Hiking boots are very important because they protect your feet from injuries and provide you with support, stability and traction. To achieve the best performance on trails, you should choose your boots with great caution. Hiking boots differ by weight, breathability and durability and therefore not every pair of hiking boots is suitable for every trail. If you often do technically challenging trails, you should get heavier hiking boots with relatively rigid soles, while people who favor hiking on dirt tracks, paths and muddy/grassy trails should go for lighter and more flexible boots.
In the following we selected and reviewed the best hiking boots for technically easy trails. In this selection we only included lightweight hiking boots with waterproof lining which provide good stability, support and breathability. However, if you often hike on a rocky terrain or with a heavy backpack, check out our selection of the Best Backpacking Boots instead because boots in that selection offer better ankle support and tear resistance (abrasion from the rocks on rocky terrain). Nevertheless, they are also heavier and less breathable. To learn more about the different types of hiking footwear, check out our article How to choose the right footwear.This selection was updated on the 4th of January 2018.
1. Buying Hiking Boots – What is important?
Lightweight hiking boots allow you to hike faster and easier. The weight of a hiking boot depends on the materials – the sole and the upper have the biggest impact on the weight. Therefore, lightweight hiking boots normally feature midsoles made of EVA foam (ethylene vinyl acetate) which are lighter than PU (polyurethane) midsoles that are usually used for backpacking and mountaineering boots. To keep the overall weight down, manufacturers also tend to avoid leather when it comes to lightweight hiking boots because leather is heavier than advanced synthetic materials. Most boots in in this review of the best hiking boots feature EVA midsoles and synthetic uppers and are thus as light as they come without compromising quality.
Synthetic uppers (usually made of nylon) have certain advantages in comparison to leather uppers, such as being lighter and more breathable. However, leather uppers provide better durability, abrasion-resistance and ankle support (leather is more rigid than synthetic materials). The material of the upper does not matter in terms of water-resistance as water-resistance is achieved with a waterproof, yet breathable lining.
The lining is the fabric on the inside of a boot and is responsible for transporting the moisture (sweat) from the foot to the outside. The lining should be breathable and moisture-wicking.
Waterproof boots use waterproof/breathable linings such as Gore-Tex. However, it’s important to note that no hiking boot is completely waterproof; it should keep your feet dry in rainy weather and when hiking on wet terrain, but don’t expect that it won’t leak if you step into a stream. Fabrics simply can’t be made completely waterproof and reasonably breathable at the same time – and breathability is of the utmost importance when it comes to hiking boots; otherwise your feet will soak in their own sweat. In this best hiking boots review, we only included hiking boots with waterproof/breathable lining.
The insole (footbed) is the part of the sole that is in direct contact with your foot and thus it should provide similar qualities as the lining, such as breathability and moisture-wicking properties. Insoles are usually also treated with antimicrobial agents to reduce the growth of microorganisms and bacteria.
The midsole is one of the most important parts of a hiking boot as it provides cushioning and support. Midsoles are made either of EVA foam (ethylene vinyl acetate) or PU (polyurethane).
EVA midsoles are lighter and more flexible than PU midsoles and therefore, hiking boots for easy trails typically have EVA midsoles. PU midsoles are heavier and more rigid but also more durable as EVA midsoles become “flat” faster. Hiking boots with EVA midsoles are usually less expensive than boots with PU midsoles.
The outsole gives traction to the boots. Outsoles feature lugs of different patterns – the deeper and thicker the lugs, the better traction they provide. Some brands develop their own outsoles, for example Lowa, while others use outsoles from well-known manufacturers such as Vibram.
