20 Best Hiking Boots in 2024

Whether you’re a new hiker looking for your first pair of hiking boots or a seasoned hiker looking to upgrade, we’ve tried and tested a massive range of models to bring you our round up of 20 of the best hiking boots out there at the moment.

Ranging from boots suitable for smaller budgets, hiking boots for alpine and ones suitable for full on winter adventures, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect pair in our reviews below. If you are looking for something even more lightweight, you may also want to read our articles on best waterproof hiking shoes and best hiking shoes too.

Gone are the days of needing a hiking boot that’s stiff and inflexible, keeping you feeling heavy on the trail. Modern day hiking boots offer so many options, including much lighter variants to keep you feeling light and nimble on your adventures to help you go further.

We’ve worn our featured boots over countless trails, varying terrains and a whole variety of applications to be sure that we bring you honest reviews and advice to help you find the perfect pair for your needs.

Best Hiking Boots

Editor’s note: This article is part of our guide to the best hiking boots, be sure to check out the rest of this guide for our top buying tips:

Product Comparison Tables:

Salewa Men's Alp Trainer 2 Mid GTX Boots
Hoka Trail Code GTX
Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid
Asolo Fugitive GTX
Scarpa Rush TRK GTX
Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2
Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry
Skechers Relment-Pelmo
Teva Grandview GORE-TEX
Timberland White Ledge Mid Waterproof
Salewa Men's Alp Trainer 2 Mid Gtx - Raw Green/pale Frog - 14
Hoka Men's Trail Code GTX Lightweight Hiking Shoes (Castlerock/Persimmon Orange, us_Footwear_Size_System, Adult, Men, Numeric, Medium, Numeric_8)
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots, Black Olive/Golden Brown, 7 US
Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boot - Men's Wool/Black 8.5
SCARPA Men's Rush Trk GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Hiking and Backpacking Boots - Dark Anthracite/Black - 8.5
ALTRA Women's AL0A7R7J Lone Peak All-WTHR Mid 2 Trail Running Shoe, Black - 5.5 M US
Oboz Men's Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot,Sudan,7 M US
Skechers Men Relaxed Fit¿: Relment - Pelmo Chukka Boot, Khaki Suede, 6.5 US
Teva Men's Grandview GTX Hiking Boot, Chocolate Chip, 7
Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Wheat, 7
Buying Options
Our Ratings
Best Overall Men's
Most Stylish
Best for Long Distance Trails
Most Breathable
Best for Winter/Cold Weather
Best Lightweight
Best for Backpacking
Pros
Excellent comfort. Great combo of breathability and water-resistance.
Excellent Grip. Excellent water resistance
Excellent comfort. Great durability
Tough and durable. Great water resistance.
Excellent durability (including ability to be resoled). Excellent ankle support
Very light. Extremely comfortable
Tough build. Great fit and comfort
Very comfortable. Reasonably priced.
Comfortable. Looks good
Often very inexpensive. Offered in a wide range of sizes.
Cons
Can be pricey. May be a little tight if you have very wide feet
The styling is not to everybody's taste. Some durability concerns
The loos are a little dated. Are relatively expensive outside of the USA
Some may find the upper too flexible. Can be expensive.
Can be pricey. A little heavy
Long term durability concerns. Not well suited to more technical terrain
A little heavy. Not the most breathable
Not suited to technical hiking. Styling is a little dull.
Some durability concerns. Not suited for more extreme trails
Low water resistance. Less ankle support than others.
Traction
Excellent
Excellent
Very Good
Excellent
Excellent
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Good
Breathability
Excellent
Good
Very Good
Good
Low
Excellent
Low
Low
Good
Low
Ankle Support
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Very good
Excellent
Good
Very Good
Good
Good
Average
Arch support
Regular to good
Regular
Regular
Minimal
Minimal
Regular
Good
Good
Regular
Regular
Fit
Fits true to size available in a single width
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Fit true to size. Available in normal and wide fit and with a wide range of sizes
Fits true to size. Available in standard and wide fit.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Fit is true ot size. Available ins standard and wide versions.
Available in a wide range of sizes with several width options. sizing may run large.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Runs small. Available in regular and wide fit.
Materials
Suede leather upper and synthetic
Full synthetic
Leather upper and synthetic
Suede leather and synthetic
Suede leather upper with synthetics
Full synthetic
Leather upper with synthetics
Suede leather upper with synthetics
Leather and synthetic upper
Leather and synthetic upper
Appearance
Modern hiking boot
Modern sports shoe inspired hiking boot
The design is a little dated
The design is a little dated
Modern hiking boot
Modern sports shoe
The design is a little dated
Regular hiking boot
Retro inspired modern hiking trainer
Traditional hiking boot
Durability
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Very Good
Good
Good
Water Resistance
Gore Tex membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
Keen.Dry' breathable waterproof membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
In-house waterproof membrane
B-Dry Membrane
Water-resistant treatment and possibly a water-resistant membrane
Gore Tex membrane and water resistant treatment
Water resistant treatment and sealed seems
Weight (pair)
1.04kg/2lb 05oz
868g/1lb 14.6oz
970g/2lb 2oz
1.39kg/3lb 1oz
1.19kg/2lb 10oz
856g/1lb 14oz
1.08kg/2lb 06oz
964g/2lb 02oz
Insoles
Modular insole system to fine-tune fit
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Shaped 'O-FIT' insole
Air Cooled Memory Foam Insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Break-in Period
Minimal
Minimal
Very minimal
Minimal
Short break in required
Very minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Lacing system
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Toe Protection
Reinforced rubber rand on toe
Reinforced toe section
Leather reinforced with rubber toecap
Reinforced toe section with rubber rand
Reinforced rubber toe cap
Rubber reinforced toe
Reinforced rubber toe cap
Rubber rand at toe
Reinforced rand and rubber toe cap
Sole extended up to form a small toe cap
Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX
Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof
Salomon Quest 4 Gore Tex
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped
Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX 
Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX
Hoka Kaha 2 GTX
Vasque Breeze Waterproof Hiking Boots
Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boots for Women - Waterproof, Durable Suede Upper, Breathable Lining, Triple-Density Footbed & Vibram Traction Outsole, Chocolate Chip/Golden Oak - 5 M
Merrell Women's Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Altitude, 5
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Women, Slate/Trooper/Opal Blue, 8
Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped, Elk/Mountain Red, 9
Zamberlan Women's 996 Vioz GT Hiking Boot,Dark Brown,37 M EU/6 M US
Salomon X Ultra 4 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Women, Ebony/Mocha Mousse/Almond Cream, 5
Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Stone,10 W US
La Sportiva Womens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boots, Oak/Topaz, 7
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Kaha 2 GTX Nubuck Black Black Trainers 5.5 US
Vasque Women’s Breeze Hiking Boot, Cappuccino, 6 Medium
Buying Options
Our Ratings
Best Overall Women's
Most Comfortable
Best for Mountain Walking
Best Budget
Best Waterproof
Best for Summer/Hot Weather
Best Leather
Best for Day Hikes
Pros
Extremely comfortable. Wears in quickly. Excellent fit for wider feet
Excellent comfort. Excellent durability
Sturdy and ready to take on anything. Good toe placement and great ankle positioning
Very comfortable, pretty much straight out the box. Great price point
Excellent build quality. Can be resoled
Low weight. Good build quality
Available in three widths and a variety of sizes. Extremely comfortable
Cutting edge materials, good breathability to waterproofing ratio
Extremely supportive and comfortable. Stylish.
Excellent durability. Rigid build
Cons
Not great for narrower feet. Sizing for buyers outside the United States can be limited
Slightly confusing product range. The design looks dated.
Break in takes a little while. Rigid.
Isn't as breathable. Could do with a more robust sole
Expensive. The design may be too utilitarian for some
Ankle cuff not as supportive as some others. Wider toe box may not suit those with very narrow feet. New
Expensive. Isn't visually that striking
Expensive for what they are. We don't find them suitable for longer treks
Expensive. Leather feels cold after walking through significant water.
Dated design. Stiff upper may not be to everybody's taste.
Traction
Excellent
Very good
Medium/deep thread pattern
Good - but not as good on technical terrain
Excellent
Excellent
Vibram outsole - excellent
Excellent
Excellent - uses Vibram Megagrip
Very good
Breathability
Good
Very good
Gore-Tex upper and well insulated
OK
Low
Good
Good
Excellent
OK
Very good
Ankle Support
Good
Very good
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Arch support
Regular to good
Good
Average
OK
Average
Good
Average
Regular
Average
Average
Fit
Fits a little large, size down a half size if in-between, available in a single width
Fits true to size. comes in standard and wide widths
Suits normal to wider feet
Standard fit, runs small - best to go up a half size
Standard fit - runs small
Fits true to size. Comes in standard and wide widths
Comes in standard, narrow and wide fit options and wide range of sizes
Runs narrow
Standard fit
Runs a little small. Available in standard and wide fit
Materials
Grain leather upper, metal lacing hardware and synthetic/rubber soles
Synthetic and pig suede upper.
Leather and synthetic
Upper leather and suede and synthetic
Mostly leather with synthetic lining and rubber sole
Fully synthetic
Leather and synthetic
Leather and synthetic
Leather and synthetic
Nubuck leather and synthetics
Appearance
Modern hiking boot
Slightly dated design
Modern
Modern hiking boot with traditional feel
Traditional hiking boot
Modern hiking boot
Modern hiking boot
Modern hiking boot
Modern hiking boot/trail hybrid
Slightly dated design
Durability
Excellent
Very good
Excellent
Sole feels quite lightweight
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Average
Good
Excellent
Water Resistance
Gore-Tex membrane
In-house waterproof, breathable membrane
Gore-Tex membrane
Waterproof (Omni-Tech)
Gore Tex lining and water resistant coating
Gore Tex membrane
Gore-Tex membrane
Gore-Tex Surround membrane
Gore-Tex lining
In-house waterproof, breathable membrane
Weight (pair)
900g/2lb per pair
800g/1lb 12oz
1070g/2lb 6oz
791g/1.8lbs per pair
1.28kg/2lb 13oz
740g/1lb 10oz
950g/2lb
900g/2 lb. 1 oz
1015g/2.5 lbs
990g/2lb 2oz
Insoles
Standard insole
Padded insole
Padded insole
Standard insole
Padded insole
Padded. shaped insole
Standard insole
Standard insole
Standard insole
Padded insole
Break-in Period
Minimal
Minimal
Some break in needed
Very minimal
Some break-in required
Minimal
Minimal
Slightly longer than average
Minimal
Medium
Lacing system
Regular laces with metal lacing hardwear for durability
Standard laces
Standard laces
Standard/regular laces
Standard/regular laces
Standard laces
Standard lacing system
Standard/regular laces
Standard - eyelet with grip lacing around the ankle
Standard laces
Toe Protection
Rubberized toe rand
Rubber rand around toe and small toe cap
Rubberized toe rand
Rubberized toe rand
Substantially reinforced toe offers excellent protection
Rubber rand on toe and small toe cap.
Substantial rubber toe rand
Rubberized toe rand
Rubberized toe rand with reinforced stitching
Rubber rand around toe and small toe cap

