Hiking boots are designed to protect your feet and ankles, provide good traction over different terrains, and even keep your feet dry on wet or muddy treks. A quality pair of hiking boots is a worthwhile investment if your outdoor adventures will take you beyond relatively flat trails with easy surfaces. There are countless hiking boots on the market with quite a few variations and features to choose from.
We reviewed dozens of hiking boots to identify the best options on the market for all-around hiking boots suitable for the avid adventurer and weekend warrior. We considered price, customer ratings, and shoe features like waterproofing, durability, and tread.
Boasting a 4.4 star customer rating with over 9,000 reviews, the 100% leather Timberland White Ledge Waterproof Boots stand out as the best all-around hiking boot, offering the right mix of durability and comfort, and they look good, too! They are surprisingly lightweight for their design with rubber soles sturdy enough for all kinds of trail conditions.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Hiking Boots
|Best Overall||Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot||4.4|
|Runner Up||Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX||4.6|
|Best Budget Buy||Northside Women’s Pioneer Mid Rise Boots||3.8|
|Best Men's Hiking Boot||Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Hiking Boot||4.3|
|Best Women's Hiking Boot||Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot||4.5|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Timberland White Ledge Boot
The Timberland White Ledge Waterproof Boots stand up to any terrain out on the trail and boast enough fashion sense to run around town. The uppers are made of 100% oiled leather with seam-sealed construction for durability. Surprisingly lightweight, the Timberland White Ledge boots weigh in at about 2.2 lbs for a size 9. The tread is long lasting and sturdy enough for most types of terrain.
Timberland’s speed lace system uses rustproof hardware to make sure you can tighten your boots just right. They boast EVA footbed and midsoles that provide maximum stability and support mile after mile.
Customers love that the Timberland White Ledge boots not only look great but they are comfortable right out of the box and require minimal break-in periods. Even customers with wide feet gave these boots rave reviews.
Timberland White Ledge Boot Key Features:
- 100% leather
- Rubber soles
- Lightweight (size 9 weighs about 2.2lbs total)
- EVA midsole and footbed
- Rustproof lacing hardware
Our Runner Up Pick: Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX
The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX boots offer outstanding stability, incredible comfort, and maximum foot protection, all packaged in a shockingly lightweight design. Salomon uses techno fabric and GORE-Tex weatherproofing to make sure these boots breathe well but keep your feet dry. Their “4D Chassis” provide incredible stability and all-mountain traction for even the toughest terrain.
Salomon borrowed molded dynamic cushioning from running shoe technology and updated the ergonomic tongue for maximum all-day comfort while keeping the overall weight to just about 2.5 lbs total. This is a “high hiker”, meaning the boot comes over your ankles for great support, especially for those with weak ankles.
Customers especially loved that these boots are waterproof and offer maximum all-around support without the heavy or clunky feel. They are sturdy enough for carrying heavy packs and many customers found these boots comfortable right out of the box. The tread gives great traction on most surfaces.
Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Key Features:
- GORE-Tex weatherproofing finish
- Molded cushioning for extra comfort
- 4D Chassis system for stability and traction
- High hiker design provides ankle support
Best Budget Pick: Northside Pioneer Mid-Rise Leather Boot
The Northside Women’s Pioneer Mid Rise Boots are perfect for hikers on a budget. Made from synthetic, water resistant materials and moisture wicking lining, these boots offer all day breathability. The rubber tread has a multi-directional pattern for good traction on a variety of surfaces. The molded PVC heel stabilizer adds extra support.
Removable EVA insoles provide cushion and arch support while the gusseted tongue keeps trail debris out. Northside added a quick-lace system for easy lace adjustments.
Customers like that these boots are a good option for people with wide feet and many were pleased to find they did not need much time to break them in.
Northside Women’s Pioneer Mid Rise Boots Key Features:
- Synthetic materials
- Molded PVC heel stabilizer
- Removable EVA inserts
- Quick-lace system
- Gusseted tongue keeps debris out
Best Men’s Hiking Boots: Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Hiking Boot
Weighing in at just 15.9 oz, the Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II boots pack a lot of features into a lightweight, versatile, mid-rise design. They are made from leather and waterproof mesh to keep your feet dry and well vented. The midsole is designed for all-day cushion and high energy return. Traction rubber soles offer slip-free traction and Columbia’s “omni-grip” outsole technology offers a dual-zone tread pattern that adds traction on most surfaces from uneven terrain to ice and snow.
