Going for a hike? Preparation is key to success and an enjoyable trip. A critical step in being well prepared is having the right gear for your trip. Arguably the most important piece of is a trusty set of hiking boots. We also recommend the right pair of hiking socks. The goal of this guide is to assist you in selecting the best hiking boots for you. So put your best foot forward, and check out our comprehensive guide on hiking footwear.

A key component of any hiker or backpacker’s gear is footwear. With ill-fitting boots, you won’t get far. On the other hand (or foot may we dare say), a well-fitting boot will enable you to tackle even the most intimidating challenges. Well built boots, like a fine wine, will get better with age. Furthermore, they will keep your feet safe, and protect them from the worst of the pains and aches that come from a long day of hiking.

Comparison Tables: Best Hiking Boots and Best Hiking Shoes

Up first we have 4 quick tables for you to browse through. They contain all of the best hiking boots and shoes that we’ve rounded up in our reviews below. The four tables contain:

  • Best Hiking Boots for Women
  • Hiking Shoes for Women
  • Best Hiking Boots for Men
  • Hiking Shoes for Men

The boots and shoes in these tables are listed in price ascending order for you to be able to easily compare brands, quality and features. We’ve made sure our review sections are in the same order to make it easy for you to reference.

If you’re on mobile, or a smaller screen, click the green plus signs to expand the charts and access more information.

9 Best Hiking Boots for Women Comparison

ImageBootsMaterialStyleColorsPopularityCost
KEEN Gypsum Women's Mid Hiking BootUpper: Leather Textile
Outsole: Rubber
Mid Top1
Discovery Expedition Womens Hiking BootsUpper:Faux Leather
Outsole: Thermo Rubber
High Top3
KEEN Targhee II Women's Waterproof Hiking BootUpper: Leather
Outsole: Rubber
Mid Top3
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Women's Hiking BootUpper:Leather/Synthetic
Outsole: Rubber
High Top5
Asolo Stynger GTX Hiking Boots for WomenUpper:Suede/Nylon
Outsole: Syncro Rubber-PU
Mid Top1
Vasque Pow Pow II Women's Winter Hiking BootsUpper:Leather/Textile/Merino Wool
Outsole: Rubber
High Top2
Scarpa Kailash GTX Women's Hiking BootUpper: Suede/Nylon
Outsole: Vibram
Mid Top1
Ahnu Montara Women's Hiking BootsUpper:Leather/Suede Leather
Outsole: Vibram
High Top5
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Women's Hiking BootUpper: Nubuck Leather
Outsole: Vibram
Mid Top10+

3 Best Hiking Shoes for Women Comparison

ImageBootsMaterialColorsPopularityCost
KEEN Voyageur Women's Hiking ShoeUpper: Leather
Outsole: Mesh/Rubber
6
Merrell Proterra Gore-Tex Women's Hiking ShoeUpper: Synthetic/Textile
Outsole: Rubber
1
Salomon Ellipse GTX Women's Hiking ShoeUpper: Leather/Synthetic
Outsole: Rubber
1

8 Best Hiking Boots for Men Comparison

ImageBootsMaterialStyleColorsPopularityCost
The North Face Ultra Fastpack II Mid GTX Men's Hiking BootsUpper:Fabric/Synthetic
Outsole: Rubber
Mid Top1
Vasque Breeze 2.0 Gore-Tex Waterproof Men's Hiking BootUpper:Nubuck Leather/Nylon Panels
Outsole: Vibram
Mid Top2
KEEN Targhee II Mid Waterproof Men's Hiking BootUpper:Nubuck Leather
Outsole: Lugged Rubber
Mid Top6
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Men's Hiking BootUpper:Nubuck Leather
Outsole: Vibram
Mid Top1
Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Men's Hiking BootsUpper: Leather/Textile/Synthetic
Outsole: Synthetic
High Top4
Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX Men's Hiking BootUpper: Leather/Fabric
Outsole: Rubber
Mid Top3
Arc'teryx Bora Mid GTX Men's Hiking BootsUpper:Synthetic
Outsole: Vibram
High Top3
Asolo TPS 520 GV Hiking Boots for MenUpper:Full Grain Leather
Outsole:Vibram
High Top6

3 Best Hiking Shoes for Men Comparison

ImageBootsMaterialColorsCostPopularity
Merrell Moab Ventilator Men's Hiking ShoeUpper:Leather/Synthetic
Outsole:Vibram
10+
KEEN Targhee II Men's Hiking ShoeUpper:Leather
Outsole:Rubber
5
Patagonia Drifter A/C Men's Hiking ShoeUpper:Leather/Textile
Outsole:Vibram
1

Best Hiking Boots for Women of 2018

We have chosen the best all-around hiking boots for both men and women. We looked at each shoe from all the angles, comfort, weight, support, traction, water resistance, durability, and versatility before making our selection. These boots are best for your average hiker who typically does a day or multi-day hiking trips on the less traveled road.

