GEAR GUIDES

BEST HIKING BOOTS

BEST

HIKING BOOTS

GEAR GUIDES

THE BEST HIKING BOOTS OF 2017

Best Hiking Boot

SALOMAN QUEST 4D II GTX

Overall Rating:

4.5

A midweight hiking boot, the Saloman Quest 4D GTX II is a terrific boot for all hiking purposes. It’s light enough so that it won’t bog you down, while supportive enough to protect your feet from rocky and bumpy terrain. In total, these boots weigh in at 2 pounds each.

They’re made out of a combination of nubuck leather and textile nylon. This provides them with support and stability without sacrificing anything in the way of breathability. For long hiking trips, this is an excellent feature to have as it ensures that your feet will stay as dry and comfortable as possible for as long as possible. Featuring Gore-Tex waterproof liners, these boots can make their way through streams without allowing any water to penetrate them.

With a synthetic rubber outsole, these boots have a great deal of space between their lugs. This ensures that they can truly dig their way into the terrain, giving you supreme traction and balance at all times. If you’re a versatile hiker who likes to minimalist hike and backpack hike, the Saloman Quest 4D GTX IIs are the best hiking boots you’re going to find.

Salomon Quest 4D II GTX

Best Value for Money Boot

KEEN TARGHEE II GTX

Rating: 3.5

Keen Targhee II Mid

If you’re looking for a great pair of hiking boots at a bargain price, the Keen Targhee II Mids are exactly what you’re looking for. Made out of genuine leather, mesh, and nylon textile material, they offer superb protection and support while sacrificing little in the way of flexibility and breathability.

These boots are equipped with a KEEN.DRY waterproof lining which prevents the absorption of any water it comes into contact with. This makes them great for traversing streams, dewy grasses, and standing water. Weighing in at around 1.5 pounds, these are ideal for minimalist hiking purposes. While they could conceivably be used for backpack hiking purposes, they don’t provide quite as much support as heavier boots.

Equipped with rubber outsoles with lugs spaced fairly far apart, these cut into the ground with each step, ensuring top-notch traction and stability at all times. These are available in a total of 6 different colors, so there’s sure to be a pair that fits your specific style preferences. For their low price, the Keen Targhee II Mids are as good of a pair of hiking boots as you’re going to find.

Best All Leather

DANNER MOUNTAIN LIGHT II

Rating: 3.7

Danner Mountain Light

With an upper made entirely out of leather, the Danner Mountain Light is the best leather hiking boot currently on the market. Featuring a padded tongue and collar, it provides exceptional protection from all outside stimuli, such as thorns, sticks, rocks. It should also be noted that these boots are waterproof. This ensures that you won’t have any problem wading through streams or making your way through dewy grass.

These boots are very stiff, though not to the point of being uncomfortable. This makes them ideal for heavy backpack hiking. Their ability to keep your feet locked firmly in place is their premier attribute. An ankle high pair of boots, they don’t impose on your foot’s ability to move laterally. So, while they’re plenty stiff and provide plenty of support, they don’t sacrifice much in the way of freedom and flexibility.

With a synthetic outsole featuring widely spaced lugs, these boots are designed to truly grab into the terrain, giving them superb traction and stability. They feature a polyurethane instep which provides top-notch comfort and support without weighing the boot down. Weighing in at around 1.5 pounds each, these boots are designed for heavy backpacking, but will also perform adequately for minimalist hiking.

Reviewed Hiking Boots

A top-notch pair of hiking boots is critical to having safe and fulfilling hiking experiences. These boots come in all different styles, constructions, and designs, and are made to keep your feet safe and comfortable while you’re on the trail. But there are so many hiking boots out there. Which ones should you pick? This guide has all the answers and more.

