These boots are made for walking
January 5, 2018 9:39 AM   Subscribe

I need to buy some winter boots that are comfortable for walking longish distances and I have no idea what kind to buy. I need help with recommendations.

I have a pair of cheap boots that I use in snow and rain and they're fine for walking a few blocks but not comfortable for anything longer. Aside from this kind of boots, I have literally never bought winter boots before. I'm starting to walk more and just wear sneakers but they're too cold and not so great in the snow.

My main requirement is comfort for walking 4 to 10 miles, mostly on pavement, maybe an occasional flat trail. It seems the boots I've looked at aren't really designed for long walks, or I don't know how to tell the difference between boots that are made for fashion and boots that are good for walking. Other requirements would be warmth, some grippiness on ice, and moderately waterproof (but I will not be using them when it's raining). Thank you!
posted by daikon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Light weight hikers. Lots come in waterproof versions.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:41 AM on January 5, 2018

I like to walk and finally bought winter boots last year - these Keen Elsa boots - and love them so much. They're comfortable, warm, have some decent grip, and I can certainly walk at least a few miles in them. I don't think I've walked more than 4-5 miles in them a day (the occasion for more hasn't come up, and if it's more than that, it's usually warmer and I'm wearing sneakers or going for a run). But they've held up great in light snow, ice, salt, and walking in light winter messiness.
posted by raztaj at 9:46 AM on January 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm looking for winter boots as well and have found Wirecutter's recommendations to be helpful.
posted by AaRdVarK at 9:47 AM on January 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just bought a pair of Ugg Simmens waterproof ankle boots and they're fantastic--warm, comfortable, grippy, water- and snowproof.

A note: I have wide toes and a narrow heel, and they fit me perfectly--no breaking in time for these at all. So if you don't gave a narrow heel, I think they wouldn't fit as well.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:57 AM on January 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, you want winter hiking boots.

I got these Vasque Snowblime winter hiking boots a couple of years ago and I think they meet all your needs, assuming they are a comfortable fit for you.

If you are planning to walk in deep snow, I'd recommend adding a pair of gaiters rather than buying a tall boot - I find tall boots less comfortable for walking.

My sister has Columbia Omni heat boots similar to the ones recommended by the Wirecutter. They are really cute and she gives them great reviews for warmth and grippiness, but I suspect their soles would not hold up well to serious walking, especially on pavement.
posted by Kriesa at 10:00 AM on January 5, 2018

Add yaktrax for ice. Note that I haven't tried them for long walks.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 10:06 AM on January 5, 2018

I have an oldish pair of Keen Blackcomb boots that I use for winter hiking and I *lurve* them. Insulated, roomy in the toebox so your toes can move and stay warm (and there's room for a toewarmer if you need). Looks like they are not selling that model anymore but I really trust the brand and their current model of insulated hiker is the Revel.

Since someone mentioned them, if you need additional grip I kind of hate Yaktrax's basic model design on their lower end stuff; in my experience the rubber breaks quickly and in the base models the way they shape their metal means that they're a combination of deadly if you forget they're on and take a step inside, and uncomfortable if the surface is inconsistently icy (example: you are running and it's deadly black ice for 1/2 and dry pavement for 1/2- they'll grip on the ice but feel bad on your feet on the pavement). Go for their higher end models without the coiled springy metal design if you do need this or, better yet, spend a little more money on something like Kahtoola Nanospikes.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:50 AM on January 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bogs are pretty good for basic walking on smooth ground and very good on snow and ice, I walk miles in mine. The women's ones are way more low profile and comfier though so if you're a guy maybe not. And they're not laced so not great for rough trails and hills.

Keens are good, I wouldn't bother with the snow specific ones unless you really need them as they get clunky. Also the insulation they use can be an allergen.

Columbia snow minx boots are pretty soft and comfy too. They have a wide range of winter boots.
posted by fshgrl at 10:55 AM on January 5, 2018

Best answer: If you aren't comfortable buying online, if there's an REI or other outdoor gear store near you, just go and tell them that you're looking for a winter hiking boot and they'll steer you in the right direction. Merrell, Vasque, Keen and Solomon are all reliable brands with good reputation. Bring whatever the thickest sock setup you might wear is and don't buy anything that feels even a little bit tight.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:57 AM on January 5, 2018 [3 favorites]


Light weight hikers. Lots come in waterproof versions.

And when you get slush on them it sucks all the heat out of your foot. It is markedly unpleasant and can be a health issue.

I'm wearing lightweight winter hiking boots from REI/mec that keep my feet much warmer than my lightweight nonwinter hiking boots.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:23 PM on January 5, 2018

Chiming in with another recommendation for Keens. I have the mid-height winter waterproof boots and they are amazing: super comfortable, actually waterproof, and warm.
posted by TwoStride at 5:20 PM on January 5, 2018

I can recommend Columbia OmniHeat boots—they keep my feet warm down to...0F or so? Maybe 10F? And are ok waterproof. The great thing about them is that the boots are really lightweight, unlike most snow boots. I wore them walking all over Chicago last week when it was -5F on the concrete and it was fine. I’ve got Loveland boots and my daughter has the women’s minx.

If you anticipate lots of slush, Bogs might be a better choice, I know lots of people who wear them all winter here in Alaska and like them (I’ve never bought them). I’ve also got a pair of Merrell waterproof hiking shoes that are good in transitional periods (winter/spring).

And, the worlds best snow boots are Steger Mukluks. But I wouldn’t recommend them for lots of rain and slush.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:54 AM on January 6, 2018

Do winter hiking boots usually have rubber soles? I expected vibram soles but the recommendations above have rubber soles.
posted by jointhedance at 2:08 PM on January 6, 2018

Vibram is a brand, not a material. Merrel's new winter boots have a near-exclusive on the new Vibram "Arctic Grip" winter soles, which are supposed to be quite good. I expect most lightweight winter boots from hiking stores can't be resoled.

A lab in Canada set up a proper realistic testing setup for slipping on tilted ice and has made recommendations for mens casual and women's casual winter footwear, along with workboots. (Recommendations are on anti-slip, not on warmth.)

Heather and I like our new Solomon lightweight winter boots. In particularly cold and deep weather she switches to her mid-calf Sorels, but they are heavy, sometimes pull down her socks and are tedious for long walks in shallow snow or cleared walkways. They are warm though.

At some point I will get Kamiks or Bogs for ankle-deep and deeper snow. (The Solomons are a mid-rise boot and snow gets in when it's higher than ankle deep.)

REI has a variety of soft, non-scratchy wool hiking socks in various thicknesses.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:08 PM on January 6, 2018

« Older Bye bye cupid   |   Bombogenesis Budget Tickets for Bears Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.