Before making a hiking tour you need to ensure some of the best hiking gears to take. Hiking boot is one of them. But how do you know which one is best hiking boots? That’s a big question because there are hundreds of brands of boots in the market. So it is quite difficult to find out the perfect pair of boot for your hiking tour.
That’s why we have researched more than 100 hours to find the best hiking boots for you. Here we reviewed the most popular and best seller 10 hiking boots of all time. You can easily choose any of them reading their reviews. So why to waste time? Just jump over the detailed reviews below. Some critical hiking boots considerations are also included at the end. Go and check them out.
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Top 10 Best Hiking Boots Reviews
Discussed: Realistic review on hiking boot | Highlighted feature, pros cons, in-depth research | Boots vs shoes infographic | Buying guide | Top 5 question-answer | Final Verdict
After researching for hours we found these 4 best hiking boots for you. Check the suitable one. But for the detailed review, pros cons, and our specific analysis on every single hiking boot, you just need to scroll down.
Why trust our review:
To help you make the best choice we have browsed and researched a lot of resources for nearly 150 to 200 hours and found these 10 best hiking boots. Whether you are looking for lightweight boots or heavy ones, men’s or women’s pair, leather to synthetic, there is an option for everyone in this list.
We individually discussed about every single product. This list includes all hiking boot reviews, worth buying that delivers a reliable and comfortable service offering you dry and happy feet.
Why we need hiking boots?
But before going to the details of boot review, let us first know why actually we need a hiking boot, as there is also other footwear like shoes, trail runners, and running sneakers. But instead of using other footwear, why would you choose hiking boots only for your hike?
Have you ever thought about that for once?
Well, the hiking boot is one of the essential pieces of hiking gear. They are for providing you with safety and comfort throughout the journey. How can you ignore them?
If you are a regular hiker then you may know that how much durable, stable, and ankle supported a boot needs to be for a hike. Other shoes, trails runners, and sneakers are for regular use, they are not that much durable, breathable and insulated like hiking boots. These boots are specially designed for hiking purposes.
Hiking boots are made for comfort, insulated, and made waterproof to keep your feet dry and warm and breathable and most importantly slip-resistant.
But all the boots can’t be good, right? There are different pros and cons! So, how will you find your perfect pair for your feet? We can find your perfect pair here in this guide, no matter if you are an expert or beginner to hiking, boots discussed in this article is for all including men and women.
Top brands we have chosen for review:
There are hundreds of brands of hiking boots available on the market, but are all of them good? How can you find that? Do you want to spend all your time finding a perfect boot or spend a few minutes reading this article and find the best one!
In this article, we have talked about some popular and best brands, that many people liked, like Merrell, Columbia, Timberland, and more.
Merrell is a popular brand for hiking boots known for its comfort and shock absorbing options. Do you know Merrell boots features TechLite lightweight midsoles? This feature offers the boots with long-lasting comfort, and superior cushioning.
Columbia boots are waterproof, lightweight, and worth buying! You can definitely try sparing few bucks on this cool boot!
Timberland uses premium full-grain waterproof leather to make their hiking boots comfortable, durable, and supportive for you! Want trail-ready performance with style? Look no further! Timberland can be your best choice!
We have also talked about some other cool and comfortable boots offering awesome features in this article like Keen Targhee, Mountain Warehouse Adventurer, etc.
List of top 10 best hiking boots for everyone.
1. Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Waterproof full-grain leather and mesh bootie construction
- The light-weight, durable midsole for long-lasting comfort, and superior cushioning.
- High energy return with an advanced traction rubber sole for slip-free movement on rough ground and slippery terrain.
- Durable mesh tongue for breathability and dry fit.
- Lace-up closure offering an adjustable and secure fit.
- Stylish and durable with its contrasting color combinations and soft mesh exterior.
- Solid footing on surfaces such as ice and snow with dual-zone winter trend patterns.
Our in-depth research:
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge plus waterproof hiking boot is a cool boot inspired by classic mountaineering boots. It is constructed of leather and mesh for providing comfort and ease at use.
This women’s boot comes with a dimension of 13.5 X 9.1 X 4.9 inches offering high quality and secure fit.
It comes with different size including 5, 5 Wide, 5.5, 5.5 Wide, 6, 6 Wide, 6.5, 6.5 Wide, 7, 7 Wide, 7.5, 7.5 Wide, 8, 8 Wide, 8.5, 8.5 Wide, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10 Wide, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, 11 Wide, and 12.
It is also available in different colors like Black/Poppy Red, Cordovan/ Crown Jewel, Elk/ Mountain Red, Grey Ash/ Riptide, Light Lichen/ Canvas Tan, Oxford Tan/ Flame, Quarry/ Cool Wave, Stratus/ Canyon Rose, Ti Titanium, Dusty Iris, Delta/ Red Velvet, Mud/ Eve, Aegean Blue/ Cherry bomb, Whale/ Iceberg, Marsala/ Sunset Red, Eve/ bright Copper, and Whale/ Zing. See all colors here.
