20 Best Hiking Boots for Men 2021 – Footwear News


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A stout, dependable hiking boot is your ticket to the wilderness. Whether you’re approaching an alpine climb or whitewater run, packing into the backcountry for a two-week trip, or merely out for a day hike with the wife and kids at your local state park, having a pair of solid hiking boots is the first step in almost any outdoor endeavor.

Simply put, you aren’t going to get far without the right pair of hiking boots. This probably explains why hiking shoe sales are skyrocketing right now, as more folks experience the outdoors than ever before.

While hiking boots can vary widely in price, generally, they’re a piece of outdoor gear that can last quite a long time. (As a full-time mountain and adventure travel journalist, I’ve put over 1,000 hard alpine miles on my current boots, and they’re still in great shape.) The moral of the story here is that if you plan to spend a lot of time on the trail, don’t shy away from a slightly more expensive pair simply to save cash. A durable, high-quality boot is a solid investment.

The Different Types of Hiking Boots for Men

The main divisions between hiking boots relate to how sturdy the boot is and how high above the ankle it stretches. There are three main classes of hiking boots, outlined below.

1. Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes run below the ankle and typically feature flexible midsoles and lighter builds. These shoes are a great option for day hikes, particularly on mellow, well-tracked terrain. If you’re carrying an overnight pack, you probably want something that hits above the ankle for more support. However, many experienced backpackers prefer to go backpacking in hiking shoes, or even rugged trail running shoes.

2. Hybrids

Hybrids are a blend between backpacking boots and the hiking shoes we discussed above. They may sit just above the ankle, but don’t offer the firm ankle support that true backpacking boots do. These boots will flex well and be easier to break in, but don’t have the same support or durability in their internal frame that standard hiking boots offer. They’re a great option for day hikes and short backpacking trips with light loads. Hybrid shoes are also generally quite breathable, so many choose to use hybrids on summer hiking trips.

3. Backpacking Boots

Backpacking boots are probably what you think of when you think of hiking boots. Rugged and above-the-ankle, these boots feature stout midsoles and uppers that provide support for carrying heavy loads over rough terrain on multi-day trips. That said, many backpacking boots work great for day hikes as well. For cold weather hiking, even during day trips, backpacking boots are a great choice — simply because their sturdier, bulkier build means they’re almost always warmer than hybrids or hiking shoes.

How to Find the Best Men’s Hiking Boots for Your Needs

What you’re looking for in your hiking boots really depends on what purpose you want them to fulfill. Like we discussed above, there’s a variety of hiking boots to fit various outdoor missions.

Here are the main components of a hiking boot:

  • Upper: The material used to construct the boot upper will play a role in the boot’s weight, water resistance, overall durability and breathability. Many hiking boots are constructed with leather uppers, whether full-grain, split-grain or nubuck. Synthetics, like polyester and nylon, are also common upper materials, while many styles employ waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex. Each material has its tradeoffs. Full-grain leather is more durable but less breathable than synthetics, for example.

 

  • Midsole: The shoe midsole provides support and cushion for the bottom of your foot. If you’re hiking on scree or talus, for example, you’ll want a stiffer midsole to absorb the impact. Most midsoles are either EVA or polyurethane. The former is lighter, cushier and cheaper, while polyurethane is typically a bit more stout and is a common midsole material for backpacking boots.

 

  • Outsole: The outsole is what comes into contact with the trail, so it needs to be rugged and provide adequate grip. Almost all boot outsoles use rubber, though additives like carbon are often added to backpacking boots to make the outsole more firm and durable. Hiking boots also incorporate lugs (small bumps and ridges) on the outsole to provide traction. Thicker, deeper lugs are used on backpacking boots, while hiking shoes will have thinner, smaller lugs. If you’re planning on doing a lot of alpine scrambling or hiking over talus and scree, then a tacky rubber outsole will come in handy. For wetter, muddier terrain, widely-spaced lugs can help shed mud easier.

