The 9 Best Hiking Boots for Men, Tested and Reviewed

Travel + Leisure / David Hattan

The iconic hiking boot has been a mainstay since the activity was first pursued. Through-hikers may prefer trail runners and casual hikers may go with low-top footwear, but for added protection, ankle support, and rugged-yet-agile construction, nothing beats a solid pair of hiking boots. The best ones provide versatility to navigate any type of terrain, from stream crossings to brutal ascents to stomping through deep snow.

In the course of researching the boots that made the final list, we tested 46 pairs of hiking footwear, including 18 pairs of hiking boots, and we’ll continue to put the boots to rigorous use for the next six months so we can evaluate how well they perform over time. We paid particular attention to the durability of the materials, the comfort level and whether or not a breaking-in period was required, the overall fit and ease of adjustment, how well they performed on a variety of different hikes in various climates, and the overall value-to-cost. We also interviewed Nathan Buelow, the former Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Merrell, to better articulate what to look for when choosing hiking boots.

After the boots were put through the paces (literally), we narrowed the final selection to nine, with picks for casual or serious hikes, boots that lean into trail running designs to provide a lighter and more nimble feel, and footwear built for speed, wide feet, or max cushioning. 

Our Top PicksBest Overall:Merrell Men’s Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boot at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Lightweight:Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Trail Runner Hybrid:SCARPA Rush Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boot at REIJump to ReviewBest Leather:Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boot at REIJump to ReviewBest for Speed:Salewa Men’s Pedroc Pro Mid PTX at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Wide Feet:La Sportiva Mid GTX Hiking Boots at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Style:Forsake Waterproof Sneaker Boot at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Cushioning:Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP Hiking Boot at AmazonJump to ReviewMost Durable:Lowa Mid Hiking Boots at REIJump to Review

Best Overall

Merrell Men’s Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boot



View On AmazonView On ZapposView On NordstromWhy We Love It

The Moab 3 Mid GTX Boot provides ample traction, durable protection, and plenty of support for both the arches and the ankle.

What to Consider

The color options won’t turn any heads, though the all-back version is likely the most stylish.

Merrell has been making the Moab 3 Mid GTX Boot for more than 15 years, and it remains the best-selling hiker in the world. And things just keep improving with the latest iteration, which includes a more supportive insole, a softer midsole, and a new Vibram TC5+ tread outsole, while also utilizing more recycled materials than in previous models. But you still get the out-of-the-box comfort for which the boot is famous. It provides solid stability and arch support thanks to a molded nylon arch shank, and a mixture of durable pig suede leather and breathable mesh protects your feet from the elements while also allowing for a bit of air circulation. Traction proved to be fantastic on everything from mud to snow to wet rocks and wood, and our feet stayed dry, even when fully submerged, the water rolling off the high-quality outers.

The instant comfort also proved itself over long testing hikes. The shoe uses a Kinetic Fit removable, contoured footbed with a reinforced heel cushioning, which works with the Air Cushion in the heel to absorb shock as you step on rock after rock and improve both stability and a plush feel. They’ve also layered in the brand’s Super Rebound Compound to reinforce that shock absorption in order to reduce torque, which encourages smooth transitions in uneven, rocky, or rooty terrain. Rubber lines the heel and toe cap for added protection, and the bellows tongue blocks out debris. The recycled laces were also easy to adjust for an optimal fit. You can also choose from either medium or wide widths, assuring that the boot will fit most hikers.

Price at time of publish: $140

The Details: Available sizes: Full and half sizes from 7-13, 13, 15 | 32.6 ounces | Waterproof | Vibram outsole, rubber, breathable mesh, nylon shank

Best Lightweight

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots



View On AmazonView On ZapposView On Holabirdsports.comOur RatingsComfort5/5Fit5/5Performance5/5Durability5/5Value5/5Why We Love It

By taking its design direction from Salomon’s trail running shoes, the X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-tex Hiking Boot shaves down the ounces, making this a wonderfully nimble, agile boot that wears more like a pair of sneakers.

What to Consider

The outsole could benefit from more aggressive lugs.

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-tex Hiking Boot fit almost like a sneaker rather than a boot, but our initial skepticism that it might not perform well on the trail evaporated the second we hit the dirt. The boot moved smoothly, navigating through puddles and loose snow, without compromising the waterproofness, which comes from breathable Gore-Tex. And everything wiped clean post-hike, which affirms the boot’s durability. They required no break-in period whatsoever, and the streamlined design helps shave off vital ounces, which makes the boot incredibly agile on the trail. Salomon uses a new Advanced Chassis, which provides articulation on your outer foot to improve stability, while the high cut provides ample ankle support. Our one complaint is that we did find the grippy outsole to be slightly lacking in traction on wet, slippery terrain.

