8 Best Leather Hiking Boots in 2021

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
8 Best Leather Hiking Boots in 2021

There is just something special about experiencing the great outdoors in a pair of leather hiking boots. These hikers are naturally tough, and their grounded design makes mixing and matching — to complete your backcountry outfit—an easy feat.

We’ve rounded up the finest leather hiking boots (out of 300+ pairs) for your convenience. Are you in need of a smashing all-rounder? Maybe you’re into a lightweight pair? Or perhaps something powerful for pack adventures? Whichever it is, if it’s leather, you’re in the right place.

How we test the best leather hiking boots

This selection of top-of-the-line leather hikers is a product of dedication and passion. Here’s our approach:

  • We buy leather hiking boots using our own funds. This way, we can be as objective and straightforward with our reviews as possible.
  • Each leather kick goes through a series of tests. In every pair, we hike on various terrain for days, come rain or shine.
  • We collect and analyze hundreds of reviews from a combination of regular hikers and professional testers.

As a result, every tested leather hiking boot receives a 0-100 rating, a.k.a. CoreScore. This RunRepeat-exclusive scoring system gives a glimpse of whether a given shoe is among the finest or a major pass.

Best overall

After testing hundreds of remarkable leather hiking boots, we put the Danner Mountain 600 on the highest pedestal. Yup, it’s a real doozy, and its magnificence manifests on virtually all fronts!

“Dreamy from the box” is a very accurate description for the Mountain 600 in the comfort department. The moment we slipped into it, everything within its plush confines clicked exactly the way we envisioned. Warm sports? Rubbing? We had none of those in this Danner boot!

Another water-cooler aspect about the fantastic Mountain 600 is its Vibram outsole. While not really for technical hikes (as evident in its low-profile lugs), this sticky layer got us negotiating wet and dry terrain with remarkable adhesion.

Both the Mountain 600’s heel and arch zones were mighty supportive throughout our backcountry travels. That said, we give its heel counter extra credit for making heel slippage completely non-existent from trail start to trail end!

And have we mentioned that the Danner Mountain 600 has the “oomph” yet? Indeed, this leather bad boy cut through a variety of hazards, including abrasive ones, and came out with only minor dents and light scratches.

So, what are you delaying for? Bag the Mountain 600 now and see yourself make a real difference on the trail!

See our full review and facts

Do you want to kick some “trail behinds” out in the wild? If you’re even the slightest interested in feeling majestic on your daily hikes, you have got to try the Renegade GTX Mid!

Just like our top pick, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is formidable where tricky surfaces are involved. Whether on mud, swampy slopes, or sandy patches, the boot with its toothy lugs rewarded all our efforts. And thanks to its towering heel brake, we also got down mulchy inclines without ever slipping.

Now, the Renegade GTX Mid also has magical plushness going for it. And similar to the Mountain 600, the boot’s high amounts of comfort are achievable on day one. That said, there’s a trade-off in the form of price tag (it’s about $30 more expensive than our top pick).

Built with a Gore-Lex liner, the Renegade GTX Mid deflected all manners of wetness along the way. While we didn’t encounter a heavy downpour on our trip, there was this creek that we hung around for about an hour. We went across it several times on purpose, and the shoe protected our tootsies from every drop!

As a cherry on top, the Renegade GTX Mid has above-average support and breathability. Get yours now!

See our full review and facts

Best lightweight

In the realm of lightness, the leather Timberland Euro Sprint Hiker is the one to beat. Case in point: its per-boot weight is no more than 480 g on paper. In practice, this dapper hiker felt lighter. Whatever magic Timberland used in this regard, it worked!

We visited our go-to trail in the Euro Sprint Hiker without going on a pre-hike (to test its break-in period, of course). To our surprise, considering the rather stout construction of said shoe, its confines felt nice fresh from the box. And after hours of hiking, we sustained no blisters anywhere.

Equally incredible was the way the Euro Sprint Hiker made our ankles feel secure. The part of the trail where we usually struggle with our ankles was laden with roots. That said, the boot’s supportive collar boosted our confidence and got us across scot-free!

Despite having no overlays slapped onto its upper (front half), the Euro Sprint Hiker deflected major scratches and dents like a boss. Oh, but this lack of protective overlays is what we believe made this leather hiker light in the first place.

And last but not least, at $110 (MSRP), the Euro Sprint Hiker is a steal. Yes, it’s light both on your feet and wallet!

See our full review and facts

Timberland and lightweight leather boots go hand in hand in our books. Indeed, trailing not so far behind our lightweight top pick is the Euro Hiker—a stout-yet-nimble trail kick from the same brand!

If its 450-ish grams (per shoe) weight is anything to go by, you’re destined to make bigger strides in the Timberland Euro Hiker without getting tired easily. Its chunky looks might not represent its lightness, but the moment you put the boot on, your jaws will drop nonetheless.

