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 forests, 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.

I wanted to put together the ultimate roundup of the top hiking boots so I spoke to not one hiking expert, not two hiking experts but our entire team of hikers who live, breathe and dream adventure. They gave me lots of insider tips on finding the best pairs of outdoor shoes and I am proud to share their thoughts with you.

Without further ado, let’s unleash the ultimate list of the best hiking boots to take trekking…

Quick Answer: These are the Best Hiking Boots of 2021

Talking to Hikers About Their Favorite Boots

Pretty much every member of The Broke Backpacker team loves to hike. We have tried the whole gauntlet of hiking shoes over the years and this list is comprised of our favorites, including some exciting new boot models for 2021.

What we look for in a great hiking boot is pretty universal: lightweight, waterproof, comfortable, and crucially, not overly expensive.

Now let’s take a look at some of our top staff picks for 2021…

The Best Hiking Boots for Men

LADIES, worry not! We will cover our top hiking boot picks for women later in the article.

Product
Description
Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men
Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men

Lowa Renegade Mid GTX

  • > Full ankle support
  • > Waterproof
  • > Comes in many colors
Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men Runner Up
Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men Runner Up

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

  • > Amazing stability and grip
  • > Solid ankle support
  • > Lightweight for being a boot
Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Men
Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Men

Merrell Moab Ventilator

  • > Built for comfort
  • > Water-resistant leather
  • > Super lightweight
Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Men #2
Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Men #2

KEEN Targhee III

  • > Great Value
  • > Solid padding
Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes for Men
Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes for Men

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

  • > Great Ventilation
  • > La Sportiva makes great shit
  • > Tough and light
Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet for Men
Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet for Men

KEEN Men’s Durand Mid Wide

  • > Amazing stability and grip
  • > Solid ankle support
  • > Fully waterproof

#1. Lowa Renegade Mid GTX

Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men

best hiking boots

I used to be of the mindset that the lightest boot possible was best. While I still believe that to a degree, after years of hiking in the rugged mountains of Pakistan and other places where the terrain is rough and walking through the occasional light snow is possible, I am now a firm believer in the balance of lightweight and toughness offered by the Lowa Renegade.

Four pairs of these boots later – I am pleased to say that these walking boots have performed well in just about every test I have put them through, including a trek to K2 Base Camp and a recent 180 km hike of Madeira Island.

They are not the lightest boots out there, but for a supported hiking boots they achieve the balance most hikers are looking for.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Full ankle support
  • Waterproof
  • Comes in many colors

Cons

  • Seams can split after a year of heavy use
  • Not very cheap

#2. Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Best Overall Hiking Boots for Men Runner Up

 

Salomon 4D Quest

The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX are some of the most awesome 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 greatest hiking boots of 2018. They aren’t cheap but they are the best boots on the market…

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Amazing stability and grip
  • Solid ankle support
  • Fully waterproof
  • Lightweight for being a boot

Cons

  • Heavier than hiking shoes
  • Mixed reviews on durability

#3. Merrell Moab Ventilator

Best Budget 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.

I personally used the Moabs when I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2015 and I got nearly 1000 miles out of one pair!

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Built for comfort
  • Water-resistant leather
  • Super lightweight

Cons

  • Lacks ankle support
  • Mixed reviews on durability

#4. KEEN Targhee III

Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Men #2

best hiking boots keen

It wouold be a disservice if I reccommended a crapopy boot that costs only $50. Truth be told, I am yet to find a truly excellent boot for under $100 (on sale).

The new Keen Targhee 3 model is a solid option for those not wanting to splash out $200+ for a pair of hiking boots. There are cheaper options out there but the Targhee 3’s deliver the best value for what you get, whilst just threading the line to qualify as a budget boot, if our standrd for a quality boot price is usually higher than $150.

Comfortable, light, and capable of big adventure objectives, the new and improved Targhee series is a fine 3 season hiking shoe that will meet the needs of most people without totally breaking the bank.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Great Value
  • Solid padding

Cons

  • Waterproofing not as good as Gore-Tex
  • Durability is average

#5. La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes for Men

best waterproof boots

If you are hiking in wet climates and keeping your feet dry is a priority, then the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX is one of the best options out there.

This Italian brand is one of the most respected names in the industry, and won’t steer you wrong. La Sportiva makes some of the best mountaineering footwear in the world, so it is no wonder that their hiking boots perform at a high level as well.

The Nucleo High II GTX also perform well in warm climates; they breathe well, while keeping water out. No boot can stoop the natural wetness that comes from sweating, but this boot gives your feet an excellent shot at reaching camp with the least amount of dampness possible.

Check out our epic review of the best men’s waterproof hiking boots.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Great Ventilation
  • La Sportiva makes great shit
  • Tough and light

Cons

  • Not great in snow
  • Not very cheap

#6. KEEN Men’s Durand Mid Wide

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 all pretty positive, so if your feet are a bit wider than the average person’s, you’ve found your boot-soul-mate. These boots will perform a bit like the Targhee boots listed above; a safe bet.

