The 9 Best Hiking Boots to Buy in 2018

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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 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 favorite hiking boots for a variety of uses.

  • 01 of 09

    Tecnica's Forge series was the first heat-molded hiking boot to hit the market. Fitted similarly to ski boots — both the footbed and the upper are heat molded to your foot when you purchase them at the store — you can get a custom pair of hiking boots in less than 20 minutes. This means all-day comfort and cutting down on the possibility of blisters or pain from your boots not fitting correctly.

    Instead of a classic tongue construction, these hiking boots feature an overlap collar design that further prevents any uncomfortable pressure points. A self-locking lace system gives you micro-adjustability and won’t loosen over time. Oversized lugs on the Vibram Megagrip outsole increase contact with the terrain for extra grip and stability. A Gore-Tex Extended Comfort liner ensures your feet stay dry from both inside and out. The Forge S GTX boot is available for both men and women in an asphalt and green design.

  • 02 of 09

     

    With the Vasque Breeze III Mid GTX, you get a lightweight, fully-featured, all-weather hiking boot at a reasonable price. High-abrasion mesh panels in the leather upper along with toe and heel ventilation ports let your feet breathe — even on the longest trail days. Additionally, a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane protects your feet from the elements without causing them to overheat.

    Thanks to a dual density midsole with extra foam cushion pods (they provide added support), these boots are comfortable right out of the box. The Vibram Contact Grip rubber outsole gives you confidence with each step, regardless of terrain. The Breeze II Mid GTX is available for men, women, and even kids in a variety of colors including black with yellow detailing and brown with olive green detailing. 

  • 03 of 09

     

    These waterproof hikers are not only burly enough to withstand wet and snowy trails, but stylish enough to hit the city streets. The combination suede, leather, and ballistic nylon upper is treated to repel water and dirt. The Hiker also features a breathable waterproof membrane to further help keep your feet dry. An antimicrobial liner and footbed cut down on the possibility of stinky shoes from daily wear while a gusseted tongue prevents any water or debris from sneaking inside your shoe between the tongue and the upper. The compression foam midsole offers all-day walking comfort while the combination lug outsole provides grip both on loose terrain and city pavement. While Forsake offers lots of stylish boots for women, the Hiker is available only for men and in black and brown/green.

  • 04 of 09

     

    Inspired by decades of legendary hiking boots, the Danner Mountain 600 is already a cult classic. Designed to withstand everything the Pacific Northwest weather can throw at them, the hiking boots feature a smooth, full-grain leather upper with a 100-percent waterproof barrier that allows moisture to escape without letting water inside.

    Danner partnered with Vibram to create a cushioning yet supportive midsole and a super grippy outsole that offers traction on both wet and dry surfaces. The removable Ortholite footbed provides an extra level of cushion and support while promoting air circulation under your feet. The boots come with two different colored laces — red and brown — so you can choose which one best matches your style or mood for the day. The Mountain 600 leather hiking boots are available for both men and women in black, saddle tan, and navy. 

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  • 05 of 09

    Ask any hiker on the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail what shoes they are wearing and they will likely tell you the Altra Lone Peak. This mid-level version provides extra ankle support with a durable mesh upper that allows your feet to breathe during long days on the trail. A hook-and-loop tab system enables you to attach gaiters to further prevent debris from getting inside your boots. Altra’s signature foot-shaped toe box lets your toes spread out naturally, giving you more stability and comfort on uneven terrain. A flexible plate that sits right above the midsole protects your feet from sharp rocks or other objects on the trail.

    All Altra shoes are built on a fully-cushioned, zero-drop platform, meaning your heel and forefoot are the same distance from the ground. This encourages a natural, low-impact form as you hike down the trail. The rubber outsole and unique tread pattern provide excellent traction over a variety of terrain, even on steep and loose climbs and descents. The Lone Peak Mid Mesh 3.5 hiking boots are available for both men and women in sand, black, and purple/orange.

  • 06 of 09
    Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid WP

    Zappos

    The leaders in lightweight footwear, Hoka One One took their popular Speedgoat trail runner and created a mid version for fast and light hiking. The upper features a waterproof bootie with a molded collar for added flexibility and comfort. The boots are built on a wide platform that provides a stable base over varied terrain.

    Compression molded foam midsoles deliver Hoka’s legendary lightweight cushioning and impact absorption to cut down on body fatigue and pain from long days of pounding trail. The 4mm heel-to-toe drop promotes natural foot movement throughout your entire stride. The outsole features deep and aggressive Vibram MegaGrip lugs, which offer great traction on rugged terrain. Weighing only 12.6 ounces, the Speedgoat Mid WP is a fast, tough, sure-footed (and dry) trail running/fast hiking shoe available for both men and women.

  • 07 of 09

    These hiking boots are trail ready right out of the box thanks to a mid-height all-leather upper that provides support without any necessary break-in time. The Bridger Mid offers a higher volume fit, with a narrow heel to keep your foot secure but a generous toe box in both width and height that allows for your toes to wiggle or for you to wear a thicker sock.

    A molded rubber toe cap protects your toes from errant rocks and roots on the trail. The upper is treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish to shed water and dirt, while the 100-percent waterproof liner keeps your feet dry through almost any trail condition. The insole uses three different densities of foam to provide both cushioning and underfoot support. The trail gripping lugs on the outsole provide reliable traction on loose terrain while working to shed any mud that might build up. Oboz is famous for using topographic maps in their outsole design and the Bridger Mid features Granite Peak, the tallest peak in Montana. The boots are available in red, grey, and walnut. 

  • 08 of 09

    Wet weather, long hikes, and challenging terrain are no match for the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX. These best-sellers bring running shoe comfort to hiking thanks to a cushioned midsole and interior that is sculpted to keep your foot from sliding around inside, even on steep terrain which means no more banging your toes while hiking downhill or heels slipping when heading uphill.

    The boot's mid-cut style provides extra ankle support and protection, while the gusseted tongue further helps to keep debris from getting inside your boots. The hiking boots are waterproof thanks to a Gore-Tex liner that lets your feet breathe while protecting them from the elements. The leather upper features rubber mud guards and toe caps for protection from roots and rocks that always seem to pop up on trails. The outsole uses two types of rubber and a unique lug pattern to provide grip on steep and slippery terrain. The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is available in various shades of gray, black, blue, teal, and red. 

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  • 09 of 09

    The Terrebonne II Mid Titanium OutDry Extreme hiking boots from Columbia are built to withstand the wet and muddy trails of the Pacific Northwest. Traditional waterproof footwear construction involves a waterproof bootie sandwiched between the top and bottom layer of the shoe upper. While this works to keep water out of the inside of your shoe, the top layer of the upper is still able to soak up water and dirt causing your shoe to gain weight over time and break down faster. To get around this problem, Columbia eliminated the top layer altogether and put the waterproof breathable membrane directly on the outside of the boot where it will fight off water and dirt at the source. This means your feet stay dry and your boots stay light no matter the weather. A lightweight, ultra-cushioned midsole provides comfort even after long days on the trail, while the non-marking high-traction outsole delivers great grip even over slippery terrain. The boots are available only in men’s sizes and the color black.  

Our writers spent 50 hours researching the most popular hiking boots for men on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different boots overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 6 of the boots themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.