 

  • Internal Structure: The internal structure of your boot is one of the most important aspects. Some styles, like hiking shoes, will feature minimal internal support. Backpacking boots should have sturdy internal support to keep your ankle secure when packing heavy loads on uneven terrain. Inserts like plates and shanks are commonly found in backpacking boots to help keep your foot secure in your shoe.

In addition to the above features, if you’re looking at snow hiking or mountaineering, crampon and microspike compatibility is another factor to consider.

Ahead, shop the best hiking boots for men — many of which this author has personally tested — from respected brands like Merrell, Hoka One One and more.

Merrell Moab Speed Hiking Shoes

Best Men’s Hiking Shoe for Warm Weather 

  • Type: Hiking Shoe
  • Weight: 24 oz
  • Water Resistance: Low
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

At $120, the Moab Speed from Merrell is a stellar budget option, but it’s a high-quality hiking shoe, too. This lightweight shoe features an ultra-breathable mesh and TPU upper coupled with a 100% mesh lining. A toe cap and rock plate offer solid rock protection, while an EVA foam insole with a 50% recycled top sheet provides eco-friendly internal comfort you can feel proud of. The Vibram outsole sports tacky 4mm lugs, great for scrambling moderate terrain. For fast-moving, warm-weather missions, the Merrell Moab Speed is an affordable and reliable choice.


CREDIT: Courtesy of DSW


Salomon Quest 4 Hiking Boots

Best Day Hike/Backpacker Hybrid Boots

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 46 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: Medium
  • Durability: High

The Salomon Quest 4 provides a high level of foot protection and support with a sturdy build thanks to the innovative ADV-C 4D Chassis. This is a supportive shoe that still allows you to move fast, and it was inspired by Salomon’s trail running expertise. According to Salomon’s website, the Quest 4 boot “respects the natural flexion of your foot for a smooth ride that flows from step to step.

This is a stellar option for an avid trail runner or day hiker who simply can’t imagine giving a hiking boot a chance. The Quest 4 offers the lightweight, propulsion-focused build of a trail shoe with the support of a boot, which is critical for overnight trips with full packs. This boot, in my opinion, is the best day hiking/backpacking hybrid available on the market right now.


Salomon Quest 4

CREDIT: Courtesy of Salomon


Keen Targhee III Mid Hiking Boots

Best Budget Hiking Boots

  • Type: Hybrid
  • Weight: 35 oz
  • Water Resistance: High
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

Keen boots and shoes have been widely loved by backpackers and day hikers alike, thanks to their high performance features and budget pricing. (The Keen brand has also been growing like crazy this year.) The Targhee III Mid continues that lineage as a versatile mid-level hybrid at an excellent price point. Stability isn’t the focus here, so if you’ll be embarking on a longer distance overnight trip, you may want to steer clear. That said, the Targhee III offers top-notch breathability and comfort, with more support than below-the-ankle hiking shoes like the Moab Speed from Merrell — while keeping its price point comparable.


Keen Targhee III Mid

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Vasque St. Elias FG Gore-Tex Hiking Boots

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 52 oz
  • Water Resistance: High
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: High

Vasque’s full-grain leather St. Elias FG Gore-Tex is a rugged, beefy workhorse. Its sole is among the most bulletproof of those seen on our list, and its upper is simply the epitome of stout leather. If you’re looking for a boot that can support you while carrying extra heavy packs over rugged terrain, you can’t go wrong with the St. Elias. The old-school look just adds to the appeal.


Vasque St. Elias FG GTX

CREDIT: Courtesy of Backcountry


Asolo Landscape Gv LTH Hiking Boots

Most Breathable Backpacking Boot

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 52 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

If comfort and breathability are your primary concerns, then Asolo’s Landscape Gv LTH is an excellent option. It offers solid traction and grip for techy terrain, coupled with an unprecedented level of breathability despite the solid water resistance offered by the suede leather uppers, which use Gore-Tex membranes to keep your feet protected from the elements. Add this functionality to the low price point of a mere $180, and you have a top-notch pick for the most breathable backpacking boot on the market. If you’re heading for a hike in hot summer weather, these boots may very well be the best footwear you can choose.


