Best Cheap Hiking Boots
Timberland White Ledge Men’s Boot
The White Ledge wins our vote as the best budget hiking boots for a number of reasons. They’re light, robust, waterproof, and comfortable. They boast an overall quality of build that, to our minds, is on a par with many of their far pricier competitors.
This mid-cut boot is made with super-sturdy but supple, full-grain waterproof leather uppers that offer outstanding comfort and durability. It makes use of sealed seams to prevent leaks and cushion-like EVA footbeds and midsoles that both absorb shock and dampen blows while walking in rocky terrain.
But what we love about this boot is its versatility. Although offering excellent waterproofing and ruggedness, in addition it outperforms its budget-priced peers in breathability and weight, tipping the scales at a mere 1ls. 2 oz. per size 9 boot.
Other winning features include a rust-proof, speed lacing system with hooks at the top for more precision fitting, recycled fabric linings, and an aggressive tread pattern with multi-directional lugs that provide good traction and grip in slick, muddy, and loose terrain.
Bottom line: A true all-rounder, this robust, super-comfortable waterproof boot is a great option for any buyers seeking a reliable, go-to boot for outings in all kinds of weather at any time of year.
The Best Hiking Boots on a Budget [2021 Edition]
Looking for Great Value Hiking Boots?
You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:
- Why you need a great pair of hiking boots
- What goes into the making of a reliable, comfortable boot
- What to consider when buying
- Reviews of the top affordable boots on the market
- Our unbiased recommendation on the #1 budget hiking boot
No piece of kit impacts upon the success and comfort of our hiking adventures than what we wear on our feet. Unlike our backpacks or jackets, for example, getting this one wrong could result in hour upon hour of pain and discomfort and make those adventures more likely to fall into the “misadventure” column.
Avoiding the above, is a lot trickier while buying at the budget end of the market.
Here, there are plenty of bargains to be found, of course…
…but beware of the many unworthy options that are dead-certs to disintegrate a few months down the line or turn your hikes into true suffer-fests. Blisters, bunions, foot cramp, and head-over-heel tumbles are a few of the misfortunes that might await!
In short, finding the best budget hiking boots is a trail addled with plenty of pitfalls.
But fear not, dear reader! In this guide, we’re going to usher you around those pitfalls by delivering a detailed buyers guide to the best cheap hiking boots on the market along with our top 6 picks for 2021.
What Kind of Hiking Footwear Do I Need?
The type of hiking boot you need will depend on what kind of hiking you plan on doing and what sort of comfort needs are your priority. Boots come in different cuts, either low, mid, or high, and whichever you need depends on the kinds of protection desired for your ankle and exposed leg. In addition, boots come with a variety of upper, midsole, and outsole materials.
Deciding which you need will depend on comfort, moisture, and the sort of terrain you plan on tackling. Breathability and moisture resistance are two other substantial factors in choosing shoe type. Weight plays a significant role in finding the ideal boot. While comfort is crucial. As with any shoe, you will want hiking boots that fit and support your arch, foot width, etc. and that can be worn for a long time without discomfort.
What unique features in affordable hiking boots should I be aware of?
Hiking shoes are classified by the following factors: Cut or Type; Upper Material; Midsole Material; Outsole Material or Style; Moisture Resistance or Breathability; and Weight. You should consider what kind of shoe support your feet need and what type of shoe best suits the environment you plan to hike.
What kind of cuts exist and why are cuts significant?
Hiking boots come in a variety of cuts, i.e., shoe heights. Hiking boots are classified as low-, mid-, or high-cut. Low-cut boots will be below your ankle, with mid-cut covering your ankle. High-cut boots will end higher on your shin than mid-cut hiking boots. These types of cuts are important for the amount of ankle support you need. A sturdy mid-cut boot, for example, will provide stability and prevent ankle rolls. A low-cut boot does not offer this support, but a low-cut boot might be preferable as a lighter, refreshing shoe for more simple hikes and camping. Another factor to consider is higher-cut hiking boots offer more protection to the body, both from the elements, like rain and cold, but also from thorny brush, insects, and snakes. The material weight and breathability will ultimately impact which boot is the best for you.
How vital is waterproofing and material quality for inexpensive hiking boots?
Lighter, durable materials tend to come with higher quality boots – meaning the pricing of these boots might be higher than other styles. Many boots can be waterproofed by spraying them before use with another product; if you are concerned about getting your only pair of hiking boots wet on a hiking and backpacking trip, it may be worth investigating styles with better moisture resistance.
Some boots come with upper pieces made out of suede and mesh, allowing for a lot of breathability as you sweat. Other boots may have a waterproof membrane that keeps moisture from penetrating the shoe which might lead to soggy socks for the rest of the day.
