Hiking is an activity with a low barrier to entry. All one really needs to head out for a day in the woods is a pair of sturdy shoes and a mindset for walking uphill.

Both are equally important, but one is far easier to come by. And while it may be tempting to head out for a summit bid in a pair of well-worn running shoes, we strongly suggest you shod yourself with the appropriate footwear and accompanying accessories.

What to Consider Before You Buy Hiking Boots

About Fit

This guide is designed to be a resource that can help you find the best hiking boots available. Hours of research and wear-testing were undertaken to make sure that the hiking boots and shoes found here are actually pieces of high-quality footwear.

That being said, every person’s needs and walking habits are different, and more importantly, every person’s feet are different. What works for us may not work for you, and while we’ve provided as much variety here as we can, a review isn’t a substitute for trying a shoe on and making sure that it fits and feels comfortable. If you can, go to an outdoor gear retailer and try a few on.

Hiking Boots vs. Hiking Shoes

There are two types of footwear made for logging trail miles: hiking boots and hiking shoes. Hiking boots are full-sized footwear made with stability and support in mind. When you’re backpacking, or you’re just taking on black diamond terrain during a day hike, hiking boots are there to lend more ankle support and reinforced protection.

Hiking shoes don’t offer the same level of ankle support that a cuff provides; they’re designed to be lightweight for nimble mobility. Most hiking shoes still give more support than a running shoe, plus a durable rubber sole with lugs that will maintain grip through varying terrain. Hiking shoes are a good option for those who prefer short walks and don’t need the extra support, and they’re a great option for travel too.

Should you buy an aftermarket insole?

The short answer is yes. Almost every hiking boot and hiking shoe come with a foam insole that will wear out after very few uses. Some are better than others, and most will feel comfortable straight out of the box, but none will provide the long-term support of an aftermarket insole.

Superfeet makes a variety of affordable insoles that offer different volumes and levels of support. As with the boots themselves, it’s best to try these on at a store to find the most comfortable and best-fitting option. Bring your boots with you because insoles can change the amount of space inside your shoe and affect the overall feel of its fit.

How We Tested

collage of hiking boots and people hiking
Hayley Helms

We walked in these boots over 200 miles combined — through the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, all the way to the Green Mountain, and everywhere in between. While trekking all those miles and trails, we had a lot of time to think about fit, feel, stability, and more, and settled on a few key features to judge these boots: weight, waterproofing, materials and overall performance. After rigorous testing on sandy, dried-up riverbeds, hard-packed mountain trails, shale-strewn sediment beds and more, we landed on these boots as the cream of the crop.

Unlike concrete sidewalks and gravel paths, the trail calls for hardened and supportive footwear to combat dirt, mud, jagged rocks and streams. The answer is hiking boots, and the ones below are the best available.

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex

Best Overall Hiking Boot

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots


  • Lightweight and supportive

  • Can be a little stiff out of the box
  • Weight: 1 pound, 14.4 ounces ounces
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Sole: Contagrip MA

    Salomon’s mid-weight X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex is a best-seller among the company’s stock of hiking boots, mainly because it’s well-rounded for all types of use. The boot features a Contagrip rubber sole with an aggressive lug pattern that our tester found provides grip through varying surfaces and conditions and a Gore-Tex-lined synthetic upper that helps keep moisture at bay while promoting breathability on longer, warmer days.

    salomon x ultra 4 gtx mid
    Scott Seiver

    The X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex has a mid-height cuff that provides ample ankle support and stability — our tester found its cushioning hits that Goldilocks spot of just the right amount of support without getting too squishy — but note that it isn’t as tall as some of the other hiking boots on this list that might be preferable for long treks. In a way, that helps this boot to be more versatile — it wouldn’t be out of place walking around town or worn daily as a go-to shoe. Our tester wore theirs from spring to fall without any issue and noted the boots' agility and comfort as their two standout features.