Price at time of publish: $172

The Details: Full and half sizes from 7-13, 14 | 30 ounces | Waterproof | Gore-tex, rubber outsole, synthetic textile, PU-coated leather

Best Trail Runner Hybrid

SCARPA Rush Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boot



View On REIView On Scarpa.comOur RatingsComfort5/5Fit5/5Performance5/5Durability5/5Value5/5Why We Love It

With out-of-the-box comfort, waterproof protection, and a streamlined profile, the Rush Mid 2 GTX Hiking boots are some of the most nimble hikers available.

What to Consider

Because the boots don’t have a super-elevated footbed, you may feel some fatigue after especially long hikes, and they’re a bit expensive.

Outfitted with Freedome IKS outsole found in Scarpa’s trail runners, the Rush Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boot delivers the agility of a lightweight running shoe along with the amped protection and waterproofness of a boot. The synthetic uppers work with a welded PU and a Gore-tex lining that’s breathable and light, and the reinforced toe box helps protect the feet from any stubbing. We loved the more streamlined, slim profile and the out-of-the-box fit echoed that of an athletic sneaker, but with more padding. The shoe sits on a Dynamic Stabilizer Torsion frame to provide rear-foot stability, and the RESA IKS SuperGum outsole gripped confidently while rock scrambling and hiking over slick terrain.

Price at time of publish: $219

The Details: Euro sizing, full and half sizes from 40-47, 48 | 32 ounces| Waterproof | Gore-tex, fabric Super Gum outsole

Travel + Leisure / Laurel Randolph

The Best Hiking Shoes for Men and Women, Tested and Reviewed

Best Leather

Danner Mountain 600 Waterproof Hiking Boot



View On REIView On Backcountry.comView On Danner.comOur RatingsComfort5/5Fit5/5Performance4/5Durability5/5Value5/5Why We Love It

With high-end leather uppers, a classic style, and Vibram at the mid and outsole, the Mountain 600s are a worthy investment that can handle rigorous terrain with aplomb.

What to Consider

As with all leather boots, they’re hotter than synthetic footwear, and might not be ideal for hiking in hot conditions.

Dubbed a “Performance Heritage” boot by Danner, the Mountain 600s lean into the brand’s legacy to deliver a classic aesthetic with full-grain leather uppers that pass through six tests before being crafted, while the internal tech uses the latest footwear innovations to keep things lightweight. They worked with Vibram to craft a new approach to making the midsole as cushiony and as durable as possible, and on the outsole for unparalleled grip on wet and dry surfaces. Built to handle the demanding climate of the Pacific Northwest, the boot uses a proprietary breathable waterproof layer to block out the elements. Comfort is further reinforced with a removable OrthoLite footbed, packing in three layers of varying density polyurethane, which also works to dissipate heat and promote air circulation. Despite our initial impression, the leather is soft and worn in, and these are some of the easiest hiking boots to put on, with laces that adjust easily and span a wide stretch of the uppers. And unlike most leather boots, the Mountain 600s didn’t take much time to break in; the ankle felt a bit stiff on the first hike, but that quickly dissipated, with no stiffness or hot spots reported.

Price at time of publish: $190

The Details – Available sizes: Full and half sizes from 7-12, 13, 14 | Weight: 39 ounces | Waterproof | Materials: Leather, Vibram mid and outsole

Travel + Leisure / Julia Sayers

Travel + Leisure / Julia Sayers

Best for Speed

Salewa Men’s Pedroc Pro Mid PTX


View On AmazonView On Backcountry.comView On Salewa.comWhy We Love It

Lightweight and nimble, the Pedroc Pro Mid PTZ Boot provides out-of-the-box comfort, ample traction in a variety of terrains, and the right degree of support without overdoing it or adding excess weight.

What to Consider

The boots have modest arch support, so if you need more, you’ll have to consider a different insole.

