How to Choose The Best Hiking Boots

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How Do You Select 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.

Once 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…



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-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



 
 

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



 
 
Asolo TPS 520 GV

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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



 
 

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.

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.



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