Without further ado, here are the best hiking boots for women (top picks for men area in the following section) currently available.

1. KEEN Targhee II Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boot

KEEN Womens Targhee II Waterproof Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Leather
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

KEEN’s Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot is a great all around pair of boots for a fair price. It combines a breathable liner, waterproof membrane, and aggressive outsole (4mm multidirectional lugs) that takes a chomp out of any terrain that challenges you. The mid top style provides the wearer with a nice balance of stability and ankle support without being overly restrictive.

The Cleansport NXT tech KEEN built into this boot does an excellent job of odor control.

2. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Women’s Hiking Boot
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Womens Hiking Boots

  • Upper: Nubuck Leather
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

Don’t let its simple looks fool you — the Renegade GTX has it all, looks and functionality. Our clear winner in comfort, it is so light and comfortable it feels like you’re wearing a lightweight running shoe. It has a multitude of styles to choose (11 colors total) from and is composed of high-quality materials. No matter what the shape of your foot, Lowa has a boot for you: it is available in narrow, wide, and regular widths.

A climate control footbed, PU mono wrap frame midsole, Vibram Evo Sole, GoreTex waterproof technology, and Nubuck leather upper makes this boot a force to be reckoned with.

The Renegade GTX is perhaps the all-around top pair of boots in the day hiking boots category. Even though the Renegades are classified as a light hiker, they can also be used for light backpacking as well due to their exceptional stability. The Renegade GTX is one of the best performing mid hiking boots out there. Goretex, stabilizing shanks, Condura nylon ankle bands, climate controlled footbed, speed lacing grommets…

What more could you ask for? $1,000,000 bucks? Fair enough. But hey, as far as hiking boots go, this is our pick for the best mid hiking boot for women.

3. KEEN Gypsum Women’s Mid Hiking Boot

KEEN Women's Gypsum Mid Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Leather/Textile
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

The Gypsum features a flexible and lightweight design. If you tend to have problems with heel pain after long treks KEEN has implemented a S3 Heel Support technology into the Gypsum. The S3 stands for Stabillity, Shock, and Suspension. Not only does this support the heel upon impact and prevent troublesome heel aches, it also will help prevent ankle injuries.

The bottom of the boot is loaded with 4mm multidirectional lugs that fight back against any challenging terrain. Like the Renegade, the Gypsum mid boot is a well-balanced boot that works exceptionally well for day hikers.

4. Scarpa Kailash GTX Women’s Hiking Boot

Scarpa Women's Kailash GTX Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Suede/Nylon
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

If you’re not a fan of KEEN or Lowa, Scarpa also makes a sturdy mid. Scarpa doesn’t skimp on any of the materials: Vibram Hi-Trail Lite soles, Gore-Tex lining, bi-directional ankle flex, and protective toe rands. These boots are a little heavier than the other 2 options.

They are burly enough to handle weeklong backpacking trips but light enough to still function okay as dayhikers. A great versatile boot, the Kalish GTX effectively balances the needs of both casual and hardcore hikers.

5. Asolo Stynger GTX Hiking Boots for Women

Asolo Women's Stynger GTX Hiking Boots

  • Upper: Suede/Nylon
  • Outsole: Syncro Rubber-PU
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

If you are looking for a water resistant option, The Stynger GTX will shield your feet with style. The water resistant suede upper has been treated with high performance grease. The outer sole is composed of rubber-eva which Asolo has dubbed the Power Lite Sole. This outer shell, coupled with Gore-Tex performance lining eliminates any and all wet feet problems.

A sturdier boot than the two options above, the Bullet is a bit heavier and taller. It provides a bit more stability with the VIbram sole with Pebax inserts and is built for rougher terrain. This boot is an excellent option for backpackers carrying heavier loads, and is certainly one of the best backpacking boots available.

6. Vasque Pow Pow II Women’s Winter Hiking Boots

Vasque Women's Pow Pow II Winter Hiking Boots

  • Upper: Leather/Textile/Merino Wool
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: High Top

Vasque has designed these boots to handle winter conditions. They market them as “UltraDry” because of the membranes used to construct this boot. They do a superb job of blocking rain and snow from seeping in, preventing the winter wonderland from getting inside your boots. You won’t want to hike around in warmer conditions in this pair, the Faux fur linings are backed with 400g Thinsulate ultra polyester fiber insulation.

