Warm feet during winter hikes: not a problem with the right walking boots

Winter walking boots

Isn't there a comfortable way to walk around when the temperatures drop to double-digit negatives? Of course there is! With the right winter hiking shoes, cold feet are a thing of the past! They're more than a warmer form of hiking shoes. The same goes for insulated walking shoes.
Shoes and boots are essential gear for winter hiking, just like the proper jackets and sleeping bags. In subzero temperatures, a few factors besides cold protection are important. The proper footwear is particularly important for winter hiking, snowshoeing, and winter trekking.

What to look for in winter walking boots

Good winter walking boots from Lowa, Lundhags, and The North Face offer optimally-tuned packages. They protect your feet and ensure comfort on long day stages.

  • Like with traditional hiking shoes, a membrane ensures that winter boots are waterproof and breathable. Gore-Tex is absolutely reliable and functional here. Moisture can't enter from the outside. Sweat can escape in the form of thin water vapor.
  • The lining provides the necessary cold protection. Your feet stay warm as long as the shoe contains moisture-resistant insulation such as PrimaLoft.
  • The upper material consists of either leather or synthetic fibers. Both will reliably keep out moisture. It's important for the shoe or boot to have a sufficiently robust construction.
  • Brand manufacturers use certain materials in the lining to prevent moisture from accumulating in the shoe. These direct sweat away from the feet, supporting a dry, comfortable shoe climate. One clear benefit is the antimicrobial finishing. Another is the ability to remove the lining as well as the inner boot. It's much easier to dry this lining in the evening or clean it during tours.
  • Frozen soil and icy ground place other demands on soles. Low temperatures harden the soil and change the effects of friction. Winter walking boots have a different rubber compound and an adapted profile. The cold radiating from the ground must be considered. An additional insulating midsole is often used for that reason. Vibram soles are as valuable for winter hiking shoes as they are for trekking shoes.

Practical added features for ice and snow

Winter walking boots already provide reliable protection and warm comfort. They should have a few added features in addition to those. One of them is a hoisted rubber edge. A protective toe box and a sufficiently high shaft are important as well. They provide additional support. In combination with waterproof gaiters, they block out snow and cold.
Some manufacturers add small metal particles to the soles to improve grip on ice. In some cases, these may not be sufficient. If your soles are firm enough, you can attach ice cleats to your shoes. Now you can safely overcome steeper, more challenging paths.

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