The lightweight midsole of this boot is cushioned and supportive to provide comfort on your most ambitious day trip. This classic style boot is a durable mid-cut waterproof hiker that provides great traction and comfort.
It provides superior cushioning and high energy return. This boot’s signature Omni-GRIP non-making traction rubber outsole provides high grip across a wide variety of terrain, and versatile three-season use. Its multi-zone tread pattern ensures solid footing on any surfaces and Omni-grip provides the right grip for every environment.
- High quality
- Get hot easily
2. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Performance suede leather and mesh upper and bellows provide comfortable trips.
- Closed-cell foam tongue that keeps moisture and debris out of the boot.
- Merrell air cushion in the heel of the boot absorbs shock and adds stability.
- 5mm lug depth, Vibram TC5+ sole, protective rubber toe cap, and breathable mesh lining.
- Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ blended EVA contoured footbed with zonal arch and heel support.
Our in-depth research:
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot offers out of the box comfort experience from day trips to week long backpacking treks.
This men’s shoe is available in different sizes and colors. Sizes are 7, 7 Wide, 7.5, 8, 8 Wide, 8.5, 8.5 Wide, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10 Wide, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, 11 Wide, 12, 12 Wide, 12.5, 13, 13 Wide, 14, 14 Wide, and 15, while the available colors are Earth, Boulder, Walnut, Granite, Gold, Beluga, Granite V2, Dusty Olive, Charcoal and Brindle. It offers fit for everyone and a wide variety of colors which anyone will love!
This boot offers Trail-built comfort and protects your feet from the daily grind.
No more worrying about staying dry in rain or wet conditions. Stay dry when you’re on the move with this boot’s M Select Dry that seals out water and lets the moisture escape.
It features performance suede leather and mesh upper and bellows that offer comfort and ease and closed-cell foam tongue of this boot help to keep moisture and debris out. It also offers protective rubber toe cap and breathable mesh lining.
This boot comes with Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ blended EVA that contoured with the footbed and add the zonal arch and heel support. Merrell air cushion in the heel of this boot absorbs shock and adds stability.
It also comes with other features like Vibram TC5+ sole, 5mm lug depth, and EVA midsole for stability and comfort.
With durable leather, a supportive foot bed, and Vibram traction, this Merrell Men’s Moab 2 weighing only 21lbs 4oz with a dimension of 13.7 X 9 X 4.8 inches can definitely offer you an out of the box comfort experience.
- Durable leather
- Supportive foot bed
- Not so waterproof
3. Skechers Men’s Relment Pelmo Chukka Waterproof Boot
- Smooth durable sport suede upper that is also waterproof.
- Ankle height design offers added comfort and stability.
- Lightly textured durable synthetic overlays at toe and heel offering comfort and ease.
- Lace-up ankle height hiking style comfort casual boot with lace area detail for cooling effect and the lace-up front with metal rings and top hooks.
- Stitching accents and embossed suede side detailing with suede side and heel overlays and fabric heel pull-on loop and padded collar
- Gusseted Tongue that keeps the boot dry in wet weather.
- Soft fabric boot lining and relaxed fit design for extra room and comfortable fit
- Memory foam full length cushioned comfort insole and flexible rubber high traction lug patterned outsole.
- Seam-sealed waterproof design and shock absorbing midsole
- Rubber toe bumper front and 11/2 inch heel.
Our in-depth research:
Skechers Men’s Relment Pelmo Chukka Waterproof Boot is a lace-up ankle height hiking style and comfortable casual boot. It comes with a waterproof smooth durable sport suede upper. This boot also offers lightly textured durable synthetic overlays at toe and heel.
This lace-up boot comes in a packed dimension of 12.1 X 11 X 5.1 inches with different size including 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13 and 14 and also available in two colors, Grey and Khaki.
It comes with stitching accents and embossed suede side detailing. This boot also features mesh fabric collar and lace area detail for cooling effect.
It also comes with suede side and heel overlays and fabric heel pull-on loop for providing you comfort during your hike.
The lace-up front of this boot also comes with metal rings and top hooks
Skechers boots feature ankle height design for added comfort and stability. It comes with a padded collar and gusset tongue that keeps debris in every weather.
Sketchers Relment offers memory foam full length cushioned comfort insole and seam-sealed waterproof design with rubber toe bumper front and 11/2 inch heel. The rubber high traction lug patterned outsole of this boot is flexible to use.
The boot comes with a soft boot lining and relaxed fit design for a roomy comfortable fit, making it perfect footwear for a hiker.
- Not that much winter suitable
- Provide fewer grips in snow or slippery surface.
4. Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot
- Premium full-grain waterproof leather uppers.
