Best Hiking Boots: 9 Top Picks of 2021

Looking for the best hiking boots for your backcountry adventures? Find the ideal fit for your feet and activity type in this straight-talking guide, from value picks all the way through to more technical boots for more intrepid adventurers.

Last Update:

Best Hiking Boots

Salomon Quest 4D GTX

Salomon Men's Quest 4 GTX Hiking, Kelp/Wren/Bleached Sand, 11.5

The Salomon Quest 4D GTX III wins our vote as the best hiking boot on the market in 2021. The Quest has gone through various versions since first hitting the market over 20 years ago and this latest iteration takes comfort, support, and all-weather performance to a whole new level. 

The Quest 4D weighs in at a mere 2 pounds and 13.8 ounces per pair (men’s size 9), so it’s light enough for hikers who like to travel fast and light and prefer to feel fleet of foot when on the move. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most comfortable hiking boots we’ve ever worn, waterproof, and provides all the protection you need on rougher and more technical trails.

The Quest are made out of a combination of nubuck leather and textile nylon. This construction helps them to provide ample support and durability without sacrificing breathability or suppleness. They also use a Gore-Tex waterproof liner to ensure your feet stay dry when hiking on wet and muddy trails, fording rivers, or wading through snow.

Other features that make the Quest 4D a “shoo-in” for hikers of all ilks include an aggressive tread pattern and deep lugs for improved traction, a sticky Contagrip outsole, and “Advanced Chassis” shank and midsole technology that reduces foot fatigue.

Bottom line: An absolute gem of a boot that ticks every box that needs ticking for day-hikers, backpackers, and peak-baggers alike.

Best Walking Boots: 9 Top Picks Of 2021

Looking for the Best Men’s Hiking Boots

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • Why you need good hiking boots
    • What you should consider when buying.
    • Reviews of the best hiking boots for men on the market
    • Our unbiased recommendation on the best mens hiking boots
    • A selection of leather hiking boots, lightweight hiking boots, wide hiking boots, and more

When hiking, no gear item has more of an impact on the quality of your trail time than what you put on your feet. A great hiking boot will let you cover countless miles in safety and comfort; one that’s anything less than perfect will turn your hikes into sufferfests and experiences to be endured rather than enjoyed. 

To help your feet find their way into a pair of boots that will make your days on the trail great rather than grim, in this post we’ll introduce you to the top 8 walking boots out there in 2021. We’ll also provide you with all the info you need to make the right choice for your hiking style and recommend different boots for different activity types and budgets. 

  • Salomon Quest 4D III GTX
  • Vasque St. Elias GTX
  • Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
  • Keen Targhee II Mid
  • Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX
  • Asolo Fugitive GTX
  • Danner Mountain Light
  • Lowa Tibet GTX
  • Hanwag Tatra GTX

Benefits Of Hiking Boots Vs Hiking Shoes

While you can certainly go hiking in a pair of regular tennis shoes, hiking boots are the most well-equipped footwear for all trail purposes. There are a number of different reasons for this. 

Firstly, boots are constructed with a more aggressive and deeper outsole tread. This tread provides better traction and grip on the loose rocks, stones, and mud you’ll run into along the trail.

Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes Banner

Another reason that hiking boots are the ideal hiking footwear is that they are made with tougher and often waterproof materials. This means they offer your feet and ankles superb protection from potential aggressors such as roots, rocks, thorns, sticks, rain, and groundwater. It also means they are built to withstand – and won’t fall apart if exposed to – a bit of rough treatment. 

The last, but certainly not least important benefit is that boots provide your feet a lot more support. When you’re out hiking, you’re walking over bumpy, uneven ground. This is obviously going to increase the chances of sprained ankles and other foot injuries.

The extra support provided by a boot comes in various forms. In addition to the tougher fabrics, they also usually used a beefy midsole to cushion underfoot blows, a more rigid sole to provide more propulsion with each step, and a toe cap or rand to protect your toes against bumps and bangs.  

