Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside

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


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

Merrell Thermo Pathfinder

Thermo Pathfinder

Merrell makes a cold-weather boot called the Thermo Pathfinder ($125;, 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; For warmth, she can wear wool socks such as SmartWool Light Hikers ($16; 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; 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.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Hiking Boots
Lead Photo: courtesy, Merrell