Asolo Landscape Gv LTH Hiking Boots

CREDIT: Courtesy of REI


La Sportiva Nucleo High II Gore-Tex Wide Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots for Wide Feet

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 34 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

Finding a comfortable fit when you have wide feet can be a pain. Luckily, La Sportiva has made a specialized modification to one of their trademark trekking boots to accommodate wide feet (the brand is known for always making skinny shoes). The La Sportiva Nucleo High II Gore-Tex Wide is the best backpacking boot for wide feet, featuring a classy Nubuck leather-look, Gore-Tex waterproofing and a Vibram Nano XS-Trek sole that offers impact braking and solid traction on techier turf. This boot also won the REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award, which is no small feat.


La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX Wide

CREDIT: Courtesy of La Sportiva


Hoka Speedgoat Mid 2 Hiking Boots

Best Lightweight Trekking Boots

  • Type: Hybrid
  • Weight: 26 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Low

Hoka’s Speedgoat Mid 2 earns top marks for comfort, with a slightly less burly build than many other Hoka boots. It’s essentially impossible to find a mid-level boot with this much comfort and priced so reasonably at $170.

If your biggest priority is weight, then these boots are also a solid buy. They’re some of the lightest hiking boots on the market, weighing just 13.2 ounces.

Although marketed as a mid-level hybrid, these boots could come closer to a hiking shoe. They’re the ultimate option for fast, lightweight missions, but don’t offer much in the way of structure and support. If you’re carrying a heavy pack, these likely aren’t your best option.


Hoka Speedgoat Mid 2

CREDIT: Courtesy of Backcountry


Lowa Renegade Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boots

Most Stable Mid Hiking Boots

  • Type: Hybrid
  • Weight: 39 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

If you like the lower cut of a mid boot or hybrid hiking shoe, but can’t normally hang with the lack of support found in shoes like the Keen Targhee III Mid, then the Lowa Renegade Gore-Tex Mid is an excellent alternative. With a tall ankle cuff, a burly midsole underfoot and durable external leather, the Renegade hits all the marks of a classic hiking boot. It’s on the heavier side, for sure, but if you’re looking for a stout boot that will hold up for years and weight isn’t a concern, the Lowa is a solid choice.


Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

CREDIT: Courtesy of Backcountry


Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Hiking Boots

Best for Technical Hiking and Scrambling

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 42 oz
  • Water Resistance: High
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: High

Scarpa’s Zodiac Plus is a standout boot for techy high-angle terrain, when traction and stability are of paramount concern. This boot is much more agile and lightweight than true mountain boots, so it’s a great choice for scrambles and day hikes alike. For anytime you’ll encounter both on-trail and off-trail terrain (like while boulder hopping, scrambling, on scree or in moderate snow), the Zodiac Plus stands out as a top-notch pick. The Perwanger leather outer, coupled with a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort footwear lining, makes for high water resistance as well.


Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Hiking Boots

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Astral Rambler Hiking Shoes

Most Comfortable Scrambling Shoe

  • Type: Hiking Shoe
  • Weight: 34 oz
  • Water Resistance: Low
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

The Astral Rambler is one of the brand’s two all-new approach shoes, made with 100% recycled uppers. These are a comfortable, high-traction do-it-all shoe, one that I’ve used for everything from skateboarding to bouldering approaches to short trips to the grocery. They’re a bit stiff initially, but wear in well after a week or so of use, and are a stellar shoe for grippy, slabby rock approaches. And, they perform equally well on short day hikes.


Astral Rambler Hiking Shoes

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


La Sportiva Trango Tech Gore-Tex Hiking Boots

Best Technical Hiking/Mountaineering Hybrid Boots

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 44 oz
  • Water Resistance: High
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: High

If you’re looking for something you can take into technical alpine terrain but that will perform decently on trail,  La Sportiva’s Trango Tech Gore-Tex is a good pick. The stiff sole naturally works well with crampons, and the rubber is tacky enough for moderate scrambling and low-grade rock. The Trango Tech Gore-Tex is fairly lightweight (weighing under three pounds), but is supportive when packing heavy loads. These boots also feature perhaps the best waterproofing out of any on our listing. As with other La Sportiva boots, beware if you’re wide-footed. Most of the brand’s standard boots run quite thin.

