Hiking and back packing boots are one of the most important gear choices that you can ever make. They largely determine the comfort and quality of your time when you’re out there navigating through the trails. As it turns out, though, just as there are different kinds of outdoor conditions, so are hiking boots.
There are some which are specifically designed for rocky terrain while others mainly focus on merging style with agility. Whichever way you look at it, choosing the right pair of boots is a delicate balancing act. It takes many years of experience to cut to the chase and get the details that really matter. Fortunately, for you, we know quite a few things about the best hiking boots for men and women and are willing to share some of them with you.
So, in the next few lines, we’ll talk about
- The top boot options available for you
- Pros and cons of each pair
- Factors to consider in choosing your hiking footwear
- Our thoughts on which hiking boots offer the best deal
Best Hiking Boots for Men & Women – Update List
Whether you’re a backpacker who’s looking to cut down on their weight or are planning to take on a rugged terrain, finding quality boots can significantly transform your bush adventures. Here’s a run-down of some top picks from us.
|01||Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boots||–||–|
|02||Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Boot||–||–|
|03||Vasque Talus Trek Hiking Boot||–||–|
|04||Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Shoe||–||–|
|05||KEEN Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot||–||–|
|06||Vasque St. Elias Gore-Tex Boot||–||–|
|07||SCARPA Zodiac Plus GTX Boot||–||–|
|08||Salewa Mountain Trainer GTX Boot||–||–|
|09||La Sportiva Core High GTX Boot||–||–|
|10||Altra Lone Peak 3 Neo Shoes||–||–|
1. Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boots
The best pair of hiking boots should give you the peace of mind and confidence you need prior to embarking on your hiking expedition. One boot that promises to offer the best performance is the Quest 4D 3 GTX Boots from Salomon brand. The shoe is an all-around workhorse that claims to offer plenty of support and protection for all your backpacking treks.
In addition to this, the shoe features a rugged look to ensure it holds up very well in extreme conditions. The upper boasts Nubuck leather/textile construction that is both waterproof and breathable- a combination that is not easy to achieve. When it comes to foot protection against obstacles on the trail, this is yet another area this footwear stands out. This is all thanks to its ankle-height design along with the protective rubber around the toe and heel area.
What’s more? It boasts a well-thought-out lacing system with solidly built eyelets to help you lock your feet in place by providing a snug fit. On top of this, it has a roomy toe box to accommodate different kinds of feet and protect you from painful blisters. For all-day comfort, the boot has extra padding along the tongue and around the ankle. The tongue also prevents debris and rocks from entering the shoe.
Further, is equipped with a durable rubber outsole with a few lugs that provides excellent grip and stability even in the slipperiest of conditions. The women’s pair of boot comes with unique teak Tibetan red marks which give it a slight, feminine character. On the other hand, the male version which is a little heavier is mainly available in Wren/green sulphur and Phantom/black shade color.
- checkWater resistant construction
- checkIncludes a collapsing water bottle
- checkComfortable for light to moderate hiking expeditions
- checkKeeps your feet warm and dry
- check At 2lbs it’s a bit heavy
2. Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Boot
When it comes to hiking through extremely tough conditions, the Merrell has designed a durable hiking boot that delivers the highest level of comfort, stability, and protection. Backpackers and hikers alike will also appreciate the boot’s low price and versatility. With a Vibram TC5 rubber outsole, the shoe boasts decent all-around grip over different terrains. The sole also features 5mm lugs on the tread for superior traction.
Further, the boot comes with a Merrell air cushioning in the heel area to ensure adequate underfoot protection and stability. In addition to this, it is considered to be truly comfortable right-out-of-the-box thanks to its contoured footbed made of EVA material with added heel support. It also has a cushioned tongue and collar that contribute to great comfort during those long hiking expeditions. In addition, the footwear includes a molded arch shank for extra stability and support especially if you have high arches
Moving on, the Merrell Moab 2 boot upper is crafted from suede leather and mesh material to ensure your feet are well protected from all elements. The mesh construction allows for enhanced breathability while at the same time ensuring the shoe dries quickly. To top it all, the shoe utilizes a unique M-Select DRY technology to seal out water and allow moisture escape in order to ensure your feet stay dry. As if that’s not enough, it also comes with a rubber cap for extra toe protection against rocks and debris.
What’s more? A pair of these boots for men weighs in at only 2 pounds but the women’s model is slightly lighter in weight. Also, when it comes to color options and design, the women’s boot has a more super stylish look.
- check Excellent foot protection
- checkPadded tongue keeps debris out
- checkSilicon bands provide a secure fit
- checkGreat build quality
- check Not completely waterproof
- check Inconsistent sizing issues
3. Vasque Talus Trek Hiking Boot
Vasque is committed to producing functional footwear which exceeds industry standards and this is evident in their latest boot, the Talus Trek. The boot’s upper boasts a combination of leather and synthetic material to ensure long-lasting performance and a great level of comfort. Therefore, you can use it for just about any adventure and any time of the year without worrying that it might not hold up for long. Its upper also features a polyamide mesh for enhanced breathability, especially in warm conditions.
