La Sportiva Glacier
La Sportiva Glacier (courtesy, REI)

Which are the most watertight boots?

Could you recommend some boots that are waterproof and comfortable? Sometimes it snows like heck and I don't want my feet getting wet and/or cold. I also diabetic so taking care of my feet is imperative. Jimmy New York City

La Sportiva Glacier

So far as I’m concerned, the only really “waterproof” boots around are akin to a rubber Wellington-style boot. But they’re not very practical for hiking. Just about any other boot, with a waterproof liner or not, is going to be prone to over-topping—”wetting out” of the surface, which in turn inhibits breathability. Plus there’s that extra wetness caused by perspiration (repeat after me: boots with waterproof-breathable liners cannot possibly be as breathable as a similar boot without the liner).

La Sportiva Glacier La Sportiva Glacier

With all that, I simply believe the best boot for you and your feet will be a high-quality, all-leather boot that doesn’t have a waterproof-breathable liner. In the long run, your feet will be drier and warmer. Such a boot might be the Scarpa SL M3 ($230;, a classic Italian-made hiking boot with beautiful one-piece, 2.9-millimeter leather. For all intents and purposes, it’s waterproof out of the box, and reasonable care and treatment with a leather conditioner and waterproofer will keep it that way. Plus its Cambrelle liner is comfortable and able to slurp up any extra moisture. La Sportiva’s Glacier ($225; is another rugged, all-leather boot that’s durable, as water-resistant as any boot out there, and comfortable (for a heavy-duty boot, that is).

If you really, really want a waterproof-breathable bootie, then Raichle’s Mountain Peak XT GTX ($200; is the ticket—an all-leather boot complete with a Gore-Tex liner.

For winter use—that is, extended trips in snowy conditions—you’ll need to add some insulation. The Asolo Route ($260; is sort of a light winter mountaineering boot that’s waterproof and warm. Or, there’s The North Face’s Lifty GTX ($130;, which has PrimaLoft insulation and is great for tromping around town in the snow or hiking the hills on a winter day.

For more of the best boots on the shelves, check out Outside Online’s Boots Buying Guide.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: courtesy, REI