The high cut also facilitates protection from the winter elements. The message is clear, get the Pow Pows if your trips are taking you into icy territory.

7. Ahnu Montara Women’s Hiking Boots
Ahnu Montara Womens Hiking Boots

  • Upper: Leather/Suede Leather
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: High Top

The Ahnu Montara Hiking Boots are one of the most popular high lace up women’s boots right now. They are our top pick for the best women’s waterproof hiking boots. A gorgeous oiled leather forms the upper of this boot, and pig leather at the collar enhances comfort.

The nylon linings do a good job at wicking moisture like nobody’s business and are breathable enough to keep your feet from getting toasted. This is a great boot for those who need plenty of ankle support and may have sustained ankle injuries in the past.

8. Discovery Expedition Womens Hiking Boots

Discovery Expedition Womens Boot

  • Upper: Faux Leather
  • Outsole: Thermo Rubber
  • Waterproof: No
  • Height: High Top

Another boot that offers over the ankle protection, the Discovery Expedition features a comfortable faux leather and textile lining for excellent water resistance and breathability. It is our pick for the best women’s hiking boot for the price. The reinforced rubber toe boxes on this boot offers plenty of durable protection, even if you decide to kick a rock or two.

A classic and stylish look is perfect for casual wear before and after your hiking adventures. They are a great option for beginners since the price point is more than fair.

9. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Women’s Hiking Boot
Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Leather/Synthetic
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: High Top

The price is right on this pair and the quality design has helped propel this boot to the top of the hiking boots best seller lists. It easily made our list of the best hiking boots for women. We like the tech Columbia built into this pair of boots. The Omnishield water and stain resistant treatment keeps these looking fresh and helps keep feetsies dry.

The Omnigrip lugged outsole aggressively tackles rugged terrain with vigour. The triangle D ring and clamshell lacing holds this boot snug to the foot and ankle, exactly what you want for a full day of hiking.

Subcategory: Best Hiking Shoes for Women

While perhaps not as versatile as a quality pair of hiking boots, hiking shoes perform extremely well in less rugged conditions. For the added comfort and reduced cost, hiking shoes are a great choice for individuals looking to supplement their hiking footwear collection or those of us who are more casual day hikers who stick to the beaten path.

1. Salomon Ellipse GTX Women’s Hiking Shoe

Salomon Ellipse GTX Women's Hiking Shoe

  • Upper: Leather/Synthetic
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes

Salomon makes one of the most comfortable hiking shoes on the market in the Ellipse GTX. Heck, you can even use these daily for tasks such as walking the dogs. The Ellipse sports a very technical design, proficiently balancing weight, comfort, traction, and support. They are versatile enough to be used both by faster paced agility hikers as well as light back packers.

They also excel in the water resistant category, with rubber soles and waterproof linings. The Ellispe GTX is an attractive, durable, and comfortable shoe that excels in many distinct applications.

2. KEEN Voyageur Women’s Hiking Shoe

KEEN Voyageur Women's Hiking Shoe

  • Upper: Leather
  • Outsole: Mesh/Rubber
  • Waterproof: No

KEEN stacked the Voyageur with 4mm multi-directional lugs making these a solid choice for extended clomping trips. The platform measures approximately 1.25”, so these are a bit more heavy duty than the Salomon’s Ellipse. Given the durable construction, you’d think you would have to give up a lot in comfort.

The interesting thing is the Voyageur is still a very flexible shoe. The design includes leather webbing and a mesh upper with ventilation windows and woven textile lining. This helps keep your feet comfortable and just the right temp throughout your hiking experiences.

3. Merrell Proterra Gore-Tex Women’s Hiking Shoe

Merrell Proterra Gore-Tex Women's Hiking Shoe

  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Outsole: Textile/Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes

This shoe by Merrell has a completely different look than the other two shoes in our best hiking shoe section. The 2.5mm lug depth gives you an idea of how high off the ground your feet will rest. Merrell calls these lugs the M-Select GRIP technology, which essentially equates to you feeling the ground a bit more and gives the shoe a more responsive feel.

It is a multi-purpose shoe that can be used for more than just hiking, featuring Stratefuse breathable leather. The Proterra is a ideal everyday shoe that also works great for shorter hikes.