Awards

Overall Score

Weight

(pounds)

Type

Waterproofing

Best Buy

4.5

3.24

Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

3.9

3.43

Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

3.7

2.94

Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

Value Pick

3.5

2.51

Lightweight Day Hiker

KEEN.DRY

3.0

3.09

Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

3.3

3.40

Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

Top Pick

3.7

3.88

Heavyweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

4.2

3.96

Heavyweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

3.6

3.30

Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot

Gore-Tex

Benefits of Hiking Boots

While you can certainly go hiking in a pair of regular tennis shoes, hiking boots are the most well-equipped footwear for all hiking purposes. There are a number of different reasons for this. For one, hiking boots are constructed with a large amount of outsole tread. This tread allows your foot to grip firmly despite the loose rocks, stones, and roots you’ll run into along the trail.

Another reason that hiking boots are the ideal hiking footwear is that they offer your feet and ankles superb protection from outside stimuli. Hiking boots are made out of thick, and often waterproof materials which will prevent thorns, sticks, and moisture from making their way to your feet. This will leave you safe and healthy all along the trail.

The last, but certainly not least important benefit is that hiking boots provide your feet a lot of support. When you’re out hiking, you’re walking over bumpy, uneven ground. This is obviously going to increase the chances of sprained ankles and other foot injuries. The extra support provided by hiking boots will keep your feet locked in where they need to be. So, while a pair of tennis shoes could conceivably get the job done, having a great pair of hiking boots will make your hikes as safe and fulfilling as possible.

Type of Men’s Hiking Boots

You may have thought that all hiking boots were generally the same, but the truth is that they can be broken up into three different categories. These three groups are lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight. Each class of boot offers its own benefits and drawbacks. Some are ideal for specific scenarios while some are perfect for others.

Lightweight Hikers

Due to their lightweight, lightweight hikers are perfect for long days spent on the trail. After all, it’s much easier to lug less weight around than it is to haul more weight. Of course, to make them weigh less, they must be constructed with lighter and fewer materials. This means that they won’t provide quite as much protection and support.

Common lightweight hiker materials include nylon and mesh with a little leather thrown in for added stability and support. If you’re planning on hiking in a very rocky area, they are not the ideal hiking boots to wear. They will, however, typically have some waterproof lining added to them. This makes them appropriate for use in wet and moist conditions. A popular lightweight hiking boot is the Keen Targhee II.

Midweight Hikers

In a way, midweight hikers give you the best of both worlds; they’re light enough to be worn on long hiking trips, but offer enough support for use on rocky and uneven terrains. Of course, they aren’t as light as lightweight hikers and don’t provide as much support as heavyweight hikers. They’re just a versatile medium.

Midweight hikers are typically made out of leather but are supplemented with nylon and mesh for breathability and flexibility purposes. Because they can weigh more than lightweight hikers, they are capable of using more materials. This typically leads to improved protection and waterproof capabilities. Due to their comfort and versatility, midweight hiking boots are growing more and more popular. They can be a little expensive but are worth it in the long run.

Heavyweight Hikers

The thickest and most heavy-duty hiking boots are heavyweight hikers. Heavyweight hikers are often constructed entirely out of leather, making them tough as nails and pretty cool to look at as well. However, there are some exceptions where mesh and nylon are added for flexibility and breathability purposes.

For years, heavyweight hiking boots have been the gold standard of hiking boots in the eyes of hiking enthusiasts. This is due to their ability to provide superb ankle support while offering top-notch protection against rocky and thorny trails. Of course, due to their weight, they’re not ideal for long hikes. They will, however, do an excellent job of traversing up and down steep hills. Because they offer such a cushy and padded landing spot for your feet and ankles, they will keep you fresh regardless of what you’re carrying in your backpack.

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Hiking Boot Components

While there are three different types of hiking boots, all three categories consist of the same physical components. Though these elements will not always be similar on a boot to boot basis, they are the foundation of every quality pair of hiking boots. These components are the hiking boots’ uppers, midsoles, outsoles, and internal support.

Hiking Boot Uppers

Hiking boot uppers refer to the part of the boot that covers the top and sides of the feet. This component wraps around the feet and connects to the boots’ rubber outsole. In general, uppers are made out of three different types of material: leather, mesh, and nylon.

Boot uppers made out of nylon and mesh typically fall on the entry level end of the hiking boot spectrum. These uppers offer terrific breathability and flexibility but sacrifice a bit in the way of durability and protection.

