If you are a lover of the outdoors, there are many ways that you can indulge in some activity that involves you getting close to nature. Whether you prefer rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, or any other hobby, it is likely that you share a love of nature and you may sometimes want to get away from the bustle of daily life. Read on for the best hiking boots.
Of course, if you want to enjoy any of these activities, you will have to make a few considerations before you head off into the wilderness. First off, you will need to know the proper technique to accomplish your chosen activity; even something as simple as hiking could result in injury to the uninitiated.
Other than the right technique and training to be able to perform your outdoor activity safely, you will also need the right equipment. For example, you wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of the forest during a downpour without a jacket or any provisions, so this is a crucial aspect to account for.
Today’s guide is going to be centered around one of the most crucial bits of gear that you will need for a hiking trip: a pair of hiking boots. Regardless of whether you are looking for men’s hiking boots or hiking boots for women, our guide to the best boots on the market should provide all the info you want.
Other than our reviews of ten of the best hiking boots around, we are also going to be providing some advice on finding the right boots for your needs. You will have to consider that different customers will have varying needs when it comes to their hiking boots, so knowing what to look for can help immensely.
In the end, it is up to you to choose how you would like to use this guide. If you are new to buying hiking boots, we would strongly recommend paying close attention to our buying advice. On the other hand, if you are an experienced buyer of boots for the outdoors, then you may wish to skip directly to our reviews.
What Are Hiking Boots?
We figured that we would start off by laying down the groundwork to ensure that all of our readers can follow along with us. As you may have guessed from the terminology, hiking boots are boots that have been specially designed for hikers.
There are many different styles of hiking boots to choose from, and some of them have lower tops that make them resemble shoes more than traditional boots. Make no mistake, however, as hiking boots are far more durable than any other shoe, you will typically come across.
A few characteristics are prized above all other ones when it comes to finding the right hiking boots. For instance, you will find that durability is crucial in hiking boots, as they will have to be able to put up with the abuse that they will face every time you decide to take them on a hike.
Other than the importance of durability, you will also want hiking boots to be sufficiently weather resistant, as there is no guarantee that the weather will remain ideal throughout your hike. A hiking boot that can’t resist the infiltration of water will be of little help to the person wearing a pair.
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Hiking Boots vs. Other Kinds of Boots
There are many different varieties of boots that you can choose from, and you may be wondering about some of the differences between hiking boots and those other types.
In this section, we’ll be taking a look at some other boot types and comparing them directly to hiking boots. Of course, we’ll only be going over other varieties of functional boots, as no one would reasonably expect a pair of high-fashion boots to be worn in the mud and grit of the outdoors.
Hiking Boots vs. Rain Boots
While both rain boots and hiking boots will provide a significant degree of water resistance, you will find that rain boots are often far more water resistant at the expense of versatility. Most rain boots will be made of rubber, which will prevent any water infiltration, but it is not the most durable of materials.
Another issue with rain boots that would make them a poor choice for hikers is that they often do not have much of a tread on the underside, resulting in substantially less grip than hiking boots. Rain boots are better-suited to use on rain-slicked concrete and not muddy paths.
Hiking Boots vs. Hunting Boots
There is not much of a distinction between hiking boots and hunting boots since both of these varieties are made for tasks which are similar. You will often find that hunting boots are better insulated so that they won’t let off any scents that may scare away potential prey.
Hiking boots, on the other hand, will often be a little more durable than hunting boots as they are expected to be used more often, but this matter depends as much on the individual boot variety. As we mentioned, many boots of both types are directly comparable with each other, and they make good substitutes.
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Hiking Boots vs. Arctic Boots
Arctic boots are boots that are designed for use in environments where snow and ice abound, as you may have expected from their name. There are quite a few similarities between these boot types as well since both of them will have to be relatively durable and not susceptible to water infiltration.
Of course, arctic boots will be a little more water resistant than hiking boots since you will often be ankle-deep in the snow while using them, and you won’t want your feet to freeze. This also brings us to the matter of insulation, as arctic boots are meant to be used in much colder temperatures than hiking boots.
Another thing to consider is that artic boots will often have unique features like removable ice spikes for better grip in the environments where you can expect to use them. Unless you are hiking in a more northern latitude, then you are likely better off with purpose-made hiking boots.
