Over the last few decades, hiking boots have evolved tremendously, they remain crucial to your performance and comfort on the trail. The modern trend of hiking boots moves towards lighter construction, waterproofing materials, durability, and support. The secret to choosing the best hiking boot is to understand several different (yet crucial) factors, as you will discover in this article.
Trail hiking varies depending on your location. Some are well maintained and flat, while others are mountainous and rocky. For this reason, we reviewed different types of hiking boots to cater to different terrains to ensure that you have a perfect pair for hiking wherever you wish.
We also included a buyers’ guide to help you determine what vital factors to consider when shopping for the best hiking boots.
Check out these recommendations for men’s hiking boots if you’re in a rush, or scroll down for our comprehensive top 10 reviews.
- Best overall: Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX
- Best performance: Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Best lightweight hiking boots: ALTRA Men’s Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM
- Best leather hiking boots: Danner Mountain 600 Men’s Hiking Boots
- Best budget hiking boots: Timberland Mt. Maddsen Men’s Hiking Boots
- Best waterproof hiking boots: Salewa Crow GTX Mountaineering Boots
Best Hiking Boots for Men: Buyers Guide
Having to compare several hiking boots can be tricky, which is why we’ve listed the most crucial factors to consider when buying hiking boots for men:
1) FIT – Perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when buying hiking boots is the fit. Hiking boots are designed to be snug. A fitting pair of hiking boots prevent water from getting in as you run and ensure that the ankles and foot arch are well supported, thus protection from injuries.
2) MATERIALS – The type of material used in designing the boot’s uppers is an essential factor to consider. Uppers are part of the boot that connects the outsole and determines how durable and water-resistant the boot is. The majority of the best hiking boots are made of synthetic leather and mesh. However, there are some high-end hiking boots made of pure leather.
Suede Leather and Nubuck hiking boots are made of leather but have a finish with a suede feel. You will discover that Nubuck leather is standard with mid-range boots; this leather is light and quite flexible than the original leather. The main downside of this type of leather is that it has average durability. To enhance the durability of hiking boots, most brands use both mesh and Nubuck leather. Hikers agree that Nubuck leather has better breathability as compared to pure leather.
Full-grain leather is mainly used in high-end heavy hiking boots. Hiking boots made of full grain leather are not as breathable but are great when it comes to weather resistance and durability. They are also easy to clean and maintain.
Synthetic nylon and mesh are the standard material in mid-level hiking boots. The materials are excellent when it comes to breathability. These materials are lightweight and are known to absorb moisture quickly than leather. Hiking boots made out of these materials have average durability.
3) TOE PROTECTION – Your toes must remain protected at all times. The best hiking boots are designed with toe caps or rubber rands to help keep your toes well protected if you hit stones as you move along the trails.
Toe caps and rubber rands are thick, and with some hiking boots, they are tight, thus wrapping, offering complete protection around the front of the foot.
4) LINING – The inner part of the hiking boots is often lined with unique materials to help protect the foot from shock and increase comfort. The lining acts as a cushioning layer between the boot and the boot. This layer absorbs pressure from the insole, and the feet, thus helps prevent straining in the upper material. The best lining materials are moisture-wicking and breathable.
The primary lining material used in the best hiking boots includes terry loop, meshes, and woven nylon.
- Polartec is the primary lining material in hiking boots for winter and cold conditions; the material is lightweight, non- water-absorbing, and has a wool-like feel.
- Thinsulate is another lining material used in the best hiking boots; it is lightweight and a great synthetic alternative for goose down. Thinsulate is an excellent waterproof material.
- Primaloft is the third-best lining material in most hiking boots. It is soft and can resist compression. It is an excellent insulation lining material, which makes it perfect for the cold condition.
5) INSOLES – Insoles are meant to align your feet nicely to keep them protected. Unfortunately, most of the expensive hiking boots feature a flat insole that might not do much in terms of aligning your foot. The good news is that the best hiking boots come with removable insoles, which means that you can replace them with better insoles. A new pair of insoles can offer you more cushioning and enhance the fit under the arch. There is a wide selection of insoles that you can buy for your hiking boots, ensure that they feature adequate protection.
6) MIDSOLES – Midsoles and outsoles are crucial for absorbing shock from impacts on the ground as you walk. There are different types of midsoles, and they also range from thin to stiff. The most common midsole foam used by top brands includes; EVA foam, PU or EVA and PU combination.
EVA foam is the standard midsole foam in most of the best lightweight hiking boots and midweight boots. EVA foam is a soft cushioning material that helps keep the pain out of the heel and midfoot as you walk. EVA foam can be soft or stiff, depending on the boot you get. If you wish to go for long hikes, it is then recommended that you go for rigid EVA foam. The soft EVA foam is best for short-distance hikers, and the main downside is that it breaks down quickly, and you will need to replace them often.
