Whether you’re a hiking novice or a grizzled outdoor veteran, it is imperative that you have a quality pair of hiking boots in your arsenal.
The ever-increasing popularity of hiking means there are literally thousands of pairs of boots to choose from, which can make searching for the right pair for you more than a little stressful.
Allow us to alleviate some of that stress with this article.
Read on for a comprehensive breakdown and comparison of the best hiking boots on the market.
Best Hiking Boot Reviews
1. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus
If you’re searching for a hiking boot from a reputable manufacturer but would like to keep costs to a minimum, you should pay careful attention to this offering from Columbia. The Newton Ridge Plus will rarely set you back more than $100, but it promises a premium performance despite its low price tag.
Enter your text here...Columbia fitted the Newton Ridge Plus with a Techlite midsole. It is this Techlite midsole which gives the boot its superior cushioning, ensuring the wearer enjoys long-lasting comfort and soothing the risk of cramps and cuts.
Working in conjunction with this Techlite midsole is an Omni-Grip rubber sole, which provides advanced traction and allows the hiker to move across even the most uneven of terrains without fear of falling or slipping.
What's to like about the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus
The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus is composed of full-grain leather and suede and is capable of withstanding almost all weather conditions. Waterproof as a hiking boot can be, the Newton Ridge Plus is perfect for walks on damp terrain or in poor weather.
Yet despite being virtually impenetrable to water, the Newton Ridge Plus is breathable and ensures a constant flow of air to the foot. This is achieved largely through its mesh tongue, which also makes for an adjustable fit for maximum comfort.
What's not to like about the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus
Depending on who you speak to, these boots run slightly large or slightly small. It seems that each hiker who has purchased them has had a different experience, but all of them agree that they don’t fit quite as they should.
It should also be pointed out that although these boots come equipped with a mesh tongue, they are not designed to be worn in particularly hot climates, so you should take your search elsewhere if you foresee yourself hiking in an exceptionally warm portion of the world.
2. Merrell Moab 2
An acronym for “mother of all boots,” the Moab series has consistently impressed hikers since it first hit the shelves and many will tell you that this new arrival to the range is the finest boot Merrell has ever produced.
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the Merrell Moab 2 is its Vibram traction sole. Composed of heavy-duty rubber, Vibram soles have been a fixture of Merrell boots for close to a century and can be relied upon to keep the wearer steady on all sorts of trails and terrains.
Also worth mentioning is the M Select DRY technology of this boot, which renders it almost impervious to water and ensures the wearer does not have to worry about water seeping through the fabric.
What's to like about the Merrell Moab 2
Merrell equipped the Moab 2 with an EVA contoured footbed, meaning it provides maximum heel and arch support and can be worn for long periods of time without pain the following morning. Meanwhile, a closed-cell foam tongue prevents debris from finding its way inside the boot, which you’ll no doubt appreciate if you’ve ever had to spend five minutes undoing and removing your boot to dislodge a pebble in the middle of a hike.
Those who take their hikes away from designated trails put themselves at greater risk of being injured by a falling rock or branch. With these people in mind, Merrell fitted this boot with a protective rubber toe cap (although if you do hike away from a designated trail you may also want to consider bringing along a hard hat).
What's not to like about the Merrell Moab 2
If you don’t have a whole lot of room in your budget, you should probably avoid the Merrell Moab 2. As a consequence of its many features and the reputation of its manufacturer, this boot has been known to sell for over $250, making it a total impossibility for more than a few hikers.
It should also be pointed out that many who have purchased this boot have complained about the quality – or lack thereof – of its included laces. Often coming untied, the laces of this shoe will likely be a cause of frustration for you and may be best replaced with a separately purchased pair.
3. Timberland White Ledge
Given that Timberland somehow evolved into the chosen footwear of gangsta rappers, a few hikers may scoff at the brand’s inclusion on this list. However, Timberland’s acceptance into the mainstream is a direct result of the quality and effectiveness of its boots, along with a history of excellence which is embodied by its White Ledge hiking boots.
One of the most impressive features of the Timberland White Ledge is its dual-density EVA footbed, which ensures superior and consistent support of the arch and heel, allowing the wearer to hike long distances with minimal, if any, discomfort.
For those who prefer a little more room in their boots, the EVA footbed in each shoe can easily be removed, which also makes cleaning and maintenance of these boots a breeze. Timberland also fitted the White Ledge with a gusseted tongue, which prevents debris such as pebbles and sand from entering the boot. It is similarly resistant to water.