Boot uppers made out of leather typically fall on the high-end side of the hiking boot spectrum. These uppers can withstand lots of wear and tear, making them ideal for long-term use. They are also typically better equipped to protect your feet from thorns, debris, and water.

Hiking Boot Midsoles

The Midsoles of hiking boots lie in between the boots’ outsoles and internal supports. Responsible for shock absorption and added cushion, midsoles are typically made out of materials like EVA foam and polyurethane.

EVA foam is often used in lightweight and midweight hiking boot midsoles. It’s a thin, lightweight material that is capable of providing cushion and of absorbing shock. It should, however, be noted that not all EVA foams are of the same quality. You will typically have to pay more for a higher quality EVA foam midsole.

Polyurethane midsoles are typically used in heavyweight hiking boots. When compared to EVA foam, this material is thicker, less flexible, and more protective against rocks and bumpy terrain. It’s also more durable. The highest quality hiking boots generally make use of polyurethane midsoles.

Hiking Boot Internal Support

The insoles of hiking boots provide direct cushion and support to your feet. While all hiking boots come with stock insoles, these insoles are not always of the highest quality. This sometimes necessitates buying an entirely separate set of insoles. Typically, insoles are made out of gel or foam.

While you can choose between low volume and high volume insoles, hiking boots are best accommodated by high volume insoles. They are thicker and do a better job of filling up the full boot so that your feet don’t slip around while walking.

There are a number of different insoles available for a number of different foot types and conditions. Plantar fasciitis, supination, and overpronation can all be relieved by a particular kind of insole. It’s also possible to just add a new insole for extra cushion and support.

Hiking Boot Outsoles

The outsole is the bottom part of the boot which makes contact with the ground. Hiking boot outsoles are almost exclusively made out of rubber, though there are sometimes other materials added in. In general, there are two different types of hiking boot outsoles: hard outsoles and soft outsoles.

All hiking boot outsoles contain ridges called lugs. These lugs are responsible for digging into the ground and increasing overall traction. In general, lugs that are spaced further apart will provide greater grip and do a better job of shaking off the mud.

Another important aspect of a hiking boot’s outsole is the heel brake. The heel brake is more textured than the rest of the outsole and is designed to keep you from sliding when going up and down hills.

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Features To Consider

When trying to choose a pair of hiking boots, there are a number of different things you must consider. These aspects may seem small on their own, but when added up, they make all the difference in the boots’ overall performance. When buying a pair of hiking boots, these are the aspects you should consider.

Waterproofing

While not all hiking boots are waterproof, the majority of them are. Whether or not you want your boots to have this feature is completely up to you. However, if you’re going to be hiking in mountainous or rainy areas where there’s bound to be a lot of water, you’re going to want waterproof boots.

Typically, hiking boots are made waterproof in in two different ways. Almost all waterproof hiking boots are lined with a waterproof spray, preventing dew and moisture from absorbing through the materials.

However, some hiking boots are equipped with waterproof liners. These liners are sewn in between the exteriors and interiors of the boots’ uppers and will ultimately repel any water they come into contact with. Boots with waterproof liners can wade through streams and puddles without any water making its way to your feet.

Weight

Another aspect to consider when trying to choose hiking boots are their weight. The weight of different hiking boots varies greatly, with the heaviest weighing well over 3 pounds, and the lightest weighing only around 1 pound.

A general rule of thumb is that heavier hiking boots offer more support overall. This makes heavier hiking boots ideal for situations in which you’ll be carrying a heavy backpack. However, it’s important to find a good balance between support and weight. You don’t want your boots to be so heavy that you feel as if you’re walking through quicksand.

Lightweight boots are better designed for minimalist hikers who aren’t going to be carrying a lot of weight around. They don’t offer quite as much support, but since you’ll have less weight on your feet, foot support won’t be quite as critical. Think about what type of hiking you typically partake in, and then choose your boots accordingly.

Stiffness & Stability

The truth of the matter is that, regardless of what type of hiking you prefer, you need to find a pair of hiking boots which possess some stiffness. A hiking boot’s stiffness provides you with the stability and support needed to keep yourself safe and balanced on rocky terrain.