Columbia’s lace-up system and mesh tongue enhance the comfort and adjustability of these boots. Their mid-rise design adds ankle support. These boots are designed for maximum comfort and durability on even the most rigorous trails.
Customers love that these boots are a great balance of lightweight and durability. Most found them comfortable right out of the box.
Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Key Features:
- Leather and mesh outer materials
- Mid-rise design for ankle support
- Omni-grip outsole
- High cushion midsole
Best Women’s Hiking Boots: Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Women’s Hiking Boots are packed with high-quality features for protection and comfort. Waterproof mesh and full-grain leather outer materials keep your feet dry and well vented. Columbia’s “signature midsole” aims at providing topline comfort and cushion for absorbing impact. The “omni-grip” rubber outsole has sturdy tread for slip-free hiking. All this technology weighs in at just 16.3 oz. per boot.
The lace-up closure system allows you to adjust the fit and the mesh tongue adds comfort and breathability while keeping out dirt and debris. Columbia added contrasting color options for a more feminine style.
Customers rave about the strong, lightweight comfort these boots provide. Many report happy feet after hours of hiking through all conditions, including snow. They are a great balance of performance and price.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Women’s Boots Key Features:
- Full-grain leather and mesh outer materials
- Omni-Grip rubber outsole
- Columbia’s Signature Midsole design
- Adjustable lace-up system
- Feminine design and color options available
Who Should Buy Hiking Boots
The primary purpose of hiking boots is to protect your feet from rocks and debris. Hiking boots should also provide good traction over many terrain types and protect your ankles from strains and sprains. If you plan to hike in muddy, cold, or wet conditions, hiking boots with a waterproof membrane are a great investment to keep your feet warm and dry.
Wide, thick soles on hiking boots provide a stable base for your foot. This is especially helpful if you plan to carry a heavy pack or traverse rough trails. The rougher the terrain you plan to tackle the more robust your boots should be.
Hikers with a history of injuries or issues with strength and stability in their legs or joints will benefit from a strong, supportive hiking boot. Quality, well-fitting boots help prevent injury and will make hiking safer and more enjoyable.
Important Features To Consider
Your hiking boots should match with how and where you plan to hike and be comfortable. Here are a few features to consider as you select the best boots for your needs:
- Style. No, this isn’t whether the boot is fashionable or not. You should select your boots based on the terrain you plan to hike and the loads you plan to carry. Look for boots that offer the right amount of support for your activities. Too much support will add unnecessary weight. Low or mid-cut trail boots are lightweight and have good traction but most hikers find them too unstable when carrying heavy packs or navigating slippery, rocky terrain. Off-trail boots offer plenty of protection for your feet under heavy loads yet are flexible enough to navigate tough terrain.
- Uppers. The materials used impact the weight, breathability, and durability of hiking boots. Full-grain leather offers amazing durability and water resistance. The trade off is leather is slightly heavier and less breathable than other materials. Split-grain leather is usually combined with nylon mesh for a lightweight, breathable boot. The benefit is a cheaper price tag and lighter boots but the downside is less durability and less waterproof. Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and synthetic leather are common in hiking boots as well. These materials are usually lighter, cheaper, easier to break in, and usually dry faster than leather options. The trade-off is that these materials show wear and tear much sooner than other options on the market.
- Waterproofing. Hiking boots marked as “waterproof” have uppers made with waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex or eVent. These are designed to keep your feet dry but they reduce breathability and may cause your feet to sweat if you plan to hike a lot in warm climates. But, if your treks take you to wet or cold areas then a waterproof membrane is a great feature to look for!
- Midsole. The midsole provides cushioning and absorbs shock. Midsoles also determine how stiff the boot is. If you plan to go on long hikes on rocky, uneven terrain then a stiff midsole will keep your feet from tiring quickly from “wrapping” around all the rocks, roots, and other features on the trail. EVA midsoles are a bit lighter, offer more cushion, and are usually less expensive. Mountaineering boots and high-end backpacking boots usually use polyurethane midsoles that are generally firmer and more durable.
- Outsole. All hiking boots use rubber outsoles. Pay attention to the lug pattern on the bottom of the boots. Deeper, thicker lugs that are widely spaced offer good traction over most terrain and don’t collect mud as easily. If you plan on only doing light hiking over relatively easy terrain then smaller lugs and a less “aggressive” tread pattern will probably suit your needs.
