Attivas? Salomons? Or can you just say screw it and grab a boot out of the men’s section?
- Updated 2/9/2020
Top 3 Quick Comparison: Best Women's Winter Hiking Boots
Hiking Boot Brand/Model
**Below, you'll find our detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to quickly check the prices of our top 3 picks for women's winter hiking boots.
The truth is you need to conduct hefty research to find the perfect winterized boot for you. But wait! Today is your lucky day because we did all that research for you, reviewed it and compressed it into a trouble-free guide right here. Read on to discover the absolute best women's winter hiking boots.
From trailhead to summit you are going to need boots that keep you safe (and dry) while you slide through slush and hop across piles of powder. But accomplishing that is going to heavily depend on what you are doing and where you are going. We are going to cross examine winter boot features in depth so you are fully equipped to choose the best boots for winter hiking.
Table of Contents
- 1 Temperature Threshold and Insulation
- 2 Height
- 3 Water Resistance
- 4 Fit and Traction
- 5 How to Check if Your Boot Fits
- 6 Salewa Women's Alp Trainer Mid GTX Hiking Boot
- 7 Zamberlan Women's 996 Vioz GT Hiking Boot
- 8 Asolo Futura GTX BootX
- 9 Lowa Women’s RENEGADE ICE GTX
- 10 Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Omni-Heat Boot
- 11 Keen Durand Polar WP Winter BootsX
- 12 Best Women's Winter Hiking Boots WINNER
Temperature Threshold and Insulation
How do we measure insulated hiking boots for women? This answer is with a rating system which indicates what conditions your boots can withstand. Fair warning these measurements are not an exact science. Boot ratings are generally "in the ballpark" of their claimed rating since various factors like metabolism, trail length, and what kind of clothing you wear affect how warm your feet will be.
It's a good idea to add 10-15 degrees to the rating. So if a warm hiking boot is rated at 0 degrees, the boots will probably work best in 15 degrees. Also these rating systems assume you are being smart and wearing a proper winter sock. So, we recommend following suit when it comes to women's insulated hiking boots, and leaving the flimsy stuff at home.
Average snow boots stand between 5- 12 inches high. Winter boots are tall for two reasons: to keep unwelcome snow from falling into your boots and for keeping ankles warm. However, it is critical to note that 12 inch boots are much heavier than their 8 inch counterparts. Use those hulking 12 inch warm hiking boots in extreme conditions during long haul treks, and rely on 7 inch hiking boots for smaller excursions.
Obviously, keeping your feet dry is critical to your happiness (and to not dying). There are a few boot components that accomplish that: waterproof Gore-tex uses breathable linings that keep you dry and allow sweat to escape. On top of that, there are leather and nylon and many combos that make for a reliable water proof material.
Many waterproof hiking boots will have a water tight rubber coating on the sole and leather uppers is material. These full rubber shells (a combo of leather upper and rubber lower) are good if you plan on standing in a giant puddle of water or snow. You laugh now, but every time we go hiking in the snow we punch though a frozen stream or go sloshing across a low river with ease, because we have boots for hiking in the snow.
Fit and Traction
Then finally there is fit and traction. Lacing systems affect the width and tightness of the shoe. Additionally you can order custom dimensions for select boots. It might be tempting to purchase men’s boots for their stylistic appeal (no faux fur, etc) or because there are more options. But you shouldn’t for this reason: men and women’s feet are very different and boots are gendered to cater to those specific foot types.
Traction is also a vital component in boots for hiking in snow, as everything is slippery, soggy and dangerous. Boots with sticky, rough soles are going to keep you from teetering off a snowy cliff.
How to Check if Your Boot Fits
If you aren’t sure what sort of fit your foot requires, we recommend consulting this video on how to check the fit of your boot, it's something that's easier to see for yourself than to describe in text.
In the video, John Graham tells you to look for specific requirements in the boot: the amount of space between your toes, heel and the boot, lace tightness, how your boot reacts to movement and so on.
If you are heading above the tree line to slippery, rocky summits on a 3+ hour hike you are going to need some hefty boots with high scores in each category. But if you are keeping below the tree line on for a compact, short hike then you can absolutely get away with lighter, less intense boots. Now that we’ve covered the basics you’re ready to discover the superior winter hiking boots for females.
