Hiking is a very rewarding experience, but in order for it to be successful, you need to have the right gear.
The first thing that you need to check is your footwear. A good pair of hiking boots will make the difference between an enjoyable trek and weeks of agonizing foot sores.
But the hiking boot market is saturated with products – so how do you know which ones are going to be right for you?
Take a look at this review of the best men’s hiking boots for 2021 and you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Check out the best women’s hiking boots by following that link if you’re of the fairer sex.
An extensive buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.
See you on the trails.
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- TOP 23 Best Men’s Hiking Boots of 2021
- Hi-Tec Men’s Bandera Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Nevados Men’s Talus Hiking Boot
- Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Boot
- RAX Men’s Wild Wolf Mid Lightweight Hiking Boot
- Timberland Men’s White Ledge Ankle Boot
- Columbia Men’s Redmond Mid Waterproof Boot
- The North Face Men’s Storm III Hiking Boot
- Rockport Men’s Elkhart Snow Boot
- Ariat Men’s Terrain H2O Hiking Boot
- Merrell Men’s Moab Polar Waterproof Winter Boot
- Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Mid Boot
- Adidas Outdoor Terrex Tivid Mid CP Shoe
- Keen Men’s Revel III Hiking Boot
- Adidas Outdoor Men’s Terrex Eastrail Mid GTX Boot
- Keen Men’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Danner Men’s Mountain 600 Hiking Boot
- Salomon Men’s X Alp Mid LTR GTX Hiking Boot
- Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Shoe
- Scarpa Men’s Zodiac Plus GTX Hiking Boot
- Arc’teryx Men’s Acrux TR GTX Trekking Boot
- Mammut Trovat Advanced High GTX Hiking Boot
- Zamberlan Men’s 1030 Sella NW GT RR Hiking Boot
- How to Choose the Best Hiking Boots for Men 2021
- What are Good Hiking Boot Brands?
- Are Leather Hiking Boots Better?
- Do You Need Hiking Boots for Hiking?
- Are Hiking Boots Worth it?
- Are Shoes or Boots Better for Hiking?
- How do I Know if My Hiking Boots are Too Big or Too Small?
- How do I Lace Hiking Boots?
- How Long Does it Take to Break in Hiking Boots?
- Is it Better to Hike in Boots or Sneakers?
- How do I Clean and Maintain my Hiking Boots?
TOP 23 Best Men’s Hiking Boots of 2021
Hi-Tec Men’s Bandera Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Review: Kicking us off in the hiking boot review is this pair of Hi-Tecs that are offered at a budget-friendly price point. Made from 100% leather and textile, they feature suede overlays, nylon straps, a steel shank for support and stability, and a removable molded insole for extra comfort should it be required.
The breathable, waterproof membrane keeps your feet protected from the elements while allowing moisture to wick away. With a thick rubber outsole and rust-proof lacing hardware, the Bandera packs in a lot of bang for your buck.
Hi-Tec pioneered lightweight hiking boots back in 1978, and this continues their tradition of making affordable, good-quality footwear so anyone can enjoy a comfortable hike in the great outdoors.
- Affordable price.
- Name to trust.
- Steel stability shank.
- Rust-proof hardware.
- Choice of colors.
- Not really suitable for much longer hikes.
- Not as waterproof as it could be.
Nevados Men’s Talus Hiking Boot
Review: Another product that’s easy-on-the-wallet is the Nevados Talus hiking boot which is made from similar materials to the Hi-Tec and gives you an alternative budget-friendly option.
The mid-cut design has a breathable upper with reinforced steel and toe caps for extra protection where you need it the most.
The padded tongue and collar offer a comfortable wearing experience, as does the removable, contoured and supportive insole.
They’re very lightweight and versatile to employ for other outdoor adventures such as mountain biking or kayaking, with a solid, lug sole that provides excellent traction no matter the terrain.
- Great price.
- Removable insole.
- Very lightweight.
- Choice of two colors.
- Not waterproof.
- Won’t last as long as more expensive models – but you get what you pay for.
- They’re not the most attractive boots available.
Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Boot
Review: The new version of the Newton Ridge is very similar to the older one, except this version is waterproof with sealed seams.