Types Of Hiking Boot

Hiking boots can be broken up into three broad categories: trail shoes, day-hiking boots, and backpacking boots. Within each category, there are plenty of potential sub-categories, but below we’ll provide a broader overview of each main type to help keep things simple.

Further reading: If budget is a concern then check out our guide to the best cheap hiking boots

Trail Shoes

Also known as approach shoes or, simply, “hiking shoes”, these are low-cut, lightweight models with more flexible midsoles than either day-hike or backpacking boots. While these are excellent for day hiking in fair weather, they don’t offer enough support for carrying heavy loads and lack the protection provided by mid- or full-height boots. 

Day-Hiking Boots

These are typically lightweight, mid- or high-cut boots that are meant for use on shorter backpacking trips and day hikes on both well-maintained and more rugged trails. As a general rule, they offer outstanding from-the-box comfort but aren’t as supportive or long-lasting as out-and-out backpacking models. 

Backpacking Boots

These are specially made to provide added support and protection for your tootsies on long-distance treks on which you’ll be carrying heavy loads. Compared to day-hiking boots, they use stiffer midsoles, higher cuts, and usually weigh 20-30% more. They’re also typically made with more durable materials that are built for backpacking and walking in rough terrain.  

Hiking Boot Components

While there are three different types of walking boots, all three categories consist of the same physical boot components. Though these elements will not always be similar on a boot-to-boot basis, they are the foundation of every quality pair of boots. These components are the boots’ uppers, midsoles, outsoles, and internal support.

Uppers

Hiking boot uppers refer to the part of the boot that covers the top and sides of the feet. This component wraps around the feet and connects to the boots’ rubber outsole. In general, uppers are made out of three different types of material: leather, mesh, and nylon.

Boot uppers made out of nylon and mesh typically fall on the entry-level end of the spectrum. These uppers offer outstanding breathability and flexibility but sacrifice a bit in the way of durability and protection.

Boot uppers made out of leather typically fall on the high-end side of the spectrum. These uppers can withstand lots of wear and tear, making them ideal for long-term use. They are also typically better equipped to protect your feet from thorns, debris, and water. On the downside, leather uppers lack the breathability of synthetic counterparts. 

For most hikers, the ideal boot will use a combo of synthetic and natural materials, i.e. nylon and nubuck, or leather, nylon, and mesh. This construction brings the best of both worlds, offering ruggedness and durability where it’s most needed while also providing plenty of breathability. 

Midsoles

The midsoles of hiking boots, as the name suggests, lie in between the boots’ outsoles and insoles. They are responsible for shock absorption and cushioning, and are typically made out of materials like EVA foam and polyurethane.

EVA foam is often used in lightweight and midweight boot midsoles. It’s a thin, lightweight material that is capable of providing cushion and of absorbing shock. It should, however, be noted that not all EVA foams are of the same quality and you will typically have to pay more for a higher-quality EVA foam midsole.

Polyurethane midsoles are typically used in heavier and more technical boots. When compared to EVA foam, this material is thicker, less flexible, and more protective against rocks and bumpy terrain. It’s also more durable and less likely to lose its cushioning capacity over time.

Internal Support

The internal support on hiking boots consists of three parts: the insoles, the shanks, and the plates.

The insoles of hiking boots provide direct cushioning and support for your feet. While all boots come with stock insoles, these insoles are not always of the highest quality. This sometimes necessitates buying an entirely separate set of insoles

If so, high-volume insoles are usually the best bet for hiking boots as they do a better job of filling up the full boot so that your feet don’t slip around while walking.

There are a number of different insoles available for a number of different foot types and conditions. Plantar fasciitis, supination, and overpronation can all be relieved by a particular kind of insole. It’s also possible to just add a new insole for extra cushioning and support.

Shanks are 3–6mm inserts added between the midsole and outsole to provide extra stiffness, which makes carrying heavier loads a whole lot easier, particularly on steeper ground. Some shanks run from toe to heel, whereas others only cover a half to two-thirds of the midsole. As a general rule, the longer the shank, the stiffer and more supportive the sole will be. 

