It is in my humble opinion that comfort and safety in the outdoors starts with your feet — your boots, to be precise. A solid hiking boot provides traction on uneven terrain, stability as you carry a full pack and protection from the elements.

In the winter, when temperatures drop and the snow is deep, a reliable pair of cold weather boots can be a Godsend. If it’s time to replace your worn winter boots or you’re just in the market for your first pair, take a look at 4 of 2016’s top winter hiking boots.

Keen Durand Polar ($150)

keen boot

Made by popular brand, Keen, the Durand Polar is an insulated waterproof, high-cut boot that also features a wool footbed to add more warmth to your feet, even when the temperatures are well below freezing. The Durand also boasts the signature bulky upper and sturdy toe bumper to help protect against scrapes and scuffs. Other features include a removable thermal heat shield footbed and a rubber outsole designed to gain a sturdy grip on ice and snow.

Merrell Moab Polar ($95)

merrell

Merrell’s Moab Polar boots were designed to keep you warm and dry in the harshest conditions that winter can throw at you. Their tough synthetic sole is flexible enough to handle rocky terrain, but it’s also tough enough to keep you stable on snow or ice. The Moab Polar features an attractive suede upper that’s insulating and waterproof to keep out the frigid winter. For those hikers looking for a rugged, stable winter boot for treks in deep snow, it’s hard to do better than the Moab Polar.

Merrell Women’s Snowbound Mid ($95)

snowbound

Merrell’s Snowbound women’s boot offers heat retaining, quick dry fleece lining and a built-in air cushion in the heel for added shock absorption, even on longer winter hikes over rough terrain. You’ll also welcome the Snowbound’s waterproof shell and solid EVA frame that provides traction and stability on slick surfaces. Best of all, the Snowbound will keep you warm when the mercury drops to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vasque Snow Junkie ($130)

snowjunkie

Designed by snow lovers, for snow lovers, the Snow Junkie earns its moniker and then some. Ideal for snowshoeing and hiking, these boots are stacked with waterproofing and insulation features, without the bulky excess weight that such traits often bring. This lightweight approach allows you keep trekking through the powder without feeling bogged down by your boots.  through the winter without anything holding you back. The Snow Junkie also features a durable rubber toe cap to protect your from rocks and hidden dangers, a D-ring for gaiters and a fleece collar.

Photo credit: Flickr