Updated: March 10, 2021. This review for best hiking boots has been updated to reflect some newer options that have been put on the market.

Hiking can be both a relaxing stroll through the woods or an extreme physical sport depending on where you hike and your level of experience.  But no matter your hiking plan or goal, there is one piece of equipment that is, without a doubt, essential to an enjoyable time outside.  And that would be hiking boots.  

Hiking boots offer support and grip to help you accomplish any climb safely and comfortably.  If you’ve ever been on a hike or camping trip and you’ve had improper shoes, you know how important this seemingly small accessory is to ensure your overall well-being and happiness, and success of the hike or climb.  Below I’ve listed my top 10 best hiking boots and why they might be a good fit for you. 

Researched Sources

Reviews Considered

Hours of Research

Products Evaluated

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Gore-Tex Waterproofing
  • Tough Exterior
  • Reasonably Light

CONS:

  • Not Good for Wide Feet
More Information

For all-around performance, serious short hikes and lightweight backpacking, the Salomon Quest 4D are the best hiking boots available. They aren’t cheap, but not over the top either, and although it’s an all-rounder, everything about them seems less like a compromise and more like an ideal balance.

Protection
The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX are not too heavy but not too flimsy; well-built but comfortable. If you’re planning to visit the Arctic with a heavy pack or you’d prefer an ultra-light boot that imitates a trail runner, then there are better options out there that will meet those condition requirements.  However, the Salomon Quest 4D GTX should suit the majority of conditions nicely.  The previous model (the Quest 4D) were a favorite of hiking gear specialists for many years, and the 2 has improved on a couple of small things, most notably their appearance.

Weather Resistance
These hiking boots from Salomon are quality boots made to last. They have a gore-tex material that makes them waterproof which means no matter what terrain you might find yourself in, your feet will stay dry and you can continue to carry on.

Fit
These hiking boots have a fit rating of 88%, which means that they fit well and are accurate to the size chart. It is best to check your size using the seller’s size chart so you make sure to find the right hiking boots that fit you perfectly.

Materials
This pair of shoes is made from a gore-tex material which makes them not only durable but also waterproof. This means that these boots can be worn in the toughest conditions and will continue to trek through.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Gore-Tex Material
  • Toe & Heel Ventilation

CONS:

  • Runs Small
More Information

The Vasque Men’s Breeze 3 GTX boots are built for hikers and backpackers. They are light, comfortable, and best of all, offer great support. You really won’t go wrong, but you will go far with these on your feet. 

Protection
Altogether, if you are looking for lightweight hiking boots to prevent your precious feet from becoming fatigued during a long hike, these Vasque Men’s Breeze 3 GTXs are just what you are searching for.

Weather Resistance
These backpacking boots from Vasque abrasion-proof and waterproof, which means that if any rocks or sharp objects scrap the boots they will not be cut. They are also waterproof to keep you trekking even through wet environments.

Fit
It’s been said by avid hikers who used these hiking boots on a large expedition that they are some of the best trekkers on the market today. Why is that? Well according to the testers who tried them, they are stable, fit quite nicely, and allow you to feel steady on any terrain.

Materials
Along with the steady support that these boots offer, is the fact that they are breathable. This means no sweaty, uncomfortable feet as you hike up the grand Pacific Crest Trail. If your feet do tend to sweat a lot, you should consider investing in socks for sweaty feet. These will help you to wick away the moisture which will provide you more comfort in your boots.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Padded Boot Collar
  • 100% Waterproof
  • Built from Durable Leather

CONS:

  • Poor Traction
More Information

We were happy to find these quality hiking boots are 100% waterproof and that’s because top quality waterproof leather is used in the construction of the boot, even the tongue is fully waterproof. 

Protection
These rain boots are clearly built to give a top performance for all types of hiking and they give good comfort even if the boots are worn all day.

Weather Resistance
The level of waterproofing is outstanding and means that you can hike confidently in wet or snowy environments and you will not be distracted by the discomfort of wet feet.

Fit
These boots have a fit rating of 87% which means they are true to their fit if you stick to following the size chart provided by the seller.

