The Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot ($149.99, 14.9 oz / 422 g each) is a flexible, lightweight (for a snowboot) insulated, waterproof, zero-drop footwear option for minimalist shoe lovers who still want warm feet in cold and snowy conditions.

Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot - stock image
The Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot. Photo: Xero Shoes

The Alpine Snow Boot will look familiar to anyone who’s encountered Xero Shoes in the past. The huarache-inspired straps, zero-drop construction, lightly-lugged outsole, and minimalist mid-sole are all standard Xero Shoes features. But unlike the Mesa Trail (a Xero Shoes trail runner I reviewed here), the Alpine Snow Boot is insulated, waterproof, and high-topped.

This feature-set caught my eye because I just can’t do the whole trail-runner-and-waterproof-sock thing in the wintertime. My feet get too cold. On the other hand, I hate clunky, stiff winter boots just as much as any self-respecting lightweight backpacker does. So I was excited to test The Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot this season because it seemed to offer a compromise—combining warmth and protection from the elements with the dialed-in-fit, flexibility, durability, and spacious toe-box I’ve come to expect from the Xero Shoes.

This is a first look at new gear that recently entered our review pipeline, and hasn't yet been subjected to rigorous field use. Learn more about the types of product reviews we publish.

Features and Specifications

  • weight: 14.9 oz / 422 g (each)
  • wide toe-box
  • 5.5 mm chevron-patterned outsole
  • synthetic upper
  • removable 2 mm heat-reflective insole
  • 200 g polyester insulation
  • water-resistant membrane
  • seam-sealed inner bootie
  • vegan-friendly materials
  • MSRP: $149.99


Fit and Comfort

  • The wide toe-box of the Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot is especially important for me in the winter so I can wear thick socks and still have room to move my toes.
  • Even though it is technically a high-top boot, it has the flexibility and comfort of a trail runner.
  • I’m a fan of the huarache inspired strap system that Xero Shoes employs. It just seems to fit my feet well.

Warmth and Waterproofness

  • The waterproof membrane and inner lining of the Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot kept my feet dry during extended, multi-day hikes and backpacking trips in the snow.
  • It remained waterproof in more slushy, splashy conditions (e.g., when warming conditions on trail caused slush puddles)
  • The 200 g polyester insulation (which is “rated” to -25 F / -32 C) and heat-reflective insole kept my feet warm in ranges from 15 F (-9 C) to 45 F (7 C).

Traction and Lugs

  • I have concerns about the Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot’s traction. Xero Shoes uses a 5.5 mm chevron-patterned outsole here, and it just doesn’t handle slick, icy conditions as well as I’d like.
  • I slipped more than once in transitional areas between snow and ice, and the shoe is particularly bad at handling icy rock.


  • I have roughly 100 miles (161 km) on the Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot. So far the synthetic uppers are holding up against sharp, crusty snow well. I don’t see any noticeable wear on the fabric or separation of the bonded elements.

Ideal Use Cases

  • Snowshoeing with ultralight snowshoes
  • Winter hiking while wearing traction devices

The warmth, waterproofness, flexibility, fit, comfort, and (comparatively) low weight of the Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot have vaulted it to the top of my list when it comes to snowshoeing and winter hiking/backpacking when I know I’ll be wearing traction spikes. My feet are prone to blisters and cold while snowshoeing, and the Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot addresses both these issues.

Less than Ideal Use Cases

  • Hiking on slick, icy surfaces
  • Hiking on steep, hard-packed snow

If you think you’ll be scrambling over ice-slicked granite, look elsewhere. The short lugs and minimalist outer sole are great for comfort and a low center of gravity while wearing snowshoes and traction spikes but are a liability in other commonly encountered winter conditions.


Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot with snowshoes on snow
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot showing the ankle cuff
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot showing instep area
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot side view
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot closeup view of huarache straps integrated with lacing system
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot, side view of both boots
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot showing fuzzy insulated lining, looking down into ankle cuff
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot, closeup of toebox area
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall
Xero Shoes Alpine Snow Boot, bottom view showing chevron lug sole
Photo credit: Andrew Marshall

Where to Buy

DISCLOSURE (Updated November 7, 2019)

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