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Shoe/boot suggestions for walking in the snow

Over the past couple of months, I have been walking 2-3 miles every day through my neighborhood. I am wanting to keep up with the outdoor walking during the snowy winter months but I have no clue what shoe or boot to buy that will give me warmth; traction for snowy, slushy, and maybe icy conditions; but still feel lightweight and support my feet as I walk. What would you recommend?

5 Replies

great topic @jbe0423 , I also try to walk daily in my neighborhood.

No matter what you find comfortable for walking shoes, I highly recommend looking at getting some sort of traction device you can whip on when it looks slippery.

They slip on pretty easily and come in a wide range of 'gripping' ability.

I'm using the katoola micro spikes right now, because they can be used on both hard snow and ice while backpacking.

But for sidewalk/street use there has to be a bit more than just 'black ice', like those clumps of snow/ice you get when the sun starts to come out right after a big snow and re-freeze. (my reference is only coastal Virginia sidewalk snow).

For winter walks, snow storm and post snow storm, I use my sorrels (about the only time of year I can wear them down here), or my hiking boots.  I won't do my usual 5 miles with the sorrels.

Anyway, again, I highly recommend you take a look at the traction devices.

Happy Trails!


REI Member Since 1979

+1 re traction devices. If it's icy underfoot, don't leave home without them.

As for best boots or shoes to use with them, a lot depends on your climate. In areas where the temperature fluctuates near the freezing point a pair of waterproof boots will do a lot to keep your feet dry and warm.

In colder areas that tend to stay relatively dry insulated boots may be more important.

In deep snow areas a pair of gaiters may be helpful in keeping snow out of your boots.

If you're going to buy boots specifically for winter use then in addition to looking at built-in insulation also consider getting a size that's a bit looser fitting than you might get for summer use. The looser fit will help keep your feet warmer by leaving more air for insulation and/or allow you to use thicker socks.

Something new are boots with Arctic Grip soles. These soles are designed to add grip on icy and wet surfaces. I have no experience with them so can't comment on how effective they are meeting their claims. REI offers a wide selection. What concerns me is that half of them are in the Outlet store. And while they generally get good ratings, the number of ratings is small. Is any of that an indication that they're not all they're cracked up to be?


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@jbe0423 this is a great question, and well-timed as the weather is starting to shift in many places across the country! This is also a somewhat tricky one, because most walking/running shoes aren't necessarily designed for snow/slush and especially ice. That said, there are a few models that include spikes in the soles (ex: Salomon Snowspike and Spikecross, unfortunately in men's sizes only for now) for exactly those types of conditions. As @Philreedshikes suggests, if you think ice is going to be an issue, we'd agree that you might consider a true traction device, like the Kahtoola NANOspikes.

As you think about shoes, waterproof will be a must! And then you'll want to decide if insulated is also important - depending on the temperatures where you're walking, an insulated shoe/boot will either be welcomed or might be too warm. On, you can search for waterproof shoes and/or insulated shoes - you might consider a waterproof trail running shoe as they will provide good traction with the deeper lugs on the soles which can dig in a bit to the snow/slush you describe. And if you go with a shoe, but anticipate deeper snow accumulations, you might consider a gaiter!

Finally, if you are able, because footwear requires a pretty specific fit, we'd recommend either visiting your local REI store or setting up a free virtual outfitting appointment.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

@REI-JenK, ooh great idea. 

Next snow, I'm going to try my trail runners, which are the opposite of waterproof (very fast drying after creek crossings), with waterproof socks and gators, and spikes!

And see how that works out.


REI Member Since 1979

@Philreedshikes we'd love an update when you test it out! One downside of the deeper lugs is that they can get packed up with snow, which then gets in the way the traction - all depends on the consistency of the snow you're venturing out it...that said, the spikes should help!

We do know you love your waterproof socks!!!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.