Best Shoes for Glacier Hiking


A hike through the beauty of glaciers can be an awe-inspiring, breath-taking experience. The ruggedness of the ice and snow speaks to you on a deep level and you can’t wait until your next adventure. But the joy can be quickly shattered when your feet become sore, wet or blistered because of the boots that you’re wearing. In this article we are going to look at shoes for glacier hiking that will perfectly meet your needs!

When looking for glacier hiking shoes, the best ones are designed to give your feet and ankles the support needed as you traverse the icy terrain while keeping your feet warm and dry.

Glacier hiking isn’t a chance to show off how stylish your shoes are, nor should you skrimp to buy the cheapest shoes available. Sprained ankles and feet that are cursing you are the cost of you putting little care into the footwear you have put on as you wander through the gorgeousness of the glaciers.

What makes a good glacier hiking shoe

When out hiking there are essentials that you need: helmet, a backpack full of supplies to keep your energy level up, crampons and…shoes. But what makes a good glacier hiking boot. Here are the things you need to consider:

1. Support

Travelling over the uneven terrain of glaciers makes you susceptible to ankle injuries. In addition, you have your backpack adding extra pressure to your feet and ankles. Look for boots with a high cut that offers you the bracing where you need it while providing good cushioning. 

2. Traction

The ground underfoot can get slippery as you make your way carefully across the ice and snow. Great hiking boots will provide you with the traction that you need to stay balanced and stable on your feet as you hike along the amazing glacier.

3. Warmth 

It’s cold out there and you don’t want your feet to suffer from frostbite. A quality hiking boot will keep your feet warm while allowing them to breath. It’s not fun trekking in footwear that is wet so look for boots that contain Gore-Tex which is a material that keeps the water out of your boots while allowing the moisture inside to escape. 

4. Comfort

You want your hike to be enjoyable and if you have shoes that are too narrow or that compress your toes and feet means that your hike turns into a trip from hell. The ideal hiking boot is one that conforms to your foot and keeps it secure. 

5. Protection

Have you ever kicked your foot against a stone? Hurts, huh? Whilst wandering through the nooks and crannies of the glacier, you are going to find surfaces that will have you yelp in pain if you strike your toe against it. To save you from this world of hurt it pays to have boots that have a tough outer surface, as well as rugged soles that can endure the trying demands of the environment you are exploring.

Best hiking boots brands

As you have seen, glacier hiking requires you to have the best boots on your feet and, in the world of hiking, there are some brands that stand out from the pack. If you want to make sure you have the best on your feet, here are a bunch of the top brands to consider.

Lowa

Since 1923, Lowa has garnered a reputation of producing great boots through innovation and design. Jim Whittaker made his way to the top of Mount Everest in a pair of Lowa boots. Its commitment to quality and comfort has seen many mountaineers, skiers and hikers turn to Lowa boots. In 2008 and every year since Lowa has maintained ISO 9001:2008 status for its manufacturing. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Lowa boots on your feet.

Zamberlan

The Zamberlan family have been producing superior quality boots since 1929. Their intergenerational love of the mountains is reflected in the design of their boots which has seen them receive numerous awards. Great Italian design and comfort have made Zamberlan a respected brand in the world of hiking boots.

La Sportiva

Nestled near the Dolomites in Italy, La Sportiva has a rich history of producing top quality boots inspired by the mountains that surround the factory. While being innovative in its designs, La Sportiva, as a family run business, still maintains a rich heritage by applying the knowledge passed down from previous generations of boot-makers. The result is a company that has a reputation for quality and innovation.

Salomon

Having a love for the outdoors has inspired the creation of Salmon’s footwear since 1947. Passion pushes the company to innovate and design footwear that serves the hardiest of the outdoor sportsperson. Seen on the feet of notable adventurers such as Mira Rai and Kilian Jornet means you’re in good hands…or is that feet? 

Merrell

Merrell may be one of the newer kids on the block, being established in 1981, but the company has garnered a reputation as being one of the best through their innovation and design to produce hiking boots that are comfortable and versatile. Finding that sweet spot between fit, functionality and comfort Merrell boots are a pleasure to wear as you tackle the hardy terrain. 

Columbia

Being tried and tested in the great outdoors of America since 1924, Columbia has been using industry-leading technology to manufacture boots that can withstand the demands of the committed adventurer. Perfectionism and the highest of standards guide the designs of Columbia’s apparel and footwear. 