The stiffer a boot is, the more support it’s going to provide. However, more rigid boots are typically going to allow for less freedom and flexibility. Therefore, you must choose the stiffness of your boots according to your specific needs.

The stiffest boots are typically made entirely out of leather. These boots don’t provide quite as much breathability or flexibility but are ideal for heavy backpacking purposes where you need all the support you can get. The most flexible boots are typically made out of mesh, nylon, and leather. They provide enough stiffness to give you support but still allow for top-notch breathability and flexibility. These types of boots are ideal for minimalist hiking where you won’t be carrying a heavy load.

Breathability

After a long day spent on the trail, your feet are going to have built up quite a bit of heat and perspiration. If you don’t want to be exceedingly uncomfortable, this heat and sweat is going to need somewhere to go. This is why the breathability of your hiking boots matters. Your boots have to allow some fresh air to enter and exit them.

Typically, boots that are made out of a combination of nylon, mesh, and leather will provide the greatest breathability. This is because mesh possesses the capabilities to absorb and wick away sweat, ensuring your feet stay dry and relaxed throughout your hike. These types of boots also allow air to enter and exit without much resistance.

Solely leather boots, on the other hand, have a tendency to trap heat and sweat. When buying a pair of leather hiking boots, it’s important to understand whether they’re breathable or not. Not all leather boots possess horrible ventilation and breathability. Read some reviews to get a better understanding of their breathability capabilities. This will ensure that you make a quality purchase.

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Lacing System

One of the more small and intricate, but important aspects of hiking boots are their lacing system. A lacing system can make the difference between an exceptionally well-fitting boot and one that slips, leaving blisters. The truth of the matter is that not all hiking boots possess quality lacing systems. You can change laces all you want, but you won’t see an improvement in quality or fit.

Generally, boots which contain metal hooks around the front part of the ankle are of the highest quality. A lacing system designed in this manner stands the best chance of keeping your feet locked firmly in your boots at all times. This will serve to reduce blistering and chafing while out on the trail.

Materials

In general, hiking boots are made out of a variety of three different materials: leather, mesh, and nylon. Sometimes synthetic leather and other synthetic textiles are used, but this is not typical. The type of material a hiking boot is made out of will significantly affect its overall performance.

Boots that are made out of a combination leather, nylon, and mesh are ideal for minimalist hiking where you won’t be carrying a heavy load. They don’t provide as much support as solely leather boots but do offer more in the way of breathability and flexibility.

Leather boots, on the other hand, are ideal for heavy backpacking, as they will provide you with as much support as a hiking boot can muster. These boots aren’t as breathable or as flexible, but do offer more protection against rocks, thorns, and otherwise. You should consider what type of hiking you intend to partake in before making a final purchase.

Outsoles & Traction

Perhaps the most important aspect to consider when looking for a pair of hiking boots is the amount of traction they provide. When you’re out on the trail, there are a number of obstacles you’ll run into; from steep hills to muddy and rocky terrain, to uneven, bumpy ground. You need a pair of boots that will keep you on your feet despite these obstacles.

Of course, a boot’s traction has everything to do with its outsole. The majority of outsoles are made out of rubber, though there are some synthetic outsoles available. Typically, softer rubbers are ideal for minimalist hikers, while harder rubbers are perfect for backpack hikers.

Each boot’s outsole will be equipped with a series of ridges, called lugs. These lugs dig into the terrain, ensuring proper balance and stability. In general, lugs that are spaced further apart will give you better traction. They also do a better job of shaking off mud you come into contact with.

Toe Protection

A vital, but often overlooked aspect of hiking boots is the amount of toe protection they provide. The majority of hiking boots possess rubber cups that line the very front of the boot. These are great to have in case you stub your toe or come into incidental contact with rocks.

While most heavyweight hiking boots possess toe caps, some lightweight options do not. So, if you choose a pair of lightweight hiking boots, you might be sacrificing toe protection. This decision, of course, is entirely up to you. However, if you’re able to find a pair of hiking boots with toe protection that also fit your other specs, you should go with them. You don’t want to break your toes while out on the trail.