Other changes include having OMNI-GRIP rubber outsoles and a Techlite midsole.
A look at the underside of the Newton Ridge Plus II boots will show both lugs and strips on the toe, heel, and forefoot. The Omni-grip soles greatly help when treading on fairly smooth surfaces like rock and areas made slick with water or ice, reducing the chances of slipping.
This version of Newton ridge requires very little break-in time; it’s easy to get comfortable wearing it and you won’t chafe or get blisters. Also, its lightweight build doesn’t put as much strain on your feet and ankles.
If you want something designed for short-term hikes and you’re on a budget, the Newton Ridge II Plus is a solid choice.
- Provides excellent traction on smooth surfaces.
- Excellent durability and comfort.
- Very affordable; suitable for casual or beginner hikers.
- Lightweight design uses thin materials, which may not be suitable for more rugged terrain.
- Waterproofed upper keeps water out, but takes longer to dry out.
- Not as insulated as its previous version, mostly ideal for hiking in warmer conditions.
RAX Men’s Wild Wolf Mid Lightweight Hiking Boot
Review: Rax has been making affordable, lightweight hiking boots since 2010, so they might be the new boys on the block but this is a quality effort nonetheless.
The Wild Wolf model has been designed to look and feel more like a sneaker than a hiking boot, featuring a waterproof suede leather upper with breathable Lycra material and adjustable lace-up vamp. Inside, there’s a cushioning EVA midsole, while the bottom boasts an antiskid multi-directional traction rubber outsole.
The padded tongue and collar are specially designed to keep dirt and sand out, so feel free to take these wolves anywhere, anytime. The rugged-styling is also eye-catching, with a choice of colors and a striking wolf paw logo incorporated.
- Waterproof and anti-skid.
- Affordable price point.
- Sneaker-style design.
- Protection against sand and dirt.
- Choice of colors available.
- Sizes run larger – be careful when ordering.
Timberland Men’s White Ledge Ankle Boot
Review: Easily one of the best boots from Timberland, you’d think that the White Ledge is heavy just by looking at them, but the boots are actually very light considering they’re mostly made of leather.
Their greatest strength is its ability to keep water out, but that alone wouldn’t be enough to make the White Ledge one of the best boots available.
White Ledge also ranks high in terms of comfort, thanks to the breathable inner membrane thick padding around the ankles.
While the flexible sole may not be the best for extended hikes, many hikers who have tried this multi-purpose boot claim that they didn’t even have to break-in the boots just to get used to them.
Of course, White Ledge won’t be highly recommended if it wasn’t tough enough for the job. Full grain leather, stitched and sealed seams, and rustproof speed lace hardware and the solid rubber outsole make it tough enough for even the toughest treks.
- Surprisingly lightweight despite being mostly leather.
- Enough padding for a comfortable fit; no need for break-in periods.
- Great ankle support.
- Premium full-grain waterproof leather and waterproof linings ensure excellent protection from water.
- Excellent value for its price.
- Sole may be too flexible, causing some discomfort when navigating rough terrain or during extended treks.
- Some hikers may prefer something else with more traction.
Columbia Men’s Redmond Mid Waterproof Boot
Review: Columbia continues to impress in the hiking boot market with another affordable option that features their signature waterproof, breathable seam-sealed membrane and a superior cushioning midsole for extra comfort.
Made with a combination of suede, mesh, and durable rubber, this boot will give you plenty of protection against the elements when you’re out on the trails.
On the outsole, Omnigrip technology provides a multi-terrain traction system that can easily handle ice and snow, so you’ll have sure footing no matter the conditions.
The lace-up closure offers an adjustable, secure fit so you’ll always be warm and snug when donning a pair of these hiking boots.
- Name to trust.
- Excellent grip.
- Good weatherproofing.
- Comfortable support.
- Choice of colors.
- Not really suitable for summer hiking – they can run a little hot.
- A bit fiddly to lace-up.
The North Face Men’s Storm III Hiking Boot
Review: Probably the most famous outdoor brand in the world, The North Face offers these waterproof, breathable hiking shoes that feature rubber soles for traction and protection on wet and dry surfaces, and breathable mesh for wicking away moisture.