- Seam-sealed waterproof construction.
- Rustproof speed lace hardware with hooks at top for secure lacing and oiled leather finish featuring lace-up vamp and rear pull loop.
- The shaft of this boot measures approx. 4.75 inches from arch and Platform measures approx. 0.5 inches.
- Trail-ready performance and style and easily fit in with your outdoor clothing.
- Padded collar and removable dual-density EVA foot bed.
Our in-depth research:
This Timberland is a white Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle boot, can be the best option for any men. It is constructed with 100% leather and textile with oiled leather finish featuring the lace-up vamp and rear pull loop.
It comes with shaft measures of approx. 4.75 inches from the arch and the Platform measures approx. 0.5 inches. It features premium full-grain leather uppers that are also waterproof providing ultimate comfort.
This boots seam-sealed waterproof construction and rustproof speed lace hardware with hooks at top for securing lace.
Seam-sealed waterproof construction of this Timberland boot keeps your feet dry in any weather.
Timberland men’s white ledge comes with ReBOTL recycled fabric lining and solid rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs for traction on varied terrain.
This boot is comfortable, durable, great looking, and offers positive outdoor experience coming with its 12 X 9 X 6 inches of dimension.
It comes with different size including 5, 5 Wide, 5.5, 5.5 Wide, 6, 6 Wide, 6.5, 6.5 Wide, 7, 7 Wide, 7.5, 7.5 Wide, 8, 8 Wide, 8.5, 8.5 Wide, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10 Wide, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, 11 Wide, 11.5, 11.5 Wide, 12, 12 Wide, 13, 13 Wide, 14, 14 Wide, 15, and 15 Wide.
This cool boot is also available in four different cool colors like Dark Brown, Wheat, Black, and Brown.
It also features a rubber sole, padded collar, and removable dual-density EVA foot bed.
Get the trail-ready performance and style right at your hand with this boot. It is waterproof, designed to be worn as casual shoes or boots, what can you want more?
- Silver-rated tannery
- Not insulated, so they will not keep your feet warm
5. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot
- 100% performance suede leather and mesh upper with breathable mesh lining
- Bellows and closed-cell foam tongue that keeps moisture and debris out with a protective rubber toe cap.
- EVA midsole for stability and comfort and also features Vibram TC5+ sole
- Molded nylon arch shank and 5 mm lug depth
- Merrell M Select FIT.EECO+ blended EVA contoured foot bed with added zonal arch and heel support
- Merrell air cushion in the heel of this boot absorbs shock and adds stability
Our in-depth research:
Weighing 21 lbs. 2oz., Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking boot is constructed of durable leather, a supportive foot bed, and a Vibram traction offering out of the box comfort experience.
It’s durable leather and mesh upper construction provides breathability and durability.
Coming with a packed dimension of 13 X 8 X 5 inches, this boot is available in different sizes, which includes, 7, 7 Wide, 7.5, 7.5 Wide, 8, 8 Wide, 8.5, 8.5 Wide, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10 Wide, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, 11 Wide, 11.5, 11.5 Wide, 12, 12 Wide, 13, 13 Wide, 14, 14 Wide, and 15. It is also available in three different colors, Walnut, Black Night, and Castle/ Wing.
Merrell men’s Moab offers high-performance rubber sole with unmatched durability, stability, and slip resistance.
It features targeted heel cushioning that improves overall comfort by reducing stress on your feet. Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue of this boot keeps moisture and debris out with a protective rubber toe cap.
Merrell Moab features Vibram TC5+ sole and EVA midsole for stability and comfort.
For added zonal arch and heel support it offers Merrell M Select FIT.EECO+ blended EVA contoured foot bed and Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability.
Other features included with this boot are Molded nylon arch shank and 5 mm lug depth.
It is a high-quality boot providing an overall high-performance, comfort, and also reduces your foot stress.
- Narrow grooves on the boot treads keep hold of dirt for hours.
6. Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Leather/ suede/ mesh construction with rubber sole
- Shaft with approx. 5 inches measurement from the arch, the heel is 1.5 inches, and platform measures approx. 0.50 inches.
- Lightweight and durable midsole offering long-lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return.
- The advance traction rubber sole offers you slip-free movement on the rough terrain.
- Waterproof full-grain leather and mesh boot construction.
- Durable mesh tongue offering ultimate breathability.
Our in-depth research:
Columbia men’s newton ridge plus II boot is designed for rugged wear with reinforced toe and heel barriers.
This Men’s boot weighs 15.9 oz. and is made of waterproof seam-sealed construction with full-grain leather/ suede/ mesh and metal hardware that will keep your feet comfortable and dry all day long.
This boot coming with a packed dimension of 12 X 4 X 8 inches is available in different colors. They are Black/ Black, Cordovan/ Squash, Curry/ Red Jasper, Ti Grey Steel/ Blue Jay, Collegiate Navy/ Rusty, Mud/ Sanguine, Graphite/ Royal, and Dark Brown/ Bright Copper.