Made in America, KEEN boots are one of the best brands in the industry, and these boots are solid for 3-season hiking.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Amazing stability and grip
  • Solid ankle support
  • Fully waterproof

Cons

  • Fit can feel tight on wide feet
  • Limited color options

The Best Boots for Hiking for Women

Now let’s take a look at our top picks for all you hiking women out there…

Product
Description
Best Hiking Shoes for Women
Best Hiking Shoes for Women

Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 Low

  • > Waterproof/weather protected
  • > Lightweight and breathable
  • > Cradles snug to the foot
Top Hiking Boots for Women
Top Hiking Boots for Women

KEEN Targhee II

  • > Great for hiking
  • > Solid ankle support
  • > Fully waterproof
Best Cheap Hiking Shoes for Women #1
Best Cheap Hiking Shoes for Women #1

Oboz Women’s Sawtooth

  • > Super lightweight
  • > Amazing stability and grip
  • > Great for narrow feet
Best (almost) Budget Women’s Hiking Boot
Best (almost) Budget Women’s Hiking Boot

Salomon Vaya Mid GTX Hiking Boots

  • > Waterproof
  • > Great Value
  • > Great in mixed terrain
Best Waterproof Hiking Boots
Best Waterproof Hiking Boots

KEEN Women’s Terradora Waterproof

  • > Waterproof and lightweight
  • > Great breathability for waterproof shoes
  • > Stylin’!
Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet
Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet

Merrell Moab II

  • > Every size made in wide
  • > Solid ankle support
  • > Fully waterproof

#1. Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 Low

Best Hiking Shoes for Women

Salomon Women's X Ultra 2

These Salomon Women’s shoes 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 at the moment, period and were the most popular shoes amongst the hikers I spoke to.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Waterproof/weather protected
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Cradles snug to the foot

Cons

  • Little ankle support

#2. KEEN Targhee II

Top Hiking Boots for Women

KEEN Targhee II

Waterproof and offering great support, the KEEN Targhee II is our pick for the most awesome 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, are affordable, and are very versatile. We did a full review of these boots; be sure to check it out!

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Great for hiking
  • Solid ankle support
  • Fully waterproof

Cons

  • Heavy (but light for boots)

#3. Oboz Women’s Sawtooth

Best Cheap Hiking Shoes for Women #1

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 an 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!

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Amazing stability and grip
  • Great for narrow feet

Cons

  • Narrow fit isn’t good for wide feet
  • Not ideal for someone who needs ankle support

#4. Salomon Vaya Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Best (almost) Budget Women’s Hiking Boot

best womens hiking boot

Whilst these boots are not dirt cheap, they do deliver the kind of performance and value we have come to love from Saloman.

The Vaya Mid series delivers great ankle support and standard Gore_tex waterproof coating that can withstand a bit of rain and a romp through a shallow stream. If you don’t want to go all out for a pair of the Salaman X Ultra’s, then the Vaya Mid GTX boots are a fine option.

We also appreciate that these boots don’t just come in the standard “feminine” colors – ask most female hikers and they will tell you they are totally sick of teal, pinks, and purples!

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Great Value
  • Great in mixed terrain

Cons

  • Sizing can be tricky for wide feet

#5. KEEN Women’s Terradora Waterproof

Best Waterproof Hiking Boots

KEEN Waterproof

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 trailside 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.

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Waterproof and lightweight
  • Great breathability for waterproof shoes
  • Stylin’!

Cons

  • Mixed reviews on durability

#6. Merrell Moab II

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 tried and true performance, 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!

What We Like and Don’t Like

Pros

  • Every size made in wide
  • Solid ankle support
  • Fully waterproof

Cons

  • Can be heavy
  • Mixed reviews on durability

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?’

Wrongo.

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.

keen targhee review
What is the meaning of life? I mean the best hiking boots? Photo: Chris Lininger

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?

Pakistan adventure tour
Photo: Chris Lininger

Comfort

  • 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
keen review
Photo: Chris Lininger

Breathability

  • Feet sweat, especially when hiking in big bulky boots
  • Shoes that breathe mean you are less likely to develop blisters
  • Breathable shoes won’t smell as bad as quickly (but all shoes get smelly eventually)
  • But breathable shoes have a tendency to NOT be waterproof
best day hiking backpacks
Photo: Chris Lininger

Weight

  • 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
  • Remember: you still have to carry around boots when you’re not wearing them
  • Heavier boots are usually more specialized/durable
traction and hiking boots

Traction

  • Traction is produced by the outsoles, which are nearly always made of rubber
  • Good traction prevents slippage and injury
  • Traction will wear down over time
  • Mountaineers may need additional traction i.e. crampons, spikes, etc
best waterproof boots for men

Waterproof

  • 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 waterproof or couple your hiking boots with a waterproof gaiter
Keen Targhee ii review
Comfortable and dry: I would not have it any other way. Photo: Chris Lininger

Ankle Support

  • 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

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 neighborhood! If you don’t have much time for a full on break in period, then wear the shoes around your home as much as you possibly can!

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!

best hiking boots in snow
Photo: Chris Lininger

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 boots 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.

FAQ about the Best Hiking Boots

Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:

Final Thoughts

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 – as I did with my beloved Lowa Renedage Mid Gtx – once you find your soul-shoe, there’s no going back… I will say that anything we have tested by KEEN is also a good bet.

Take a look at our comparison table below for our top picks for the best hiking shoes and boots of 2020.

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 favor and go try on some boots…

Happy hiking friends! (PS, also check out our best travel shoes review!)

Is there a pair of boots that you absolutely adore? Did we forget to mention them? Leave a comment below and we’ll check them out!


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