They’re designed as a lightweight hiking boot, ideal for trail running on uneven terrain, yet still providing the comfort, durability, and protection you need for longer, more demanding adventures.
A compression-molded insole means you can spend longer on your feet, and a patent-pending “snake plate” gives you superior flexibility while maintaining stability on any surface.
- Name to trust.
- Lightweight yet durable.
- Flexible sole technology.
- Ideal for trail running.
- Not the most attractive boots to look at.
Rockport Men’s Elkhart Snow Boot
Review: Designed for use in the snow and extreme temperatures, this is a smart, formal-looking boot from Rockport that features their signature XCS waterproofing.
You’ll be warm and dry when trudging through the ice and snow in this model, with a padded collar and EVA midsole to provide shock absorption and prevent foot fatigue. The traction rubber outsole offers excellent grip on all kinds of terrain, while the premium leather upper and throughout the boot has been specially designed to provide maximum flexibility.
Making quality boots since 1971, Rockport has done it again with this popular and praiseworthy footwear that garners quality reviews across the board.
- Ideal for snow and ice.
- Premium materials.
- Tough and durable.
- Built to last.
- Choice of colors.
- They might look too formal for some.
Ariat Men’s Terrain H2O Hiking Boot
Review: The horseriders among you will recognize this brand as Ariat has been manufacturing quality gear, apparel, and accessories for equestrians since 1993. They’re the official supplier and brand of Federation Equestrian International, so if they’re good enough for the Olympics you know the standard is going to be high.
This is their men’s hiking boot, with a waterproof, oiled, full-grain leather upper, a moisture-wicking mesh lining, comfortable padded collar, and a self-cleaning duratread outsole. The gel-cushioned footbed with heel stabilizer delivers support, rebound, and stability which makes it an excellent choice if you suffer from any foot pain.
For more hiking boot options that cater for plantar fasciitis, follow that link and don’t let it stop you from getting out on the trails.
- Trusted by professional horse riders.
- Superior comfort and support.
- Oiled-treated leather upper.
- Built to last.
- Reports that it runs too narrow – maybe look elsewhere if you have wider feet.
Merrell Men’s Moab Polar Waterproof Winter Boot
Review: This is a heavy-duty winter hiking boot from Merrell that has a high support to cover and protect the ankle. It’s fully waterproof and built to tackle the toughest terrain and conditions, clearly targeted at winter wear.
Featuring EVA midsoles and removable EVA footbeds to supply cushioning for all-day use, they’re also infused with M-Select enzymes to combat foot odor.
The breathable outer membrane keeps your feet cool, while the insulation still traps the heat in when you’re trekking through the snow and ice.
Available in a choice of two colors, this is a serious winter hiking boot for serious winter hikers.
- Excellent ankle support and protection.
- Eliminates foot odor.
- Built for the ice and snow.
- Heavy-duty construction.
- They run very narrow.
- Too bulky for casual hikes or summer use.
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Review: Highly popular hikers with a performance suede leather and mesh upper, these boots have also been treated with Merrell’s M Select Dry technology to keep the water out while allowing moisture to escape.
They’re a lighter weight option that the previous snow boot, but still built with that same rugged and durable quality.
Featuring a reinforced toe-cap, an air-cushioned heel, and a closed-cell foam tongue to keep dust and debris out, there’s a lot to like about this footwear option. The under sole lug is particularly impressive with a five-millimeter depth, providing unmatched slip-resistant stability no matter what is underfoot.
Apparently, Moab stands for Mother of all Boots – which is a bold claim. Maybe you should pick up a pair and see why?
- Excellent lug and outer sole grip.
- Air supported heel.
- Moisture-wicking tech.
- True to width.
- Choice of colors.
- I can’t fault them – let me know if you can.
Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Mid Boot
Review: AnotherTimberland boot in this list, the Chocorua features a dual-density perforated footbed that allows better air circulation, especially when combined with the Gore-Tex membrane. The insoles are removable in case they get worn out later on.
The tongue and collar of the boots are well padded, provides good cushioning and support for the ankle, but they don’t make the Chocorua any warmer, thanks to the excellent air circulation.
