Finding the right hiking boot for your next outdoor adventure isn’t easy. There are a lot of options (and I mean a lot). That’s why I’ve narrowed down the field to 6 of the best hiking boots and 4 of the best hiking shoes for men that are ideal for your next hike, camping trip or weekend trip into the backcountry.
On the list below you’ll find a mix or boots that range in the conditions they’re best suited for, from hot weather hiking to all-weather trail domination, as well as boots that range in style and cut. One thing these hiking boots all have in common, however, is being tried, tested and loved by countless hikers.
But before you buy a hiking boot or hiking shoe, it’s important to know how to choose the best hiking boot or best hiking shoe for your needs.
How To Choose The Right Hiking Footwear
(Already know what you need? Keep scrolling to see 6 of the best hiking boots and 4 of the best hiking shoes below)
Think About The Type Of Hiking You’ll Be Doing:
First things first, you’ll need to think about how strenuous of an outdoor adventure you plan to embark on. Will you be hiking on novice to intermediate groomed trails, blazing your own trail while scrambling down rocks, or will you be traversing glaciers? Chances are, it’s one of the first two. Next, think about the season and the conditions of the trails you’ll be hiking. Will you be hiking in Arizona where the temperature is hot and dry (where, for example, waterproof boots might not be that necessary), or will you be hiking in Colorado where your hike may have you crossing rivers or trekking in the snow?
Next, Understand The Different Types Of Hiking Footwear:
Compared to the type of hiking footwear below, hiking shoes are often lighter, more flexible and feature a familiar low-cut running shoe profile (coming in just under the ankle). Hiking shoes are ideal for easy to moderate summertime hikes since most feature strategically placed mesh to help keep you feet cool.
With more support and protection than hiking shoes, hiking boots are great for long day hikes and short backpacking trips over rugged terrain — especially while carrying a light to moderate load (i.e. a backpack with your camping gear). Hiking boots generally feature a higher upper to provide increased ankle support, a more rugged outsole (i.e. the bottom of the boot), and a waterproof finish — making some hiking boot’s better suited for all-weather wear. For any hiker looking to take their hiking to the next levell, but not looking to summit the world’s tallest peaks, a great hiking boot is a great investment.
Backpacking boots can oftentimes be thought of as hiking boots on steroids on account of their even sturdier and stiffer construction. Best suited for long and strenuous hikes in the backcountry, backpacking boots often feature increased support and heavier duty soles to help the wearer deal with more challenging terrain while carrying a heavier pack. But all the extra support and protection often means added weight, so just be sure you really need backpacking boots before you set out on a hike in them.
Chances are if you’ve found yourself here, you do not need mountaineering boots (if you needed mountaineering boots, you’d know you needed mountaineering boots). But hey, maybe one day you’ll be ready to summit Mt. Rainer (which is when you’d need mountaineering boots). But here’s the basics: these super heavy duty, tough and stiff boots provide the highest coverage up your leg for maximum support and are often compatible with crampons (metal spikes that strap around the boot’s outsole for better traction while hiking on ice and snow).
6 Of The Best Hiking Boots For Men
1) Hoka – Tor Ultra HI WP Hiking Boot
If you’re a serious road or trail runner, you’ve heard of Hoka, makers of running shoes with a cult-like following of fans who sing the praises of their uniquely constructed and highly cushioned soles. And now with the introduction of their first ever hiking boot, the Tor Ultra High WP, hikers can experience the same signature cushioning and Meta-Rocker geometry found in their running shoes while taking on more challenging trails.
