Hiking boots come in all types of cuts, styles, materials, and models. Do you have a challenging time deciding on the perfect pair? No matter if you’re a weekend warrior hiking through your neighborhood trails or a skilled mountaineer preparing to climb Kilimanjaro, the quality of your hike often hinges on the comfort of your hiking boots. But how do you find the best hiking boots in a sea of endless options?

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we know how important finding your sole-mate pair is and how frustrating searching for them can be. In fact, hiking boots are one of our essential items in our multi-day packing list. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to consider to find the right hiking boots and show you a selection of the best models of the year.

 

THE BEST HIKING BOOTS – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Salomon Quest 4D II GTX
  2. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
  3. Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT
  4. Asolo Power Matic 200 GV Gore-Tex
  5. Timberland Thorton Mid
  6. Keen Targhee II Mid
  7. Merrell Pulsate Mid Waterproof
  8. The North Face Ultra FP Mid GTX
  9. Vasque Talus Waterproof
  10. Ahnu Montara Waterproof

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Hiking

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST HIKING BOOTS

PICTURE
HIKING BOOTS
BEST FOR
CUT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
HIKING BOOTS
BEST FOR
CUT
PRICE
RATING
Salomon Quest 4D II GTX
Backpacking
High
$$$
4.7
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
Backpacking
Mid
$$
4.5
Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT
Backpacking
High
$$$
4.7
Asolo Power Matic 200 GV Gore-Tex
Backpacking
Mid/High
$$$
4.4
Timberland Thorton Mid
Day Hikes
Mid
$
4.4
Keen Targhee II Mid
Day Hikes
Mid
$$
4.7
Merrell Pulsate Mid Waterproof
Thru-Hiking
Mid
$$
4.5
The North Face Ultra FP Mid GTX
Thru-Hiking
Mid
$$
4.3
Vasque Talus Waterproof
Women
Mid
$$
4.6
Ahnu Montara Waterproof
Women
Mid
$$
4.6
Merrell Capara Mid
Kids
Mid
$
4.6
Keen Koven Mid
Kids
Mid
$
4.1

 

 

HIKING BOOTS 101

 

4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST HIKING BOOTS

 

1. FIT

A pair of hiking boots might tick all your requirements on paper, but if they don’t fit well, they’ll be a completely useless. Hiking with boots that pinch or give you blisters can even ruin hiking your trip, so this has to be the top priority when buying new hiking boots. You can check our guide on how to choose hiking boots to learn how to get the proper fit.

Have you seen the movie, Wild, where the main character throws one ill-fitting boot off of a cliff? Well, if she’d read our guide before hiking the PCT, that scene might not have happened.

 

2. TYPE OF HIKING

Will you be hiking with heavy weight on your back like a backpacker, going on multi-day treks, or just out for the day? Your fitness level and the type of hiking that you do will all factor into what type of hiking boot you will want to buy.

In general, hiking boots with a higher cut are better for backpackers, hikers going on rough terrain, or beginners because of better support – though they can be heavier than other boots. Mid cut hiking boots are perfect for people staying on well-kept trails, hiking longer distances, and moderately experienced hikers. There are also hiking shoes, cut below the ankle, that are lightweight but generally do not offer as much support as hiking boots. REI has an interesting article on the differences between hiking boots and hiking shoes.

 

3. PRICE

Just because a pair of hiking boots might be cheaper than others doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a stellar deal. High quality hiking boots offer foot and ankle support and are crafted to last hundreds of miles of hiking. If you’re on a budget, look for sales or last season’s models of hiking boots for the best deal. According to Backpacker Magazine, you can extend the lifespan of your hiking boots by frequently waterproofing them, using boot trees, and avoid stepping in water. If you plan on hiking in wet conditions, check out our guide on how to waterproof boots.

 

4. MATERIAL

The last thing you want is a boot that wears out after just a few hikes or can’t handle the type of terrain you’ll be hiking through. You’ll want to make sure that your hiking boot is high quality by checking that the stitching is solid, that there’s a strong connection between the sole of the shoe and the rest of it, that the soles are thick enough, and that the heels are firm. If you’ll be hiking through trails where you have a risk of getting wet, you’ll want your hiking boots to be waterproof as well. Matarials like GoreTex, Cambrelle, or Dri-Lex will help keep your feet dry and free of painful blisters.

