If you are looking at hiking 500 miles or even 5 miles, you need the best hiking boots for the job.
Trust me, hiking in inadequate footwear is not a good idea!
I've been lucky enough to hike in some truly incredible places - from the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and Jomalhari Basecamp in Bhutan to Mt. Roraima in Venezuela and Nanga Parbat in Pakistan.
Overall, I've spent hundreds of days hiking through the woods, rivers and mountains of incredible landscapes. I pretty much live in my hiking shoes and have been buying the same make of hiking shoes, every year, for over a decade.
But hey, I'm just one man and I wanted to put together the ultimate roundup of the best hiking boots so I spoke to not one hiking expert, not two hiking experts but THIRTY hikers who live, breathe and dream adventure...
We interviewed thirty badass hikers from the Pacific Crest Trail as they trekked north to Canada from the southern terminus of the trail near sea level at the Mexico border.
I asked them which hiking boots gave them blisters, which hiking boots were really waterproof, which hiking boots they threw out halfway through Oregon and which hiking boots left them with massive smiles on their sunburnt, hardened hiker faces.
Without further ado, I am proud to unleash the ultimate list of the best hiking boots to take trekking...
Table of Contents
- Quick Answer: The Best Boots for Hiking
- How to find the best hiking boots for you...
- The Best Boots for Hiking for Men
- Men's Needs - The Best Hiking Boots
- #3Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes for MenMerrell Moab Ventilator
- #4Best Budget Hiking Shoes for MenHi-Tec Men's Bandera
- #5Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes for MenVasque Men's Breeze
- #6Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet for MenKEEN Men's Durand Mid Wide
- The Best Boots for Hiking for Women
- Women's Needs - The Best Hiking Boots
- #1Best Hiking Shoes for WomenSalomon Women's X Ultra 2
- #2Best Hiking Boots for WomenKEEN Targhee II
- #3Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes for WomenOboz Women's Sawtooth
- #4Best Budget Women's Hiking BootHi-Tec
- #5Best Waterproof Hiking BootsKEEN Waterproof
- #6Best Hiking Shoes for Wide FeetMerrell Moab II
Quick Answer: The Best Boots for Hiking
- Best Hiking Boots for Men - Salomon 4D Quest
- Best Hiking Boots for Women - Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
- Best Hiking Shoes for Men - NorthFace Hedgehog
- Best Hiking Shoes for Women - Salomon X Mission 3 W Trail Runner
- Jump to --> Hiking Boots Review
How to find the best hiking boots for you...
If you are new to hiking, you might be thinking to yourself 'what's the big deal, they're just shoes, right?'
If you are thinking of hiking, you have to understand that your feet are your life. Injuries are prevalent in hikers, and the ones with poor quality boots are the first to suffer.
The most important thing you can do is pick up a pair of our recommended best hiking boots.
Trust me. I know this shit.
But what are the most important aspects of a hiking boot? What specs should you look at when considering which hiking boots you should buy?
- Make sure the boot or shoe is a good fit
- This means making sure it fits the shape of YOUR foot
- Uncomfortable boots are the worst
- Wear the boot around the house so you can return it if it doesn't work out
- Feet sweat, especially when hiking in big bulky boots
- Shoes that breathe mean you are less likely to develop blisters
- But breathable shoes have a tendency to NOT be waterproof
- As a rule of thumb, 1 lb of shoe = 5 lbs of strain on your back
- If you can, buy the most lightweight boots you can find
- Traction is produced by the outsoles, which are nearly always made of rubber
- Good traction prevents slippage and injury
- Depending on where you go, this is either unnecessary or mandatory
- Remember that the more waterproof, the less breathability the shoe has
- Waterproof won't keep your feet 100% dry.... but it does help
- Waterproof shoes become incredibly heavy when they do get wet, and take forever to dry
- We recommend going for a shoe that is somewhat waterpoof
- If you have weak ankles, ankle support can be a lifesaver
- But ankle support = more weight
- If you are in decent shape, it's worth considering ditching the boots and going with super-light trail shoes instead
The Best Boots for Hiking for Men
- Best Hiking Shoes for Men - NorthFace Hedgehog (I've been wearing these for ten years)
- Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men - Salomon 4D Quest
- Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes for Men - Merrell Moab Ventilator
- Best Budget Men's Hiking Boots - Hi-Tec Men's Bandera
- Best Waterproof Hiking Boots - Vasque Men's Breeze
- Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet - KEEN Men's Durand Mid Wide
Men's Needs - The Best Hiking Boots
As a dude, I'm going to start by reviewing the best boots for men.