Materials
For grip, the sole sports lugs which grip and hold the ground but less likely to pick up and carry wet mud, we particularly liked the perforation system which gives good air ventilation and still ensures the boots stay waterproof.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Great Brand
  • Offer’s Great Protection
  • Fit Great

CONS:

  • Squeaky Soles
More Information

These hiking boots brought to you by Merrell are not only heavy-duty boots that will keep you protected and secure while on your hiking trip but they are also quite stylish. These hiking shoes are designed by a well-known brand and when looking to get gear from a well-known brand you can expect that you are getting quality. 

Protection
They offer great protection as they are quite high on the ankle which will not only keep your ankles protected against critters and insects but also provide your ankle with stability in case you slip. The last thing you want while out in the middle of the wilderness is to slip and roll your ankle. That is why high ankle hiking boots are important as they will give you extra support and ensure that you will complete your hike without issue.

Weather Resistance
These offer great weather resistance as all any boot should, they will not only protect you against the weather elements but also from dirt and other things you would expect while out in the wilderness.

Fit
These boots are quite true to their fit and as long as you know your boot size or follow their size chart you should have no issue finding your perfect sized option.

Materials
This pair of hiking boots are made from 100% leather and mesh which means they will last. The soles are also made from Vibram rubber which can take a beating. If you are looking for a tough new pair of hiking boots, these just might be the ones for you.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • Durable Sole

CONS:

  • Not for Wide Feet
More Information

Constructed from durable and robust leather which is ideal for the many different weather conditions and environments that these high-performing hiking boots will encounter.

Protection
Two weeks of testing showed these winter hiking boots to be well up to standard. Walking in these boots on different surfaces, the performance remains very good.

Weather Resistance
The warmth factor is impressive, trudging through snow and yet still nice warm feet; importantly, no entry by water. Compared to previously tested boots, these feel light and the soles shed any attempts from mud to cling on.

We are definitely sure that these hiking boots will be a perfect addition to your hiking footwear, as their materials are waterproofed.

Fit
For breaking in the boots they do need a few days but no over-the-top discomfort or blisters while going through the breaking-in process. After a few days, they will fit perfectly.

Materials
The sole is soft and durable, on really rough surfaces the feeling has been nice and smooth, used on snow the boots give a good level of stability.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Waterproof Yet Breathable
  • Tough Upper
  • Reasonably Light

CONS:

  • Needs Better Traction
More Information

These Keen boots are the ideal choice if you are looking for tough backpacking boots that are waterproof and at the same time extremely breathable. They come at an affordable price and they are reasonably light which makes them suitable for backpacking trips. However, for more demanding rough terrains, you might want to check our other suggestions.

Protection
These boots from Keen offer great ankle protection in case of a slip or trip and also provide good traction to make sure you stay level footed while on your next hike. This is a very important boot feature, especially for those outdoors adventurers who like to hike on some tough terrain.

Weather Resistance
These are completely waterproof which means if you hit a body of water during your hike you will be able to keep on trekking without discomfort.

Fit
The Keen Targhee 3 have been routinely voted the best-value hiking shoes in previous years. The Targhee 3 is still fairly lightweight but provides better support than the Targhee 2. Both the shoes and the boots are an excellent choice for you if you need extra room across the width and toe box of your boots.

Keen recommends ordering half a size bigger than your usual boot size, as these will fit you better.

Materials
These boots are made from %100 leather which means that not only are they waterproof but also will hold up against abrasions or anything else mother nature can throw at them.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Very Comfortable
  • Extreme Protection
  • Wide Range of Sizes

CONS:

  • Sole is Soft
More Information

When it comes to the classic hiking boot, the Timberland name has long been associated with rugged durability, comfort, and protection from the elements. The Euro Hiker boots serve this reputation well and will serve any hiker no matter what kind of environment they may encounter. 

Protection
If sized correctly, these boots are superb at offering support for your feet, arches, ankles, and honestly the rest of the body as well. They are flexible enough to move with you and strong enough to give you the firm support you need, especially in the weaker ankle area.

Weather Resistance
With proper care and maintenance, these hiking boots provide great protection against water, slush, and snow. The thick rubber sole protects your feet from sharp objects on the ground, and the reinforced toe guard makes it hard to do any significant damage to the toe area.

Fit
They come in a wide range of sizes, and most people found that they fit pretty much how they expected them to fit. However, about 20% of the time, customers found the footwear to be a little on the larger size and doesn’t fit like they were hoping to.