It also comes in different sizes, which includes, 7, 7 Wide, 7.5, 7.5 Wide, 8, 8 Wide, 8.5, 8.5 Wide, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10 Wide, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, 11 Wide, 11.5, 11.5 Wide, 12, 12 Wide, 13, 13 Wide, 14, 14 Wide, 15, 15 Wide, 16, 16 Wide and 17.
This boot delivers style and durability with its contrasting color combinations and soft mesh exterior. Its durable mesh tongue offers ultimate breathability and comfort.
TechLite Lightweight and durable midsole with superior cushioning of this Columbia boot offer long-lasting comfort, and high energy return making the boot great for uneven trails and ground.
The word “TechLite” may confuse you, but you don’t have to worry about that because we will explain that to you in a few secs!
So, what’s TechLite?
TechLite is one of the greatest innovations of all time. It is a modern technology used as a patented pending midsole solution that improves cushioning, impact absorption, and high energy return in a boot. It helps the users with getting a comfortable ride.
Advance traction rubber sole of this Columbia boot features a high grip that offers you slip a free movement on the rough ground and remains versatile in three seasons.
The lace-up closure feature of this boot offers an adjustable and secure fit. Columbia Newton features Omni grip which is a multi-terrain traction system. It is specially formulated for a specific environment. The solid footing surface like ice and snow is now easy with this boot’s dual-zone winter tread pattern.
Hike in style and comfort with this three-season, waterproof hiking boot!
Be careful with the soles! They easily shred!
7. Keen Men’s Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot
- Made of 100% waterproof Nubuck leather with rubber sole with comfort and secure fit with low profile upper with padded tongue and collar
- Shaft size is of approx. 2.5 inches from the arch, the heel is 1.5 inches and the platform is 0.75 inches.
- Waterproof, breathable membrane keeping your feet dry and comfortable by allowing vapor out without letting water in.
- Rubber outsole provides high traction grip in any environment.
Our in-depth research:
Keen Men’s Targhee II is one of the mid-waterproof hiking boots for men made of 100% waterproof Nubuck leather with rubber sole.
This pair of hiking shoes come with a lot of color combination for the hikers that include Shitake/ Brindle, Black Olive/ yellow, Raven/ Tortoise Shell, Chocolate Chip/ Picante, Dark Shadow/ Bronze Green, Brindle/ Bronze green, Canteen/ Dark Olive, Dark Shadow/ Orange Ochre, Neutral Grey/ Bossa Nova, Slate Black/ Flint Stone, Black/ Drizzle, Gargoyle/ Burnt Henna, Walnut, Chestnut/ Bossa Nova, Magnet/ True Blue, Tan/ Brown, Gargoyle/ Neutral Grey, Gargoyle/ Caribbean Sea, and Dark Earth/ Neutral Grey. See all colors here.
It’s also available in different sizes including, 6, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, 11 Wide, 11.5, 11.5 Wide, 12, 12 Wide, 13, 13 Wide, 14, 15, 16, and 17.
Keen Targhee II offers approx. 3.5 inches of the shaft measurement from the arch, the heel measurement of 1.5 inches, and the platform measurement of 0.75 inches.
Keen Targhee provides you with the best protection without using harmful chemicals by treating all leather with a PFC free water repellent This boot features a waterproof, breathable membrane that keeps your feet dry and comfortable by allowing vapor out without letting water in.
The rubber outsole of this boot provides high traction grip in any environment and it is also non-marking so, it leaves no trace when you walk in the indoors.
External support shank or in short ESS and mid-cut height of this shoe adds ankle support and balance on the uneven ground or surface.
Featured contoured heels of the Keen Targhee provides stability of next level and comfort and secure fit with low profile upper with padded tongue and collar
Metatomical foot bed of this boot offers supreme arch support and holds to the natural shape of the foot.
- Boot slip on wet rocks or leaves
8. Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
- Made of durable and 100% suede leather and mesh that offers breathability and durability in any trail
- Rubber sole with high performance, durability, and stability and it also slip-resistant
- Heel cushioning that improves overall comfort and reduce stress on your feet
- Heel cushioning improves overall comfort and reduce stress on your feet.
- Merrell M Select FIT. ECO+ blended EVA contoured foot bed and Merrell air cushion in the heel absorb shocks and add stability.
Our in-depth research:
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe is made of durable and 100% suede leather and breathable mesh lining that offers breathability and durability in any trail.
This women’s shoe weighs only 11b 11oz or 772g with a package dimension of 12.2 X 8.3 X 4.2 inches.
This boot is available in different sizes for all the users. Size includes, 5, 5 Wide, 5.5, 5.5 Wide, 6, 6 Wide, 6.5, 6.5 Wide, 7, 7 Wide, 7.5, 7.5 Wide, 8, 8 Wide, 8.5, 8.5 Wide, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10 Wide, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, and 11 Wide.
