Winter has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest, which means it’s winter hiking boots season! I’ve officially switched out my spring/summer/fall hiking gear for my favorite winter hiking gear. This includes everything from the pack I use and my clothing layering system to the shoes I wear on trail. Breaking out my winter hiking gear including my winter hiking boots also means I get to use my brand-new snowshoes!

A lot of people choose not to hike during the winter months because of the less-than-ideal conditions, BUT if you have the right gear, you can hike year-round safely and comfortably. In addition to always packing out the 10 Essentials, your winter hiking gear should also include more insulation or clothing layers, waterproof outerwear, snow baskets on your trekking poles, a slightly larger pack to accommodate the extra gear, a beefier pair of shoes to help keep your feet warm and dry and a warm drink.

Full Disclaimer: Even though I’m a Salomon ambassador who receives free Salomon gear throughout the year, I decided to buy the Vaya Powders myself instead of having them gifted to me by Salomon.

The Vaya Powders (or if you’re looking for them on the Salomon website, they’re officially called the Salomon Vaya Powder Thinsulate ClimaSalomon Waterproof or the Salomon Vaya Powder TS CSWP) are a lightweight, insulated, women-specific winter boot that’s built for snow and ice. They sounded like they’d be the perfect hiking boot for snowshoeing so I had to check them out. Now that I’ve had the Vaya Powders for over a month and have taken them on a few different snowshoeing adventures, I wanted to share with you eight reasons why the Salomon Vaya Powder hiking boots are my favorite winter hiking shoes to snowshoe in this winter.

Warm Insulation

The TS in the name stands for Thinsulate. The Vaya Powders are insulated with a lightweight, synthetic water resistant 400g Thinsulate insulation which helps keep the heat inside the shoe resulting in warm feet whether you’re hiking, snowshoeing or standing around outside in a ski resort parking lot

True To Size

The Vaya Powders are designed specifically for a woman’s foot and run true to size. Normally when I’m long distance hiking or thru-hiking, I’ll size my shoes up at least a whole size to allow for my feet to swell when putting on the miles. Typically, when I’m not hiking big miles, my foot stays anywhere from an 8.5 to a size 9 shoe. I got my Vaya Powders in a size 9 and there’s still plenty of room to accommodate the thickness of my winter socks. Also, since I’m snowshoeing in these boots, I won’t be putting in as many miles a day as I would if I were long distance or the-hiking, which means my feet wont swell as much or need the extra room inside to spread out. The Vaya Powders in a size 9 have been a perfect fit for my winter foot so far this season.

Durable For Winter Conditions

The bottom of the Vaya Powder hiking boots has a Contagrip outsole, which makes this shoe super grippy in winter conditions like rain, snow and ice. The CSWP stands for ClimaSalomon Waterproof, which means the Vaya Powders have a waterproof membrane on the inside of the boot, resulting in being able to do an incredible job of keeping my feet dry, even when hiking in knee to thigh-deep snow.

Protective Toecap

The protective toecap consists of a lightweight rubber material over the toe area, which is perfect for someone like me who’s always stubbing my toes on rocks and tree roots. The first sign of damage on my shoes usually is in the toe area from stubbing my toes repeatedly out on trail. This nice protective toecap will easily help extend the life of my shoes, which means I’ll be able to rock these for multiple seasons.

Soft Down Collar

The soft down collar is designed to help keep the snow and cold air out. The material easily adapts to your calf size, creating an effective barrier between your foot and the outside cold air and snow. Pair the Vaya Powders with a set of waterproof, below the knee gaiters and your feet and legs will remain warm and dry in any winter condition out on trail.

They’re Comfortable

No need to break these in. These are ready to wear right out of the box. The nice cushiony sole on the inside, underneath the foot helps absorb the shock from the constant pounding of hiking or walking on a hard surface, like rocks, ice and compact snow.

They’re Lightweight

My first impression of the Vaya Powders when I pulled them out of the box was how light they are. They’re super lightweight, even with being loaded with features like having insulation, a beefy bottom and the soft down collar. When you’re out snowshoeing, the last thing you want is to have extra weight on your feet. The Vaya Powders are so light, you almost feel like you’re floating on top of your snowshoes, which I love!

They Look Good

I know you should never judge a shoe by what it looks like, which is why I saved this feature for last. The Vaya Powders are a solid, women’s specific winter boot that can easily withstand any type of winter condition. On top of being loaded with all of the cool and effective features, they’re also really cute. They come in two colors: Lead/Lunar Rock/Stormy Weather, which is a lighter, creamy color and Ebony/Stormy Weather/Black, which is the color I got mine in.

The Salomon Vaya Powder winter hiking boots will run you $160, not exactly the cheapest boots on the market, but if you’re looking for a warm, comfortable, lightweight, high quality winter hiking boot that can withstand tough winter conditions, will last multiple seasons AND look good both on trail and in town, these very well could be your new favorite winter hiking shoes too.

The Salomon Vaya Powders are available for purchase on the Salomon website. Salomon offers free shipping for all orders placed through their website.

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