Embark on your next outdoor adventure with confidence as we present the ultimate guide to the “22 Best Boots for Hiking and Backpacking.” Whether you’re a seasoned trailblazer or a novice explorer, finding the perfect pair of boots is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable journey. In this comprehensive article, we meticulously rank and review top-notch hiking and backpacking boots, considering various budgets to ensure there’s a perfect fit for every adventurer.
Whether you’re a budget-conscious trekker or seeking top-tier options, we’ve got you covered. Join us as we delve into the details of each boot, examining features, durability, and the perfect balance between quality and cost. No matter your expertise level or terrain preference, our ranking ensures there’s a boot tailored to meet your specific needs.
Get ready to elevate your outdoor experience as we guide you through the best options available, making your next hiking or backpacking journey a comfortable and stylish venture. Lace-up and let the exploration begin.
Caveat: The prices listed here are based on a Size 9 boot at the time this article was published.
The Nortiv 8 Men’s Ankle High Hiking Boots are a great, affordable option for hikers who don’t want to spend excess dollars on an equivalent boot with better brand recognition.
These boots would also be great for new hikers, as their extra padding and solid build will provide needed support for anyone whose ankles and feet might not be tempered to absorb the rigors of off-road terrain. My recommendation would be to think twice about these boots if you’re planning to hike in excessive heat.
From the long-time manufacturer of comfy work boots, the Timberland White Ledge Mid is a no-frills, all-leather hiking boot. Quite light for a full leather boot, it is the inexpensive footwear of choice for tradesmen and construction workers who work outdoors but don’t require steel toes. The White Ledge is a great option for those who want a versatile boot for occasional hikes.
It features a premium full-grain waterproof leather, seam-sealed construction, and rustproof speed lace hardware for secure lacing.
The thick ankle padding, both on the collar and upper tongue, is a defining feature of the White Ledge Mid. It compares most closely to the Hi-Tec Altitude V and is similarly priced. If you’re looking for something lighter, the Keen Targhee II Mid is a better choice.
The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof looks and feels like a classic hiking boot. It is made of heavy PU-coated leather, making it durable to the impacts of being used on rough trails, and it has a thick sole that grips well and gives protection against rocky and uneven trails.
The Newton Ridge Plus by Columbia also boasts advanced technology, featuring seam-sealed construction and a TECHLITE lightweight midsole for enduring comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return.
Other handy features include a waterproof combination of supportive leather and suede construction for worry-free trail days. For extended durability, the boot features reinforced toe and heel construction, guarding key wear points with extended outsole toe overwrap.
Despite its looks, it is quite lightweight for the materials used. This is a good option for a budget-minded shopper or someone who is looking for a durable, heavyweight boot for more ankle and foot protection.
Okay we hear you; the Merrell isn’t it anymore and their newer products aren’t as good as they were but honestly this boot does have value for its money. Sliding your feet into the Merrell Moab 2 is a reminder of what has made these shoes so popular for so long. It’s truly a comfortable boot with a cushioned collar and tongue, supportive footbed, and enough flexibility to take straight to the trail.
One noticeable area of improvement in this latest Moab shoe is the refined insole. You now get decent arch support, and the molded heel cup holds you nicely in place. Moreover, there is extra padding in the heel that offers a surprising amount of trail isolation and underfoot protection.
The lightweight and budget-friendly end of the hiking shoe and boot market is teeming with options, but the Merrell Moab 2 retains its place as one of the greats. The Moab’s long-time competitor is the Keen Targhee, which is one of only a few shoes that can compete in terms of popularity.
A recommended budget option.
The Keen Men’s Circadia Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots is a great pick for those looking to get into getting a Keen at a wallet-friendly price. Not only is this budgeted but also features a heel-capture system which provides superior support for rugged terrain, and a notch in the back ensuring maximum Achilles comfort.
LuftCore technology embeds a lightweight, air-injected core into a higher-density foam for midsole cushioning, and the non-marking KEEN.FUSION rubber outsole offers superior grip with its 5mm multi-directional lugs. Plus, KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane and Eco Anti-Odour for natural odour control ensure your feet stay dry and fresh all day which is essential in harsh terrain.
6. Danner USMC R.A.T (not in stocK)
It’s time to talk about Danners.
The Danner R.A.T or Rouged All Terrain boot is built for the toughest trails. The R.A.T military boot was developed side by side with the United States Marine Corp for rough terrain in temperate weather meaning moderate rainfall, sporadic drought, mild to warm summers and cool to cold winters.