Furthermore, at barely over 2 pounds, the Chocorua won’t be weighing you down during longer trips.
Another great thing about the Chocorua is its traction. The durable rubber outsole works great on all surfaces ranging from wet rocks to mud, and even snow.
For something that offers so much at a reasonable price tag, the Chocorua is worthy of being considered as one of the best hiking boots for men.
- Excellent Air Circulation.
- Great water resistance.
- Comfortable and lightweight.
- Excellent traction on all kinds of terrain.
- Some people have an issue with the lace eyelets.
- Insoles may get worn out before the rest of the boot.
- Rubber soles can get worn out too fast if frequently used for walking on rough terrain.
Adidas Outdoor Terrex Tivid Mid CP Shoe
Review: As a sportswear manufacturer, Adidas needs little introduction. This is another lightweight walking boot that has a sneaker-style design, made from a combination of textile and synthetic materials.
The boots feature a molded stock liner, a fully-breathable mesh upper, and TPU welds for extra protection. The climaproof construction is designed to shed water and keep your feet dry and comfortable, and they offer a mid-cut ankle for light support to maximize freedom of movement.
If you’re doing some light hikes in fair conditions, exploring a new city or simply taking the pooch for a walk, then something like this is going to be right up your street.
- Name to trust.
- Lightweight design.
- Sneaker-style aesthetic.
- Water-resistant and breathable.
- Sizes run small so check your measurements carefully.
- They’re a little on the dull side for some tastes.
Keen Men’s Revel III Hiking Boot
Review: With an upper made from 100% nubuck leather, this hiking boot from popular brand Keen is a waterproof lace-up with a dry membrane and plush, padded collar for extra comfort.
It has two, pull-on loops at the tongue and rear so you can slip into your hikers with ease, while the tread is built to tackle snow and ice with an aggressively gripped lug to give you even footing on unsure terrain.
Insulated with Keen’s own padding to keep your feet warm and dry while wicking away moisture, these boots are designed to be put through their paces whatever the weather.
- Tough and durable.
- 100% leather upper.
- Pull-on loops.
- Well insulated.
- Choice of colors.
- They run small, so adjust accordingly.
Adidas Outdoor Men’s Terrex Eastrail Mid GTX Boot
Review: Another Adidas entry now from their popular Terrex range, with these smart and stylish hiking boots that boast a GORE-TEX construction that offers unbeatable waterproofing while offering maximum breathability.
With lace closure, mesh lining, and synthetic upper, durable but lightweight EVA midsole and molded sock liner, these boots have got you covered for a super-comfortable hike over any terrain.
While the GORE-TEX technology will keep you nice and dry, why not invest in a pair of quality hiking gaiters to really keep the elements at bay when you next venture out?
- Sporty, sleek design.
- GORE-TEX technology.
- Pull-on straps.
- Versatile use.
- They run small – order half a size larger.
Keen Men’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Review: If you want a pair of hiking boots that are comfy to wear right out of the box, then the Keen Targhee II Mid is your best bet.
Thanks to its dual density insole and nifty lacing patterns, it’s easy to customize the boot to have a perfect fit; it’s almost like it’s tailor-made for you whether you have wide or narrow feet.
Leather boots are not the most breathable boots around, but that’s not the case for the Targhee II Mid. It’s KEEN.DRY membrane is waterproof but very breathable, preventing problems ranging from general discomfort and sweaty feet to sores and fungal infections.
The Targhee II Mid also gets good scores when it comes to traction, providing a good grip even on smooth rock surfaces.
The boots’ side lugs also give it extra traction when walking on muddy surfaces, something more traditional sole designs can’t provide, earning it a spot as on the list of the best hiking boots for men.
- One of the most comfortable boots out of the box.
- Extra toe protection.
- Good traction on smooth surfaces.
- Not the most durable pair of boots out there.
- Not as good on terrain with gravel.
Danner Men’s Mountain 600 Hiking Boot
Review: It might look like these gorgeous boots are a blast from the past with a real vintage look and feel, and that might be because Danner has been making quality footwear since 1932.