Best Hiking Boots for Men of 2018

We started with the top 5 hiking boots for women and follow with the top 5 hiking boots for men.

1. Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Men’s Hiking Boots

Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Mens Hiking Boots

  • Upper: Leather/Textile/Synthetic
  • Outsole: Synthetic
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: High Top

The updated Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX hiking boot adds an ergonomic tongue, better lacing, and a fresh design that puts in among the best looking hiking boots for men out there. The 4D chassis is a term they use to describe the four layers of the sole: two layers of cushioning, one layer of stabilizer, and the all mountain traction underneath it all.

What was Salomon’s goal when designing this boot? Bring trail running technology to a fully functionally backpacking boot. And boy did they execute this mission brilliantly. Renowned for their comfort Salomon’s top boot has variable tension lace technology that distributes two levels of tension; one along the foot and the other running up the ankle. The 4D GTX are a light boot with a high cut giving you the best of both worlds.

Textile materials keep the boot lightweight, while the Gore Tex technology will keep your feet dry inside and out. The boot is rounded out with a padded tongue giving your feet extra comfort by reducing lace pressure for those extra brutal hikes.

2. Vasque Breeze 2.0 Gore-Tex Waterproof Men’s Hiking Boot

Vasque Breeze 2.0 Gore-Tex Waterproof Men's Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Nubuck Leather/Nylon Panels
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

Vasque broke ground with their first Breeze boot back in 2003. The successor is better than ever, with a remastered boot that is firing on all cylinders. Vasque’s Breeze 2.0 Boot is designed for breathability. If you have trouble keeping your feet dry and are a chronic sufferer of the drenched feet syndrome, you may want to give these guys a go.

Large swaths of mesh can be found along the tongue, sides, heels, and toes. Combine this with Ultra Dry Lining, and you have a force to be reckoned with. Another upside? They look cool, so you’ll be hiking in style at all times. Vasque is also the creator of the widely popular St Elias GTX which is a great alternative to the Breeze.

3. KEEN Targhee II Mid Waterproof Men’s Hiking Boot

KEEN Targhee II Mid Waterproof Men's Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Nubuck Leather
  • Outsole: Lugged Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

One of the most popular mid cut hiking boots out there, and for good reason. The KEEN soles in the boot are seriously best in class. They are dual compression molded, dual density soles that cradle your soles and eliminate achy feet. They’ll prevent blisters and cup your heel to help reduce slippage. 4mm Lugs help you travel the beaten path with ease.

Super breathable eVent technology facilitate dry feet. The lacing technology allows you to tighten near the heel while keeping the toe box relaxed, giving you a balance of comfort and traction that’s prepared for the fastest of fast-packers.

4. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Men’s Hiking Boot

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Men's Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Nubuck Leather
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

Lowa’s most award winning boot, enter the Renegade GTX mid. This sexy boot is comfortable right out of the box. We know, all the hiking boot manufacturers make this claim, but the Renegade actually walks the walk. It is beloved for its comfortable fit from day one. A combination of leather and textiles, this pair of boots comes in over 10 styles.

For the super stylish, that’s more than enough colors to make sure you get a pair that matches the rest of your hiking wear. Of course it comes with the gold standard gore tex material. One thing to remember is that this boot runs small, so if this pair of boots has managed to successfully woo you, make sure to order ½ size up.

5. Arc’teryx Bora Mid GTX Men’s Hiking Boots

Arcteryx Bora Mid GTX Mens Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: High Top

The Bora Mids from Arc’teryx are an expensive performance hiking boot and certainly one of the best men’s waterproof hiking boots out there. The standout feature on this boot is the Adaptive Fit Liner which seals the foot from getting wet, making these boots fit to tackle the gnarliest of weather conditions.

Gore-Tex Performance Comfort Stretch membrane keeps feet dry, 3D molded Ortholite footbed keeps them comfortable. The molded toe and heel caps are nice final touches that really deliver a custom, snug fit to most foot types.

6. Asolo TPS 520 GV Hiking Boots for Men

Asolo TPS 520 GV Hiking Boots for Men

  • Upper: Full Grain Leather
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: High Top

If you love genuine leather, Asolo delivers a handsome full grain leather boot in the TPS 520 GVs. Classic full grain leather, Gore Tex water proof material, Asolo’s Patented Lite 2 Footbed and Triple Power Structure Mid-Sole.. what’s not to love about this high tech boot. Superior craftsmanship went into this boot. It is built for performance, and excels in the roughest conditions.