Plates are inserts are placed beneath the shank that protect your feet from impacts, bumps, and bruises on the sole. The size and thickness of plates varies from boot to boot and, again, the thicker and longer the shank, the more protection the boot will provide your foot. 

Outsoles

One of the main reasons for choosing a real backpacking shoe over a flimsy cross trainer is that the outsoles used in the former offer far superior traction. The patterning of the tread and depth of the lugs in your shoes together provide far better grip in loose, muddy, and slippery terrain, which helps to prevent accidental falls and slips. 

Another important aspect of a boot’s outsole is the heel brake. The heel brake is more textured than the rest of the outsole and is designed to keep you from sliding when going downhill.

The type of outsole is equally important. Vibram outsoles are generally the most grippy, but Salomon’s Contagrip is also a good choice.  

It’s important to note that because some manufacturers tailor the design of each shoe for specific brands or uses, Vibram models should not all be treated as equal. Those designed for serious grip in the mud (e.g., Vibram MegaGrip) have larger lugs while models designed for scrambling over rocks prioritize sticky rubber (e.g., Vibram Dynamis).

Features To Consider

When choosing a pair of hiking boots, there are a number of different things you must consider. These aspects may seem small on their own, but when added up, they make all the difference in the boots’ overall performance.

Waterproofing

While not all hiking boots are waterproof, the majority of them are at least water-resistant.

The difference between a water-resistant boot and a waterproof boot is that the former will use a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to ward off water, whereas the latter are either made of leather (which is naturally waterproof) or use a waterproof membrane, such as Gore-Tex.

In terms of performance, the difference between waterproof and water-resistant products is fairly vast. While waterproof boots are generally capable of keeping your feet dry in heavy downpours, crossing shallow streams, or when exposed to groundwater, water-resistant varieties are only capable of fending off limited amounts of H20.

Whether or not you need waterproofing depends on where and when you plan to do your hiking. If you’re going to be hiking in mountainous areas and wet weather, then waterproof boots are a must if you want to have dry feet. 

If you’re more of a fair-weather hiker, then you can probably get away with a pair of boots that are merely water-resistant (or non-waterproof boots), which will also likely save you a few ounces and a handful of $ to boot.

Further reading: Learn how to (re)waterproof your hiking boots!

Weight

Another important aspect to consider when choosing boots is their weight. Boots weights vary significantly, with ultralight mid-height models weighing under 1.5 pounds per pair and heavyweight three-season models weighing in excess of 4 pounds.  

A general rule of thumb is that heavier boots offer more support overall. This makes heavier models ideal for situations in which you’ll be carrying a heavy backpack and negotiating rougher terrain. However, it’s important to find a good balance between support and weight, because hiking in heavy boots can make you feel as though you’re walking through quicksand.

Lightweight boots and shoes are better designed for minimalist hikers who aren’t going to be carrying quite so heavy loads. They don’t offer quite as much support, but are usually more breathable, take less time to break in, and are less likely to cause leg fatigue if you’re racking up the mileage on the trails. 

Stiffness & Stability

Stiffness might not, on the face of it, sound like a quality you’d like your footwear to possess. However, a boots stiffness is one of the key factors in providing the stability and support you need to hike comfortably, and safely, in uneven and steeper terrain. 

In short, the stiffer a boot is, the more support it’s going to provide. However, more rigid models are typically going to allow for less flexibility, and can cause foot pain if you’re hiking on flat terrain. As such, it’s necessary to choose the stiffness according to your specific needs.

Further reading: Learn how to break-in your hiking boots quickly.

Two components contribute to a boots’ level of stiffness: the material of the upper, and the interior support. 

The stiffest boots are typically made entirely out of leather. These don’t provide quite as much breathability or flexibility but are ideal for heavy backpacking purposes where you need all the support you can get. 

The most flexible boots are typically made out of mesh, nylon, and leather. They provide enough stiffness to give you support but still allow for top-notch breathability and flexibility. These types are ideal for minimalist hiking where you won’t be carrying a heavy load.

As mentioned above, Interior support in any hiking boot is provided by the shanks and plates. The stiffer these are, the more load-bearing support they provide. Some shanks, moreover, cover the entire midsole, while others only cover half. The longer the shank, the stiffer the boot will be. 

