Hiking is an exciting and adventurous way to get exercise, but to get the most out of it, you need to get yourself the best hiking boots.
What’s The Best Hiking Boot?
The best hiking boot comes down to what you are looking to get for your hiking needs. There are waterproof boots, lightweight boots, winter boots, and various other types that excel in unique areas, so your preferences will determine the best.
In the sections below, we’ll review our top picks for the best hiking boots and their pros and cons.
Our Picks for the Best Hiking Boots
- Best Overall: Keen Men’s Voyageur Mid Height Breathable Hiking Boots
- Best Waterproof: Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Best Lightweight: NORTIV 8 Men’s Ankle High Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Best Winter: XPETI Men’s Thermador Mid-Rise Lightweight Hiking Boots
- Best Budget: Northside Men’s Snohomish Leather Waterproof Mid Hiking Boot
- Best for Treacherous Terrain: Salomon X Ultra 3 Wide Mid GTX Men’s Hiking Boots
- Best for Long Distance: Ariat Terrain Waterproof Hiking Boot
There are more types of hiking boots than the seven we have here, but these are among the most common. With all these different choices, you can see how there are multiple factors to consider when picking out the best hiking boot.
Why You Need a Quality Pair of Hiking Boots
If you’re looking to seriously get into hiking, investing in a pair of quality hiking boots is a must. Hiking in shoes is okay for the first two or three times, but it’s far from a comfortable long-term option, and if you’re hiking on rough terrain, your shoes won’t last.
Hiking boots bring much-needed stability and comfort to any hiking experience. More importantly, they do a far better job of protecting your feet and ankles from injury than shoes.
They can also improve your overall hiking performance, allowing you to cover greater distances. It’s the same as with any other practice.
If you’re going to start hiking, you need to ensure you have the right tools for the job and hiking boots are one of these tools. A good pair of hiking boots are also not terribly expensive when you consider how long they can last, so there is no good reason not to get yourself a pair.
Best Hiking Boots: Our Top 7 Picks
Here are our picks for the top seven hiking boots.
1. Best Overall: Keen Voyageur Mid Height Hiking Boots
- Flexible fit allows for a wide range of movement.
- Features a rubber sole.
- The insole is completely removable.
- A bit expensive.
- Not the greatest color variety.
KEEN Men’s Voyageur Mid Height Breathable Hiking Boots is not the most popular hiking boot option you’ll find online, but it’s a household for many people because of its well-rounded design. From a performance perspective, there is nothing to dislike about this particular pair of hiking boots.
The boot can come in three colors and 16 sizes, allowing you to get the size and look you want. Its design features 100% leather, looped eyelets, a rubber sole, and lugged outsole that helps you get the best footing on any surface.
It’s also extremely light in weight, so you’ll be able to walk longer distances without getting tired from lifting your feet. Customer reviews for this product are extremely positive, with the only real negative being the lack of waterproof material.
However, this is only a negative if you want a waterproof boot for hiking. Most waterproof boots tend to weigh more than non-waterproof boots, so you’re sacrificing that feature for a lightweight design with this boot.
2. Best Waterproof Hiking Boot: Timberland White Ledge Hiking Boot
- Great waterproof design.
- Seam-sealed waterproof construction.
- Compression-molded EVA foam midsole comfort system.
- Not the best ankle support.
- Not great for intensive hiking.
The Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots are fantastic if you want something truly waterproof. You never know when you might run into water on a hike, so having a pair of boots that can take getting wet will go a long way.
One of this particular boot’s most significant selling points is its durability. Unlike many waterproof boots that lose their waterproof capability after a few months of frequent use, these boots have a significantly longer lifespan that many customers speak highly of.
Replacing hiking boots can get expensive, making a long-lasting pair more valuable.
As durable as the Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots are, their most significant caveat is that they aren’t great for hiking on treacherous terrain. These boots perform best in fields and on roads where the surface is flat, so consider that before you decide to purchase them.
3. Best Lightweight Hiking Boots: NORTIV 8 Ankle High Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Good ankle support.
- Soft interior design.
- Waterproof while still relatively lightweight.
- Not the most breathable.
- Not the best size customizability.
The NORTIV 8 Men’s Ankle High Waterproof Hiking Boots have more going for them than many other lightweight boots don’t. One of the most important things is ankle support.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of good ankle support in a boot because things like waterproof, flexibility, interior design, and other features take priority.