It is also available in different colors like Smoke, Taupe, Aluminium/ Marlin, Brindle, Navy morning, Falcon, Olive, Black/ Baja, Charcoal, Laurel, Aluminium/ Horizon Blue, Castle Rock, Espresso, and Aluminium.
It features 5 mm lug depth and rubber sole with high performance, durability, and stability. It is also slip-resistant means it protects you from slipping in a rough and slippery surface.
Heel cushioning of this boot improves overall comfort and reduce stress on your feet. Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue of this boot keeps moisture and debris out.
Merrell M Select FIT. ECO+ blended EVA contoured foot bed of this Merrell boot adds a zonal arch and heel support.
It offers molded nylon arch shank and Merrell air cushion in the heel to absorb shocks and add stability.
This Merrell boot includes other features like Vibram TC5+ sole ad 5 mm lug depth.
- High performance
- Good for wide feet
- Suitable for short hikes
- Soles are a bit slippery
9. Timberland Women’s Norwood Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Premium waterproof Leather from LWG silver-rated tannery.
- ankle-high shaft measurement from the arch
- Waterproof membrane to keep the boot dry.
- The fully gusseted tongue features breathability and durability
Our in-depth research:
This Timberland women’s hiking boot is made of premium waterproof Leather from LWG silver-rated tannery. It features a fabric upper for durability with a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry. It’s made of Cordura fabric which is twice durable than standard nylon and three times durable than polyester and ten times durable than the cotton.
One of the important features of this boot is its ultra-light breathable feature, which does not break down or lose cushioning over time keeping the boot comfortable and supportive.
The fully gusseted tongue of this Norwood Mid waterproof boot keeps out debris. This boot features a durable rubber outsole which is 34% recyclable with lugs for traction. L7 lug outsole provides excellent traction on all the surface and its height and spacing are designed to maintain abrasion resistance, traction, and drainage.
Shaft measurement of this timberland boot is approximately ankled high from the arch.
The insole of this boot is made of OrthoLite comfort foam which provides moisture transport, antimicrobial function, and long-term cushioning.
This adorable boot comes with a dimension of 5 X 5 X 0.7 inches and is available in different sizes including 5, 5 Wide, 5.5, 5.5 Wide, 6, 6 Wide, 6.5, 6.5 Wide, 7, 7 Wide, 7.5, 7.5 Wide, 8, 8 Wide, 8.5, 8.5 Wide, 9, 9 Wide, 9.5,9.5 Wide, 10, 10 Wide, 10.5, 10.5 Wide, 11, and 11 Wide. But unfortunately, it is only available in one color, Dark Brown!
- Soles are thin
10. Mountain Warehouse Adventurer Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Synthetic upper and durable lightweight style shoes for hiking and camping
- Ventilation with breathable and airy mesh ling that keeps your feet dry
- Waterproof footwear materials that allow perspiration (moisture and sweat) out and keep you dry
- Long-lasting, sturdy grip offering extra stability, and traction
- The cushioned foot bed offers added comfort and stability.
Our in-depth research:
Mountain Warehouse can be a perfect option for women who loves adventure. It is made of synthetic upper and durable lightweight style shoes best for hiking and camping.
It comes with a dimension of 13.15 X 10.31 X 4.72 inches. Size available for this boot are 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 and colors are Grey, Black, and Light Grey.
The water-resistant upper and waterproof membrane of this boot lets moisture out quickly and efficiently, this allows perspiration to escape and avoid fabric dampness making it ideal for indoor and outdoor activities and traveling in warmer climates.
This Adventurer is well ventilated with breathable and airy mesh ling that keeps your feet dry. It is constructed of waterproof footwear materials that allow moisture and sweat out and keep you dry.
Don’t know what’s mesh? Oh, it’s okay? Mesh is a cool thing! It is a loosely woven and lightweight fabric that comes with closely spaced holes that offer excellent breathability!
The foot bed of this boot is cushioned which offers added comfort and provides a custom-like fit. Rubber sole and high traction outsole of this cool boot with long-lasting quality and durability.
This boot provides long-lasting, sturdy grip offering extra stability, traction, and deep lugs for extra grip and stability
It features heel and toe bumpers with added rubber reinforcement at heel and toe that ensures that this boot last for longer
- Not that much waterproof
Hiking Boots vs Hiking Shoes:
If you hike a lot and especially in a changeable climate then you may know that your choice of footwear is of great importance.
Many hikers think that their regular sneakers would work fine on any terrain but regrets doing that later!
So, what type of shoes or boots should you use while hiking on rough terrain? Will it be hiking boots or hiking shoes? A million-dollar question, I guess!?
