The 9 Best Boots for Snowshoeing of 2021

Rugged, winter-ready footwear for playing in deep snow

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Best Boots for Snowshoeing

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

As someone who lives in the mountains (the northern Sierra Nevada, to be exact), I love a good snow day. After all, you don't happily live in the mountains if you don't like snow. But I don't like crowded weekend days at ski resorts with long lines to get on the lifts. That's why I've mostly skipped hitting resorts on weekends and instead head into the woods to snowshoe. Snowshoeing is peaceful, beautiful, and a great way to explore the woods with no one else around. Oh, and it's a great workout: Snowshoeing can burn up to 630 calories per hour, depending on how hard you're working. 

Snowshoeing is relatively simple to master, but getting dressed for the sport isn't always so easy, and that goes for your shoes, too. You sweat while snowshoeing far more than you do while downhill skiing or snowboarding, so you can't just bundle yourself up to the max. If you do, you'll probably be covered in sweat minutes after leaving the trailhead.

That's why it's important to select footwear that's both breathable and at least partially waterproof. You want to keep snow out, but you need enough airflow to keep your feet dry even when sweating. While there aren't too many boots explicitly made for snowshoeing, there are plenty of breathable winter hiking and outdoor boots that work well for snowshoeing. And these are the best ones.

The Rundown
"It seems like the Danner Arctics were custom-made for snowshoeing."
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
Vasque Breeze WT GTX at Amazon
"Pop the Breeze GTX on your feet and you'll feel like you're wearing cozy slippers."
"For casual snowshoers, they'll get the job done."
Best for Extreme Cold:
Baffin Impact at Backcountry.com
"They're heavily insulated for extreme cold, but that's not the only thoughtful feature for frigid days."
"The insulation is derived from coffee bean residue and the other non-animal sourced materials are partially recycled."
Best Versatile:
Forsake Thatcher at Amazon
"Made for hiking, they can double as your summer trail shoes, too."
"All-purpose winter boots that'll keep your feet toasty."
"These are insulated, extremely durable, and have an exceptionally grippy bottom so you can wear them on icy surfaces."
"They weigh next to nothing, helping ease the strain on your feet in heavy snow."

Best Overall: Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip

Danner Men's Arctic 600 Side-Zip
What We Like
  • Waterproof and insulated

  • Side zipper

  • Removable cushioning footbed

What We Don't Like
  • None

I tried my first pair of Danner winter boots about three years ago and they've become a staple of my winter wardrobe. While I've snowshoed in several pairs, my favorite is the Arctic 600 Side-Zip. It seems like the Artic was custom-made for snowshoeing, with mid-to-heavy insulation, a waterproof but breathable finish, and even a removable footbed to make the shoes dry quicker. Pro tip: Take out the footbeds and put them under the heater as you drive to the trailhead. I also love the side-zip feature that makes them easy to pull on and off while still having laces to get the fit just right.

Upper Material: Suede | Waterproofing: Yes, Danner Dry | Weight: +/- 2 pounds, 13 ounces (pair) | Insulation:  200g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Vasque Breeze WT GTX

Vasque Breeze WT GTX
What We Like
  • Insulated and waterproof

  • Comfortable

  • Tall shaft

  • Comes in regular and wide

What We Don't Like
  • A little bulky

Vasque may not be as well-known as brands like Sorel or The North Face that have crossed over into non-athletic wear. But the brand makes simply fantastic hiking boots, including winter hiking boots. Several Vasque options would serve you well for snowshoeing, but pop the Breeze GTX on your feet and you'll feel like you're wearing cozy slippers, not trekking through feet of snow in the wilderness. They're waterproof. They're lightweight. They're breathable. And the Breeze GTX even has a grippy outsole, which isn't super necessary for snowshoeing itself but will come in handy if you're walking through icy parking lots or sidewalks. 

Upper Material: Nubuck leather (suede) | Waterproofing: Yes, Gore-Tex | Weight: +/- 2 pounds, 14 ounces (pair) | Insulation: 200g 3M Thinsulate

Best Budget: WHITIN Men's Waterproof Cold-Weather Boots

WHITIN Men's Waterproof Cold-Weather Boots
What We Like
  • Great price

  • Highly rated

  • Insulated and warm

What We Don't Like
  • Shaft could be a bit higher

  • Not totally waterproof

  • Runs small

  • No women’s version

It's fair if you're a bit suspicious of these boots—they're a fraction of the price of other snowshoe boots. But for casual snowshoers, they'll get the job done. The key difference between the Whitin boots and more expensive options is that these are water-resistant, not waterproof. That's usually fine for snowshoeing unless you're pushing the season and may be moving through puddles of melting snow. For a budget option, they're a worthy pick.

