What are the most comfortable boots

Winter boots put to the test

Anyone who has ever slid over ice and snow with summer tires knows how important winter tires are. Outdoor manufacturers also rely on soles for winter boots that offer optimal grip in frosty conditions. We tested seven models for women and men. They cost 230 to 270 euros, have a waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex membrane and cover a wide range of uses. The lightly padded La Sportiva TX Top is ideal for brisk hikes with luggage. It's even good for trail running. "It is flexible in the ankle area and light, you almost run with it by yourself, provided that you are sure-footed," says Boris Gnielka. The warm all-rounders from Lowa and Meindl protect with sturdy shafts from twisting and play to their strengths on day trips with or without snowshoes.

There are differences in the insulation: crawling into the interior via the Lowa sole when the temperature is below minus 15 degrees - enough for winter hikes in the low mountain range. The Meindl Gastein, on the other hand, is also recommended for temperatures below minus 20 degrees due to its fluffy lambskin. Both are very comfortable, but the Meindl sole is even more rounded than Lowa's. Hanwag, on the other hand, is sending the most stable and warmest boot into the race: it sits very comfortably, but the relatively high weight slows down the forward thrust a little - the right choice for treks with heavy luggage or in rough terrain. "Winter boots are worthwhile in freezing frost or when there is ice and snow," says Gnielka. Meindl delivers a top all-rounder, the tip for gram counters and trail runners is called La Sportiva TX Top, and for tough jobs you choose the Hanwag Alaska Winter.

Stable workhorse: Hanwag Alaska Winter GTX

Hangwang
Hanwag Alaska Winter GTX, price: 270 euros.

Thanks to its high, extremely strong shaft made of thick, tough leather and the G-Loft synthetic fiber filling, the Hanwag Alaska Winter shines with top support and insulation. The wearing comfort is not neglected either. The torsion-resistant, coarsely profiled sole impresses everywhere with its strong grip - even on ice as smooth as glass, the rubber with its mineral dust content still holds something. Another plus: the smooth lacing.

  • Price: 270 euros
  • Weight: 1810 grams (pair, size 45)
  • Ideal area of ​​application: Snowshoeing, trekking
  • Wearing comfort: Rolls off neatly, nestles neatly against the foot despite the thick leather, nothing presses or rubs.
  • Test conclusion: The Hanwag Alaska Winter combines an extremely strong shaft with comfort and high insulation - ideal for treks with a heavy backpack.
  • Test verdict: Outstanding
  • Can be ordered here in our partner shop

Sporty lightweight boot: La Sportiva TX Top GTX

La Sportiva
La Sportiva TX Top GTX, price: 229 euros.

The La Sportiva TX Top is a warm multifunctional shoe with a built-in gaiter. Thanks to its close-fitting seat, it reliably repels pebbles or snow, while the smooth, stable and well-cushioned cleat sole provides excellent traction in mud and snow. In addition, the TX Top weighs little and can be easily put on or taken off using the quick lacing system.

  • Price: 229 euros
  • Weight: 1060 grams (pair, size 45)
  • Ideal area of ​​application: Hiking, snowshoeing
  • Wearing comfort: Combines maximum freedom of movement in the ankle with round roll-off behavior and a very comfortable fit.
  • Test conclusion: Those who want to travel at a brisk pace and with little luggage in winter will find the perfect lightweight hiking shoe in the La Sportiva TX Top.
  • Test verdict: Very good
  • Can be ordered here in our partner shop

Handy movement talent: Lowa Renegade Evo Ice

Lowa
Lowa Renegade Evo Ice GTX, price: 230 euros.

Pleasant: Despite the stable ankle support, the very high shaft of the Lowa Renegade Evo Ice GTX allows freedom of movement in the direction of walking. In combination with the not too firm, rather cleanly rolling sole, this creates a natural feeling of walking. The dark profile areas resemble the finest sandpaper and ensure relatively good traction even on ice, wet wood or stone. Stiff lacing.

  • Price: 230 euros
  • Weight: 1430 grams (pair, size 45)
  • Ideal area of ​​application: Hiking, snowshoeing
  • Wearing comfort: Comfortable, softly lined shaft that allows freedom of movement in the direction of walking. But the sole could roll even more round.
  • Test conclusion: With the Lowa Renegade Ice, Lowa offers a high-performance winter hiking boot for tours in the low mountain ranges and the foothills of the Alps.
  • Test verdict: Very good
  • Can be ordered here in our partner shop

Outstanding winter boot: Meindl Gastein GTX

Meindl
Meindl Gastein GTX, price: 250 euros.

In the Meindl Gastein GTX, thick, soft lambskin hugs the foot. It not only warms the feet on hearty minus straight lines, but also ensures a warm, dry foot climate in mild weather. In addition, the upper made of sturdy leather offers a lot of support and prevents the straps of a snowshoe binding from squeezing. The sole grip is very good, it is only in the mud that you slide a little faster than with the competition.

  • Price: 250 euro
  • Weight: 1520 grams (pair, size 45)
  • Ideal area of ​​application: Hiking, snowshoeing, trekking
  • Wearing comfort: Fluffy lambskin and soft leather wrap around your foot like a second skin. Rolls off harmoniously.
  • Test conclusion: Fantastically comfortable, cuddly warm and stable: the Meindl Gastein GTX impresses on day hikes, with or without snowshoes.
  • Test verdict: Outstanding (OUTDOOR test winner 01/2021)
  • Can be ordered here in our partner shop

More winter shoes in the OUTDOOR test

More and more hiking boots not only have a warming lining made of synthetic fiber fillings or lambskin and synthetic fur, but also insoles that are suitable for the cold. When it comes to the latter, manufacturers dig deep into their bag of tricks: some have been developing together with tire manufacturers for years, others mix fabric particles or mineral dusts into the rubber in order to achieve the strongest possible grip on ice and snow. In addition, winter hiking boots should offer similarly good wearing properties as classic hiking boots. A great advantage when it is bitterly cold but there is no snow - which is a common occurrence here in winter. We wanted to know how well it works, and in 2016 we tested various winter boot models for women and men. The winter shoes from this comparison test cost 180 to 270 euros and all have a waterproof, breathable lining.