Guess what else? The boot includes a lightweight and softer EVA midsole to provide you with industry’s best underfoot comfort and excellent maneuverability on the trail. For improved protection and stability on very rocky trails, it has a rubber sidewall-wrap around the toe area. It also features a solid lacing system with simple and speed-lace hardware to help you achieve a snug fit and keep debris out.
Additionally, the Vasque Talus Trek shoe is equipped with a Vibram Nuasi outsole that uses multi-directional lugs to provide you with great trail traction for anything from wet rocks to uneven surfaces. To top it all off, it boasts an UltraDry membrane and wicking mesh liner meant to easily release any water or excessive moisture that may find its way into your feet. Another feature worth mentioning is its dual-density footbed that has good shock absorption and adds an extra layer of protection against rocky trails.
While the men’s boot is available in three color options, the women’s boot comes in two designs including gargoyle (with damson shades) and slate brown (with balsam green shades) for a feminine look.
- checkOffers long-lasting comfort
- checkTough and durable
- checkGreat foot protection
- checkSoles are extremely grippy on wet and rocky surfaces
- check Not wide enough around the toe box area
4. Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Shoe
Salomon is known for producing top quality boots so it is no surprise to see another model from this brand on the list. The X Ultra 3 GTX is a lightweight trail running and hiking shoe packed with many modern features to enhance your trail experience. Like with most hiking shoes, it features a rubber outsole but Salomon actually redesigned this boot’s sole for improved traction when headed downhill. It boasts two different and durable types of rubber that have been strategically placed on the sole for extra intense grip.
Along with great traction and support, durability is another area where this shoe performs really well. The upper has been reinforced with leather and synthetic material to protect the shoe from tears and provide you with long-lasting performance. This unique construction also makes the boot waterproof, breathable and comfortable to wear all day long. And for added peace of mind, Salomon retails the footwear with a two-year limited warranty.
Additionally, it utilizes Salomon’s unique quick lacing system that is easy to use and allows you to customize the shoe for your feet. The lacing system will also help keep out debris and dirt. On top of that, it features a low-profile and flexible midsole with foam cushioning for superior comfort especially when walking through rocky trails.
Although the men’s and women’s boot share almost the same features, they differ a little bit. For example, the X Ultra 3 Women’s GTX Shoe features an asymmetric chassis that can only accommodate a woman’s feet to help maximize cushioning and minimize fatigue. The men’s boot, on the other hand, has an advanced chassis for stabilizing your heel.
- checkSolid toe and heel protection
- checkLightweight performance
- checkVersatile enough for everyday use
- checkAvailable in plenty of color options
- check Runs large in size
- check The toe box seems too roomy
5. KEEN Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot
For stylish and super comfortable footwear that can protect your feet in tough outdoor conditions, you should consider this Targhee II Mid boot. It is a little bit pricey but you are going to appreciate the boot’s innovative features. To start with, it uses KEEN.DRY technology to keep water out of the shoe and your feet dry. On top of that, the boot boasts a breathable lining made of durable leather that delivers all-day comfort by allowing your feet to breathe freely.
Further, it features an ESS shank designed to provide you with excellent torsional stability, cushioning and a secure ride. This feature comes in handy for hikers with high arches. In addition to this, the footwear is equipped with a padded collar and tongue for extra comfort. Also, it has two pull-on loops at the rear and front as well as a secure ghillie lacing system that makes putting on and off the shoes easy.
You know what else? The Targhee II Mid boot comes with a rubber outsole featuring 4mm multidirectional lugs on the tread to ensure ample traction over most terrains. Its upper, on the other hand, boats waterproof Nubuck leather that conforms to the shape of your foot to offer superior support and durability. Additionally, its mid-cut height design provides great ankle support when hiking over mountaintops or through canyons.
When it comes to women’s pair of boot, it boasts dual-density removable EVA footbed for added comfort level while the men’s just has a molded EVA midsole. The men’s boot is also a little wider compared to their ladies counterpart.
- checkIncludes a protective toe cap
- checkGreat arch support
- checkLightweight and waterproof construction
- checkComfortable to wear right out of the box
- check Runs a half size large than normal size
6. Vasque St. Elias Gore-Tex Boot
This is a mid-priced hiking boot designed to offer heavy-duty backpacking performance while at the same time being light in weight. The most impressive thing about the boot is how Vasque has managed to achieve a balance between comfort and support. It is equipped with A.S.E midsole and cushioning pods made of EVA material to offer you enough stability and support especially when hiking on very rugged terrains. The midsole is also abrasion resistance which makes the shoe even more durable.
Additionally, the footwear comes with Vasque’s signature Frontier Vibram rubber outsole that is molded using XSTrek compound for lightweight performance. Thanks to the unique construction, the sole has excellent shock absorption and offers your feet a secure grip when walking on uneven terrains. In addition to this, it spots a TPU midfoot stabilizer that lets you any sort of trail with ease.