What's to like about the Timberland White Ledge
Owing to its multidirectional traction lugs, the White Ledge can be worn to cross all sorts of surfaces and virtually eradicates the risk of the wearer falling or stumbling on even the most treacherous of terrains, so you should consider taking your business to Timberland if you frequently hike in rocky areas or bad weather.
Hiking boots are often rather unfashionable, but that is not the case with Timberland boots and it certainly cannot be said of the brand’s White Ledge boots. Available in six different colors, it’s no surprise that these shoes have been so heartily embraced by the mainstream.
What's not to like about the Timberland White Ledge
Because Timberland has proven so popular with both hikers and the general public, the brand’s products tend to sell for quite a bit higher than similar offerings from lesser-known brands. The Timberland White Ledge boots, for example, may set you back $150.
While this isn’t quite as expensive as some of the other boots appearing in this article, it may still be out of the price range of some cash-conscious outdoors people. It should be pointed out that these boots are also intended for construction work, meaning they are not specifically intended for hiking.
4. Hi-Tec Logan
Another giant of the industry, Hi-Tec has long been the go-to boot manufacturer for more than a few dedicated hikers, which is why it seemed only fair to include an offering from the brand in this article. We could have gone with any number of Hi-Tec boots, but in the end we settled on the Logan, which offers the perfect blend of affordability and stability.
The Hi-Tec Logan boasts a nylon fork shank for an almost heavenly combination of comfort and support. Nylon shanks are, obviously, more flexible than their more common steel alternatives, which means the Logan grants the wearer greater range of motion.
Composed of leather and fabric, the Logan is a lightweight boot, so you should consider it if you are preparing for a long hike, perhaps to a campsite, and must carry a heavy load on your back. Along with being light, this combination of leather and fabric is resistant to water.
What's to like about the Hi-Tec Logan
Despite its many features and its manufacturer’s long-standing reputation for excellence, the Hi-Tec Logan is one of the most affordable quality hiking boots on the market and is unlikely to set you back more than $100, so it should be high on your list if you’re hoping to keep costs down.
With its Comfort Plus compression sock liner, the Hi-Tec Logan ensures maximum comfort and support while its multidirectional traction MDT rubber outsole works with its aforementioned nylon shank to achieve maximum maneuverability.
What's not to like about the Hi-Tec Logan
Although complaints about the Hi-Tec Logan are difficult to find, they do exist. One of the most commonly cited issues of this boot is the length of its tongue.
Because it is shorter than the average boot tongue, the tongue of the Hi-Tec Logan makes it a little more challenging to tie the boot and often causes discomfort after a couple of hours. These boots also lack the traction of some of the other models listed in this article and so aren’t ideal for particularly rocky surfaces.
5. Danner Mountain 600
If you don’t mind spending a little extra to get a truly impressive boot, you should pay careful attention to the Mountain 600. A product of Danner, one of the most reliable names in the game, the Mountain 600 has proven immensely popular with dedicated hikers and extravagant novices alike.
The Danner Mountain 600 is almost perfectly crafted and boasts only the finest features inside and out. Among those features is a Vibram Fuga outsole, which guarantees a level of traction that is almost unparalleled without sacrificing flexibility.
This Vibram Fuga outsole is accompanied by a Vibram SPE midsole, which utilizes a blend of natural rubber and EVA to minimize weight, support the arch and heel, and soothe the pain and discomfort which often accompanies long hikes.
What's to like about the Danner Mountain 600
As the brand itself is more than happy to point out, Danner has many years of experience in crafting hiking boots. In the years which have elapsed since it first opened its doors, Danner has developed a near-perfect hiking boot recipe, selecting only the finest and most durable materials for their products.
The Mountain 600, for example, is composed of lightweight suede to ensure it is almost impenetrable to water and can hold up in even the most trying of weather conditions. This boot comes equipped with a nylon shank, which allows for unrestricted movement even when the shoe has been fully laced and tightly tied.
What's not to like about the Danner Mountain 600
As we mentioned a little earlier, the Danner Mountain 600 is one of the more expensive hiking boots on the market. Selling for close to $250 from many outlets, the Danner Mountain 600 may be a bit of a difficult purchase for even the most dedicated of hikers to justify.
It should also be pointed out that this boot tends to run slightly large, as admitted by Danner itself. For that reason, it is suggested that anybody who opts to go with this boot purchase a pair half a size below what they would normally purchase.
Hiking boots are constantly evolving, which means the list of things you should look out for when in the market for a pair is always changing. In order to guide you towards the best pair of hiking boots for you, we have prepared the below buyer’s guide.