The Shock absorbent TPS (triple power structure) technology incorporates 3 shock absorbent that correspond to the three impact points of the foot that receive the most stress during activity. While perhaps not as breathable as the Vasque Breeze and Salomon, they make up for it in durability. Mud, water, sand, rock, you name any type of debris, the TPS 520 is up to the task. They are our pick for the best leather hiking boots.

Matched with a groovy Vibram sole, it is a force to be reckoned with and is one of our top picks for the best hiking boots for men. The gusseted tongues and ankle collars do a good job of keeping moisture and debris out. The asoflex thermoplastic support provide excellent torsional stability and will protect your feet from impact and bruising.

7. The North Face Ultra Fastpack II Mid GTX Men’s Hiking Boots

The North Face Ultra Fastpack II Mid GTX Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Fabric/Synthetic
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

If you’re looking for an extremely light boot with a decent amount of support, the Ultra Fastpacks are a great choice. These are built for fast pursuits and the fabric and mesh materials offer the wearer plenty of ventilation. This also makes the Ultra Fastpack II’s a great choice for warmer climates and summertime hikes.

8. Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX Men’s Hiking Boot

Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX Hiking Boot

  • Upper: Leather/Fabric
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Height: Mid Top

Our list wouldn’t be complete without this boot from Salewa. A well-built mountaineering boot: the 1.6mm suede leather, high quality fabric, and Vibram WTC are built to resistant wear and break down. Technically speaking, this is a lightweight summer alpine trekking boot and if you’ve got different boots for specific terrain, you may want to add this to the collection.

Subcategory: Best Hiking Shoes for Men

Sometimes, hiking boots are overkill. Hiking shoes are lighter and don’t get as hot. Plus, some of them are comfortable enough to double as daily walkers. Here’s our top picks for the best men’s hiking shoes.

1. Merrell Moab Ventilator Men’s Hiking Shoe

Merrell Moab Ventilator Men's Hiking Shoe

  • Upper: Leather/Synthetic
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes

We had to include this one. Merrell’s Moab Ventilator is one of the most popular hiking shoes of all time. The bottom line is that the ventilation system in this shoe is hands down the best out there. Coupled with the M-Select DRY and FRESH technologies, you have a moisture and odor system that stomps the competition. If you’re looking for a summer shoe for hiking or biking trails, look no further.

2. Patagonia Drifter A/C Men’s Hiking Shoe

Patagonia Drifter AC Men's Hiking Shoe

  • Upper: Leather/Textile
  • Outsole: Vibram
  • Waterproof: Yes

Patagonia has made an awesome hiking shoe that is extremely comfortable and requires minimal break in. The only downside to this shoe is it is a bit heavy for a hiking shoe, but if that doesn’t phase you then read on. One of the best things about Patagonia’s shoe is that it has the highest composition of recycled materials out of any shoe or boot in our list.

If you care about our environment, we think Patagonia’s shoe is the best way to keep your carbon footprint in check.

3. KEEN Targhee II Men’s Hiking Shoe

KEEN Targhee II Men's Hiking Shoe

  • Upper: Leather
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Waterproof: Yes

KEEN has done it again, with their most popular line, the Targhee II. This shoe also includes the S3 heel (shock, stability, suspension) support technology that has earned the Targhee so many raving followers. The rugged Targhee II is an ideal hiking companion, even for the tougher paths. It has 4mm multi-directional lugs and a Keen Dry waterproof membrane.

The footbed, midsole, and heel have all been well-thought out and executed in this shoe, culminating in a sustainable comfort even over the long haul. Keen’s Targhee II is an awesome shoe with a no nonsense look, great for day hiking and light backpacking trips.

Hiking Boots Guide Part I: Categories of Hiking Boots

Outdoor Nirvana has split up hiking boots into five general categories. Many experienced hikers will have multiple pairs that they use depending on their selected hiking trip. Veterans may even have a few pairs in each category.

If you are likely to stick to one type of hiking such as medium length day trips, one solid pair of hiking boots should suit you just fine. Obviously your selection will depend on how often and what types of hiking trips you are planning to take—everyone’s hiking style is unique!

Hiking Shoes

These lightweight hiking shoes are built for shorter day trips. Typically you will want to use these when the weather is fair and the ground is firm or you may fall victim to debris invasion. Hiking shoes are an excellent choice for lighter loads and well-kept trails.