Breathability

Breathability refers to any boot’s ability to let your sweat escape through its fabric as a vapour and thus prevent your feet becoming soaked in sweat. 

Typically, most models that are made out of a combination of nylon, mesh, and leather will provide the greatest breathability. This is because mesh possesses the capabilities to absorb and wick away sweat, and provides better airflow, thus ensuring your feet stay dry throughout your hike. 

All-leather boots, on the other hand, have a tendency to trap heat and sweat, and so aren’t the best bet for hikers hiking in warm or humid climates. 

Lacing

One of the more small and intricate, but important aspects of hiking boots is how they are laced. A lacing system can make the difference between an exceptionally well-fitting boot and one that slips around, leaving blisters and causing other forms of discomfort.

Further reading: Learn how to lace your hiking boots depending on the circumstances.

Generally, models that contain metal hooks around the front part of the ankle are the best option. These allow you to customize your lacing to fit your feet, something that can’t be done to the same degree with eyelets.

Materials

In general, hiking boots are made out of a variety of three different materials: leather (or varieties of leather), mesh, and nylon. Sometimes synthetic leather and other synthetic textiles are used, but this is not typical. The type of material a hiking boot is made out of will significantly affect its overall performance.

Products that are made out of a combination of leather, nylon, and mesh are ideal for minimalist hiking where you won’t be carrying a heavy load. They don’t provide as much support as solely leather boots but do offer more in the way of breathability and flexibility.

Leather models, on the other hand, are ideal for backpacking, as they will provide you with much more support. These boots aren’t as breathable or as flexible, but do offer more protection against rocks, branches, thorns, snakes, any anything else lurking at toe-to-calf level on the trails.

Outsoles & Traction

As mentioned above, the outsole of your boots largely determines just how grippy they will be in varying terrain. 

The majority of outsoles are made out of rubber, though there are some synthetic outsoles available. Typically, softer rubbers are lighter but tend to wear down quickly if used on hard surfaces, whether that be rocks or paved paths. Harder rubbers, on the other hand, are usually more durable but weigh more and don’t adhere to slick surfaces quite so well. 

Each boot’s outsole features a series of patterned bumps known as “lugs”, which dig into the terrain to provide better balance and stability. In general, lugs that are deeper and spaced further apart will give you better traction. They also do a better job of shaking off mud.

Toe Protection

A vital, but often overlooked aspect of hiking footwear is the amount of toe protection they provide. The majority of models possess rubber toe caps that line the very front of the boot. These are great to have in case you stub your toe or accidentally kick rocks, roots, or other impediments on the trail.

Insoles

Sadly, almost all hiking boots on the market come with cheap insoles that lack shock absorption and don’t provide enough cushioning under the arch. While this may not be noticable to most users, for others it will make days on the trail miserable until a suitable replacement can be found.

The good news is that removing the insoles and replacing them with a high-quality, aftermarket model specially designed for your tootsies is easy. The bad news is, of course, that you’ll have to fork out to get them, adding further expense to the price of the boots.

Fitting & Finding Your Size

Fine Tuning The Fit

Because you’re going to be wearing your hiking boots over extended periods of time while traversing rocky and uneven terrain, you need to make sure that they fit perfectly. Using an ill-fitting pair will end in nothing but pain and discomfort. Who wants to deal with blisters, burns, and rashes day after day, after all? No one, that’s who.

But how do you ensure that your chosen pair of hiking boots will fit to a ‘T’? Ideally, you’ll try them on in person before making a purchase. But with the ability to find more products and cheaper deals online, you may not have that option. If this is the case, there are a number of things you must do to ensure a quality fit.

It’s first necessary to remember that your boot will be worn with hiking socks, which are generally a little thicker than daywear socks. So, whatever your typical foot girth is, you should add around half a centimeter when doing your calculations.

You should also consider the fact that walking might make your feet swell, especially in warmer temperatures. As such, it’s always best to try on a pair of boots in the afternoon, when your feet will be at their biggest. 

