How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

How Do You Select The Best Hiking Boots?

besthikingboots 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Get The Best Hiking Boots You Can Afford

The only way to go about choosing a hiking boot is to put the horse before the cart. By this I mean you must consider what uses you want to put your new hiking boots to and once you have decided that you can then begin to narrow your search for the best hiking boot for you.

An example of this is if you intend to hike the PCT trail then you DO not want to get the newest light weight hi tech low cut low weight trail runner. You will want to get a solid reliable waterproof boot that offers good ankle support and that will still be protecting your feet after 1700 miles or so.

Of course if like most of us you fall somewhere between the two extremes then one of the many mid cut boots on the market will meet your needs well and certainly not let you down.

Here is a quick list of some of what I consider most important when choosing your boot….

  • Are you going to carry heavy loads.
  • What sort of weather will you be hiking in.
  • What type of terrain will you be in.
  • Do you hike often or are you more of an occasional walker.

Watch this video on how to pick the best hiking boot…

Picking the best hiking boot for your requirements.

catinsandboots How to Choose The Best Hiking BootsOnce you have narrowed down your personal objectives and needs then you need to then start looking at features on the style of boot that you desire and there is a fairly standard list of what you should be searching for in your hiking boot.

Lightweight is gold in the mountains and with the advances in technology it no longer means a compromise in quality so pick the lightest weight boot you can UNLESS you intend to hike in steep rugged terrain and then other factors become more important.

Check the boots sole, once again this depends on your intended use but you really need hiking boots with a sole that will clear mud and debris much like car tires to firstly maintain traction and secondly so that your boots don’t end up weighing more than you when it gets wet.

Does your boot need to be waterproof, remember no boot is waterproof once you cross a stream higher than the ankle cuff, but you can certainly get boots that will keep your feet dry in all other situations. Gore-tex membranes and leather boots tend to accomplish this best so make sure you consider your options here.

Here are a few great places to shop for quality boots…


 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

If you are venturing into rougher terrain then you really should get a hiking boot with a rand, this simply means a protective rubber wrap that encloses the whole boot just above the sole wear the leather attaches. A good rand will both waterproof and protect your boot from rocks and other items that would otherwise damage it.

Smaller things like bootlaces and insoles that come with the hiking boot are generally a lower quality than what you can buy separately from the boot so look to replace these items from the start.

Here is a quick list of some of the better boots you can get…

Product Name

Price

Pros

Cons

Avg Boot Weight

Construction

Mens/Womens

Best Uses

Full Review

 
 
Hi TecaltitudeIV 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Hi-Tec Altitude IV

 
 

$67-
$105

 
 

Quick Break In.
Low Price.
Lightweight.
Water Resistant.
Good Traction.

 
 

Only 90 Day Warranty.

Not Great Support.

 
 

2.4lbs

 
 

Full Grain Nubuck Leather/ Carbon Rubber Sole

 
 

Men: 7-17; Women: 5-11; Wide Fitting

 
 

Day-hiking, Backpacking, Most Backpacking Use .

 
 

Read Review



 
 
Merrellmoab How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Merrel Moab

 
 

$120

 
 

Ankle Support.
Comfortable.
Great Traction.
LightWeight.
Durable.

 
 

Poor Foot Protection.
Not Waterproof.

 
 

1lb.15oz

 
 

Waterproof leather/Nylon Mesh, Nylon Mesh waterproof breathable membrane lining, EVA midsole, Vibram Rubber sole


 
 

Men: 8-14 Wide Fitting, Womens: 6-11


 
 

Day Hiking, Light Loads, Everyday Use.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
AsoloTPS520GV 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Asolo TPS 520 GV

 
 

$289

 
 

Comfortable.
Great Traction.
Water Resistant.
Good Ankle Support.
Sturdy/Durable.

 
 

Heavy.
Hard To Break In.
Not Very Durable.
Poor Lacing .
Limited Traction.