Hiking Boots (aka Trail Hikers)

Trail Hikers are generally waterproof, with a higher or medium cut. These boots obviously provide more protection against protruding rocks and other unfriendly obstacles than a hiking shoe. They will also provide the wearer with more ankle support than lower cut shoes. While you may sacrifice a bit of comfort if you’re planning on hiking steeper inclines and/or muddy paths you will want to opt for these rather than a shoe.

Backpacking Boots

For overnight and multi-day extended trips, backpacking boots are likely your best bet. Backpacking boots are designed for heavier loads, they won’t flex as easy as hiking boots, but they are resilient and supportive. Great for hiking trips deep into the backcountry. Some of the backpacking boots fall into the ideal boots for “fast packing” category.

Mountaineering Boots

Extremely sturdy boots with stiff soles, designed for robust ankle support and protection as you climb through challenging terrain. Some of these boots allow you to attach crampons for better grip in hiking in icy conditions such as glaciers or hard packed snow. If you’re planning on being a part-time mountain climbing badass you’ll need a pair of these.

Approach Shoes

A hybrid shoe assuming some characteristics of both mountain climbing shoes and hiking boots. These types of shoes typically have a special sticky, rubber surface on the bottom for optimal grip. They are designed for steeper grades but not extreme terrain where more specialized footwear is appropriate.

Hiking Boots Guide Part II: Important Features

You should never compromise on quality when buying hiking boots. The best hiking boots are what you should be searching for. Many different brands of hiking boots are available in the market nowadays. You may even have some brand in mind for your next pair of hiking shoes or boots.

But remember, it does not matter which brand you are buying but quality should be given extreme importance. Each brand has some models that are winners and each brand has some well.. concepts that didn’t turn out so well.

Hiking Boots Brands for Men

Think of the expectations you will have from your hiking boots, in which way they should be best to suit your requirements? Whether they should be durable, or comfortable or good looking, or all of these. And which company do you thing will offer you all this? The combination of these factors will deliver the best boot for the job.

For example, the best work boots are going to be designed differently than hiking models. Your hiking boots need to be able to withstand rough terrain, slippery surfaces, rocks and also the mud.

What to Look For

Whether you’re looking for the best mountaineering boots or the best lightweight hiking boots, the most important features are always going to be necessary:

  • Fit. The fit is paramount to the dedicated hiker. You can do some serious damage to your feet doing some hardcore hiking in ill-fitting boots. We cannot stress this enough. It doesn’t matter if they look pretty and have everything else right if they lack comfort they are a no go. Take care of your feet, and they will get you to where you want to go.
  • Material. Hiking boots come in a variety of materials (and consequently prices too!). Full grain and split grain leather, synthetics, and waterproof materials are a few of the most popular options featured in hiking boots.
  • Boot Cut. This one is pretty straightforward. Low-cut, mid-cut, and high-cut boots all serve a different purpose for the wearer.
  • Sole Design. Midsole, shank, plate, and outsole materials should also be considered when purchasing hiking footwear. Often overlooked, this part of the shoe has the most weight in deciding your overall comfort level.
  • Toe Cap. For additional toe protection in extra rugged conditions, you may want to find a pair of boots with toe caps.
  • Crampon Connectors. Crampons improve mobility in cold weather conditions.
  • Upper. Another straightforward design element. This is the part that goes underneath the laces and covers the top of the foot.
  • Gore-Tex. What’s this Gore-Tex stuff everyone is talking about? It is a breathable, waterproof fabric membrane that was developed by W.L. Gore and Associates. It’s actually been around for quite some time, and the material possesses the ability to resist liquid water while simultaneously allowing water vapor to pass through. A great lightweight material that can be used for any type of weather conditions.
  • Weight. The heaviness of the shoe is going to have an impact on foot fatigue. While walking back in forth in one pair of boots will be no problem, hiking on an extended trip is a whole different story. Even a pair of boots that is slightly heavier will make a huge difference as this effect is greatly multiplied by every step you take.

You can also get your hiking boots customized from the manufacturer. View Sierra Post’s selecting hiking boots guide for more information about choosing the right boots.

Hiking Boots Guide Part III: Most Popular Brands of Men’s Hiking Boots

Merrell Hiking Boots

Men’s hiking boots and outdoor footwear are grouped together because what people are actually looking for is not necessarily the same as the keywords they use in their search. Hiking boots and trail runners have a very different intent than boots for scaling mountains, crossing glaciers, or surviving in the rugged outdoors, and a person should plan accordingly. Discussed in this article are the major brands of men’s hiking boots for the casual hiker.

