Best Hiking Boots in 2022

Lowa Renegade Hiking Boot

Lowa Renegade Hiking Boot

Hiking requires footwear which protects your feet from injuries and improves your performance on trails. Hiking boots differ greatly in weight, support, stability and durability. In general, heavier hiking boots have a longer lifespan and provide better support and stability. Therefore, they are a great option for rough terrain and long backpacking trips where you carry a heavy backpack. Lightweight boots, on the other hand, are perfect for easy trails and speed hiking because they enable you to hike fast and are more comfortable in general.

Our selection of the best hiking boots below includes both lightweight hiking boots for easy trails and heavier boots for scrambling and hauling heavy loads. If you think that the boots listed here are too heavy for your needs, do read our article on the best trekking shoes. If you are in doubt what to buy check out our Guide to Hiking Footwear and our article Which type of hiking footwear is right for you. Below you will find our selection of the best hiking boots this year, but let’s start with the basics and explain what is important when you are buying a new pair of hiking boots

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

1. Buying Hiking Boots – What is important?

Materials:

The lifespan and performance of a hiking boot greatly depends on the materials out which it’s made. The materials of the upper and midsole are especially important.

Upper Material:

The upper is the part of the boot above the sole. The upper is made of leather, combination of leather and textile or textile on its own. Hiking boots with textile uppers are typically lighter and more breathable than leather hiking boots. However, leather hiking boots provide better abrasion resistance, ankle support and have a longer lifespan. Leather comes in different types such as full-grain leather, split-grain leather, suede leather and nubuck leather. Learn more about different types of leather in our Guide to Hiking Footwear.

Midsole Material:

The midsole is the material between the outsole and the insole. It provides cushioning and support. Therefore, it is one of the most important parts of a hiking boot. Midsoles are made either of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) or PU (polyurethane). EVA midsoles are lighter and more flexible than PU midsoles. Therefore, they are used for running shoes, trekking shoes and hiking boots for easy trails and speed hiking. Boots for hauling heavy loads and rough terrain have PU midsoles for better stability and support. PU midsoles also have a longer lifespan than EVA midsoles; they don’t get “flat” as fast as EVA midsoles.

Weight:

The lighter the boot, the faster you will be able to hike. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that lighter is not always better. For technically challenging trails and long backpacking trips support and stability are more important than the weight. Hiking boots with good support and stability are heavier than hiking boots designed for easy trails and speedy activities.

Traction and Outsole:

The outsole provides traction and is thus a very important part of a hiking boot. The deeper and thicker the lugs, the better traction it provides. Hiking boots which are designed for rough terrain come with outsoles made of sticky rubber because such outsoles provide better traction for scrambling on rocky terrain. Most high-quality boots have Vibram outsoles. Vibram makes great outsoles and has dominated the market for years now. However, some brands don’t outsource outsoles and develop their own outsoles instead. For example, Salomon uses in-house developed Contagrip outsole which also provides great traction.

Stability and Stiffness

Hiking boots are in general designed to provide good stability which means that they have stiffer soles than casual footwear and running shoes. A stiff sole prevents the heel from dropping on ascents and consequently reduces the calf fatigue. However, stiff soles are less comfortable for walking on pruned paths and on easy terrain. Therefore, lightweight hiking boots typically have more flexible soles than their heavier counterparts which are designed for rough terrain. Before deciding on the model, you should consider your needs. For example, there is no point in buying a hiking boot with completely stiff sole if you mostly hike on flat terrain.

Lining and Waterproofness:

The lining is the fabric on the inside of the boot. It is made of breathable and moisture-wicking material to keep your feet comfortable. Waterproof boots utilize a waterproof/breathable lining such as Gore-Tex, which keeps your feet dry in wet conditions. Note that waterproof lining reduces the breathability of a boot. In general, we don’t recommend buying waterproof boots if you don’t need them.

Expert Selections
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
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2. The Best Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots

List of products:

  1. Lowa Renegade
  2. Zamberlan Vioz
  3. Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid
  4. Salomon X Ultra Mid 4
  5. Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid

Comparison

Scroll Horizontally
Feature/Product Lowa RenegadeZamberlan Vioz GTSalewa Mountain TrainerSalomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTXMerrell Moab 2 Vent Mid
Weight (pair)2 lbs. 7 oz.3 lbs. 4 oz.2 lbs. 12 oz.1 lbs. 14 oz.2 lbs. 2 oz.
Weight - Metric (pair)1110 g1480 g1260 g850 g964 g
Upper MaterialNubuck LeatherFull-Grain LeatherNubuck LeatherTextile and leather Textile and leather
LiningGore-Tex (Waterproof)Gore-Tex (Waterproof)Gore-Tex (Waterproof)Gore-Tex (Waterproof)Non-waterproof textile
MidsolePolyurethane Polyurethane Polyurethane EVAEVA
OutsoleVibram EVO Zamberlan Vibram 3DVibram Alpine ApproachContagrip Vibram TC5+
HeightAbove-the-ankleAbove-the-ankleAbove-the-ankleAbove-the-ankleAbove-the-ankle
Best UseBackpacking, all around hiking Backpacking, all around hiking, rough terrain Scrambling, mountaineering, backpacking Speed hiking, easy trails Speed hiking, easy trails
Lowa Renegade Mid

Lowa Renegade Mid

1. Lowa Renegade

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking

 

The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is an excellent all-around hiking boot. It weighs only 1.2 lb., although it has a polyurethane (PU) midsole and nubuck leather upper. The Renegade boots offer great stability, support and durability and are thus also suitable for rough terrain and even summer mountaineering. Nevertheless, due to their low weight, they also provide great comfort on easy trails and pruned paths. The boots feature a Gore-Tex lining which keeps your feet dry in wet conditions. Traction is ensured by the Vibram Evo outsole which, due to its unique lug pattern, provides great performance on various terrain types. The Lowa Renegade Mid GTX boots are a great option for those who want a highly versatile pair of hiking boots for diverse outdoor adventures. They are also available without Gore-Tex (Renegade LL Mid) and in a winter version (Renegade Evo Ice).

