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Depending on the weather conditions, difficulty of the route, state of the snow, etc., there are plenty of factors that you need to consider when choosing the right footwear for a snow hike. We give you all the advice you need for finding your feet!
We go further when wearing the right footwear ... The choice of footwear is essential when hiking, especially on snow. Warmth, comfort, impermeability, grip will allow you to forget your feet and just think about enjoying yourself! Follow our guide on choosing between shoes and boots.
When it is cold, the body gives priority to protecting vital organs such as the heart or the brain. The blood is therefore directed to these parts to the detriment of all the others. That means, other parts, such as feet or hands receive less blood. All the more so since the body, to keep its heat, constricts the arteries closest to the skin (this is called vasoconstriction): the blood has less contact with the outside and more easily maintains its temperature.
It is therefore important to protect your hands and feet when it is cold by equipping yourself with the appropriate equipment. Cover your head well, too, otherwise you may lose the heat your body produces to protect your brain, and you will cool down faster.
The snow hiking shoe is like a hiking shoe, but adapted to winter conditions thanks to its sole, among other things, which provides grip and traction on this particular terrain: snow, hard, soft icy ... They exist in different heights, which range from below the ankle (Mid) to the top of the ankle (High). Shoes offer comfort, breathability and grip, with the added benefit of being lightweight and supportive.
Boots are generally higher, they are also available in mid and high version (mid = high ankle - and high = mid calf). It is looser and a little heavier, and has less overall foot support, however it offers more warmth and waterproofness thanks to its anti-intrusion aspect. Its height allows better snow protection.
Whether you choose shoes or boots for your winter hikes, the most important thing is to make sure that they are warm, waterproof, provide good grip and support your feet and ankles.
Waterproof & breathable
To keep feet dry, shoes or boots must obviously be waterproof, while being breathable. The waterproof level shouldn't prevent air from circulating when you exercise, otherwise moisture from perspiration will make your feet wet and you will feel cold .
When it comes to the waterproof level, opt for a boot if the snow is rather fresh and light or like spring snow, or consider combining shoes and snowshoes to improve your lift and therefore avoid sinking into the snow too much.The less the foot is in contact with the snow, the more likely it will stay dry. If the snow is rather packed, both boots and shoes work very well, it's up to you to find your optimal comfort: the boot offers more warmth, the shoe is often lighter and more breathable.
What could be more unpleasant than having cold feet? To fully enjoy your hike in the snow, make sure your shoes or boots are resistant to very cold temperatures (between 0 and -20 ° C). Even though shoes are designed to protect against the cold, on this type of terrain, boots win! More covering, lined, they are ideal for chilly feet.
Tip:Choose the right size well, your foot and ankle must be maintained to avoid friction and blisters, but not too tight so that your feet can breathe and blood can circulate properly.
Whether you are wearing boots or shoes, it is important that they provide good support. However, the level of support may vary depending on the effort required, the walking time, the type of hike or the terrain..
Shoes provide good foot and ankle support, they offer higher support, which goes from the top of the ankle (Mid) to the beginning of the calf (High). They are lighter and give you more ease. The laces or hooks with which they are equipped allow an adjustment for better support.
Boots, on the other hand, have less foot support as a whole and are not tight around the ankle, but are more covering.
When you walk in winter, whatever the type of terrain, grip is important. The grip of the shoe supports you in your effort and prevents you from slipping. Make sure that the boots or shoes have a sole with a suitable structure and lugs of sufficient size (approx. 5 mm minimum).
Both boots and shoes can offer good grip, but at Quechua it is the shoe that is systematically lugged with Snowcontact ® technology. Its manoeuvrability also facilitates good grip.
A pair of poles will provide you with better balance and ensure you more on slippery ground. For hiking on snow, choose poles with a basket so you don't get stuck in the snow!
Are you going for a hike on a signposted path, with packed or not very deep snow? On uneven, winding or steep terrain, shoes will give you greater freedom of movement. And good grip in the event of frozen snow, for maximum safety. If you hike on flat ground, boots will also be perfect, and the best ally for the those who feel the cold more.
If the snow is really deep and you're worried about getting wet, wear gaiters to keep snow from creeping into your shoes!
The weather forecast announces 30 cm of fresh powder overnight? Prepare your boots!They are ideal for walking in deeper snow, offering you protection and warmth for shorter hikes (less than 3 hours for example). They will be perfect if you decide to sledge down with the children.
On the other hand, if you decide to walk the snowy slopes using snowshoes, you will need to choose shoes. Boots are not suitable for snowshoeing.
Are you more like a small beginner bear, an agile lynx or a skilful hare?
Depending on your athletic level, your experience, the planned route, your physiology, the weather conditions or the people accompanying you, you'll need to put on different footwear!
Hiking with the family
If you are going for a hike with the family, with a picnic, selfie breaks and snowball fights, plan to wear boots instead. Boots are suitable for calmer walks, with less elevation and less walking time. More covering, they will be ideal in wet or cold weather to keep your feet warm, and to alternate between a more contemplative hike and games in the snow with the family.
Choose footwear that match your hiking intensity: very sporty, with good elevation and a duration of several hours, you will sweat faster, so you will need a lighter, breathable shoe. Hikes with steep slopes require shoes with good grip.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, shoes are suitable for any type of hiking, with or without a snowshoe.
Whether you wear boots or shoes, the choice of socks is very important. They need to be:
- Adapted to the weather (warm or rather breathable) all are breathable, but some are warmer than others.
- Adapted to the height of your footwear: nothing worse than a sock that slips down and gives you blisters!
- Suitable for boots or shoes, that is to say more or less thick so as not to compress your foot and prevent blood from circulating.
In short, get started and go hiking on the snow! In boots or shoes, in good weather or in the snow, with the children or in sport mode… take possession of the snowy nature to breath in the fresh air and serenity.