When exploring the great outdoors, the importance of wearing high-quality footwear cannot be overstated. The right hiking boots provide comfort, safety as well as protection from the elements. A good comfort level allows for extended endurance during your hike and a more pleasurable experience overall. Durable, intelligent design keeps you safe from dangerous wildlife, sharp sticks, rocks and injury-threatening slips. Quality materials and water-proofing keeps your feet free from excess dampness and irritating plants. To truly enjoy a long hike through the untamed wilderness, you must pick the correct footwear for the job.
It is hard to think of anything more critical to a hike than the right boot.
So, as a hiker or backpacker, how do you choose the perfect pair? There are plenty of manufacturers and suppliers ready to take your money, so make sure you are prepared beforehand. This article will help narrow your decision down by profiling some of my personal favorites. These hiking boots are great options because they offer all the important features noted above. My choices also take into account style, quality, and options for personalization. Below I cover four great brands, with one pick for casual hikes and one for extreme adventures. Hopefully the information in this article will help you find the ideal boots for your next outdoor expedition.
Best Hiking Boot for Beginners / Casual Hiker
Timberline Mt. Maddsen MID Waterproof Hiking Boots
Timberland, a Boston-based company, has been making good hiking boots since the 1950s. Their products cater especially to the casual hiker or outdoorsman / outdoorswoman.
I are big fans of the Mt. Maddsen line of boots, available in several stylish color options. They provide a lot of important features at their affordable price starting with the water-proof Timber-Dry™ membrane (eco-friendly, being made of 50% recycled plastic bottles) to keep your feet dry. These boots are built for motion efficiency, which provides more comfort in your stride and ensures they will provide a long life. They are a great quality pick for the casual hiker.
In addition to being great for your casual hikes, this boot just looks good! You can wear it around town, at work (depending on your job), just about anywhere and it will look the part and keep you comfortable. Outfitted with this boot, a good backpack, and a map, you can have a great day hiking just about anywhere.
Best hiking boot for hot weather
Oboz Wind River III BDRY Hiking Boots
We love Oboz boots, and have been wearing them ourselves for years. They are made well, wear well, and you might not be buying another boot for a very long time.
Breathability is key when in comes to hot weather hiking. If your feet get too warm and perspire inside your boot, you basically are getting moisture similar to hiking in rain in a non-waterproof boot. Of course you want a waterproof hiking boot. So why don’t you want a boot that doesn’t make your feet sweat?
The Wind River III is a durable pair of boots, great for extended treks and backpacking trips. They are completely waterproof but also feature a breathable membrane that allows excess water vapor to escape, ensuring your feet stay dry and cool even when its hot and humid. They also offer strong support along the chassis to help prevent ankle rolling and are especially designed to provide a comfortable fit that still offers maximum protection and grip.
We are big fans. You can find it here.
Best hiking boot for wide feet
Keen Durand MID WP Hiking Boots
Keen has been around since 2003, making it somewhat new on the hiking boot scene but it quickly established itself as a go-to brand for all kinds of active footwear. One thing that people notice about Keen footwear is its wider footprint and roomier toe box. It is something Keen does with all of its footwear, so they tend to be a great brand for people with wider feet.
The Durand line of boots is a heavier duty option, built for taking on rugged trails. The soles offer a dual-compound grip rubber for traction and include polyurethane cushions on the heel and midsole for increased comfort on long hikes. Their footbeds are dual-density and removable for even more support and the body of the boot is reinforced with urethane shanks for ankle stability. These boots are also waterproof but include breathable mesh as well.
If we were doing a lineup of boots for challenging conditions, this boot would be on it. A great boot all around, maybe the highest-performance boot on this list.
You can find it here.
best hiking boot with gore-tex
Salomon Ultra Trek GTX
The X Ultra Trek GTX are a killer pair of boots built for long hikes or extended backpacking trips, especially though extreme weather and muddy conditions. For the quality of the boot, it is incredibly lightweight, great for people who need a shoe they can really move in, while lined with a material that is highly waterproof. That material, of course, is GORE-TEX.
Their GORE-TEX® membrane provides the best water-proofing of all the pairs I have covered in this article. However, this feature also creates a lack of breathability as a consequence, so you may want to think before using this on an extreme hot-weather hike. They are very stable, comfortable boots due to their molded shank chassis and OrthoLite® EVA shaped footbed. They are highly recommended for anyone facing the challenge of wet and treacherous ground.
The boot tread has a grip that is perhaps the best on the market. This boot grips really well. So, if you plan to do some hiking on wet rocks or scrambling where traction is key, this might be the winner for you.
Best Hiking Boot for Plantar Fasciitis
Keen Targhee II Boot
We wrote above about our admiration for the Keen brand, and that fact that it tends to run wide and with a roomy toe box. That same feature makes the Keen brand good for plantar fasciitis. Footwear that is of poor quality, or fits too tightly, can contribute to plantar fasciitis. The great news is that the Keen Targhee is of great quality, and gives your feet plenty of room to move.
The Targhee II is a very comfortable boot, but one that provides the perfect blend of room for your foot to spread out and support on the outside. With plantar fasciitis, the one thing you don’t want is a flisy boot that does not support your foot. The Targhee II is is an outstanding combination of support and comfort, and we think it is a good choice for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. Of course, if your case is severe, consider seeing an orthopedist and getting insoles to add to the boot. The Targhee III is also on the market, but we don’t feel it has the same support as the II.