Verdict from 2 experts and +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Scores of wearers regarded the Explorer Trek Plus GTX as a remarkably lightweight boot, and critics couldn’t agree more.
  • According to numerous reports, this day hiking gear leaves no room for water intrusion.
  • Expert reviewers and dozens of users alike were all praises for the boot’s glue-like traction.
  • A lot of wearers didn’t think twice in calling the Berghaus Explorer Trek Plus GTX extremely comfortable.
  • The boot’s ankle shaft is as supportive as they come, based on several favorable reviews.
  • A handful of buyers enthusiastically praised the affordable price tag of this day hiking footwear.
  • Lengthwise, a few users found a true-to-size fit in the Explorer Trek Plus GTX.
  • A professional blogger was genuinely appreciative of the boot’s stabilizing midsole.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Many owners were disgusted by the boot’s outsole. They said that it peeled away too quickly,
  • This Berghaus footwear received much ire from a handful of owners for its restrictive width.
  • Based on a professional critique, the Explorer Trek Plus GTX could use a little bit more ventilation, especially on extremely hot days.

Bottom line

The tireless efforts of the designers and engineers over at Berghaus seem to have paid off in the Explorer Trek Plus GTX. Indeed, from its plush comfort and reliable waterproofing, to its barely-there weight and outstanding traction, this lightweight day hiking footgear leaves nothing to be desired. That said, the boot came under fire for its substandard outsole. All in all, outside its letdown of an outsole, the Berghaus Explorer Trek Plus GTX still makes for a worthy day hiking boot.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

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Video reviews

Good to know

  • Berghaus’ Explorer Trek Plus GTX is both beefy and lightweight, all thanks to its layered upper which is a combination of suede leather and mesh. Imbued with the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort liner, the boot is also waterproof.
  • The main platform of the Explorer Trek Plus GTX and that which provides wearers with shock absorption and cushioning is one EVA midsole. It is constructed with the Plantar Plate—an added component that contributes to the midsole’s stability.
  • Solely responsible for the leather hiking boot’s footing on especially rugged terrain is the Berghaus-exclusive, anti-clogging Opti-Stud outsole. Outside traction, its design and construction also provide brake assistance.

A high-cut, fairly true-to-size day hiking boot that caters to both men and women is the Berghaus Explorer Trek Plus GTX. Both versions are offered in whole and half sizes in standard width. Providing users a snug and customized fit is the boot’s classic lace-up closure. It works in conjunction with the Enhanced Handling System (EHS)—a feature that adds extra heel support when the laces hooked to the EHS speed hooks are tightened. 

The Berghaus Explorer Trek Plus GTX comes equipped with an in-house, hiking-specific outsole technology called Opti-Stud. Based on the Alpha Compound rubber, this outsole is designed to prevent slips and maintain traction on undeveloped terrain (whether wet or dry), thanks to its grippy treads and moderately prominent, triangular lugs. Its front and rear ends are both ridged which means users can tackle uphill slopes and downward inclines with extra grip and support. 

Apart from traction, the Explorer Trek Plus GTX’s outsole doubles as the boot’s protective bumper. This secondary role is made possible by the outsole’s extension covering a marginal portion of the gear’s forefoot zone. 

Delivering comfort and shock absorption is the boot’s stout midsole. This cushioning platform is made chiefly of EVA—also known as ethylene-vinyl acetate—a rubber-like compound that is known for its toughness and stress resistance. Strategically and purposely embedded within the medial section (plantar fascia) of the midsole is the Plantar Plate—Berghaus’ own take on shanks. Its inclusion contributes to the boot’s overall stability and support. Since it is made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU when abbreviated), this component is both resilient and wear resistant. 

More cushioning is brought forth by the boot’s Ortholite footbed. On top of added underfoot comfort, this proprietary insole also provides a stink-free environment for wearers as it is imbued with anti-odor properties. 

Making up the Explorer Trek Plus GTX’s breathable yet tough upper is a blending of lightweight mesh and durable suede leather. It has an inner liner by Gore-Tex called Performance Comfort which makes the boot not only waterproof but also breathable. Its ankle collar and tongue are padded on the inside to bolster the boot’s comfort level. 

The Berghaus designers went synthetic with the boot’s laces. The same can also be said of the lace keeper stitched to the boot’s tongue. In place of traditional eyelets, the designers gave the Explorer Trek Plus GTX a set of metallic loops and open hooks. These lace tunnels are securely attached to the upper via rivets. 

  • This day hiking footwear has been recommended by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award—a UK-based charitable organization that is driven to support the growth of youth and young adults through engaging outdoor activities.

How Explorer Trek Plus GTX compares

This shoe: 86
All shoes average: 82
57 96
This shoe: $170
All shoes average: $206
$45 $495
This shoe: 19.8oz
All shoes average: 20.9oz
8.3oz 43oz
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.