- Crampon compatibility. If you plan to use crampons with your boots for mountaineering, winter hiking, or trekking over slippery surfaces you should make sure to purchase mountaineering boots or heavy hiking boots that are compatible to crampons. Not all boots will easily or safely work with crampons. We’ve also reviewed the best crampons in a separate post.
If your adventures take you through heavy brush or over trails with a lot of debris, consider investing in a pair of gaiters to help keep the dirt and debris out of your boots. Gaiters are also helpful in keeping hitchhikers like ticks or “prickly seeds” at bay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are hiking boots used for?
Hiking boots are one of the most important pieces of hiking gear. They are specifically designed to protect your feet and ankles over rough terrain and provide comfort while walking, hiking, or backpacking. Most boots provide stiff ankle support to prevent sprains and strains. Hiking boots also provide good traction over most terrain and keep your feet dry.
Many people also wear hiking boots during manual labor or when they will be on their feet for long periods of time. Good hiking boots provide a balance of cushion and support, especially for weak ankles.
Do hiking boots really help?
The primary reason to wear hiking boots is to protect your feet from rocks, debris, and injury and make sure you have good traction as you hike, backpack, or walk long distances.
Hiking boots offer many benefits to backpackers, hikers, and adventurers. The key is making sure you choose a pair that will meet your needs. For example, look for a lightweight hiker with a lot of cushion and smaller tread if you plan to primarily enjoy light day hikes or need a pair of boots that will keep your feet comfortable for long periods of time. If your adventures include navigating difficult terrain or carrying a heavy pack then you should look for a hiking boot with more substantial tread and ample ankle and foot support.
How long do hiking boots last?
You can expect a quality pair of hiking boots to last anywhere from 500 to 1,000 miles. There are a number of factors that impact how long hiking boots last. Your weight and the types of terrain you hike on are the most significant factors that impact how quickly boots wear out. Poorly fitting hiking boots will wear out more quickly as well.
Properly maintaining your boots will dramatically extend their life and keep them comfortable. Remove the insoles after each use as they hold moisture and become smelly. Clean any mud and grime off the outside of your boots after each hike with a damp rag or clean water and a soft brush.
Treat leather boots frequently with wax, oil, or silicone treatments to keep the leather soft and waterproof. Nylon or other outer materials will also lose their waterproofing treatment over time. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for reconditioning boots made of synthetic materials. It is very easy to reapply a waterproofing agent when you notice the outer materials are becoming saturated easily.
What size hiking boot should I get?
Depending on your foot and the brand, many people wear hiking boots one size larger than their normal shoe size.
The best time to try on hiking boots is at the end of the day because your feet swell throughout the day. You should also wear a pair of socks you plan to hike in when you try on boots.
Hiking boots should fit snug everywhere but not feel tight, pinch, or rub anywhere. Your foot should not move around very much but your toes should have room to wiggle and not bump into the end of the shoe.
Wear your boots around the store or your house for a while. You should not feel any pressure points, pinches, or hot spots. Small annoyances become big problems quickly! Walk up and down stairs and find an inclined surface to walk up and down to make sure your foot doesn’t slide too far forward or move around too much.
How do I break in hiking boots?
Even the best fitting hiking boots usually need to be broken-in so they fit your feet. Breaking in a pair of boots won’t help poorly fitting boots, but they will make well-fitted boots comfortable and prevent blisters.
Start by wearing your new boots around the house with the socks you will wear on the trail. New boots will feel a bit stiff at first. Then, wear your boots on short walks around the neighborhood or around town, slowly increasing the distance. If the boots are still comfortable, go for a short day hike on a trail with a light backpack. Gradually increase the mileage and the weight you carry to avoid pain or injury.
Other Hiking Boots We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other hiking boots. Even though they didn’t make our Top Five list, they’re the best of the rest and they are still great options for hiking, backpacking, and other adventures. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
Light Hiking Boots
This durable low-top hiking shoe is made from 100% leather, mesh, and webbing for a lightweight, breathable, waterproof design. Columbia uses Techlite material in the soles for excellent cushioning and impact absorption. Omni-Grip traction systems in the tread provide traction over many surfaces.
- 100% leather and textile
- Low-top design
- Seam-sealed membrane
- Non-marking rubber outsole
- Techlite material for added cushion
- Omni-Grip tread technology
Keep your feet happy in these light waterproof hikers with mesh lining for plenty of ventilation. The seamless uppers reduce the risk of blisters and Merrell’s air cushion in the heel adds shock-absorbing stability. A Vibram traction outsole provides ample traction.