Built for mixed mountain terrain, casual strolls in the park, and the city streets, the lightweight Pedroc Prom Mid PTX Boot from Salewa won us over with its instant-comfort, right out of the box. No breaking-in period needed, no hot spots, pinching, or blisters, and the abrasion-resistant double ripstop uppers along with a TPU rand kept our feet protected from obstacles, with the brand’s breathable Powertex membrane to block out water. Under foot you’ll find multi-directional lugs throughout the midsole that provides ample traction in mud, grass, rock, and slick surfaces, but it’s not so over-engineered that the boots feel bulky. As with all footwear focusing on speed, the boot proved nimble and agile, with solid ankle support and an easy-to-adjust lacing system. And the boot also won our fandom for its modern, streamlined aesthetic, making them at home in the city as well as out in nature.

Price at time of publish: $200

The Details: Full and half sizes from 7-13, 14 | 27.5 ounces | Waterproof | 3F System with Kevlar cables, ripstop PE, TPU, EVA midsole, Pomoca Speed Hiker Pro outsole

Best for Wide Feet

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX Hiking Boots



View On AmazonView On ZapposView On Backcountry.comOur RatingsComfort5/5Fit5/5Performance5/5Durability5/5Value5/5Why We Love It

With ample space for wider, larger feet, we loved the TX Hike Mid GTX Hiking Boot for its instant comfort, durable (and mostly recycled) materials, solid traction on a variety of terrains, and reliable waterproof protection.

What to Consider

The price is a bit high, but not untypical for a high-quality pair of boots.

Built on a last derived from TXS with 15-millimeter of metatarsal circumference and a 10-millimeter forefoot height, La Sportiva’s TX Hike Mid GTX Hiking Boot will resonate with wide-footed hikers. They provide out-of-the-box comfort, with a padded tongue that improves both the comfort and fit. The seamless uppers are reinforced with TPU overlays that provide durability without adding weight, with AirMesh materials to aid in breathability without sacrificing its waterproof protection. Vibram Ecostep EVO in the outsole,  combined with five-mm lugs, found purchase in snow, wet terrain, and rocks, while the EVA midsole, which is co-molded with a stabilizing insert, provided plenty of bounce and cushion without sapping any of forward momentum. And the boots also win points for its eco-forward manufacturing, including recycled poly laces, AirMesh, and nylon webbing, and a Bluesign-certified Gore-Tex membrane.

Price at time of publish: $175

The Details: European sizing, full and half sizes from 38-59 | Weight: 34.4 ounces | Waterproof | Gore-tex, AirMesh uppers, welded TPU, nylon webbing, Ortholite insole, EVA midsole, Vibram outsole

The Most Comfortable Hiking Boots of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Travel + Leisure / Kristin Cleveland

Travel + Leisure / Kristin Cleveland

Travel + Leisure / Kristin Cleveland

Best Style

Forsake Wild Sky Mid Waterproof Sneaker Boot


View On AmazonView On REIView On Forsake.comWhy We Love It

With high-end leather uppers, an urban-forward profile, and a choice of three colors, the Wild Sky Mid Boot looks as good as it feels while hiking in all but the most extreme terrain.

What to Consider

Traction is solid for moderate hikes, but for truly challenging alpine environments, you may want a more aggressive outsole.

When people stop and ask about your boots, you know a brand has done something noteworthy. Indeed, the Wild Sky Mid Boots from Forsake look great – and they perform admirably in modest mountain terrain as well, with out-of-the-box comfort and no break-in period required. The “peak-to-pavement” rubber outsole provides solid traction, but if you are braving serious alpine terrain, you may want a boot with more aggressive lugs. A waterproof/breathable membrane locks out moisture, and gold-certified leather uppers are durable and nice looking in all three colors. Under foot, a composite shank provides torsional rigidity for a nimble feel and an EVA midsole absorbs shock. Inside, the 100 percent recycled mesh liners wick sweat and come with anti-odor treatment, extending the shelf life of the boots, while the footbed is constructed with 20 percent Bloom, an algae-based product that will return 32 liters of clean water to habitats, and clean 20 cubic meters of air.

Price at time of publish: $155

The Details: Full and half sizes from 8-13, 14 | 35 ounces | Waterproof | Leather, wicking mesh lining, EVA midsole, rubber outsole

Best Cushioning

Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP Hiking Boot


Topo Athletic

View On AmazonView On Backcountry.comView On Topoathletic.comOur RatingsComfort5/5Fit5/5Performance5/5Durability5/5Value5/5Why We Love It

Topo Athletics maximized the midsole for day-long comfort in a mix of terrain, with a rock plate and an aggressive outsole for protection and traction.

What to Consider

Even in the more modest colors, the aggressive tread announces that the boot’s primary purpose is for hiking – not casual urban exploration.

