Choose your boots well for winter hiking - title

How do I choose shoes for winter hiking?

In Autumn and Winter, to withstand the rain, mud and sometimes the snow or ice, you need the right equipment!

Are you looking for boots that will keep your feet warm and dry when hiking in the snow or during winter walks in town? We'll help you find the perfect pair.

Which shoes or boots should I wear for walking in the snow?

How to choose your boots for winter hikes

Warm, waterproof boots

Let's start at the beginning. You've planned a mountain excursion in fresh snow or a walk on a groomed, snow-covered trail. You will need nice, warm shoes with good grip (especially if, like me, you slip easily) that provide insulation from the cold ground.

And your boots will need to be waterproof. It doesn't matter how warm your shoes are as they'll be no use to you if they're not waterproof. At Quechua, we use a dynamic waterproof test: the shoe is immersed in water and flexed so we can identify 3 levels of waterproofing: 2000 flexes (about a 2 hour walk), 4000 flexes (about a 4 hour walk) and 8000 flexes (about an 8 hour walk). You will find this information on the product data sheet so you'll have a good idea of how much your boots can withstand!

Some models even have integrated gaiters to help prevent snow getting into the shoe. They're incredibly practical!

In addition to waterproofing, thermal comfort is also essential particularly if you're alternating between periods of exertion and immobility during your winter hikes. All our Quechua snow shoes are tested using volunteer hikers and thermal foot manikins. These different tests allow us to assess the comfort temperature when active and stationary. You will also need to check the weather conditions to determine whether your snow shoes will be sufficiently warm.

For example, if the temperatures given are as follows: "Comfort temperature measured when stationary: -5°C. when active: -14°C". If the outside temperature is below -5°C you might get cold feet if you stay still.

How to choose your boots for winter hikes

What shoes do I need if it's snowing in town?

There's snow in the city! It's such a rare occurrence (unless you live in the mountains of course, although you're more likely to be in Lille or Paris) that it's definitely worth making the most of it. But you can't really imagine yourself going to work, or going for a walk around town, in hiking boots.

We have warm (and waterproof) shoes that are perfect for short walks in town or in the resort. With their relaxed design, they look more like a pair of trainers than snow boots. Perfect for keeping your feet warm while remaining stylish.

How to choose your boots for winter hikes

What kind of boots do I need for the mountains in winter?

If you're planning on going walking in the mountains this winter, you will need boots specially designed for this purpose.

If you're not planning on going hiking, you can opt for snow boots or wellies. If, however, you plan to go walking in the snow, you should choose warm, high-rise boots. Then, you'll be able to sink into the fresh snow without fear of the consequences.

What shoes should you choose for snowshoeing?

Have you planned a snowshoe excursion? You're going to need boots specially designed to keep your feet dry and warm - but not too warm as you'll be doing physical activity.

If your shoes are too warm you're going to sweat and get damp feet when hiking so, if you're walking along a steep trail, don't choose boots that are too warm otherwise you'll get cold when you stop. What's more, having damp feet increases the risk of blisters!

If your snowshoe routes takes you along groomed trails, you should opt for mid-cut hiking boots. They're ideal for winter hikes on groomed or slightly snowy terrain as there isn't enough snow to cover the entire shoes which will make your feet cold.

If you like to wander off groomed trails or enjoy snowshoeing in fresh snow, lower down the mountain, you should choose high-cut shoes or snow boots. The top of your foot, ankle and calf will be nice and warm and the high cut will prevent snow from getting into the boot when you sink into the snow.

How to choose your boots for winter hikes

What shoes should I get for intensive hiking in the snow (with or without snowshoes?)

You love exercise so your next trip to the mountains will be the perfect opportunity to spend a few hours a day hiking in the snow. You're going to need a pair of our more technical shoes. These shoes are specially designed to ensure you enjoy a fabulous snow experience; they feature integrated gaiters, traction, grip and are, of course, waterproof. This high-cut model also provides excellent support. These shoes are very sturdy so will accompany you on your adventures - even in the extreme cold - for many years to come. These shoes are also very breathable to ensure you stay dry even during intense exertion.

You can use them for snowshoeing or simply walking in the snow. The gaiters prevent snow getting inside your shoes even when walking through fresh snow.

How to choose your boots for winter hikes

A closer look at the soles of your Quechua shoes - your best anti-slip ally

The sole is important as it helps insulate your feet from the ground, but that's not it's only function!

If you're walking along an icy path on hard snow with a sole that is too smooth, you're almost guaranteed to fall. Which is why the composition of the sole and the size of the lugs are important criteria when choosing your winter shoes or boots. Well-defined lugs (5 mm approximately) will give the sole better grip. A flexible component will offer better traction than a rigid component! Quechua models that have been specially developed for snowy terrain feature SnowContact technology soles. The design and component parts have been optimized to ensure good traction and excellent grip.

If your soles are too smooth you can fit snow crampons over the boot, a little like snow chains on tyres!

How to choose your boots for winter hikes

What to do if your shoes are no longer waterproof

Your shoes are designed to be waterproof but they will lose their waterproof properties over time. You can reactivate them using a waterproofing spray. But let me stress : this will only work if your boots were waterproof when you purchased them. You can't make boots waterproof if they weren't waterproof in the first place.

If you have a good pair of hiking boots which are not waterproof and you want to use them for winter hikes, we recommend using gaiters to cover your boots. They will act as a sort of waterproof jacket to protect your shoes. And, as they also come up to the calf, they'll prevent snow from getting into your boots.

You have now found the hiking boots you need for walking on the snow. If your balance is slightly unsteady, you can supplement your equipment with a pair of poles, fitted with winter baskets.



Hiking enthusiast 


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