Materials
These boots are made with a high-quality leather upper, and a natural rubber sole. The ankle area sports a padded collar, and the laces are kept #rmly in place with D-ring lacing hardware.

While not the cheapest pair of hiking boots on this list, the overall price is more than reasonable considering that these boots have been known to power through just about any situation. Most customers found that these hiking boots last for quite a few years with proper care and maintenance.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Very Breathable
  • Great for Unstable Terrain

CONS:

  • Not a Great Lace Locking System
More Information

For hikers venturing off the trail into rocky or snowy terrain, the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX offers stability and traction that no other boot does.  It is essentially a lightweight mountain boot, but it does so well that the average hiker can also benefit from its superior performance.  Its full-leather upper offers excellent durability, while the supportive Vibram sole gives a stable platform. Impressively waterproof, it is ready to handle the most challenging terrain you might encounter, even being able to pair with a light crampon for use on firm snow on an early season hike.

Protection
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX’s are not too heavy but not too flimsy; well-built but comfortable. If you’re planning to visit the Arctic with a heavy pack or you’d prefer an ultra-light boot that imitates a trail runner, then there are better options out there that will meet those condition requirements. 

Weather Resistance
These hiking boots from Scarpa are quality boots made to last. They have a gore-tex material that makes them waterproof which means no matter what terrain you might find yourself in, your feet will stay dry and you can continue to carry on.

Fit
These hiking boots have a wider fit means they’re great for wide feet or anyone who likes a little more wiggle room.  But if you have a narrow foot or you need a snug-fitting shoe these may not be for you. 

Materials
This pair of shoes is made from a gore-tex material which makes them not only durable but also waterproof. This means that these boots can be worn in the toughest conditions and will continue to trek through. The soles are Vibram, giving them a stable platform that is great for rocky or uneven terrain.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Good Support
  • Waterproof
  • Affordable

CONS:

  • Artificial Leather
More Information

This is a multi-functional boot, trekking, hiking, work, casual. These are good for ladies and men. Taking into consideration the wide functional performance, the price is at a level which is very affordable. The uppers are arti#cial leather and synthetics and known to offer good waterproof defense. The rubber sole is durable and has good surface grip. 

Protection
All hiking boots work on giving protection combined with comfort; the durability and quality of the materials used will qualify what level of protection. These are made from artificial leather, the protection is doubtlessly in place. The artificial leather uppers are certainly solid and give and a nice amount of foot support.

Weather Resistance
Artificial leather will give a good level of waterproof protection though question marks remain as to how durable in the long term such protection will be. Real quality leather gives protection against the weather and this is reflected in the higher price. If you’re looking to use these for hiking and you do encounter rough weather, to what level the boots will perform will be dependent on how harsh and prolonged the wet weather will be.

Fit
These boots have a lining mesh to give a more skin-friendly level of comfort and fit. Offered at true to fit standard sizes, fit works fine. Artificial leather requires a lot less break-in time if any at all. However, the uppers of these boots are solidly built and a degree of boot break-in time is worth doing.

Materials
An impressive rubber sole with serious traction features, clearly durable. There are people who like artificial leather and there are those who just are not fully convinced. The real consideration is more about the thickness and quality of the artificial uppers, and for these boots it is good. Think about how many shoes are now constructed from synthetics and how well those shoes perform hiking, trail running, track work, working footwear, and more. These boots have a solid durable rubber sole. If you’re looking for a quality budget boot, this works.

  • Protection 90% 90%
  • Fit 97% 97%
  • Weather Resistance 98% 98%
  • Materials 87% 87%

PROS:

  • Impressive Traction
  • Water-Resistant
  • Quality Leather

CONS:

  • Women’s-Fit Only
More Information

This is a boot that works for ladies in all sorts of hiking weather. A premium leather upper boot that gives lots of support and very good protection. A quality boot that strides along at a mid-range price. This means high quality and a nice cost.

Protection
The uppers are good quality premium oil-tanned leather. More protection from the inner booty construction works to keep moisture out of the boot while still allowing breathability. The sneaker-boot design offers nice protection around the ankle and a built-in composite shank gives support on different terrains. The Peak-to-Pavement outsole gives combined protection with impressive traction.