With a stack height at the heel of 33-millimeters, the Trailventure 2 WP Hiking Boot from Topo Athletic look comfortable, and that first impression doesn’t disappoint. A ZipFoam midsole provides ample cushioning, working with a ESS rock plate and a TPU heel to keep your feet protected and comfortable, along with an OrthoLite performance insole that boasts odor resistance. Fit is equally impressive, with a wider-than-average toe box to let your toes splay out in their natural position, which improves balance and agility mid-hike, with out-of-the-box comfort and zero hot spots, chafing, or pinch points. A full eVent waterproof inner bootie kept everything dry, and the boots breathed really well, even during hotter hikes with direct sun exposure. In wet terrain and when navigating through snow, the Vibram outsole found purchase without issue, 

Price at time of publish: $180

The Details: Full and half sizes from 8-13, 14 |: 31.8 ounces | Waterproof | eVent, TPU, OrthoLite insole, ZipFoam midsole, Vibram outsole, ESS rock plate

Travel + Leisure / Ashley Craiger

Most Durable

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots



View On REIView On Backcountry.comView On Campsaver.comOur RatingsComfort5/5Fit4.5/5Performance5/5Durability5/5Value5/5Why We Love It

Optimally suited for rugged terrain, the Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots protect your feet and ankles from the elements, grip on all types of terrain, and provide hours-long comfort with no break-in period.

What to Consider

They’re a bit heavy, and if you want a bit of extra space in the forefoot, go with a half-size higher, especially if you prefer wearing thicker socks. And they’re pricey.

Think of the Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot from Lowa as the equivalent of strapping tanks onto your feet. The rugged nubuck leather uppers provide plenty of protection and durability, working with a DuraPU Monowrap frame construction and a full-length stabilizer for support underfoot. The midsole is constructed of double-injected DuraPU, a more durable and equally comfortable alternative to EVA, while the super-aggressive Vibram EVO outsole will power through any trail condition, with plenty of grip. You also get full waterproof/breathable protection with the Gore-Tex lining. Yet the boot never felt clunky or over-engineered, with zero break-in and easy-to-adjust lacing.

Price at time of publish: $243

The Details: Full and half sizes from 7.5-13, 14, 15, 16 | 39.2 ounces | Waterproof | Leather, Gore-tex, DuraPU midsole, Vibram outsole

Travel + Leisure / Taylor Fox

Travel + Leisure / Taylor Fox

Travel + Leisure / Kathryn Standing

Other Hiking Boots We Liked

In addition to the ones that made it to the final round, we also looked at a handful of other hiking shoes. Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX Boot: These boots  handled variable terrain quite well and were some of the most breathable boots tested, but the sizing was off – we had to go with one that was 1.5 above our average running shoe. More color options would’ve also been nice. 

Anacapa Breeze Mid Boot: Hoka’s signature large midsole made their Anacapa Breeze comfortable to wear, but the overall feel on the trail was a bit soft, and we experienced a bit of chafing, and a lack of waterproof protection limits their application.

Arc’teryx Aerios FL 2 Mid GTX Hiking Shoe: These boots won accolades for it’s lightweight construction and underfoot support, but the bulky ankle section took some time to get them laced properly

Our Testing Process

As part of our wider testing of 46 different pairs of hiking footwear, we sent 18 pairs of hiking boots to our cadre of testers so that we could evaluate each product in real-world scenarios. The testers, which ranged from very experienced hikers to more casual walkers, first examined the entirety of the shoe, paying close attention to the laces, straps, soles, fabric and materials, and other details to evaluate the quality of craftsmanship to assure that they felt high-quality. Then we first asked them to do a short break-in test by wearing them for an hour while at home to assess the fit, the level of comfort, whether or not they felt stiff, whether they chafed, created hot spots, or pinched, to judge if each pair needed a break-in period before hitting the trail. 

After that initial assessment, we then went on several multi-hour hikes in a variety of terrain, everything from casual urban park strolls to steep trails with variable terrain, to better understand the fit and comfort level over time, and to judge how nimble the boots were and whether they found purchase on wet, slippery terrain. When the weather or the terrain cooperated, we tested the waterproofness and durability of each pair by crossing streams, enduring downpours, and stomping through snow, and did plunge tests on any pairs that were fortunate enough to be greeted with nicer weather. After each hike we then examined the boots for any signs of wear, and took note of how easily each pair cleaned up after getting dirty.