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Insoles

While it isn’t true for all hiking boots, many hiking boots come with flat, substandard insoles. These may be adequate for some feet, but for many people, they will cause pain and discomfort. This leaves you with two options. You can either purchase hiking boots that come with top-notch insoles, or you can replace the included insoles with insoles of your choice.

There are insoles designed for all types of foot conditions, from plantar fasciitis to overpronation, and more. If you suffer from these conditions, there are insoles available to you. However, you should be sure to purchase a high volume insole. This type of insole will better fill up the void inside of your hiking boot, keeping your foot locked firmly in place.

In any case, you want an insole that provides cushion without sacrificing support. You don’t want to be walking through quicksand during the entirety of your hike.

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Fitting & Finding Your Size

Fine Tuning the Fit

Because you’re going to be wearing your hiking boots over extended periods of time while traversing rocky and uneven terrain, you need to make sure that they fit impeccably. Using a pair of ill-fitting hiking boots will end in nothing but pain and discomfort. Who wants to deal with blisters, burns, and rashes day after day? No one, that’s who.

But how do you ensure that your chosen hiking boots will fit to a tee? Ideally, you’ll try them on in person before making a purchase. But with the ability to find more products and cheaper deals online, you may not have that option. If this is the case, there are a number of things you must do to ensure a quality fit. It’s first necessary to remember that your boots will be worn on top of thick hiking socks. So, whatever your typical foot girth is, you should add around a centimeter to it.

You should also consider the fact that walking might make your feet swell. Ensure that the boots you choose are capable of handling your feet sizes at their most swollen. A good general rule is to have about a thumb’s width between the end of the boot’s insole and your toes. This will keep your feet locked in firmly without sacrificing too much in the way of freedom and breathability.

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The Results

Overall Rating:

4.2

Constructed with uppers made entirely out of nubuck leather, the Lowa Tibet GTX offers equal parts protection and flexibility. With perforation holes lining the entire upper, this boot allows for exceptional breathability despite its thick and heavy construction. This makes it great for both backpacking and minimalist hiking purposes.

Featuring a Gore-Tex waterproof liner, these are adept at wading through streams and puddles. They weigh in at just around 1 pound per boot, making them as light as any hiking boot you’re going to find.

Equipped with a rubber outsole with widely spaced lugs, these boots tear deep into the terrain with each step. This provides them with stellar traction whether going uphill or downhill. Though they carry a hefty price tag, these boots are as versatile as they come, capable of being used as both backpacking and minimalist hiking boots.

Lowa Tibet GTX

Bottom Line: Flexible, but with uppers made entirely out of nubuck leather, the Lowa Tibet GTX is a versatile boot that can be used for both backpacking and minimalist hiking purposes.

Key Features

  • Gore-Tex® protection ensures your feet stay dry thanks to it’s waterproof yet breathable technology.
  • Precise fit thanks to Tongue studs, x-lacing and I-locks.
  • Never lose your footing thanks to the Vibram® rubber outsoles
  • Resoleable
  • Excellent support
  • Top-notch lacing system
  • Ridiculously protective
  • Very durable, and resoleable
  • A little bulky
  • Can be a little narrow
  • Heavy

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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Overall Rating:

3.3

The Asolo Fugitive GTX is made out of a combination of leather, mesh, and nylon. While it’s not the ideal boot for backpacking purposes. It makes for a terrific minimalist hiking boot. Weighing in at around 1.75 pounds per boot, it’s ridiculously flexible and capable of going whichever way your foot directs it.

This isn’t to say that it lacks support. Its partially-leather upper provides your foot with the stiffness and structure it needs to make its way over the rocky and uneven terrain. It just isn’t quite as stiff or supportive as an all-leather hiking boot.

Equipped with a waterproof liner, it’s more than capable of wading through streams and puddles. Sporting a synthetic outsole, its lugs are spaced widely apart, allowing them to truly grab into the terrain for superb stability and traction. If you’re looking for a breathable, lightweight, and flexible pair of hiking boots for minimalist hiking purposes, you should consider these.