PU foams are more rigid than EVA foams. The PU foam is mainly used in long-distance hiking boots; the foam is not as cushy as EVA but lasts longer than other foams. They also remain in shape for a long time, and you will have no reason to replace them sooner. This foam is standard in mid-range hiking boots but come at an extra cost.
7) OUTSOLES – The outsole is the bottom of the boot that is always in contact with the ground. The type of outsoles in hiking boots determines how much traction you get. Several materials are used to make the outsole of hiking boots; it all depends on the type of activity the shoes are made for. The best outsole features durability, waterproofing, rigidity, flexibility, and traction.
A good number of hiking boost outsoles feature bars, studs, and lugs to increase traction as you move. These patterns help prevent slipping even when hiking on slippery grounds.
Rubber outsoles are used for hiking boots intended for rock terrains. The rubber can grip well on hard surfaces. The only downside with these outsoles is that they are not best with muddy terrains.
The best outsoles combine good cushioning, grip, and traction. Most of these are made of double density rubber; soles with deeper threads tend to be last longer and perform well in most terrains.
8) CUSHIONING AND SUPPORT – It is also essential to ensure that the hiking boots you choose offer you enough cushioning and bounce. Cushioning is vital for support and foot alignment, which are both crucial factors in a hiking boot.
A hiking boot should also be stable to help reduce calf fatigue even after long hours of hiking. A shank is a piece of hard plastic inserted between the outsole and midsole to ensure that the heel does not drop as you move up on steep terrains. You will realize that any given boot’s stiffness will depend on its intended use; for example, mountaineering hiking boots are designed to handle long pushes compared to lightweight hiking boots that lack a shank. Heavy cushioning is ideal for long hikes, while soft cushioning does well in short walks.
The boots’ cut design also determines the amount of support you get. Hiking boots usually feature low, medium, or high cut. Low or mid-stakes are perfect if you are hiking in well-maintained trails; however, you will need a boot with a high cut for backcountry hiking, as it offers maximum protection to your ankles. Also, ensure that the boot you buy features a rand to protect it from sharp stone cuts.
9) WATERPROOFING – Most of the hiking boots in the market are made of waterproofing material. A good number of brands use waterproof and breathable lining to ensure maximum protection against weather elements. Gore-Tex is the most common waterproof lining found in most hiking boots. There are also other waterproofing technologies like Keen Dry. The best hiking boots will also feature a water-repellent coating added to the boot to eliminate water droplets.
The waterproofing feature ensures that your feet remain dry even as you walk across the streams or when your feet get sweaty. Waterproofing is an excellent feature for those that love hiking in areas where water contact is inevitable.
10) BREATHABILITY – Proper ventilation ensures that your feet remain fresh and dry at all times. A breathable foam simply prevents water and moisture from entering into the boots. However, the foam wicks away moisture when your feet sweat. The top breathability foam that you will come across in several hiking boots is Gore-Tex and eVent. The amount of breathability you get depends on the type of membrane you choose to go for.
11) FASTENING SYSTEM – You need an excellent fastening system to help you attain the required comfort. Remember that the width, length, and place of fastening affect maximizing or minimizing your convenience as well as performance. The primary fastening System includes hooks, eyelets, webbing, D rings, and metal tunnels. New brands use the quick-release lacing system, which involves cords, cord clips, and cord lock. The main advantage of this lacing system is that it enhances one-pull tightening and easy removal.
These are some of the best breathable hiking boots on our list; the boot remains comfortable even when you hike in high-temperature areas. The Gore-Tex membrane ensures an additional layer of insulation when you are walking in cold weather areas. These boots waterproofing materials ensure that you remain dry at the end of the day, regardless of how much you sweat; we also love that they dry quite fast than other Gore-Tex models available in the market.
The toe protection offered by Salomon X Ultra 3 is quite decent for its reasonable cost; the protective rubber covers the front of the boot, thus protecting your toes from hard impacts. Still, on element protection, the boots’ tongue is gusseted to help keep rocks, dust and sticks out of your shoes as you move up and down the trails.
These best waterproof hiking boots come with an easy to adjust lacing system, the laces are routed through the wide webbing eyelets, and this System helps spread out the weight of the laces, thus reducing the pressure on the uppers.
There is excellent midsole cushioning, thanks to the EVA foam inserts. Besides the removable insoles, the boot has a thick layer of foam on the footbed to ensure that comfort is reinforced at all times. The outsole’s lug pattern is quite deep hence decent grip and traction on terrains. The outsole is also flexible enough to help prevent heel spills.