After a two-week test period, we then asked testers to evaluate the boots on the key features: durability, comfort, fit, real-world performance, and value, ranking each one on a one-to-five scale. Other details – like wearing different types of socks to evaluate fit and comfort, noting key characteristics that might be improved, juding the overall aesthetic of the boot, and whether or not the footwear felt it could last for several seasons – were also documented and integrated into our final recommendations. Our testers will also continue to test and provide additional feedback on all the boots over the course of six months, so we can evaluate how well they hold up over a wider period of time and more varieties of trail conditions.

Tips for Buying Hiking Boots

Be careful about weight

According to a U.S Army Research Institute study back in 1984, one pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back, and while footwear has certainly gotten lighter since then, the ratio holds true today. Simply put, weight matters, though modern manufacturing processes and higher-quality materials can help shave the ounces. For a lightweight, low-cut or ankle-high hiking boot, expect a pair to weigh around two to 2.5 pounds, white heavier-duty boots with more premium materials like leather or high-cut options can weigh up to three pounds or more. If you’re stuck between a handful of options, go with the lightest boot.

Traction is key

A hiking-specific shoe or boot that comes with solid traction “makes a huge difference,” says Nathan Buelow. “It can completely change your experience when you first start hiking.” Proper traction will provide grip on loose terrain like dirt or sand, help navigate wet rocks and wood, and aid you in both ascents and descents as you navigate a single track line. If you anticipate really technical terrain, look for boots with outsoles that have aggressive lugs.

Know your specific foot needs

Given that you’ll likely be logging in serious miles in your new pair of hiking boots, look to the particular characteristics of your feet to assure you find a pair that’ll fit well. Some boots come in a range of widths to accommodate different-sized feet, while others focus on providing ample arch support, ideal if you have low arches or want some additional support. Those with weaker angles should also look for a boot that comes over the ankle to help stabilize the joints, and everyone should make sure that there’s a bit of room to wiggle your toes.

Test them/break them in before hitting the trail

Though most modern hiking boots provide out-of-the-box comfort, Nathan Buelow says “It might be in a consumer’s best interest to wear them around their house a little bit to get the boot to form a bit to your feet, like an hour or so.” Then try it on a shorter hike to assure that there are no hot spots, slippage, or anything else that might impact your experience before logging in serious miles.

Don’t forget about breathability

Your feet heat up as you hike, so it’s vital that you do everything you can to assure that things stay comfortable. Part of this lies in wearing a breathable, hiking-specific sock that covers beyond the top collar of your boots. But you also want a shoe that’s breathable, which will work with the sock to help draw out any moisture so it can evaporate more quickly. Most weather-resistant boots use a variety of different materials (cloths, mesh, etc) to promote air circulation, but If waterproofness is essential, look for ones that use a breathable waterproof laminate like Gore-Tex or other proprietary technologies to make sure the boots breathe well.

Frequently Asked QuestionsShould I wear hiking shoes or hiking boots?

The biggest difference between hiking shoes and boots is the most apparent: boots provide additional support and protection above the ankle. This is great for added ankle support, especially if you’re hauling heavy loads, and the extra fabric also provides more protection during stream crossings or while navigating through dicey terrain like trails with thorns or poison ivy. For casual hikes, shoes will likely suffice, but many dedicated hikers swear by hiking boots.

How should hiking boots fit?

First and foremost, advises Nathan Buelow, it’s essential “to have a comfortable pair of hiking shoes. No matter what brand you’re in, it can either make or break your time on the trail.” And part of that comfort comes with assuring that the boots fit your feet. You want the overall fit to feel snug and not loose – but not laced down so hard your feet ache. Plenty of room at the tip of your toes and a bit of extra space in the toe box accommodates the fact that feet swell a bit throughout the day. It should also fit snugly at the heel and not move around, advises Nathan.  Avoid any hints of a hot spot or pinching, which can lead to blisters. And if you’re looking for extra ankle support, make sure that the top of the boot wraps comfortably and securely around your ankles.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Nathan Borchelt has been testing, rating, and reviewing outdoor and travel gear for decades, and has spent most of his adult life hiking and backpacking throughout the world and in local parks. He collated feedback from a group of 11 testers who put each boot through a rigorous testing process, rating each one on a one-to-five scale on such key considerations as fit, durability, and real-word performance. Then additional research was undertaken and layered into the final article. We also spoke with Nathan Buelow, Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Merrell, for his insights.

The Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Every Outdoor Adventure

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