LADIES, worry not! Click here to read the reviews for best hiking boots for women.
The six best hiking boots and trail runners, as recommended by our thirty experts, for male hikers are....
Best Overall Hiking Shoes for Men
The NorthFace Hedgehog is one of the best options on the market, and our pick for the best hiking shoe of 2018! Super lightweight and fast, these bad boys have trademarked technology on their membranes and soles, making it one of the coolest, most durable, and comfortable hiking shoes on the market, which is why I rocked them personally for over a decade. If you are looking for the best, look no further. You can put these shoes through hell and they bounce back... They dry out quickly, they offer solid ankle support and they are fairly light. I wear these as my everyday shoes and will probably never buy a different type of hiking shoe.
Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men
The Salomon 4D Quest are the best hiking boots on the market. While I personally prefer hiking shoes to hiking boots as shoes weigh less and take up less space in my pack, there are distinct advantages to using hiking boots instead of hiking shoes. If you are in the market for lightweight boots, there is no better option. Completely waterproof, the Salomon 4D has technology created to eliminate fatigue and discomfort. The Solomon 4D Quests off fantastic back support and are our pick for the best hiking boots of 2018. They aren't cheap but they are the best boots on the market...
Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes for Men
Merrell Moab Ventilator
Perfect for warm weather, the Merrell Moab Ventilator is a great choice for anyone looking for a durable lightweight hiking shoe. Merrell Moab has made a name for their amazing ventilation, and that their shoes are typically ready to hike directly out-of-the-box. Moab = mother of all boots, and whilst i personally prefer the Hedgehogs, the Merrell Moabs received continuous high praise from the hikers I interviewed for this review roundup.
Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Men
Hi-Tec Men's Bandera
If you are looking for the cheapest hiking boots out there or are just a complete newbie looking to take your first stab at hiking - Hi-Tec could be the brand for you. The shoes are reliable and the comfort is well reviewed, they are pretty decent boots for the price. Although I will say, if you can afford it, I recommend investing a bit more money and picking up a hiking boot that will be more comfortable and also last longer...
Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes for Men
Vasque Men's Breeze
If you are hiking in cold climates and keeping your feet dry is a life-or-death priority, then the Vasque Men's Bandera is one of the best options out there. This French brand is one of the most respected names in the industry, and won't steer you wrong. Vasque Men's boots are perfect for those who need waterproofing and also have a reputation for creating boots that have amazing comfort and traction.
Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet for Men
KEEN Men's Durand Mid Wide
This is a wide fit boot for men with wide feet - simple as that! The reviews are through the roof, so if your feet are a bit wider than the average persons, you've found your boot-soul-mate. Made in America, KEEN boots are one of the best brands in the industry, and these boots are phenomenal for year-round hiking.
The Best Boots for Hiking for Women
- Best Hiking Shoes for Women - Salomon Women's X Ultra 2
- Best Overall Hiking Boots for Women - KEEN Targhee II
- Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes for Women - Oboz Women's Sawtooth
- Best Budget Women's Hiking Boot - Hi-Tec
- Best Waterproof Hiking Boots - KEEN Waterproof
- Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet - Merrell Moab II
Women's Needs - The Best Hiking Boots
Hey girl, like to take a walk through the mountains?
No, it's not a pickup line you may hear in a dive bar.
For hundreds of women thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail each spring, it's life on the trail, in the forest and under the stars of the wilderness at night. It's also keeping your feet as happy as possible even when hiking twenty miles a day for five months straight.
The girls I spoke to this spring among the pines and boulders along the Pacific Crest Trail in Big Bear Lake, California all seemed to agree on one thing - running shoes are more comfortable than an actual hiking boot.
