Hiking shoes online shop today: Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down. The trend is toward lighter materials that still offer decent support, and waterproof boots are the most popular by far (some are offered in a non-waterproof version for hiking in hot or dry climates). Our picks for the best hiking boots of 2023 below are broken down into three categories: lightweight boots for day hiking and fastpacking, midweight options that work well for most backpacking trips, and heavyweights for rough terrain or hauling a large load. For more information, see the comparison table and buying advice below the picks. If you prefer to go even lighter and faster, check out our article on the best hiking shoes. Read extra details at approach shoes.
The Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex remains our top choice for many reasons. This boot is ideal for long adventures on the most technical and demanding trails. It is top-notch, offering an excellent blend of stability and comfort, fit for tromping through all kinds of conditions. The beefy lugs bite down on all surfaces, offering traction on slippery steep trails and rocky river crossings. If you’re in the market for a well-rounded boot that’ll offer comfort and stability while shouldering a heavy pack, this top contender is the way to go. While the Quest 4 is stable and protective, it is heavy for a hiker. It also does not breathe or release heat as readily as we’d wish. While it can function as a casual daily hiker, it’s truly built for taking on technical surfaces and tricky conditions. If you’re seeking the best when it comes to a traditional hiking boot, this is our favorite option.
The Vibram® Megagrip outsole is wider than the upper, creating a sturdy base that allowed one tester to easily sidehill during a three-day hunting trip in Utah’s Uinta Mountains. Plus, all that extra width tacks on extra traction. Trade-off: HOKA keeps the weight down by placing the Vibram® rubber in strategic areas of the sole, but the exposed midsole sections take a beating during off-trail journeys. The leather and recycled synthetic upper breathes as well as you could expect for a waterproof boot, and the added ankle height was a boon during bog crossings. But our team struggled to understand the pronounced dip on the back of the ankle cuff: “It makes it easier to slide the boot on and off, but errant foxtails kept sticking to my socks,” gripes one tester.
Based in Bozeman, Montana, Oboz has a reputation for making tough, comfort-first footwear. Our favorite over-the-ankle design from their lineup is the Bridger Mid, which in many ways is a beefed-up version of the KEEN Targhee III above. It’s nicely cushioned and protective underfoot, including TPU reinforcements and a nylon shank, but lacks the lightness and flexibility of many modern options. The upside is that the boot is stable and supportive—the leather upper can withstand a lot of abuse, and the midsole reinforcements give the boot a planted feel. For anything from weekend backpacking trips to snowshoeing in the winter, the Bridger Mid Waterproof is a comfortable choice.
Working for the weekend? Consider this your one-stop boot. Everything about the venerable Lowa Renegade GTX Mid was designed with backpacking in mind. It all starts with the out-of-the-box comfort, so you’ll feel good wearing these puppies for the long haul. Lowa has hidden a surprisingly cushy polyurethane (PU) midsole inside the Renegade. It feels light and springy like a running shoe, but it’s far more durable. Called DuraPU®, the proprietary midsole returns to its original shape when you put pressure on it, offering welcome cushion and “a little bounce to your step,” one editor says.
The popularity of trail running shoes for hiking and backpacking has spawned a new variation in this lightweight category of over-the-ankle trail runners. The basic concept is to take a popular running shoe like Hoka’s Speedgoat or Altra’s Lone Peak and bring the collar and lacing system up a few inches. This provides a light boost in protection and support from a low-top trail runner but retains the lightweight, cushy, and fast feel of that footwear category. As we’ve found, however, there are a number of compromises, including durability, toe and foot protection from the thin materials, and support in technical terrain or when carrying a heavy load. But those that like to move fast and light and even mix in some running during their adventures may find that the pros of a nimble boot like Altra’s Lone Peak Hiker 2 outweigh the cons. See extra info at https://www.trekkit.in/.
If you live in a wet climate or prefer a precipitous hike to dry conditions, consider the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX. This waterproof boot beats out the competition when it comes to performance in wet conditions. We tested it by hiking in the rain and trudging through rivers. The gusseted tongue and Nubuck leather construction do well to keep water out, keeping your socks dry. Not only that, but it offers a superior level of comfort and support. The deep lugs are sticky, holding well on sloppy and dry surfaces. Even with these heavyweight features, it is a relatively light boot, making it a great option for all types of adventures in wet (or dry) conditions. That said, we wish this boot offered a bit more stability. The upper cuff around the ankle is not very rigid, which translates to less stability on uneven surfaces. Additionally, it is difficult to insert the lace into the eyelets of the boot, meaning it takes more time to lace up and release. If you’re seeking a bombproof boot for water or snow, this is the one you should check out.