Table of Contents

The 10 Best Hiking Boots for Men

From lightweight models to more full-on hiking boots that will stand the test of tough conditions through winter, we’ve tested some of the best hiking boots for men out there to bring you our top picks.

Be sure to follow the link underneath each hiking boot to read the full review on each product to see how it performed in all areas of our testing metrics. You can also use our hiking boot comparison table to compare all hiking boots next to each other.

Salewa Men’s Alp Trainer 2 Mid GTX

Best Overall Men’s

Salewa Men's Alp Trainer 2 Mid Gtx - Raw Green/pale Frog - 14

Great news: This boot is also available in a women’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Extremely comfortable, with very little break-in period
  • Gets the balance right between water resistance and breathability

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • On the pricey side
  • More suited to hikers with normal to narrower feet

See the Salewa Men’s Alp Trainer 2 Mid GTX in more detail:

Why did the Salewa Men’s Alp Trainer get our top award for best overall men’s? They are a fantastic all-rounder – able to take on more technical and challenging terrain as well as more groomed trails. They don’t feel inadequate on one or overkill on the other.

On more technical ascents, these boots handle perfectly with their Vibram sole which offers a strong level of traction on a whole variety of terrain. Their slightly shallower lugs also refrain from filling up with mud, which we feel is a great added bonus and makes them even more versatile.

What’s more, if you have narrower feet, they come with a pair of Salewa’s Multi Fit Footbed Insoles which are a modular system that lets you adjust the shoe to find the perfect fit.

Their 3F system uses steel cables that cradle the heel and tensions up as you tie the laces. What this means overall is a solid, comfortable boot that is ready to take on anything you let them. Read our full review of the Salewa Men’s Alp Trainer 2 Mid GTX.

