A hard working, dependable pair of boots are your best friend when trekking through the countryside. Whether you are out for the weekend hiking local trails, or a month into a trip up the Pacific Crest Trail, you are only as comfortable as your feet are. That’s why most hikers and backpackers agree that your boots are truly the most important piece of gear you can buy. A good pair of boots provide grip for when you are walking on slick rocks or loose gravel, along with keeping you both warm and dry as you trudge through wetlands or heavy river streams.
Hiking season is just around the corner, and that means folks are looking to retire an old pair of boots, while others are considering investing into their first quality pair. Hunting down that perfect pair can be quite daunting, which is why we took the liberty to uncover the best performing boots on the market. Ranging from seriously high-tech boots meant for scaling mountains to entry level options meant for your run of the mill day-hike, our list of the 20 best hiking boots will offer up something for everyone. Now get out there and explore.
Columbia North Plains
Lightweight, reasonably priced, and totally durable, the North Plains boots are perfect for fast paced jaunts through the woods. Equipped with an Omni-Grip rubber sole that provides solid traction and a Techlite midsole that cushions your feet with each step, these boots can go all day and then some. In addition to all that comfort and versatility, the suede leather and mesh construction makes them both breathable and waterproof so you can take your quick day hikes through dewy meadows and streams without worrying about wet socks.
Teva Riva Winter
If you are the kind of hiker that is looking to go out even in the coldest of weather, then you need to make sure that you have some warm boots. Trudging through the snow or over frozen ground is hard enough without cold feet, and while Teva isn’t the first brand that comes to mind when you want to keep your feet toasty – we can’t deny that they’ve built a great winter boot. With an upper constructed from tough leather and lined with 200 grams of 3mm thick Thinsulate – these will keep you protected from the coldest of cold. Along with the warm lining in the upper, these hikers come with a Vibram outsole specifically developed for trekking over snow and ice so you’ll be able to keep traction wherever you go. Winter be warned.
Keen Revel III
You never know what kind of weather you’ll encounter on the trails. Sure, you can check the forecast before you roll out – but who really knows after a few days of hiking? Keen is well aware of the importance of a good weatherproof boot, so they developed their Revel III to be prepared for whatever nature throws its way. Constructed with a waterproof Nubuck Leather upper paired with a breathable membrane, this hiker will keep dry and comfortable even through the heaviest of rain and snow. Along with great weatherproofing, this shoe is serious about support. The plush collar on the upper portion of the boot is meant to keep your ankles secure and comfortable while the 200 grams of the proprietary Keen Warm insulation keeps you from getting cold. The shoe also comes with an outsole designed for gripping ice and snow so you won’t slip on those cold hikes.
Merrell All Out Blaze
When you are looking for a good boot, you want something as light as a cloud and tough enough to stand up to the ups and downs of the trail. These low cut All Out Blaze straddle those two qualities perfectly. Constructed with a breathable but waterproof mesh and leather, they are built to keep your feet both cool and dry on hot hikes over ridges and down into valleys. Not only do they sport lightweight construction, but their soft E-Foam midsole combined with Vibram’s sticky TC5+ outsole makes for solid traction, and a comfortable fit that will keep you going all day long.
The North Face Ultra Extreme II GTX
After nearly fifty years of building outdoor and climbing equipment, it is fair to say that The North Face knows what they are doing when it comes to hiking boots. If you’re not convinced – just look at the Ultra Extreme II. The design goal at the outset of creating this hiker was to get rid of all of the extra stuff without compromising on utility. The result is a pair of boots that are lightweight, warm, and totally weatherproof. Crafted with a Vibram IceTrek rubber outsole designed exclusively for the brand, these things deliver solid traction, along with Gore-Tex weather-proofed uppers to combat whatever Mother Nature has in store. Another great offering from North Face.
Adidas Terrex Scope high GTX
Adidas’ approach to hiking boots was all about creating a lightweight shoe with unparalleled grip and support. The Gore-Tex lining on the Terrex Scope High makes the boot waterproof and breathable, while the neoprene collar keeps your ankles supported and comfortable. To keep you hiking day in and day out, the brand added molded Ortholite sockliners, adiPRENE midsole, and an outsole constructed from Stealth Rubber for solid grip up and down all the ridges, hills, and mountains on your path.
Five Ten Camp Four
Five Ten broke into the outdoor equipment scene with their climbing shoes, but they’ve been expanding the scope of what they produce for a while now. Created for serious grip through soft ground or hard rock, their Camp Four Mid is an improvement on their already popular line. The increased lugs on the sole combined with the weatherproof nubuck leather upper make it so you can easily cruise through any terrain without worrying about water seeping into your socks. For ankle protection the boot comes with a high top with lots of support, while the inner Ortholite foam sock liner absorbs moisture. As if they weren’t versatile enough – the lace-to-toe closures on the upper can be adjusted to be tight enough to jimmy up a ridge or cruise around on the flat land.
All day, all weather, again and again. That is what Ahnu’s Coburn is designed for – continuous use in tough conditions. Constructed from full grain leather and sporting a classic silhouette, this waterproof boot is perfect for hiking at any time of the year. The gusseted tongue on the shoe keeps out debris, and the EVA high density insole reduces impact from your stride making it easier to hike further and for longer.
Vasque Men’s St. Elias GTX
Named after the fourth highest peak in North America, these boots are built to last through the most rugged and demanding of terrain. Put together with a full grain leather upper and Gore-Tex lining, they won’t only keep your feet dry through heavy stream crossings – they’ll keep your feet both warm and ventilated. Coming with a solid Vibram sole and a removable insole for total comfort throughout your hike, this shoe will prove to be comfortable throughout your hike – however long it may be.
