The Top 6 Winter Boots of 2012

Columbia Hoodster Boots

Columbia Hoodster

While these waterproof midcut boots aren’t insulated, a heat reflective metallic material in the liner adds warmth. Testers day-hiked in temps down to freezing and still reported warm feet. The running-shoe-like midsole was springy, a nice counterpoint to the big-toothed and snow-shedding outsole. 

TAGS: REFLECTIVE LINING, SOFT-SHELL UPPER

XR Crossmax CS Neutral

Salmonon XR Crossmax CS Neutral
Salmonon XR Crossmax CS Neutral Shoes (Inga Hendrickson)

They’re not waterproof and they’re obviously not boots, but for running in spring snowmelt and scrambling over icy rocks, these heavy-duty trail shoes were a favorite. The water-resistant upper shed slop for three hours, though water seeped in on longer jaunts. Mate ’em with a pair of fast-and-light snowshoes like Crescent Moon’s Gold 12 ($239).

TAGS: RUNNING, SPEED, CUSHION

Revel

Keen Revel
Keen Revel Boots (Inga Hendrickson)

The waterproof Revels are warmer than they look. The key is three layers of low-profile insulation beneath the footbed that kept testers warm even into the single digits. The siped sole stuck well on icy trails, and considering how much insulation sits between your foot and the ground, the Revels dish out impressive snow feel—they don’t feel all mushy underfoot.

TAGS: LOW BULK, GOOD TRACTIONS 

Koflach Degre Boots

Koflach Degre
Koflach Degre (Inga Hendrickson)

It’s not often that we suggest full-on double-plastic boots for general winter use. But if you’re headed into biting cold and gnarly terrain—say, on a glacier trek—and want to stay warm and dry, the light, tough Degres are surprisingly sensitive and comfortably flexy in the ankle. Heat-mold the removable Intuition liners for a custom fit—in camp, pull them out and they double as booties. Fit runs narrow.

TAGS: PLASTIC SHELL, THERMO-MOLDABLE LINER

Korker IceJack Boots

(Inga Hendrickson)

When you need extra traction, peel off the waterproof and Thinsulate-lined IceJacks’ standard rubber out-sole and slap on the one with carbide-metal ice spikes. It’s no gimmick—swapping soles is a cinch, even with gloved hands. Prop: they kept even an Alaska-based tester warm and dry from minus-40 temps to spring slush. Our only gripe was the so-so ankle support. korkers.com

TAGS: SWAPPABLE SOLE, SPIKES

Adidas Terrex Conrax CP Boots

Adidas Terrex Conrax CP
Adidas Terrex Conrax CP (Inga Hendrickson)

Fully waterproof and well insulated, these speed-laced boots from Adidas have a zippered soft-shell flap that seals out weather and keeps the fit snug without the added bulk of a gusseted tongue. Traction was exceptional on all winter surfaces, as was warmth, even after a winter of wallowing in Alaska snow. Ankle support was impressive, too, even with a 40-pound pack.

TAGS: HIGH CUT, SPEED LACING

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