Leather comes pre-coated with polyurethane to help prevent the elements from entering the boot. To decide which factors to prioritize, you should consider the kind of hiking you plan on doing and the things important to your comfort: Are you concerned about wet socks? Heavy shoes? Sweaty feet? Price? It will, in the end, be a trade-off in finding the perfect hiking boot for your needs.
What kind of boots are there for different activities?
As mentioned, there are many kinds of features and styles that can optimize your performance based on your individual needs and your activity of choice. In general, activities you want to choose a boot for will be some trail walking (either kept and easy or rugged), bushwacking, mountaineering, and more technical ascents. Your selection will depend on all of the factors mentioned, plus you should keep in mind the following advice: For easy trail walking, low- or mid-cut styles are your best option. They provide more support than regular street shoes, although you may need additional waterproofing protection depending on the shoe itself. For more rugged trails, the story is similar except you may want more ankle support – so a mid-cut is preferable. If going off-trail, aim for something above the ankle and made of leather; this will provide the protection necessary for questionable flora.
Mountaineering will require shoes similar to off-trail styles. In addition, they should fit with a set of crampons and have good waterproofing capability. Any technical climbing will prefer low cuts or something higher. A close fit and anti-abrasion qualities are essential. If you don’t plan on wearing them as you hike to your climbing spot, the lighter you can find the better. Otherwise, you should consider gaiters for the hike portion.
Once I find the right boot, what can I do to keep them in top condition?
It will be imperative to take care of your hiking boots so they will last a long time. Using wax or silicone to treat boots for waterproofing will soften any leather parts over time, meaning the boots will become more comfortable – and that they may stretch some.
Reconditioning them is important. Storing them so that they air out is key to keeping them clean and functioning. Water damage will degrade the quality of leather, but will in addition cause hiking boots to experience some shrinkage. Bringing waterproofing materials with you on a long hike will ensure no damage occurs while using the boots. Being active in preserving their condition will mean you benefit from supple materials, not neglected materials that may continue to feel inadequate if treated after the fact.
Reviews of the Top Affordable Hiking and Backpacking Boots
Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude Lite I
The Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude Lite I hiking boots are a mid-cut style. Their uppers are made of I-shield waterproofed suede and are waterproofed with a Dri-Tec waterproof membrane. The midsole consists of compression-molded EVA and an OrthoLite sock liner. The outsole is a Multi-Directional Traction rubber. The shaft measures about 5″ from the arch with a heel of about 1.5″ and a platform of 1.00″. The lacing on the boot is designed to add additional stabilization. Weighing in at over 3 lbs, which is tending to the lighter side of the middle of the pack.
This boot is favored by people who love to walk considerable miles or hike simple grades and trails. Older reviewers have reported it suits them for their needs in terms of the trails they choose in addition to the comfort aspects they need to finish their hikes. That being said, people of all ages have been impressed with these hiking boots’ comfort and waterproofing. They are considered lightweight for those not wanting a heavy shoe.
- Suede and mesh provides durability, breathability and comfort while i-shield repels water and dirt and is resistant to stains
- Lightweight, durable ‘fork shank’ ensures flexibility and stability
- Moulded impact-absorbing EVA midsole ensures long lasting cushioning and comfort
- OrthoLite® sockliner delivers superior cushioning while MD-Traction rubber outsole improves grip and provides durability
- The waterproofing is effective for most hikers.
- They provide good comfort and durability for easy hikes and break in well.
- The treads feature a self-cleaning function that reportedly works nicely.
- This boot may fit a little larger than most, meaning sizing might be a challenge.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II
The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II are constructed from leather and synthetic materials with a rubber sole. The shaft measures about 5″ from the arch with a platform of 0.50″. The soles are made from an Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber. The uppers are of a coated leather, suede, mesh, all equipped with seams that have been constructed in a waterproof and watertight fashion. The midsole is a Techlite lightweight material which is enduring and comfortable, well cushioned. The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus hiking boots are designed to be effective for providing stability and traction in the muddiest of situations.
Hikers are impressed with this product. They find it to have good quality, to have high comfort, and to be true to size. At times the cushioning is less than some of our reviewers preferred, and these shoes are reported as not working well on smooth surfaces. However, they are lightweight and keep feet dry in the rain.
- PU coated leather, suede, mesh and metal hardware Waterproof seam-sealed construction
- A durable and lightweight hiking boot designed for a variety of outdoor activities
- Omni-Grip™ non-marking traction rubber
- Techlite™ lightweight midsole for long lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return
- These shoes have excellent waterproofing.
- They provide a lot of foot and ankle support.
- They have excellent traction on non-smooth surfaces.
- They may be challenging (and take some time) to break in properly.
