The appeal of snowshoeing is the ease of it: simply clip into your winter boots. But you do need boots up to the task. We figured the main elements for a snowshoe-ready boot include: waterproofing, shock-absorption, ankle support, warmth, and breathability. If you’re not wearing gaiters or snowpants with adjustable cuffs, you might want boots with tall collars to keep the snow out.
We’ve picked several standout boots, in alpha order:
The extra tall collar on Columbia’s Bugaboot Plus II XTM Omni-Heat provides mucho protection in extreme conditions while a whopping 600 grams of insulation guarantees toastiness. Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining throughout regulates and retains body heat so you stay comfortable during extended periods of activity. The Techlite shell is not only flexible and protective, it’s also very light, which helps fend off fatigue so you go further, faster.
Eddie Bauer Snowfoil
Eddie Bauer’s Snowfoil is a burly boot built for winter commutes and snowshoe-trail exploring. Features include an injection-molded, waterproof TPR shell; leather upper with waterproof/breathable membrane; 200-gram ThermaFill insulation and an EVA footbed. The higher-cut Snoqualmie Pass boot offers 400-gram insulation with a similar sole.
Keen Revel II Winter Hiking Boot
Boasting true underfoot insulation, KEEN’s Revel II features patent-pending Heat Trapolater insulation system – three (count ‘em) innovative heat-trapping layers. It features 200g Keen.Warm insulation and a 4mm multi-directional lug outsole for unmatched performance. Other messy-winter-weather and snowshoe-friendly features include: Keen.Dry waterproof breathable membrane, Shellback heel support, and stability shank for impact protection. Women’s and men’s styles available. KEEN’s Summit County boot offers a higher collar.
The Merrell Polarand 8 for women intelligently maps warmth and padding where you need it for comfort to push through the coldest winter trail conditions. Insulation is targeted where there’s more exposure. The TPU molded heel is made for snowshoe strap compatiblity. M Select Dry waterproof construction seals out water and lets moisture escape so you stay dry when you’re on the move. Merrell’s air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability with an EVA midsole for even more cushioning. The men’s Polarand 6 offers similar features.
Sorel Glacy Explorer
This is not a conventional choice for snowshoeing but one of our testers chose Sorel’s Glacy Explorer for light-duty missions due to their cushy comfort and tall (12.4 inch) collar. Features include waterproof suede leather and canvas uppers with webbing overlays, full-length fleece lining, molded EVA with heel cup and arch support, and microfleece topcover. The men’s Sorel Conquest is a more rugged boot for deep-woods expeditions.
The lightweight Vasque Skadia Ultradry for women offers waterproof leather to keep moisture at bay, while the softshell material provides garment-like fit. The molded TPU heel counter secures a snowshoe binding strap and offers a convenient kick-off for removing the boots. The speed lacing system secures the boot and a generous heel pull-on loop is glove-friendly. 200g of Thinsulate, a heat reflective liner and a plush fleece lining assure warmth and comfort. We reviewed the Vasque men’s Snowburban Ultradry earlier this winter.
KEEN, Merrell, Sorel and Vasque available at MEC. Columbia and Eddie Bauer available on their respective websites.