Moving on, the St. Elias Gore-Tex Boot includes a 2.3mm Nubuck leather upper construction that is not only waterproof but also reasonably flexible and very nimble. This together with a metal lacing hardware and stitch-in molded toe cap ensures the longevity of the boot. Its GORE-TEX construction, on the other hand, makes the footwear waterproof and keeps the foot dry.
As if that’s not enough, it features a dual-density footbed that conforms to the shape of your feet to offer you extra support and cushioning. Further, it boasts a 1.75-inch heel designed to maximize efficiency when walking and provides stability. However, while the women’s boot has a shaft measuring around 5-inches from the arch, the men’s boot is around 6-inches for long-hours comfort.
- checkMidsole delivers excellent comfort
- checkTough construction
- checkGreat waterproofing
- checkGrips nicely on wet and slippery surfaces
- check Laces keep getting untied
- check A little bit on the narrower side
7. SCARPA Zodiac Plus GTX Boot
SCARPA brand has been making performance footwear for mountaineering, climbing, trail-running, skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities for a long time. The brand prides itself on producing reliable hiking boots for both men and women and the Zodiac Plus GTX Boot is a proof to that. Perhaps one of the best features of the shoe is its midsole that boasts a blend of multi-density lightweight EVA and PU materials. This unique construction ensures optimal protection and performance even after walking hundreds of miles.
Featuring a combination of textile and leather upper, SCARPA claims this boot will provide you with long-term durability and high performance. Thanks to the durable construction, it can handle a wide variety of challenging conditions including snowy and rocky trails. On top of that, the upper uses Outdry technology for waterproof protection. It also features a Gore-Tex membrane to ensure optimal breathability even when wearing thick socks in hot conditions.
What’s more? Like with most hiking boots, this too is equipped with a rubber outsole. And not just any rubber but the Vibram Drumlin compound for enhanced traction even on slimy rocks and the edges. In addition, the soles have stiff and widely spaced lugs to help keep mud and other debris from getting stuck in the tread and interfere with the boot’s traction.
Last but not least, the boot features a rubber rand on the toe box to provide the forefoot with extra protection against pointy and sharp rocks. Besides, it spots asymmetric lacing system and is compatible with semi-automatic crampon that allows for a precise fit. However, when it comes to the shaft height, the men’s boot is 6-inches while its women counterpart is only 5.5-inches from the arch. The women’s Zodiac Plus GTX also has a sock-fit construction for superior fit and comfort.
- checkOffers great torsional stability
- checkExcellent protection against dirt, rocks, and snow
- checkReduces pressure points
- checkHigh-quality craftsmanship
- check Lacing system wears very quickly
8. Salewa Mountain Trainer GTX Boot
According to different reviews, the Mountain Trainer GTX from Salewa brand has all the bells and whistles that the best pair of hiking boot can possibly have. Sure, the shoe clocks in at the higher price range but it is definitely worth every penny thanks to its high-quality craftsmanship. For starters, its upper boasts a blend of suede leather and synthetic material to help you combat different terrains. Also, the boot features a rugged look and can take a battering from you and the surroundings.
In addition to this, the footwear has a unique construction design that offers improved comfort and support in the ankle. In fact, it is designed to adapt to the ankle right from day one. A 3F EVO system that is integrated into the heel also comes in handy to offer precise heel cradling and firm support for extended periods of exploring the outdoors.
Moreover, the boot is equipped with a multi-fit footbed with interchangeable layers to provide you with a customizable fit based on the unique shape of your feet. Further, it incorporates a Gore-Tex fabric within its lining to provide you with industry’s best waterproofing without sacrificing breathability. As if that’s not enough, the footwear includes a 360-degree rubber rand garnishing the upper to deliver increased protection on a range of terrains.
Thanks to its Vibram Alpine outsole that features differing lug patterns for enhanced grip, you can confidently walk on rocky, slippery and uneven terrain with so much ease. Another feature worth mentioning is its ortholite sock liner embedded with the midsole to offer you long-term comfort and high performance. Additionally, the women’s boot is available in over 10 different sizes whereas the men’s come in just five sizes to choose from.
- checkLacing system allows you to customize the fit
- checkOffers 100% blister-free guarantee
- checkUses Cleansport NXT technology to eliminate bad odors
- checkAbrasion resistant and durable construction
- check Stiff build
- check Only available in one color option
9. La Sportiva Core High GTX Boot
Whether you are a serious hiker, backpacker, mountaineer or just a backcountry athlete, you will appreciate this carefully made high-top boot. It is pretty light in weight and delivers great comfort even after long hours or days on the trail. When it comes to foot support, this is an area where the shoe really stands out thanks to its over-the-ankle design and STB technology. This technology works by stabilizing the foot and providing excellent locked-down secure fit for extra support during those high mileage hiking trips.
You know what else? Well, the La Sportiva Core GTX is crafted from highly durable synthetic materials that do a great job of minimizing fatigue and cutting weight. Moreover, the materials are extremely breathable and durable to ensure long-lasting performance. In addition to this, the boot boasts ultra-light AirMesh fabrics and uses Nano-Cell technology to control moisture and keep your foot cool and dry during hot days. The technology is also reported to prevent blisters.