Jokes apart, what can be the best choice? Hiking boots or hiking shoes? Yes, of course, it depends on all the features, usage, pros, and cons of the hiking shoes and hiking boots.
I hope after reading this differentiation part you will be able to understand their difference easily and make proper use of them by coming to light from different old myths.
A lot of people will tell you that hiking boots are heavy, stiff, tough, and bulky and will forbid you in buying them. But to be honest traditional stiff, rough, tough, and rigid hiking boots are a myth.
Thanks to advances in manufacturers’ industry, nowadays hiking boots are more user friendly, productive, and protective.
However, hiking boots are a bit heavier than shoes but soft and well-cushioned enough to be taken to any type of adventure. They are best used when you carry a backpack with more than a few pounds in it.
We know, every hiker, including you are always worried about protecting your feet, out in the trail, which is 100% ensured by the sturdiness feature of the hiking boots as they absorb the toughness given by the trail.
One of the most popular choices for choosing hiking boots in rainy and snowy weather is their high tops that can be tucked under waterproof pants or gaiters to keep the moisture out. And they are also made of leather and GORE-TEX ® that will also keep you warmer.
Hiking boots provide great ankle support, protect your feet on the rough terrain. They offer extra grips with knobby soles. It also comes with good traction and characteristics like durability and warmness.
But as usual, all things have their cons. Hiking boots are also not out of them.
One of the cons of hiking boot is or you can say pros as well is that it is heavier than shoes. The reason behind it is a con is that this characteristic makes hiking boot a bad choice for small, recreational, and moderate day hiking. But pros for the reason is that this characteristic makes it durable and the best option for long-distance, regular hiking. Isn’t it interesting how a single feature can be both pros and cons at the same time?
Oh did I tell you about breaking your new pair of hiking boots before going to the trail? not yet? Sorry! My bad! But you have learned it now though! So, don’t forget to break your hiking boots before hitting your trail, will you?
You can ask why I am giving so much importance to it? What’s the necessity of this? It’s because the blisters caused by the new and unyielding leather of the new hiking boots can be a very painful and real disaster! It can even ruin your trip! So BEWARE!
Hiking shoes have become a popular choice for recreational hikers in the past years for their comfort, versatility, and close association with sneakers. They are sturdier than average shoes as they offer thicker soles and leather reinforced fabrics but at the same time lighter than hiking boots.
Hiking shoes are softer and flexible than hiking boots and a good choice for dry weather and gentler terrain. Though some people say that hiking shoes are also a better choice in wet conditions as they are made of breathable material which dries quickly than hiking boots leaving your feet in better shape after hiking.
Hiking shoes are lightweight, more compact then hiking boots, and easier to pack, but they are also less durable.
Hiking shoes have some cons as well like they lack ankle support, less protective on a rough surface, and less durable.
But above all one of the important features of the hiking shoes is that it does not need to be a break in as they are soft and flexible and mold to your foot more readily.
Even you don’t have to worry about cleaning then as cleaning is easy with a common leather cleaner and conditioner! Cool, right?
When, where, and how to choose?
Let us explain to you!
Both of the hiking boots and shoes will get you out on the trail but the question is where, when, and how hike may impact your choice of footwear.
We know there are different types of hikers. Some only do moderate hikes and while others are regular hikers, hiking in rough terrain and steep mountains.
So, tell me;
- Are your choice of shoes will be the same?
- Will you wear your moderate hiking shoes to heavier regular hikes? Or vice versa?
Absolutely Not! Right? That’s when the use of shoes and boots come!
If you are a moderate day hiker, then you should definitely choose, a lightweight, soft, and well-cushioned shoe that will allow your foot to flex. On the other hand, if you are a regular hiker, allows wander off at steep mountains and rough and rocky terrain then you should go for a heavy boot with stiffer soles that offer reinforced protection in the toe area.
The most important quality of shoes or boots is fit. The boot or shoes needs to be comfortable, cozy, and fitting enough that it supports your foot, specifically at the heel. And simultaneously, it should provide enough space around your toes and room for your feet when they swell (it happens during hot or tough hikes).
As hiking shoes are softer and mold to your foot more readily, so they are easier to fit. They are perfect for recreational hikers. But for heavy hiking, hiking shoes would be a bad choice, rather hiking boots are perfect.
Why would you hiker choose a hiking boot over a shoe for week-long and regular hikes? There are many reasons but among them, ankle support and production are two major reasons.
When to choose a hiking shoe?
When you are on a short day trip in well maintained even trails, you can choose hiking shoes. They are also the best choice for trail running and campsites.
When to choose a hiking boot?
If you are on a long trip, planning to spend a significant amount of time in the woods, or trails that are rocky, uneven, and rough, you should definitely choose a hiking boot. Even if your adventure is on a wet trail, the best option is to choose hiking boots.
And also for exceptionally steep trails, snowy weather, or when there is a possibility of rolling your ankle in high, choose the hiking boots if you don’t want to regret and ruin your adventure.
