A layer of insulation is built into proper winter hiking footwear. In severely cold temperatures, they perform an excellent job of keeping your feet warm.
Insulated hiking boots, on the other hand, aren’t recommended for warmer weather. Your feet may become overheated as a result of the insulation, leading them to sweat. Your feet become wet from the inside out because the waterproofing retains the moisture.
- Non-insulated boots are best for trekking in temperatures below 20°F.
- Make sure they’re big enough to fit numerous layers of thick wool socks under them.
- Choose insulated footwear for trekking in temperatures below 20°F or if you’ll be standing around inactive a lot (sledding, creating a snowman, etc.).
While your typical hiking shoes may be really comfy, they won’t cut it once you’re dealing with a lot of snow. In fact, high-top boots are frequently the only footwear suitable for winter excursions.
The cuff height is important not just for keeping snow out, but also for providing ankle protection from snowshoe straps. You should always wear a pair of gaiters with your high tops. This is important since no boot can keep snow out on its own. It’s unusual for snow to find its way through the top if you’re using gaiters.
Buy the right boots
Summer hiking boots are designed with a focus on breathability and weight savings above warmth. Winter boots, on the other hand, place a premium on warmth and insulation.
So, what does a “proper” winter boot entail? While the temperature where you hike will determine how chilly it is, a few basic observations are
A waterproof-breathable membrane (Gore-Tex or similar) that wicks interior moisture (sweat) while blocking out exterior moisture is required for winter boots (rain, snow, groundwater).
They should also install some more insulation to the higher level. This usually takes the shape of a synthetic lining and a second (often detachable) tongue.
Finally, the finest winter hiking boots include thicker, insulating footbeds to reduce heat loss through the sole due to conduction (heat loss due to contact with cold surfaces).
I personally use these and sometimes I also use this pair. However, if you are a woman, you can try Dream Pair Women’s Mid Calf Snow Boots out I notice this is what a lot of women wear while hiking during winter.
Go a size up
Choose boots with a wide enough opening to allow thicker insoles and socks. This may need purchasing a pair that is a half or full size larger than your typical size.
Even while wearing thick socks, the boots should allow you some wriggle area for your toes. If you tighten them even farther, you risk restricting blood flow to your feet and toes, causing both to get chilly, regardless of how well the boots work otherwise.
Layer it up
The same principles that apply to the rest of your body also apply to your feet. If the boot represents the outer “shell” layer, the baselayer and mid-layer are what we wear below.
A liner sock serves as a “base layer” for transferring moisture (sweat) away from our skin. You’ll have cold feet if your feet get wet, whether from snow, rain, or our perspiration. Our insulating “mid-layer” provides additional insulation, which is supplemented by a liner. This layer should be a warm, breathable sock — Merino wool socks or socks made of a comparable high-wicking fabric are ideal for keeping your feet and toes warm.
While wearing two pairs of socks might raise the risk of blisters, this shouldn’t be an issue if your boots fit properly and you choose high-wicking hiking socks.
Warning: Keeping your feet warm is contingent on keeping them dry. Cotton socks are the adversary of dry feet because they absorb perspiration instead of wicking it away. Cotton should be avoided at all costs if you want to keep your feet warm.
You can try out these thermal hiking socks. (View on Amazon)