The ongoing commitment these companies make as well as the traditions and knowledge passed down by forebears make these brands lead the pack in outdoor gear and equipment. You want the best and we have highlighted the innovators who have been personally inspired by the mountains and outdoors. But what boots should you buy? Here are the top picks that you should adorn your feet with when hiking through the wintery landscape of the glaciers.

The best glacier hiking boots for men

Columbia Men’s North Plains II Waterproof Hiking Shoe

Though not the hardiest of shoes on our list, the padded front toe offers protection against kicks and trips while the padded tongue and collar offer comfort to the upper portion of your foot and your ankle. The lightweight design makes them not too weighty on your feet and the waterproof build keeps you dry as you explore the landscape before you. 

Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

The Renegade is one of the more popular boots amongst hikers and it’s not hard to see why. With a design that supports your foot, stabilising it through descents while minimising sideways movements to prevent injuries.  The climate-controlled base combined with Gore-Tex keeps your feet cool and dry. Traction is provided through the thick, non-slip lugs on the outer sole. Support on the inside and the outside, no wonder these boots are a winner. 

Zamberlan Men’s 1996 VIOZ LUX GTX RR Leather Backpacking Boots

These boots look solid and a force to be reckoned with while glacier hiking and they are. The lugs will motor through the terrain as the boots propel you effortlessly along the hike. Your ankles are cushioned and supported by the generous length at the top of the boot. Waxed Tuscan as well as Zamberlan’s own proprietary leather protection in addition to Gore-Tex technology waterproofs the boots. Overall, the VIOZ boots are sturdy and rugged whilst offering ultimate support and comfort. 

Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II 

Fed up with boots that make your feet feel tired after a lengthy hike? Throw them away and grab yourself a pair of Newton boots. Designed to keep your feet comfy while providing energy return in every step, these boots will keep your feet happy over the long trek. The grip is created to handle the varied terrain you are travelling along, ensuring stability in each footfall. Waterproofing is managed through the seamless sealing of the boot  Go and explore in comfort. 

La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX Hiking Shoe

Nepal invokes images of rugged exploration and adventure and these boots from La Sportiva are just as hardy as the Nepalese outdoors. The toughened leather offers protection for your ankles and lower legs while the Gore-Tex keeps you dry and warm. Traction is provided by the opposing lugs of the Impact Brake System. The Nepal is one of the more superior boots on our list. 

Merrell Men’s Moab Adventure Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Want a boot that makes your feet feel snug, then you need Moab boots. Hike all day without having to be concerned that your feet are going to curse you at the end of the day. Great for a light to medium level hike. For the more extreme hikers, you would want to look at getting a boot that is more robust.

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GORE-TEX Men’s Backpacking Boots

A boot that flexes along with your front foot, the Quest 4D is designed to guide and support your feet as you make your way across the trying and challenging ground in front of you, while the lacing system keeps the boots nice and snug against you. The new improved lug design gives you the stability you need as and being created by a company that has the French Alps as its playfield, you know these boots are going to be solid.

Lowa Men’s Zephyr GTX Mid TF Hiking Boot

Tired of having boots that you need to break in? Then get yourself a pair of Zephyrs. The upper and flexible leather means you can kiss “Good-bye” to break-in time. Your feet are kept at an ideal temperature through the perforated lining with a base designed for great grip on smoother surfaces, both wet and dry. There is a lot to love in these boots but bear in mind that they are best suited for casual hikes

Zamberlan Men’s 960 Guide GTX RR Brown Leather Backpacking Boots

Want to go off-trail yet you look at the terrain before you with concern, wondering if your Zamberlain 960s can handle the challenge? Guess what? Of course they can! The Hydrobloc treatment and Gore-Tex fabric make the boots hardy to water while the 4mm cushioning and TPU inserts absorb the shocks of each step. So, what are you waiting for? Go and explore. 

Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat

Rocky Terrain. Deep snow. Nothing will phase you with a pair of Bugaboots firmly on your feet. Using proprietary technology that allows air to pass through the outer material as well as 200 grams of insulation makes your feet virtually invulnerable to whatever nature decides to throw at you. The omni-Grip of the outsole will leave you thinking you are a mountain goat as you clamber effortlessly along your hike. 

