Hanwag Banks Winter GTX review: Lightweight, super cosy, but not for hardcore hikes

The Hanwag Banks Winter GTX is a cold-weather version of a staple hiking boot design. Here's our full review

Hanwag Banks Winter GTX review
(Image credit: Mark Mayne)
T3 Verdict

The Hanwag Banks Winter GTX is a fantastic hiking boot for low-level adventures. The traditional hiker includes a variety of winter-specific technical trickery that'll keep even the coldest toes absolutely toasty in the chilliest weather.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Super warm and lightweight

  • +

    Good grip and ankle support

  • +

    Innovative design for all occasions

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Too soft for the winter hills

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The Hanwag Banks GTX would be called a 'platform' in the tech world, a boot design that's been extensively iterated over the years, and now tweaked to fill specialist niches – in this case, winter walking, giving rise to this, the Hanwag Banks Winter GTX. The core of this offering is lightweight warmth, as well as cutting-edge sole technology to keep your feet firmly planted, which with a host of smaller tweaks adds up to a compelling winter walking package. 

It's available to buy now with a UK RRP of £225, but how do these compare to the rest of the best hiking boots or the best women's hiking boots around right now? Read on for our full Hanwag Banks Winter GTX review. 

Hanwag Banks Winter GTX review: Design

The design of the Hanwag Banks Winter GTX could easily be described as being on the pedestrian side, but Hanwag have loaded in some key elements to add winter value, upping the ante from the solid-but-traditional Hanwag Banks models. 

The most obvious of these additions is the higher-than-normal ankle, upping warmth, support and protection from spindrift – all vital additions – while the felt-esque facing on the synthetic insulation really looks the part. As a result of this synthetic ankle section, the boot is super-flexible and ready to rock straight out of the box, so no tedious wearing in routines are needed. Less obviously, that traditional-looking Vibram sole is spiced up with Vibram's Icetrek technology (visible to the eye as slight sparkle in the rubber), which increases grip substantially on icy surfaces. 

A completely-hidden extra is the aluminum layer-insulated footbed, which insulates down to  -15°C, and although testing conditions didn't dip below minus 3-ish, the technology definitely works. Indeed, using reflective aluminum and titanium surfaces to prevent heat loss has been a staple in high-altitude mountaineering boots and equipment for decades.

Hanwag Banks Winter GTX: Performance and comfort

The Hanwag Banks Winter GTX is a joy to wear, with few potential hotspots inside the insanely plush lining (Gore-Tex Partelana), plus a standard mountain-boot style lacing system that leaves very little to chance. Although an overly plush lining can often lead to very warm/sweaty feet, the combination of Gore membrane with additional warm lining (80% polyester / 20% wool) works well to fend off the dreaded damp, a vital element for winter comfort. The traditional lines of the boot mean there's little to think about here, just lace up and stride off on your winter adventure. 

The only real caveat here is that the Hanwag Banks Winter GTX has gone for flexibility and light weight (700g a boot), rather than the rigidity and weight you might encounter in a more technical winter boot. This means that for low-level walking and scrambling about on the odd boulder they're perfect, but for longer trips into more mountainous terrain they'll begin to struggle – especially on steeper more precarious aspects or snowy areas. 

Should I buy the Hanwag Banks Winter GTX hiking boots?

Overall, there's lots to like about the Hanwag Banks Winter GTX hiking boots, from the winterised materials to the solid boot design underneath. The overall design is low-key enough to be useful in seeing off serious urban weather, as well as practical enough to venture out onto the trails and make the most of short winter sunshine hours. The only downside is that this is a winter boot for low-level adventures only, in spite of the impressive warmth and good ankle support on offer. 

Below you'll find the best current prices on the men's and women's versions.

Mark Mayne

Mark Mayne has been covering tech, gadgets and outdoor innovation for longer than he can remember. A keen climber, mountaineer and scuba diver, he is also a dedicated weather enthusiast and flapjack consumption expert.