Weather Resistance
The uppers give a good amount of resistance to weather through the use of oil-tanned leather which means very good water defense at a high level. The internal booty construction is another layer of protection so that these boots are good in rain and snow.

Fit
Oil-tanned leather has a strong supportive feel to it with a degree of suppleness. This means that on the feet, these boots are reasonably quick to shape and fit This design fits very comfortably around the foot while giving good support.

Materials
Overall, the uppers are constructed from quality full-grain leather which is premium oil-tanned, good quality suede, and for support at the ankles ballistic nylon. The soles are rubber and have an impressive traction bite design for great grip on all surfaces.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

 

Protection

The best hiking boots, no matter the price, should do one thing: protect your feet from undue stress.  These stresses can include everything from rain and snow to muddy terrain and slippery rocks. Common things encountered on a hike, such as animals, roots, and fallen leaves can also provide sources of stress to your feet.

The other factor you have to consider is your ankles. You want a pair of hiking boots that will protect your ankles in case of slipping. You don’t want to roll your ankle that could cause serious injury that prohibits you from continuing your hike, especially if you are in the middle of nowhere and will have a hard time getting back to civilization.  So make sure you get proper ankle protection and support.

The ideal choice should offer at least very similiar level of protection for your feet as some of the most expensive brands on the market today. Thankfully, the hiking boots presented here do just that in a number of ways. The outer shells of these boots often provide protection from the weather or at least allow you to resist its effects quite well.

The soles of the boots protect you from sharp objects on the ground such as rocks and sticks, and the heavy-duty upper proportions can often protect you from mosquitos.

 

Weather Resistance

As we’ve shown, finding great waterproof performance no longer means you’re stuck with stiff heavy leather boots. Whereas earlier waterproof fabrics had a tendency to lock in moisture as well–increasing the feeling of uncomfortable, sweaty feet–waterproof materials are getting much more breathable and mold-resistant.  Well-respected brands and materials (such as Gore-Tex) have earned their popularity because they really are worth twice as much as their imitators. 

High-tech materials aren’t necessarily synthetic though: some brands are experimenting with new ways to weave cotton and bamboo to provide impressive results, and in this case, it’s the weave and the production that are high tech, while the fabric retains its wonderful natural qualities. 

We wanted to ensure that our selections for the best hiking boots were capable of keeping your feet comfortable and dry while sloshing through icy puddles or trekking through the rain for days at a time. For frequent or long-distance hikers, breathability is really important to keep your feet healthy and your spirits high in all conditions. 

Fit

With any luck your feet will be what’s in contact with the ground during most of your hike. Keeping your balance and stride can mean the difference between injury and having a great time in the great outdoors. In order to make sure that everything runs smoothly, a hiker needs to have a well-fitting hiking boot.  If a pair of hiking boots don’t fit well and they’re not the right size, it can lead to painful blisters, unstable footing, and significant wear and tear on the feet and body as a whole.

In order for a pair of hiking boots to fit well, there are a few criteria that need to be met. First, there shouldn’t be too much wiggle room around the heel or instep area. If the heels can move back and forth within the boot then that means that it isn’t providing the support that you need, especially in the ankle area. Second, the boots shouldn’t feel heavy when you’re taking a step. Footwear that has too much weight can lead to a significant amount of fatigue, which can also lead to mistakes that can cause injury. And last, but certainly not least, you should be able to adjust your boot easily to accommodate minor changes in the size of the foot while still maintaining a snug fit. 

The hiking boots presented on this list. are perhaps some of the best options available on the market today in part because so much attention is given to overall fit and feel of the boots. While you won’t find. a perfect fit for every hiker or for every hiking situation, these do come as close as you can get at an affordable price. 

Materials

Another aspect of hiking footwear that had serious consideration from us, was what materials went into the making of the boots. Often the materials used will dictate a number of characteristics that every hiker should consider when buying a pair of hiking boots. The materials used can dictate how much protection your feet will have. They can also indicate how heavy the hiking boot will be. And, of course, the materials used are essential to proper fit, comfort, and overall durability.

The boots presented here in this list have a fairly wide range of materials used, both synthetic and natural in composition. Some materials, such as leather provide breathable protection from the elements, while others, like a nylon mesh, allow for great ventilation in and around the feet area.