Salewa Al Trainer

Hoka Trail Code GTX

Most Stylish

Hoka Men's Trail Code GTX Lightweight Hiking Shoes (Castlerock/Persimmon Orange, us_Footwear_Size_System, Adult, Men, Numeric, Medium, Numeric_8)

Great news: This hiking boot is also available in women’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Very grippy
  • Water resistance is commendable

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Styling may be over the top for some hikers
  • Longer term durability concerns on the mid sole

Hoka have been making some serious waves with their interesting designs and signature sole for quite a while at this point. However, this isn’t all about looks and their oversized soles do contribute to their products performance.

Aside from this, these hiking boots, which also work excellently as a trail runner, are extremely comfortable pretty much straight away. They also performed really well in terms of water resistance, which allows you to go further for longer.

We think that the Hoka Trail Code GTX is an interesting proposition. They handle well in pretty much all conditions except technical mountaineering and more full-on missions, but if you’re looking for a general, all-purpose hiking boot that will keep you going with comfort in strides, then this boot should seriously be at the top of your consideration list. Read our full review of the Hoka Trail Code GTX.

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Best for Long Distance Trails

KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots, Black Olive/Golden Brown, 7 US

Great news: These are also available in women’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent comfort makes these a great buy
  • Durability is commendable

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Can feel like the design is a bit dated
  • If you’re buying outside the USA, they can be expensive

See the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid in more detail: 

If you’ve looked at our best hiking shoes reviews, you’ll likely have seen that we’ve previously reviewed the Keen Targhee 3 hiking shoe. Well, as you can probably figure, the Keen Targhee III waterproof mid creates a great hiking boot variant of this popular and much loved product.

What we love about this hiking boot is it gives a great level of balance between comfortable wear and durability – this boot will have you reaching for it time and time again with no fears that it’s going to fall apart. It’s robust!

With an intensely loyal following, this boot provides a great level of waterproofing – tested in a whole range of conditions, it performs up there at the top. One of the only negatives we can really find is that the design can feel a little bit dated amongst more modern designs.

However, if this isn’t a deal breaker for you and you’re looking for comfort, durability and all round application over anything else, then you really cannot go wrong with this boot. Read our full review of the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid.

keen targhee waterproof

Asolo Fugitive GTX

Most Breathable

Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boot - Men's Wool/Black 8.5

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Really tough and durable
  • Water resistance is commendable

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Flexible upper may be a little too soft for some hikers
  • Expensive

We were really impressed with the Asolo Fugitive GTX which is a fantastic proposition between a more flexible hiking boot and a technical mountaineering or hiking boot.

They get the balance right between being flexible but also having a sense of toughness and great water resistance which puts them in the technical category. Their breathability is also excellent. We also love the fact that they can be resoled too, which means they could well last you many, many years.

If you are just looking for a pair of hiking boots to take you on day-to-day trails with well-maintained surfaces, then you may find these hiking boots to be overkill for your needs.

However, if you are looking for a hiking boots to take your adventures to the next level then these may well be the perfect companion for you to give you the confidence to go further. Read our full review of the Asolo Fugitive GTX.

Scarpa Rush TRK GTX

Best for Winter/Cold Weather

SCARPA Men's Rush Trk GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Hiking and Backpacking Boots - Dark Anthracite/Black - 8.5

Great news: This boot is also available in a women’s fit.  

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Made exceptionally well – very durable
  • Great level of ankle support

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Pricey
  • Heavier than some models

Scarpa are at the high end when it comes to mountaineering and full-on alpine hiking boots, and the Rush TRK GTX are no exception in Scarpa’s range of incredible footwear. They’re simply a great option for challenging terrain. For the weight, coming in at 1.19kg/2lb 10oz a pair, they are exceptional for providing a more rigid option and competitive considering what they will give you on the trail.

They’re extremely waterproof too – and have handled beautifully in all of our tests – handling stream crossings, deep winter ascents, deep mud and everything in-between with absolutely no signs of water interference.

We also love that these boots can easily be resoled too, which is a great sustainability commitment from Scarpa. They’re likely overkill for you if you just want a pair of boots that will stand up well for fair weather hiking, but if you’re looking for a more technical pair for alpine and heavier duty treks, then this boot is a great option. Read our full review of the Scarpa Rush TRK GTX.

Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2

Best Lightweight

ALTRA Women's AL0A7R7J Lone Peak All-WTHR Mid 2 Trail Running Shoe, Black - 5.5 M US

Great news: These hiking boots are also available in a women’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Very comfortable

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Longer term durability may be an issue
  • Not suited for technical hikes

See the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 in more detail:

This hiking boot from Altra really grew on us through our tests. Admittedly at the start we did worry that it would not stand up next to some of the other boots in our reviews however it’s important to remember that this boot is intended to sit as a lightweight trail runner style.

Once tested, we felt like they were an excellent contender to be added to our list and loved wearing them out on the trail. Sure, these hiking boots don’t do the best job in more technical terrain, but that is just simply not what they’re intended for.

However, if you like to move fast and light and will be hiking in warmer weather on more well-maintained trails, then these offer an extremely comfortable fit that you will be reaching for time and time again.

What we also loved is that they are well ventilated, and we never found them sweaty, even on more intense hikes. They’re also versatile, making use of a roomy toe box which makes them suitable for a pretty large range of foot types, from narrow to wider. Read our full review of the Altra Lone Peak ALL_WTHR Mid 2.

Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry

Best for Backpacking

Oboz Men's Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot,Sudan,7 M US

What we love about the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry is their combination of rugged build and water resistance. We found them fantastic for hiking in colder climates and at altitude, and they sit up there with the best in terms of comfort.

This hiking boot is a well-established model that has a great reputation, and we feel it has earned it. Sure, they might look a little old fashioned when compared to some of the other boots in our line up, but when you take them on technical terrain, they are extremely dependable – especially if carrying a heavy backpack.

The deep lugs offered on the sole provides an excellent level of traction and we found this performs particularly well on off trail conditions. Another area where these boots excel is their size range – US 7/UK 6/EU 39.5 through to US 15/UK 14/EU 50 in standard and wide fit. They fit naturally and shape comfortably to your foot over time. What’s not to love? Read our full review of the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry.