Uses for Hiking Boots
As you may have noticed in the previous section, hiking boots are one of the more versatile varieties of boots. While these boots may not be overly specialized in any single area, this has the benefit of increasing the number of possible uses for them, so let’s take a look at a few of them.
As you may have guessed, hiking boots are best used for hiking because they will be able to put up with the harsh range of conditions that you will have to deal with as well as remaining comfortable. If you are going to be hiking for hours, you will at least want your boots to be ready for the task.
Hiking boots will prevent your feet from getting sore due to a long day of outdoor activity since their insoles are often designed to support your feet for extended periods. Even other boots that are made for the outdoors will often not be made with endurance in mind as is the case with hiking boots.
Another advantage to hiking boots when they are used for the activity that they are made for is that they are often built to last, even if you like hiking every day. It is not unheard of to get a year or more of intense use out of a pair of hiking boots without having to deal with rips or other failures.
We already covered the similarities between hunting boots and hiking boots earlier on, and as you may have guessed, those very aspects are what make hiking boots so well-suited to use by hunters. In fact, many hunters prefer to use hiking boots, especially if they are going to be out in the wilderness for a long time.
Hiking boots are often considered preferable to hunting boots because they are meant to be worn for a longer time. If you anticipate going hunting all day, your feet will be thanking you for your choice of hiking boots after a little while due to their softer (and often replaceable) insoles.
If you live in a more northern state and you often have to deal with harsh winters, then you will find that a versatile pair of hiking boots may end up serving you well. If you opt for a pair of hiking boots that are designed to put up with snow and ice, you will save money on a separate pair of winter boots.
While some will doubt the effectiveness of hiking boots during the winter, a sufficiently-insulated model will be an excellent choice for any winter user. There aren’t that many differences between quality winter boots and a pair of hiking boots that have been designed for use in colder climates.
If you do a job that requires high-durability footwear, then you may find that a proper pair of hiking boots can make an excellent choice of daily boots. You will typically want to opt for a harder pair of boots if you are searching for durability above all else, though you will have to compromise when it comes to comfort.
For instance, many construction workers choose to wear a pair of Timberland boots due to their reputation for reliability and durability. Hiking boots are incredibly versatile, and the wide range of applications for which they can be used simply improves that versatility even further.
An Everyday Pair of Boots
Hiking boots are so comfortable that you can even choose to wear them every day in place of shoes, especially if you often have to deal with rain or other foul weather. Provided there is no dress code regarding shoes where you work; you will find that wearing hiking boots every day is easy to get accustomed to.
While hiking boots may not be as pretty as some shoes, you will find that they are much more durable, meaning that you won’t have to replace them anywhere near as often. For those of our readers who prefer function over form, few choices can match a reliable pair of hiking boots.
Choosing the Best Hiking Boots
When you are looking for the right pair of hiking boots for your needs, there are a few features that you will have to account for so that you can ensure that you are making the right purchase. If you don’t pay close attention to what you want out of your boots, then you will likely end up regretting your purchase.
There is one surefire way to avoid buyer’s remorse when you are choosing your hiking boots, and that is to be educated about the importance of various features. Before getting to our reviews, let’s go over some of the integral things you should be looking for in your new pair of hiking boots.
Of course, the first thing you should account for when you are choosing the right hiking boots for your needs is the size of the boots. If you get the wrong hiking boot size, you can have the best boots in the world, but you will still be unable to use them.
If you get boots that are too big or too small, the best case would result in you sending them back for a refund, in the worst case, you will end up with boots that don’t even fit you. It is for this very reason that you will want to pay close attention to the sizing charts that accompany each boot.
Keep in mind that a sizing chart won’t do you much good unless you know the measurements of your feet, so you may require some tailor’s tape to get an idea of the various lengths and sizes.
When choosing the right hiking boots for your needs, you will also want to consider the weather that you will be hiking in. If you often hike in cold or wet environments, there will need to be sufficient room inside your hiking boots for insulated or waterproof socks, so you may want to opt for a half-size larger boot.
As you may have guessed, the reliability of your hiking boots is also rather high up on the list when it comes to importance. More durable boots will serve you for a longer time before they need to be replaced, which will end up saving you money on new boots in the long run.
Another thing to consider is that continually replacing your boots means that you will have to break in a new pair more often, which can often be an unpleasant experience. Nothing quite beats the feeling of a pair of well-worn boots that now conform perfectly to the size of your feet.