Upper Material: Nubuck leather (suede) | Waterproofing: Water-resistant  | Weight: +/- 1 pound, 6 ounces (pair) | Insulation:  Faux shearling upper liner

Best for Extreme Cold: Baffin Impact

Baffin Impact
What We Don't Like
  • Rated for -148 degrees F

  • Very comfortable

  • Cinches to keep snow and cold air out

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • No half sizes

Sometimes, you're snowshoeing on a sunny day, with views of the mountains for miles. And other times, it's below freezing and the wind is nearly knocking you backward. While your body may get chilly during the latter, your feet won't if you wrap 'em in the Baffin Impact. They're heavily insulated for extreme cold, but that's not the only thoughtful feature for frigid days: The shaft has a drawstring pull to keep snow and cold air out, and the buckle-and-strap tightening system means you make adjustments even while wearing thick gloves. Technically they come in men's and women's versions, but they're basically unisex style-wise, so buy whatever pair fits your foot best. 

Upper Material: Nylon | Waterproofing: Yes | Weight: +/- 5 pounds, 11 ounces | Insulation: Double B-Tek (synthetic)

Best Eco-Friendly: Chaco Borealis Quilt Waterproof Boot

Chaco Borealis Quilt Waterproof Boot
What We Like
  • Vegan

  • Tall shaft

  • Ankle strap adjustable while wearing thick gloves

  • Repairable

What We Don't Like
  • Runs small

  • No immediate men’s equivalent (closest is the Frontier)

I'd put these vegan insulated winter boots on this list even if they weren't super-sustainable, so it's just icing on the proverbial cake that they are. The insulation is derived from coffee bean residue (a byproduct of the $100 million US coffee industry) and the other non-animal sourced materials are partially recycled. They’re also partially waterproof and very lightweight. As a brand, Chaco has a rock-solid repair program and donates to several non-profit organizations focused on everything from women in sports to environmental protection and connecting kids with outdoor summer camps. 

Upper Material: nylon (upper is only water-resistant) | Waterproofing: Footbed and toe box, yes | Weight: +/- 1 pound, 4 ounces (pair) | Insulation: coffee-based charcoal fleece lining

Best Versatile: Forsake Thatcher

Forsake Thatcher
What We Like
  • Everyday look

  • Tall shaft

  • Waterproof

  • Brand very dedicated to sustainability 

What We Don't Like
  • Not specifically a snow/winter boot

I've become a big fan of Forsake in the last few years as they make several category-straddling footwear options—there's even a category on their website for "sneaker boots." The Thatcher Mid (women) and Davos high (men) are their tallest waterproof boots, which means your feet will stay warm when snowshoeing in them. But since they're made for hiking, you can use them as your summer trail shoes, too. Opt for one of the more generic colors, and you can also wear them as an everyday winter shoe.

Upper Material: Leather | Waterproofing: Yes | Weight: +/- 2 pounds, 14 ounces (pair) | Insulation: No additional insulation

Best for Wide Feet: Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boot

Columbia Women's Ice Maiden II Snow Boot
What We Like
  • Insulated

  • Tall shaft

  • Great price

  • Dozens of size options

What We Don't Like
  • No zipper/side entry

  • Average style/look

If you have wide feet, you're probably used to having limited shoe options. But even with more options, you'd probably still ultimately gravitate toward the Bugaboo (men) or Ice Maiden II (women). Both are all-purpose winter boots that'll keep your feet toasty while snowshoeing, après-skiing, or just walking the dog on chilly mornings. These boots are insulated, tall enough to keep you dry if an unexpected snow dump falls overnight, and the reinforced toe and heel provide extra durability in places that may see heavy friction from snowshoe straps. 

Upper Material: Leather | Waterproofing: Yes | Weight: Bugaboo: +/- 3 pounds, 8 ounces (pair) / Ice Maiden: +/- 2 pounds, 4 ounces | Insulation: 200g

Best Pull-On: KEEN Women's Greta Waterproof Chelsea

KEEN Women's Greta Waterproof Chelsea
What We Like
  • Rated to -25 degrees F

  • Easy to pull on

  • Secure fit (despite being a pull-on)

What We Don't Like
  • Minimal colorways

  • May not fit very high arches

I don't usually recommend pull-on boots for snowshoeing unless they're a perfect fit. Your foot weighs more when you have a snowshoe strapped to your foot, and the last thing you want is your foot to slide out of a shoe when you lift your leg. But there are some exceptions, and the Keen waterproof pull-on Chelsea boots are proof of that. Both the men's (Anchorage III) and the women's (Greta Chelsea) are insulated, extremely durable, and have an exceptionally grippy bottom so you can wear them on icy surfaces or on non-snowshoe days, too. 