The US company crafts boots and shoes that are built to last and to withstand the tests of the outdoors – whatever the weather. Depending on your preferred style, the Mountain 600 can either have a suede or leather upper, but both come with a Vibram Fuga outsole with Megagrip technology that offers superior grip on wet and dry surfaces.
Featuring a TPU heel frame to enhance support and stability, a nylon shank, and an SPE midsole for maximum rebound and comfort, this is a solidly built boot with a head-turning, classic vibe.
- Timeless look.
- Quality construction.
- Name to trust with years of experience.
- Very comfortable out of the box.
- Excellent choice of colors in either leather or suede.
- Might look dated for some.
Salomon Men’s X Alp Mid LTR GTX Hiking Boot
Review: French company Salomon is another clothing and footwear manufacturer who has been around the block a few times. They’ve been in the game since 1947 and are one of the European leaders in outdoor sports equipment.
The X Alp Mid LTR GTX boot has a mid-cut design for ankle stability, a waterproof split-suede leather, water-resistant textile and waterproof synthetic upper. The GORE-TEX technology ensures a dry-as-a-bone foot while wicking away moisture and keeping sweaty paws to a minimum.
They feature a traditional lace-up design with self-locking eyelets and metal speed hooks for a secure, comfortable fit. Protective toe and heel caps offer confidence and stability on the terrain, while the science behind the outsole to improve energy management and eliminate foot fatigue is far too clever to bore you with here. It’s just an awesome hiking boot, okay?
- Top-quality make and manufacture.
- GORE-TEX technology.
- Advanced chassis system.
- Excellent traction and grip.
- Choice of three color designs.
- Run narrow in the toe section and need breaking in.
Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Shoe
Review: Hot on the heels (literally) of our first Salomon entry we have another one right away. Featuring running shoe technology in a hiking boot, the Quest 4D is designed for maximum walking comfort.
Like the previous Salomon, this boot also packs in some clever stuff to protect you from foot fatigue and keep you out on the trails for longer.
The GORE-TEX tech keeps you warm and dry, while the high-traction Contagrip is pleasingly aggressive for even the most demanding terrain. An advanced chassis accommodates your foot with extra protection and stability, while the heel foam provides shock-absorbing comfort at an important strike point.
Ideal for backpacking, this is a quality piece of kit from Salomon and is well worth taking into consideration.
- Name to trust.
- World-class manufacture.
- Advanced chassis.
- Heel foam.
- Deep lug sole.
- Stylish choice of colors.
- Again, the toe box runs narrow so bear that in mind.
Scarpa Men’s Zodiac Plus GTX Hiking Boot
Review: We turn to the craftsmen and women from Italy now with a Scarpa boot (Scarpa translates as ‘shoe’ in Italian) from a company that has been making top-quality mountaineering footwear since 1938.
Today, they manufacture some of the finest outdoor shoes available, and this Zodiac Plus hiking boot is right up there with them. Offering fully waterproof and breathable protection, this is a rugged, durable boot that’s built to play in the mountains. Made with a 100% suede upper, it has three densities of EVA in the midsole for unrivaled stability and performance.
The GORE-TEX tech will keep you dry, while the Sock-Fit DV construction reduces bulk and creates a snug fit. Altogether an expertly crafted hiking boot from people who know what they’re talking about.
- Name to trust.
- World-class craftsmanship.
- GORE-TEX technology.
- Superior comfort and fit.
- Colors aren’t the most attractive.
Arc’teryx Men’s Acrux TR GTX Trekking Boot
Review: From Italy, we make our way over to Canada with a boot from one of the world’s market leaders in outdoor and mountaineering apparel, footwear, and accessories. This Arc’teryx boot is a technical trekking shoe for challenging terrain over long distances while carrying some serious gear.
It’s a beautifully designed work of art, lightweight, streamlined, and designed for flexible mobility in alpine conditions. With GORE-TEX technology, this is a fully waterproof and yet breathable shoe with a TPU chassis at the midfoot and forefoot that provides stability and torsional rigidity throughout.
On the base, they feature Vibram MegaGrip rubber compound that is super-durable and grippy, and there’s a four millimeter molded insert for additional comfort.
- World-class make and manufacture.
- Beautifully designed and styled.
- Super lightweight – built for speed.
