The Best Hiking Boots & Shoes in 2017 – Our Top 10

best hiking boots featuredSelecting the best hiking boots is very important and not something you should skimp on. Why? Because if you are going hiking then that means walking thousands of steps, and if you don’t have the right shoes then those steps could be very uncomfortable. This could take away all the enjoyment, and ruin your fun.

The only problem is there are so many options out there that you really are spoiled for choice. That is where we are here to help, we have done the research so you don’t have to. By reading our reviews and guides you can confident that when you make a new purchase it is going to be a good one.

Top 5 Best Hiking Boots for Men

ShoeMaterialSoleWaterproof?Our RatingPrice
Salomon Men’s Quest 4D GTXPolyester MeshThermoplastic urethaneyes
Timberland Men’s White Ledge BootLeather and syntheticRubberyes
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Multisport ShoeLeatherVibramno
Timberland Mens Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex MidLeatherRubberyes
Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude IVLeather and TextileRubberyes

Top 5 Best Hiking Shoes for Women

NameMaterialSoleWaterproof?Our RatingPrice
Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX MidLeatherVibramyes
Ahnu Women’s Montara BootLeather and textileRubberyes
KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WaterproofLeatherRubberyes
Merrell Women’s Moab VentilatorLeather and textileSyntheticno
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge PlusLeatherRubberyes

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Boot

In order to make the right choice, you need to consider your budget and how serious you are about hiking gear. If you are a casual hiker and only go once or twice per year then maybe you could get away with some cheaper boots but if want to be hiking regularly and on rough terrain then you need something which will last. Remember, you really get what you pay for with the gear but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some real bargains out there to be had!

Materials Used

When deciding which material is needed you have to consider your budget, preferences and needs.

Leather
A leather boot is normally stronger and quite waterproof but it is fairly heavy and more costly. It is normally used for longer hikes where you have to carry a heavy load.

Synthetic
A synthetic boot is lighter and tends to be cheaper but also wears quicker on challenging outdoor terrain and is less likely to last a long time.

Waterproof
There are waterproof materials used by some brands such as Timberland’s Gore-Tex version. They tend to be added to the inside of the boot in order to stop water leaking in when hiking.

Boot Cut

Depending on what kind of hiking you will be doing you should consider which boot cut to go for:

Low Cut
These are good for smooth, mostly level ground and short day hikes. This is because there is less ankle support with with this kind of boot. On these hikes you would tend to carry just a small day pack with perhaps a couple of bottles of water and minimal gear.

Mid Cut
This type of boots have more ankle support and are used for longer hikes which may span more than a day. They are also quite useful for more challenging inclines and terrain and provide more stability of potentially slippery muddy trails. You would tend to carry a light backpack with these shoes.

High Cut
High cut are normally the most rugged and durable boot, they are used for intense multiple day hikes for the serious hiker. They are especially good if you are carrying lots of heavy outdoor gear when backpacking. Suited to the most demanding terrain, they are even used in the snow with the addition of crampons.

Appearance

Although most of the time when purchasing footwear you are likely to care a great deal about how good they look, this isn’t something you should worry about here.

You aren’t buying these new shoes to show off or for their style, you are buying them for a functional purpose so aesthetics should be bottom of the list of considerations. That being said, perhaps if you are torn between two different boots you could come to a decision by choosing the ones that you prefer the looks of. That is the only time we would recommend using this as a criteria when carrying out your shopping for gear.

Other things to Consider

Comfort
Buying online is great but it may be a useful to visit a shop first to try some on and make sure they feel right for you and fit comfortably. After trying them on you can go back home and on the internet to take advantage of sometimes cheaper prices. One advantage of purchasing online however is that you can still return them, chances are you will be happy with the boots you buy but it is a pretty swift and painless process to return them if they don’t fit.

You should also consider the material here when making a decision, this is because some of the most comfortable boots tend to use the lightweight material such as Gore-Tex. They are also better to use in the early days as they take less time to wear in than traditional leather boots.

Time of Year
If you are going hiking during the summer and the weather is going to be pretty warm then lightweight outdoor boots with plenty of air will be far more comfortable. On the other hand in the winter then it is a good idea to use some waterproof shoes to avoid any leaking inside which can be very uncomfortable when backpacking.

Size of Shoe
It is normally recommended to buy hiking boots in a size or two higher than your normal size. This is because when on the trails your feet can swell due to the physical activity and/or because of the warm climate. Therefore it is better to be safe than sorry and leave some room to account for this. You can always start wearing two pairs of socks and remove one pair if necessary.