Merrell Men’s Phoenix Mid
The Merrell Men’s Phoenix Mid are another mid-cut style shoe. They are specialized to have waterproof properties so that they are safe for use in wet or damp conditions. Ventilation is enhanced by the meshing added to the outside of the shoe. The heel is shock-absorbent, utilizing an EVA footbed that is removable for replacements. The midsole is EVA.
Tthis shoe gets high reviews for its quality relative to cost. They are comfortable to wear on a daily basis as well as to take on challenging terrains. The design is simple, but the challenge levels of trails these shoes can handle are wide-ranging, with many of our reviewers reporting they can hike steep slopes or rocky trails without difficulty. In our view the best value hiking boots on this list.
- Waterproof suede leather and mesh upper
- Bellows tongue keeps out debris and traditional lacing system
- EVA removable footbed, molded nylon arch shank & EVA midsole to provide cushioning
- Merrell Air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability
- These shoes provide a lot of good support.
- They are known to last long if cared for well.
- Their waterproofing works well.
- Some report difficulty with the sizing
Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot
Best Affordable Hiking Boots
This hiking boot made from full-grain waterproof leather uppers, ideal for durability and resistance to abrasions. The external heel has an extra covering for protection for the rear of the foot. The textile lining of the boot is designed to wick away moisture, and the padded tongue and collar offer extra comfort. The outsole has a lugged rubber traction that is durable on rough terrain. The footbed is lined with removable dual-density EVA.
The reviewers find hiking in these boots to be comfortable, with its width being true to size. This boot will be comfortable for higher arches, and it is comfortable for everyday use, use in rain or cold, and for hiking with heavy loads. These shoes are considered great quality for an affordable investment, and both recreational hikers and professional hikers find them exceeding expectations. Although a few people have reported issues with the grommets coming off, the vast majority of people have reported no issues.
- Premium waterproof leather for comfort, durability and abrasion resistance.
- Padded collar for a comfortable fit & dual-density EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning.
- Bual-density EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning.
- These shoes are considered very comfortable.
- Their water resistance is notable.
- They are sturdy, with good ankle support as well as traction.
- In addition to having difficult laces, these shoes are on the heavier side.
Under Armour Men’s SpeedFit Hike Boots
The Under Armour Speedfit are multi-purpose with a 5.5″ height, weighing 10 oz. per boot. Their uppers are a molded synthetic leather with textile, enabling it to have less weight but considerable comfort. The outsole is made from durable leather, and the insole is a removable OrthoLite. The shoes are treated with DWR water-resistance, and the seams are designed to be watertight. The toe cap is made from thermoplastic polyurethane, the forefoot has welded overlays, and the external heel has a counter. The toe is soft, and the tongue is molded. Finally, the shoes consist of an internal stability plate.
The reviewers enjoy this product for its comfort and lightweight design. Waterproofing was considered adequate by most, although a few people who find trouble lacing this shoe to their foot have found the rain to be a challenge to their hikes. In general, the sizing appears to be accurate, with the exception that wide sizes may not be accommodated by the available products.
- Anatomically molded upper with ultrasonic welded seams & welded forefoot overlay to give you a superior fit
- External heel counter for support & a locked-down fit
- Molded Ortholite® sockliner is designed with a memory foam top & PU base
- Aggressive traction lugs, engineered for unrivaled off-road grip & stability & TPU toe cap for protection
- One reviewer compared wearing this shoe to “walking on air.”
- These are another pair of waterproof shoes.
- The fit is comfortable, and there is no need to break them in.
- These shoes are not available in wide.
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot
The Merrell Moab 2 boot is a mid-cut model with suede leather and mesh uppers. The insides are lined with a breathable mesh and an air cushion for the heel to absorb shock and add stability. The toe is covered with a protective rubber toe cap, and the sole is made from a Vibram TC5+. The arch shank is of molded nylon. An EVA midsole provides additional stability and comfort – all of this for a weight of 2lbs 2 oz.
Hikers report going long distances for multiple hikes without any discomfort in these hiking shoes. They are considered as having excellent durability, support, and breathability, although they may be on the heavier side compared to some other lightweight models. If a mid-cut is the level you’re looking for, the Merrell Moab 2 are versatile hiking boot for a wide variety of hikes and mountain climbs.
- Performance suede leather and mesh upper
- Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue keeps moisture and debris out & protective rubber toe cap.
- Merrell M Select™ FIT.ECO+ blended EVA contoured footbed with added zonal arch and heel support
- Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability
- Molded nylon arch shank & Vibram® TC5+ sole
- The comfort level is rated highly by many hikers.
- The Vibram soles provide high-quality grip.
- The heel is on the thicker size which may be a discomfort for some.
Last update on 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API