- GORE-TEX technology.
- Ideal for longer hikes and demanding trails.
- Very pricy.
Mammut Trovat Advanced High GTX Hiking Boot
Review: Continuing on our geography tour, we leave Canada and head over to Switzerland for these Mammut Trovat advanced hiking boots. The Swiss company designs and makes some truly outstanding mountaineering and hiking gear and this is no exception.
A beautifully designed boot with GORE-TEX waterproofing and breathability, the three-zone lacing system keeps your feet where they should be, safe and secure and comfortable. They feature liquid rubber reinforcement, a TPU heel counter for shock absorption, and are constructed of tough and durable nubuck leather.
Grip comes in the way of the Vibram MT Traction II sole so you can have sure footing wherever your hike takes you. But if you happen to get lost, why not carry one of these GPS hiking devices just in case? At least your footwear won’t let you down.
- Name to trust.
- Beautifully styled and built.
- Premium materials throughout.
- Designed to tackle any terrain.
- Choice of colors.
- Very expensive.
Zamberlan Men’s 1030 Sella NW GT RR Hiking Boot
Review: And speaking of not coming cheap, we return to the Italian shoemakers to round out the review with this stunning (and stunningly expensive) hiker from Zamberlan. This is built like a tank, handcrafted by artisans in the same factory used to create shoes for 85 years, you can see where your money is going here.
The Norwegian welted construction is the most reliable construction method ever invented for footwear, while the GORE-TEX membrane offers 100% weatherproofing and breathability. The full-grain waxed leather upper is both durable and attractive, and the rubber toe rand and exclusive Vibram Zamberlan dual-density sole are as tough as an old boot.
Or, a new one in this case – even though it’s been in the making since 1929.
- Unparalleled craftsmanship.
- GORE-TEX technology.
- Beautiful, waxed leather construction.
- Built to last.
- Outrageously expensive for a hiking boot.
- Overkill for most casual hikers.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Boots for Men 2021
There’s a lot to consider before purchasing a pair of hiking boots, so let’s take a look at what you need to bear in mind when you’re making your choice.
Types of Boot
Keep in the Purpose and Weight section in the original article – but remove the Features.
Generally speaking, you’ll find there are three distinct types of hiking boots.
Low-cut at the ankle and look very similar to sneakers. They’re usually very lightweight and can double down as all-purpose day wear shoes for a variety of activities, or even used as trail runners.
Their obvious disadvantage is that they’re not as sturdy or as durable as other types of hiking boot. They’re not going to last anywhere near as long.
You’ll find these are by far the most common among the choices I’ve made for the purpose of this review (opting for boots rather than shoes).
They provide more ankle support and are preferred for longer hikes where you might be carrying light loads. They’re more durable than hiking shoes, a sort of midway point between them and backpacking boots.
They offer the most stability and protection. The ankle is usually cut higher for more support as you carry heavier loads. They’re much more rigid and unforgiving than the previous two types of boot.
Backpacking boots are built to handle tougher terrain in all weather conditions. The trade-off is they’re not great for light or casual use, and they can be much more expensive.
And if you’re looking for something completely different entirely, check out these men’s hiking sandals for ultra-light options for use in warmer weather.
As ever, I would advise suiting your choice of boot type to whatever you’re going to be using it for the most.
Hiking boots are made from all kinds of different materials these days, all of which will have some kind of say in the boot’s quality, durability, weather resistance, comfort, breathability, and of course, price.
Leather, suede, synthetic materials, rubber, and waterproof membranes might be included, sometimes a combination of all of them.
What you choose will depend on your own personal preferences – and how much you can afford.
It might go without saying that it’s very important to get your sizing right when choosing a new pair of hiking boots, but it’s still worth mentioning as it’s not always as straightforward as you might think.
This is because some designs might run large or small, or there can be confusion when it comes to ordering European sizes.
A hiking boot needs to hug your foot with a snug, comfortable fit, without crushing or restricting any part of the foot – particularly your toes.
When ordering online, you are taking a chance at getting the sizing right, so it’s a good idea to measure your feet properly before you make your choice. Don’t just rely on the size you think you are.
Remember, the size you take in a sneaker might not be the size you take in a hiking boot.