Another bewildering quality about the Euro Hiker is its lavish comfort. While it took us a couple of days to break it in completely, the boot felt like royalty from then on! We want to give its puffy tongue extra credit here, too, for granting us a plush-yet-bunch-free in-shoe experience!

What about its support system, you might ask? Let’s just say that the Euro Hiker, just like our lightweight top pick, cradled our feet with top-notch support, particularly around the arch. Seriously, we couldn’t make our gait falter even if we tried!

A fair warning about the Euro Hiker, though: its leather confines might not be as breathable as you think. Still, we highly recommend this leather gem from Timberland. Snag one at its MSRP of $110 now!

See our full review and facts

Best for backpacking

Do you want to be amazed both on and off the trail while hauling a heavy pack? Then scratch anything underwhelming off your shopping list and write the Mountain Light II on there!

Expect to pull off propelled and powerful steps without tiring your feet easily in the Danner Mountain Light II. The boot shines while you got a loaded bag in tow. This is because both its heel and arch sections have top-notch support. It’s true—your heels will remain centered and your arches will not crumble on you wherever you are on the trail!

Adhesive power is also what you’re going to get in this leather Danner kick. Whether on grassy patches or rocky slopes, the Mountain Light II’s bomb-proof outsole proved its high tenacity to us. In addition, its meaty lugs and clawing heel brake made a cakewalk out of ascents and descents.

Craftsmanship is quite something in the Mountain Light II, as well. As a premium-priced piece, this Danner kick wears its luxurious value on its sleeve. Let’s just put it this way: the Mountain Light II is spectacular both inside and out!

Speaking of interior greatness, the Mountain Light II is exceptionally pampering. Yup, its confines are truly comfy!

See our full review and facts

Here comes Lowa’s suede superstar, and it’s none other than the imposing-yet-gentle Tibet GTX!

We can chalk up the Tibet GTX as a pro-weightlifter of sorts. Its burly construction served its purpose by eating up virtually everything we walked on. Its midfoot never lost its shape, even on root-filled terrain, allowing us to make bolder strides minus the risks of arch injury.

Just like our backpacking main choice, the Tibet GTX felt broken-in right from the start. Indeed, the boot’s mighty protective shell hides an uber comfortable interior behind it. Nothing within its pampering confines felt off, and we got zero rubbing everywhere! We just wish its default insert (footbed) were a bit cushier, particularly around the forefoot.

Now, the Lowa Tibet GTX is a monster of a boot in the grip department, as well. Its rubber outsole anchored our feet on practically every kind of surface, whether dry, grainy, or sloppy. Navigating down muddy slopes translated to careen-free descents, too!

Armed with Gore-Tex technology, the Tibet GTX kept our feet fresh and dry throughout our testing. We submerged it in this four-inch-deep creek, and it passed with flying colors!

See our full review and facts

Best looking

If there’s one leather boot that can sweep you off your feet, and then ask for more once you’re back up, it has got to the Scarpa Terra GTX!

To say that this piece is a work of art is quite spot-on. Sporting a classic look with its almost-seamless leather upper, the Terra GTX is as eye-catching as it is jaw-droppingly comfy.

Without breaking in the boot in question, we went on a 7-mile hike in our fresh socks. The result? A blister- and hotspot-free excursion! Extra props go to the Terra GTX’s divine collar for giving us a totally rub-free ankle experience!

On the waterproofing front, the Scarpa Terra GTX astonished us to the moon and back. While most of the heavy lifting was done by its Gore-Tex liner, the boot’s virtually one-piece construction helped keep wetness at bay. The buffed finish of its leather shell also transformed all sorts of moisture into beads like magic.

The Terra GTX’s wonderful waterproofing is also matched by its performance on varied terrain. Like sticky monsters, its outsole and its claw-like lugs afforded us intense latching power. Most impressive was how we managed to go down muddy slopes sideways without a hint of slipping!

See our full review and facts

Danner + aesthetics worthy of a standing ovation? Yup, you’re describing the endearing Mountain Pass!

As dressy as it is captivating on feet, the Danner Mountain Pass will reel you in with resplendent comfort. There’s no section within its richly comfy interior that made us second-guess its plush intentions. Indeed, pure pampering was what we got in the boot on mile one!

This beautiful Danner kick entranced us with its waterproofing, as well. While not a Gore-Tex boot, the Mountain Pass made good with its promise of water protection without a hitch. The only downside to its non-conventional waterproofing that we can think of is its rather weighty build (the shoe is heavier than Terra GTX by roughly 100 g per piece).

But does its dapper design translate to anything along the lines of durability? Absolutely! From its double-stitched seams and enduring sole unit, the Mountain Pass braved the unforgiving backcountry—harsh elements and all—like a steel turtle!

This tank-like beauty, however, comes at a hefty price—a whopping $360 MSRP. That said, if you’re after premium looks and performance, the Mountain Pass will not disappoint.

See our full review and facts
Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

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.