Other Factors to Consider

 

Shock Absorption

The job of the midsole is to provide cushioning and prevent impacts from sending their shock through to your feet. For hiking boots, as well as cycling shoes, stiff midsoles are actually a good thing. If you’re treading over a lot of rough ground or any type of uneven surfaces, a stiff boot is actually so much more comfortable and better on your feet in the long run. 

Most hiking boot midsoles are made from polyurethane or EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). Polyurethane tends to be stiffer and harder wearing, while EVA is lighter, softer, and cheaper. Manufacturers can create a varied density of EVA throughout the sole, providing more stiffness in some areas and more flexibility in others. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: When is it time to replace my old pair of hiking boots?

A: Standard boots with flat or basic soles should be repaired sooner rather than later: a worn sole can be replaced, but after a while, a worn sole leads to cracks around the sides of the leather upper, and once that happens it’s too late, and the sole can’t be replaced. All of the hiking boots in this review, however, have high-tech soles, and you’re going to be putting them through so much strain and flex and dusty/muddy conditions. Even an expert repair job is never going to bring a pair of hiking boots back to their original level of safety and resilience. So how often do you need to replace your hiking boots?

About every 500-600 miles, as a rule. Proper care can stretch that out a little, and alternating between two pairs of boots can stretch it out even further.  If you can comfortably carry the weight of two pairs, then switching between them from one day to the next can extend the life of your boots.  This allows the inners (which usually absorb a fair bit of moisture throughout a day’s hike) to dry out fully.  The midsole also gets a breath from the impact and flex, and you’ll be more likely to pick stones, etc. out of your tread. This prevents those stones from acting like chisels or nails next time you stand on something pointy and driving up into the materials of the sole.

Remember that support is just as important as comfort, and if you wear your hiking boots all the time, you may not notice them getting less stable or firm.  If in doubt, get. anew pair: you can always alternate them with your old favorite pair of comfortable hiking boots.

 

Q: Should I consider an insole?

A: What do you do when the model of your dreams has every feature you could possibly want and a great style to match, but no arch support? Luckily insoles exist.

Knowing your feet will help you make an educated decision, but the best way to be sure is to go through a local outdoor footwear specialist. They have years of experience and specialized equipment to work out exactly what size you need. There’s no substitute for this advice from someone who knows which hiking footwear caters to wider feet, which are the best to support people with high arches, and so on.

 

Q: What style of hiking boots do I really need?

A: There are about as many different styles of models as there are hikers who enjoy them. Determining the type of boot you need often depends not only on your personal preference but also on the style of hiking you enjoy most. Are you more of a weekend warrior, someone who sticks to paved trails in the local forest preserve? Then something like a low-rise hiking shoe with a responsive rubber sole may be more than enough.

Or perhaps you’d rather explore a little more off the beaten path, following deer trails. In that case, a mid-rise hiking boot that offers a little more horizontal ankle support may be more in order. And finally, if you see yourself trekking over rocks, into rivers, or even scaling through dense and rugged forested terrain, your boots should be able to match your enthusiasm with rugged dependability and superior protection from the elements.

 

Q: Are waterproof boots recommended?

A: When looking at hiking or backpacking boots it is highly recommended that they are waterproof as when you find yourself outdoors you never know what you are going to be trekking through.  Most of the time, even the littlest stream can cause the rest of your hike to be uncomfortable if you accidentally step through it, as it will penetrate your hiking boots. If you purchase a pair of waterproof boots, then you will not have to worry about inevitable streams or rivers you will have to trek through to get to your final destination. So when it comes to waterproof boots, if you can find a pair in your price range and size, do not hesitate to get this extra feature as you will be glad.

 

Q: Are boots with ankle support better than boots with no ankle support?

A: Both types of boots have their disadvantages and advantages depending on the terrain you will find yourself in on your next hike. Ankle support hiking boots are great if you are going to find yourself in a terrain that is off a path and you will find yourself walking through thick bush. The ankle support will help when stepping on uneven ground and also protect the ankles from sharp thorns or plants that can cause cuts or scrapes.

If you will be finding yourself on a hike that is on a path or flat ground, you will most likely want a pair of boots without ankle support as they will help you to be more mobile and fit better, and you will not need the extra protection from backcountry bush. Either way, both types of boots are great and will give you the protection you will need to complete your next hike.