 

best hiking boots

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/lzf

 

HIKING BOOTS REVIEWS

 

1. BEST HIKING BOOTS FOR BACKPACKING

SALOMON QUEST 4D II GTX

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpackers who like to move quickly

WOMEN’S VERSION: Salomon Quest 4D II GTX

CUT: Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Gore-Tex membrane, split suede leather and nylon upper, EVA midsoles, rubber outsole

PROS: Runs true to size, has a great blend of trail running and backpacking shoe features

CONS: Can pinch around the ankles on certain body types

 

 

 

LOWA RENEGADE GTX MID

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Long day hikes and short backpacking trips

WOMEN’S VERSION: Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

CUT: Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Gore-Tex membrane, water-repellent nubuck leather, nylon shanks, rubber outsoles, polyurethane frames

PROS: Comfortable and lightweight for hikes longer than a few miles

CONS: Not best for sharp terrain

 

 

 

ZAMBERLAN 996 VIOZ GT

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpacking through rough terrain

WOMEN’S VERSION: Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT

CUT: Mid/High

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Full-grain leather upper, waterproof lining, polyurethane midsole, rubber outsole

PROS: Stable enough to handle backcountry terrain like a breeze, comfortable enough for short day hikes as well

CONS: Traction can get slippery on smooth surfaces or ice

 

 

 

ASOLO POWER MATIC 200 GV GORE-TEX

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Backpackers going a long distance

WOMEN’S VERSION: Asolo Power Matic 200 GV Gore-Tex

CUT: Mid/High

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Water-resistant full-grain leather uppers, Gore-Tex liners, nylon linings, polyurethane midsoles, rubber outsoles

PROS: Sturdy, reliable, durable, and can be resoled when needed

CONS: Limited breathability

 

 

 

 

2. BEST HIKING BOOTS FOR DAY HIKES

TIMBERLAND THORNTON MID

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: An all-around pair of boots that are stylish and versatile

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

CUT: Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Full grain waterproof leather, Gore-Tex membrane, rubber outsole

PROS: Durable, great for all weather, comfortable

CONS: Too soft for hikinBg with crampons, leather creases easily

 

 

 

KEEN TARGHEE II MID

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Day hikers going through variable terrain

WOMEN’S VERSION: KEEN Targhee II Mid

CUT: Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Waterproofed nubuck leather, KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane, rubber toe guards, EVA  midsoles, rubber outsoles.

PROS: Great traction, comfort, style, and stability

CONS: Fit tends to run small

 

 

 

 

3. BEST HIKING BOOTS FOR THRU-HIKING

MERRELL PULSATE MID WATERPROOF

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Comfort on multi-day treks

WOMEN’S VERSION: Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof

CUT: Mid (high version also available)

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Synthetic, rubber sole,

PROS: Durable, easy to break in, high-quality, natural odor protection, bellows tongue keeps debris out

CONS: Does not always fit true to size, not best for wide feet

 

 

 

THE NORTH FACE ULTRA FP MID GTX

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Moving quickly on longer hikes

WOMEN’S VERSION: The North Face Ultra FP Mid Gtx

CUT: Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: EVA midsoles, Pebax polymer shanks, Gore-Tex waterproofing system, rubber outsoles

PROS: Lightweight yet sturdy, this hiking boot is best for quick-moving hikers

CONS: Not durable enough for extremely tough terrain

 

 

 

 

4. BEST HIKING BOOTS FOR WOMEN

VASQUE TALUS WATERPROOF

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: All-around hiking

MEN’S VERSION: Vasque Talus Waterproof

CUT: Low/Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Polyurethane midsoles, rubber outsoles, nubuck leather and nylon mesh upper

PROS: Stylish, sturdy, light weight, easy to break in

CONS: Not the best for snow or cold weather hiking

 

 

 

AHNU MONTARA WATERPROOF

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Hiking through dirt or paved trails

MEN’S VERSION: N/A

CUT: Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Waterproof leathered uppers, rubber toe caps, eVent membranes, pig leather collars, EVA midsoles, rubber outsoles

PROS: Breathable, sturdy, lightweight

CONS: Might not be best for sharp or rocky terrain

 

 

 

 

5. BEST HIKING BOOTS FOR KIDS

MERRELL CAPRA MID

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: All-around hiking

GIRL’S VERSION: Merrell Capra Mid

CUT: Low/Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Polyurethane midsoles, rubber outsoles, nubuck leather and nylon mesh upper

PROS: Stylish, sturdy, light weight, easy to break in

CONS: Not the best for snow or cold weather hiking

 

 

 

KEEN KOVEN MID

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: All-around hiking

GIRL’S VERSION: N/A

CUT: Mid

WATERPROOF: Yes

MATERIALS: Polyurethane midsoles, rubber outsoles, nubuck leather and nylon mesh upper

PROS: Stylish, sturdy, light weight, easy to break in

CONS: Not the best for snow or cold weather hiking

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