Women's Version: Available - Lowa Women's Renegade

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Versatility
  • Weight
  • Stability
  • Support

Cons:

  • /

Video

Zamberlan Vioz GT

Zamberlan Vioz GT

2. Zamberlan Vioz GT

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking

 

The Zamberlan Vioz GTX is a very rugged hiking boot. It provides excellent durability, support and stability. The boots feature rugged and durable full-grain leather uppers for good abrasion resistance and a Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry in wet conditions. The midsole is made of polyurethane and thus the boots offer a great level of comfort when you are carrying a heavy backpack or hiking on steep and rugged terrain. The midsole is also equipped with back stabilizers for increased stability and support. The Zamberlan boots feature Vibram 3D soles with widely spaced thick lugs which offer excellent traction, downhill braking and easy removal of dirt. Although the boots are relatively stiff, the flex forward is not limited because they utilize the Zamberlan Flex System. The Zamberlan Vioz GTX boots are a great option for those who need a pair of very durable boots for backpacking on rough terrain. They are a bit heavier than the other products in this selection and thus not the best option for easier trails unless you are carrying a very heavy backpack. However, they do excel on rough terrain. The Vioz boots are also available in the Lux version which features a PU-coated toe rand for longer lifespan and extra protection.

Women's Version: Available - Zamberlan Women's Vioz GT

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Support
  • Stability
  • Traction

Cons:

  • Pricey

 

Salewa Mountain Trainer

Salewa Mountain Trainer

3. Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Via Ferrata
  • Scrambling

The Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid hiking boots are a great option for technical hiking and via ferrata trails. However, they are also suitable for backpacking because they are very comfortable to wear. The Mountain Trainer boots feature suede leather uppers and thus provide good breathability. The boot is protected against abrasion with an all-around rubber rand. It also has rubber inserts (3F System) in the ankle area for good ankle support. The lacing comes right to the toe (=climbing lacing) for a more precise fit when you are scrambling on rocky terrain. The boots also feature a Gore-Tex lining and Vibram WTC outsoles. The Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid is best for those who need a versatile hiking boot that excels on rocky terrain. The boot provides excellent support and stability.

Women's Version: Available - Salewa Women's Mountain Trainer

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Performance on rocky terrain
  • Support
  • Stability
  • All-around rubber rand

Cons:

  • Pricey

Video

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Hiking Boots

4. Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Everyday use

 

The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX boots are a great option for speed hiking and fastpacking. They have lightweight textile uppers with PU coated leather inserts. The uppers provide high level of breathability and are quick drying. The tongue of the boot is connected to the upper to prevent dirt from entering. The boots are equipped with Contagrip outsoles which are made of materials of different densities. Areas that are prone to wear out (like the heel and toe area) are made of more durable (high-density) materials, while the less exposed areas are made of materials with lower densities to ensure the optimal balance between weight and durability. The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX boot is also equipped with EVA midsole, anatomically shaped footbed, Gore-Tex lining, quicklace system and protective rand. These boots are great option for those who want an extremely light pair of hiking boots. The pair weighs merely 1.9 lb.

Women's Version: Available - Salomon Women's X Ultra Mid GTX

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Comfortable on easy terrain
  • Breathability
  • Moisture-wicking

Cons:

  • Quicklace system (unless you prefer it)

Video

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot

5. Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Everyday use

 

The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid are budget hiking boots which offer a lot for the price. They are lightweight boots and thus best for easy trails and speed hiking. The uppers are made of textile and reinforced with suede leather inserts. The boots feature lightweight EVA midsoles and Vibram outsoles which have 5 millimeters deep lugs for good traction on muddy trails. In the heel area the boots have Merrell air cushion system for better shock absorption and stability. The best thing about these boots is their breathability and relatively low weight. However, they lack in support and are thus not a great option for long and heavy backpacking trips. The Moab 2 boots is also available with Gore-Tex (Moab 2 GTX) but that model is pricier.

Women's Version: Available - Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid for women

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Price
  • Breathability
  • Good fit

Cons:

  • Support

Video

3. Questions and Answers

Can I wear running shoes for backpacking/hiking?

We don’t recommend wearing running shoes for backpacking because running shoes don’t provide ankle support and their midsoles are not durable enough to withstand the weight of a heavy backpack. Furthermore, your running shoes might get severely damaged on rough terrain.

How do you break in backpacking/hiking boots?

Before going on a long trip, wear your boots for everyday errands for several days. Note that if the boots don’t feel comfortable after several days of around-the-town use, they probably don’t fit you well.

Do I need waterproof boots?

It really depends on the expected weather conditions. Waterproof boots will keep your feet dry in rainy weather, but they don’t provide as good breathability as boots without waterproof lining – which means that you are more likely to sweat in waterproof boots in warm weather.

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Author Information

Blaz

Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.

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