Best Hiking Boots: Finding That Perfect Pair for Your Feet!

Best Hiking Boots
Buying Guide

“I cannot rest from travel: I will drink Life to the lees…”

That was Alfred Tennyson’s Ulysses itching with the desire to travel endlessly centuries ago. Even today in our urban society we have numerous contemporary versions of Ulysses all around us who simply cannot rest from travel. They seek every opportunity to put on hiking boots and get away from the madding crowd, to explore the road less taken.

Ardent hikers live for the adrenalin rush that stomping through the wild woods brings to them. An intense and action packed hike may fill you with vigor and enthusiasm. But, are your feet as happy as you? As you take on the rough terrain filled with rocks, slippery slopes, puddles and muddy patches, it is important to ensure that your feet are protected with the best hiking boots.

In the past, choices were limited to heavy and chunky leather boots. Today you can find a variety of hiking boots to suit the needs of different hikers. Whether you are planning a short day hike to get some sun or more serious backpacking, there is a hiking boot craft to fit all your needs.

Tips to choose the best hiking boot

Here are a few standard principles on boot ergonomics that can help you choose the right pair of hiking boots.

The material your boot is made of is an important factor to consider. The wrong material can make your feet uncomfortable, hot and sweaty. Synthetics are breathable but not water resistant. They are good for short and dry day hikes.

Split-grain leather is a mix of leather and synthetics. It is breathable and partially water resistant too. Full-grain leather boots are fully waterproof and highly durable. They are for serious backpackers who desire to tread on rocky territory, snowy paths and glacial trails.

Your shoe must have enough tongue padding to ensure that you can tie your laces tightly without getting a cutting feel on your feet.

Adequate internal ankle padding is essential for your comfort. Ankles flex and hold numerous times as you walk and climb so your hiking boot should offer a secure fit around the ankle.

Most unsightly and sore blisters occur in the heel area when your boots are not properly broken-in before a trip. Get a boot that has well molded heel cups and adequate heel support.

Hiking boots are available in different styles of cuts. There are three main types that you would want to consider. Low cut boots are good for casual hiking; mid-cut boots provide belter ankle protection and balance; high cut boots are for the adventurous souls and they come with maximum ankle support and balance.

Even when you are armed with all the knowledge, choosing the right type of hiking boots is easier said than done. There are so many different brands, models and styles to choose from that a beginner may easily get confused.

To make your decision easier, we have created a list of top five best hiking boots that offer a perfect blend of comfort, durability and stability.

Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot

The Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot was passionately created by Salomon, a company that has been converting innovative ideas into action since 1947. The company is committed to create the best footwear, apparel and equipment for outdoor sports.

A quick look at the boot will tell you that it’s designed with attention to detail and means serious business. It is built for highly enthusiastic backpackers who don’t want anything to stop them from exploring new horizons.

The upper body of the Quest 2 GTX is made from high quality nubuck leather. While the shoe retains almost the same formula of the original Quest 2 GTX, the new version has a few improvements that don’t go unnoticed. It comes with a highly ergonomic tongue that offers enhanced comfort.

The 4D chassis provides enhanced foot comfort and protection for those intense mountain hikes. It comes equipped with the branded Contragrip technology that adds durability and stability to the shoes.

The Quest 2 GTX is engineered with the high-tech functionality of GORE-TEX that adds waterproofing capability to the boot.

Features

  • Leather and Textile
  • Synthetic sole
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Shaft measures about 6 inches from arch
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Mud guard
  • Protective heel cap
  • Salomon 4D chassis
  • GORE-TEX water resistant capacity

Pros

  • Well-made and great looking hiking boots
  • Offers good traction and grip for rough terrain
  • Well-built and secure lacing system
  • Highly durable, lasts for long
  • Capable of easily handling heavy backpack weight
  • Provides ample foot and ankle protection
  • Keeps your foot comfortable, without any blisters
  • No break-in time required
  • Easy to wear and take off
  • Provides decent amount of water resistance

Cons

  • Not good for wet and slippery area
  • Original laces not so good, you may consider buying a good replacement lace
  • Seams may come off after a few hiking trips
  • They are designed for narrow feet; if you have wide fit then you’ll have a hard time accommodating these shoes

Summary

These second generation Quest hiking boots by Salomon are slightly crispier and sharper in design. They retain the same quality and offer an exceptional performance outdoors. These shoes run small so you may consider buying a size bigger than your standard size. Overall, we feel this is a great hiking boot with some amazing features and the best part is that they won’t break your bank.

Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot

Merrell has been making hiking boots for over 30 years and their experience and expertise shines through with the Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot. The biggest USP of this boot is that it works like a ventilator for your feet that makes long hiking trips a tad easier.

The upper part of this mid-hike boot is made of dura leather that is blended with breathable mesh material. It scores high points for its extra padded rubber toe bumper and a thoughtfully designed heel counter. The Vibram Multi-Sport Plus sole adds more stability to the boots. The lug pattern gives amazing traction ability to the boot for those intense hikes.

There are no lugs under the arch area so it allows your foot to bend with ease.  So, you get enhanced stability and great traction in all types of terrain.

The M Select Fresh feature enhances the life of your Merrell boot by preventing moisture and sweat from affecting its quality. It fights antimicrobial agents that might otherwise penetrate inside the shoe and reproduce causing a repellant odor.

Features

  • Made of leather and breathable textile
  • Shaft length 4 inches from arch
  • Well-built lace enclosure
  • Air cushion heel
  • 5mm Sole Lug Depth
  • Synthetic sole

Pros

  • The boots are well-built and sturdy, at the same time highly breathable
  • It prevents the formation of odor causing microbes so your boot’s freshness remains intact
  • Traction is pretty good even on wet and slippery rocks
  • Construction and stitching quality are excellent
  • Good lateral support for the toe area
  • Keeps your toe, heel and feet well protected
  • It can be worn throughout the day without getting any blisters
  • It requires less break-in time
  • It offers a snug fit and works well for people with narrow feet

Cons

  • It runs narrow in size, so people with wide feet must order a bigger size
  • They are not fully waterproof and you can get your feet wet in a puddle

Summary

Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot stands true to our expectations and justifies the word ‘ventilator’ in its name. We like the level of comfort and stability offered by these boots. They look hard and sturdy on the outside, but are extremely soft and comfortable inside.

You can actually wear them for long periods of hiking and still not want to take them off. If you take good care of them, they can last really long. Overall, they offer great value at an affordable price.

KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot

There’s something about the Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot that you simply can’t take your eyes off. The robust design, extra toe protection and multi-directional lugs scream for attention. It inspires you to put them on and set out for a new voyage to make new discoveries and conquer peaks.

When you reach the top and treat your eyes with breathtaking views, you will thank the boot for making the journey so much fun.

KEEN describes its Targhee II as four-wheel-drive for your feet and when you put them on you will know how true that is. Your feet feel so light and comfortable while wearing these beautifully designed shoes.

The upper portion of the shoe is made from water resistant nubuck leather blended with a breathable mesh lining to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The outer sole features aggressive 4mm lugs that give you the confidence to conquer all types of terrain.

Features

  • Made from leather and mesh material
  • Made in the USA
  • Rubber sole comes with 4mm lugs
  • Shaft measures 4.5 inches from arch
  • Mid-height hiking boot
  • Breathable waterproof membrane
  • Protective toe cap

Pros

  • Waterproof technology keeps your feet dry even if you have to cross a creek or face heavy rainfall
  • Aggressive outer sole lugs provide amazing traction and grip in all types of terrain
  • Provides all day comfort for those who are passionate about outdoor adventure
  • The mid cut height of the boot provides enhanced support and protection
  • Great appearance and thoughtful design
  • Toe area is well protected from outside and it’s roomy inside
  • Backed by one year manufacturer’s warranty
  • The shoes need no break-in period, are ready to wear

Cons

  • Lace eyelets can break easily
  • These boots can’t take a lot of beating

Summary

If you are looking for durable, breathable and water resistant hiking boots without having to break the bank then this is a good choice. While we can’t say that they will last for long, they definitely offer good value for the price.

