While approach shoes or light hiking shoes work well for 14ers in the summer, winter’s a different situation. You should plan on getting boots for winter 14ers to stay dry and warm amid snowy, cold conditions. The specific boot you get depends on what kind of hiking or climbing you intend to do. Here’s an overview of what to look for in boots for winter 14ers, along with a few recommendations of my favorite pairs.
What to Look For in Boots for Winter 14ers
There are a few different factors to consider when buying these shoes. First, it matters if you only plan to hike in your shoes, or if you want to do snow or ice climbing that requires crampons. These require a full mountaineering style boot that is crampon-compatible with a rigged sole. Hiking can be done in insulated, water-proof boots without extra features. Make sure whatever boot you choose, you ensure it’s water-proof to keep your feet dry, has good grip for slippery conditions, and leave room for thick, warm socks when you’re picking out a size.
Don't Forget Gaiters & Warm Socks Too
One quick note – don’t forget to get a good pair of gaiters, These tools help keep snow and ice out of you shoes by covering the gap between your boots and pants. Even the best boots for winter 14ers are worthless if they get filled with snow while traveling and hiking through knee-deep snow. A good pair of thick wool socks will also help keep your feet warm during your hike. Add a pair of silk liners for more warmth and to prevent blisters.
The Best Boots for Winter 14ers
Given the above considerations, here are my five recommended boots for winter 14ers. Pick a pair depending on your needs, as each fits a slightly different set of circumstances.
The Nepal Cube series are the gold standard for winter mountaineering in Colorado. If you plan to do a mix of winter hikes, snow climbs and ice climbs, there’s no better option. With its rigged bottom, these boots are crampon compatible so they work for both hikes and technical climb. They’re also well-insulated to keep you warm despite cold, snowy conditions. La Sportiva is known for the quality of their products and this pair of boots for winter 14ers is no exception. Learn more or purchase a pair of boots here.
The Vasque Snowblime Snow Boot is a great boot for winter hikes with limited technical aspects. They don’t have a rigged bottom, so you’ll need to depend on microspikes rather than full mountaineering crampons. With insulation and water-proofing, they’ll keep your feet warm even on snowy trails above or below treeline. Learn more or purchase a pair of boots here.
The Scarpa Charmoz are a lightweight mountaineering boot that check off a lot of categories. They’re crampon compatible like the Nepal Cube, but they’re also far lighter thanks to lighter fabric and a leaner design. They’re perfect for shorter winter outings involving snow or ice climbs. They have a great fit and rock that makes them particularly suitable for long approach hikes before you reach technical terrain. Learn more or purchase a pair of boots here.
The Garmont Momentum are a nother non-technical pair of winter boots perfect for those with hiking winter objectives. Without a rigged bottom, it provides a comfortable, snug fit that keeps your feet warm and dry in cold conditions. Garmont’s quality is slightly higher than the Vasque pair, which partially explains the higher price. Learn More or purchase a pair of boots here.
La Sportiva’s Trango Tech is one of the newer boots available on the market. It’s the cheapest mountaineering boot that’s crampon compatible on this list thanks to a lean design. However it sacrifices warmth by using lightweight material. This is a good pick for day climbs, but isn’t the best option when you’re doing long trips in the snow and ice. Learn more or purchase a pair of boots here.
Best Boots for Winter 14ers | What Are Your Favorites?
There are literally hundreds of potential boots for winter 14ers you could choose from. I picked out five of my favorites, but there are many more to choose from, so feel free to do more research before you buy a pair of winter boots for 14ers. Do you have a personal favorite that I neglected to include? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts with the Next Summit Community. Safe travels on the trails!