With these best hiking boots, you get to enjoy different modern technologies meant to ensure your comfort. The mesh uppers are extremely breathable and feature a modern, stylish design. The bellows tongue keeps the foot protected from debris and dust. Besides, the waterproofing of these boots helps prevent sliding against the shoe’s inner layers, leading to odor and blisters.
The midsole comes with the M Select Fit. ECO footbed as well as an EVA foam for excellent cushioning. This cushioning is well contoured to add to your feet’ comfort as you move up and down the trails. We love the fact that the cushioning is stable and flexible, thus protecting the underfoot adequately.
The heel section also comes with air cushioning pad, which incredible heel padding feature that keeps the heel region protected and able to absorb as much weight as possible when your foot is aligned correctly in the boot.
The Vibram TC5+ outsole and the lugs enhance and offer the perfect grip for all those unfriendly terrains that you might face.
The Solomon Quest 4D hiking boots are versatile and sturdy, making them ideal for hiking in different outdoor conditions. Solomon Quest 4D offers excellent ankle support than most premium hiking boots in the market. The shoes come with Ortholite insoles that help elevate the heel .the extra padded mesh ankle collars hold onto the leg tightly, thus providing the support and stability you need to move up and down the trails.
The boots feature durable locking eyelets midway up the boot, making it easier for you to adjust them accordingly.
These boots are warm when hiking in those cold conditions thanks to their weatherproof material that resists moisture at all costs. It is recommended that you regularly treat the leather with a waterproofing solution, also use gaiters to help keep water out.
You will love the boots’ high traction Contra grip soles that help you stay stable in different unpredictable trail surfaces.
If you’re looking for the best leather hiking boots, then Danner is yours to go brand. Danner is famous for its classic designed leather hiking boots, and Danner Mountain 600 is no different; this is, in fact, the best day hiking boot in the market.
Danner Mountain 600 features an ankle design that is also lightweight. The boot has a flexible and well-cushioned underfoot and an adjustable lacing system that ensures you have a snug fit. The boots’ uppers are made of full suede.
The inner waterproofing layer is known as Danner Dry, and the water-resistant suede ensures that your feet are protected from all impacts of uneven terrain. The lining also offers warmth when you are out and about in the cold weather.
The TPU heel frame is perfect for enhancing support and increase stability. The Vibram Fuga outsole, combined with the Megagrip technology, provides an extensive grip and grip on both dry and wet surfaces. The midsoles are made of Vibram SPE, which enhances maximum rebound support and comfort.
Danner 600 is designed for short-distance day hikes; you may want to consider another hiking boot pair if you look forward to long hauls over rugged terrains.
The boot is priced on the higher side, but most hikers claim that its design, comfort, and versatility are worth every coin. This hiking boot is available in several colors to choose from.
The Altra Lone Peak trail-running boot is among the best mid-height boot in the market. Impressively, they are lightweight, hence ideal for short-day hikes; they are light even when you have thick hiking socks.
These best hiking boots for men come with a spacious toe box to ensure enough space for your toes to breathe to prevent pressure and blisters with a tight toe box.
The boots’ uppers are made of mesh, which is breathable, thus keeping your feet fresh and odorless. They also have four attachment points for gaiters to prevent stones and gravel from getting into the ankle area.
The midsole is designed to give you extra ankle support and stability. They also come with an aggressive grip, ensuring that you have enough control when working over wet terrains. Amazingly, they do not clog in the mud, and the lugs do a great job keeping stable as you take your strides.
These boots also feature a zero-drop cushion, which means that the foot’s cushion is equalized on every part of the shoe. This mechanism allows you to have a more natural gait as you walk on the trail.
These boots offer adequate stability to get you through different terrains. The Hoka One One’s collar goes above the ankle while the large footbeds increase your contact on the ground so that you move swiftly and courageously.
The boots’ uppers are entirely waterproof; your feet will remain dry after hiking hours in cold areas. The Gore-Tex booties function as a second independent waterproof layer.
The lacing System is simple to use; all you have to do is pull the laces tightly to offer a custom fitting. The sole features a Vibram MegaGrip that ensures you have enough control on wet slippery surfaces. The lug system also provides traction on dry areas.
These are heavy hiking boots ideal for those looking forward to hiking in rough, uneven terrains over a long distance.
The boots’ uppers are made of suede leather and water-resistant material that increases flexibility. The Flex Collar increases the ankle’s rear range of motion; this promotes comfort, especially when moving down the trails. The 3F System connects the instep to the sole and offers flexibility and stability.
These boots come with a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort that permits breathability and comfort. This means that the boot is suitable for several outdoor conditions.
Salewa GTX Mountaineering Boot features a protective rand that wraps across the lower part of the boot to prevent snow, debris, and rocks.
