The 10 Best Hiking Boots

Updated May 08, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you're trekking through rough, wet, or cold terrain, make sure you protect your feet with a quality pair of hiking boots, designed to keep feet safe, warm, and working well even in the worst of conditions. Whether you need lightweight trail-runners, a resilient weatherproof pair, or stylish all-leather high-tops, the right footwear can make you at home in the outdoors. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hiking boot on Amazon.

10. Asolo TPS 520

The attractive Asolo TPS 520 are designed to be flexible and form-fitting, but still durable enough to absorb shocks and offer good foot protection. They work great for kicking steps in snow or with crampons strapped beneath them.
  • genuine leather exterior
  • good arch and ankle support
  • awfully bulky for long treks
Brand Asolo
Model 0M2066_635
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Danner Radical 452

The Danner Radical 452 are constructed using hard-wearing, full-grain nubuck leather that is soft and smooth to the touch. Their 1-inch overall platform and 1.5-inch heel can handle gravel with ease, and their strong soles provide stability on uneven terrain.
  • strategically placed flex points
  • scuff-resistant protective toecaps
  • they take a while to break in
Brand Danner
Model Radical 452 GTX Coffee
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II

The very affordable and simply fashionable Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II feature Omni-Grip compound rubber outsoles that won't mark floors, and comfortable molded EVA insoles. They look almost like standard shoes when covered by pants legs.
  • smooth leather exteriors
  • good stain and water resistance
  • tend to have a narrow fit
Brand Columbia
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Lowa Renegade

The Lowa Renegade have thick, slip-resistant rubber lugs that help keep you upright in wet conditions. Their sharply rounded heel stops add significant traction and reduce strain while going downhill, ideal for high-altitude hiking or up-and-down switchbacks.
  • air-circulating lining perforations
  • come in a variety of colors
  • good for average-width feet
Brand LOWA Boots
Model Renegade GTX Mid-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni

The military-style Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni feature a handy thermal reflective lining and 200 grams of heat insulation to keep your feet warm in winter conditions. These lace-up tactical models are purpose-built to be worn during frigid, icy adventures.
  • unparalleled ankle support
  • high enough for deep snow
  • not ideal for long distances
Brand Columbia
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

5. Inov-8 Roclite 286

Among the lightest pairs around, the Inov-8 Roclite 286 live up to their brand name as one-of-a-kind hybrids, reminiscent of super-tactile climbing shoes. They give you deft control over your footing, even in intricate canyons and sticky situations.
  • hug the foot very tightly
  • weigh just over 1lb per pair
  • lack the support of normal boots
Brand Inov-8
Model Roclite 286 GTX-U
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Merrell Moab 2

The iconic Merrell Moab 2 are sturdy, yet highly breathable, and thus suited to warm weather conditions. They provide a good amount of flexibility and are also very lightweight, so if you need to move fast at times, these are the ones for you.
  • use a speed-lacing stretch cord
  • supremely comfortable all the time
  • less-than-perfect ankle bracing
Brand Merrell
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Keen Targhee II

Made by one of America's most venerated shoemakers, the Keen Targhee II offer high-end comfort and stability at half the cost of other top brands, while the company's proprietary moisture-resistance keeps your feet dry and ventilated at the same time.
  • reinforced pull-on heel strap
  • contoured heel for traction
  • especially aggressive treads
Brand KEEN
Model Targhee II Mid-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Salomon Quest 2

The Salomon Quest 2 have a good all-around build for long days. They're not so heavy that they make walking more tiresome, yet not so light as to sacrifice durability and protection, and they provide truly exceptional ankle support.
  • high-end goretex outers
  • reliable traction on all terrains
  • nylon mesh for breathability
Brand Salomon
Model QUEST 4D 2 GTX®-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. La Sportiva Core High

Technology makes everything smaller and lighter, and that's even true with footwear, like La Sportiva Core High They're prime examples of ultralight engineering that will keep your feet happy as you complete long days on the trail.
  • perfect for high-tech fans
  • responsive impact-braking heel
  • weigh less than most competitors
Brand La Sportiva
Model 14R
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

What To Look For In Hiking Boots

Hiking boots offer the body the additional support necessary to enjoy the rugged outdoors in the most comfortable way possible. In general, hiking boots provide much more stability than other shoes. This makes it less likely that a hiker will roll their ankle when encountering large gravel, uneven surfaces, and difficult terrain.