Full Review: The 6 Best Women's Winter Hiking Boots
Hiking Boot Brand/Model
First up, the lightweight boots:
Salewa Women's Alp Trainer Mid GTX Hiking Boot
The Salewa Women's Alp Trainer Mid GTX Hiking Boot is a light weight, slim fitting, synthetic leather boot with super sticky Vibram soles. As an alpine boot it is made with a Gore-Tex membrane that is not only waterproof but also extremely breathable (aka keeps your feet dry but not sweaty. Hallelujah!).
The boot is mid-cut (shaft measures 5.5 inches from the arch) for ample ankle support, and it boasts a 3F flexible support system but not too cumbersome to feel like you are wearing some weird leg brace, as some winter boots do. The boots also have an 1.8 mm upper made of suede and an elastic collar for increased comfort.
Additionally their to-the-toe lacing system is fantastic for streamlining hike flow, because you won’t have to stop every mile to re-lace your boots, a task that is more than just annoying in the winter. Also, it has a customizable foot bed which can be tweaked to accommodate most foot types.
The Salewa Women's Alp Trainer Boot is a superb choice if you plan to trek through some snowy valleys or safely navigate rocky cliffs that are slick with rain.
- The boot has a full toe for hiking on rocky terrain, especially great for hikers who are prone to stubbed toes
- Extremely supportive and comfortable without being bulky, which is especially good for those with wobbly knees and sensitive feet
- Multi-Fit customizable footbed that adapts to many foot types
- Weather proof coating is semi-permeable, so your feet can breath and be warm
- These boots are on the slim side. Those with wide feet might want to steer clear (Note: if you have wide feet, check out our hiking boots for wide feet review)
- Fair warning: Vibram soles are meant for dirt and trails so they tend to wear out faster if you use them on pavement
Zamberlan Women's 996 Vioz GT Hiking Boot
The Zamberlan Women's 996 Vioz GT is a full Hydrobloc full grain leather boot with comfy Vibram soles designed specifically for Zamberlan.
This boot is another mid-cut with a height of approximately 5.5" from arch and tough enough to fully protect your ankles and arches (for our flat footed hiker friends) on those arduous, multi day backpacking trips. Their flexible design also saves your shins when you have to bend over for whatever reason.
The design also boasts a ZLF (Zamberlan Ladies Fit) and has been designed specifically for women’s feet and subsequent needs. Even with a leather thickness of 2.6 mm, it’s Gore-Tex® Performance Comfort membrane provides breathability and the Microtex wicking nylon collar helps release moisture from your sweaty ankles. Additionally, despite the multitude of materials in this boot, it is broken in quite easily and is one of the more flexible boots available.
- The leather is quite durable and a bit tougher than some of the other suede and pseudo-leather boots
- This boot is extremely comfortable once broken in, thus it is a smart pick for extended backpacking, long treks, and four-season hikes
- The innovative layering of membranes keep your feet dry from the snow, but more importantly dry from your sweat
- The boots are on the heavy side. So if you are just kind of dillydallying on a short trail, opt for something lighter and more playful
Asolo Futura GTX BootX
This Asolo Futura GTX boot is made of soft, water-resistant suede and a highly rugged Cordura nylon upper, which is coincidentally abrasion resistant. With a hefty waterproof, Gore-Tex Performance Comfort Footwear liner, these shoes are the boot equivalent of a dry suit and are a perfect choice if you plan to smash around in some sizable winter slushes.
Like most of the boots we have reviewed so far, the shaft measures approximately 5.5" from arch The Duo Asoflex support provides hardcore stability and the Lite 2 anatomic footbed footbed great minimizes foot movement within the boot, as in your feet are budging a millimeter, which is preferred for technical, icy climbs (and avoiding broken ankles). Even more, a self-cleaning system adds to the already impressive grip. These boots are also equipped with a hard rubber cap to keep those lil’ piggies protected.