The Tor Ultra High WP also features a soft and flexible leather and nylon upper collar that provides support around the ankle, Vibram MegaGrip outsole for serious traction in wet and dry conditions, and breathable eVent waterproofing to keep your feet dry. And while these boots don’t look like your average hiking boots, they’re insanely comfortable, even right out of the box, which is what really matters most during a long hike. Price: $230
2) La Sportiva - FC ECO 3.0 GTX Hiking Boot
La Spotiva, the Italian maker of high quality rock climbing and mountaineering gear knows a thing or two about life in the mountains — including how to make a solid boot perfect for taking on moderate to technical terrain while hiking and backpacking. Case in point, the FC ECO 3.0 GTX Hiking Boot. This light and comfortable mid-cut boot blurs the line between hiking boot and running shoe with its Flex Control Technology that allows the boot to bend freely in all the right places and promote agile movement. Plus, the FC ECO 3.0 GTX features a supportive upper, a breathable waterproof finish, and is constructed using several recycled or semi-recycled materials (so you can feel good about that). Price: $175
3) Salomon – Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot
Stepping slightly into the territory of backpacking boots (as described at the beginning of this article) based solely on its aggressive look and high-cut upper support, the Solomon Quest 4D 2 GTX’s lightweight and flexible design, and comfort right out of the box keep them firmly in the hiking boot category. With their excellent stability and support, thanks in part to the Contagrip sole which provides superior traction, plus their heavy duty Gore-Tex Performance Comfort Footwear waterproofing, the Quest 4D 2 GTX makes for an excellent all weather boot, perfect for muddy and snowy conditions (and for strapping into snowshoes). Price: $160
4) Merrell – Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot
Ideal for hot weather hiking, the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot’s name says it all (keyword: ventilator). These super light, mid-height boots are constructed using ample mesh (just look at the photo), meaning they’re super breathable and will help keep your feet dry and cool. And although these boots aren’t waterproof, if your feet do get wet, say while crossing a stream or while canoeing, all that mesh will allow them to dry out quickly. These are not your all-seasons boots, so stay away from mud and snow if you make the Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot your selection. Price: $110
5) KEEN – Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot
Super lightweight and waterproof, the the KEEN Targhee II Mid is consistently rated a best buy on account of its quality construction, comfort and affordable price. The boot’s ultra solid toe lip (the black part at the front) is highly durable and will prevent stubbed toes on the trail, plus the boot’s aggressive outsole provides unbeatable traction. The ability to tighten the boot around the heel (see the strap that wraps around the back and connects to the laces) is also a winning feature as it allows the wearer to slightly modify the fit and help prevent their heel from slipping forward in the boot. Price: $135
6) Helly Hansen – Rapide Cordura Mid HT Hiking Boot
The first thing you notice about the Rapide Cordura Mid HT is that this boot is really good looking. Like, you could easily walk around Aspen in these after a day on the trails during the summer, or with a pair of jeans post skiing in the winter, and fit right in. But their beauty is also matched by brawn. Made by Helly Hansen, a company best known for their high quality winter sportswear, these mid-duty and mid-cut boots feature Helly Hanson’s proprietary waterproof technology and outsole, which keep these boots dry but breathable and increase traction. Using their own technology also helps keep the cost of these boots way down (most boot manufacturers use waterproofing or soles made by a others companies). Made using a combination of durable leather, suede and mesh, these boots won’t have any problems holding up when put to the test. Price: $130
Looking For A Hiking Shoe Instead Of A Boot? Try These:
1) Patagonia – Drifter A/C Hiking Shoe
It’s almost impossible to go wrong with anything made by Patagonia, including their Drifter A/C Hiking Shoe which provides the high level of comfort, stability and traction of a hiking boot, but without the upper ankle support. Plus, they’re made using a variety of recycled materials, which is always a plus. Price: $130. Buy Them Here
2) KEEN – Marshall Hiking Shoe
Constructed using ample mesh to keep you feet cool and dry during hot summer hikes, the Marshall Hiking Shoe from KEEN are light-duty hiking shoes ideally suited for well-groomed trails. Aside from being great-looking, the Marshall Hiking Shoe also features the ability to tighten the shoes around the heel for a secure fit (just like the Keen hiking boots mentioned above). Price: $110. Buy Them Here
3) La Sportiva - FC ECO 2.0 GTX Hiking Shoe
Made for conquering light to moderate terrain (or for just wearing around town), the FC ECO 2.0 GTX from La Sportiva is waterproof, breathable and highly cushioned for extra comfort. A solid choice for a shoe you can wear all day long. Price: $150. Buy Them Here
4) Merrell – Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe
The Merrell Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe is extremely similar to the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot featured above on this list. Like the hiking boot, this hiking shoe features ample mesh in all the right places to keep your feet cool while hiking in warm and dry conditions, and a Virbram sole that provides excellent support and traction. Price: $100. But Them Here
Don’t Forget Socks
A great hiking boot needs a great sock. Seriously, if you think socks aren’t that important, you’ve probably never worn really amazing socks while hiking before. I used to not put much thought into my socks either — that is until I got a few pairs of Smartwool socks.
When I’m wearing hiking shoes, I wear Smartwool’s PhD Outdoor Light Micro Sock (Buy Them Here). And when I’m wearing hiking boots in the summer, I always wear Smartwool’s PhD Outdoor Light Crew Sock (Buy Them Here).
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