It’s a good idea to add 10-15 degrees to the rating. So if a warm hiking boot is rated at 0 degrees, the boots will probably work best in 15 degrees. Also these rating systems assume you are being smart and wearing a proper winter sock. So, we recommend following suit when it comes to women’s insulated hiking boots, and leaving the flimsy stuff at home.
Obviously, keeping your feet dry is critical to your happiness (and to not dying). There are a few boot components that accomplish that: waterproof Gore-tex uses breathable linings that keep you dry and allow sweat to escape. On top of that, there are leather and nylon and many combos that make for a reliable water proof material.
Many waterproof hiking boots will have a water tight rubber coating on the sole and leather uppers is material. These full rubber shells (a combo of leather upper and rubber lower) are good if you plan on standing in a giant puddle of water or snow. You laugh now, but every time we go hiking in the snow we punch though a frozen stream or go sloshing across a low river with ease, because we have boots for hiking in the snow.
Fit and Traction
Then finally there is fit and traction. Lacing systems affect the width and tightness of the shoe. Additionally you can order custom dimensions for select boots. It might be tempting to purchase men’s boots for their stylistic appeal (no faux fur, etc) or because there are more options. But you shouldn’t for this reason: men and women’s feet are very different and boots are gendered to cater to those specific foot types.
Traction is also a vital component in boots for hiking in snow, as everything is slippery, soggy and dangerous. Boots with sticky, rough soles are going to keep you from teetering off a snowy cliff.
How to Check if Your Boot Fits
If you aren’t sure what sort of fit your foot requires, we recommend consulting this video on how to check the fit of your boot, it’s something that’s easier to see for yourself than to describe in text.
In the video, John Graham tells you to look for specific requirements in the boot: the amount of space between your toes, heel and the boot, lace tightness, how your boot reacts to movement and so on.
If you are heading above the tree line to slippery, rocky summits on a 3+ hour hike you are going to need some hefty boots with high scores in each category. But if you are keeping below the tree line on for a compact, short hike then you can absolutely get away with lighter, less intense boots. Now that we’ve covered the basics you’re ready to discover the superior winter hiking boots for females.