When it comes to hiking boots, the trend is towards lighter models that offer decent comfort and performance on the trail. Most hiking boots are available in both waterproof and non-waterproof varieties for hikers who wish to use them in hot or wet climates. The best hiking boots for 2020 are divided into three categories: lightweight, midweight, and heavyweights. To learn more on selecting the right boot for you, see our comparison table and purchase advice below. If you like to go even lighter and faster, check out our article on the very best hiking shoes.
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You’ll find many lightweight hiking boots in this category, both of which are light and flexible. But these shoes provide enough support for all-day hikes or short backpacking trips. Notable brands include:
The budget-friendly Keen Targhee II, light Salomon X Ultra Mid 3s, the Arva Air Roxa W Waterproof liners are usually less costly, but they’re not always the Gore-Tex brand. Materials in these boots are more likely to be predominately made of mesh and nylon with some leather mixed in. These are lightweight and won’t cost a lot, but they need to be replaced more often because of their limited durability. Additionally, the support mechanisms for the foot will be weaker. Considering the limited accessibility of water to drink, you may not want to carry much on your back.
Boot manufacturers have recognized the demand for lightweight, supportive hiking boots and created a variety of new options for consumers. It is also home to some of the well-known hiking boots (the Salomon Quest 4D 3 and Lowa Renegade are both midweight). Solid support underfoot makes the boots a little bit stiffer than your everyday hikers, but not excessively so. Boot prices typically start at around $200. You’ll generally find waterproof construction and GTX (Gore-Tex) membrane among the standard features with this price range of the boot.
Asolo’s boots are so tough that they remain popular even though consumers now want lighter weight designs. Popular options include the Asolo Fugitive GTX and Zamberlan Vioz GTX models.
Hiking boots made for tough and rocky terrain are also a great choice if you plan on doing long hikes while carrying heavy packs. Similarly, these boots will perform at their best in wet and snowy conditions because they’re rain-proof and have thick uppers that are warm in hot weather. Hiking boots are designed to handle a wide variety of terrains and conditions. The soles have enough rigidity that they can take on steep ascents without the heel sinking with each step while also providing stability, whether on ice or dry land. Your final tip: don’t pull up your hiking boots for an extended hike without giving them time to break in. Wearing them before a long trip will make sure the boot is the best choice for you and will last for years of backpacking.
Our table illustrates how hiking boot weights range from over 3 pounds to about half a pound. You can choose an over-the-ankle design from the Altra Lone Peak 4 Mid, which is basically just a trail runner with higher ankles and waterproofing. The way the boot is weighted impacts how well it performs. Generally, a lighter boot will offer less support in comparison to one that weighs more. If you’re carrying too much pack, this may present a problem. But for thru-hikers or minimalists, going lightweight could be a good idea.
We try to keep the weight of our boots at a minimum, providing enough cushion and stability for the weight we carry in our pack and even demanding terrain. Hiking boots come in many varieties based on the needs of the trip. For trail running, lightweight and fastpacking, Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX provides a fine balance between weight and performance.
If I were going to choose only one boot to accomplish everything, Asolo Fugitive might be my favorite option; it is durable enough for trek
Hiking Boots vs. Hiking Shoes
One important decision to make when choosing hiking boots is whether you want an over-the-ankle or low-top shoe. Each type has its strengths and we use them both for hiking and backpacking trips. Not only are hiking shoes models highly variable, so too are foot shapes.
The benefits of high-topped hiking boots are protection from ankle troubles, stability on rocky terrain and even carrying a backpack. While these hikes are perfect for those with heavy backpacks though they may not be as fast or light given the extra weight, low-top hiking boots trim away the material in order to make it quicker and easier when without a There’s not a definite right answer in this debate, but the weight of your gear and the conditions you’ll be hiking in could make the decision a lot easier.
Stiffness and Stability
Hiking boots generally have a far more stable construction than running or dress shoes. Hiking boots come in a range of stiffness, depending on if you need them for flat trails or going up steep slopes.
Moving family members to be fed and taken care of without interruption On the complete opposite end of this spectrum, some lightweight boots are not built with additional structure at the ankle and resemble a tall, flexible hiking shoe.
Although waterproofing a boot can make it more breathable, there are many tradeoffs. The waterproof boot must be paired with a humidifier to allow sweat out of the inner lining. However, there are significant differences in insulation factor or permeability depending on the boot model.
Heavyweight leather boots are the worst performers, while lightweight and waterproof nylon boots perform well in wet environments. We were not impressed with the less-expensive Oboz Bridger Mid hiking boot. We suggest choosing another type of footwear if you are willing to go without a waterproof lining, like our other two picks–the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid and Hoka One One Sky Arkali mentioned previously.