A good general rule is to have about a thumb’s width between the end of the boot’s insole and your toes. This will keep your feet locked in firmly without risking the toes banging against the front on descents. 

The Best Hiking Boots: Reviews of Our 9 Top Picks for 2021

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

Best Backpacking Boots

Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Sepia/Sepia,11 M US

Constructed with uppers made entirely out of nubuck leather, the Lowa Tibet GTX offers equal parts protection and flexibility. With perforation holes lining the entire upper, this boot allows for exceptional breathability despite its thick and heavy construction. This makes it great for both backpacking and minimalist hiking purposes.

Featuring a Gore-Tex waterproof liner, these are adept at wading through streams and puddles. They weigh in at just around 1 pound per boot, making them as light as any boot you’re going to find.

Equipped with a rubber outsole with widely spaced lugs, they’ll tear deep into the terrain with each step. This provides them with stellar traction whether going uphill or downhill. Though they carry a hefty price tag, they are as versatile as they come, capable of being used as both backpacking and minimalist gore-tex hiking boots.

Key Features

  • Gore-Tex® protection ensures you stay dry thanks to it’s waterproof yet breathable technology.
  • Precise fit thanks to Tongue studs, x-lacing and I-locks.
  • Never lose your footing thanks to the Vibram® rubber outsoles
  • Resoleable

Check out our full review

  • PROs

    • Excellent support
    • Top-notch lacing system
    • Ridiculously protective
    • Very durable, and resoleable
  • CONs

    • A little bulky
    • Can be a little narrow
    • Heavy

Bottom-Line: Flexible, but with uppers made entirely out of nubuck leather, the Lowa Tibet GTX is a versatile boot that can be used for both backpacking and minimalist hiking purposes.

Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots

Best Waterproof Hiking Boots

Asolo Men's Fugitive Gtx Hiking Boots Wool/Black 11

The Asolo Fugitive GTX is made out of a combination of leather, mesh, and nylon. While it’s not the ideal boot for backpacking purposes, it makes for a terrific minimalist boot. Weighing in at around 1.75 pounds per boot, it’s ridiculously flexible and capable of going whichever way your foot directs it.

This isn’t to say that it lacks support. Its partially-leather upper provides your foot with the stiffness and structure it needs to make its way over the rocky and uneven terrain. It just isn’t quite as stiff or supportive as an all-leather boot.

Equipped with a waterproof liner, it’s more than capable of wading through streams and puddles. Sporting a synthetic outsole, its lugs are spaced widely apart, allowing them to truly grab into the terrain for superb stability and traction. If you’re looking for a breathable, lightweight, and flexible pair of comfy hiking boots, you should consider these.

Key Features

  • Combination of split-grain leather and Cordura® nylon uppers to give a lightweight, breathable and durable design.
  • Gore-Tex® protection ensures you stay dry thanks to it’s waterproof yet breathable technology.
  • The rubber heels and toe boxes are reinforced to provide excellent durability and protection
  • DuoAsoflex midsoles mix a shock-absorbing soft layer with a stiffer shank for torsion control
  • The outsoles are made from a combination of polyurethane midsoles and a bi-density rubber bottom for ultimate cushioning and traction
  • Resoleable

For a full review check here

  • PROs

    • Very breathable
    • As flexible as they come
    • Waterproofing works well
  • CONs

    • Not as supportive
    • Inconsistent stitching and construction
    • Heavier option

Bottom-Line: A breathable and flexible boot, the Asolo Fugitive GTX is a superb option for minimalist hiking purposes.

Hanwag Tatra GTX

Best Winter Hiking Boots

Hanwag Tatra Light GTX Backpacking Boots - Men's, Brown/Anthracite, Medium, 7.5 H202500-56011-7.5

A superb backpacking boot, the Hanwag Tatra GTX possesses a tough, all-leather upper. It’s not as flexible or breathable as some models but will offer superb protection in rocky and woody areas. These are, however, a little heavy, weighing in at a little over 2 pounds per boot.