All told, Trango Tech Gore-Tex is a shoe that’s designed for the everyman mountaineer and scrambler. You’re getting a bit of an approach shoe, a bit of a hiking boot, and a bit of a mountaineering boot all in one piece of footwear. From moderate rock and snow to low-grade ice and burly terrain, this boot can tackle anything.


La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX

CREDIT: Courtesy of REI


Kodiak Skogan Hiking Boots

Most Stylish Hiking Boot

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 48 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: Medium
  • Durability: Low

Kodiak’s Skogan leather boots won’t win any awards in the technical category, but they’re fairly affordable and eco-friendly featuring textile uppers, linings and laces made with at least 50% recycled plastic. The leather build offers reasonable waterproofing and the boots sport Kodiak’s dual-density ComfortZone Eco footbed made from foam constructed with at least 70% plant-based biomass. Offering a rugged, classic leather aesthetic, the Kodiak Skogan is an excellent choice for fashion-forward hikers and eco-conscious buyers alike.


Kodiak Skogan Hiking Boots

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Vans UltraRange Exo Hi GTX MTE-2 Hiking Boots

Best Trail to Street Boot

  • Type: Hybrid
  • Weight: 21 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

Vans probably isn’t the first brand that comes to mind when you think of hiking boots, but the UltraRange line does a good job of bridging the gap.

This isn’t a shoe you should take on a technical backpacking trip or backcountry scramble, but the All-Trac cold-weather rubber provides substantial traction on all terrains, while the insulation is more than sufficient for cold-weather hiking. Gore-Tex outer offers reliable waterproofing, while the single-density EVA molded sock liner and UltraCush EVA midsole bring the all-day comfort and minimal weight you expect from Vans.


Vans UltraRange Exo Hi GTX MTE-2 Hiking Boots

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Arc’teryx Acrux TR Gore-Tex Hiking Boots

Best Men’s Hiking Boots for Alpine Backpacking

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 39 oz
  • Water Resistance: High
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: Medium
  • Durability: Medium

The Arc’teryx Acrux TR Gore-Tex boots have been my go-to hiking boot for the last year, so I’ll do a deep dive here.

I’ve logged over 1,000 miles in these boots, and they’ve held up well. I took them to the summit of Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba, the third-tallest mountain in North America, and they performed well with crampons and kept my feet warm in the ice and snow. They also have been to the summit of over 50 14,000-foot peaks in the U.S., performing well on the rock. I took them on a 2,000-kilometer motorcycle trip through the jungles of Guatemala, and they worked well on the bike, too.

Here are my two cents: The waterproofing on these boots is top-notch, as is the grippy outsole, which is great for scrambling moderate terrain. The boots are also extremely stiff and supportive (they take awhile to break in), though they remain much more lightweight than other boots of this caliber. The downside here is that these boots are not breathable at all. My feet often become extremely hot and sweaty when hiking in these in warm weather. As a result, I’d say the Acrux TR Gore-Tex boots are a stellar choice for backpacking trips if in wet conditions, during winter, or at high-altitude. However, for moderate summer hike, they simply aren’t breathable enough. The laces also have frayed over time, but I’ve replaced those with some La Sportiva laces and those are working well.


Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX

CREDIT: Courtesy of Backcountry


Ecco Exohike Hiking Boots

Best Men’s Hiking Boots for Overnight Trips

  • Type: Hybrid
  • Weight: 42 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Low

Ecco’s Exohike is a stable, above-the-ankle shoe with a lot more breathability than the burlier boots on our listing (like the Acrux TR above and the Corax GV below). Michelin rubber outsoles provide lightweight traction, while energy-returning Ecco Phorene midsoles keep you moving fast. ECCO’s proprietary Hydromax water repellant does a solid job staving off external moisture.