More durable boots will also be able to put up with more direct abuse, which is unfortunately bound to happen when you are out hiking in the wilderness. Unless you want to carry around a backup pair of boots all the time, you will need a pair of hiking boots that you can trust.
Of course, durability is directly related to the build quality of your hiking boots, so you will want to make sure that you are getting a pair that is well-made. You are often better off choosing a pair of boots that are a little more expensive but built to better standards as they will last far longer than a pair of budget boots.
Another essential characteristic that you will have to search for when you are choosing the right hiking boots for your needs is the amount of grip that your boots will provide. Other than making a hiking a more pleasant experience, boots with more grip will also make your hikes far safer.
The amount of grip that your hiking boots provide is directly related to the tread on the underside and the material that it is made out of. While softer rubber will have more grip than a firmer outsole, it will tend to sacrifice durability, so you will need the right balance of firmness for a proper degree of grip.
As you may have guessed, hiking boots with more grip are typically safer because you will be less likely to fall, but there is a threshold where you can have too much grip. If your hiking boots are prone to sticking on obstacles, you will be just as likely to fall as you would be with boots that don’t have enough grip.
Plenty of time and research goes into ensuring that hiking boots have the appropriate amount of grip, and the tread patterns on the underside of your boots are there for more than just aesthetics.
As you may expect with hiking boots, you will need a product that can put up with the worst that the environment has to throw at you. Nobody wants to complete a hike with wet feet, and you should have to as long as you pick the right pair of hiking boots for your needs.
Of course, customers who often hike through the deserts of Arizona will be far less likely to need waterproof boots than those who like to explore national forests. When considering the importance of weather resistance in your next pair of hiking boots, we would recommend accounting for where you often hike.
If you often go through areas that are covered in snow, waterproofing will be even more critical as snow tends to stick to your boots and melt on contact. Keep in mind that if you see a product with GORE-TEX material used in its construction, it is likely far more resistant to the weather.
You may be surprised to learn that weight is another thing that you should consider when shopping around for your hiking boots. Heavier boots will make it harder to walk, and they will end up making you tired sooner, so you will usually want to go for the lightest boots you can find.
You will have to strike the right balance between the build quality of your hiking boots and their weight, as the best hiking boots always manage to be as light as possible without making sacrifices. Lightweight boots are particularly crucial for customers who prefer to go on longer hikes.
The amount of padding that is present in your hiking boots will determine whether or not they are suitable for use in long-distance hikes. While some degree of soreness is to be expected after a long hike, you will find that padded boots are less likely to leave you with sore feet the following day.
Other than the amount of padding, you will also have to consider where exactly in the boot the padding is positioned. A little bit of padding located strategically around the interior of the boot is far more useful than a bunch of padding placed haphazardly about without concern for comfort.
The type of padding that is used will also determine how breathable your boots are, which can help eliminate the development of scents as well as keeping your feet relatively cool.
The last aspect to account for when you are choosing the best hiking boots for your needs is how the boots are secured to your feet. The most common closure method for hiking boots are boot laces because they are rugged, reliable, and allow you to adjust the fit to your liking.
While velcro and clasps are present on some hiking boots, they are often relegated to the role of a secondary closure system since they lack the durability and versatility of laces. Many different kinds of laces can come included with hiking boots, and they can even be replaced if they are not durable enough for your needs.
Best Overall Men’s Hiking Boots – Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot
- Made of waterproof leather
- Tongue and collar are padded
- EVA footbed is breathable and removable
- Gusseting on tongue reduces pressure
- Features multi-directional lugs
If you are looking for quality boots, then you have likely heard of Timberland. The White Ledge men’s boot is an excellent choice for any hiker that needs a versatile boot that is durable enough to last. Many features on this boot are present to improve the comfort of the wearer to a considerable degree.
For example, the leather construction helps make the boot easier to break in, as it will conform better to your foot after extended use. While leather often doesn’t mix well with water, the oiled hide used on these boots is perfect for inclement weather.
When it comes to the features that improve the wearer’s comfort, you will find that the gusseted tongue helps prevent the laces from putting pressure on the top of your foot. There is also padding along the interior of the collar as well as the tongue to improve your ankle comfort further.
The inclusion of multi-directional lugs means that you are much less likely to lose grip while you are wearing these boots, even if you are on tough terrain. The lugs on the outsole of these boots may be the difference between you turning your ankle and regaining control.