 
 

3lb.13oz

 
 

Full Grain leather/Polyurethane, GoreTex Lining, Rubber Sole

 
 

Men: 8-14; Wide Fitting

 
 

Harsh Terrain, Heavy Loads, Long Distance Hiking, Wet/Rain.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
asolofugitivegtxhikingboots 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Asolo Fugitive

>
 
 

$156.93-
$225

 
 

Comfortable.
Great Traction.
Good Size and Fit.
Good Ankle Support.
Sturdy/Durable.

 
 

Not Waterproof.

 
 

3lb.2oz

 
 

Split-grain leather/nylon, nylon breathable lining, polyeurethane midsole, rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-14

 
 

Day Hiking, Backpacking.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
DannerMountainLightII 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Danner Mountain Light II

 
 

$234.54-
$309.95

 
 

Comfortable.
Full Leather. Sturdy/Durable.

 
 

Hard to break in.
Takes A while To Get Comfortable.

 
 

2lb.1oz

 
 

Full Grain Leather, Gore-Tex waterproof breathable lining, rubber/polyeurethane midsole, vibram 148 Kletterlift sole

 
 

Men: 8-14, Unisex, Widefit

 
 

Backpacking, Serious Hiking, Heavy Loads, Waterproof.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
LowaRenegadeIIGTXMid 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Lowa Renegade II GTX

 
 

$220


 
 

Comfortable.
Great Traction.
No Break In.
Water resistant.
Ankle support.

 
 

Poor Lacing.
Not WaterProof.
Wear Quickly.

 
 

2lb.7oz

 
 

Nubuck Leather, Gore-Tex waterproof breathable lining, polyeurethane midsole, vibram rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-15, Widefit

 
 

Hiking, Day Hiking.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
VasqueBreezeGTX 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Vasque Breeze Gore-Tex

 
 

$160

 
 

Comfortable.
Great Traction.
No Break In.
Water resistant.
Ankle support.

 
 

Heavy.
Poor Lacing.
Wear Quickly.

 
 

2lb.14oz

 
 

Nubuck Leather/Nylon Mesh, Gore-Tex/Nylon lining, Eva midsole, vibram rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-13, Women 6-10, Widefit

 
 

Long Distance Hiking, Day Hiking, Everyday Use, Harsh Terrain.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
SalomonXAPro3D 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Salomon Xa Pro 3D

 
 

$130

 
 

Lightweight.
Comfortable.
Rugged.
Cushions Impact.
Rugged Design.

 
 

Narrow/Tight.
Wear Quickly.

 
 

1lb.12oz

 
 

Polyester mesh/thermoplastic urethane, Polyester lining, Dual Density Eva midsole, Contragrip rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-13, Widefit

 
 

Trail Running, Road Running, Mixed Use, Walking.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
MerrellWilderness 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Merrell Wilderness Canyon



 
 

$299.95

 
 

Heavy.
Not Waterproof.
Not Breathable.
Poor Support .
Limited Traction.

 
 


Not Waterproof.
Not Breathable.
Poor Support.

 
 

3lb.8oz



 
 

Full-grain Leather, Leather/Nylon lining, Rubber midsole, Vibram rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-13


 
 

Hiking, Backpacking, Rugged terrain, Waterproof.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
SalomonQuest4DGTX 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Salomon Quest 4D GTX

 
 

$230

 
 

Ankle Support.
Comfortable.
Great Traction.
Water Proof.
Short Break In.

 
 

Poor Arch Support.
Poor Lacing.
Not Durable.

 
 

2lb.13oz

 
 

Suede Leather/Nylon, Polyester waterproof breathable lining, Dual Density EVA midsole, Rubber Blend sole

 
 

Men: 8-14, Women: 6-11

 
 

Day Hiking, Light Loads, Harsh terrain, Wet/Rain.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
KeenOregonPCT 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Keen Oregon pct

 
 

$160

 
 

Ankle Support.
Comfortable.
Durable.
Water Resistant.
Arch Support.

 
 

Poor lacing.

 
 

3lb.3oz

 
 

Leather, Synthetic waterproof breathable membrane lining, EVA/polyeurethane midsole, Rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-13, Women: 6-9

 
 

Day Hiking, Long Distance Hiking, Backpacking.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
LowaZephyrGTXMid 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Lowa Zephyr GTX


 
 

$195

 
 

Ankle Support.
Comfortable.
No Break In.
Water Resistant.
Good Traction.