Moreover, it is equipped with waterproof Gore-Tex Surround protection technology which does a good job of keeping you dry and comfortable even during rainy days. Of course, this is regardless of the weather conditions. For a snug and customized fit, the boot utilizes a decent lacing system to help keep it in place.
Another outstanding feature of the footwear is its Vibram Nano outsole that boasts a multi-directional tread. In addition, there’s an Impact Brake system that adds to your stability and traction even as you navigate through a perilous outback. Also, the men’s boot comes in three color options but the women’s is available in a single color and is relatively lighter in weight.
- checkIncludes EVA/TPU compression-molded inserts
- checkPerfect for long-distance hiking expeditions
- checkSturdy and durable for those rugged hikes
- checkNot too narrow or too wide
- check For the price, it has little arch support
10. Altra Lone Peak 3 Neo Shoes
The best pair of hiking boots should give you the confidence to conquer just about anything that comes in your way and let you enjoy the trails. It does not matter whether you are just a trail runner or an avid thru-hiker; the Lone Peak 3 Neo boot claims it can handle nearly everything thrown at it while you are out there hiking. But does it really live up to all its claims? Let’s find out.
To start with, the boot comes with a breathable, synthetic upper mesh that keeps your feet dry. As such, the footwear is perfect for any kind of weather. To top it up, it has a mid-height design for increased ankle support and surefootedness especially while running. What’s more? The Lone Peak 3 Neo includes a MaxTrac rubber outsole with TrailClaw-designed lugs for serious grip in slippery, muddy, rocky and steep grounds. Moreover, it is securely fastened using a lace closure that also helps keep you debris-free.
For ultimate comfort when trail racing, hiking or fastpacking, the footwear comes with a 5mm contour footbed that offers great cushioning. Therefore, with this boot, you can say goodbye to blistered and tired feet. Of course, that also means you can enjoy your outdoor trips even more while worrying less about fatigue.
On top of that this all-weather boot includes a durable toe cap to provide you with improved toe protection against any form of external impact. Best of all, the shoe comes with a FootShape toe-box along with a cushioned drop platform to ensure natural foot positioning. On top of that, the women’s boot features the brand’s Fit4Her technology that focuses on the unique needs of ladies by delivering a comfortable and unobstructed fit.
- checkOffers unbeatable comfort
- checkGaiterTrap technology for weather protection
- checkLugs are extremely durable and grippy
- checkGreat ankle support
- check It is not completely waterproof
- check List Not true to size
11. Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift GTX Shoes
If you are looking for an all-around hiking boot that offers great comfort during those difficult treks, Adidas is certainly a brand worth mulling over. Their Terrex Swift GTX claims to offer overall protection and comfort without breaking the bank. It is made primarily out of lightweight and breathable synthetic and mesh material to keep your feet dry and free of blisters. The material also ensures the shoe is able to stand up to repeated crapes and scuffs for long-lasting performance.
Further, the boot’s midsole is equipped with an Adiprene insert to shield your feet from impact with jagged rocks and other protrusions on the trail. Also, the insert offers a good deal of comfort, flexibility and shock absorption while moving over rough terrain. In addition to this, it boasts a Gore-Tex extended lining that has great waterproofing properties. While not fully waterproof, the footwear does provide a great deal of water resistance as long as it is not submerged in water for long.
Moving on, it features a Traxion outsole made of high-traction rubber to provide you with superior grip on rugged, wet and steep terrains. The sole also has grooves in their tread to increase your grip on the trail. Also, its mid-cut design offers just the right amount of ankle support and protection during long hikes.
You know what else? The shoe comes with a speed laces to provide you with a customizable fit and make it very easy to put them on and off. Weighing less than 2 pounds, the boot is extremely light in weight which translates to a very comfortable fit and incredible trail performance. The women’s shoe is, however, lighter than the men’s. Not to mention, the women’s boot is available in trendy designs and five colors to choose from.
- checkA secure and reliable closure system
- checkLight and comfortable
- checkCan be used for any terrain
- check Not completely waterproof
12. SCARPA R-Evolution GTX Boot
The SCARPA brand makes another appearance on our list of best boots for hiking and for many good reasons. This particular model is designed to provide control and precision when traversing extremely rugged terrains. Featuring a Vibram outsole, the shoe has great tread to ensure a high level of traction on various surfaces. Also, the sole incorporates chunky lugs that are wider under the heel and tightly spaced towards the toe area for increased grip and reliable braking in both wet and dry terrains.
Thanks to its sock-fit construction, the footwear offers a glove-like along with reduced bulk, snug fit, and support. In addition to this, its tongue is made of stretchy Schoeller fabric so you can easily tighten the laces without the feeling of being pinched. To top it all up, the boot comes with D-ring speed lacing hardware that seems to be durable enough to hold up well for many hiking trips. Further, it is equipped with a pull-loop at the heel to help you easily slip on and off the shoe.