        Tecnica Forge S GTX

        Best Upgrade Hiking Boot

        Tecnica Forge S GTX


        • Customizable fit is unparalleled

        • Finding a molding machine for customization can be difficult
        • Weight: 20.9 ounces (leather) 20.6 ounces (synthetic)
        • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Extended Comfort
        • Upper: Nubuck leather or synthetic
        • Sole: Vibram Megagrip

          The Forge is the first hiking boot from ski boot manufacturer Tecnica, and it’s also the first hiking boot that’s fully customizable. Every piece of the Forge is designed for customization, most notably the upper, which is available in both synthetic ripstop and nubuck leather. In addition, Tecnica equipped the Forge with all the indications of a solid hiking boot, including a Gore-Tex liner and Vibram rubber sole.

          tecnica forge gtx
          Scott Seiver

          Because the Forge is a full-custom boot, buying options are limited to the brick-and-mortar stores that keep it and its boot-fitting robot in stock (you can purchase the boot online and then bring it to one of these stores for molding after). The typical fit process that involves trying on multiple pairs of boots and walking up and down a ramp covered in fake rock doesn’t apply here because the boot feels remarkably different before and after molding. That process takes 20 to 30 minutes and involves two rounds of heating and molding, one for the Forge’s insoles and another for the uppers.

          The result is about as good a fit as a hiking boot can achieve, and it doesn’t come with a rigorous break-in period either. That alone should make the Forge an attractive choice for many, but it’s not the only feature that makes it a great hiking boot. Our tester found the Vibram sole to be appropriately rugged, the wrap-around cuff comfortable and supportive, and the upper waterproof but breathable. For its first foray into a new category, Tecnica hit the mark.

          Read our head to head review of the Tecnica Forge and Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX here.

          On Cloudrock Waterproof

          On Running
          Best Speed Hiker

          On Cloudrock Waterproof


          • Traction provides bite on challenging terrain

          • Not comfortable enough for longer hikes
          • Weight: 15.7 ounces
          • Waterproofing: Hydrophilic polyurethane membrane
          • Upper: Synthetic mesh
          • Sole: Missiongrip rubber

            Calling to mind a high-top version of some of the upstart Swiss brand’s gorgeous running shoes, there’s much more to this boot than meets the eye. It’s packed with patented technology and innovation to keep your footfalls light and quick. A Missiongrip rubber outsole with deep lugs provides traction and bite on uneven surfaces, Zero-Gravity CloudTec cushions every step, and the FlexLock lacing system lets you tighten up with a single pull or tighten the top and bottom individually.

            We’re also impressed with the upper, which boats a durable wind- and waterproof membrane, a high, padded collar and tongue and two types of mesh geared toward support and comfort. Even with all these features, the Cloudrock is remarkably light at less than a pound. The low weight combined with the propulsive Speedboard insole ensures you'll be virtually flying over the trails.

                Keen Ridge Flex Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

                Best For General Winter Wear

                KEEN Ridge Flex Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots


                • Very comfortable right out of the box

                • The heel loop isn't very functional
                • Weight: 16.6 ounces
                • Waterproofing: Keen.Dry waterproof/breathable membrane
                • Upper: Waterproof leather; performance mesh
                • Sole: Keen All-Terrain rubber

                  One pair of boots that could double for duty on the trail and general winter wear in soggy and snowy conditions: that’s all our tester wanted. After trying on about 15 pairs from various makers, the Keen Ridge Flex was a winner straight out of the box for its combination of comfort and seriousness. With zero break-in time and regular wear in urban, rural and wet conditions, they're a shoo-in for his new favorite boot.

                  keen hiking boots
                  Zen Love

                  The boots’ distinguishing feature is the brand’s Bellow Flex technology integrated in to the upper which flexes with each step. This is said to reduce both wear on the boot and resistance when walking — he's worn them long enough only to confirm the latter so far. That combined with the roomy fit around the toes and very grippy soles makes them some of the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn, and yet they feel simultaneously sturdy and rugged. They somehow fit well with regular socks or even much thicker ones.