 
 

Poor lacing.
Not Durable.

 
 

2lb. 6.5oz

 
 

Split Grain Leather/Nylon, Polyester waterproof breathable membrane lining, Polyeurethane midsole, Rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-14

 
 

Day Hiking, Long Distance Hiking, Light loads, Everyday Use.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
Zamberlan760SteepGT 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Zamberlan 760 Steep GT

 
 

$285

 
 

Ankle Support.
Comfortable.
No Break In.
Water Resistant.
Sturdy Durable.

 
 

Poor Lacing.
Heavy.
Poor Traction.

 
 

3lb. 6oz

 
 

Split Grain Leather/Nubuck leather, Gore-Tex/Nylon waterproof breathable membrane lining, Polypropylene midsole, Vibram Rubber sole

 
 

Men: 8-13, Womens: 6-10

 
 

Heavy Loads, Long Distance Hiking/Backpacking, Cold/Wet Weather Steep Terrain.

 
 

Read Review



 
 
Thenorthfacehavocgtx 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

The North Face Havoc

 
 

$160

 
 

Ankle Support.
Easy To Lace.
No Break In.
Light Weight.
Durable.

 
 

Stiff Tongue.

 
 

2lb

 
 

Full-grain Leather/Nylon Mesh/Rubber, Gore-tex XCR/Nylon waterproof breathable membrane lining, EVA/Polyeurthane midsole, Vibram Rubber sole

 
 

Men: 7-14 , Womens: 6-11

 
 

Day Hiking, Light Loads, Everyday Use, Wet Conditions.

 
 

Read Review



How to Fit Your Hiking Boot

The next step in getting the right boot is to make sure you get boots that fit properly, as silly as this may sound getting the right fit is especially important and takes a fair bit of care and thought.

Denali Mt McKinley1 150x150 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

Match Your Boots To The Country

First it is best to be able to try many different boots at the one time, try also to make sure you do this later in the day when your feet are swollen and hot as this is the condition that they will be in whilst you are hiking.

Next if possible bring a loaded pack and test the boots while wearing your pack, make sure also that you wear the socks that you intend to use when hiking or better yet buy a pair in store when you get the boots.

Make sure you have room for your toes but at the same time your heel area is snug and comfortable and if you are not sure then go with a larger size rather than a snugger fit boot.

Consider again the main use to which you will put the boot and this will allow you to make the right choice when it comes to the support the boot offers you. If you are going to carry a heavy load in rugged country then you will need a boot with good support and a stronger construction than otherwise you might need.

Some Last Thoughts

Above all make sure that the boot you choose is comfortable, if your boot gives you blisters or causes you any discomfort at all then it is not going to be any use to you when you are 10 miles into the back country so choose carefully.

Of course all this assumes you have access to a good store nearby and also that you don’t mind paying higher prices at the store than what you would otherwise get online. Luckily a good online store will always accept returns plus this gives you the ability to test the boots at home and give them a more extensive workout than you would have time for at a store.

When you get your boot home you will need to ‘break it in’ although most boots now don’t require to much break in time if any, still it is always a good idea to wear your boots a few times well before you take off on your hike.

A final thing to be very conscious of is the repair policy the boot company offers, good boots are not cheap and there is always the odd item that fails so you need to make sure that either the store or the manufacturer has a decent return policy and warranty service policy.

Picking the best hiking boot is a very important consideration, spend some time, be patient and buy the best you can afford because it is your boot that determines your trip from the outset.


 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

 How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

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There Are 16 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Joseph says:

    This was very interesting and with winter coming on it was also timely. I like to wear hiking boots as my snow boots because they have more traction, so I am looking for the ones that are water proof and are made mainly out of leather instead of any kind of fabric that will soak up the moisture. Thank you for this post I loved it. This will come in handy this year.

