Are you ready for a long-distance hike in winter? In order to be well prepared and to be able to enjoy the long-distance hike to the fullest, a waterproof, warm hiking boot can’t be missing. Since there are a lot of hiking boots for winter on the market, it is of course not really easy to decide which shoe is the best for you.
That’s why we tested the Alpine from Xero Shoes for you and want to help you with your choice by evaluating the hiking shoe.
Product: Alpine – Women
Color: Rubber Brown / Eggshell
Material: 100 % vegan, polyester fleece
Weight specification according to Xero Shoes for women’s size 37.5: 337 g
Weight self-measured: 405.9 g per shoe
Price (SRP): 180 €
Table of Contents
The Alpine hiking shoe from Xero Shoes was delivered in a classic shoe box, which, in addition to the shoes, also contained an informative flyer about the brand. Opening the box, you immediately notice the appealing modern design of the winter shoe – a beautiful mix of brown upper, white fur, and black and white details.
The whole material feels very soft and the hiking boot including the sole is very elastic and light. When you first try it on, it almost feels like you don’t have a shoe on because of the low weight – definitely unusual for a winter shoe.
Thus, the Alpine is very appealing and convinces with its beautiful design.
Design, material and finishing
The Alpine hiking boot is made from 100 % vegan materials. The outer material is made of a water-repellent membrane and the fully seam-sealed inner boot has an insulated polyester fleece lining. Various black straps hold the soft laces firmly to the hiking boot, and there are two hooks per side at the top for extra support. Plus, the thin rubber sole is not elevated (zero drop), which gives you a natural posture and barefoot feel according to Xero Shoes.
As with the first impression, the design is still very appealing and modern, which does not give the classic massive trekking shoe impression. Therefore, you can easily use the shoe as a normal winter shoe and not only wear it for winter long-distance hiking.
Comfort and fit
Overall, the Alpine hiking boot is very comfortable and pleasant to wear, which is mainly due to the Natural Fit (natural fit). Due to the wide toe of the shoe, the toes have enough space and are not constricted. The midfoot, as well as the heel are both cut a bit narrower, but still comfortable. Xero ShPlus, you can remove the insole if needed, which, according to Xero Shoes gives you even more of a barefoot feel than the already thin sole allows anyway. It can be bent and flexed naturally adapted to the foot.
This barefoot feeling is definitely an unusual feature of a hiking shoe, as the sole is usually thicker and more stable than the one of the Alpine. Here, of course, personal preference plays an important role in whether one values this feature more as an advantage or disadvantage.
Especially for a winter long-distance hike in the snow, we think this is rather no problem, because snow is a soft surface. However, if stones, rocks or similar hard surfaces take up the main part of the long-distance trail, it is rather uncomfortable to feel every single stone in your foot. You should definitely check our trail database before you pursue the long-distance hike to see what snow depth of the trail you can expect at your desired time.
Another option is long-distance hiking with snowshoes. Due to the flat cut and thin sole of the Alpine hiking boot, they fit easily into the straps of the snowshoes in our test. Who is rather sensitive to the feet, won’t have any problem with the barefoot feeling, because the snowshoe acts like a second stable sole.
Furthermore, the lightness of the shoe has struck us positively in terms of wearing comfort, as the Alpine does not hang heavy on the foot and it feels light even with additional weight (as through a snowshoe).
With the cold temperatures in winter, it is of course important to have warm feet and even more when you are out in the cold for days on long-distance hikes. According to Xero Shoes the insulated polyester fleece lining and heat-reflective insole are designed to keep the foot warm. They say the insulation reaches up to -32 °C.
Regardless of the hiking boot worn and the air temperature, the sensation of warmth also depends on the ground temperature and your own influences such as blood circulation in the feet, the socks worn and the movement.
For our tests, we were on the road at different temperatures:
Test 1: -6 °C to -8 °C
Test 2: 2 °C to -1 °C
Test 3: –1 °C to 1°C
Overall, the Alpine held what it promised and the feet did not get cold quickly. During longer breaks we started to shiver slightly, but this was the case all over the body and is normal when the body comes to rest after a certain effort. Once the hike continued, this was no longer a problem. During the third test (a snowshoe hike), the feet did get a bit cold towards the end of the hike, but this was probably due to the snow constantly sticking to the shoes and thus additional cold.
Therefore, we also come to the conclusion that the Alpine keeps the feet warm in cold temperatures in winter, but the duration always depends on movement, personal perception of cold and external influences.
Sole grip, stability and support
As already mentioned in the comfort section, the so-called FeelTrue® rubber sole of the hiking boot is very thin and elastic. In addition, according to Xero Shoes, the lug-like tread should provide a secure grip and has a warranty of 5000 km. Our tests have convinced us, because due to the special profile, our test person almost did not slip in the snow and had a secure grip. Both uphill and downhill steps could be set safely. Only on slippery surfaces like ice did the tester slip a bit, but that would probably be the case with almost any shoe.
According to Xero Shoes, the flat design of the sole gives you more balance and mobility, and we agree here as well. However, we believe that mobility can also have its disabilities. Together with the very soft material of the entire hiking boot, it lacks a bit of stability, which is needed for demanding long-distance hikes with many meters of altitude or uneven ground. Here you run the risk of easily bending over and not having a secure grip. Nevertheless, we don’t think this is a problem for easy long-distance hikes without much incline and with relatively flat terrain.
Furthermore, we think that the tip of the Alpine should possibly be a little harder to offer the foot more protection from stones and rocks. When hiking through deep snow, sometimes you don’t know if there might be a rock hiding under a hood of snow and you might bump into it. With the soft material of the Alpine, this can be very painful.
Waterproofing and wetness protection
A clear advantage of the Alpine is the promised wetness protection. Thus, the water-repellent membrane of the upper material should not only keep the foot warm, but also dry. This was confirmed in all tests and the tester’s feet always stayed dry, even when hiking through deep snow or snowshoeing.
Weight and sizing
As already mentioned, the Alpine is a very light hiking boot for winter. Although our measurement with a professional scale showed 405.9 g per shoe, which is slightly more than the specified 337 g per shoe for the same size. Still, the weight is very light and it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a classic hiking boot.
Our tester wore a 37.5, but overall the Alpine is available in sizes from 35.5 to 42.5 for women. The Alpine from Xero Shoes is also available for men and here it comes in sizes 39.5 to 48.
If you are convinced by the Alpine, you can of course order the hiking boot not only in brown (even if we like this design very much 😉). Women can choose between six different colors. Besides the tested brown (Rubber Brown / Eggshell), there are also Navy / Black, Frost Gray / White (without trees), Frost (with trees), Black (without trees), Black (with trees) available.
Men have a choice of five different colors: Asphalt / Black, Brown / Navy, Sage, Black (without trees), Black (with trees). Even with the same color, however, the male design is kept slightly darker than the women’s design. For example, the lining is black, while for ladies it is white. In addition, other accents such as the sole or the trees are kept dark to black in the men’s design and white again for ladies.
The Alpine from Xero Shoes is definitely an uncommon hiking boot for winter. Especially the thin sole, elasticity and design are unique and have their advantages and disadvantages. In our opinion, the personal preference for the barefoot feeling plays a special role here, whether you like the shoe or not. Apart from that, the moisture protection makes it perfectly usable especially for easy hikes in the snow with a slight incline and level ground as well as for snowshoe hikes. Due to the modern design, you can then of course still wear it for normal walks or in everyday life.
However, if you are planning a demanding long-distance hike (with a lot of luggage), the Alpine may not offer enough protection and support and you should go for a more stable hiking boot.