Walking in winter often requires a rethink on clothing, boots and kit. One of the most important considerations is what to wear on your feet when there is the potential for rain, snow, mud and ice. Most people choose to buy a winter-specific boot, especially a boot that will offer easy fitting of crampons, should you need to use them. The range of winter boots includes footwear for serious mountaineers, as well as hill and trail walkers.
What is a winter walking boot?
While summer walking is more frequently dry and less demanding underfoot, in winter boots need to have a more aggressive sole to cope with the mud and slippery rocks of winter trail, hills and mountains. It is vital that boots are also waterproof, so look for good waterproofing credentials. In winter, lower temperatures demand a boot that will offer insulation against the elements. This means that winter walking boots are often bulkier and heavier than summer walking boots. In addition, if you plan to walk at higher level where there will be snow and ice it’s essential that boots are designed for fitting crampons. Crampons have spikes to provide extra grip in snowy and icy conditions.
Five great winter walking boots
For the serious winter walker or mountaineer
New this season are Asolo’s Ascender GV, rrp £230 These boots are for the dedicated mountaineer or hiker and include all the features you should expect in a good quality winter boot. There is a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining, a dual density midsole for great underfoot cushioning, a fully laced closure with metal eyelets for added durability and a Vibram outsole for great grip. The boots also include the Asolo Dual Integrated System, which is designed to facilitate the use of semiautomatic and automatic crampons (if you own them) and gives brilliant stability, support and shock absorption even on testing terrain. There are male and female-fit boots. I recently tested the female Asolo Ascender in Scottish winter conditions and found them to be comfortable, warm and offering great grip and sturdiness.
For the UK winter walker
Scarpa Charmoz Pro GTX women’s boots, rrp £269 Another tried and trusted brand is Scarpa. And what I like about the Charmoz Pro GTX women’s boots is that Scarpa are not afraid to use pink in a high-level boot! There is a men’s version without pink if you’re worried, guys! Ideal for UK winter walking enthusiasts who want less weight yet a robust and high quality boot, the Charmoz boast a Vibram Mulaz outsole, a supportive FT last and high performance Gore-Tex to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The boots are rated as suitable for use with crampons.
For a walker of hills and mountains
La Sportiva Trango S Evo, £229.99 This is an iconic boot that has become a firm favourite among winter walkers. Lightweight (I can vouch for this because it’s the boot I usually wear) and with superb grip from the soles, the Trango copes with a wide range of winter conditions from wet rock to snow and ice. They are suitable for use with crampons.
For hill and valley walkers
Brasher Hillmaster II GTX, srp £120 Brasher is one of the UK’s best loved walking boot brands and this year the popular Hillmaster boot was given a makeover. I have tested these and really like the comfort (this is what Brasher are famous for). The soles, grip and waterproofing credentials of leather are ideal for lower-level and easier going hills in winter. Brasher boots also last a very long time indeed.
For winter trail walkers
New this season are KEEN’s Depart WP CNX, rrp £109.99. Hot on the heels of shoe brand KEEN’s minimalist CNX summer walking shoes comes the winterised Depart WP CNX. The Depart multi-sport boot sticks to the same principles as existing CNX models with an “almost barefoot” sole unit. Yet they are still lightweight and include winter essentials such as waterproof leather upper and lining. You’ll feel like you are walking as nature intended on autumn and winter trails in the CNX Depart boots. There are men and women's versions.
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