The abrasive resisted upper combines effectively with breathable Gore-Tex materials making it not too hot or cold and perfect for year-round wear while keeping your feet dry. The sole is an advanced lug design by Vibram allowing it to be flexible and keep its grip in wet, dry, hot or cold conditions. The Danner RAT boots has been known for years by Marines to give long lasting comfort and support. These boots will serve you well for hiking or anything outdoors requiring extra protection and comfort.
Made in the U.S.A
The Keen Targhee III is a solid choice for light to medium backpacking trips and rugged day hikes and costs $130 retail. It has a nubuck leather and mesh upper that covers the KEEN. Dry waterproof breathable membrane. The sole consists of a dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole, a torsion stability ESS, and a proprietary rubber outsole.
The tongue is well padded, the footbed feels balanced, and the roomy toe box keeps toes fresh on long descents with plenty of room for hiking socks. Foot protection is superior to every model in this review, with a beefy rubber toe cover and stiff soles to quell discomfort on pointy, rocky terrain.
Yes, the Targhee II has a positive reputation throughout the world of hiking, but this does not stem from its durability. Many user reviews of this product report delamination of the sole as the number one issue with this model but it seems like the 11,000 purchases on Amazon must mean something.
Designed to tackle tough terrains, these Terrain Waterproof men’s hiking boots from Ariat are the perfect choice for trekkers, adventurers and anyone who loves the great outdoors. Built for the trail, these work boots for men don’t sacrifice comfort or support, even in shifting weather conditions. The highly effective ATS technology is incorporated to offer stability and all-day comfort while the waterproof PRO construction makes sure that your feet stay dry in wet conditions.
Showcasing a tough oiled full-grain waterproof leather, these all-weather shoes for men prevent water from entering inside. The moisture-wicking lining promotes optimum foot hygiene while the EVA midsole offers maximum shock-absorption and cushioning. They offer superior grip without the lug mess of other boots and easily wipe clean. Whether it’s ice, mud, or puddles, you can be sure of the comfort and durability these men’s hiking boots won’t fade.
This model builds on the success of the earlier Quest models, with the addition of some notable new technologies that increase stability and comfort, as well as a weight savings of nearly half a pound. This boot is suitable for day hikes and easier trails, though it really shines for the backpackers who want the best support and stability they can find for hiking in challenging terrain or when wearing a backpacking pack. With all the same performance in a lighter package and with great stability, the Quest 4 Gore-Tex is even more appealing than previous iterations and deserves the credit that it gets from everyone.
The basis for the stability in this boot comes down to the ADV-C 4D Chassis, which imparts structure to the boot. This stabilizing insert was developed through biomechanical studies to give more support to the outer foot and is designed to provide support without reducing flexibility and to reduce the likelihood of ankle injuries.
Modern styling meets Scandinavian design perfection in this robust men’s hiking boot that’s fit to tackle almost any terrain. The stylish uppers are crafted from specially tanned full-grain leather and nubuck hide, so it’s strong, supple and soft, allowing the foot to move naturally.
A simple lace closure system ensures a secure fit, while the GORE-TEX® waterproof layer keeps feet dry all day. Don’t worry about hot, tired feet, either, as the unique ECCO Comfort Fibre System™ keeps fresh air circulating naturally for a cooler internal climate. You won’t miss a step, thanks to the deep-cut tread and flexible, stable platform of exclusively designed twin-component PU/TPU outsole.
Overall, a great boot for hiking with a mid-ranged price and excellent comfort.
11. Oboz Bridger
The Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof is a well-made, aggressive all-leather hiking boot that will hold up to lots of trail miles with a large pack. It’s available in regular and wide sizes, has a very durable leather upper, and a lacing system that pulls the heel in snug for a great fit. The waterproof/breathable membrane keeps water out of socks, and the Granite Peak carbon rubber outsole with aggressive lugs helps this boot gain traction of hard and loose surfaces alike.
The Oboz Bridger Mid are tough and durable, but because of this you might take some time to break into them. Other than that, this is a sturdy, durable, and very water-resistant boot that’s built to last.
If you want an all-leather, durable, well-made boot, we’d also point you toward the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid, which bested the Bridger in many ways, although it’s slightly heavier than the Bridger.
12. LOWA High Rise
People who have worn these boots claim that they’ve lasted the harshest of conditions for 12 years!
The Lowa hiking boots comes with premium nubuck leather upper, combined with a breathable synthetic textile lining for comfort. It also features a removable textile-lined padded insole incorporating Dura PU technology for effective shock absorption and cushioning.
These boots also incorporate Goretex technology for waterproofing and temperature control, ensuring a comfortable experience in various conditions. The durable Vibram Evo Trac rubber sole offers reliable grip and traction on diverse terrains, making them suitable for a range of hiking adventures.