Skechers Relment-Pelmo

Skechers Men Relaxed Fit¿: Relment - Pelmo Chukka Boot, Khaki Suede, 6.5 US

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable fit
  • Good price point

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • More of an entry level boot and not suited for more technical trails
  • Styling is a little outdated

See the Sketchers Relment-Pelmo in more detail:

You don’t automatically link the name Sketchers to hiking boots, but their popularity in comfortable footwear and the name they’ve built for themselves has spilled over to the outdoors world with the Relment-Pelmo.

What we love about these hiking boots is that they’re not trying to claim that they’re something they’re not. They aren’t a technical hiking boot, but they just work really well as a good, dependable pair of hiking boots for well-maintained trails that come in at a good price point.

A lot of hikers just don’t want to pay for really technical footwear, and depending on the kind of hiking you do, you may find these to be your next best investment that will hopefully last you for years to come. They’re also part of Sketchers ‘relaxed fit’ range which allows for a roomy construction – so great for wider feet.

Their waterproofing worked well when tested on the trail, and in our tests, we saw no real signs of damage or leakage here, however it is a little hard to pin down their exact waterproof credentials from Sketchers. That said, if you’re looking for a no nonsense, versatile pair of boots, these should be high on your consideration list. Read our full review of the Sketchers Relment-Pelmo.

sketchers rement pelmo hiking boot

Teva Grandview Gore-Tex

Teva Men's Grandview GTX Hiking Boot, Chocolate Chip, 7

Great news: This boot is also available in a women’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Very comfortable
  • Look stylish

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Longer term durability concerns
  • Not great for more extreme trails and conditions

We were impressed with the performance of the Teva Grandview Gore-Tex. Whilst the brand is well known for their sandals, their hiking boots stood up against some of the more hardy options in our reviews.

If you’re looking for a pair that will stand up well for general hiking, hill walking and just general outdoors, then the Grandview’s should be high on your list.

Making use of Vibram Mega Grip on the sole, these hiking boots have a great level of traction in a wide variety of situations and really help to provide a feeling of confidence in foot placement on the trail.

What’s more, they make use of a Gore-Tex membrane, which gives a waterproof yet breathable finish, so perfect if you know you’re likely to encounter a range of different trail conditions.

They’re offered in a single width which is great for hikers with a standard or slightly wider foot and come in a range of sizes from US 7/UK 6/EU 39.5 through to US 14/UK 13/48.5. Coming in at a relatively light-mid weight of 964g/2lb 02oz they’re great as an all round hiker that feels comfortable pretty much straight out the box. Read our full review of the Teva Grandview Gore-Tex.

Timberland White Ledge Waterproof

Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Wheat, 7

Great news: These boots are also available in a women’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Reasonable price
  • Large variety of sizes offered

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as great waterproofing as some other models in our line up
  • Lacks some ankle support

Whilst these hiking boots won’t appeal to hikers who are looking for a pair for more full on or seriously demanding trails, if you’re looking for a hiking boot that comes in at a very attractive price point and makes great work of well-maintained trails, then the Timberland White Ledge Waterproof should be high up in your list to consider.

We’d say that their lack of ankle support does also limit them to better looked after trails with softer ascents, but they’re also offered in a wide range of sizes, from US 7/UK 6/EU 39 to US 15/UK 14/EU 49 in standard fit and wide.

They’re best suited to mild to moderate rain – even though they claim to be waterproof, they do rely on a coating rather than a membrane, and also use a gusseted tongue and seam stitching, which can’t be relied on for heavy or deep water. If used in the right context, then these boots are worthy of your consideration! Read our full review of the Timberland White Ledge Waterproof.

The 10 Best Hiking Boots for Women

Below, you’ll find some of our favorite picks of hiking boots for women, which have been tested in as many conditions as you’re likely to experience on the trail. From harsh heat through to cold, wet, and muddy conditions including snow.

You’re bound to find a pair that make the cut for your new boot – whether this is your first pair or you’re looking to upgrade.

For more technical information on each hiking boot, where we go into much greater detail on key aspects of each boot’s performance, read our full reviews, which you can find linked under each hiking boot in the roundup below.

Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX

Best Overall Women’s

Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boots for Women - Waterproof, Durable Suede Upper, Breathable Lining, Triple-Density Footbed & Vibram Traction Outsole, Chocolate Chip/Golden Oak - 5 M

Great news: These hiking boots are also available in a men’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Extremely comfortable for all trails
  • Easily repaired and resoled

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Can come up large – not so suitable for narrow feet
  • Not suitable as a plant based shoe

See the Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX in more detail:

Why did these hiking boots get our top award? Well, it’s very hard to find a reason not to love them from the moment you put them on. When testing, we found these hiking boots pretty much effortlessly comfortable within a few short test hikes to get them broken in. Once worn in, they felt like they had always been with us.

The Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX is a great all round hiking boot that will take you confidently out on anything but the harshest, most demanding of terrains. As an all round hiker, these boots will give you the perfect balance of flexibility and durability. They also make use of a grippy sole which is perfect for slippery conditions and even light ice and snow.

Danner clearly has a commitment to quality and long-term sustainability, and this is evidenced in the construction of these hiking boots. They’re well made, look great on the trail, have excellent waterproofing through our tests, and we’re very happy to see Danner offering a resoling surface when that day comes.

We’re confident to say that if you buy these hiking boots you will not look back and you’ll be very happy with your purchase! Read our full review of the Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX.

Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

Most comfortable

Merrell Women's Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Altitude, 5

Good news: these boots also come in a men’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Exceptional comfort
  • Very durable

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Design can seem dated
  • Not the best for winter depending on conditions

See the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof in more detail:

What is not to love about the Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof? In our tests, and much the as all products we’ve tested in the Moab range, we just found them instantly comfortable. They were so comforting that we actually found it hard to take them off.

What’s more, they’re built to stay and feel extremely durable even on more complex treks and trails. They also come in at a very competitive price point and for what you get, they rival some of the much more expensive models. They’re at that entry price point for a mid achieving boot, which we love.

For many hikers, these may well be the only boots they need as they’re such a good all rounder and we found they performed exceptionally well in a whole variety of trail conditions – with excellent traction and confidence in all areas. That said, their traction isn’t as full on as some of the more technical boots we’ve reviewed, but then that isn’t really what these are.

We found the breathability offered was fantastic too – making use of a waterproof membrane, whilst also using mesh construction in the upper really helps here. These boots really are a no brainer and one you will not be disappointed with! Read our full review of the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof.