They need almost no break-in period so you can wear them right out of the box and they fare well in almost all types of terrain. They are a good pair for beginners and well as professionals who like to go on frequent hiking trips. Wear them as much as you can while they last and these boots will be worth every penny.

Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Hiking Boot

When we talk about Columbia footwear, we are actually referring to over 70 years of sweat, hard work, passion, perseverance, experience and expertise. The Newton Ridge Plus II is one of their premium men’s hiking boots that takes the legacy forward. The rich and classy look of the boot speaks volumes about its roots.

The Newton Ridge Plus II is made of Pu coated Leather combined with a suede and mesh material to add breathability to it. The water resistant feature of the boot makes it perfect for all weather and different types of terrain. Your feet will no longer shy from splashing into a puddle or crossing a river during the hike.

The Omni grip rubber outsole of the boot provides a rugged and grip traction which works well even on the wet slopes and rocky terrain.

Features

  • Made of Pu coated leather and mesh
  • Comfortable rubber sole
  • Waterproof construction
  • Lightweight midsole
  • Superior cushioning
  • Omni-grip traction rubber

Pros

  • These boots are light weight but their durability can be compared with a heavier boot
  • Amazing water resistant ability allows you to tread on wet and slippery trails with confidence
  • They require less break-in time
  • The shoes look and feel great. They work well for all types of terrain
  • They come with good heal and ankle support
  • They offer good value for money
  • Snugly fit people with wide feet
  • Light and comfortable, they can be worn all day without hurting your feet

Cons

  • They have a hard inner sole
  • Mid sole area lacks support

Summary

The Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Hiking Boot brings you the best of hiking boots and running shoes rolled into one amazing footwear. They are lightweight, durable, and highly comfortable. You can confidently take on trails dotted with muddy patches or flowing creeks and still keep your feet dry and happy.

Although the mid sole area lacks support and we feel the inner sole is a bit stiffer, at this price we can’t complain much. Definitely, a go-to boot for the ever enthusiastic hikers!

Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boot

Ask any passionate hiker and they will tell you that a Timberland hiking boot is a must-have for intense hiking trips. Timberland has been setting new standards and breaking records since its inception in 1973. The company is considered a global leader in the industry of premium footwear. They deserve extra credit for using recycled materials in their manufacturing process.

The Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boot is one of the best hiking boots offered by this global leader. From appearance, design, strength, durability and comfort, it has everything that you can possibly ask for in a hiking boot.

The upper part of the boot is made of high quality full-grain leather for enhanced durability. This is combined with a Gore-Tex lining and synthetic sole to add breathability and water resistant capability to the boot.

Features

  • Leather and mesh material
  • Synthetic sole
  • Shaft measures about 5 inches from arch
  • Heel measures about 1 inches
  • Waterproof construction
  • Gore-Tex lining for protection

Pros

  • Waterproofing is good and keeps your feet dry in wet terrain
  • These boots look really good and they are extremely lightweight
  • They offer a snug-fit and require almost no break-in period
  • They fare well in downhill areas where most other brands hiking boots fail
  • They are comfortable and you can wear them all day without getting any blisters

Cons

  • You can feel the rocks under your feet if you tread along a rocky trail
  • Traction is good, but not great as expected from this brand

Summary

We had high expectations for this boot and it fared well in most tests. We wish the traction and grip was a little more intense; after all this is a Timberland product. The shoe is perfect for smoother trails because you can feel rocks in rough terrain.

Despite this, we love the overall look and performance of these boots. We’d give them four stars and recommend them to anyone looking for a tried and tested pair of hiking boots.

Final Verdict

Boots are without a doubt the most critical gear for a hiker. The best hiking boots will help you walk down the toughest trails with a smile on your face while the wrong pair of shoes will have you gritting your teeth with every step you take.

For a passionate hiker who lives to travel far and wide, finding the best hiking boot that fits well and provides utmost comfort can be like striking a pot of gold.

However, there are no set standards or guidelines that determine which boots are better than others. It all depends upon the wearer’s personal style and preferences. We suggest that you listen to your body and follow your intuition.

Our top pick for men’s hiking boot is the Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boot and for women we like the KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot. Once you’ve made your choice, set out to explore and create more stories with your new companions. The world is your playground…happy hiking!