Verdict from 1 expert and 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Lots of Columbia Fairbanks 503 Mid reviews say it's one of the most comfortable hiking boots in the market.
  • It ticks the box for lightness, according to most customers.
  • A good number of users say that the boot keeps their feet warm in moderately cold weather.
  • Many users are impressed by the plush upper that feels more like a sneaker than a hiking boot.
  • Dozens of reviewers agree that the Columbia Fairbanks 503 mid-cut shoes are versatile.
  • Several hikers are pleased by its waterproof construction as well.

1 reason not to buy

  • A few wearers find these Columbia boots narrow.

Bottom line

The Columbia Fairbanks 503 Mid shoes have amazingly surpassed the expectations of many in terms of comfort, quality, and protection. These all-season boots are designed to deliver reliable performance on the trail. It's seemingly lightweight as well, which makes it a great choice for walking and casual activities around the town.

All these amazing features are wrapped in a sporty-looking pair of boots that are waterproof and supportive.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

-Created for all types of outdoor adventure, the 503 Mid from Columbia Fairbanks collection is made of durable synthetic uppers, high-traction sole, and lightweight midsole. 

-It's lined with the Omni-Tech waterproof membrane - a propriety fabric that offers superior protection against rain or water. The waterproof membrane is attached to the shoe interior through seam-sealed construction.

The Columbia Fairbanks 503 is a mid-cut boot with a soft synthetic upper that comfortably wraps the foot inside. It has a round toebox and the shaft height extends above the ankle, providing ample coverage. Like a traditional hiker, this boot features a lace-up closure system with additional eyelets on top. This lacing system allows the wearer to adjust the fit of the forefoot separately from the midfoot.

This shoe features a non-marking outsole made of durable rubber. The Omni Grip is an advanced outsole solution that involves propriety compounds formulated to deliver a strong grip and traction. The Fairbanks 503, in particular, features rectangular lugs all throughout the sole for enhanced grip on wet and slippery surfaces. Additionally, since it is non-marking, the Fairbanks 503 boots can be used indoors, such as in the office or at the gym.

Part of the reason why this hiking boot is relatively lightweight is the Techlight midsole. It's a patent-pending technology by Columbia that involves the use of an EVA foam. Aside from being lightweight, this material also has other desirable qualities, such as high energy return, durability, and long-lasting cushioning.

Boots with lightweight midsoles are great for hiking and trail running as they deliver adaptive stability and impact absorption. As a result, the wearer's feet are less likely to experience fatigue.

For underfoot comfort, this shoe also comes with a cushioned textile footbed.

The Columbia Fairbanks 503 has an upper made of synthetic materials that are highly resistant to abrasion and scuffing. It features the Omni-Tech waterproof breathable seam-sealed bootie construction. The Omni-Tech is made up of three layers. The outer layer is coated to ward off stains and grime, not just water. The second layer is the membrane which gives the waterproofing quality. The third (inner layer) serves as the moisture management system. It wicks moisture by utilizing body heat.

 Completing the upper is a traditional lace-up style closure with sturdy metal hardware for a secure fit. The padded tongue and collar offer support and protection and help keep debris from entering the shoe.


How Columbia Fairbanks 503 Mid ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 48% hiking boots
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Top 41% Columbia hiking boots
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The current trend of Columbia Fairbanks 503 Mid.
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Paul Ronto
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Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.