Merrell

Merrell is a large footwear maker designing numerous different styles of boots. Certainly, their largest collections is in hiking and outdoor boots vertical. They are known for making only the very best trekking boots. Since their original hiking boot, Merrell footwear has also expanded into trail runners as well as outdoor sport sandals similar to KEEN and Teva.

They are a one stop shopping for outdoor footwear, including the traditional hiking boot for the casual hiker. Expect to pay between $70 and $135 for a pair of the best lightweight hiking boots.

New Balance

You are probably wondering why New Balance is included on a list of outdoor brands when New Balance primarily makes Athletic Shoes and Sneakers. While they are  best known for other footwear, New Balance is a very large and diverse company that makes most footwear styles. They make this list because they are actually one of the largest contributors to the outdoor footwear category, and make some of the best hiking shoes on the market.

The bulk of their contributions are in trail runners as this is their forte, and you tend to have to sort through a lot of other athletic styles to find them, but New Balance has a large and appealing selection of trail runners, and New Balance’s dedication to the latest innovations make them an ideal, and by comparison, an economical choice for trail runners, as you can expect to pay between $60 and $130 for a fine pair of trail runners or hiking boots.

Hi-Tec

Hi-Tec footwear is an almost exclusively Outdoor brand. Nearly all of their styles are outdoor in look and design. Hi-Tec has made a name for itself in designing lightweight footwear. Their goal is to keep your footwear from dragging you down. Their collection of trail runners costs between $45 and $60 a pair wile their hiking boots cost between $60 and $95 a pair, though the more lightweight breathable hikers are all below $80 a pair.

For the casual hiker Hi-Tec is a great choice because of the low cost and the lighter designs, but for the price you are still getting one of the best lightweight walking boots you can buy.

Montrail

Montrail footwear is a lesser known brand, but their collection is entirely focused on trail running and hiking, and makes a great choice for the more avid hiker and trail runner. You can tell immediately by the tread that their footwear is specifically designed for trail running rather than most hiking boots that are really designed for the urban jungle but have an outdoor look. If you really are planning to be on the trails a lot, seriously consider Montrail footwear as they make some of the best leather hiking boots.

Nevados

Nevados footwear is the least expensive brand on the list of hiking boots. All of their footwear is styled for hiking and all of their footwear prices at or below $50 a pair. For the casual hiker this is perfect. Despite the price, they are still considered one of the best mens walking boots.

Hiking Boots Guide Part IV: Most Popular Brands of Women’s Hiking Boots

Women’s hiking and outdoor boots is a relatively large category of shoes, with at least 50 different major brands making outdoor boots. Each brand has its advantages and disadvantages. Discussed in this article are the top brands in the outdoor and hiking category and the price range for each brand.

Vasque

Vasque’s entire product line is focused on outdoor, hiking, and camping boots and shoes. Of all major brands, Vasque contributes the most styles to the outdoor and hiking cateogry. Prices range from between $80 and $170 with most boots pricing around $125 retail. Definitely some of the best backpacking boots around.

New Balance

New Balance is a major footwear retailer that makes all kinds of apparel, including outdoor footwear for men and women. Most of their outdoor footwear is trail running shoe styles rather than rugged boots. Prices range from $65 to $112 with most pricing around $70 a pair.

Lowa

Women’s Lowa outdoor boots are less focused on hiking and more oriented for rugged outdoor wear. Boot and shoes have deep tread with strong soles and are mostly waterproof. In fact, if you are looking for the best waterproof hiking boots around, you can’t do much better than Lowa.  Prices range from $160 to $320 with most styles falling around $200 a pair.

Merrell

Like New Balance, Merrell footwear makes many different styles of shoes, and contributes many new models to each style every single year. Merrell is the second biggest contributor to the outdoor hiking category. Most styles have tread similar to a running shoe but with an outdoor look. Prices range from $65 to $135 with most pricing around $90 a pair.

Hiking Boots Brands - Merrell

The North Face

Having one of the most diverse offerings of outdoor footwear for women, The North Face footwear include closed toe sandals with a slip resistant sole to hiking shoes with deep claw like tread. Plus, The North Face has the advantage of being some of the least expensive options with shoe prices ranging from $65 to $105 with most falling around $80 a pair.

Keen

Keen helped pioneer a new type of footwear, the outdoor sport sandal. They are best known for their closed toe sandals, though they compliment their selection with other outdoor footwear including hiking shoes and boots. Prices range from $70 to $120 a pair depending on the style you are looking for.

Brooks

Brooks is footwear for runners and their outdoor selection is no different. All of their styles for women are trail running shoes designed to be lightweight and have good traction to minimize slipping. Prices range from $50 to $120 with most styles around $75 a pair.