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex

Best for Mountain Walking

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Women, Slate/Trooper/Opal Blue, 8

Great news: This hiking boot is also available in a men’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Very sturdy build
  • Excellent ankle and foot support

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Break in period does take a while
  • Their rigid feel may not appeal to all hikers

See the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex in more detail:

We’ve generally been very impressed with all Salomon hiking shoes and boots that we’ve reviewed, and the Quest 4’s are really no exception – they’re quite simply a truly comfortable boot that will be ready to take on more challenging terrain as and when you are.

Once broken in, they perform exceptionally well in a whole variety of terrain, and we found their traction to be perfect for even the most slippery of surfaces. Even more so when combined with a crampon to take them further.

We also love the level of breathability they offer, which, considering what these boots are aimed at, provide a balance that is hard to come by. The mesh sections on the upper and the Gore-Tex membrane certainly help here, and we have never found our feet too hot or too cold when wearing, even in warmer temperatures.

If you’re looking for a more technical boot that will work just as well for simpler day treks, particularly in winter and wet conditions, then we would highly recommend you put these on your contender list. Read our full review of the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex.

Salomon Quest 4 Gore Tex

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped

Best Budget

Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boots for Women - Waterproof, Durable Suede Upper, Breathable Lining, Triple-Density Footbed & Vibram Traction Outsole, Chocolate Chip/Golden Oak - 5 M

Great news: A similar hiking boot to these is also available in a men’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • The price point makes them an affordable entry level option
  • Very comfortable almost straight out the box

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Waterproofing lacks breathability
  • We aren’t assured of their longer term durability

See the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproofed Amped in more detail:

In our opinion the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped hiking boot makes a great entry level product for those looking to test where they want to go with their hiking.

What we love is that for the price you are getting a great value proposition in terms of features for your money and in many ways, they actually rival some of the slightly higher priced models in our roundup in terms of features.

One area where this was apparent to us was the fact that the upper of the boots is made from pretty much one piece , which does add to the durability and waterproofing that is evident in these hiking boots, making them a good all-rounder.

Sure, there longer-term durability was a bit of a concern for us, but as a pair of entry boots, we think that this is justifiable considering the concessions that Columbia have made to bring this boot in at this price point.

If these boots are within your price point, we would recommend that you put them at the top of your list for consideration. They’re comfortable pretty much straight out-of-the-box so you’ll be wearing them on the trail before no time. Read our full review of the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped.

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX

Best Waterproof

Zamberlan Women's 996 Vioz GT Hiking Boot,Dark Brown,37 M EU/6 M US

Great news: These boots are also available in a men’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Strong and durable with great build quality
  • Resoling is possible

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • On the expensive side
  • The design can look a little dated for some hikers

See the Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX in more detail:

These boots are designed for some serious hiking, they are tough and offer fantastic ankle support and really dependable waterproofing that will set you up well on more technical and high alpine trails.

Sure, they are not the cheapest hiking boots in our roundup, but upon closer inspection they are beautifully made and what we love is that they can be resold which increases the longevity of them. There is a good chance that if you buy these hiking boots, they will last you many, many years.

However, if you are looking for a hiking boot that is better suited to more well maintained trails or fair weather hiking then these may be overkill for you. Used in the correct circumstances, they can help you go further, becoming more dependable over time.

What we also loved about the Zamberlan Vios 996 GTX is that it is available in a range of sizes from US 5.5/UK 3.5/EU 36 US 11/UK 9/EU 43. In the men’s version of the boot, a wide fit option is also available and larger sizes can be purchased too.

They do have a slightly longer break in than some of the other boots in our reviews but that is to be expected with a more rigid boot. If this is your first experience with more rigid mountaineering style boots you may find that you need to break them in for a little bit longer. However, when broken in they are extremely comfortable. Read our full review of the Zamberlan Vios 996 GTX.

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX

Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex

Best for Summer/Hot Weather

Salomon X Ultra 4 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Women, Ebony/Mocha Mousse/Almond Cream, 5

Great news: These boots are also available in a men’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight feel
  • Well made

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Ankle cuff lacks support of some other models
  • Wider toe box – not always suitable for narrower feet

See the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex in more detail:

If you’ve read our hiking shoes guide, you may see that we’ve reviewed the hiking shoe variant of this boot – the X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking. We can’t get enough of these – they’re just a fantastic boot offering from well known, and respected brand, Salomon.

What we love, and where these boots get it right, is the combination of lightweight feel, an excellent level of foot support which keeps you feeling confident on the trail and waterproofing.

We love the level of breathability offered in these boots – and whilst they will likely run a little warm in the most scorching of conditions, they work a dream in pretty much every other circumstance. Getting the balance right between waterproofing and breathability is an issue we’ve seen in many models, and we are particularly impressed here with the X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex.

They’re a trail runner inspired boot, which you will find a great companion for pretty much every trail except for full on winter and high alpine. Don’t let that put you off though, if this boot suits where you hike, the materials and build quality are exceptional. Read our full review of the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex.

Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots

Best Leather

Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Stone,10 W US

Great news: this hiking boot is also available in a men’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Available in a range of widths
  • Very comfortable but rigid enough for difficult terrain

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive
  • Not an exciting design compared to some other models

See the Lowa Reneagade GTX Mid Hiking Boots in more detail:

We’ve already reviewed the Lowa Renegade GTX LO and were impressed with this hiking boot version in our tests. It performs exceptionally well in difficult terrain all the way through to slightly more well maintained trails. It’s a great all rounder.

What we love is that Lowa have clearly put comfort at the forefront of this hiking boot design – they’re also making it accessible to a range of different foot types. There are a variety of widths on offer and you’re sure to find your perfect fit.

We also loved how the traction of these boots tested. Of course, this boot is very much aimed at slightly more full on missions, so you need to know the sole has the capability to keep you firmly on the trail with no problems. The Lowa Mid stands out here.

If you’re hiking in hot summer deserts, you might find the breathability offered less than perfect, and they may be overkill. However, if you’re looking for a boot for pretty much everything else, then we urge you to put these boots at the top of your list. See our full review of the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots.   

Lowa Renegade GTX MId Hiking Boots

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

Best for Day Hikes

La Sportiva Womens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boots, Oak/Topaz, 7

Great news: this hiking boot is also available in a men’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent balance between waterproofing and breathability
  • Comfortable all day and for longer treks

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive design
  • Narrow fit

If you’re looking to take your adventures to the next level and take on more challenging terrain, or already do so, then you will like the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX boot.

It gets an excellent balance between waterproofing and breathability and we love how much of an all round hiking boot it is. Even if you’re not taking on more challenging trails, it will stand you well on a whole variety of terrain. Its versatility is commendable.