Infographic Comparison Between Boots & Shoes:
Choose what comforts you most:
If you feel comfortable in boots, go for it or if shoes make you more comfortable, it’s your choice! We will suggest you test both of the hiking boots and shoes and choose which one is most comfortable for you.
How to choose a waterproof hiking boot:
Waterproof hiking boots are a must if you don’t want to suffer in wet conditions. You can say, maybe it’s not raining outside, or not raining at the time of your hiking, so, why should you need a waterproof boot? It does not matter, if it is raining at the time of your hiking or not, if it rained before, then you will definitely come across puddles, mud, etc. so, to feel comfortable and to stay dry, you definitely need waterproof boots.
There are verities of popular waterproof boots available in the market. But what actually makes these boots waterproof?
Some popular brands like Merrell, keen, and timberland have their own propriety membrane to keep your boot waterproof and feet dry!
Merrell has it’s M select dry, Keen has Keen. Dry and Timberland have Timber dry.
One of the common high tech membrane used by some other brands is Gore-Tex. It is thin, porous films of plastic polymer. It has 9 billion pores per square inch and each of them is 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet.
As a result, they are too small for liquid water to pass through them. But one of the cons of these membranes is they are large enough for water vapor, which means though liquid water can’t pass through them but evaporated moisture can get inside.
These membranes are breathable but not well ventilated, which means they can give you a sweaty foot if you wear them on hot summer days. So, it is safe to wear waterproof boots only if you are hiking in wet conditions. But to be honest waterproofing boots technology is advancing.
There are some advanced breathability features in some boots which also lets the water vapor to escape.
Some waterproof boots are available for all weather. Even the Gore-Tex made advanced features. So, see technology is evolving!
We have talked some waterproof boots in this article above, you can check if you like, there are even some popular ones, like Merrell, Columbia, and Timberland.
Check if your boot is waterproof or not by submerging it in water for a few minutes. You can also walk through puddles, muds, and streams, to make sure your boots are waterproof.
Waterproof boots will not only keep your feet dry but also keep them warm and comfortable. They will make you stop worrying about the wet and moisture feet and let you enjoy your adventure by having more fun experiences. With waterproof boots, you don’t care about anything including rain, mud, snow, stream, or any wet conditions!
Hiking Boot Buying Guide:
There are different models, brands, types, shapes, sizes, materials, and styles of hiking boots. To choose the best and comfortable one for you, read this hiking boot buying guide for choosing a proper boot for you!
Types of boots:
At first, find the type which you like most from the ultralight boots to mountaineering ones. There are three types of the boot for you to choose from:
1. Lightweight boots:
They are mostly like hiking shoes coming with low cut models with flexible midsole making them perfect for day hiking.
2. Day hiking boots:
Mid to high cut models fell in this range. They are best for days hikes and short backpacking trips with light loads. Though they lack the support and durability of strong backpacking boots, but they often flex easily and need little break-in.
3. Backpacking boots:
These are high cut boots that wrap above your ankle for providing excellent support. They are durable, supportive, with stiffer midsoles and the best option for a multiday trip with heavier loads.
After choosing the type of hiking boots it’s time to choose its category!
1. Trail running:
They are low cut and lightweight trail runners with better traction, midsole, and cushioning.
They are either low cut or mid-cut boots and made for traveling on well-maintained trails with daypack sized loads.
These boots come with higher cut ankles and torsionally rigid sole to protect your feet when you venture off-trail. They have rubber rands, cut-out ankle collar, and are waterproof and crampon compatible. The crampon is a traction device that remains attached to the boot to improve mobility on snow and ice.
4. Technical scrambling:
These are low and mid-cut and lightweight boots offer grippy and sticky soles, narrow foot-hugging lasts for rough trails and rock climbing.
Lightly insulated, stiffest, and most protective boots with rigid soles designed for crampon use.
These boots are specially designed for winter with higher ankle to keep snow out and with traction for snow and ice and insulation to keep you warm. It also comes with a waterproof membrane to keep you dry in wet conditions.
7. Water shoes:
These boots are designed for paddling trips, river crossings, and other wet conditions. These boots feature great drainage and quick-drying materials.
8 things to find the right Boot:
- Try different boots of different sizes and brands.
- Try the selected boot with the thick hiking socks.
- Check if the boot is tight and loose enough
- While trying the boot make sure your toes are not cramped
- Try walking around wearing the boots and see if you feel comfortable or not.
- Buy the pair that fits you and that feels the best.
- Try replacing the boot’s standard foot bed with an aftermarket insole as they add arch support, and prevent the end day of the soreness.
- Less weight boot is more comfortable.
A major selection; Boot’s height:
Choose a boot height in which you feel more comfortable.
The top of these boots falls below the ankle joint that offers great freedom of movement with comfort and fast striding.