- Breathable mesh lining
- Shock absorbing air cushion
- Vibram outsole with 4mm lug depth for ample traction
Made with 100% leather and abrasion resistant mesh, these low-cut hiking boots will go the distance. Gore-Tex and “Extended Comfort Technology” make them waterproof and breathable. Vasque managed to provide backpacking boot level stability without sacrificing flexibility. The speed-lace system enhances the comfort and stability of these boots and the Vibram Nuassi outsole with multi-directional lugs provides excellent traction.
- 100% Leather and mesh
- Gore-tex waterproof
- Vibram outsole
- Dual density EVA footbed
These unique “barefoot style” shoes require some getting used to but many hikers and trail runners swear by the minimalist design that is meant to help your foot move naturally, bending and flexing as you walk. It is very lightweight with 4mm trail-gripping lugs that provide traction in all sorts of terrain. These ultra-flexible shoes can be folded up and stuffed into your pack!
- Lightweight and flexible
- Zero drop heel
- Wide toe box
- Barefoot or Minimalist Design with very little cushion
- 4mm lugs for traction
- Vegan friendly
These heavy-duty performance suede boots have a breathable mesh lining and removable insoles. The M Select Fit.ECO+ blended foot bed has zoned arch support and the air cushion heel provide comfort, and stable shock absorption mile after mile. 5mm lugs in the tread give ample traction on any surface.
- Suede leather and mesh upper
- Removable insole
- Breathable mesh lining
- M Select Fit.ECO+ blended contoured footbed
- Vibram sole with 5mm tread lugs
- Protective rubber toe cap
Cover countless miles in comfort with Salomon’s Advanced Chassis foam cushioning. A heel strap keeps your foot secure on rough terrain and the rubber sole with “Contagrip” technology provides excellent traction. Full GORE-TEX booties built into these boots will keep your feet warm and dry. These boots weigh in at just 500 grams.
- Split Suede Leather and mesh uppers
- Full GORE-TEX booties
- 4” shaft for full ankle support
- Contagrip traction system
Salomon focused on walking comfort in these boots. They incorporated running shoe technology for added cushion and a new “4D Advanced Chassis” allows more forefoot flexion. The rubber sole with Contagrip technology has a redesigned lug system for better traction and GORE-TEX keeps your feet dry mile after mile.
- Synthetic materials
- Rubber sole
- 6”shaft for ankle support
- Weighs 640 grams
- 4D Advanced Chassis system
- Gore-Tex lining
- Contagrip traction
Both the men’s and women’s edition of the Vasque St. Elias boot rank high in customer reviews. Vasque’s proprietary Vibram Frontier sole is incredibly lightweight without sacrificing traction. EVA pods in the heel and forefroot will make you feel like you are wearing running shoes. The entire sole system is designed to maximize comfort and efficiency. GORE-TEX and waterproof Nubuck leather keep your feet dry and happy.
- 100% Nubuck Leather
- GORE-TEX waterproof
- 6” shaft for ankle support
- Dual Density EVA footbed with cushioning pods
- Vasque Exclusive Vibram Frontier rubber outsole
Women’s Hiking Boots
These hikers weigh in at just 12 oz and offer mid-range ankle and foot support. A combination of suede leather, mesh, and webbing with and Omni tech waterproof membrane keep your feet dry without sacrificing breathability. Columbia’s Techlight midsole provides ample cushion and the Omni grip non-marking rubber soles are great for traction on most surfaces.
- Suede leather, mesh and webbing uppers
- Techlight midsole
- Omni Tech waterproof bootie
- Omni Grip non-marking rubber outsole
- Weighs 12 oz. (size 7)
The uppers are made with suede and mesh with a Dri-Tec waterproof membrane and padded collar to keep your feet dry without trapping moisture. The molded EVA footbed is removable and the rubber outsole features multi-directional traction. A steel shank ensures stability when hiking over uneven terrain.
- Suede and mesh upper
- Dri-Tec waterproof membrane
- Ghillie lacing system with rustproof hardware
- Removable EVA footbed
- Rubber outsole
- 5” shaft for ankle support
Made with waterproof Nubuck leather, a waterproof, breathable membrane, and a hydrophobic mesh lining, Keen focused on keeping your feet dry in these boots. The EVA midsole is removable and an “Ess Shank” offers lightweight support.