Overall, a bang for the buck with the money that you’d be paying for it. Imagine $200/12 years, that’s the value that Lowa brings to you.
The Asolo Fugitive has been a popular midweight hiking boot for more than a decade, and for good reason. A relatively stiff midsole and forefoot paired up with a tall but flexible ankle collar make it unique.
Boots with this much foot support usually have a more substantial upper that stabilizes the ankle more. And that’s why some folks love it! The light upper feels great on your foot, the high ankle collar is great for water and snow protection, but the stiff midsole supports the foot like a heavier boot.
This is a great boot for backpacking if you value foot support more than ankle stability. Because it is phenomenally waterproof, it works great for wet-weather activities with lots of mud and for winter dayhiking.ASOLO Fugitive GTX Boots Combat Tested in Afghanistan – ITS Tactical
If you’re still having doubts about this boot, read this article posted in 2010 – ASOLO Fugitive GTX Boots Combat Tested in Afghanistan – ITS Tactical which speaks depth as to how well-designed this boot was and continues to be.
14. Salewa Crow GTX
The Crow GTX is a versatile mountaineering boot with an abrasion-resistant fabric upper and waterproof GORE-TEX® protection.
Designed for mixed summer use on general alpine terrain and alpine trekking, the Crow GTX has a crampon-compatible Vibram New Mulaz sole – for Combi crampons – that offers grip on rock and traction in mixed mountain terrain and snow. The GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort lining delivers optimized climate comfort should the weather close in on you and there’s a full rubber rand for protection against rock and scree.
The Crow GTX integrates SALEWA technologies to offer the Alpine Fit 100% blister free guarantee: 3F System for firm ankle and heel support, climbing system to ensure that it fits perfectly around your foot and Flex Collar for comfort during descents.
Overall, a versatile men’s mountaineering boot with an abrasion-resistant fabric upper and great waterproof capabilities.
15. Lowa Tibet GTx
The Lowa Tibet GTX is a quintessential workhorse of a walking boot, with sturdy lined leather uppers, a full rubber wraparound rand and a chunky, grippy outsole. In terms of stiffness, it’s rated as a B1 boot, which makes it perfect for year-round hiking and hillwalking – providing masses of stability and support, plus enough stiffness to take a strap-on crampon in winter conditions.
If you prefer a traditional hillwalking boot to flimsier trainer-hikers or modern synthetic mountain boots and generally wear one boot all year round rather than switching up your footwear in winter, this is a very compelling option.
And while it’s extremely comfortable and well cushioned, its burly build does mean the Tibet isn’t the lightest either. Compared to a flexible, lightweight trainer-hiker, these boots can leave you feeling a little leg-weary by the end of a long day. On the other hand, they give you more protection and are likely to last far longer than flimsier hiking footwear.
Overall, a great option for hiking.
Time to indulge in some Italian craftsmanship with the Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT which is coincidentally the bestselling boots by Zamberlan.
The Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX boots are made in Italy, and Italian-made boots have a world-wide reputation for quality. The 996 Vioz GTX boots use full-grain leather uppers. The stitching is tough and impeccable.
Take a closer look at the leather uppers here. The main portion of the boot is made from one piece of leather. This means there are no seams along the sides of the boot. This also means that sharp sticks and rocks in off-trail forests don’t snag and tear at seams. Zamberlan takes this design a bit farther than most competitors by placing the rear seams behind the Zamberlan 996 VIOZ GTX Review: ‘Pure Awesomeness’ – Man Makes Firee heel — sticks will slide past the seams as you hike!
It also has a Hydrobloc treatment which means that it repels water as well as works with the Gore-Tex to help breathability, making them perfect for backpacking in wet/muddy terrain.
You should also check on the review of this shoe by Man Makes Fire – Zamberlan 996 VIOZ GTX Review: ‘Pure Awesomeness’ – Man Makes Fire, very insightful and just cements the points made about this Italian masterpiece.
Designed for the intense level of NOLS and Outward Bound mountaineering courses, the La Sportiva Karakorum Mountaineering Boot delivers superior support and rugged durability for our long climbs and alpine expeditions.
That upper is made of 2.8-mm-thick, silicon-impregnated leather from Italy’s 230-year-old Perwanger Tannery. It’s armor-tough and functionally waterproof. The upper has no membrane, making it exceptionally breathable.
Testers reported dry feet in standard wet-hiking conditions—even stomping up a stream in New York’s Adirondacks (the boots will eventually leak if submerged for a long period). A honeycomb grid in the midsole creates shock-absorbing air pockets that didn’t break down under the heaviest pounding, like the EVA used in lighter boots will, and it’s covered with a high-density nylon plate that provides torsional stability.
