Hiking is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the great outdoors. You can get off the beaten track and into the backcountry where you can enjoy stunning views, meadows, rivers, and most of all, peace and quiet.
And, perhaps the most important piece of gear you need on the trail is a good pair of hiking boots. We have all at some point I’m sure, worn boots that are too small, too big, too stiff, and you end up with your feet being in pain or covered in blisters instead of enjoying your time in the wilderness.
Finding the right pair of hiking boots is key to your comfort and enjoyment while cruising on the trail. In this article, we are going to focus on finding the best hiking boots for men (sorry ladies). We have trawled the internet to create a list of the top hiking boots available including lightweight, mid-weight, and heavyweight options, so you can find the best hiking boots for you.
Best On A Budget
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Best For Off-Trail
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The Merrell Moab 2 Mid hiking boots are ideal for casual hikers who love day and weekend hiking trips on pre-existing trails. They’re well priced, comfy, and fit great.
The boots feature a Vibram TC5+ sole for excellent grip, air cushioning for shock absorption, great cushioning, and a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry. The M Select DRY not only keeps water out but also allows moisture to escape to stop any sweat build-up.
Together with the protective toe cap, these boots are going to keep your feet comfortable and safe from damage. They’re also pretty good-looking as far as hiking boots go thanks to the suede leather upper mesh.
Being less expensive, the materials will wear out a bit quicker than more expensive hiking boots, so if you hike a lot, especially off-trail, these might not be for you. Also, they haven’t got enough support to handle heavy loads, and if you hike with a 60lb backpack, you’ll want some hiking boots with better arch support.
Overall, a great pair of comfortable, light, protective, and inexpensive hiking boots for casual day and weekend hikes.
If off-trail is your game then the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX hiking boots might be right up your street. They’re about as tough as hiking boots can get and will support you through any terrain, even with a heavy pack on.
They feature what Salomon calls a 4D Advanced Chassis design which provides more foot flexion to give you a smoother ride and helps reduce tiredness on long days. Ideal if you love multi-day camping hikes.
The cushioning and fit are all excellent and you’ll have all the support you need to carry a heavy load off-trail. The outsole has been upgraded with some serious lugs that give great traction on pretty much all surfaces too. You won’t need to worry about tripping when crossing slippery streambeds and the Gore-Tex lining will keep your feet dry too.
The only disadvantages are they’re expensive, heavy and, stiff but they need to be for such tough work.
Overall an awesome pair of boots for serious hikers but they’re a bit too much for your average day hiker.
For the avid day hiker who likes to take it a bit further, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX are the hiking boots to check out.
They are designed like trail-running shoes but with all the protection and support of a boot. This makes them extremely light on your feet and gives you the feeling of flexibility and freedom to get a quick march on.
They’re extremely well-made and durable thanks to the Salomon build quality and will last you a while. They squeezed all the features that you need in a boot into the lightweight design, including; protective toe caps, foam cushioning, super grippy rubber soles, a protective heel cap, and a breathable waterproof membrane.
Being so light, they had to reduce some weight and this reduction is mainly in the padding which is a bit thinner than other boots. The ankle supports are also a bit lower than others.
Overall, if you’re looking for some all-around lightweight hiking boots, these are some of the best around.
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boots are surprisingly light for such a robust pair of boots. They are an ideal choice for backpacking, especially on rocky terrain thanks to the great underfoot protection.
They’re made from synthetic leather with a padded tongue, Gore-Tex waterproofing, a Polyurethane Monowrap frame midsole, a climate control footbed, and a Vibram Evo outsole. Together these features make them tough, comfortable, dry, and very supportive.
They’re also pretty good-looking and come in a large range of colors and sizes to ensure a great fit. They do have one downside, they aren’t as durable as others in the same price class and this is due to the materials used for the weight reduction. This won’t affect you though unless you put some serious miles on your boots.
All in all, an awesome pair of hiking boots for long backpacking trips, with the padding and support you need for tough surfaces.
Note: Another great option is the Lowa Camino GTX which I personally use.
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX hiking boots for men are pretty awesome. Not only do they look cool as hell but they’re also going to take you through the harshest terrains comfortably and confidently, even if you’re carrying a heavy backpack.
Made from 100% suede on the outside with a Gore-tex waterproof breathable membrane and a triple-density midsole, it sounds like your feet might be in heaven. Add the sock-fit DV construction and the super-grippy sole and you have a pair of hiking boots that’ll take you anywhere.
The range of sizes and sock-fit DV construction give you the snuggest fit and the stiff suede, thick bottoms, and high ankles give you premium support. Even on steep descents and loose rocky climbs.
They are a bit expensive and certainly too much for on-trail hiking but if you’re going into the unknown these will get you there.
The Vasque Talus AT UltraDry hiking boots are ideal for day hiking and come in at an affordable price too. They are stylish, waterproof, supportive, and keep your feet comfy and dry.
These boots are designed for use on wet and rocky terrain thanks to the impressive cushioning and excellent outsole grip. Vasque used a Vibram Nuasi outsole with XSTrek Compound to give incredible traction to keep you stable no matter how slippy the trail.
They are pretty light but somehow Vasque managed not to compromise on anything. The ankles are high, the collar and tongue padded, the mid-soles are thick and there are protective toe guards.