When it comes to overall construction, most people found the boot to have a high-end feel and performance. It features a 1.8mm suede leather upper which makes it durable enough to withstand the test of time even when subjected to continued abuse. On top of that, the shoe boasts the famous Gore-Tex technology to ensure it is waterproof and breathable for unparalleled comfort.
As if that’s not enough, the R-Evolution GTX Boot is furnished with a TPU toe cap that extends beyond the toes to offer your solid protection against sharp objects. Additionally, the women’s R-Evolution GTX has a slightly smaller shaft from the arch compared to the men’s boot to provide great ankle protection.
- checkPerfect for speed/fitness hiking
- checkSolidly built
- checkFeels great right out of the box
- checkStrikes a unique balance between comfort and performance
- check Little cushioning and arch support
- check The toe box is not roomy enough
13. Danner Explorer 650 Hiking Boot
Danner has long been known as a brand of great quality thanks to their attention to details when it comes to outdoor boots and the Explorer 650 lives up to that reputation. The upper is crafted from a combination of solid full-grain leather and lightweight nylon material. This unique blend of materials makes the boot incredibly water resistant and tough.
What’s more? The footwear includes an ortholite footbed featuring open-cell PU construction to provide you with superior cushioning. Also, the footbed protects your feet from severe impact and is designed to last long. In addition to this, it boasts Danner dry-waterproof protection to ensure your feet don’t get abnormally wet when traversing a marshy terrain.
On top of that, it is equipped with a Vibram SPE midsole for extra protection against sharp objects and rocks. In fact, you will be impressed by the level of comfort this boot offers. In addition, this aggressive pair presents you with a reliable lacing system which comes in handy in providing you with a secure fit. These laces also make it easy to take on and off the boots. Another outstanding feature of the shoe is its 5.25-inch arch shaft which is designed to offer optimal support, especially when one is carrying heavy luggage.
When it comes to traction, this boot scoops top honors. A closer look at it reveals its Vibram Escape sole is to thank for this. According to the manufacturer, the sole features Mega Grip technology for enhanced grip on wet and dry surfaces alike. The boot is available in both men’s and women’s version although the latter is slightly lighter in weight. Also, the female version is chicer.
- checkVery comfortable with great arch support and traction
- checkKeeps feet dry
- checkFits great
- checkSuper lightweight for long days hiking expeditions
- check Cannot be re-soled
14. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boot
Combining comfort with versatility, the Renegade GTX Boot from the LOWA brand is ideal for both short-haul weekend backpacking trips and day hikes. Thanks to its nubuck leather upper, you can count on the GTX to hold up well on an unforgiving terrain. Additionally, it features a non-slip and rugged Vibram outsole with thick lugs to offer you improved traction and shock absorption on the trail.
Further, the shoe comes with a climate-control footbed to help keep your feet blister free and minimize fatigue. The footbed also wicks away moisture from the shoe and allows for unrestricted airflow throughout your expedition.
To top it all up, it is equipped with a Gore-Tex lining that is not only waterproof but also breathable. This helps in keeping your feet comfortable in cold, warmer temperatures and wet conditions. Guess what else? This GTX footwear is furnished with a full-length shank made of nylon. That’s a perfect addition for anyone looking for extra stability to take on a rugged terrain. We’re glad to also note this boot comes with a derby-style lacing system which allows for a custom fit.
What’s more? This affordable hiking boot comes with a lightweight PU midsole featuring a Monowrap frame technology for extra lateral stability and cushioning.
While it is available in both men’s and women’s version, the boot captures the needs of each and every hiker out there. For instance, the men’s footwear has a taller heel and shaft height for extra support. Moreover, the women’s boot is available in more color options and styles to choose from.
- checkUpper holds the foot securely in place
- checkOffers a customized fit for a variety of feet
- checkLightweight and breathable
- checkMidsole provides great stability and comfort
- check For the price, it does not have enough padding
- check Sole has poor quality stitching
15. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Boot
Columbia are well known for their commitment to providing innovative and high-quality products. These include footwear, sportswear, and outerwear (all which offer great value). The Newton Ridge Plus II has a premium outdoor feel and is designed to endure even the toughest of conditions. Of course, this is all thanks to its upper that is made of PU-coated leather and mesh material to ensure long-lasting performance. The mesh construction makes the boot highly breathable which helps in keeping your feet comfortable.
As if that’s not enough, the footwear boasts a shank just under the arch to provide you with all the support and support you might need and where you need it so you can take full charge of the journey ahead. Further, its non-marking rubber outsole features Omni-Grip technology to offer you a secure grip on slippery and uneven grounds. The sole is also reported to have a rugged traction to help evacuate wet-clinging mud from the shoe.
Additionally, the Newton Ridge Plus boot is equipped with a lightweight Techlite midsole to give you long-lasting comfort, high-energy return and optimal cushioning. Also, the midsole boasts great shock absorption to protect your feet against impact. Further, it comes with clamshell and D-ring lacing system for delivering a firm and secure fit. In addition, the footwear includes a rubber cap to provide you with extra toe protection.