Overall, the La Sportiva Karakorum Mountaineering Boots are versatile leather boots perfect for light duty mountaineering and backpacking, or various types of outdoor work situations where you need durable support and all-day comfort!
Less than an actual mountain boot, this mid-weight hiking boot will handle trail miles with ease, whether on day hikes or extended distance backpacking trips. The Sierra High Route. The Haute Route. The Bailey Range Traverse. Mount Whitney’s Mountaineer’s Route. These iconic and popular treks involve lots of on-trail travel and off-trail boulder hopping, scree slogging, snow walking, and rock scrambling. These types of terrain are where the Zodiac Plus shines most brightly. If you need the stability and traction of a mountain boot with the weight of a mid-weight hiking shoe, then this model is for you.
Overall, the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX excels in mountain terrain where excellent traction and stability are essential to keep you safe and secure.
When you need a bushwalking boot you can rely upon day after day on the track, year after year, it’s hard to go past a full leather. The TPS 520 is a beautiful rendition of the concept. The Asolo TPS 520 features a new TPS sole, designed in collaboration with Vibram which enhances the Triple Power Structure technology that makes this boot a reliable favorite. A dual-density PU midsole is injected directly onto the rubber outsole to make a single element sole that withstands even the toughest treks.
Other features include:
- Water-resistant, full-grain leather upper with Gore-Tex lining for breathable protection from the elements.
- TPS polyurethane midsole incorporates three shock absorbers to improve comfort under high impact areas of the foot.
- Asolo/Vibram rubber traction outsole has a strong, versatile grip.
- Asoflex shank provides underfoot stability.
- Ideal for hiking
Overall, this is best suited for backpackers with a heavy pack over uneven ground.
The Scarpa Kinesis Pro is a heavyweight backpacking boot built to carry heavy loads and travel the roughest terrain. While this boot is more than is necessary for many hikers, the support for your feet and ankles is unmatched. The Kinesis Pro fits wide feet better than the similar Asolo Power Matic 200. Both are excellent heavyweight boots.
The Scarpa Kinesis Pro is most at home carrying heavy loads through rough terrain. Most hikers find a lighter midweight boot adequate for their needs these days, but some still hump massive loads, or appreciate a stiff, durable boot that will last for many years.
This is the boot to buy if you seek a traditional heavy backpacking boot for carrying a heavy pack through rough terrain.
Thirty years of hiking boot greatness. The iconic look of the one-piece leather upper with contrasting red laces is firmly imprinted in most people’s minds when they think of a quality hiking boot. The Mountain Light looks slick and timeless, but don’t let that fool you. This boot is designed for distance. The seamless leather upper actually provides excellent water resistance and, when paired with the Gore-Tex lining, offers 100% waterproofing and breathability.
The fibreglass shank & Vibram sole are ready for any adventure across rough and varied terrain. Handmade in the USA to extremely high standards, the boots can even be recrafted when repairs are needed.
The Danner Mountain Light II has a slightly narrower fit than the original, it also comes with Airthotic insoles for added comfort, and the leather is still full-grain but slightly more supple for a quicker break-in period.
Best for hiking if you have a decent budget.
The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 boots boast 10″ tall leather uppers made from 2.8mm premium full-grain leather, utilizing a one-piece vamp construction without seams down the tongue to enhance abrasion resistance and waterproofness.
These boots feature reinforced double and triple stitching in high-wear areas, along with 7mm nylon midsoles for added support under heavy pack loads. The anti-corrosion boot hardware swivels instead of breaking, and a reinforced rubber sole guard provides extra abrasion resistance. With a Windtex® waterproof breathable flexible membrane, these boots are complemented by lightweight K-Talon™ outsoles that deliver excellent traction.
Overall, the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 is a burly mountain hunting boot built for harsh terrain and maximum comfortability at a price.
Alternative option for those with chronic angle or feet issues:
Kenetrek has taken its most serious boot platform and built-in an additional brace system and a nineteen-degree toe rocker that allows the boot to take the bulk of your ankle and foot movement, sparing you the wear, tear, and pain.
Some of Kenetrek’s customers have had surgeries, a series of foot and ankle issues, or just spent most of their lives pursuing activities that led to overuse… and they all will tell you the EverStep boot is the most comfortable, pain-free solution on the market. Actively prescribed to Veterans around the country for injury rehab, to replace post-op care Cam Boots, and for full time, everyday work or play, the EverStep is getting hundreds of Veterans back on their feet and staying there… and they’ll do the same for you!
Till next time.