The 11 Best Hiking Boots of 2021

Enjoy every step of your adventure with the right boots

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Boots at Amazon

"Merrell's Moab 2 has been popular for decades for a reason."

Best Budget: Timberland Mt. Maddsen Hiking Boots at Amazon

"This style from Timberland offers all you ask from a hiking boot at a reasonable price."

Best for Men: Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX at Amazon

"With a protective toe cap and rugged outsole, these boots are built with durability in mind."

Best for Women: Oboz Women’s Sapphire Hiking Boots at Amazon

"Stylish suede and a tailored shape make these hiking boots a clear choice for women."

Best Lightweight: Hoka One One Kaha Hiking Boots at Hoka One One

"Features sneaker stylings in a traditional lace-up hiking boot form that makes for a rugged yet light boot."

Best Waterproof: Vasque St. Elias FG GTX Hiking Boots at Amazon

"Minimal seams and a Gore-Tex inner membrane promise superior waterproofing."

Best for Winter: The North Face Chilkat 400 II at Amazon

"A streamlined rubber shell protects from snow, ice, and winter moisture."

Best for Wide Feet: Keen Men's Targhee III at Keen

"The time-tested design works in a range of conditions and for a wide range of foot types."

Best for Backpacking: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boots at Amazon

"This boot is everything you need for big treks because it's durable, sturdy, and athletic."

Best for Trail Running: Danner Trail 2650 at Amazon

"Danner adds a protective toe cap for one of the more vulnerable areas when trail running."

As one of the most important pieces of gear a hiker or backpacker can own, choosing the right hiking boot can be a daunting task. Get it wrong and you could end up feeling miserable, but get it right and you can forget about your feet and just enjoy your day on the trail.

The most important thing when shopping for hiking boots is to find a pair that fits you properly—that means a snug heel that keeps your foot in place and a roomy toe box that lets your toes wiggle without banging into the front of the shoe. Depending on your intended use, you will also want to consider style, weight, warmth, and water-resistance. Thankfully, most hiking boots today offer next-level comfort with little to no break-in time so you can get out on the trail ASAP.

Here are our picks for the best hiking boots across several useful categories, so you can find the perfect pair for your feet and the places you want to hike.

Best Overall: Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Boots

Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Boots

 Courtesy of Merrell

The Moab line of hiking boots is possibly the most recognizable modern hiking boot and has been Merrell’s best seller for decades. The vented, textured suede upper is paired with a lugged Vibram outsole for a classic mid-height hiker at a reasonable price. This version also features a waterproof, breathable membrane though if you are mostly hiking in hot and dry conditions, consider the Vent version to keep your feet cool. This classic boot also comes in a women’s version and is available in wide sizing in most shoe sizes.

Best Budget: Timberland Mt. Maddsen Hiking Boots

This classic hiking style boot from Timberland offers all you ask from a hiking boot at a reasonable sticker price: waterproofing, rugged outsole, protective sole shank, and metal lace loops. The boot is also remarkably lightweight, with each boot weighing just over a pound. Perhaps not surprisingly from Timberland, the boots are stylish enough for fall and winter casual wear when you’re not on the trail since they feature a sustainably-sourced leather upper. The boots are also available in a women’s-specific version in two distinct colorways.

Best for Men: Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX

Built like Salomon’s acclaimed trail running shoes, the X Ultra Mid GTX boots are mostly synthetic lightweight hikers meant for speed but built with durability in mind with features such as the reinforced protective toe cap and the rugged outsole made with two types of rubber. The Gore-Tex membrane ensures waterproofing with breathability to keep feet dry in all conditions. The Ortholite insole ensures comfort when paired with the EVA midsole and heel cup.

Best for Women: Oboz Women’s Sapphire Hiking Boots

Oboz Women’s Sapphire Hiking Boots

 Courtesy of Backcountry

Too often, women’s-specific gear is just unisex with a more feminine colorway. Not so with the Sapphire hiking boots from Oboz. These hiking boots employ a design that's specifically tailored to women’s distinct foot shape and bone protrusions, which can otherwise cause hotspots if not properly supported. A nylon shank provides foot protection and stiffness without making the boots rigid, while the proprietary BDry waterproofing keeps water and still allows your feet to breathe when they’re working hard.

Best Lightweight: Hoka One One Kaha Hiking Boots

Hoka One One Kaha Hiking Boots

 Courtesy of Hoka One One

4.6

Despite being over-the-ankle hiking boots with leather uppers, this pair weighs less than a pound per boot in keeping with Hoka’s reputation for lightweight trail footwear. The Sky Kaha boots feature sneaker stylings in a traditional lace-up hiking boot form that makes for a rugged yet light and supportive hiker. The Vibram outsole features a streamlined lug pattern on a wide base for stability at speed on the trail. Like most Hoka shoes, there’s ample foam in the midsole for a heavily cushioned ride that spares your feet when you’re racking up miles. They're available in a men’s version as well.

”I found that wearing reasonably thick socks made from natural materials is best when wearing the Kahas because the insole is fairly smooth and slick.”Justin Park, Product Tester

Best Waterproof: Vasque St. Elias FG GTX Hiking Boots

The all-leather uppers on the Vasque St. Elias boots provide superior waterproofing thanks to minimal seams paired with a Gore-Tex inner membrane. The outsoles are thick and rugged for extended hikes with a heavy pack when stability and durability are paramount. These boots also have a classic look and are available in brown leather or black, steering clear of the fluorescent stylings of many modern hikers. A women’s version is available as well, though the colorways are similarly modest.