But as they lack support and protection, so they are not best for carrying heavier loads or venturing off-trail into unstable terrain.
This cut wraps your ankle to provide you with support and padding against rocks, roots, and rolling. They come with better waterproofing and debris out system. But this cut boots lack the stability that is required to carry big loads.
High cut boots provide more stability and support as well as better weather protection. But this type of boots needs a longer break-in time.
17 Boot Materials to know:
Material is most important when it comes to hiking boots as the wrong fabric can make you feel hot and uncomfortable in hot weather or make you feel cold when you need to be warm. There are different types of materials available in the market for you to choose from.
This material is easy to break-in, water-resistant, dry faster and lightweight, and are made of nylon and polyester.
2. Split grain leather.
This is made of half leather and half synthetics material which is very breathable.
3. Full-grain leather.
This material is water and abrasion-resistant and durable, and perfect for extreme hikers. But they are also less breathable, less flexible and very heavy.
4. Nubuck and suede.
This is softer and more flexible but less durable and less water-resistant than full-grain leather.
Mesh is not that much durable but it is breathable and lowers weight.
6. Waterproof breathable membranes.
Though leather and some synthetic are water-resistant, but to make them waterproof many boots come with waterproof breathable membrane sandwiched between the inner and outer layers of the upper. So, as a result, the boot becomes waterproof as well as remains breathable. So, don’t forget to check if your selected boot offers a waterproof feature or not!
Midsole determines the stiffness of the boots, provides cushioning, and shields feet from shock. A stiff boot provides greater comfort and stability while hiking in uneven, rough, and rocky terrains and they won’t allow your foot to wear out.
Common midsoles materials are Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyurethane.
It is cushier, light-weighted, and less expensive. Midsole with varying densities of EVA provides firmer support.
This is firmer and durable than EVA and it is usually found in extended backpacking and mountaineering boots.
10. Internet support and features of hiking boots.
Check out the availability for all the important features in your selected boot!
They are 3 – 5 mm thick inserts that are sandwiched between the boot’s midsole and outsole. They add load-bearing stiffness to the midsole.
Plates are thin, semi-flexible inserts that are positioned between the midsole and the outsole and below the shank. It is included to protect your feet from getting bruised by roots and uneven rocks.
13. Boot outsoles.
Hiking boots are usually made of rubber. Some additives like carbon are also added sometimes to boost the hardness of the boots.
14. Lug pattern.
They are traction giving bumps on the outsole. Thicker lugs improve grips.
15. Heel brake.
This is used to reduce your chance of sliding while walking on steep terrains.
16. Toe cap or rand.
It is a rubber bumper that protects your boots from impact.
17. Gusseted tongues.
It means the sides of the tongue connected to the upper part of the boot to prevent dirt and water from getting into your boot.
What to consider when buying hiking boots?
The most important thing to check while buying your hiking boot is to get a good fit, with a snug fit at the heel and enough room for your toes in front.
6 things to consider while buying Hiking Boots:
- Water resistance
Top 5 Questions of Every Hiker: (Answered)
Q1: Should Hiking Boots be a size bigger?
It is actually up to you. Some people prefer a half and a full size larger than their normal shoe size. You can ask, doesn’t this discomfort them? Nope, not at all, because they use a simple trick, they use thicker hiking socks, which reduces the level of discomfort.
If you ask us, we will suggest you buy at least a half size larger or a full size larger than your normal shoe size and use a thicker hiking sock, as using too small boot size can get you swollen feet while hiking.
Q2: How heavy should hiking boots be?
Average hiking boots weigh around 2 pounds. Generally, a lightweight hiking boot weighs 2.2 lbs to 3.3 lbs.
You can go for the lightweight hiking boots if you don’t want to carry a heavy boot with you.
Q3: Are hiking boots heavy?
Yes, they are but they are heavy because they need to be heavy. Hiking boots need to be comfortable, sturdy, durable, waterproof and should support your ankles and offers as many grips as possible. That’s why the material they are made of made them heavy.
Q4: How do you break in hiking boots fast?
Wear the boots inside your house with the socks and insole you will be wearing in your hike. Walk around your home, around the block, and town. Light boots break easily in a few days, but heavier boots need a few weeks to break.
Related: Best 2 superfeet Insoles.
Q5: Should I buy waterproof hiking shoes?
It actually depends on the weather. If the weather forecast says that, rain is probable where you are about to hike, then you should definitely get some waterproof boots.
Related: Oboz hiking boots for both men and women. (Waterproof, lightweight, and durable).
We hope this article will help you find your best and perfect comfortable footwear! Did we miss something? Let us know if you have anything in mind! We love to hear from you!
Do you have any good hiking tips to share that we have missed out? Let us know and also share with us what makes you more comfortable, hiking boots or hiking shoes? We are always interested in hearing your opinions and thoughts.