Last but not least, it features a seam-sealed waterproof construction to ensure your feet stay warm and dry especially if you’re walking through streams, snow or early morning dew. Moreover, the boot has a breathable mesh tongue and a padded collar for extra comfort right-out of the box. However, the women’s boot has a slightly bigger shaft and is lighter in weight compared to its men’s counterpart for enhanced comfort and protection.
- checkHolds up extremely well
- checkOffers great protection and grip
- checkGreat waterproofing properties
- check Has a narrow toe box
16. Under Armour Verge Mid
If you’re on the market for a tough hiking boot that is built to last and at the same time reasonably light for backpacking trips, you might want to check out this shoe from Under Armour. Made with the hiker in mind, it features a synthetic/textile mesh upper for optimal breathability and lightweight. Further, the mesh construction is reinforced with welded overlays to ensure the boot is able to withstand the test of time and does not trap in heat.
Another outstanding feature of the Verge Mid boot is its dual-density midsole made of EVA material to provide you with underfoot protection. Also, the midsole boasts inserts in the heel and forefoot area with UA charged foam for shock absorption and optimal protection against impact. In addition to this, it is furnished with Anafoam chassis that is designed to deliver lightweight structure, extra support, and body-mapped fit.
Moving on, the boot is lined with a breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex membrane to keep you comfortable even when traversing a marshy terrain. The membrane is also reported to provide long-lasting performance even after serious wear and tear. On top of that, the midsole features a built-in TPU shank and ESS rock plate for added foot protection, support, and stability over variable terrain.
Additionally, the Verge Mid shoe boasts a Michelin Wild-Gripper rubber outsole to ensure great traction on steep hills (even wet or slippery rocks). The sole features sculpted lug patterns designed to shed mud and other debris for extreme grip and durability on a variety of terrains. What’s more? It comes with an anatomically-molded collar to provide you with extra ankle support. Although it is reported to be light in weight, the men’s boot is slightly heavier and taller compared to the women’s variety.
- checkOffers 360-degrees traction
- check100% waterproof
- checkGreat cushioning and ankle support
- checkDurable construction
- check Has a narrow toe box
- check Lacks enough room for adding an orthotic insert
17. La Sportiva Synthesis GTX Shoes
If you fancy a flexible, lightweight and comfy hiking boot, this Synthesis GTX shoe offers great all-around performance. For enhanced stability, the boot uses STB technology in the rear to stabilize the foot and add extra torsional stiffness. This is a great addition regardless of whether you’re hiking on ice, dirt or gravel. Further, the GTX features speed laces with a quick release hook on one side so you can tighten up the shoe on the fly for a secure fit. The lacing system also allows you to slip in and out of the shoes quickly.
You know what else? The upper boasts a blend of AirMesh, PU leather and Nano-Cell technology construction for a long-lasting performance and breathability. As if that’s not enough, the Nano-Cell also provides added foot protection while allowing optimal air flow and zero break-in time. Moreover, it comes with a padded tongue which protects you from laces which would otherwise dig in your skin when the shoe is tightly tied.
Another area this boot excels in is the overall comfort. Basically, it features compression-molded midsole made of EVA materials with TPU inserts to provide you with cushioning for day-long comfort. Therefore, you can use it on rough trail conditions without worrying about sore or blistered feet. On top of that, the shoe is equipped with a Gore-Tex Surround lining for a truly waterproof experience.
Additionally, the Synthesis GTX Shoe includes a Vibram rubber Nano outsole designed to provide an incredible grip on various surfaces including loose and rocky terrain. It also features Impact Braking System for enhanced traction downhill. Last but not least, the Synthesis GTX Women’s Shoe comes in Fjord, a turquoise color while the men’s version is available in a gray/green color.
- checkVersatile for running and hiking
- checkHigh ankle design keeps debris out
- checkComfortable on different trails
- checkHighly supportive
- check Runs small in size
Read more Another post about California Hiking Trails That Are A Must See For Every Outdoor Lover
18. Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof Boot
As far as outdoor gear world is concerned, Merrell is one of the trusted manufacturers with a history of producing quality footwear that stands the test of time. The Moab Mid Waterproof boot is reported to uphold the brand’s good reputation. To start with, it features Air cushion in the heel to help stabilize your foot and offer incredible shock absorption on the trail. On top of that, the shoe comes with external heel counters to provide you with extra lateral support for all-day wear.
With a Vibram TC5+ outsole alongside 5mm lugs, the boot boasts reliable traction on the wet, damp and dry terrain. Another feature worth mentioning is its molded-nylon shank designed to offer arch support and increase the boot’s stability, especially on uneven terrain. In addition to this, it is equipped with a removable ortholite-anatomic footbed that provides extra cushioning for improved comfort.
Additionally, the boot features leather and mesh uppers designed for a hassle-free fit with ample breathability. The leather construction also ensures the footwear can last for a long time. Also, it boasts M-Select Dry lining that seals out water and allows moisture to escape for dry comfort both inside and out.