Equipped with a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, they are adept at wading through small streams and puddles. This ensures that you will stay comfortable and dry throughout your entire trek.

This model possesses rubber soles with widely spaced lugs that slice into the terrain with every step you take. This ensures excellent traction and stability whether you’re going uphill or downhill, and whether it’s soggy or dry. Though they do run a little expensive, the Hanwag Tatra GTXs are a top-notch boot for backpacking purposes.

Key Features

  • Soft leather padded cuff, rubber heel and toe caps offers combination of comfort and protection
  • Clamping lace hooks on top section of uppers for precise and rapid lacing
  • Durably waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® lining
  • Graded memory insole for superior shape retention – always returns to its original form
  • Vibram® sole with deep profile, designed especially by HANWAG – allows the foot to roll exceptionally smoothly
  • Resoleable

Check out our full review here

  • PROs

    • Excellent traction
    • Nice support around the ankle
    • Solid waterproofing 
    • Excellent traction
    • Brilliant durability, you’ll be using these for years
  • CONs

    • Lacks some flexibility
    • A little bulky and not the lightest option

Bottom-Line: A tough, stiff all-leather boot, the Hanwag Tatra GTX is as superb of a backpacking boot as you’re going to find on the market today.

Salomon Quest 4D III GTX

Best Overall

Salomon Men's Quest 4 GTX Hiking, Kelp/Wren/Bleached Sand, 11.5

The Salomon Quest 4D III GTX is a midweight boot which can be used for both minimalist and backpack hiking purposes. It’s one of the most versatile boots on this list, feels like a pair of trail running shoes, and performs well in different types of terrain. Available in a bevy of colors and designs, there is sure to be one that suits your preferences.

Made out of a combination of leather and textile nylon, it offers equal parts support and flexibility. Its nylon upper also allows for superb breathability, keeping your feet fresh and dry throughout your entire hike. Equipped with a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, they are excellent for wading through shallow streams and puddles.

With synthetic outsoles which are hard enough to provide long-term support, but soft enough to allow for some shock absorbance. Its outsole lugs are spaced apart at a relatively wide distance, enabling them to truly grip into the terrain. This provides you with superb traction and stability at all times.

While there are stiffer models for backpacking purposes and lighter options for minimalist hiking purposes, there is no boot more suited to accommodate both. If you like to participate in all types of hiking, the Salomon Quest 4D III GTX is the hiking boot for you.

Key Features

  • Gore-Tex® membranes that are seam sealed, offer superb protection from water yet allow vapor to escape.
  • Updated design gives the best fit ever
  • Constructed of split suede leather and nylon mesh to give a unique marriage of flexibility, breathability and lightweight comfort
  • The tongue and rand design allows the tongue to lie flat, preventing lace pressure while keeping debris out
  • OrthoLite® footbeds have been antimicrobially treated to deter odors
  • Dual-density EVA midsoles supply last comfort and support
  • Contagrip® rubber outsoles provide traction across rough surfaces
  • PROs

    • As versatile as they come
    • Possess a GORE-TEX waterproof liner
    • Top-notch lacing
    • Superb traction
    • Short break-in period
    • As comfortable as a running shoe
  • CONs

    • Not as light as some models
    • Substandard stock insoles

Bottom-Line: Ideal for both backpacking and minimalist hiking, the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX are the most versatile products on the market today and also the most comfortable hiking boots you’re ever likely to come across.

Vasque St. Elias GTX

Best Wide-Fit Boot

Vasque Men's St. Elias FG GTX Hiking Boot, Cognac, 10.5

The Vasque St. Elias GTX features an all-leather upper which provides superb support and stability at all times. This makes it an ideal boot for backpacking purposes. However, you shouldn’t let its excellent stiffness and support fool you. This boot is rather lightweight for a leather boot, weighing in at around 1.5 pounds per boot.

It possesses a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, making it perfect for wading through streams and small puddles. This isn’t to say that it’s an unbreathable boot. GORE-TEX liners are adept at letting air enter and exit freely. Your feet will remain dry and relaxed all throughout your hike.