- It’s traction and sole grip features a few leaps beyond other hiking shoes on the market
- The support system and footbed great offers massive control over foot movement, which is great treks where you need 100% sure footing
- The Asoflex Lady system makes it kind of impossible to roll your ankle
- The hardcore stability and tight support systems are maybe a bit overkill for day hikers
And now, the heavyweight boots:
Lowa Women’s RENEGADE ICE GTX
The Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid are nubuck leather hiking boots outfitted with good ol’ Vibram soles and Partelana insulating lining. The high-cut LOWA Monowrap® construction web makes this an extremely stable boot and the 7/8 TPU stabiliser greatly increases torsional and flex stability.
The shaft measures in at approximately 8” from the arch and the corded lace-up vamp and speed-lacing grommets at top. On top of a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane reinforced lining for stabilization, this Lowa boot has a special custom breathable climate control footbed, which is just a breathable top layer and slow reacting foam provides fit customization. But it takes sweat away from your foot, so it’s worth the hype.
- You can order the boot in different widths, so these boots are truly all inclusive
- The superior ankle support, easy to break-in leather and stabilization system keep you less wobbly on the trails
- The advanced climate control footbed keeps your feet feeling especially fresh
- There isn’t any special reinforcement on the toe, so they make you a tad susceptible to stubbing
Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Omni-Heat Boot
The Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Omni-Heat Boot is loaded up with the most enticing tech Columbia has to offer. First off there’s the lightweight midsole for long lasting comfort and posh cushioning. The hardy upper is made of nylon, leather, webbing and metal for out major angle support and comfort and keep you upright when you inevitably trip. But on the other hand maybe the slick ice won’t get you since the boots Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber offers substantial tread.
The tech lite shell and waterproof seam-sealed construction makes these babies water tight so you can confidently tromp through slush and snow. In terms of specs there is 200g insulation, the Omni-Heat thermal-reflective liners and is rated at -25F/-32C.
- The grippy soles and reinforced ankle support make this boot handle slippery conditions very well
- The Techlite shell and thermal reflective liners will keep even the most chronically cold comfortably warm
- The lightweight midsole is going to keep your feet comfortable and blister free
- In terms of temperature threshold (200 Keen), these aren’t the warmest boots available. If you plan to face absolutely arctic conditions, then you you need to double up on the insulation
Keen Durand Polar WP Winter BootsX
The Keen Durand Polar WP Winter Boots are some heavy hitters. These leather and synthetic boots have a Thermal Heat Shield footbed which keeps your feet all nice and toasty and the insulation ranks at 400 KEEN. Integrated PU heel cushion offers immense comfort and their hook lace system allows you to customize the fit on your ankle and top of the foot.
The shaft measures approximately 7.5" from arch and they aren’t stuffy because of their Keen Dry waterproof breathable membrane. The rigid arch provides foot support, but the boot’s construction doesn’t allow you to swap out insoles. But most importantly, they have faux fur, because style right? But seriously, if you plan on climbing the Himalayas these boots will save your feet. Then one final fit tip on behalf of Keen: order half a size up.
- Thermoplastic shanks provide good stability for hiking on rugged trails
- These boots can survive in -40, and my friend, if you are adventuring around in those kind of conditions you need a super boot like this
- The breathable membrane, cushion and lacing system allows for a comfortable, customizable fit
- Flexible enough to wear around the yard and for non hiking activities
- This boot isn’t compatible with other insoles— orthopedic and otherwise. So you can’t really tinker with how they fit
Best Women's Winter Hiking Boots WINNER
Keen Durand Polar WP Winter BootsX
Updated 2/9/2020 - And the Winner is...
After careful consideration we have decided that the best women's winter hiking boots are….
Keen Durand Polar WP Winter Boots! Why? because this super boot offers the best combination of support, waterproofing, warmth, traction, flexibility, and customizable components. Namely the 400 Keen, PU heel cushion, and hook lace system are standout features. On the flip side, this boot not only dominates the trails but it is also suited for domestic adventures like shoveling snow and taking the little lassie for walk.
Also, zero degree weather? That's a cinch in these boots, and that's a situation where only the top-rated backpacking boots will do.
There you have it, our comprehensive list of stellar winter boots, so you can conquer even the worst of blizzards!