    • Kelly Campbell Kelly Campbell says:

      Hi Joseph

      I think the Merrell Wilderness or the Danner Mountain Light would be ideal for your purposes. They are full grain leather and have vibram rubber soles so they have very good traction. You can click the links to be taken to the review of the boots.
      Thanks for visiting us and feel free to ask any questions.
      Kelly

  2. James says:

    I tend to buy a lot of survival gear that is military grade. I am currently looking to buy a pair of hiking boots that are rugged, have good tread, and are water proof. I like the pair shown in the caption. I would rather order them online so as to save me a trip to the local store. This video helped quite a bit in making me decide what type of boots I want to buy.

    • Kelly Campbell Kelly Campbell says:

      Hi James

      I am glad the information helped you. Getting the right hiking boots for you is so important and we hope you we have gone some way into helping you make the right decision.

      Thank you for taking the time to read the information and come back soon
      Kelly

  3. Mary says:

    Kelly, I went to that link as you suggested and you are right that looks like the perfect boot for my purposes you have a great blog post here with the way you connected the links in it so that it is easy to get more information on the boot you are interested in. Keep up the good work and I look forward to more information from you if a new boot comes out.

  4. Agnes says:

    My husband is going to need some good work boots this winter and I am trying to convince him that hiking boots would work better than most regular work boots he will find. I am trying but he is not convinced, I will show him this article and I bet the write up you have done will make it so he at least goes and try some on.

  5. James says:

    I used to own a pair of Harley Davidson hiking boots that were a sort of hybrid between an urban hiking boot and a leather boot for casual street wear. I haven’t seen this shoe ever since it sold out, but I would sure like to find a hiking boot that u can wear for comfort during long walks as well as with jeans on a night out to the movies.

  6. Ted says:

    I am a girl so I love shoes of all kinds and that includes boots, hiking boots just really look cool. I have a pair but I will be getting another pair this winter that are entirely leather instead of part fabric. I really enjoyed this article and the boots you featured but I also liked the link to the website so that I can see all the boots. Great job keep it up.

  7. Morgan says:

    I bought a pair of hiking boots last winter I believe it was and I got them a size to big so that I could double up on my socks when I needed to. Would you consider that a mistake, I primarily bough them for snow purposes. Maybe I should buy another pair that fits just right so I can wear them on actual hikes though.

    • Kelly Campbell Kelly Campbell says:

      Hi Morgan

      Lots of hikers have different boots for winter wear and they do buy them one size up to allow for thick socks. So this is not unusual. If you think you will spend time hiking in warmer weather then I suggest you buy them in the correct size and try them with your thinner hiking socks and see how they fit. Ideally your foot should feel snug but still have some movement, especially where your toes sit. They shouldn’t be touching the front of the boot, so ensure you have enough room. This is true of any shoe or boot and not just hiking boots.
      Hope this helps
      Kelly

  8. Sarah says:

    I am interested in the Merrel Moab more than any other hiking boot. I like the textured surface of the boot with all of its dibits and stylish holes. It just looks cool, futuristic in a way. I also like the tread of the souls. It looks very comfortable. And it is also light weight and durable. It’s not bad for even 120 bucks.

  9. Robert says:

    I am going on a hiking trip up in the mountains this fall with a group from my Church so this was perfect timing for me to find this. Thank you so much for the information because that will help me a great deal when I go shopping for my boots. If I were to order them online how long do you suppose it would take to get them?

    • Kelly Campbell Kelly Campbell says:

      HI Robert

      It really depends where you order them from, but a general rule of thumb is to allow for a week. I hope this helps. I hope you have a great hiking trip :)

      Kelly

  10. Jenny says:

    I work on a ranch and instead of wearing those old nasty cowboy boots around the ranch I wear hiking boots, I realize that they pick up more manure then cowboy boots but you won’t slip and fall in it either because of a slick sole. This is perfect timing as well because I will be buying new ones this year. Thank you for all the information you have put out here.

  11. John says:

    Kelly, thank you for the advice on the shipping time and I plan on having a great hiking trip. I am super excited to get my boots I ordered the Keen Oregon I figure I can deal with the poor lacing part that is not that big of a deal. I definitely wanted the ankle support and arch support for this trip. Thank you again for the help I really appreciate it.

  12. DSD says:

    That quote by Emerson is a favorite as well.
    Thanks for visiting.
    DSD

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