For traction purposes, this boot possesses a rubber outsole with widely spaced lugs. With an EVA foam midsole, it absorbs shock exceptionally well, reducing the amount of force with each step you take.

Key Features

  • Combining all leather uppers with Gore-Tex® waterproof liners gives excellent protection from the elements while still allowing your feet to breathe
  • Vibram® rubber outsoles give superb traction and stability over uneven terrain
  • Soft EVA footbeds are incorporated into the midsoles to absorb shock and provide cushioning
  • Thermoplastic urethane shanks offer solid support and protection against sharp rocks on rugged trails
  • PROs

    • Possess superb traction
    • Very shock-absorbent
    • One of the most comfortable models in our review
  • CONs

    • Not as breathable
    • Made for narrow feet

Bottom-Line: Sporting an all-leather upper, the Vasque St. Elias GTX is an uber-supportive, yet lightweight hiking boot that’s terrific for backpacking purposes.

Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX

Best Technical Hiking Boot

Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX Hiking Boot - Men's Charcoal/Papavero 11.5

If you’re looking for a very breathable, yet very supportive boot that performs well in challenging terrain, you should definitely consider the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX. Made out of leather and synthetic materials, it’s great for minimalist purposes and passable for backpacking purposes.

Possessing a terrific lacing system that allows you to lace them all the way up to the upper ankle. This will keep your feet locked in place, reducing the risk of blisters and rashes. Sporting a GORE-TEX waterproof liner, they are adept at wading through streams and small puddles.

Featuring synthetic outsoles, they provide superb traction at a lighter weight than other competitors in its performance class. This allows you to make your way up and down hills with general ease. Stocked with adaptive foam padding in their ankle areas, which will cushion you based on your foot’s specific size and shape.

Key Features

  • Constructed with suede leather uppers and Gore-Tex® extended comfort liners
  • Rocky paths, mud and snow, no problem with Vibram® Alpine Approach soles
  • Climbing style lacing extends to the toes for a precise fit
  • 3F System connects to the lacing for enhanced heel and ankle support
  • The Multi Fit Footbed Plus (MFF+) is customizable allowing adaption to the shape of your feet
  • PROs

    • As breathable as they come
    • Extremely comfortable to wear even after hours on the trail
    • Good water resistance and breathability
    • Excellent out-of-the-box comfort
  • CONs

    • Less ankle support
    • Can be a little wide for some

Bottom-Line: Made out of supportive, yet lightweight leather and synthetic materials, the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX is excellent for minimalist hiking and adequate for backpacking.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

Best Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Boots

Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Sepia/Sepia,11 M US

The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid are very supportive, yet lightweight waterproof boots. While it’s ideal for backpacking, it can also be used for minimalist hiking purposes. Featuring nubuck leather uppers which are designed to repel water, in addition they are also equipped with a GORE-TEX waterproof liner. This makes them excellent for wading through streams and puddles.

Possessing a polyester inner lining, they are comfortable to the touch and do a superb job of wicking away sweat. This ensures that your feet will stay dry and relieved all throughout your hike.

Sporting a polyurethane midsole, they are adept at absorbing shock. Equipped with rubber outsoles, they deliver top-notch traction and stability, keeping you upright whether you’re going uphill or downhill. Weighing in at around 1.35 pounds per boot, they are very easy to get around in, yet still ridiculously supportive.

Key Features

  • No issues with shallow streams and dry feet with waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex® liners
  • Water-repellent nubuck leather uppers feature Cordura® nylon ankle bands for comfort and flexibility; polyester linings wick moisture to help keep feet dry inside
  • Derby-cut lacing fits a wide variety of foot volumes; padded and gusseted tongues relieve lace pressure while keeping out trail debris
  • Full-length nylon shanks offer great support for long days on your feet; polyurethane midsoles absorb shock
  • External polyurethane Monowrap® frames offer lateral stability while reducing weight
  • Vibram® Evo rubber outsoles on the men’s Lowa Renegade deliver excellent traction on a wide variety of terrain
  • PROs

    • Extremely supportive and comfortable, without being too heavy
    • Offer great traction
    • Shock-absorbent midsoles
    • Ideal if carrying a heavy pack
  • CONs

    • Some durability issues
    • A little narrow-fitting

Bottom-Line: Made out of water-repellent nubuck leather, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a lightweight boot that can be used for both backpacking and minimalist hiking purposes.