Phaserbound Waterproof Boots
If you are looking for a boot that can seriously deliver comfort and resilience on the trail – the Phaserbound is the perfect fit. Fashioned for long overnight trips, the waterproof Phaserbound is tough, simple, and sturdy. Assembled with a full grain leather upper and a Vibram sole – it will keep water out and provide solid support on the trail. The mid high cushioned ankle protects you from sprains and debris, while the 5mm deep lugs on the sole help dig into the terrain. Expect a couple hundred miles of abuse from these bad boys.
Salomon Quest 4D GTX
Tough enough to hike the Appalachian Trail and light enough for just a day trip – these are perfect boots for conquering any terrain. With an outsole constructed using Salomon’s branded grip technology you’ll be sure to keep your footing no matter where the trail takes you. If comfort is your primary concern, these won’t disappoint. The Quest comes with Gore-Tex protection and a molded EVA Ortholite footbed.
La Sportiva Synthesis Surround GTX
Don’t just take our word for these boots – last year Backpacker Magazine gave them the Editors’ Choice award. Breathable yet waterproof, light yet sturdy, these things are ready to tackle anything in your path. Constructed with a midsole that is unified with the upper, these innovative boots are great for long day hikes because of how well they ventilate your entire foot. The unique construction gives you the ability to wick moisture and heat – so you can completely avoid getting blisters while keeping rain and muck from getting in.
Salewa Hike Trainer GTX
Whether you’re looking to trek Ventana from top to bottom, or just hit the local trails for the day, Salewa’s Hike Trainers are a solid grab. With an upper crafted from the ever popular nubuck weatherproof leather and suede, they are good to go over dusty trails or through heavy rains. The 100% fresh silver anti-bacterial lining keeps foot odor at bay while the Gore-Tex Extended Dry treatment prevents water from seeping in. All of this combined with a super grippy Vibram Hike Approach sole makes these Salewas a great choice.
Scarpa Zen Pro Mid GTX
The Zen pro is the result of an attempt to find the perfect balance between solid grip, good hiking support, and all day comfort. Favored among both guides and climbers, this suede mid-topped hiking boot uses a Gore-Tex liner and a Vibram sole for lightweight security and flexibility. All of this technology and design results in a really solid shoe that is perfect for casual hiking.
Asolo TPS 535 V
One of the issues backpackers have to deal with constantly is, well, their backpacks. Carrying that extra weight around all day really wear on your feet and joints – and Asolo aims to put an end to all that. The soles on the TPS 535 muffle the impact of each stride by using a proprietary “Triple Power Structure” technology, utilizing dual density polyurethane shock absorbers combined with Vibram technology. As if that wasn’t enough, the inside of the 535’s are given a chambrelle lining that wicks interior moister. Combine that with an anatomical footbed designed for easy breaking-in, and you can skip the whole blister thing. All of this innovation combined with an upper constructed from one piece of water resistant 2.4mm nubuck leather make this boot a solid choice.
Merrell Men’s Wilderness
Simple, well designed, and built for heavy use – the Merrell Wilderness is one hell of a good looking shoe. Constructed with a single piece of 3mm waterproof full grain leather, these sturdy hikers are rugged enough to last through all kinds of terrain. The sole is constructed with a micropourus rubber midsole, and a crampon compatible Vibram outsole. A solid choice for those who aren’t looking to compromise style for utility.
Danner Mountain Pass
With a design dating back to 1979, the Mountain Pass is a boot with some serious old-school cool. These hikers have an upper made from a single piece of full grain leather that, along with the Gore-Tex waterproof liners, keep your feet totally protected from the elements. Made in Portland, each pair comes with an Airthotic half length instep that both cups the heel and supports the foot for total comfort. Rounding out the rugged build, the Vibram Kletterlift outsole provides great grip and durability through heavy use in any climate.
Arc’teryx Men’s Bora2 Mid GTX
Arc’teryx never disappoints. The Vancouver-based brand builds some of the best outdoor gear on the planet, and their Bora 2 are certainly no exception. The shoe comes with an easily detachable tongueless liner that is made from a breathable nylon monomesh that keeps you cool and dries off fast. You can even switch out liners depending on weather and conditions (a warmer one for cool weather, a more breathable one for hot). In addition to all this goodness, the upper on the boot is made from a durable water repellent microfiber, PU coated nylon yarn, and a TPU film for abrasion resistance so you don’t have to worry about rubbing.
Lowa Baffin Pro
If you live and hike in a primarily dry climate (like our hometown of San Diego), then advanced waterproof technology may not be high on the priority list. For those who couldn’t care less about water proofing, the Baffin is right up your alley. With a Vibram sole for traction and grip on the trail, a high top for serious ankle support, and a climate control system that utilizes perforations on the shoe’s leather upper – this will keep you cool, comfortable, and supported on your Summer hikes.
La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX
Both incredibly light and rugged, these stiff but comfortable pair of hikers are ideal for the serious mountaineer. The fit is superb – with almost no break-in period required, and the 4mm graded nylon insole acts like a slim cloud for your feet. The seamless upper is built with FlexTec and QB3 fabrics that pair perfectly with a Gore-Tex lining , keeping these boots climate controlled and waterproof. Fantastic at gripping, the outsole has directionally opposed lugs that make it so you’ll have a solid grip whether you’re hiking up or down steep slopes. While it may look like these were inspired by a box of melted crayons, La Sportiva doesn’t disappoint when it comes to utility and performance.
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