Best Overall Women’s Hiking Boots – Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot
- Available in two colors: quarry and cordovan
- Made of waterproof leather
- Treated with omnishield
- Midsole features EVA foam
- Durable D-ring laces
- Omnigrip outsole
For our readers who want the best possible hiking boots for women, no products will be able to compete with the Newton Ridge Plus from Columbia, an improvement on their famed Newton Ridge boot.
You have a choice of two colors when you are purchasing these boots, allowing you to look good while you hike. The Quarry color is more of a muted grey that is more suitable for arctic and rocky environments while the Cordovan option is a more traditional brown color.
Of course, you are probably interested in more than just what these boots look like, as they are designed for supreme durability and comfort. For example, the D-ring lacing system is much less likely to fail due to wear and tear compared to traditional laces with the holes punched directly through the boot.
The inclusion of EVA foam in the midsole means that these boots will remain comfortable, even on longer hikes. In the end, we were highly impressed with these boots from Columbia.
Best Men’s Hiking Boots for Harsh Weather – Salomon Men’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boot
- OrthoLite EVA footbed
- GORE-TEX materials used
- Rubber heel- and toecaps
- Sensisfit heel strap
- Features a gusseted tongue
The Salomon Ultra Mid 2 GTX is the best choice for our male readers who want something that is ready to put up with conditions that are a little more challenging. The use of GORE-TEX fabric in the construction of these shoes means that you won’t have to worry about water or other elements.
There are rubber caps on both the heel and the tip of these boots to ensure that your feet are protected from impacts, and they also act as mud-guards. Also positioned on the heel, you will find a sensisfit strap that ensures that you will get the best possible fit for these bootie-type boots.
The use of an OrthoLite EVA footbed means that these are the best hiking boots for customers who want the benefit of added support without sacrificing comfort.
Overall, it is easy to tell that these boots were made with a single objective in mind: excellent performance no matter what terrain and weather conditions you are currently dealing with.
Best Women’s Hiking Boots for Harsh Weather – KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot
- Choice of six color options
- Features a waterproof membrane that is breathable
- Rubber toe cap
- 4mm lugs are multi-directional
- Features a contoured heel
Up next, we’ll be looking at the best hiking boots for harsh weather that can be worn by our female readers. KEEN has come up with an excellent product in these boots, as they are made to withstand harsh weather without making any concessions in other departments.
For example, the 4mm lugs on these boots are positioned for multi-directional support, so you won’t have to worry about your grip being compromised on uneven terrain. Another impressive feature of the outsole on these boots is the contoured heel that helps immensely on inclines.
There are six different colorways available with these boots, so you can find the look that suits you and your equipment best, though most of the colors are similarly dark.
The waterproof membrane that is laid over the top of these boots still allows your feet to breathe, so you won’t have to worry about overheating or unpleasant scents. While these boots are impressive, be prepared to pay a little more for them than some budget hiking boots.
Best Hiking Boots for the Money – Hi-Tec Men’s Bandera Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Comes in four different colors
- Rubber cupsole provides traction
- Features a waterproof membrane
- Lacing hardware is rustproof
- Steel shank improves stability
Finally, we have reached the last product before our alternative choices, and it is the most affordable of the bunch. If you are looking to save some money on your hiking boots, the Bandera from Hi-Tech is an excellent choice without sacrificing quality.
For instance, the rubber cupsole that is featured on these boots provides better traction than you would expect from a model that is this affordable. The outsole is made out of hardened rubber for improved durability and grip.
These boots are also made to put up with the elements, which is something that you don’t see too often on boots that are this affordable. You will find that the combination of a waterproof membrane and rust-proof lacing rings will keep your feet dry and your boots intact.
There is also a steel shank in these boots so that they will provide optimal support in all conditions and at any angle. While these boots may not match some of the most expensive choices on the market, they are a wise choice for the hiker looking to save some money.
Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Mid Hiking Boot
- Made of waterproof leather and mesh
- Features GORE-TEX materials
- Anti-fatigue footbed is removable
- EVA midsoles improve comfort
- Lacing hardware is rustproof
If you are looking for some hiking boots from Timberland that are a little more resistant to prevailing conditions, then the Chocorua might be a better option for you. These boots feature an upper constructed from a combination of waterproof leather and mesh, with a GORE-TEX bootie.
