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Getting wet feet on a rainy trail or while navigating a stream can spell disaster for even the most experienced hikers. It isn't just a matter of discomfort — the situation can escalate to a case of trench foot if the right care isn’t taken. But there's a way to stop all that before it has a chance to begin, and that's by wearing waterproof hiking boots. It's possible to waterproof your own, but boots that are built to stay dry often come with a few extra design features like GORE-TEX membranes that make them even more impermeable to wet you might encounter on the trail.
There are a ton of options for waterproof hiking boots, which is why we’ve taken the time to round up the best ones out there, from incredible handmade Italian hiking boots to more traditional all-leather pairs—and we’ve even found the best pair for kids to keep the whole family snug and dry. Keep scrolling to see our list of the nine of the best waterproof hiking boots out there.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Well-loved by gear junkies and casual hikers alike, the third iteration of Salomon’s Quest 4D GTX boots are still a crowd-pleaser with improved stability and cushioning. The waterproofing capabilities on these are excellent, thanks to the GORE-TEX membranes that are seam-sealed for superior water protection while allowing sweat and vapor to exit. Attention to detail is strong in these shoes, and even the laces are designed with superior flex and grip to prevent them from coming untied. Dayhikers will love the cushiony footbeds, while those carrying heavy loads in backpacks will appreciate how supportive these shoes remain after many miles have been logged. At about two pounds, five ounces per pair, they’re lightweight enough to ensure that legs don’t get tired—plus a new chassis design that makes each step that much smoother — as well as the OrthoLite footbeds that absorb shock and attack microbes to ward off smelly feet.
Best Budget: Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Hiking Boot
Columbia has built their company on quality products that are also affordable, and these hiking boots are no different. They’re made from actual leather (which is wonderful, given this price point), and the waterproof seal that’s designed right into the boot keeps water out but ensures that air keeps circulating around the foot, which is critical for keeping feet as comfortable as possible after miles on the trail. Gear reviewers and wearers also love the super-supportive upper.
Columbia uses its proprietary Omni engineering for superior grip and traction on the soles of these boots, which is especially handy if you’re hiking through a ton of mud. For all its benefits, the boot is much less heavy than you’d expect, thanks to its Techlite midsole that also offers great cushioning. Reviewers do note that with heavy (daily) use, the boots don’t last a terribly long amount of time—around nine months—but for those who hike occasionally, these are a great bet.
Best for Men: Zamberlan Vioz Lux GTZ RR Hiking Boots
With top ratings on virtually every site that sells them, these Zamberlan boots follow in Italy's fine tradition of superior hiking boot manufacturing. They’re handmade right in Italy, but have incredible features that will take you over the Alps and Rockies alike. The upper is made entirely from full-grain Tuscan leather treated with Hydrobloc technology, which helps to deter moisture and keeps the leather from getting hard or cracked with use (should you need more, the company sells the same stuff they use in the factory directly to customers). Also upping the boots’ waterproof game? The GORE-TEX membrane, which fully prevents water from reaching your feet. Reviewers say that feet stay fully dry even when they’re underwater. We also love the Vibram 3D outsoles, with built-in benefits for hikers traversing steep slopes —their design helps the foot rock forward when going uphill and help it brake when going down.
Best for Women: Salomon Women’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Shoe
Salomon is known as one of the best boot manufacturers out there—the company is famous for its hiking and ski boots, among other outdoor gear. The women’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Shoe, which features the sturdiness of a hiking boot and the technology and comfort of a running shoe, upholds that reputation with top-quality materials that keep the water out to ensure a comfortable hike. The boots are made from durable nubuck leather and incorporate a GORE-TEX Performance Comfort membrane to keep out moisture. We also love the gusseted tongue, which keeps bits of debris like gravel and burrs from sneaking into the shoe, and the Sensifit system, which helps cradle the foot with a “virtually customized fit” to keep it stable and cushioned. We wouldn’t recommend submerging these entirely in water, but for the snow, rain, and mud hikers typically encounter, these boots are among the best.