Keen Targhee II Mid

Best Lightweight Hiking Boots

Danner Men's 30800 Mountain Light II 5' Gore-Tex Hiking Boot, Brown - 13 D

If you’re looking for a great minimalist boot at a downright reasonable price, you should consider the Keen Targhee II Mid. Though it’s priced fairly low, it offers a great deal of support and flexibility.

Made out of a combination of leather and textile nylon, this boot is very breathable, allowing air and sweat to escape and absorb freely. Featuring a KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane, it keeps water from reaching your foot when you’re wading through streams and puddles.

Equipped with a rubber sole, it provides superb traction at all times, ensuring that you stay on your feet whether going uphill or downhill. For protection purposes, it possesses a rubber toe box. This will keep you from stubbing your toes against rocks, trees, and other hard objects.

Key Features

  • Constructed with waterproofed nubuck leather and flexible nylon mesh upper
  • Lock your feet to the footbeds for increased support with the secure-fit lace capture system
  • KEEN.DRY™ membranes give waterproofing and breathability allowing your feet to stay dry from sweat inside and streams outside
  • The carbon rubber outsoles have large 4mm multidirectional lugs for brilliant traction and durability
  • Shock-absorbing and comfortable compression-molded EVA midsoles
  • Protect your feet from impacts and abrasion with patented rubber toe guards
  • PROs

    • Lightweight
    • As comfortable as trail runners or a hiking shoe
    • Great traction 
    • The wallet-friendly price
  • CONs

    • Possess a strong synthetic odor

Bottom-Line: Available at a very reasonable price, the Keen Targhee II Mid is a great affordable hiking boot for minimalist hikers.

Danner Mountain Light II

Most Stylish

Danner Men's 30800 Mountain Light II 5' Gore-Tex Hiking Boot, Brown - 10 D

Sporting an entirely leather upper, the Danner Mountain Light is probably the most stylish backpacking boot on the market today. While it’s incredibly supportive, it’s not so stiff that you won’t be able to stretch your foot out a bit. It keeps your foot locked in place, but still allows for adequate flexibility and movement.

Equipped with GORE-TEX liners, these are waterproof and capable of wading through streams and puddles. To keep their weight down, they’re stocked with durable polyurethane insoles. In all, they weigh around 1.5 pounds per boot.

Sporting a synthetic sole with widely spaced lugs, the Mountain Lights rip into the terrain for terrific traction and balance. If you’re a backpack hiker who spends a lot of time on rough and rocky trails, this is the product for you.

Key Features

  • Full-grain, one-piece leather uppers give that classic look and incredible durability
  • Gore-Tex® liners offer the sweet combination of waterproofing from the elements while allowing your feet to breathe
  • Airthotic® half-length molded polyurethane insteps cup the heels and fiberglass shanks support the arches
  • Vibram Kletterlift rubber outsoles are specifically designed for comfort, stability and shock absorption
  • Hand-crafted construction offers a wider platform for increased stability on uneven terrain
  • PROs

    • Tough all-leather uppers and resoleable heels make them one of the toughest models reviewed
    • The classic look
    • Offers superb stability and traction
  • CONs

    • Certainly one of the heavier options

Bottom-Line: Providing superb support while sacrificing little in the way of breathability, the Danner Mountain Light II is the best leather hiking boot on the market today.

Last update on 2021-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Brian has been an avid hiker and backpacker since he was a small kid, often being taken out into the wilderness on trips with his father. His dad knew everything about nature and the wilderness (or at least that's how it seemed to a ten year old Brian).

After high school, he went to university to read for both a BS and MS in Geology (primarily so he could spend his time outside rather than in a classroom). He's now hiked, camped, skied, backpacked or mapped on five continents (still need to bag Antartica) & 30 of the US states.

Leave a Comment