If you are going backpacking, then you may find this boot doesn’t quite offer you the support you need if you’re carrying a really heavy pack, but for day missions and even overnights, we are confident in this boot’s capabilities.

One of the areas we love with the Nucleo is its traction – a chunky thread keeps you feeling secure on slippery surfaces, especially uneven ascents where you are likely to need to be more careful of your foot placement. Read our full review of the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX.

Vasque Breeze Waterproof Hiking Boots

Vasque Women’s Breeze Hiking Boot, Cappuccino, 6 Medium

Great news: These boots are also available in a men’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Well-made and durable
  • Rigid design does well in the right circumstances

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly dated feel and design
  • Stiff upper of these boots may not be to all tastes

This is an iconic product from Vasque’s range. They’re well liked, and we can see why from our tests. We loved how well these boots handle on demanding trails while still being extremely comfortable for countryside walks. That flexibility gave them good marks from us.

Where they also excel is in their waterproofing and depending on the kind of hiking you do, you may well find these to be the perfect companion for tougher hikes in cold and wet weather.

Another area we loved is the slightly taller ankle support that’s offered on these boots which is well padded and can create a really snug fit around the ankle for extra support and confidence where needed. They do tend to run a little bit small though so we would recommend sizing up if you’re between sizes. Read our full review of the Vasque Breeze Waterproof Hiking Boots.  

Hoka Kaha 2 GTX

HOKA ONE ONE Womens Kaha 2 GTX Nubuck Black Black Trainers 5.5 US

For our review, we’ve tested the women’s fit, but this hiking boot is also available in a men’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Stylish looks

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit of a break in period
  • Feels colder in rain and warm in hotter temperatures

Hoka are well versed in the outdoors shoe and boot world, well known for their cool designs and attention to sole shock absorption and foot comfort. The Hoka Kaha 2 GTX is no exception and sits wonderfully in there range that is loved by many hikers.

What we love about the Kaha 2 is it puts comfort first, but aside from this, these hiking boots are extremely well versed in hitting a whole variety of terrain. They handled well on loose scree, slippery surfaces and everything in-between thanks to their Vibram Megagrip outsole with an aggressive lug pattern.

One area we did feel they let down a little was on the breathability front – they feel a little too hot in warmer locations and conversely, in colder temps, they can feel a bit colder when hit by excessive rain (even though their waterproofing works a treat).

They do come at a premium price, but we think they really do hit a nice sweet spot – making a good contender for the only pair of boots a lot of hikers will need. Read our full review of the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX.

Hiking Boots Buying Guide

The list above represents 20 of the best hiking boots out there right now. In our tests we are looking for a variety of criteria to be met from things like the boots’ longer term durability, comfort, waterproofing and also how they sit within their particular category.

Our buying guide below should hopefully make it easier for you to make a decision on the best hiking boots for your needs. We’ve gone into detail in some of the most important areas to look at to make your decision but for a further, more detailed look, be sure to check out our full buying advice article.

Type and Style

There are several, general categories of hiking boot on the market today and these can be divided up as follows:

Lightweight

The days of having to make do with chunky, and heavy hiking boots are gone and the lightweight hiking boot category offers something which is a fantastic midpoint between trail runners and lightweight hiking shoes with the added support of an ankle cuff.

These types of boots, such as the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore Tex or Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof are more suited to day hikes and lighter treks on more well-maintained trails and areas where you are less likely to experience ankle rolls. They also generally make use of synthetic materials as their main component as this is much more lightweight and can be much more breathable. Though this can also be adapted with Gore-Tex membranes or other waterproof membranes which is becoming a regular sight in this area.

We only really recommend lightweight hiking boots if you understand that they are probably not going to last you forever. Unlike most traditional hiking boots, the durability is compromised by the use of lightweight and synthetic materials and also often lack the protection in the toe and ankle that you can expect from mid or heavier weight hiking boots.

Midweight

Midweight hiking boots are probably the most popular and fast-growing area in the hiking boot market today. What makes them fantastic is that they offer a brilliant balance between a chunkier more heavyweight hiking boot and something that is also more lightweight. Boots in this category are models like the Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX, Lowa Renegade GTX Mid and the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX.

So, what this means in practice is that you can move faster and lighter over more technical terrain knowing that you have the support you need to complete more demanding trials.

Typically, midweight hiking boots also have a much more robust outside which protects the foot from a whole range of trail debris and can also be adapted for more demanding wintry circumstances too. They generally make use of higher end and cutting edge materials and combine different approaches and techniques in their construction. This is where you will also see waterproofing like high end Gore-Tex being used.

This does come at a price point though and typically hiking boots in this category are on the pricier end of the scale.

Heavyweight

Depending on the kind of hiking you do you, may find a heavier weight hiking boot to be your best friend on the trail. This is of course an entirely personal decision as some hikers prefer a more traditional rigid boot whilst others prefer lightweight construction for that breezy feel on the trail.

With a heavyweight hiking boot, you will also generally find that its waterproofing is of a much more robust quality to the other areas of boots mentioned above. This makes them excellent if you live somewhere where there is a lot of water from rain or snow or river crossings.

That said heavyweight hiking boots have significantly downgraded their weight over recent years as more cutting-edge technology is used in their construction. Whilst heavyweight is a broad term, there is also a considerable spectrum of boots to consider and the differences with them is immense.

For example, the Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX feels much more robust and rigid than the Salewa Men’s Alp Trainer 2 Mid GTX does. When used in the right context, both hiking boots stand up extremely well on their own.

Price

Naturally, there are hiking boots offered at each end of the scale from extremely affordable, more entry level hiking boots, all the way through to very technical high end, high price hiking boots.

One of the biggest factors that will determine how much you decide to spend on your hiking boots will simply be how big a budget you have to allocate. Whilst we always suggest that you buy the best you can afford, we also don’t believe in stretching yourself too thin just to buy the top pair.

Typically, the more expensive hiking shoes make use of cutting edge materials and advanced technologies to bring their model in at a lighter weight and a high performing option. You will generally find that most alpine and mountaineering suitable hiking boots will fall into this category.

Many more expensive hiking boots make use of things like Gore-Tex membranes for their waterproofing and have extremely durable sole constructions and great breathability to boot. 

On the other end, cheaper hiking boots are able to come in generally at this price point due to a reduction in usage of higher tech materials and with the potential risk to longer term durability.