All of these materials come together to make a boot that is exceptionally difficult for water to infiltrate, but that is not the only bit of weather resistance that you will get out of these boots. The laces are held together by rustproof hardware that won’t degrade due to rain or snow.
When it comes to comfort, you will get exactly what you would expect from Timberland boots, which is to say that you can wear these boots all day. The EVA midsole coupled with the anti-fatigue footbeds ensure that your feet won’t ache, even after the longest hikes.
If you are a fan of Timberlands and you are willing to pay the higher price for these boots, you should have no problem with the Chocorua hiking boots.
XIANG GUAN Men’s Outdoor High-Top Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Available in a choice of either black or sand colors
- Made of waterproof suede calfskin
- The midsole is made of EVA foam
- Rear pull loop for ease of use
- Heel and toe are protected by rubber caps
- High-top design
If you want some hiking boots with a bit more of futuristic look to them, this model from XIANG GUAN may just be the right choice for you. These high-top hiking boots are an excellent option for anyone looking to keep their ankles warm while they hike.
Of course, the high-top style of these hiking boots also means that they provide more support than other models, ensuring that you will be less likely to turn your ankle in a sudden ditch.
The waterproof suede calfskin is comfortable, though it may not be the most durable material. However, we had few issues with it over the course of our torture tests.
Both the heel and the toe of this boot feature rubber caps to ensure that you don’t injure your feet on any sudden obstacles that you may run into (quite literally). The outsole of these hiking boots is made of anti-slip rubber so you won’t have to worry about any sudden losses of grip.
Discovery Expedition Women’s Outdoor Mid Hiking Boot
- Available in three colors: brown, brown/green, and grey
- Features engineered traction sole
- Features comfort lining
- Fully adjustable lacing
If you want a pair of women’s hiking boots that are a little more affordable without compromising build quality, then these boots from Discovery Expedition may be just right for you. These boots can be found in a wide range of colors, so you can pick the one that fits you best.
When it comes to their performance, these boots provide comfort above all else due to a range of features including a comfort sock liner that will improve the softness of the interior. The laces on these boots are fully adjustable, allowing you to set the tightness to your preference.
The engineered sole of these boots is designed for optimal traction, with hardened lugs that will dig into soft and hard terrain alike.
These hiking boots also feature a high-mid top design that helps prevent snow and water from getting into your sock. High-top hiking boots are often an excellent choice because they tend to provide more ankle support than other styles.
Northside Women’s Pioneer Mid Leather Hiking Boot
- Available in five different colors
- Suede and leather construction
- Mesh inserts provide breathability
- Features a rubber toe cap
- Also includes a rubber heel stabilizer
- Removable EVA insole can be washed
This next pair of women’s hiking boots is designed for improved comfort over some of the other choices in the same price range. These boots manage to combine comfort and affordability into a single excellent product.
The mixed suede and leather construction means that these boots will be comfortable and they will conform to the size of your foot without having to compromise any ruggedness. Rubber is also present along the exterior of these boots for added durability and protection, such as on the heel and toe.
These boots feature a removable EVA insole that can be washed safely so that odors won’t have a chance to develop. The gusseted tongue ensures that the lace pressure is relieved and it also helps keep the foot compartment clear of any dirt, water, or anything else.
The last main component that goes into the construction of these hiking boots consists of a group of mesh inserts that help improve the overall breathability.
Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Lightweight Hiking Boot
- Available in three colors
- Features a Contagrip sole
- GORE-TEX materials
- Rubber toe cap improves protection
- High top
- All-mountain traction grooves
These hiking boots from Salomon use the company’s famed 4D system, which consists of four different layers that help improve the comfort of your hikes.
The uppermost layer of this system consists of padding, while the second helps provide extra stability, followed by another padding layer. The last part of the 4D chassis includes the all-mountain traction Contagrip sole which ensures that you won’t slip or slide.
Made of GORE-TEX fabric, you won’t have to worry about any water infiltration with these boots, even if you find yourself in the middle of a rainstorm. The high top design of these hiking boots helps you maintain improved stability while also preventing water and debris from getting in.
Of course, you will have to be willing to pay more for hiking boots of this quality, but we would argue that these boots from Salomon are worth the money.
As you can see, there are plenty of excellent hiking boots to choose from, and the ideal model will depend on exactly what you need. Thank you for taking the time to read through our review guide, and we wish you luck choosing the best hiking boots.