The boots’ lacing system extends to the toes, and this allows you to customize your fit. This is a great feature, especially for those with wider or narrow feet.
The EVA midsoles are soft and extremely comfortable. The 3S Combi System allows for optimal performance. The TPU inserts enhance flexibility and support.
The outsole of these best hiking boots features Vibram New Mulaz, which is aggressive and self-cleaning. They are great at providing traction, which makes them great for hiking and mountaineering.
The boots feature a spacious toe box to ensure that you are well protected from pressure, bunions, and blisters.
These best hiking boots feature a waterproof Timber Dry eco- conscious membrane that ensures that your feet remain dry at all times. The fully gusseted tongue does a great job keeping out debris. You can wear this hiking boot all day long without feeling tired, thanks to their anti-fatigue comfort technology that boosts your comfort.
They have a rubber sole, which ensures that you have enough traction to comfortably move over a wide range of terrains. Furthermore, the internal TPU shank offers torsional rigidity needed for support and comfort.
The following hiking boots for men didn’t make it on our list, but they’re still great shoes that you should check out:
- Baffin Men’s Snow Monster Insulated All-Weather Boots – designed for extreme weather as low as -93 degrees Farhenight. It comes with removable multi-layer insulated that allows temperature variation. Its collar is made of a waterproof upper and a snow collar to ensure that your feet remain dry and warm at all times. The boots’ arctic rubber shell lining and ice paw pads help create the perfect traction needed for ice and snow hiking. The shoe has a speed- laced fastening System that ensures proper tightening of the boot even when your hands are slippery. Buffin Snow Monster Boots are perfect for those who love hiking in snowy conditions and are looking for an affordable pair of hiking boots.
- Scarpa Men’s Mont Blanc Pro GTX Mountaineering Boots – made for hiking in rough, uneven terrains. The boot’s uppers are designed using pure waterproof leather. Simultaneously, the underneath layer features a GORE-TEX that is also integrated with a double gaiter collar to prevent water and snow from penetrating the boot. There is no doubt that these are among the best leather hiking boots designed for heavy terrains; the boot’s tongue is ribbed to ensure lace pressure distribution for increased comfort. The pro-fiber insoles help absorb shock as you walk on those uneven and unfriendly terrains. Overall, the shoe features a durable all-weather design, thus worth considering.
- KEEN Revel IV High Polar Boots – excellent option for those who love camping in the cold weather. The boots come with -40 degrees -Fahrenheit rating, which is decent for keeping your feet warm as you like. We love the boots’ deep lug soles designed to respond to the cold climate by stiffening up for a tight fit, thus keeping cold at bay. There is a thermal barrier within the boot and the waterproof membrane, which keeps the cold air away while keeping the warm air. The thermal barrier can be removed to make these boots all weather. The anti-odor control prevents terrible smells that are almost inevitable with long hikes. These are some of the best budget hiking boots on the market.
- adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex Swift R2 GTX – one of the best lightweight hiking boots for men. They come in a stylish design, which ensures you look great when you have them on. These boots are designed to stay waterproof for as long as you wear them. We love the Terrex Swift R2 feature that comes with a pull- cord lacing system and the Traxion outsole that helps keep your shot steady even when walking on wet areas. The molded toe cap gives you extra cushioning and protection against the trail unevenness. You will love the durability of these boots; they are versatile too, hence suitable for running, backpacking as well as long-distance hiking.
- SCARPA Men’s Kailash Trek GTX Hiking Boots – excellent choice for looking for a perfect pair for backyard and mountain adventures. These books are a classic example of modern hiking boots design that combines comfort and functionality. The shoe has a vibrant sole and a GORE-TEX membrane lining that ensures durability during harsh conditions. It also features a proprietary ACTIVfit construction and shock protection design to help you remain comfortable at all times. You will appreciate the Bi- component hardware for easy and secure lacing.
- Columbia Men’s Gunnison Plus Leather Omni-Heat Hiking Boots – best boots for extended winter hiking. The hoot features 200g of insulation and thermal reflective liners to keep the boot’s heat for better comfort. The boots’ uppers are made of pure leather for durability as well as the overall design. This is another best lightweight hiking boots for those long hikes; we love the extra padded cushioning in the midsoles for lasting comfort. You can wear the pair to snowshoeing, ice fishing, and shoveling.
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As avid adventurers, we know the importance of getting the right gear for your trip. Finding the right source to provide you with trustworthy information is crucial, which is why we built HelloHiking. Here’s why you should trust us:
- The products we review have been tested by members of our team.
- We don’t have any bias in terms of brands – if the product is great, it’ll be listed.
- We update our guides each year so you have the latest information.
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