Q:

Which women’s boot can handle sub-zero temperatures?

My daughter is going into the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan and is looking for an everyday shoe that can handle the sub-zero temperatures. What would you recommend? Patricia

Aug 9, 2006
Outside
Outside Magazine
Merrell Thermo Pathfinder

Thermo Pathfinder

A:

This is a good challenge. She needs something tough, probably reasonably light, and warm. Or at least adaptable to be warm.

Merrell makes a cold-weather boot called the Thermo Pathfinder ($125; www.merrellboot.com), which is a tough, insulated boot that is also waterproof. Yet they’re fairly light and would work as an everyday shoe for walking around town, wearing in a classroom (will she be teaching?), that sort of thing. It’s available in women’s sizes.

An alternative is a quality leather hiking boot such as Montrail’s Solitude II ($140; www.montrail.com). For warmth, she can wear wool socks such as SmartWool Light Hikers ($16; www.smartwool.com) and perhaps supplement those with vapor barrier liners, which are waterproof sock liners that reduce evaporation from sweat, keeping the feet warmer. There are several brands available, and most are around $25 (note: she should change into dry socks every day when wearing a vapor barrier sock, otherwise she might get “trench foot").

Also, several companies make good-quality, durable, low-top shoes that are less like a hiking boot. But, alas, they’re mostly for men. Timberland’s Classic Trekker ($140; www.timberland.com) is one such shoe—all leather, with a Gore-Tex liner, supportive steel shank, and grippy leather soles.

Hope this helps!

You’ve seen our picks for 2006 Gear of the Year, and now the entire 2006 Outside Buyer’s Guide is online. Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including women’s hiking shoes.

Filed To: Hiking Boots

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