Budget
As mentioned earlier in this article it is well worth investing some money into these boots, even the casual hiker can benefit from a high quality pair. They don’t have to cost the earth either, on this site you will find many pairs reviewed that will suit a small budget whilst the higher quality ones will not be much more.

You really are doing yourself an injustice and potentially taking the enjoyment out of your backpacking adventures if you settle for a cheap, uncomfortable pair which will soon fall apart anyway. If you invest a reasonable sum of money now you will probably find the boots will last many years and potentially save you money by having to purchase new boots more regularly.

Top 5 Hiking Shoes for Men

Salomon-Mens-Quest-4D-GTXSalomon Men’s Quest 4D GTX
The Men’s Quest 4D GTX are firmly in the premium end of the hiking market but they are very popular and have some rave reviews. There are in fact more expensive boots than these but they don’t offer such high end quality at an accessible price. They are made from an innovate lightweight material which is waterproof thanks to sealed Gore-Tex membranes and other design features. If you’re serious about hiking and backpacking and want some shoes that will tackle the harshest of conditions and last many years then look no further.

Timberland-Mens-White-LedgeTimberland Men’s White Ledge Boot

This is a typical high quality men’s boot from well known brand Timberland, what’s more it won’t cost you the earth either. It’s made of high quality leather and synthetic material which means it won’t fall apart any time soon and comes with a strong rubber sole. Along with that it is waterproof so it can handle those damper hiking days without making your feet wet on the trail. Overall if you want footwear that offers great value for money then Timberland’s White Ledge Boot will do that.

Merrell-Mens-Moab-VentilatorMerrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Multisport Shoe

Another mid-range but still highly rated boot is the men’s Moab Ventilator from Merrell. It is made from a pretty tough leather material and a special vibram sole. Among other features it also has AEGIS odor control to stop your footwear from becoming so smelly you don’t want to put them on your feet. Of course it is waterproof too with a breathable upper mesh.

Timberland-Mens-Chocorua-Trail-Gore-TexTimberland Mens Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid

Another great boot from Timberland and a worthy contender for your money. Not only do they look the part on the trail but they also act the part too. Made with high quality leather material and a rubber sole along with Timberland’s great design, you can’t really go wrong. Not only that but they also claim to offer special anti-fatigue comfort technology.

Hi-Tec-Mens-Altitude-IVHi-Tec Men’s Altitude IV

These are some of the lowest price hiking boots from traditionally budget manufacturer Hi-Tec. Don’t let the price fool you though, these hiking boots pack some punch. Made from a combination of leather and textile material with a rubber sole and a new waterproof design these boots are well loved. OK, if you are a serious hiker then these may not quite be up to the job but for those who are just getting started backpacking they can make a great first pair.

Top 5 Hiking Boots for Women

Lowa-Womens-Renegade-GTXLowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid

Very highly rated and premium priced, the Renegade GTX are a must have for serious female hikers. Made from high quality leather and with a special vibram sole they are very well made and will last many years. As you would expect for the price, they use Gore-Tex technology for waterproofing whilst still being breathable. If you want to invest in some great hiking shoes then look no further than these.

Ahnu Footwear Women’s Montara Boot

Another women’s boot with great reviews from Ahnu Footwear. They use a combination of leather and textile material to create a great comprise between reliability and mobility. As far as hiking shoes go these ones also look pretty cool which may be a concern for some women, though once covered in mud on the trail all boots look pretty similar. They come in many choices of colors, for more details have a look at our full review.

KEEN-Womens-Targhee-IIKEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid

This is a mid-range offering from popular footwear manufacturer Keen. They are made from very high quality materials and come with a fairly high price tag but are still very affordable for somebody that wants to invest in their hiking. Nice features are the Keen Dry waterproof membrane and their patented toe protection to avoid injury from sharp rocks.

Merrell-Womens-Moab-VentilatorMerrell Women’s Moab Ventilator

This hiking boot from Merrell is just like the men’s version and equally highly rated and attractively priced. With the same great build quality and combination of leather and textile materials it is a shoe which is great for the less serious hiker. They are not particularly heavy duty but could be great for those just getting started with hiking or do not have to endure the toughest terrain.

Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus

Yet another very reasonably priced boot for women, yet they are still pretty tough. They have full leather materials along with a rubber sole and a waterproof design. Columbia are a well known outdoor company with a reputation for providing innovative new products that are not only high quality but great value. The Newton Ridge Plus definitely lives up to that, see our full review for more details.

Decision Time

Now it is up to you, it’s time to take the next step towards a great hike by purchasing the best hiking boots. You have seen the comparison chart and read through the reviews so there is no excuse. If you are still unsure and need further help then be sure to check out our individual in depth reviews and guides for even more help.

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