The best glacier hiking boots for women

Glacier hiking isn’t solely the domain of men. Heck, no! For those female adventurers out there we have rounded up a range of the top boots you want to have on as you tackle your next mission. 

Columbia Women’s Dakota Drifter Waterproof Trail Shoe Hiking

If you are planning a simple day hike,  the Dakota boots may be just what you are after. With its seam-sealed build and a midsole created to give you comfort and energy return with each step, your feet will feel great even after several hours of walking, The outsole is designed with Columbia’s proprietary technology to give you ultimate grip as you trek along that slippery surface. 

Merrell Women’s Sugarbush Refresh Waterproof Hiking Boot

The Sugarbush hiking boot laces securely against your foot to give you and your ankles the best support. Even during the hottest of days your feet won’t sweat or blister. The durable leather will keep your feet cosy and dry. You may find that there is a 20-minute break-in period with the boots, but after that, you’re good to go. 

Lowa Women’s Tibet GTX WS Backpacking Boot

Always kicking things as you are out enjoying the ruggedness of nature? The padded front of the Tibet’s will keep your toes safe. Climate control keeps your feet cool while the leather flexes and conforms to the natural contours of your feet and ankles. If you are an avid hiker that carries more than 50 pounds in your backpack,  these boots are more than able to handle the weight.  Serious boots for the serious glacier hiker. 

La Sportiva NUCLEO HIGH GTX Women’s Hiking Shoe

If you want a mid-range boot that can stand up to varied terrain, then consider these boots from Lake Sportiva. The leather is waterproof with Gore-Tex and La Sportiva’s Impact Brake System keeps your foot firmly on terra firma. 

Zamberlan Duke GTX Backpacking Boot 

Deciding on going out hiking for a week? Get yourself a pair of Dukes before heading away. The lack of stitching in the leather upper makes these boots nearly indestructible. Comfort underfoot is delivered through the 3mm and PE insole. A hardy boot for the equally hardy female hiker.

Columbia Women’s Minx Mid Calf Boot

Go hiking in places of extreme cold? Like -25°F cold? Your tootsies will be kept toasty warm in these boots. Traction is offered through the multi-grip design while waterproofing is provided via the synthetic woven fabric. Available in five different colours, you are bound to find a pair that will make your day and your hike.

Lowa Womens Lady III GTX Nubuck Boots

Want to go hiking without having to feel the vibrations of every footstep being sent up your leg. The Lady III PU midsole gives you comfort and support while absorbing the shock of each step. The deep lugs on the outsole will keep your feet secure as you make your way along the trail while the Gore-Tex keeps your feet dry. Boots that would make Lara Croft cry out for a pair.

Zamberlan Women’s 568 Bora Gore-TEX RR Backpacking Boot

If you are in the market for a lightweight boot, then the Bora could be the one for you. The lightest boot in their backpacking range doesn’t mean that Zamberlan has sacrificed quality. Comfort and functionality is the name of the game and you’ll find both in these boots. The 6″ shaft gives your ankle the support it needs to prevent injury while allowing for natural movement. When getting yourself a pair, make sure you order a half-size down than the size you usually wear. 

Columbia Women’s Heavenly Shorty Omni-HEAT Winter Boot

Another warm boot from Columbia for all you winter hikers. Reflective lining plus insulation keeps your feet warm with the PU footbed providing comfort and support. A practical boot that also makes a fashion statement. Who says you can’t look great out on the glaciers?

La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX Women’s Hiking Shoe

Lightness and durability sum up the Trango boots. The tough uppers can take a thrashing while lugs take care of you underfoot. Your ankle can still move freely while protected by the 3D Flex insert, When the weather turns nasty, really nasty, you know your feet are safe thanks to La Sportiva. 

Where are you going?

Hiking can be fun but also fraught with dangers,  The terrain is challenging and the weather can turn bad. When it comes to choosing the best boots for glacier hiking you need to consider how long you are going to be hiking for, the challenges you will face and the weather conditions.  Mid-range boots may serve you well in a basic hike yet you will find them sadly lacking when you go on a more challenging adventure. 

Your boots do make a difference between a comfortable hike and one that you wish you never started. As an essential item, you can’t be thinking cheap is best. Great quality boots can be expensive, but they will serve you well when you are out on your adventure.

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