The test results at a glance:

The range of uses of the tested winter boots:

The range of uses for these tested winter boots ranges from sporty lightweight hiking boots to hiking and alpine boots to ultra-stable candidates for treks with 20 kilos of luggage and more. In order to cover the various requirements of winter use, the outdoor laboratory designed a special sole test course: "The different passages on wet and dry rock, damp grass, forest floor, mud and slabs of ice quickly reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the test models," says Gnielka.

By far the best performance in terms of sole grip is delivered by the Hanwag Alaska Winter. Regardless of the surface, its sole impresses with its strong grip. So you can keep control even when walking at a moderate pace. The Adidas Terrex Ultimate Boost, on the other hand, offers an impressive level of grip, especially in wet and dry conditions. The performance of the rest of the field is also good, only the models from Keen and Meindl fall slightly behind in comparison: With them you can slide more quickly in the wet, on snow and ice than with the competition. The outdoor laboratory also determined the insulation of the winter boots.

For this purpose, each candidate was equipped with heaters adapted to the internal volume. The more the inside of the shoe cools down over time, the lower the heat output. In addition, all models were placed on a plate with a temperature of minus 18 degrees and then checked to see how much the inside in the area of ​​the sole was cooling down. "The warmest boot is useless if the cold creeps in from below - a more common problem in earlier tests," explains Boris Gnielka. But this time everything goes well, on average the shoes can be used down to minus 20 degrees. The Hanwag Alaska winter is the most isolating event: hikers who are not very cold can set off with it even at minus 30 degrees. At the end of the 2016 test field, the Dachstein Winter Spürsinn lands, the limit of which is reached at minus ten degrees - which is usually completely sufficient for winters in our latitudes.

A good heat output is only half the battle

Only when the moisture can escape from the inside of the shoe will the winter shoe keep you warm all day. "Our laboratory measurements show that the insulation loss corresponds to around 15 degrees when the inside gets wet," explains Boris Gnielka. The climate was assessed in practice: The outdoor test crew hiked for days through the Italian Alps and over the rough Swabian Alb, but despite the rather mild weather, the climate comfort was fully within the green range - a strong performance. Meindl receives top marks in this criterion, followed by the other models. The longer the team was on the road, the more impressed they were with the wearing properties of the test candidates. Nevertheless, there are sometimes big differences because the manufacturers set different priorities.

For day hikes with and without snowshoes, the Meindl Gastein and the Mammut Runbold Advanced are particularly recommended, because they combine comfort with good ankle support and also have a stable sole - although the test crew liked the Meindl shoe a bit better and a top result in When it comes to wearing behavior achieved: Made of supple leather and lined with soft lambskin, it feels like a cloud of warm air envelops your foot. With the Alaska Winter, Hanwag is sending by far the most stable winter boot - ideal for (snowshoe) tours with fully loaded trekking backpacks.

Comfort test of winter boots

Due to the thick, tough leather, the trekking boot has to be broken in thoroughly, but after that the Hanwag boot is one of the most comfortable winter shoes in the 2016 test field and impresses with enormous ankle support. The Adidas Terrex Ultimate Boost Climaheat lightweight hiking boot has a completely different character. With it, you can progress more easily than with any other test shoe.

This is not only due to the low weight, but also to the precise guidance of the foot and the Boost damping material. Due to the high restoring force, it acts like a spring and returns more energy to the foot than classic foams. In addition, the shaft nestles tightly around the foot and therefore offers very good control. For outdoor enthusiasts who twist their ankles quickly or for tours with more than 15 kilos of luggage, the shaft is too soft in the ankle area.

The alpine shoes from Salewa and Dachstein take on a special role in the 2016 outdoor winter hat test: With their precise, edge-stable soles and the very flexible shaft in the ankle area, they are particularly recommended for mountain and via ferrata tours in winter. Another test criterion is the lacing: the smoother it runs, the more precisely the upper can be adjusted - and the better the shoe fits. This works well with the winter boots Adidas Terrex Ultimate Boost Climaheat, Meindl Gastein GTX and Hanwag Alaska Winter GTX, while the shoelaces of the Keen Durand hardly move even with a strong pull.

And what about the snowshoe suitability?

Above all, the candidates with a rather solid upper material (Hanwag, Mammut, Meindl and Salewa) are convincing because the snowshoe bindings do not pinch them. All in all, the tested winter boots deliver a convincing performance. If a shoe fits you perfectly and the wearing behavior suits your usage profile, you can handle almost every shoe in the 2016 test.

Test conclusion of the winter boot test 2016:

But four boots are particularly recommended: For winter hikes of all kinds, with and without snowshoes, choose the Meindl Gastein or the Mammut Runbold. The former shines with the most comfortable wearing comfort of all test candidates, while the Mammut has the more grippy sole. On the other hand, those who prefer to be light and fast can choose the Adidas Terrex Ultimate Boost, the perfect lightweight hiking boot for the cold season. If instead trekking tours in the far north or other cold spots are on the program, there is no alternative to Hanwag Alaska.

More tips for winter tours

Video: snowshoes put to the test

The tested winter shoes 2016 in detail:

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