While you can always return the incorrect size, it’s better for everyone if you get it right first time. Watch the video below to find out how to measure your feet properly at home.
Then read the online reviews from other customers thoroughly to see if you need to take a size up or a size down if your boot of choice runs small or large.
Comfort and Support
Thankfully, most hiking boots are designed to be comfortable right out of the box. Obviously, this is one of the main considerations you need to take when purchasing a new pair.
Check what’s going on with the boot’s midsole. This is the area that provides the most cushioning for your foot.
Some shoes might have air or gel-filled sections, such as at the heel or the toe. This is to provide improved shock absorption at the strike points as you’re walking or running.
Higher-end boots might offer impressive sole technology that transfers your energy where it needs to go. This will help you stay on your feet for longer and all but eliminate foot fatigue.
Removable insoles might be included for you to adjust the shoe to your own comfort level and provide additional support through the length of the foot.
Some shoes have specially designed ankle supports that prevent dust, sand, or other debris from entering the boot. Nobody likes getting a stone in their footwear.
And consider the type of ankle support which will depend on the type of boot you choose. Choose a boot with a high-cut if you’re going on long distances, over tough terrain or you’re carrying heavy loads.
In an ideal world, we’d all like our footwear to be 100% waterproof.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case – even if some models claim to keep the water out. All hiking boots will get wet eventually.
However, some offer much more protection than others.
Look for shoes with GORE-TEX technology for the very best in waterproofing. They also offer excellent breathability to help keep your feet cool, yet dry.
Remember that water-resistant and waterproof are two different things.
If you’re in any doubt, it might be worth treating your new boots with a weatherproof lacquer or spray. Just double-check with the manufacturer what is compatible with that particular shoe.
Stability and Traction
Two key elements to the success of your hiking boots are stability and traction.
Boots with internal shank support – a thick insert that adds extra stability and strength to the shoe – are a good idea if you’re covering uneven and rocky terrain.
Some boots might also come with plates that sit below the shank to offer additional protection from whatever you happen to step on.
Traction is very important if you want to stay on your feet. Look for hiking boots with a good lug – usually around five millimeters is ideal for aggressive and improved grip.
And make sure that the heel is well defined and separate from the ball and arch. A good heel break can save a potential fall when you’re walking downhill or traversing.
Consider the environment and weather conditions you’re going to be hiking in. Some boots are more adept at handling ice and snow than others.
Even with the best will in the world, the finest craftsmanship, the fairest of conditions, and the best of luck and good fortune – no boot will last forever.
That being said, you can see for yourself which models are going to stand the test of time and use better than others.
If you’re a regular hiker in tough terrain and challenging conditions, you’ll want a boot that is going to be up to the task.
For more casual strolls, you might not need to fork out unnecessary amounts for such a product.
And you can always improve the longevity of the boot by taking good care of it, regular maintenance, cleaning and a little bit of TLC.
Crampon and Snowshoe Compatability
If you’re keen on getting into snowy and icy environments with your boots, it’s certainly worth considering if they’re compatible with crampons or snowshoes.
Wearing crampons for mountaineering is essential for added grip and traction in the ice.
Look for boots with added protection at the toe and heel. Reinforced toe and heel caps are ideal for use with crampons and snowshoes.
Take a look at this review of the best snowshoes for your next winter hiking adventure. They might help you make your hiking boot decision a bit easier.
High-end hiking boots can be ridiculously expensive. They’re really built for the pros or anyone who is a regular out on the trails or in the mountains.
Always buy the best you can afford – and there are certainly some great budget hiking boots available – such as the Hi-Tecs or Columbia models.
Again, consider how and when you’re going to be using them. Suit your purchase to your action.
What are Good Hiking Boot Brands?
This boils down to personal preference, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that pretty much every make I’ve included in this review is a really good quality hiking boot brand.
Some of my personal favorites include Mammut, Arc’teryx, Salomon, Timberland, the North Face, and Columbia.
Merrell and Keen are noteworthy, too.
This is speaking from experience and the number of reviews covered. I’ve generally found that these brands won’t let you down.
But that’s just my opinion – read the reviews, try before you buy, and do your research well. We’ve all got our trusted favorites, but sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find them.