 Upper Material: Leather | Waterproofing: Yes | Weight: N/A | Insulation: 200g of KEEN.WARM insulation

Best Lightweight: Hoka Speedgoat Mid GTX

Hoka Speedgoat Mid GTX
What We Like
  • Exceptionally light

  • Good for non-snow sports

  • Comfortable ankle/collar

What We Don't Like
  • Vivid colors may not appeal to all

  • Upper isn’t waterproof

  • No additional insulation

It's no surprise that a brand known for making lightweight trail runners and hikers would also make a lightweight shoe perfect for snowshoeing. In fact, if you're only snowshoeing once or twice a year, you can probably opt for a Hoka waterproof low sneaker and be good to go. But if you plan on snowshoeing in all types of conditions, opt for the Speedgoat Mid GTX. Both the men's and women's versions use Gore-Tex to keep snow out and have a plush foam collar to prevent rubbing or sore spots during extended snowshoe sessions. Oh, and they weigh next to nothing, helping to ease the strain on your feet in heavy snow. 

Upper Material: Water-resistant mesh/foam (synthetic) | Waterproofing: Yes, Gore-Tex | Weight: Womens: +/- 2 pounds, 6 ounces / Mens: +/- 2 pounds, 9 ounces | Insulation: Light foam

Final Verdict: It’s hard to beat the Danner Arctic 600

Since there's no one specific type of shoe or boot you need to wear while snowshoeing, you may already have a good option in your closet. But if you don't, you won't go wrong with the Danner Arctic 600 (view at Amazon). It checks all the boxes for warmth, waterproofing, and durability, and the combination of a side zipper and laces ensures the perfect fit no matter how thick and cozy your socks are. If you're looking for a hiker that's a bit lower in cost but doesn't skimp on necessary features, opt for the Vasque Breeze (view at Amazon).

What to Look for in Snowshoe Boots

Good news, snowshoers: There's no one perfect snowshoe boot, which means you have a lot of variety when deciding what to wear. Some people—myself included—prefer a shorter boot to help keep their feet cooler and reduce bulkiness around the legs. However, if you snowshoe in tights or regular (non-ski) pants, you may find that the protection of a taller boot helps keep your ankles and feet dryer. 

Regardless of what type of snowshoe boot you choose, you'll want to be certain it's waterproof, which is the most crucial consideration. If you snowshoe in very cold conditions you may want a boot with heavy insulation, though remember that snowshoeing is an aerobic activity, and your feet will probably sweat more than they do while skiing or snowboarding. If you have a heavily insulated boot, wear a thinner sock to ensure your sweat can permeate the boot to keep your feet dry. 

Finally, before buying any pair, take a look at your snowshoe straps and footbed. You'll want to ensure the straps will fit around the arch and ankle of any shoe you buy—the straps may not be long enough to go around an extra-wide boot. It's more of a concern for buyers with extra-wide or large feet.

FAQs

What makes a boot snowshoe-specific?

Most of the same properties that work in a solid winter boot will work with snowshoeing: protection against moisture, insulation to keep you warm, moisture-wicking and breathable liners to prevent overheating, and solid lacing to assure a snug fit. The only thing you don’t necessarily need is a super-aggressive outsole since the snowshoe itself will be the piece of footwear making contact with the snow and ice. That said, getting a boot that does have solid grip on snow is a great option for when you’re not in the snowshoes and therefore expands the product’s applications throughout the season.

Do snowshoe boots need to be insulated?

That partly depends on the temperatures in which you’re snowshoeing, But in most cases, even a bit of insulation is a good idea, typically around 100 to 200 grams. Thicker socks can also help improve the insulating properties inside the boot, but be sure you get a boot that has a breathable and waterproof membrane. This lets air escape when you start to heat up, which keeps your socks from getting soaked with sweat.

How should I clean my boots?

First, know that prolonged exposure to moisture is the bane of pretty much all shoe materials. So after you’re safe and warm, be sure to wipe off any lingering snow or water with a microfiber cloth. For deeper cleans, you can use after-market cleaning solutions specific to your boot material, including leather or synthetic fabrics. Leather boots should also be periodically treated with wax to lengthen the life of the product.

Why Trust TripSavvy

In selecting the best snowshoeing shoes and boots for winter, outdoor writer and gear tester Suzie Dundas looked at dozens of pairs of shoes and boots from well-known and small retailers, prioritizing features like waterproofing, materials, and price. She’s tested many of the shoes on this list and worn footwear from all of the brands. She also talked to other testers of various genders, weights, ages, and skill levels to get a well-rounded perspective of how well the shoes above perform in a variety of conditions.

Was this page helpful?
Continue to 5 of 9 below.
Continue to 9 of 9 below.