And that’s not all because it also comes with breathable bellows tongue to help keep debris out and prevent lace pressure on the insteps. On top of that, the boot spots a rubber toe bumper to protect your feet from abrasions and increase its lifespan. Further, it features an EVA midsole but the women’s model employs QForm Comfort technology to provide superior cushioning and stride alignment that is unique to a woman’s needs.
- checkTreated with antimicrobial solution to prevent odors
- checkDelivers reliable grip
- checkBacked by one year warranty
- checkEasy to lace, slip on and off
- check Somewhat stiff when still new
- check Not totally waterproof
19. Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT Boot
Featuring Hydrobloc full-grain leather upper, no doubt the Vioz GT boot from Zamberlan company is built for performance every step of the way. Thanks to this unique construction, the footwear is quite flexible, supportive and durable. This makes it perfect for long trekking, day hiking, extended backpacking and other outdoor activities. On top of that, it is equipped with a Gore-Tex membrane to protect your feet from wet weather and allow moisture to escape for a comfortable trail experience.
In terms of traction and stability, the boot features a Vibram 3D outsole with wide lugs for easy removal of debris and excellent grip even in the most challenging terrain. The lugs are aggressively cut especially around the heel to provide enhanced grip on descents and great downhill braking. Therefore, no matter where the trail leads, you can rest assured this shoe will be up to the challenge.
Out of the box, it comes with a PU midsole and thermoplastic urethane insert to ensure there is enough cushioning and for improved stability on rough terrain. Also, it utilizes Zamberlan Flex System (ZFS) that gives the footwear superior flexibility and lateral support when embarking on long-distance hiking. In addition to this, the shoe boasts a gusseted and padded tongue to help keep trail debris out and relieve lace pressure.
What’s more? It is equipped with a removable insole designed to offer utmost comfort. Also included with the boot is a moisture-wicking footbed that is cushioned and contoured to provide extra support. The women’s model, on the other hand, boasts a roomy toe box and a narrow heel. It is also reported to be designed on a women’s specific last.
- checkHandmade in Italy using quality materials
- checkThe sole can be re-soled if it wears out
- checkTrue to size
- checkNo break-in needed
- check A bit heavy
20. Vasque Sundowner Gore-Tex Boot
The next time you go backpacking, you’ll need some quality boots to protect your feet from an unforgiving terrain. One of the budget-friendly hiking boots you can bank on is the Sundowner Gore-Tex from Vasque. Built with a tough upper that’s made from 100% Italian leather, these cool kicks promise to help you conquer the wilderness like the pro you are.
The boot boasts mid-cut design for increased ankle support and stability on a technically challenging terrain. In addition, it is equipped with speed lacing system alongside durable D-ring hooks to provide a more precise fit and keep debris out. Further, it features a Gore-Tex lining for enhanced weather protection, especially in wet conditions. The lining also provides great breathability to ensure your feet stay cool.
Additionally, the footwear has an outsole made of rubber with widely spaced and thick lugs which offer incredible traction on different terrain types and easy removal of debris. The sole also offers reliable braking as well as stability on both slick and steep trails. As if that’s not enough, it boasts a cambered heel to offer you the most efficient hiking stride.
Another outstanding feature of this hiking boot is its comfortable polyurethane midsole along with a TPU stabilizer that provides great feet cushioning and support especially on tough trails. Also, the midsole offers reliable stability and shock absorption when carrying heavy loads. However, the women’s boot has a shorter shaft from the arch because generally, ladies have unique feet design. Besides, it has a thermoplastic urethane shank for extra stability.
- checkQuick break-in and comfortable
- checkDurable and waterproof
- checkLace-up design allows for a snug and supportive fit
- checkGreat ankle support
- check Runs small so you have to order a size up
Buying Guide- What You Should Know About Hiking Boots
The right pair of boots for hiking will help you glide down the trail with a big smile on your face. However, choosing the best pair of hiking boots is rarely a straightforward process. There are so many manufacturers with each having a huge line of great boots. Not to mention, everyone has unique feet and preferences when it comes to design.
Therefore, what basically works for one person might not work for another. For this reason, there are so many things you will need to consider including the level of durability, comfort, traction and even support. Price is also important but you should never buy a cheap boot and compromise on quality.
In this guide, we take a look at some of the most important features to take into account before making a purchase. Get this bit right and you will get shoes that can last you many years and keep your feet comfortable, warm and dry wherever you go hiking.
Materials Used for the Uppers
The type of material used to make the boot’s upper dictates how durable, waterproof and breathable the shoe is going to be. Below is a look at some of the common materials used including their pros and cons.
This type of upper is mostly associated with heavyweight and tough hiking boots. It offers great durability because little stitching is needed, waterproofing and abrasion resistance. However, it is not breathable or light as you’d expect. In addition, plenty of break-in time is required before you can wear the boot for an extended backpacking trip. Furthermore, boots with this kind of upper need some maintenance work to keep the leather in top condition but they will end up rewarding your efforts by providing you with long-lasting performance.