Asolo Fugitive GTX

Bottom Line: A breathable and flexible hiking boot, the Asolo Fugitive GTX is a superb option for minimalist hiking purposes.

Key Features

  • Combination of split-grain leather and Cordura® nylon uppers to give a lightweight, breathable and durable design.
  • Gore-Tex® protection ensures your feet stay dry thanks to it’s waterproof yet breathable technology.
  • The rubber heels and toe boxes are reinforced to provide excellent durability and protection
  • DuoAsoflex midsoles mix a shock-absorbing soft layer with a stiffer shank for torsion control
  • The outsoles are made from a combination of polyurethane midsoles and a bi-density rubber bottom for ultimate cushioning and traction
  • Resoleable
  • Very breathable
  • As flexible as they come
  • Waterproofing works well
  • Not as supportive as some boots
  • Inconsistent stitching and construction
  • Heavier option

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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Overall Rating:

3.6

A superb backpacking boot, the Hanwag Tatra GTX possesses a tough, all-leather upper. It’s not as flexible or breathable as some boots but will offer superb protection in rocky and woody areas. These boots are, however, a little heavy, weighing in at a little over 2 pounds per boot.

Equipped with a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, these boots are adept at wading through small streams and puddles. This ensures that your feet will stay comfortable and dry throughout your entire trek.

These boots possess rubber soles with widely spaced lugs that slice into the terrain with every step you take. This ensures excellent traction and stability whether you’re going uphill or downhill, and whether it’s soggy or dry. Though they do run a little expensive, the Hanwag Tatra GTXs are a top-notch hiking boot for backpacking purposes.

Hanwag Tatra GTX

Bottom Line: A tough, stiff all-leather boot, the Hanwag Tatra GTX is as superb of a backpacking boot as you’re going to find on the market today.

Key Features

  • Soft leather padded cuff, rubber heel and toe caps offers combination of comfort and protection
  • Clamping lace hooks on top section of uppers for precise and rapid lacing
  • Durably waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® lining
  • Graded memory insole for superior shape retention – always returns to its original form
  • Vibram® sole with deep profile, designed especially by HANWAG – allows the foot to roll exceptionally smoothly
  • Resoleable
  • Excellent traction
  • Brilliant durability, you'll be using these for years
  • Solid waterproofing helps keep your feet dry
  • Lacks some flexibility
  • A little bulky and not the lightest option

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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SALOMON QUEST 4D II GTX

Overall Rating:

4.5

The Salomon Quest 4D II GTX is a midweight hiking boot which can be used for both minimalist and backpack hiking purposes. It’s one of the most versatile hiking boots currently on the market. Available in a bevy of colors and designs, there is sure to be one that suits your preferences.

Made out of a combination of leather and textile nylon, it offers equal parts support and flexibility. Its nylon upper also allows for superb breathability, keeping your feet fresh and dry throughout your entire hike. Equipped with a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, these boots are excellent for wading through shallow streams and puddles.

These boots possess synthetic outsoles which are hard enough to provide long-term support, but soft enough to allow for some shock absorbance. Its outsole lugs are spaced apart at a relatively wide distance, enabling them to truly grip into the terrain. This provides you with superb traction and stability at all times. While there are stiffer boots for backpacking purposes and lighter boots for minimalist hiking purposes, there is no boot more suited to accommodate both. If you like to participate in all types of hiking, the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX is the hiking boot for you.

Salomon Quest 4D II GTX

Bottom Line: Ideal for both backpacking and minimalist hiking, the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX are the most versatile hiking boots on the market today.

Key Features

  • Gore-Tex® membranes that are seam sealed, offer superb protection from water yet allow vapor to escape.
  • Updated design gives the best fit ever
  • Constructed of split suede leather and nylon mesh to give a unique marriage of flexibility, breathability and lightweight comfort
  • The tongue and rand design allows the tongue to lie flat, preventing lace pressure while keeping debris out
  • OrthoLite® footbeds have been antimicrobially treated to deter odors
  • Dual-density EVA midsoles supply last comfort and support
  • Contagrip® rubber outsoles provide traction across rough surfaces
  • As versatile as they come
  • Possess a GORE-TEX waterproof liner
  • Top-notch lacing system
  • Superb traction
  • Not as light as some boots
  • Substandard stock insoles

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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VASQUE ST. ELIAS GTX

Overall Rating:

3.9

The Vasque St. Elias GTX features an all-leather upper which provides superb support and stability at all times. This makes it an ideal hiking boot for backpacking purposes. However, you shouldn’t let its excellent stiffness and support fool you. This boot is rather lightweight for a leather hiking boot, weighing in at around 1.5 pounds per boot.