With these boots by NORTIV, you’ll get all those aspects along with the ankle support and lightweight that will help you walk for miles without feeling severe soreness in your feet.
These boots are equally suitable for easier hikes on even surfaces and intense hiking trips where you’ll have to traverse more challenging terrain. Unfortunately, the NORTIV 8 Men’s Ankle High Waterproof Hiking Boots don’t have the best variety in shoe sizes.
So, you may struggle to find the perfect size if you wear half-size small or large shoes. Some customer reviews also mention the boots lack breathability, so your feet may get hot if you go hiking in hot temperatures.
4. Best Winter Hiking Boots: XPETI Thermador Mid-Rise Hiking Boots
- Holds up against snow.
- Good ankle support.
- Insulated for the cold outdoors.
- Have a heavier weight than most boots.
- No leather foot covering.
XPETI Men’s Thermador Mid-Rise Lightweight Hiking Insulated Boots are among the best in handling those cold winter months. Whether you frequently hike in snow or want something to better combat the inclement weather that comes with winter, these boots will get the job done perfectly well.
The insulation inside the boots prevents your feet from getting cold in low temperatures, and the x-grip rubber outsole provides plenty of traction to prevent slipping on icy surfaces.
The waterproof mesh will also keep your feet dry by ensuring no water seeps through the boot’s material. One thing to keep in mind before purchasing these boots is their weight.
Many customer reviews don’t mention the weight as a negative because they likely expect it to weigh more than most boots before purchasing it. However, walking in a heavier boot can take a bit of getting used to, especially if you have only ever worn lighter boots.
5. Best Budget Hiking Boots: Northside Waterproof Mid Hiking Boot
- Affordable price.
- Leather waterproof design.
- Comes with removable insoles.
- Not long-lasting.
- Rubber soles take on wear and tear quickly.
Suppose you don’t want to spend a large sum of money on hiking boots but want something that can get the job done. In that case, the Northside Men’s Snohomish Leather Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots are a solid choice.
They come in two colors and 20 sizes, so you’ll have no trouble getting the correct size. These boots feature a reasonable amount of ankle support, and a waterproof seam sealed construction that will help your feet stay dry in wet conditions.
The soles have heavy amounts of grip in their design to give you good traction on every step and good shock absorption to protect your feet from any hard landings.
Despite the desirable features that these boots come with, the biggest downside is that you won’t get to enjoy these features for a long time, which is something many of the customer reviews mention.
The soles of the boots don’t take long to break down, so you should only consider these if you’re someone who isn’t going on hikes constantly, as they won’t last.
Best for Treacherous Terrain: Salomon X Ultra 3 Hiking Boots
- Great for traversing rugged terrain.
- No need to break them in.
- Design supports good breathing.
- Don’t offer a huge amount of cushion.
- Getting the right size can be tricky.
For those who like to push themselves with hikes that feature some challenging terrain, the average boot sometimes isn’t enough, but the Salomon X Ultra 3 Wide Mid GTX Boots will get the job done reliably every time.
At a glance, these boots don’t look significantly different from most others, except they feature a unique descent control technology. This technology makes the X Ultra 3 Wide Mix GTX Boots efficient at taking on the more technical hikes where you can’t simply put one foot in front of the other.
Due to the increased traction from the grip on the soles, you’ll be able to maintain your footing better even when going down steep inclines in wet conditions. As far as downsides go, these boots offer limited amounts of cushion to the soles of your feet.
It’s not a deal-breaker, but if you know your feet need a lot of support, you may want to consider a different option. Several customer reviews also make mention of difficulty when it comes to shoe sizes, and some suggest you get a size bigger than your normal shoe size.
7. Best for Long Distance: Ariat Terrain Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Excel on longer hikes.
- Superior grip without picking up debris.
- Long-lasting durability.
- Not highly waterproof.
- Not the best traction.
Not all hikes test how well you can traverse rough terrain. Some are a test of endurance, and these are where the Ariat Terrain Waterproof Hiking Boots stand out from the rest.
The design of these boots will bring you comfort that lasts all day, even if you’re constantly on the move. Thanks to their superior shock absorption, you can take each step confidently and stay sure-footed at all times.