2. The Best Hiking Boots Review
The Best Hiking Boots – List
- Lowa Innox Goretex Mid Hiking Boots
- Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boots
- Keen Oakridge Waterproof
- Vasque Monolith Ultradry
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX
|Feature/Product||Lowa Innox Goretex Mid||Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX||Keen Oakridge Waterproof||Vasque Monolith Ultradry||Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX|
|Weight (pair)||2 lbs.||2 lbs.||2 lbs. 1 oz.||2 lbs.||2 lbs. 2 oz.|
|920 g||920 g||940 g||908 g||964 g|
|Upper Material||Syntehtic||Syntehtic||Nubuck Leather, Nylon||Nubuck Leather, Nylon||Nubuck Leather, Nylon|
|Outsole||Lowa NXT||Contagrip||Keen||Vasque Monolith||Vibram|
1. Lowa Innox Goretex Mid
- Everyday use
The Lowa Innox Goretex Mid hiking boots do not only look incredibly good but are also very comfortable and breathable. These hiking boots differ from the other boots listed in this review by having polyurethane midsoles. Therefore, they provide great support and cushioning not only on dirt tracks but also on rocky trails. The upper is made of lightweight synthetic material and the boots are additionally reinforced with rubber in the crucial areas. These rubber reinforcements increase the durability of the boots as well as provide support in the ankle area. The Lowa hiking boots use Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry in rainy weather and are equipped with Lowa NXT outsoles. The Lowa Innox Goretex Mid hiking boots are perfect for lightweight hiking and trekking. Due to the dual density polyurethane midsoles they can be also worn for mountaineering. However, the synthetic upper should be protected from abrasion as it doesn’t provide as good durability as for example leather.
2. Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX
- Everyday use
The Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX hiking boots are also a great option for lightweight hiking and trekking. Like the Lowa hiking boot, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX boot also features a synthetic upper which is breathable and quick-drying. The upper is reinforced with rubber panels for better durability and ankle support. The tongue of the boot is connected to the upper to prevent dirt from entering the boots. The Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 hiking boots are equipped with Contagrip outsoles which are made of elements with 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. The Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX hiking boot is also equipped with an EVA midsole, an anatomically shaped footbed, Gore-Tex lining and protective rand.
3. Keen Oakridge Waterproof
- Everyday use
The Keen Oakridge Waterproof hiking boots are, like the Lowa and Salomon boots above, perfect for lightweight hiking. The upper is made of leather and mesh fabric. The leather protects the boot from abrasion while the mesh fabric provides breathability. The Oakridge boots are lined with Keen.Dry and are therefore water-resistant. The boot also has an anatomically shaped footbox which provides excellent arch support and good fit. Additionally, the Keen Oakridge boots feature NXT treatment for odor-control and Keen outsoles with 4 millimeters deep multi directional lugs. Therefore, they provide good traction on grassy and muddy trails. The Keen Oakridge Waterproof hiking boots are a great option for those who want a pair of relatively inexpensive hiking boots for different outdoor adventures.
4. Vasque Monolith UltraDry
- Everyday use
The Vasque Monolith Ultradry hiking boots are perfect for fast paced hikes as they are lightweight and very comfortable. The boot has a synthetic upper which is reinforced with nubuck leather panels for better durability. Beneath the upper, the Vasque Monolith boot features UltraDry lining to keep your feet dry while you are hiking on wet terrain. The boots are also equipped with EVA midsoles and Vasque Monolith outsoles for good traction. The boots utilize midfoot stabilizers (made of polyurethane) for better stability and cushioning on uneven terrain. The Vasque Monolith Ultradry hiking boots are relatively inexpensive and thus perfect for beginners and those on a tight budget. All in all, they are great hiking boots for the price.
5. Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX
- Everyday use
The Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX hiking boots provide good durability as they have synthetic leather uppers and protective rubber toe caps. Nevertheless, parts of the upper are made of mesh fabric for better breathability. The Merrell hiking boots also provide good protection against the weather due to the Gore-Tex lining. They are equipped with Vibram outsoles which feature 5 millimeters deep lugs for good traction on muddy trails. In the heel area the boots feature Merrell air cushion system for better shock absorption and stability. The midsole is made of EVA foam and thus provides good flexibility for fast hiking. All in all, the Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX is a great pair of boots for the price.