Teva

Like Keen, Teva is best known for their outdoor sandals, but this company does so much more. Women’s Footwear styles include sandals, sneakers, running shoes, and hiking boots. Enjoy a wider selection of styles with the same outdoor look and a tread to match the style. Prices range widely depending on whether it is a sandal, shoe, or boot, but most outdoor styles price around $90 a pair.

This is the top selection of 8 largest outdoor footwear brands, other large brands in the outdoor category include Ecco, garmot, Asolo, Reebok, Montrail, Muck Boots, GoLite, Danner, Ariat, Icebut, and Wolverine.

Recap

When deciding between brands, first decide whether you are just going for an outdoor look, casual hiking, or serious hiking. Then choose a brand based on what you intend to be doing in that footwear. The ideal type of footwear really does depend on what environment you realistically plan to be wearing your footwear in the most.

Hiking Boots Guide Part V: Choosing the Best Hiking Boots for YouParts of a Hiking Boot

For people who enjoy hiking, one of the most important pieces of equipment is their hiking boots. They are designed for the express purpose of hiking in them. Out of necessity, they offer the optimum in comfort when it comes to walking long distances over rugged terrain. Really good hiking boots will also protect your feet in water, mud, or while walking on rocks.

Support

An important aspect of hiking boots is the support they provide for the ankles as well as a stiff support that helps the entire foot. While it does restrict ankle movement, the hiking boots will protect against such things as blisters that can crop up while walking for long distances. This is one of many reasons that hiking boots are considered a vital part of any backpacking equipment. Hiking boots can make or break a hiking trip, so it’s smart not to skimp on them.

Purpose

When choosing the best hiking boots for your trip consider what sort of hiking you’ll be doing. If you’re just a weekend hiker, you’ll probably be fine with a decent pair of shoes that don’t come with extra frills. These give you the kind of traction you need but without the heaviness of boots. However, if you have weak ankles or will be travelling over particularly rugged areas, boots will be best. They will prevent you from hurting your ankles by offering maximum support.

The correct hiking boots will feel stiff and give a little on the outer sole as well as around the ankle. In spite of the stiffness of the boots, they also need to be comfortable. This means that they need to feel right the first time you try them on.

Extras

Features on some of the latest hiking boots are such things as cushioning air units that are optimized to balance out the rocky and stony terrains against the feet, as well as to offer protection to the sides of the feet. Ankle supports are stiffer so they can offer better protection against ankle injuries. The soles are rubber and anti-skid, offering both waterproofing and breathability of the feet.

Keep in mind that the best hiking boots will give your ankles and feet both stiffness and springiness that will be needed when hiking across rugged terrain. It is vital to find the very best hiking boots for you that have all of the most desirable qualities while also fitting you as comfortably as possible.

Hiking Boots Guide Part VI: Other Considerations

How to Find the Best Hiking Boots

The best hiking boots should be what you are looking for. A popular brand can be an indicator of high quality boots, but not always. Even the best brands have some models that are bad apples, while other models turn out near perfect. That’s why it makes sense to shop for the best model of boots and not get overly focused on the brand name.

There are many different brands on the market today. Some are not meant to be taken on the trail, though. The brand names that you know and love as quality boots should be what you are focusing on. Yet, brand names are nothing in regards to the best hiking boots.

You need to consider the use you have for those boots as well as the quality that they can provide for you. The good news is that there are a number of different options available to you that provide top quality footwear.

Hiking Boots What to Know

Key Factors In Hiking Boot Selection:

Consider what you need in the best hiking boots. You need a boot that will carry you over rough terrain, rocks, slippery surfaces and even through the mud. You want all of this to happen without much damage to the boot itself and definitely no damage to your foot. In addition, you need a boot that will allow you to easily move in it, one that’s not too heavy and one that provides you with stability.

  1. One of the key factors of the boot should be how well it fits your foot. Support is not just so that your feet don’t ache, but also to give your hips and your back strength to take you up and down the trail comfortably.
  2. Look at the quality of the boot, too. Consider how well the best hiking boots that your friends or family members have lasted them. A good quality boot will last years, over all types of terrain.
  3. Flip the boot over and look at how well it is made. Bend it back and forth a bit, does it give easily or is there tension there? How much do they weigh? Do they feel heavy when you slip them on?
  4. The lining inside them should also be comfortable.

You’ll find the best results from a boot that is designed well because all of these features are found.

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