Flexibility is another core part of the design of these boots as they have a fair amount of bend to them, and while they are not the best for traversing treacherous terrain, they can certainly hold their own.
Unfortunately, the Ariat Terrain Waterproof Hiking Boots are not as waterproof as some people would like.
Many customer reviews make a note of their feet not remaining completely dry in wet conditions, as well as experiencing slippage when walking on ice. Aside from those drawbacks, these boots are still among the best long-distance treks.
Finding the Best Hiking Boots for You
To find the best pair of hiking boots, there are four key aspects you’ll want to consider before deciding on any one boot. Design, purpose, reviews, and price.
Knowing the purpose of a hiking boot is the most significant determining factor in whether you should buy it or not. If you want a boot that performs well on treacherous terrain, you don’t want to buy a boot that’s best for long-distance hikes on flat terrain.
Most product descriptions of a boot will give you a sense of what area it specializes in, so always read those thoroughly.
If you don’t have a preference for what type of boot you want, then take the time to read up on the different kinds to develop a sense of what would best work for your hiking needs.
The design of a boot will tell you most of what you need to know about how it will perform once it’s on your foot. Look for boots whose soles have a design for lots of traction, as you want to have as little slippage as possible whenever you’re on a hike.
The majority of hiking boots have soles made from quality rubber, but there are some made from cheaper material that won’t last. Also, waterproof boots are typically heavier than non-waterproof boots because they utilize different materials.
Some boots are still lightweight even while being waterproof, though these are far and few in between, so don’t expect to get the best of both worlds.
Customer reviews can tell you a lot of information about a boot that you won’t otherwise get from simply reading the product description. However, you shouldn’t read customer reviews until you’ve read about what the boot has to offer.
That way, you won’t have your initial impression influenced by the reviews. It’s also important to remember that customer reviews are not always reliable because everyone’s experience with a particular boot is different.
Someone may leave a negative review because the boot did not hold up long enough, while someone else may leave a positive review claiming that the boot holds up just fine for their needs.
Because of this, it’s always better to use customer reviews to inform your decision instead of using them as the sole reason for buying or not buying a particular boot.
The price of a boot can vary significantly depending on the type and size. Still, generally speaking, high-end hiking boots from popular brands can cost $100-$200, and this is what you should try to aim for unless you’re on a tighter budget.
Plenty of quality boots are available for less than $100, but they tend to have a short shelf life if you hike frequently.
When purchasing boots from Amazon, remember to check what seller you are buying from, as sometimes a boot can have multiple sellers, and the price can change slightly depending on that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some questions that you may still have about hiking boots.
What is best for hiking, shoes or boots?
Boots are the best option for hiking if you’re traversing treacherous terrain, which makes them different from hiking shoes. Granted, if you are new to hiking, you may want to wear comfortable shoes for the first time to see if you enjoy it. If you then decide to get serious about making hiking a regular practice, then investing in some hiking boots is a must.
Should I buy hiking shoes a size bigger?
Yes, you should buy hiking shoes a size or half size bigger than whatever your standard shoe size is. Doing so will give the boots the best chance to fit you, and it will leave extra space if you wear hiking socks that are a bit thicker than your average sock.
How long should hiking boots last?
Hiking boots should last anywhere between three and six months. Though keep in mind that this range can shift drastically depending on the quality of the hiking boots, how frequently you hike, and what types of conditions you are hiking in.
What’s the difference between hiking boots and backpacking boots?
Hiking boots perform best with a hike that lasts for a couple of hours in a day, whereas backpacking boots are best for journeys that last several days and involve carrying heavy loads. Both are good for walking, but they aren’t similar enough to use interchangeably.
Can I wear hiking boots every day?
Yes, you can wear hiking boots daily if regular shoes and other footwear don’t provide enough support. While hiking boots are most effective on hikes, they are just as good for walking on tile, asphalt, wood, and other surfaces throughout the day.
So, What Are the Best Hiking Boots?
Our top pick is the KEEN Men’s Voyageur Mid Height Breathable Hiking Boots because they offer the overall best package, but every entry on this list is an excellent option if you’re looking for your first or next quality hiking boot.
And if you want to find a boot that’s not on our list, then follow our helpful tips, and you’ll have the boot that’s right for you in no time!