There are some downsides, but only minor ones. The toe guards can be a bit tight, and the breathability is ok and could be better.
All in all, a great value pair of hiking boots, especially if you find yourself on wet and rocky trails often.
The Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX hiking boots for men are a step up from the Talus. These are for tough hiking on rough off-trail terrain, and therefore a little more expensive but when compared to others in their class, are actually awesome value.
The combination of waterproof leather and Gore-Tex keeps your feet dry from wet weather and allows your feet to breathe, stopping any sweat build-up and overheating. The soles are ultra-grippy thanks to the Vibram Contact Grip that is designed for all terrains. And the EVA midsole, footbeds, and cushion ensure your feet stay comfy under a heavy load.
The boots fit well and give great stability, support, and protection for off-trail hiking. they’re also designed to handle it and their durability will last for many miles. The only negative is that they are a bit stiff, reducing your flexibility a little.
If you’re looking for some day-hiking boots with a lot of styles, the Danner Mountain 600 will be right up your street. The suede outer gives a classic look and you can use these for relaxed day hiking and for wandering around town in winter.
They are comfy, provide great over ankle support, and are both waterproof and breathable. Your feet will stay dry walking through mud and wet grass, plus they will be warm and toasty when wandering around town in the winter.
There are a few negatives to these, despite their attractive design. The extra waterproofing that also keeps your feet warm reduces the breathability quite a bit. And, these boots aren’t for serious hikers, they’ll take a beating if you put a lot of miles on them and are best used for casual hiking.
There are two types of hiking boots in the review, lightweight and midweight and there is quite a big difference between the two.
Lightweight hiking boots are designed for day or overnight trips. They are light, flexible, and a bit less expensive than their midweight counterparts. The materials used in lightweight hiking boots tend to be a bit lighter and there is less of it to keep the weight and costs down. This makes them a bit less supportive and a bit less durable. They are perfect for casual on trail hikes with a light backpack, but if you’re going off-trail and/or carrying heavy loads, you’ll need a heavier pair of boots.
Midweight hiking boots are an ideal middle ground for those who want something light but tough enough to handle some off-trail adventures where a heavy backpack is needed. They’re made of premium materials like Gore-Tex and are designed to last a lot longer than lightweight boots. You’ll also find they are stiffer and more supportive. If you plan on putting miles on your boots across rough terrain, it’s worth spending a bit extra for a pair of midweight hiking boots. \
As you can see from the review, the weights of hiking boots can vary quite considerably. Naturally, we don’t want to be hiking with any extra weight, especially on our feet, but you have to make sure your boots are fit for purpose before trying to shave off the ounces.
Light boots while being easier to hike with won’t give you the support you need to handle a heavy load or tough terrains. But if you like to move quickly and want the flexibility of a light boot, they are ideal. Make sure the hiking boots you choose match the terrain and your pack weight before worrying about the weight.
All the hiking boots for men in the review are waterproof and for good reason. The last thing anyone wants is to end up walking for hours in a soggy boot. This can be very uncomfortable, cause blisters, and give a bad odor to your boots. Waterproofing systems include a waterproof, breathable fabric inside the outer fabric, line a Gore-tex liner that forms a sock. Gore-Tex is one of the best materials for this but brands also use their own in-house techniques that can be just as effective.
Waterproofing can have its disadvantages, like when hiking on a hot summer day. In the end, your feet get hot and sweaty, and therefore wet anyway. But, let’s be honest, most hiking occurs in mountainous regions where weather and cold can arrive at any moment, and having the extra warmth and protection of a waterproof hiking boot is a good idea. If you hiking around dry, hot areas a lot, it’s certainly worth getting a pair of non-waterproof boots.
Hot, sweaty hiking boots aren’t fun to trek around in and you’ll need some form of breathability in the boots you choose. Unfortunately, waterproofing has a big impact on breathability. By not letting water out, the lining inherently keeps moisture in.
Some waterproof hiking boots are better at creating ventilation than others, and it’s worth ensuring you pick a pair that are good at it if you plan in using your boots in warm conditions. Look for boots that have a combination of nylon, leather, and Gore-tex rather than full leather options.
One of the main benefits of hiking boots is the traction (grip) that comes with them. They provide superior grip and this is thanks to the outsole design. You’ll notice in the reviews above, that a lot of boots have tailored traction for wet/rocky surfaces, mud, and some for all-round traction. Larger lugs are better for mud while other outsoles are sticky to help keep your hold on rocks.
Some brands use their own in-house outsoles while a lot of others outsource to Vibram who is one of the best providers in traction around the world.
All the boots in the review have great outsoles, just be sure to match them with your chosen hiking terrains and trails.
The best on a budget hiking boots for men are the Merrell Moab 2 Mid. If you love day and weekend hiking and are looking for some super comfortable, light, and protective boots that won’t break the bank, then these are it. They’re breathable, waterproof, good-looking, and of great value.
The best hiking boots for off-trail and heavy loads are the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX. These are tough, comfortable, supportive, and can handle any terrain you can throw at them. If you’re a serious hiker, these are the ones to go for.
The best all-around hiking boots are the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX. These are super light, comfy, supportive, and will keep your feet dry, comfortable, and protected during anything from casual day hikes to intense ones, and even light backpacking hikes.
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