Best for Winter: The North Face Chilkat 400 II

If your hiking season doesn’t end when the snow flies, you need boots that keep up with falling temperatures and more extreme conditions. The Chilkat 400 boots from The North Face are all business, featuring a streamlined rubber shell that covers most of the foot for protection not only from snow, ice, and winter moisture but rocks and roots too. Primaloft insulation provides another key function of a good winter hiker: warmth. Unlike many bulky winter boots that sacrifice athleticism for warmth via bulk, the 400s stay streamlined so you can hike with a purpose without being weighed down. These hiking boots are also available in a women’s version.

Best for Wide Feet: Keen Men's Targhee III

Keen Targhee III
Courtesy of Keen
4.4

These classic hikers from Keen are widely available (pun not intended) because of the popularity of the Targhee model and can be found in a range of sizes. The time-tested design features a breathable mesh lining, a rugged outsole, and a leather mud shield that works in a wide range of conditions and for a wide range of foot types.

“The internal shank runs from heel to arch, protecting the sensitive part of your foot without making the sole too stiff.”Justin Park, Product Tester

Best for Backpacking: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boots

While much of Salomon’s hiking footwear trends toward minimalist and trail runners, the latest version of Salomon’s popular Quest hiking boots are meant for long, hard treks. The rugged platform of the lugged outsole provides stability while allowing for athletic movement when you're loaded up with a heavy pack. As a balance, the Ortholite footbeds provide a cushioned, contoured pillow for your feet. The upper is designed for durability with mostly leather paneling, a rubber toe guard, and metal lace loops. A women’s version is also available.

Best for Trail Running: Danner Trail 2650

Oregon’s Danner makes mostly classic leather-upper hiking boots, but the Trail 2650 hiking shoes deliver athletic running performance while still maintaining that classic Danner look of soft leather in a mid-height hiking boot. The Vibram 460 soles are a more durable version of running shoe foam and Danner adds a protective toe cap for one of the more vulnerable areas when hiking and trail running.

The pair together weigh less than two pounds but they feature the same Gore-Tex waterproofing as more traditional hiking boots. Ortholite footbeds pair with Danner’s PlyoGo EVA midsoles for a cushioned ride that soaks up impacts from rocks and roots.

Best Classic: Rhodes Men's Dolomite Boot

Rhodes Dolomite Boot

Courtesy of Huckberry

When you look up hiking boots in an old encyclopedia, the Rhodes Dolomite boots are what you expect to see: metal lace loops, all-leather construction, and a rugged sole. Handmade in Italy’s Dolomites, these boots would be just as appropriate on the trail as they are as part of a fall or winter casual look thanks to their bespoke design lines. They’re leather inside and out with a calfskin liner and a nubuck upper that will only get more comfortable with time.

What to Look for in Hiking Boots

Fit

Keep in mind that you may be wearing heavier, taller socks when hiking so try to wear similar socks if you try boots on in-person. One of the best ways to avoid hotspots and pain when wearing hiking boots is ensuring a snug fit without being cramped. This means a heel that cups and holds, and a toe box that leaves some space without being sloppy. You should be able to find a snug point before fully tightening the laces down.

Waterproofing

The majority of hiking boots are waterproof, but if you know you want waterproof boots be sure to double-check that the boots you’re considering have that label. That said, not everyone may need waterproof hiking boots. If you hike mostly in hot and dry conditions, you may want to prioritize breathability over waterproofing which can make feet sweat, especially in hot temperatures. Non-waterproof boots can also dry more quickly because of their increased breathability.

Price

Hiking boots are generally more expensive than sneakers and other casual footwear, with most quality pairs costing between $100 and $200. Most hiking boots in that range have similar features and functions, though higher-end boots may offer increased quality control and durability.

FAQs

What does Gore-Tex mean?

Many, if not most, hiking boots feature “Gore-Tex” which many incorrectly assume is a water-repellent coating. Gore-Tex is a brand that supplies materials and technology to outerwear companies. In the hiking boot context, most often, Gore-Tex refers to a waterproof-yet-breathable membrane inside the boot that keeps feet dry.

What's the difference between hiking boots and hiking shoes?

Although both types of footwear can be used for hiking, there are some differences between the two that shoppers should be aware of. Hiking boots tend to cover up the ankles and have a mid-height length for more stability. Hiking shoes, on the other hand, tend to be more lightweight and offer less support. They're best for trail running or traveling while hiking boots are designed for longer treks through the backcountry.

Do hiking boots need to be insulated?

Insulated hiking boots are really only practical in truly cold temperatures, which is during late fall and winter in most areas. Since people do most of their hiking in the summer, we only recommend insulated boots if you’re buying them specifically for cold weather use. Hiking naturally keeps your body warm through exertion and often overheating is more of a concern than cold feet, as long as your hiking boots fit well.

Can hiking boots be worn as work boots?

Many tradespeople and others who work on their feet use hiking boots on the job for the comfort, support, and protection they afford. If you don’t need a true steel-toed work boot, hiking boots may suit your needs.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Author Justin Park logs hundreds of miles hiking each year from his basecamp home in Breckenridge, Colorado. He's hiked in triple-digit heat in Utah’s deserts and in early snows above 14,000 feet along Rocky Mountain peaks. He has worn previous versions of the Salomon Quest 4D boots for deep backcountry missions but prefers the Salomon X Ultra Mid hikers for day use.

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