You've made a budget for your trip, picked out your gear, and you're ready for adventure. But for the best trip, you'll need the best hiking boots. Your boots are one of the most important considerations when planning a hiking or backpacking trip. Wearing the wrong boots can lead to blisters, muscle strain and worse.
The best hiking boots will not only fit right but will be comfortable, lightweight and have good traction. You should also consider durability, size and overall design. Lucky for you, there's a wide variety of hiking boots on the market. And finding the best one is just a matter of research.
What Makes the Best Hiking Boots?
In addition to the above factors, your search for the best hiking boots should include design, materials, size, weight, price, and brand.
The design of hiking boots you pick can determine how comfortable and functional they will be. Low-cut boots are often lightweight and ideal for simple hiking activities. However, if you're going to rocky areas, you might prefer mid-cut or high-cut designs for added protection and support.
Quality materials ensure that your footwear will be strong enough to withstand rugged use and harsh elements. These materials will also be more durable, meaning your boots will last longer.
The last thing you want is to pick out good-looking hiking boots designed with quality materials and find they don't fit. Not only will you have a hard time walking, but you may even end up with blisters and sore feet. Always try before you buy.
The weight of your hiking boots will affect how you move in different terrains. If your shoes are too heavy, you risk getting tired quickly. If you end up having to carry your boots, you'll be happy they're not too heavy. At the same time, boots that are too lightweight for your purposes won't provide the protection you need.
Many brands claim to have some of the best hiking boots on the market. However, some brands are more trustworthy than others. Take the time to learn which companies produce the best hiking boots for your needs.
Price is another consideration. The variety of products available on the market makes it possible for you to get good boots you can afford. But it pays to be choosy and to do your research.
How We Chose the Best Hiking Boots
To help you find the best hiking boots, we looked at several factors. First, we considered the quality of the materials. Then we looked at comfort and protection, price, reported durability, and weight. Finally, we looked at what actual customers had to say about their purchase.
Our picks cover a wide range of prices -- from around $80 to close to $450. It turns out, if you choose wisely, you can pick up a great pair of boots without busting your wallet.
Our Picks: The Best Hiking Boots
In our opinion, these are the best hiking boots on the market today. This list is in no particular order.
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid boots feature a nubuck leather upper which ensures that the user’s feet are firmly in place while walking or running. A full-length nylon shank enhances stability on rugged surfaces, while the derby-style lacing makes it possible for people with different foot sizes to customize their fit.
A climate control footbed keeps the user’s feet cool and dry enough to avoid blisters or discomfort. A rugged Vibram outsole and thick, non-slip rubber lugs ensure that users have excellent traction and grip on slippery terrains.
The top-quality leather design makes these some of the toughest boots on the market. The boots have a leather upper with foam cushioning for maximum comfort regardless of terrain. The cushioning system connects directly to the sole for increased stability.
Premium wet traction decreases the likelihood of slipping on loose rocks or slick surfaces. A protective rubber toe cap keeps your feet safe while the high-cut design protects your ankles.
These boots feature beautiful suede leather and mesh design. A Vibram sole ensures that the bottoms of the wearer’s feet are always safe regardless of the nature of the terrain. Removable insoles make it possible to clean these boots effectively, while a breathable mesh lining allows the feet to remain well aerated.
A Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shocks and adds stability while protective rubber toe caps protect the feet when walking on rocky areas. A contoured footbed and added zonal arch and heel support ensure that wearers feel as comfortable as they go up or descend steep slopes.
Scarpia Zodiac Plus GTX Weigh 2 lb, 6.4 oz and feature a cushy sole which provides good balance. The shoes have parts made of quality textile and leather making them durable regardless of the frequency of use. Their rubber sole is quite sturdy and protects your feet from shocks and injuries that may result from walking or running on rocks.
An asymmetric lace system makes for a precise fit while three densities of EVA in the midsole optimize weight and performance.
The Vasque Talus Trek Mid UltraDry boots feature quality leather and synthetic parts, making them quite durable. Their synthetic soles shield the feet from shocks while ensuring comfort during hikes. The rugged design of the outsole provides traction and stability even when walking or running over loose rocks.
The roomy toe box keeps feet well aerated while preventing the possibility of developing blisters. A soft inner lining keeps the feet comfortable and guards against soreness that may develop after a long walk.
These boots feature quality water-resistant suede material that offers durability. They have low profile rubber outsole that provides protection from shocks while ensuring that hikers keep their balance regardless of terrain.
A Vibram MegagripAr compound offers maximum grip on wet surfaces while remaining resistant to abrasion.
Weighing about 1 lb 10 oz these boots are significantly heavier than others on this list. However, they come across as being quite sturdy and durable. They feature quality rubber, textile and synthetic parts that guarantee durability.
They have advanced chassis with a foam cushion that gives that extra comfort. Two types of rubber combine at the sole to ensure a stronger grip and protection from sharp objects and shocks.
The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator low features a combination of suede leather and mesh that not only gives them a beautiful appearance but also ensures that the feet remain dry.
Vibram soles guarantee good traction. There is a version of these boots that are waterproof, but they're more expensive.
The KEEN Targhee II Mid boots feature tough waterproof nubuck leather that offers durability. Soft inner lining, padded tongue and collar are some of the features that provide comfort to users.
A lugged outsole and a heel lock with contours allow hikers to move over different surfaces without losing balance.
Vasque St. Elias GTX boots feature tough leather that is both waterproof and durable. An A.S.E Midsole with EVA Cushioning Pods, padded tongue and collar are some of the parts that are designed to provide comfort.
A tough synthetic outsole keeps feet safe from the elements and any sharp objects.
1. Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots
2. Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 3 GTX Backpacking Boots
3. Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator for Men
4. Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
5. Vasque Talus Trek Mid UltraDry
6. Asolo Falcon GV
7. Salomon X Ultra 3 Low
8. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low
9. KEEN Targhee II Mid
10. Vasque St. Elias GTX
Our Top Pick
The Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots stand out as the best option for any hiking adventure. Their durability ensures you get value for your money while design guarantees your feet and ankles are safe throughout the hike. These boots are waterproof and feature an attractive, modern appearance. Still, your mileage may vary. Ultimately, consider your own specific needs, as well as your budget.