Nubuck Suede Leather
This is basically full-grain leather that is buffed in order to have a suede-like finish and is common with mid-range hiking boots. However, compared to traditional leather, it has a softer touch, is more flexible and lighter in weight. Like, full-grain leather upper, it is also resistant to water and abrasion but not equally durable. In addition, Nubuck leather has a better breathability than full-grain and is less prone to showing scuff marks.
Synthetic/mesh uppers are common with entry and mid-level boots. These boots have the best level of breathability compared to other types of materials. They are also light in weight, dries quickly thanks to the mesh construction and breaks in faster. The only drawback is that they are significantly less durable and abrasion-resistant compared to leather uppers because of too much stitching. This makes them great boots for lightweight hiking.
Uppers with this kind of material also boast nylon and nylon mesh to ensure the boot is as lightweight as possible. The boots also have incredible breathability and are not expensive. However, they are less waterproof and resistant to abrasion.
As it turns out, even the best pair of hiking boots can ruin your day on the trail if it does not allow moisture to escape from the inside. As such, investing in a breathable hiking shoe is important to ensure your feet stay dry all day. While most boots usually incorporate mesh-outer material because of its excellent breathability features, some brands use their own technology that provides similar performance. Other brands, on the other hand, prefer to use a breathable lining on the inside of the footwear designed to wick away sweat through the upper. The lining may also offer insulation and water-resistance for added comfort on the trail.
Depending on where you will be hiking, you are most likely to come across the very rocky terrain. In such a scenario, you may accidentally kick a rock thereby causing a small or severe injury to your feet. It is for this reason that experts recommend buying a pair of boots with excellent toe protection feature. Unfortunately, some manufacturers occasionally don’t include this feature in order to cut the boot’s overall weight. But don’t fret because most brands incorporate either toe caps or rubber rands that wrap around the front of the boot to protect your toes from rocks and other elements.
The midsole is an important part of any type of footwear. This is because it is responsible for stability, cushioning, rigidity and even support. Together with the outsole, it plays a major role in shock absorbing impacts. In addition, it offers an extra layer of protection from sharp rocks. The most common types of midsoles are made of either PU (polyurethane) or EVA foam (ethylene vinyl acetate) while some feature a combination of both materials. Even though both foams offer great cushioning, they tend to differ in features.
Midsoles made from polyurethane are firmer and tougher compared to their EVA counterparts. Therefore, they are capable of protecting your feet from rough impacts making them perfect for extended backpacking trips. Also, they don’t lose their shape faster compared to Eva midsoles. However, PU midsoles are also far less cushy, a bit more rigid and expensive.
If you’re sourcing for a light or mid-weight boot, the best bet would be to invest in one with EVA midsole. Midsoles made using EVA foam are not only lightweight and flexible but also reasonably priced. The midsole is also soft for added comfort. Unfortunately, with time EVA tends to lose its cushioning properties making it less efficient. For this reason, some manufacturers may add some inserts made of polyurethane to mitigate the problem.
Type of Hiking
The type of hiking you plan to embark on will determine the kind of wear your boots will go through as well as the kind of support you’ll need. Some common types of hiking include:
If your hiking trips entail walking down paved bike trails, there’s no need to invest in thick-soled boots. However, if you’re more of a weekend hiker but in rougher terrain, it’d be a good idea to go for boots that offer superior protection. Such footwear should also be lightweight and flexible.
For extended backpacking trips on rougher terrain, it is advisable to go for supportive and durable hiking boots with stiffer midsoles. This is because you might need to carry heavy luggage during such excursions. However, if you intend to go for short/moderate backpacking trips or day hikes with light loads, a mid-weight boot with decent ankle support might be an excellent choice.
Blackened toenails, blisters, sprained arches and bruised toes are some of the problems associated with wearing a boot that fails to fit you properly. A good fitting pair of hiking boots should feel like it is wrapping around your entire foot. In addition, it should have a roomy toe box so you can wiggle your toes comfortably. One of the best ways to ascertain whether a shoe fits you or not is to take a short walk wearing it. This should be done prior to embarking on the main hike.
On top of that, you should try them on with the socks and do so especially toward early evening or in the late afternoon when your feet are at their biggest. While fitting the shoe, make sure to take note of anything that feels like it’s digging in.
Understanding the different designs available can help you refine your hiking boot selection. The most common types include:
Low-cut boots are perfect for short day hikes because they tend to be much lighter on the feet. Also, if you are looking to hike fast, this boot design is an excellent choice. In addition, they can be used for longer treks with heavy loads although they may not provide adequate ankle support.
This design is where the boot has been raised mid-way up the ankle to provide more support. Boots featuring this design are ideal for multi-day hikes or day trips over rough terrain. Thanks to their great ankle support, you will not have to worry about a sprained ankle. However, most boots with this design tend to offer less flexibility to the foot.
Boots in this category are more suited for longer treks because they offer a lot of support through the midsole and around the ankle. However, they require more break-in time and are not as comfortable as their low-cut or mid-cut counterparts for short day hikes with small and light loads.