We encourage you, before deciding how much to spend on your hiking boots, to really look at how much you plan to go hiking. For example, if you are a well-seasoned hiker who is looking for your next pair, we would recommend spending a little bit more and getting something that is going to really give you a boost and stand the test of time.

However, if you are on a more stringent budget or you’re new to hiking and don’t really know how often you’ll go, a cheaper pair is likely to give you all that you need to begin with.

Traction

If you’ve been used to wearing trail runners or something similar on hikes so far then upgrading to a hiking boot is a good option if you decide to take on slightly more challenging and more advanced trails. Simply put, a good pair of hiking boots is a step up in terms of the traction offered and will really help you when it comes to things like slippery rocks, scree surfaces and other loose and potentially hazardous conditions in the outdoors.

Vibram is a name that comes up time and time again when it comes to hiking boot soles. They have a range of different products which are custom created and used alongside each manufacturer they work with to create something that is unique to that particular boot. Of course, some brands do also have their own in-house technologies or use other technologies – such as Continental for their boot lugs and soles.

Depending on the kind of hiking that you do it is worthwhile looking at the kind of lugs and depth offered on the hiking boots that you are looking to buy. As some hiking boots soles offer sticky attraction which is better for traveling over slick rocks and other such alpine conditions. Whereas other boots have deeper set patterns which are better for dealing with muddy and slippery surfaces.

hiking boot traction

Breathability

The level of breathability offered in hiking boots really is determined by the materials and products used in their main construction, particularly on the upper. Most hiking boots on the market today offer some level of water resistance and waterproofing. The ones that don’t, much like hiking shoes, are generally the ones that are the most breathable.

This is because as soon as you add a waterproof membrane, it impacts the level of breathability that can be experienced whilst wearing your hiking boots.

We advise that the best thing to do is consider the kind of hiking that you plan to do. If you are likely going to be hiking in alpine conditions, mountainous trails, and areas where you can expect rain then it’s good to prioritize waterproofing over breathability.

If you live in an extremely hot climate, then it is a good idea to look at breathability as more important. It really does depend on your own circumstances.

Ankle Support

One of the main reasons for making the move from hiking shoes to hiking boots is the level of ankle support that they offer. This can allow you to take on trails that you perhaps wouldn’t be able to otherwise as they will give you more confidence and protect your ankles from potential injuries.

However, not all ankle support provided in hiking boots is equal. For those that offer more of a lightweight finish, you can expect the ankle support is typically less robust than a pair of heavier weight hiking boots that are much more rigid.

If the rigidity of the ankle support offered in your new hiking boots is extremely important to you, we would recommend checking the rest of the materials used to decide if the support offered is adequate for you or not.

Typically, those offered in a leather or suede finish or synthetic leather will be the most rigid around the ankle. Whereas those offering a synthetic finish may be less protective around the ankles.

Arch Support

The arch support offered with most of the hiking boots in our round up is similar. This is a minimal to mid-level of arch support and will suit most hikers with a normal arch.

If you have high arches, then it is entirely possible to replace the insoles that come in your new hiking boots with something that is more specific to your needs. These can be introduced easily and inexpensively, so don’t have too much of an impact on the overall price of the boots you’re buying.

That said, it’s worth checking if the hiking boots that you are planning to buy have enough room for a chunkier insole if that’s what you would be looking to replace with. It’s worth seeing if there is enough room in the toe box for any additional height that can be created with different insoles to those that are designed for the boot.

Fit

Fit is an important consideration with any hiking footwear, as it can make the difference between feeling comfortable on the trail and not really thinking about your feet or feeling like you can’t go on any further because your feet are in shreds.

We have tried to make as much information available on the different fits and widths that are offered in the hiking boots that we’ve recommended in our reviews. Of course, some manufacturers offer different width fittings but sadly there is no standard when it comes to what this means. So, what one manufacturer considers a wide fit could be considered a normal fit by another manufacturer.

If you are between sizes, we would always recommend sizing up if no further information is given. If a half size is offered, then we would of course recommend you take that.

Materials

There are various main materials used in hiking boots on today’s market, here are some of the most common:

Full Grain Leather

Full grain leather is typically used in more rigid and often heavier hiking boots. Full grain leather provides excellent protection against the elements including rain and is one of the hardiest options out there. You will often see full grain leather used on hiking boots that are more traditional.

Nubuck Leather and Suede

Nubuck leather and suede are a good medium ground in terms of weight and density after full grain leather. This is generally much softer and more pliable than full grain leather and therefore allows for more give and flexibility in the hiking boot. They also offer a lot in terms of comfort and can mold more to the shape of your feet, creating a very individual fit that feels perfect for the wearer.

You will often find some of the more high-end alpine boots and cutting-edge mountaineering boots are offered in a full in a nubuck leather, suede and synthetic mix. This allows manufacturers to get the best of both worlds with the advantages of synthetic materials and the comfort of leather.

Vegan Leather

Vegan leather is becoming increasingly popular and is a fantastic option for hikers wishing to avoid the use of animal products in their hiking boots. Certain brands now offer entirely synthetic leather or vegan leather options and go as far as to avoid using animal-based glues to create a fully plant based product.

There is a chance that a synthetic compound may not last as long as a traditional leather boot, but they are far from a runner up product and some of the models out there are extremely durable and punch well above their weight in terms of performance.

If looking for vegan hiking boots, we would suggest checking for the vegan certification on the manufacturers page. Make sure that the boot is definitely vegan and is free from animal based glues – some boots on offer are synthetic but still make use of traditional glues that can contain animal product.

Synthetic Nylon and Mesh

Synthetic nylon and mesh are typically used on hiking boots that are trying to come in at a lighter weight and generally, the use of synthetic materials is helpful in improving breathability.

If you hike somewhere with very little rain, then you may want to look at synthetic hiking boots instead of a more traditional leather or plant based leather option.

Synthetic compounds are also generally not as strong or durable as leather/synthetic mixes. So, with that in mind you can expect hiking boots that are entirely synthetic may not last as long as more traditional hiking boots will.

Mid and Outsoles

Onto the mid and outsoles of your hiking boots, these will typically make use of rubber, this is generally molded to provide excellent traction against trail conditions. The midsole is also molded in such a way that it protects the feet from shocks that you can expect when pounding your feet along a hard trail for hours on end.

EVA foam is typically used in the midsole and can vary between slightly more cushioned and harder for different levels of comfort in the boot. If you’re planning to take on longer distance backpacking trails or go for miles in your boots, then we would recommend going for a hiking boot with a slightly harder mid soul as this prevents wear out happening quickly.