                  They’re great for colder weather, and while reasonably breathable, waterproofing inevitably sacrifices some breathability making them probably not the best choice for warm weather. The higher ankle also makes them good for snow (to a certain degree). The only quibble is that the heel loop isn’t high enough to really help when putting the boot on and ends up seeming merely decorative.

                      Hoka Kaha GTX 2

                      Most Supportive Hiking Boot

                      Hoka Kaha 2 GTX


                      • Cushioning is soft and supportive at the same time

                      • A little roomy on narrower ankles

                      • Weight: 16.80 ounces
                      • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex recycled fabric; topically applied PFC-free water repellency treatment
                      • Upper: Waterproof nubuck leather
                      • Sole: Vibram Megagrip Rubber

                        Hoka's Kaha GTX 2 received some serious upgrades for its second iteration, most notably the increased use of sustainable materials throughout the boot. The upper features Gore-Tex footwear fabric made with recycled textiles, recycled mesh, the molded PU sock liner is made with 50 percent soybean oil and the laces are made with recycled polyester.

                        hoka hiking boots
                        Hayley Helms

                        Aside from its new sustainable accolades, the Kaha GTX 2 is a precision balance of weight and comfort. Our tester took his straight out of the box on a 12-mile hike and was blown away by how insanely comfortable these boots really are. The symmetrical bed of cushions, paired with the ultra-plush cushioning, had his feet feeling like they were walking on clouds. The unique swallowtail heel provided a smoother ride and flexed where he needed it to on rockier terrain.

                        The only drawback he noticed hiking in the Hokas was that he found myself wishing they were a little stiffer in the heel — after mile 8, the ride felt a little too soft, and when scrambling up hills and braking down the other side, he found myself looking for stability that just wasn't there. In his experience, the Hokas are great for longer day hikes or overnighters where he wasn't running into steep terrain.

                        Danner Mountain 600

                        BEST TOWN-TO TRAIL BOOT

                        Danner Mountain 600

                        Danner rei.com

                        • Great for multi-use days

                        • There are better boots for backpacking and longer trips
                        • Weight: 2 pounds 5 ounces
                        • Waterproofing: Danner Dry waterproofing
                        • Upper: Leather
                        • Sole: Vibram Fuga with MegaGrip

                          With a design that fuses Danner’s classic outdoor silhouette with modern materials, the Mountain 600 is Danner’s city-to-mountain hiking boot. It’s lightweight and comfortable out of the box thanks to a leather upper and a cushiony Vibram outsole.

                          One of our testers spent a lot of time in the leather version of the Mountain 600 — essentially, he wore it into the ground — because, as he says, "It’s lightweight and elegant enough to wear in town but has plenty of grip and support for trail use too." It's supportive but not so stiff that it'll be a pain to walk around town in for the day. In that way, it's the best of both worlds and is a great option for those who don’t go on super long-distance hikes (there are better choices for backpacking trips) or carry a lot of weight in their packs or simply don't want multiple pairs of boots for different settings.

                          One thing we recommend is that if you are going to buy the Mountain 600, supplement it with an aftermarket insole. Also, size down half a size for the best fit.

                              Oboz Sypes Mid

                              Best Low-Top Hiking Boot

                              Oboz Sypes Mid


                              • Just enough ankle support for day hikes

                              • Not enough ankle support for more challenging terrain

                              • Weight: 2 pounds 1 ounce
                              • Waterproofing: Oboz BDry waterproofing
                              • Upper: Nubuck leather and Cordura synthetic fabric
                              • Sole: Bend rubber outsole with directional lugs

                                Another lighter and more versatile hiking boot to consider is Oboz's Sypes Mid. Visually, it's a little less technical than some of the others here, which makes it ideal for town wear and travel too. But the main reason to love this boot is comfort. Rather than stiff and in need of breaking in, the Sypes feels good fresh out of the box, largely thanks to its O Fit insole. Oboz is sort of known for these, and it's more similar to an aftermarket one than the thin throw-away types that so often come included with hiking boots (since you won't have to buy one of those, you can think of this as a $50 savings too).