Are Leather Hiking Boots Better?
Leather hiking boots can provide a tough and durable exterior with excellent weatherproofing and natural breathability.
But they can’t offer the same level of breathability as some synthetic materials. Leather also tends to be a lot more expensive.
It’s also heavier too, but with the bonus of being much more durable, longer-lasting and robust.
You should weigh up the pros and cons before making your choice.
But if you twisted my arm and I had to give an answer, I would say yes – leather boots are better.
Do You Need Hiking Boots for Hiking?
You don’t need them – but they are a very good idea.
Depending on the hike, the conditions, and the terrain, you might get away with wearing a decent pair of sneakers.
But a good pair of hiking boots will make the experience that much more enjoyable, will be much safer, and will limit the blistering agony that you’re risking by not wearing them in the first place.
Are Hiking Boots Worth it?
A cautionary tale for you.
I have a friend who decided to explore Rome wearing nothing more than a pair of well-known baseball-style shoes.
One hour in and he was in agony. Two hours and he ended up spending around $30 for some emergency, comfort insoles from a local drug store just to make it back to his hostel.
Even for a day of urban exploration, that never would have happened with a pair of good quality hiking boots.
Let his utter stupidity be a lesson to all.
Are Shoes or Boots Better for Hiking?
It depends on the type of hiking you’re doing, the conditions, and the terrain.
It also depends if you’re carrying a load of any kind.
Shoes are not ideal for backpacking, tough topography, or wintery conditions.
They’re much more suitable for hiking in warmer weather, on more relaxed trails, or if you’re moving with pace.
Boots with a high ankle are perfect if you’re backpacking as they provide more support to you and your load.
And you’ll be glad of that extra stability when tackling tricky terrain or through snow and ice.
How do I Know if My Hiking Boots are Too Big or Too Small?
Hiking boots need to fit snugly to the foot.
They need to provide excellent comfort and support, and almost feel like an extension of yourself.
Boots that are too big will feel loose. You’ll feel like you’re wasting a lot of energy trying to walk as your foot rattles around inside them.
Boots that are too small will be restrictive.
You might feel sections of the midsole rubbing against your heel, toes or ball of your foot potentially causing blisters, sores or even long term and lasting ligament damage.
Basically, if it feels in any way uncomfortable – it isn’t the right size.
How do I Lace Hiking Boots?
There are all sorts of ways to lace a pair of hiking boots, and again it comes down to personal preference.
However, how you lace your boots can result in either a pleasant experience or a trip to the drug store for ointments, creams, and band-aids.
Check out the video below for some top advice on how to lace your hiking boots for a better fit.
How Long Does it Take to Break in Hiking Boots?
I would say as long as it takes. This is something you mustn’t rush.
With that in mind, make sure you break your boots in well in advance of any treks you might have planned.
Wear them around the house, when you’re heading to the local store, or taking the dog for a walk.
As you feel the shoes loosen up, go out on longer strolls. Practice wearing a backpack while breaking them in. Up the ante a little bit each time.
Everyone’s different – what works for you might not work for someone else. Just remember – slow and steady wins the race.
Here’s another video with some more tips and advice on the subject.
Is it Better to Hike in Boots or Sneakers?
Again, it depends on the hike.
But anyone who has any interest in hiking at all should have a decent pair of hiking boots ready to hit the trails.
It’s just never going to be as enjoyable in sneakers as it is in comfortable, well-supported hiking footwear with a good tread and excellent weatherproofing.
How do I Clean and Maintain my Hiking Boots?
An excellent question to finish off – and one with a number of different answers.
It depends largely on the materials your boots are made from.
With that in mind, it’s best to refer directly to the manufacturer’s instructions, as you risk damaging the boots if they’re mistreated in any way.
Have a look at the video below for some general information about cleaning and maintaining hiking boots.
We’ve got there in the end, fellow hikers – a mammoth amount of info and plenty to take on board.
But I hope it has helped in some small way to guide you to the best men’s hiking boots for your needs.
Let me know which model you’re thinking of going for, or if I’ve missed off any crucial products. It’s always nice to get a bit of feedback.
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