In addition, this is a fairly eco-friendly boot, since Ecco constructed the Exohike with leathers using DriTan technology — which minimizes the water and chemicals used in the tanning process.


Ecco Exohike

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


La Sportiva Glacier WLF Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots for Forest Management Professionals

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 64 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: High

For working professionals in the wilderness, particularly those involved in forest management and post-fire cleanup, heat-resistant footwear is critical. The Glacier WLF from La Sportiva features a heat-resistant sole with a sturdy rubber compound. This compound is resistant to 300 degrees Celsius (or 572 degrees Fahrenheit) and the accompanying glue is resistant to 70 Celsius (or 158 degrees Fahrenheit).

La Sportiva notes that this heat-activated glue, however, will delaminate when exposed to fire or heat. The boots also meet the eight-inch height requirement for wild land firefighting (though naturally, this isn’t a completely fire-resistant boot). If you’ve accepted a job in forest management or are looking for a sturdy, heat-resistant boot for post-fire work, the Glacier WLF is a surefire choice.


La Sportiva Glacier WLF

CREDIT: Courtesy of Backcountry


Free Soldier Combat Boots

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 37 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Low
  • Comfort: Medium
  • Durability: Medium

More of a combat boot than a hiking boot, these Free Soldier boots still offer an affordable, reliable choice for entry-level hikers not looking to break the bank. They’re also great for anyone who wants a do-it-all boot that can hold up for yard work, the bar, motorcycle rides, hunting trips and hikes alike. The upper sports durable and anti-puncture fabric as well as wear-resistant TPU. These don’t have superb traction, but they do offer reliable waterproofing and general all-day comfort for a variety of activities.  All told, you simply can’t find many hiking boots at this price point, so for that alone, this Free Soldier model is worth a try.


Free Soldier Combat Boots 

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Asolo Corax GV Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots for Long-Distance Backpacking

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 43 oz
  • Water Resistance: High
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: High

Asolo is a brand most American readers probably aren’t familiar with, but they’re known for making top-quality backpacking boots worldwide. When I lived in New Zealand, Asolo boots were the go-to for backpackers and mountaineers across the country. Asolo has called the Corax “the most advanced hiking product in the market,” and it shows in the build.

The Corax GV sports multi-piece heels designed to absorb shock, Gore-Tex waterproof lining and techy Vibram outsoles. This is a bombproof boot that will stand the test of time, great for long miles hauling heavy loads over rough terrain. That said, Asolo has never been the most affordable brand, and at $360, these boots will certainly cost you a pretty penny.


Asolo Corax GV

CREDIT: Courtesy of Backcountry


Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 49 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: Medium
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: High

Like the Acrux TR and the Asolos featured above, this Salewa mid boot is a nice cross between an approach shoe and a mountaineering boot. It will perform extremely well on alpine hikes and scrambles (I’ve tried this boot myself), but it tends to be quite warm, like the Acrux. That said, I’ve owned Salewas for years, and their durability is always next to none. My father has been hiking in the same Salewas for over seven years now.

This boot sports a durable rand that wraps around the entire lower section, keeping out rocks, snow and any other debris. Like that on approach shoes, the lacing system extends down to the toes of the boot for an extremely variably fit. For a rough, rugged alpine boot that can offer a fine-tuned fit, this is a great competitor to the Arc’teryx Acrux TR.


Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX

CREDIT: Courtesy of Backcountry


La Sportiva Pyramid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots

  • Type: Hiking Boot
  • Weight: 33 oz
  • Water Resistance: Medium
  • Traction: High
  • Comfort: High
  • Durability: Medium

The most affordable La Sportiva boot on our list, the Pyramid is also much less technical than the other La Sportiva boots we selected. However, it’s better suited to trail hiking and moderate backpacking trips. With breathable Gore-Tex built into the upper and a classy Nubuck leather build, this is a boot that keeps your feet cool on warm days and looks good, too. It’s a top-notch choice for backpackers looking for a mid-weight boot or day hikers looking for something slightly more supportive than the hiking shoes in our roundup.


La Sportiva Pyramid GTX

CREDIT: Courtesy of Zappos



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