                                Beyond that, there's the waterproof leather upper to consider. It rises just below or at the ankle depending on your feet and has a TPU support in the heel for great support without too much bulk. There's also a nylon shank for stability through the midfoot. All of this is to say that despite its comfort and low-tech looks, the Sypes is fully capable of long day hikes and shorter, lower-weight backpacking too. (For longer trips, opt for a boot with full ankle support.)

                                    Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX

                                    BEST LONG-DISTANCE BOOT

                                    Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX

                                    Vasque amazon.com
                                    $99.99 (47% off)

                                    • Lean, mean, hiking machine

                                    • Those who prioritize a plush hiking boot will want to look elsewhere

                                    • Weight: 27 ounces (pair)
                                    • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
                                    • Upper: Nubuck leather and mesh
                                    • Sole: Vibram Contact Grip Megagrip

                                      The Breeze AT Mid GTX builds upon the successes of Vasque's best-selling Breeze III and is part of the company's wholesale update to the Breeze collection. The AT comes with increased durability through its nubuck and abrasion-resistant mesh upper and a Vibram Contact Grip outsole that's exclusive to Vasque hiking boots. It also comes with a bouncy EVA midsole that's reinforced with a full-length TPU shank for stability, and it has a Gore-Tex liner for waterproofing.

                                      Although the comfort of Vasque boots is well-established, our tester found that this full-featured hiking boot built for long-distance trekking did require a longer break-in period than some of his other boots, but that's not the case with the Breeze AT. Like our tester, some reviewers have noted it takes longer to break in than its predecessor, the Breeze III, but on the whole it's still an easy process. On the subject of comfort, our tester noticed the upper has a significant amount of cushioning, which helped prevent pressure points from lacing, while the cuff and tongue are supportive and flexible. Those looking for the most support might lean toward an even heftier boot, but our tester is confident you certainly won't be unhappy in the Breeze AT.

                                          Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX

                                          Best Mountaineering Style Boot

                                          Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX


                                          • Tough, versatile boot is prized by professional mountaineers

                                          • May be over-engineered for the casual hiker
                                          • Weight: 19.2 ounces
                                          • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
                                          • Upper: Suede
                                          • Sole: Vibram Drumlin

                                            Scarpa’s Zodiac Plus GTX has found its way onto many “best of” lists and is recommended by professional mountain climbers — and rightly so. The boot is a tough and versatile option that’s suitable for both the trail behind your house and high-elevation climbs and approaches. The Zodiac Plus GTX is constructed with a suede upper and a heavy-duty Vibram sole.

                                            Scarpa brought the Zodiac as close as it could to a mountaineering boot without crossing the line, and the result is a hiking boot packed with versatility. Our tester found the boot was comfortable and cushioned right out of the box and very supportive. The laces extend further down the boot for precision fitting, and Scarpa has also added a pair of lace hooks on the top of the foot, which is lower than most companies place this type of hardware. Not only does this allow for easier in and out of the boot, but he found that it made controlling overall lace pressure more straightforward too.

                                            The Zodiac may be sturdier than what more casual hikers are looking for but still manages to provide enough flex for low-angle and less-technical walking. If you do plan on getting into different types of terrain and potentially the rock or snow encountered at higher altitudes — even if just once a year — then it’s an awesome boot well-suited to the task.

                                                Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Primeblue Hiking Shoes

                                                Best Urban Hiker

                                                Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 Hiking Shoe

                                                $160.00 (20% off)

                                                • Lightweight and responsive

                                                • Runs big - size down half a size for accurate fit
                                                • Weight: 13.5 ounces
                                                • Waterproofing: None
                                                • Upper: Primeknit textile upper with abrasion-resistant weldings
                                                • Sole: Continental Rubber

                                                  The Terrex Free Hiker is Adidas’s first hiking boot to use the energy-returning Boost foam that’s present in many of its best-selling running shoes (like the Ultraboost). In those shoes, it serves as a comfortable platform but also rebounds to keep you moving without wasting energy. That’s precisely what it does in the Free Hiker, but that’s not the only technical feature that Adidas adapted from running in this hiking boot — there’s also a Primeknit upper for a close and breathable fit.