Best Lightweight: AKU Alterra GTX Boot
AKU might not be as well-known to casual hikers as brands like Columbia or Salomon, but these Italian-made hiking boots will take you over the Piedmonts and beyond—they aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for. With top ratings from wearers on REI, the boots also get great ratings from Backpacker magazine due how quickly they "break in" and get comfortable. They really shine when it comes to waterproofing, with a GORE-TEX membrane that keeps the moisture out while allowing for breathability. Comfort is also key: The Vibram Octopus sole is lightweight and the midsole, made from dual-density PU, is great for cushioning (one wearer calls it “glove-like”). The pair clocks in at two pounds, six ounces as well, meaning they’re more lightweight than a lot of other options. That, in turn, means your legs have a lot less work to do to put one foot in front of the other while you’re racking up the miles.
Best Leather: Ariat Terrain H2O Hiking Boot
Ariat is famed as an equestrian brand, but they also make an incredible pair of hiking boots thanks to their knowledge of barn and work boots. With an oiled, full-grain leather upper and a synthetic sole, these boots integrate a waterproof membrane so feet stay dry in the wettest of conditions. They also incorporate a genius wicking system that allows for ventilation to keep hikers dry and happy. Wearers rave about how great they are straight out of the box—and while everyone has different feet, there were lots of compliments about how these shoes don’t rub, cause blisters or create friction even on the first wear. We love how the ATS footbeds cut down on foot fatigue after dozens of miles. The tread on the bottom is also great on slippery stones and trails, and wearers like how the soles have small grooves so hikers don’t have to dig rocks out.
Best Vibram Sole: Vasque Talus Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Vibram soles are known for their incredible comfort, so combine those with waterproof capabilities and you’ll feel unbeatable in these Vasque hiking shoes. The company is known for top-tier hiking boots, and it’s no different with these. The UltraDry waterproof membrane does wonders for keeping the wet out of the shoe, with some wearers raving about how they perform even in the snow. The boot is also built with comfort in mind, thanks to its dual-density EVA footbed and Vibram Nuasi outsole—plus Vasque has designed its footbed to be abrasion-resistant, so the chances of sore feet at the end of the day are vastly minimized. Grip and traction on these are also great, even when the going gets slippery. Users suggest that wearers buy specific hiking socks to increase breathability for the best experience in these. Treated right, these boots will last for many miles to come.
Best Keens: Keen Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Keens are known for sturdy, lightweight support with an emphasis on comfort, and the Targhee IIs are among the best of the company’s product offerings. Made from waterproof nubuck leather and designed with a hydrophobic mesh lining, the boots do a great job of keeping water out, whether you’re caught out in a heavy rain shower or fording a river. They’re also, importantly, highly breathable, which keeps feet aired-out and dry. We also love the contoured heel lock, which keeps feet in place when you're hitting the trail and minimizes friction that could result in painful blisters. Hikers love the grip on these too—they’re great on rocks and leaves that are slippery with rain. Although there seem to have been some issues with poor manufacturing in 2016, the situation (and quality) seems to have improved by early 2018. Do note that the shoe runs about half a size small, so order a little up for the best fit.
Best for Kids: Vasque Breeze 2.0 Waterproof Hiking Boots
Vasque is a favorite with grown-up hikers, but their kids boots are also incredible. Little hikers tend to be especially capricious when it comes to exploring, and should they happen to take a dip into the water, parents say these boots will keep their feet completely dry thanks to the UltraDry Waterproofing System built right into the shoe. The soles keep a great grip on the paths, helping to prevent tears and scrapes while on the trail, and the laces are extra-long for double-knotting. We also love the rubber toe and heel cap, which increase the durability of the shoe and make it last for many adventures to come (or until kids outgrow them). They’re also a pretty lightweight pair of boots, that feel more like sneakers than heavy boots. It should be noted that even adults with smaller feet have purchased these and loved them, too.
Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular waterproof hiking boots on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 32 different hiking boots overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 60 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.