Whether you’re an avid hiker or just starting to hit the trails, hiking is a great way to commune with nature while getting a solid cardio workout.
But without the proper hiking gear, “roughing it” can take on a whole new meaning. A quality pair of hiking boots can help you avoid ending your hike with blisters and sore feet. So how can you find the best hiking boots for you? Here’s what you need to know.
What to Look for in a Hiking Boot
“Beyond getting the fit right, there are a few features consumers will want to think about,” says Paul Ronto, director of digital content (and hiking expert) at RunRepeat. When choosing a hiking boot, it’s important to know where you’ll be hiking and what the weather and terrain will be like, so you can choose the right boot for those conditions.
For example, do you want your hiking boots to be waterproof for wet terrain or breathable for a trek through the desert? “Boots with Gore-Tex linings are great [for wet terrain],” Ronto says. “But on a dry desert hike, they can lead to sweaty feet, which can lead to blisters and other issues.”
You’ll also want to factor in ankle height depending on your desired level of support, Ronto says. And don’t forget to take into account the necessary break-in time if you’re planning an upcoming trip.
Here are 10 hiking boots to consider for your next outdoor expedition.
Best Day Hiking Boot for Men
Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boot (Amazon)
These lightweight, versatile hiking boots feature Gore-Tex bootie liners that are waterproof but still breathable. With a snug fit, foam cushioning, rubber toe caps, and contoured heel cups, they’re the perfect shoe for a long hike on technical terrain.
Best Day Hiking Boot for Women
Women’s Mountain Light Boots (Amazon)
These are the hiking boots Reese Witherspoon was wearing in the movie Wild — but this iconic brand has been a long-time favorite for real-life hikes, too. Major selling points include a one-piece leather design to keep debris out, Vibram Kletterlift outsole for superb shock absorption, and Dri-Lex lining ensures moisture-wicking, odor-resisting breathability. The Pacific Crest Trail has nothing on you.
Best Long-Distance Hiking Boot for Men
Vasque SAGA GTX (Amazon)
This hiking boot offers optimal comfort on long hikes thanks to its durable construction, ventilated toe and heel, and a structured upper collar for added support. The Megagrip performance rubber soles feature a lug pattern designed for maximum grip and ground contact on loose or rugged terrain.
Best Long-Distance Hiking Boot for Women
Women’s Sapphire Mid Waterproof (Amazon)
With an EVA midsole for expert cushioning and a TPU chassis to protect your soles from rocky terrain, these Oboz Sapphires combine the grip and durability of a hiking boot with the comfort and flexibility of a sneaker. That means you can cover plenty of ground without worrying about rubbing or chafing — all you have to worry about is remembering to pack enough snacks!
Best Waterproof Hiking Boot for Men
Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Hiking Boot (Amazon)
Crafted from waterproof full-grain leather and suede, these durable boots feature Techlite insoles for a comfortable fit and Omni-Grip advanced traction rubber soles for the best grip through any terrain. These are a great option for those who need a burly, waterproof boot that won’t weigh you down.
Best Waterproof Hiking Boot for Women
Vasque Women’s Talus Trek UltraDry Hiking Boot (Amazon)
With Vasque’s proprietary UltraDry membrane, you can be sure your feet will stay dry no matter how many creeks you cross. With waterproof leather, a molded EVA midsole, Vibram Nuasi rubber outsole, and excellent traction, these hiking boots provide a slip-proof trek through your favorite muddy trails.
Best Lightweight Hiking Boot for Men
Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots (Amazon)
At just 2 lb. 2 oz, these lightweight boots won’t slow you down. But they still have enough shock-absorbing tech to keep your feet comfy on a long hike, with protective rubber toe caps, breathable mesh lining, a contoured footbed, air-cushioned heels, and Vibram TC5+ soles for traction.
Best Lightweight Hiking Boot for Women
Women’s Kaha (Hoka One One)
A great backpacking shoe, each waterproof bootie weighs less than one pound and features Rangi foam for durable cushioning and a responsive feel. Thanks to the Vibram Megagrip traction and soft, smooth design, those steep hills won’t feel quite as colossal.
Best Winter Hiking Boot for Men
KEEN Men’s Summit County Waterproof Winter Boot (Amazon)
These toasty-warm boots feature a breathable waterproof membrane, extra insulation in the toe box, and a removable thermal heat shield footbed. And while your piggies stay warm, the rugged outsole will help you keep your grip on snowy trails.
Best Winter Hiking Boot for Women
Merrell Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof Winter Hiking Boots (Amazon)
These lightweight winter hiking boots provide excellent arch support and plenty of grip for hiking through snow and sleet. Low-bulk insulation keeps your feet warm, while an impermeable membrane seals out water (but still helps wick moisture away).