                                                  Comfort is the first thing to talk about in regards to the Free Hiker, as this is one of the most comfortable boots that we’ve tested yet. But this boot is unique in other ways too; for one, there’s a streetwear/sneaker style element that’s not present in other models. In many ways, the Free Hiker fits and walks more like a sneaker than a typical hiking boot, but it still provides plenty of traction (thanks to a lugged Continental rubber outsole) and more support than you’d expect from a knit upper. That said, the Free Hiker certainly isn’t the most supportive hiking boot on this list, but it wins points for being incredibly lightweight, which makes it a solid choice for those who prefer to move quickly. It also doesn’t look like a typical hiking boot, which makes it perfect for trips that include equal time exploring cities and trails.

                                                  Note: Like with the Danner boot, we had to size down by half a size to get the right fit.

                                                  Lowa Renegade

                                                  Best Construction

                                                  Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

                                                  lowa lowaboots.com

                                                  • Stable and stylish ride

                                                  • May be out of the beginner or intermittent hiker's budget
                                                  • Weight: 19.6 ounces (single shoe)
                                                  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
                                                  • Upper: Heinen Terracare Nubuck Leather
                                                  • Sole: Vibram Evo

                                                    Founded in 1923, for almost 100 years Lowa has been crafting quality-driven, dependable hiking boots high on style. The Renegade is a classic in any hiking arsenal — it's comfortable right out of the box, although, unlike super-soft Hokas, for instance, it does require a little break-in period to be its most comfy. The Derby-cut styling complements any hiking 'fit, and even works off-trail in a pinch.

                                                    Built with Lowa's DuraPU Monowrap frame, the Renegade is a stable ride, due in part to the single-piece upper as well as the full-length stabilizer underfoot. The nubuck leather uppers are sleek and durable, and the Vibram Evo sole provides just the right amount of traction. I wore the boot on washed-out, sandy trails for over 20 miles of testing and never lost my footing once.

                                                        Altra Olympus 5 Hike Mid GTX

                                                        Most Innovative Design

                                                        Altra Olympus 5 Hike Mid GTX

                                                        Altra altrarunning.com
                                                        • Weight: 18.6 ounces
                                                        • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
                                                        • Upper: Gore-Tex product
                                                        • Sole: Vibram Megagrip

                                                          Altra's claim to fame is its proprietary roomy toebox, which can be found across its entire range of hiking and running shoes and boots. Prioritizing foot health is paramount to the brand, and the Olympus is a capable, well-engineered example of this dedication.

                                                          Featuring a 33mm drop paired with balanced cushioning underfoot, the Olympus is a surefooted and stable hiker. Our tester found that the mid-cut ankle design provided just enough support without weighing him down on the trail, and at just under 19 ounces, these boots are light and strong enough to go the distance. He did notice that the upper was a little thin and almost flimsy compared to hardier boots, but there's a good reason for it: the upper is made by Gore-Tex, and was able to protect his feet and keep them dry without too much added weight.

                                                          Upcoming Testing

                                                          Naglev Combat Waterproof Boot: This best-selling boot maintains the bombproof construction that made Naglev popular in the first place (an outer shell made from a single piece of Kevlar) and accentuates it with a breathable, waterproof inner wool boot, integrated cable speed laces and a natural rubber outsole. The way this thing is built, it may just be the last boot you lace up. Bookmark this guide to read our first-person impressions of this tough-built boot as we're currently set to test it this spring.

                                                          Vasque Breeze: In late 2022, Vasque re-released one of its most popular styles (the Breeze) with some key updates in materials and construction. An increased amount of recycled materials in the collar, webbing, heel counter, upper mesh and midsole brings the iconic style firmly into the new school way of doing things in the outdoors. A reinvented VasqueDry waterproofing technology rounds out this new and improved style. We are currently testing it for consideration as an addition to this guide.