Best Hiking Shoes for Women
Salomon Women's X Ultra 2
These Salomon Women's are the cream of the crop when it comes to lightweight hiking shoes for ladies. These cool hiking boots have fantastic soles that keep your feet comfortable and blister free when hiking many miles through jagged terrain. Salomon hiking boots have a built in arch that keeps your feet feeling great on all kinds of trails and terrain. These are the best hiking shoes for women in 2018, period and where the most popular shoes amongst the hikers I spoke to.
Best Hiking Boots for Women
KEEN Targhee II
Waterproof and offering great support, the KEEN Targhee II is our pick for best hiking boots for women in 2018. Made in the USA, KEEN is one of the most dependable boots-brands in the industry, and the Targhee II is their flagship model for the ladies. These boots are great for all terrain and are very versatile.
Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes for Women
Oboz Women's Sawtooth
Simplicity is the key, and Oboz knocks this one out of the park. With patented soles and a great reputation, Oboz makes some of the lightest and best hiking shoes on the market. The shoes have impressive grip and are renowned for their durability so you can be sure it's an investment worth the money as these hiking shoes should last for many an adventure!
Best Budget Women's Hiking Boot
While not as high tech as some of the other options on this list, Hi-Tec has come through with a pair of impressive budget hiking boots. With some water-resistance and decent reviews on durability, these are good boots if you need to spare a few dollars. If you can spend a bit more, I do really encourage you to do so, but these are a good backup plan for anyone on a budget or looking to try hiking for their first time.
Best Waterproof Hiking Boots
Trust me, ladies love their KEENs. KEEN shoes are some of the best waterproof hiking shoes you can find on the market.The women hikers I spoke to trail side raved about the arch support of this leather boot and also about what a lightweight walking boot they are while still giving higher ankle support. These are a phenomenal choice for anyone who needs waterproof hiking shoes.
Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet
Merrell Moab II
The Merrell Mother of all Boots (Moab) hiking shoes are a fantastic pair of lightweight trail shoes for ladies who want style, comfort and durability all in one tasty package. If for some insane reason you are not going to have time to properly wear your shoes in before you hit the trail or start hiking up a mountain, go with Moab - these bad
boys girls are ready to hike out of the box!
How to get happy feet!
Pro tip - buy your hiking boots a few months in advance to break them in on local trails in your neighbourhood!
Remember when your new walking boots come in the mail, try them on at the end of the day. Your feet should be slightly swollen after a long day at work and your tired feet at this time of the day will be similar to your feet after hiking miles on the trail.
I love buying my trekking boots from Amazon because when you get them in the mail, even if you do a few practice hikes in them if you have hiker's feet just can't get used to your new lightweight walking boots, you can always send them back and try a different brand!
One important thing to know about buying the best mountaineering boots on the market today is everyone has different feet, different arches and different hot spots.
There is seriously no best outdoor boots brand for everyone because all of our feet are so different! Luckily there are so many great brands out there and some of them are really not too expensive!
When I am seriously searching for the best outdoor boots on the market I visit stores like REI to try on different brands and get a feel for how the different brands feel on my particular foot.
Every year hikers meander through the forests that surround the Pacific Crest Trail heading from Mexico to Canada.
This is just about the ultimate hiking experience you can have in the continental United States but you need the right hiking boots to make this 2,650 mile trek happen. It doesn't matter if you are looking for the best budget hiking boots or you have extra cash to spend on cool hiking boots that may be a bit more expensive.
Regardless of whether you are hiking in the USA, Nepal, Venezuela, Pakistan or Thailand... you need decent footwear.
I wholeheartedly recommend trying out several types of hiking shoes and books until you find the one that works best for you - like I did with my beloved North Face Hedgehogs - once you find your soul-shoe, there's no going back...
Take a look at our comparison table below for our top picks for the best hiking shoes and boots of 2018.
If you don't have the absolute best boots for hiking then you are going to have sore and bloody feet and be in utter misery. Investing in the right pair of hiking shoes is one of the smartest decisions you can make before starting out for a summer of hiking so do yourself a favour and go try on some boots...
Happy hiking friends!
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