Depending on the type of weather the hiker will be predominantly trekking through, hiking boots are made to either be highly water resistant or very breathable. If you will be hiking through snow-tipped peaks and across streams regularly, it is better to opt for water resistant hiking boots. Those that travel mainly in hot, dry climates will want the shoe to breathe. Unreleased moisture is the perfect breeding ground for fungal infections. When moisture is combined with constant friction it can create blisters and sores as well.

The soles of hiking boots are very important factors to look out for, as needs will vary based on the type of terrain. There is the option to simply choose hiking boots which offer all-terrain support, or to select a boot based on the terrain most hiked. Some hiking boots are specifically designed to handle mud and snow. These boots have deep treads that wick solids toward the outside of the boot. Others are designed to help the hiker gain traction on uneven or gravelly terrain. Still other hiking boots are made to disperse weight evenly, and are most beneficial on sandy or snowy terrain. The most important elements of a hiking sole are that it is non-skidding, provides ample traction, and disperses its grip evenly throughout your step.

Another aspect to consider is the boot's midsole. The midsole provides cushioning to the heel and joints, buffers the feet from shock, and keeps the shock on the knees to a minimum. The midsole may not affect running related injuries on flat surfaces, but a comfortable midsole is extremely important on a long trek over shifting terrain. The stronger the midsole, the more stiff the boot will feel. This prevents the foot from wrapping itself around every uneven surface stepped upon.

Putting Hiking Boots To Good Use

Walking around the house breaking in a new pair of hiking boots is a great way to get the feet used to them. After a short time, however, it becomes imperative to take those hiking boots to the nearest trail for a trial run. There are many health benefits of hitting the trail in a new pair of hiking boots as well. Regularly participating in aerobic sports like hiking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. The heart is a muscle just like any other. Aerobic sports like hiking strengthen that muscle which reduces the chance of injury or disease.

Aerobic exercises have also been studied for their effects on the brain. Exercise benefits the brain by improving memory and cognitive ability. Exercises such as hiking also reduce inflammation in the brain and release growth factors. Growth factors are chemicals in the brain that affect the health of the brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels, and the survival rate of existing cells.

There is even evidence that exercise may be a novel treatment for depression. Several reports have indicated that physical activity can reduce the severity of symptoms in depressed patients. In order to test these indications, a team of researchers studied the effects of exercise on people who considered themselves depressed. At the end of a training program, researchers noted a clinically significant reduction in patients' depression scores. The study concluded that aerobic exercises can produce substantial improvements in mood in a short time.

The Benefits Of Hiking In A Forest

While any long distance walk is considered a hike, the word itself usually brings to mind a trail winding through a forest. There may be a reason for this association as well. It appears that walks through the forest, or forest baths, have some amazing benefits to the human body. In Japan, the term shirin-yoku is used to describe the experience. Shirin-yoku best translates to imbibing the forest atmosphere. Regular exposure to the forest atmosphere boosts cognitive performance, mood, and immune function while reducing stress levels and cholesterol.

This may also be associated with the color green. A recent study aimed to see if the act of being among different colored trees had an effect on the brain. Participants exercised while looking at digital footage of various colored forests. Researchers found that participants who saw green forests had less mood disturbances and rated themselves as less tired than those who saw red forests. Participants who saw only red forests were more likely to rate themselves as angry when compared with any other group.

Regularly hiking in a forest also immerses the lungs in powerful compounds called phytonicides. In nature, phytonicides are the beneficial compounds in plants which protect them from environmental intruders. In humans, phytonicides enhance and empower the body in many ways. Regular phytonicide exposure has been linked to reduced stress and anxiety, lower signs of inflammation and pain, and improved mood and immune system function.

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Last updated on May 08, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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