Appearance

Appearance is such a personal thing when it comes to hiking boots. What one person likes, another person will absolutely hate, and this is why it’s great that there are so many different types of hiking boot on the market.

What’s important when it comes to appearance is to go for comfort and suitability for the types of trails you wish to hike over looks. Whilst nobody particularly wants a boring hiking boot, there are plenty of options out there that will hit the balance between looking good and feeling comfortable for your particular foot type.

The appearance of your hiking boots can also be improved by taking care of them off the trail. You can find out more about the best way to look after your hiking boots in our buying advice page.

Durability

When it comes to durability, you will find that most of the best hiking boots for longevity will currently make use of leather. This is great for offering a layer of resistance to the kind of shock and trauma they can expect to undergo on the trail and can withstand this for years.

Durability can also be improved by looking at models that make use of less materials, as all areas with stitching and joins create weak points that over time can create bigger problems. Likewise, looking after your hiking boots well and storing them correctly will help you keep them their best for as long as possible.

Sustainability

Many brands are making big moves towards better sustainability credentials in their production lines and also the materials used in their products. It is fairly common now to see recycled elements used in polyester and mesh sections of hiking boots, with some making use of recycled rubber in the soles too.

If this area is important to you, research any claims made by the brand in terms of recycled materials or renewables in a little more detail before purchasing.

For example, some brands market the idea of using recycled materials but once you look into it more closely, they may actually only be using recycled shoelaces. When you think about it, this is such a small percentage of your new hiking boot.

One of the best ways to help in terms of sustainability is to buy less. So, looking for a model that is almost future thinking based on your desires in the outdoors will help you to get a pair that is going to last you the test of time before they need upgrading.

There are also some great schemes out there now, for example the Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX is able to be mended and resoled by Danner to prolong its life, which we think is a great initiative. There are also numerous recycling schemes out there now that will take your tired hiking boots and recycle them responsibly and sustainably.

Water Resistance

Most hiking boots offered today do come with some form of water resistance or waterproofing. However, what this means can vary wildly from model to model and are not all created equal.

Typically, models that make use of a Gore-Tex membrane, which are generally at the upper end of the price scale, are going to provide the best protection from water and also still offer a degree of breathability. This is great if you know you’re going to be tackling various conditions in your hiking boots outdoors.

We would really recommend reading our article on the differences between waterproofing, water resistance and water repellency to get a better understanding and make the best decision for your needs.

Weight

As outlined above in our categorization of the different types of hiking boots, there are various weight categories that can be used to describe them. This is usually lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight.

The weight of your hiking boots will be mostly determined by the kind of protection you need against the elements and also the budget that you have to spend.

Typically, the models that are making use of the best protection at a lower weight ratio are the ones that are offered at higher price point. These typically make use of cutting edge technology and you will pay a premium for this.

The weight of your hiking boots is actually quite an important metric when making your decision; get them too heavy for your frame and you can experience real trail fatigue. Wearing boots that are heavy can make you feel really weighed down and clunky.

Insoles

Most hiking boots will come with a fairly standard insole – this will be pretty much perfect for most hikers. However, there can be some differences in the insoles provided. Some brands can make use of memory foam or gel insoles which can feel more cushioned underfoot.

Personally, we’ve found we prefer insoles that feel that little bit harder – over longer trails they are better on the feet and seem to lead to less trail fatigue.

If you do however want to replace the insoles that come with your hiking boots, then you can easily do so relatively inexpensively. This can give you the option to replace with something that is more suited to a high arch, for example.

hiking boot insoles

Break-in Period

The break-in period you’ll get with your hiking boots will vary from product to product. Generally, though, full grain leather hiking boots and more rigid boots will often take longer to get out on the trail than those with softer nubuck leather, suede or synthetic constructions.

We would advise not just making your decision about your new pair based on the break-in period. Whilst a break-in period can be a little bit tiresome, and with some boots can feel a little sore in the process, those boots that take longer to wear in can sometimes end up being the most comfortable.

Even though some hiking boots boast the idea of no break-in period, we strongly advise against just taking them out on the trail – you will likely regret this! You need to be very confident that they are comfortable for longer treks before hiking miles and miles.

Some test hikes and shorter walks will give you an idea of where you can push them and when. So, if you’re buying for a specific trip or expedition, always buy in plenty of advance to allow you to get them feeling perfectly comfortable before you head off. This can genuinely be the difference between completing a trail and having to veto it.

Lacing System

There are various, commonly used lacing systems available in hiking boots. These can include BOA fastenings, quick lacing systems and a more traditional eyelet design, as well as hooks.

Most hiking boots in our reviews make use of a fairly standard, eyelet based lacing system – this isn’t much different to a hiking shoe. However, a hiking boot will also generally make use of hook on the upper around the ankle and up to allow you to get better tension around this area.

The lacing system is one of the most important ways to help get the best feeling of comfort you can in your hiking boots. There is a lot that can be done with your laces and using different lacing patterns can really help you get a fit that feels right to your specific feet.

Toe Protection

Hiking boots usually make use of a reinforced toe rand that is made of rubber to help with toe protection. This can help tremendously with protecting your feet from any bumps and knocks on the trail.

Some hiking boots come with greater to protection than others, so if you are someone who knows they need that extra bit of protection, make sure to look out for models that have increased visible shaping in that area.

Likewise, the toe protection at the front of the boot is there to protect your hiking boots as much as it is your own feet.

For example, we found with the Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX that that was and much smaller rubber toe rand visible and after short usage on the trail the leather around the toe did start to look scuffed. Even though there are no signs of this boot failing in terms of durability, having an adequate toe rand does longer term wear and tear.

toe protection in hiking boots

Conclusion

There are seemingly endless options for hiking boots on the market right now, from ultra-lightweight designs that make use of extensive mesh all the way through to more traditional comment heavyweight hiking boots that will see you all the way through winter. But which is right?

The right hiking boot for you will be determined by the kind of hiking you intend to do, where you intend to use your boots, and the kind of comfort and support that you need. These should be your main deciding factors, but there is also a lot more to consider too.

We hope this guide has helped you to get a better understanding of some of the best options out there right now. Be sure to also check out our other guides including best hiking shoes and best waterproof hiking shoes to get a more rounded view of what’s out there and if there might be something better suited to your needs. You can also view more of our gear and equipment guides, like best hiking poles, hiking backpacks and best backpacking tents in our main gear and equipment review hub.

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