You should pay careful attention to the lug pattern of a boot before deciding if it is right for you. The deeper the lugs of a boot, the greater traction it offers, so those who are planning to hike on potentially dangerous ground should look for boots with particularly deep lugs.
Unisex hiking boots do exist, but they don’t always provide a secure fit, which is why it is advisable to choose a pair of boots that are gender specific. Each of the boots listed above is available in both male and female sizes.
Certain hiking boots feature no laces and are fastened through Velcro straps instead. While such a fastening method is undoubtedly convenient, it is not exactly suitable for demanding hikes and so should be avoided unless you are a casual hiker infrequently traversing only undemanding trails. Laces are the more popular option for a reason.
Nearly all hiking boot outsoles are composed of rubber, but vary when it comes to lug pattern (as discussed above), heel brake, and texture. A great heel brake will make it easier for the wearer to navigate steep declines, significantly reducing the chances of the unthinkable. A hard rubber outsole is more durable than a soft alternative, but will likely have difficulty molding to match uneven terrains.
Each hiking boot has its own unique set of pros and cons, but truly great boots share a number of features which you should keep an eye out for. If a boot is to endure frequent outings for several years, it is essential that it boasts some sort of resilience to water.
Similarly, it should come fitted with rustproof rings to ensure a consistent fit. Heel support is, of course, vital, as is arch support, so a cushioned midsole should be found inside any boot you consider purchasing.
If you are a frequent hiker and venture outdoors all year round, regardless of the weather, you should search for a four-season boot. Four-season boots are capable of withstanding almost all weather conditions, although they are generally quite stiff and may be rather uncomfortable until they have been broken in.
Three-season boots are often recommended to multi-season hikers as they are capable of withstanding relatively extreme conditions while still allowing the wearer maximum maneuverability. One- and two-season hiking boots are best worn in dry weather as they feature minimal, if any, weatherproofing, but they can always be relied upon to cross a dry and even path.
Hiking Boot FAQ
What should I look for in a hiking boot?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the conditions in which you intend to wear your chosen boots. That being said, all hiking boots should feature a cushioned midsole with quality arch and heel support.
Some degree of water resistance should be present, although complete waterproofing is only necessary if you live and hike in a rainy portion of the world. D-rings, though seemingly insignificant, must be durable if your chosen boots are to fit as well on your tenth hike as they did on your first.
What should I wear with hiking boots?
Many casual hikers choose to wear regular socks with their hiking boots. While the urge to do this is understandable, it is ill-advised. In colder climates, hiking boots should be paired with thicker socks, perhaps a pair composed of merino wool, which is thick yet breathable. Hikers in warmer climates should consider IsoCool socks, which provide superior temperature consistency.
What size hiking boots should I get?
Generally speaking, hiking boots run small, which is why most experienced hikers tend to go a size above what they would normally wear. However, unless it is otherwise stated by the manufacturer, you cannot be certain a boot will run small, so you should read customer reviews (if they are available) to determine the necessity of purchasing your boots in a size other than what you would normally wear.
What are GTX hiking boots?
Produced in partnership with GORE-TEX, GTX hiking boots provide maximum comfort while ensuring no water seeps through to the foot of the wearer. GTX hiking boots are offered by a variety of manufacturers, including Adidas and Merrell, so those who wish to own a pair of famed GTX hiking boots should have little problem finding one regardless of their preferred brand.
How should hiking boots fit?
In hiking, loose footwear can very easily lead to disaster, which is why your boots should fit snug from the top of your ankle down to your heel and beyond. Of course, you don’t want them to be so tight that they stem the flow of blood to your toes – this is especially true if you hike in cold areas – so you should avoid fastening the laces of your boots so tightly that they cause you discomfort.
If your boots fit you properly, you will be able to wiggle your toes even once they have been fastened. If you cannot do so, return your boots in favor of a larger pair.
Each of the hiking boots we presented you with in this article was designed with a different type of hiker in mind, meaning one of the above pairs will meet your needs more than the others. That being said, we believe the pair with the highest potential to please the greatest number of people is the Mountain 600 from Danner.
With its Vibram Fuga outsole and SPE midsole, the Danner Mountain 600 can be relied upon to carry the wearer safely across any number of surfaces while reducing the strain put on his or her foot. Meanwhile, its nylon shank ensures a greater range of motion and its waterproof exterior prolongs wear and tear far beyond what one can expect from a less expensive shoe.
If you would like to keep costs down in your search for the best hiking boot for you, you should pay careful attention to the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus. For less than $100, this shoe grants the wearer protection from water and wind while its Techlite midsole provides exceptional arch and heel support.