Winter brings a new kind of beauty to the trails but with it comes harsher conditions, including cold weather, sloppy mud, snow, and ice. To experience the beautiful Fall/Winter trails in complete comfort, the right footwear is essential. Cold weather or winter hiking requires waterproof hiking boots that also keep your feet warm and comfortable for long hikes. This is our list of the 5 best waterproof hiking boots for this Fall/Winter Hiking season.
For waterproof hiking boots to be excellent, they must:
- be comfortable. Waterproof hiking boots can be a little stiffer and a bit heavier than non-waterproof shoes but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be comfortable.
- be fully waterproof (not just resistant or repellant).
- have some level of breathability but also keep your feet warm.
- have excellent outsole traction for wet, slippy and muddy terrain.
- have good ankle support. So they need to be Mid or High height.
- be as lightweight as possible. Especially important for fastpacking or thru-hiking where you’re going to be hiking for long periods of time, day after day. Heavy shoes will tire your legs quicker.
- be durable. Waterproof hiking boots are a little more expensive than standard trekking shoes due to the protective materials used, so you will want them to last longer, especially if you’re intending to be out on the trails a lot, no matter how bad the weather gets.
With these important features in mind, I’ve created this list of the best waterproof hiking boots, and I’m confident that whichever you choose, it will be a good decision.
This ‘best waterproof hiking boots’ list is continually updated, so make sure you check back before buying your next pair.
1. Salomon QUEST 4D 3 GTX
The Quest 4D 3 GTX hiking boots utilize Salomon’s running shoe adapted technology, making them very comfortable for long backpacking treks. Their breathable seam-sealed Gore-Tex membranes provide excellent protection from water while at the same time allowing vapor to escape, helping to keep feet dry and cool. The Quest 4D 3 hiking boots also have much-improved stability and cushioning that their predecessors.
The outsole has been given an overhaul with its new lug design for better traction across all terrains. One of the standout features though is the new 4D Advanced Chassis design which gives more forefoot flex for a much smoother ride while reducing strain on your feet.
The durable split suede leather and nylon mesh uppers offer great flexibility, breathability, and comfort. It’s not the lightest hiking boot on this list, but it certainly has everything else.
- Weight (pair): 45 oz. (1276g)
- Upper Construction: Nubuck leather/textile
- Fit: True to size
Find the Salomon QUEST 4D 3 GTX at your favorite store below:
14 new from $172.49
2. Danner Mountain 600 – (EDITOR’S CHOICE)
For me, the Danner Mountain 600 takes gold for the most stylish hiking boots on this list, but there’s so much more to them than just looks! Inspired by the original Mountain Light, the Danner Mountain 600 hiking boots blend the functionality of a lightweight, technical hiker with iconic Danner styling.
The durable and waterproof suede leather uppers use Danner Dry waterproof protection which is a 100% waterproof barrier that allows moisture to escape without letting water in, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. For heel protection, there’s a thermoplastic urethane heel frame which enhances support and stability. Looking to the interior, the Mountain 600 uses cushioning OrthoLite® footbeds to add extra comfort to the Vibram® SPE midsoles.
With its self-adapting lugs and specially formulated Megagrip compound, the outsoles on these hiking boots provide incredible grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
- Weight (pair): 37 oz. (1049g)
- Upper Construction: Suede leather
- Fit: True to size
Find the Danner Mountain 600 at your favorite store below:
3 new from $179.95
3. On Cloudrock Waterproof
The Cloudrock Waterproof is On’s first step into the hiking arena and they have created something really special with this hiking boot. Designed specifically for speed-hiking and fastpacking, this lightweight hiking boot weighs in at 890g for a pair, making them the lightest hikers on this list. Not light for a trail running shoe but 35% lighter than its hiking boot competitors according to On.
The Cloudrock Waterproof will provide excellent sticky grip with its rugged MissionGrip outsole all the while keeping your feet dry during long, fast-paced trail hikes. I have been a huge fan of the On running brand since their beginning and have watched them grow over the years. The reason they have been so successful is due to their high-quality running shoes and constant innovation on design. This hiking boot is no exception.
- Weight (pair): 26 oz. (730g)
- Upper Construction: Synthetic membrane.
- Fit: True to size
Find the On Cloudrock Waterproof at on-running.com below:
FULL REVIEW: On Cloudrock Waterproof Review
4. Merrell Ontario Mid Waterproof
The Merrell Ontario Mid Waterproof is a hiking boot with modern tech and a traditional look. They are super comfortable and provide excellent traction with their sticky Vibram® outsoles, stable midsoles and waterproof leather upper. I often wear these boots because they look great for casual use but they also perform very well while hiking on serious trails. They were featured in an article about Finding a Balance and Sustaining Happiness, worth a read if you’re currently seeking a healthy balance in life.
Merrell’s Select™ Dry membranes in the upper ensure a waterproof exterior and breathable performance by wicking sweat away from your feet to keep them cool. The Ontario Mid Waterproof boots use an antibacterial agent to reduce shoe odor for longer-lasting freshness, this is important if you’re going to be wearing them for long periods of time.
For the outsole, Merrell is using Vibram® Megagrip™ which has 3mm lugs offering really good traction on the trails, while metal hooks and D-rings provide a very secure lacing system.
- Weight (pair): 34 oz. (964g)
- Upper Construction: Full-grain leather
- Fits: True to size
Find the Merrell Ontario Mid Waterproof at your favorite store below:
9 new from $135.98
out of stock
5. Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid
This season’s KEEN Targhee III WP hiking boots have the same great fit, durability, and performance of their predecessors but are now even leaner, tougher and grittier. These boots also have a fully waterproof yet breathable membrane in the upper to keep your feet dry while allowing perspiration to dissipate away from your skin and socks.
The Targhee III Waterproof has funky leather mud shields too that add protection and durability to the upper construction which, in my opinion, creates a unique and stylish look to the boots. KEEN all-terrain rubber outsoles with 4mm multidirectional lugs promise high-traction grip on all terrains and in any conditions. This is a great all-round shoe for the price.
- Weight (pair): 35 oz. (992g)
- Upper Construction: Oiled nubuck
- Fit: True to size
Find the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid at your favorite store below:
6 new from $114.95
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