It possesses a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, making it perfect for wading through streams and small puddles. This isn’t to say that it’s an unbreathable boot. GORE-TEX liners are adept at letting air enter and exit freely. Your feet will remain dry and relaxed all throughout your hike.

For traction purposes, this boot possesses a rubber outsole with widely spaced lugs. With an EVA foam midsole, it absorbs shock exceptionally well, reducing the amount of force with each step you take.

Vasque St. Elias GTX

Bottom Line: Sporting an all-leather upper, the Vasque St. Elias GTX is an uber-supportive, yet lightweight hiking boot that’s terrific for backpacking purposes.

Key Features

  • Combining all leather uppers with Gore-Tex® waterproof liners gives excellent protection from the elements while still allowing your feet to breathe
  • Vibram® rubber outsoles give superb traction and stability over uneven terrain
  • Soft EVA footbeds are incorporated into the midsoles to absorb shock and provide cushioning
  • Thermoplastic urethane shanks offer solid support and protect your feet from sharp rocks on rugged trails
  • Possess superb traction
  • Very shock-absorbent
  • One of the most comfortable boots in our review
  • Not as breathable as some boots
  • Made for narrow feet

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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SALEWA MOUNTAIN TRAINER MID GTX

Overall Rating:

3.0

If you’re looking for a very breathable, yet very supportive hiking boot, you should definitely consider the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX. Made out of leather and synthetic materials, it’s great for minimalist purposes and passable for backpacking purposes.

These boots possess a terrific lacing system which allows you to lace them all the way up to the upper ankle. This will keep your feet locked in place, reducing the risk of blisters and rashes. Sporting a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, they are adept at wading through streams and small puddles.

Featuring synthetic outsoles, they provide superb traction without overweighing your foot. This allows you to make your way up and down hills with general ease. Stocked with adaptive foam padding in their ankle areas, these boots will cushion you based on your foot’s specific size and shape.

Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX

Bottom Line: Made out of supportive, yet lightweight leather and synthetic materials, the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX is excellent for minimalist hiking and adequate for backpacking.

Key Features

  • Constructed with suede leather uppers and Gore-Tex® extended comfort liners
  • Rocky paths, mud and snow, no problem with Vibram® Alpine Approach soles
  • Climbing style lacing extends to the toes for a precise fit
  • 3F System connects to the lacing for enhanced heel and ankle support
  • The Mult Fit Footbed Plus (MFF+) is customizable allowing the boots to adapt the shape of your feet
  • As breathable as they come
  • Extremely comfortable to wear even after hours on the trail
  • Good water resistance and breathability
  • Not as supportive as some boots
  • Can be a little wide for some

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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LOWA RENEGADE GTX MID

Overall Rating:

3.7

The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a very supportive, yet lightweight hiking boot. While it’s ideal for backpacking, it can also be used for minimalist hiking purposes. Featuring nubuck leather uppers which are designed to repel water, these boots are also equipped with a GORE-TEX waterproof liner. This makes them excellent for wading through streams and puddles.

Possessing a polyester inner lining, they are comfortable to the touch and do a superb job of wicking away sweat. This ensures that your feet will stay dry and relieved all throughout your hike.

Sporting a polyurethane midsole, these boots are adept at absorbing shock. Equipped with rubber outsoles, they deliver top-notch traction and stability, keeping you on your feet whether you’re going uphill or downhill. Weighing in at around 1.35 pounds per boot, they are very easy to get around in, yet still ridiculously supportive.

Lowa Renegade GTX

Bottom Line: Made out of water-repellent nubuck leather, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a lightweight hiking boot that can be used for both backpacking and minimalist hiking purposes.