- Nubuck leather outsole
- Hydrophobic mesh lining and waterproof membrane
- Removable EVA midsole
- Ess Shank provides foot support
- 5” shaft for light ankle support
- Rubber outsole
These are rugged mid-height hikers made with 100% leather and mesh. KEEN’s Metatonmical footbed support is engineered to provide arch support and the molded EVA foam midsole gives ample cushion. The pull-on loops at the heel and tongue are a nice feature. The non-marking rubber outsole has 4mm multi-directional lugs for plenty of traction.
- 100% leather and mesh
- Non-marking rubber outsole
- 4mm lugs in tread
- Matatonical Foodbed support
- Molded EVA foam midsole
- Contoured heel lock system
Men’s Hiking Boots
These boots are designed to repel water and keep your feet comfortable for the long haul. The molded insole is removable and an internal steel shank provides support and stability on uneven terrain. The rubber outsole will give you durable traction wherever your adventures take you.
- Suede leather and nylon upper
- Rubber sole
- 5” shaft for ankle support
- Rustproof lacing system
- Removable molded insole
- Steel shank for support and stability
The Skamania Mid is one of Hi-Tec’s most popular waterproof hiking boots. The suede leather and nylon upper includes a full waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry. The well-cushioned EVA midsole will keep you trekking mile after mile while the full rubber outsole has 5mm lugs for multi-directional grip.
- Leather and nylon upper
- 360 degree waterproof technology
- 5” shaft for ankle support
- EVA midsole for cushion and shock absorption
- Full rubber outsole
- 5mm tread lugs
- Protective toe bumper and heel guard
Merrell’s M-Select Dry membrane makes these boots waterproof and breathable. The traditional lace system with a bellows tongue keeps debris out and the molded nylon arch shank adds stability on rough terrain. The Air Cushion in the heel absorbs shock and the EVA removable footbed includes M-Select Fresh antimicrobial agents for odor control. The rubber outsoles give reliable traction over a variety of terrain.
- Suede leather and mesh uppers
- M-Select Dry waterproof membrane
- EVA midsole
- Kinetic Fit BASE removable footbed
- M Select Grip rubber outsole
- Weighs 2lbs for the pair
Weighing in at about 450 grams, Salomon has developed an effective hiking boot with tackles technical hikes with ease. Descent Control technology holds your foot in place during even the toughest downhill treks. Two different types of rubber in the sole and a patterned area on the heel offer the best grip, even on wet surfaces. The Advanced Chassis attached directly to the sole for maximum stability.
- Leather and Synthetic uppers
- Contagrip technology for traction
- EVA footbed
- Salomon 2 year limited warranty
Children’s Hiking Boots
Outfit your tiny hiker with a breathable, waterproof Dri-Tec membrane inside suede and mesh uppers. The I-Shield coating will repel water and dirt and the multi-directional traction outsole give good traction. The ghillie lacing system combined with a fully gusseted tongue and a lightweight nylon fork shank keeps their feet secure and stable.
- Suede and mesh uppers
- Dri-Tec waterproof breathable membrane
- I-Shield coating repels water
- Ghillie lacing system
- Compression molded EVA midsole
- Multi-directional traction outsole
These unisex kids boots are made with waterproof suede leather and mesh over a breathable bootie membrane. The EVA cushioned sock liner is removable and the compression molded EVA midsole offers support and stability. A rubber outsole offers lightweight traction from playground to hiking trails.
- 100% suede leather and mesh uppers
- 4” shaft for ankle support
- Waterproof membrane
- Removable cushioned sock liner
- Compression molded EVA midsole
- Rubber cup outsole
There are a few designs to choose from, including lace-up and Velcro. High quality warm plush will keep little toes warm even in winter snow. The breathable mesh and suede upper is durable and the M Select FRESH lining is breathable and odor-resistent. The M Select anti-slip grip rubber sole includes a steel “buck” in the heel for extra traction.
- Suede and mesh uppers
- Waterproof, odor-resistant lining
- M Select anti-slip rubber sole
- Soft, plush lining for warmth
- Lace or Velcro closure options
These breathable suede leather and mesh boots are lightweight and perfect for warm weather adventures. The molded midsole includes a heel stabilizer and rubber toe cap. Padding in the collar and tongue combined with a quick-lace system keep feet and ankles secure and comfortable. The durable rubber outsole provides ample traction and shock absorption.
- 100% suede and mesh uppers
- 5” shaft for ankle support
- Synthetic sole
- Molded midsole with heel stabilizer and toe cap
- Traction rubber outsole