Key Features

  • No issues with shallow streams and dry feet with waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex® liners
  • Water-repellent nubuck leather uppers feature Cordura® nylon ankle bands for comfort and flexibility; polyester linings wick moisture to help keep feet dry inside
  • Derby-cut lacing fits a wide variety of foot volumes; padded and gusseted tongues relieve lace pressure while keeping out trail debris
  • Full-length nylon shanks offer great support for long days on your feet; polyurethane midsoles absorb shock
  • External polyurethane Monowrap® frames offer lateral stability while reducing weight
  • Vibram® Evo rubber outsoles on the men's Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boots deliver excellent traction on a wide variety of terrain
  • Extremely supportive and comfortable, without being too heavy
  • Offer great traction
  • Shock-absorbent midsoles
  • Some durability issues
  • A little narrow-fitting

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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KEEN TARGHEE II MID

Overall Rating:

3.5

If you’re looking for a great minimalist hiking boot at a downright reasonable price, you should consider the Keen Targhee II Mid. Though it’s priced fairly low, it offers a great deal of support and flexibility.

Made out of a combination of leather and textile nylon, this boot is very breathable, allowing air and sweat to escape and absorb freely. Featuring a KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane, it keeps water from reaching your foot when you’re wading through streams and puddles.

Equipped with a rubber sole, it provides superb traction at all times, ensuring that you stay on your feet whether going uphill or downhill. For protection purposes, it possesses a rubber toe box. This will keep you from stubbing your toes against rocks, trees, and other hard objects.

Keen Targhee II Mid

Bottom Line: Available at a very reasonable price, the Keen Targhee II Mid is a great budget hiking boot for minimalist hiking purposes.

Key Features

  • Constructed with waterproofed nubuck leather and flexible nylon mesh uppers
  • Lock your feet to the footbeds for increased support with the secure-fit lace capture system
  • KEEN.DRY™ membranes give waterproofing and breathability allowing your feet to stay dry from sweat inside and streams outside
  • The carbon rubber outsoles have large 4mm multidirectional lugs for brilliant traction and durability
  • Shock-absorbing and comfortable compression molded EVA midsoles
  • Protect your feet from impacts and abrasion with patented rubber toe guards
  • Extremely comfortable, and pretty lightweight
  • Great traction 
  • The price
  • Possess a strong synthetic odor

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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DANNER MOUNTAIN LIGHT II

Overall Rating:

3.7

Sporting an entirely leather upper, the Danner Mountain Light is one of the premier backpacking boots on the market today. While it’s incredibly supportive, it’s not so stiff that you won’t be able to stretch your foot out a bit. It keeps your foot locked in place, but still allows for adequate flexibility and movement.

Equipped with GORE-TEX liners, these boots are waterproof and capable of wading through streams and puddles. To keep their weight down, they’re stocked with durable polyurethane insoles. In all, they weigh around 1.5 pounds per boot.

Sporting a synthetic sole with widely spaced lugs, these boots rip into the terrain for terrific traction and balance. If you’re a backpack hiker who spends a lot of time on rough and rocky trails, these are the boots for you.

Danner Mountain Light

Bottom Line: Providing superb support while sacrificing little in the way of breathability, the Danner Mountain Light II is the best all-leather hiking boot on the market today.

Key Features

  • Full-grain, one-piece leather uppers give that classic look and incredible durability
  • Gore-Tex® liners offer the sweet combination of waterproofing from the elements while allowing your feet to breathe
  • Airthotic® half-length molded polyurethane insteps cup the heels and fiberglass shanks support the arches
  • Vibram Kletterlift rubber outsoles are specifically designed for comfort, stability and shock absorption
  • Hand-crafted stitchdown construction offers a wider platform for increased stability on uneven terrain
  • Tough all-leather uppers and resoleable heels make them one of the toughest boots reviewed
  • The classic look
  • Offers superb stability and traction
  • Certainly one of the heavier options

Comfort

Stability

Traction

Weight

Water Resistance

Durability

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INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT REVIEWS

INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT REVIEWS