7 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots in 2023

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots in 2023
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Traditional hiking boots are clunky and heavy. Sure, they are made for more demanding conditions and terrains, but that doesn’t mean we need them all the time. Enters lightweight hiking boots. Something to go easier on our feet! We made this guide to showcase the best lightweight hiking boots and explain what makes them so special.

We have tested and reviewed 80+ pairs of boots to help you get the right one for your needs. Whether it is a more rugged one that you need for multi-day backpacking or a more urban-ready style, we’ve got a top pick for different categories.

Best lightweight hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

If there's ever one hiker that really blurs the divide between trail boots and sneakers, it has to be the Free Hiker 2 from Adidas. It's as mighty effective on backcountry terrain as it is impossibly difficult NOT to admire. And as far as comfort is concerned, it's simply heavenly, especially once you're past its customary break-in period.


  • Next-level comfort
  • Surprisingly supportive collar
  • Promotes balance
  • Charming grip
  • Quite light
  • Superb workmanship
  • Above-average flexibility
  • Eye-catching looks


  • With break-in
  • Tricky to put on
  • Expensive
Full review of Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2

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Any color
Purple (HQ8398)
Coral Fusion/Coral Fusion/Wonder Whi (HQ8399)
Core Black Core Black Grey Six (GV8920)
wonder steel/grey three/legend ink (HQ8396)
Core Black/Core Black/Grey Six (GZ0679)
Bliss Lilac/Beam Orange/Pulse Magent (GZ0688)
Wonder Steel/Grey Three/Legend Ink (GZ0683)
Beige (HQ8397)
More colors

Best waterproof lightweight hiking boots

What makes it the best?

When we want a waterproof boot that doesn’t weigh us down, we turn to the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX. It’s also super grippy and supportive so it’s the perfect companion for our multi-day hikes.

It doesn’t get much better on the waterproofing front than being able to stand in running water for more than a minute and emerge with dry feet. The extra-plush 17 mm tongue comes with a full gusset. Together with the high ankle collar and GoreTex membrane, this dream combination works wonders at keeping the water out. We especially appreciate this on our thru-hikes when it can be tricky to dry our boots out overnight.

Our ankles felt supported by the high collar and the pioneering active support system. Salomon opted for traditional lacing in these boots and it does a sterling job at locking our feet in securely. The plastic shank in the midsole provides additional stability and stops our ankles from rolling while traversing rocky and uneven paths.

In our lab, we weighed these boots at a remarkable 13.8 oz (390g), 5.7 oz (163g) lighter than the average waterproof hiking boot. This is good news for our Big Mountain Days, since we can put in more miles before our feet get tired! This weight has to be saved somewhere and we suspected it might be in the midsole. In fact, in the lab, we measured the stack height to be 31.5 mm at the heel. Since the average for hiking boots is 35.8 mm, the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX does have a bit less material underfoot than average, but we really like the increased ground feel. Along with the faultless Contragrip sole and its 5.1 mm lugs (16% deeper than average), we felt grounded and confident on our hikes.

We don't recommend this shoe to hikers who do not enjoy the ground feel. They would have to look at hiking shoes with a higher stack height then. 


  • The boot of choice for multi-day hikes
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Excellent grip
  • Supportive midsole
  • Detailed ground feel
  • Great ankle support
  • Protective
  • Perfect lacing system


  • Midsole may be thin for some
  • Very stiff in colder climates
Full review of Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

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Any color
Black (L413834)
Blue (L473526)
Kelp Black Safari (L412941)
Deep Lichen Green/Peat/Kelp (L417398)
Black (L412934)
Quarry/Black/Legion Blue (L416249)
Grau (L416246)

Lightweight hiking boots with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX packs in heaps of cushioning in an astonishingly lightweight package. With its Hubble heel contributing to silky smooth transitions and a grippy yet cushy marshmallow feel underfoot, the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX is our favorite lightweight hiking boot with the best cushioning out there!

The Anacapa Mid GTX goes all in when it comes to cushioning - it’s super soft and there’s simply more of it! The plush feel is down to the midsole - using a durometer, we found the midsole is 19% softer than average! We found the heel stack measures 0.5 mm higher than average, and the forefoot 2.3 mm higher than average. On the trail, this means more material between our feet and the ground, so we felt wonderfully protected from sharp objects, despite the soft midsole.

On our test hikes, these boots held us steady on uneven forest trails, gravel, and rocky outcrops. The 4.7 mm lugs are only 0.3 mm deeper than average for hiking boots, but the unique and flexible lug pattern is what gives this boot its superior traction.

Amazingly, considering its many perks, the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX is an incredible 4.5 oz (127g) lighter than the average waterproof hiking boot, making it a great choice for long days on the mountain.

While hiking with heavy loads we found the collar was too weak to support both our weight and that of a backpack. For this reason, we don’t recommend the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX for backpacking and through-hikes.


  • Top-notch waterproofing
  • Very lightweight
  • Generous and soft cushioning
  • Reliable stability (with a light backpack)
  • Wide platform
  • Flexible forefoot
  • Excellent grip
  • Doesn't get too firm or stiff in cold
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Effective lacing system
  • Sustainable materials


  • Not supportive with heavy backpacks
  • Upper lacks wear resistance
  • Extended heel catches rocks and roots
  • Not for wide feet
  • Tricky to put on
Full review of Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX

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Any color
Black (BBLC)
Sand (DELM)
Brown (1122018ORBC)
Blue (1122018RTOS)
Green (TRYL)
Grey (CHMS)
Sharkskin/Blue Coral (SBCRL)

Lightweight hiking boots with the best comfort

What makes it the best?

If you need a break from stiff leather boots, the Hoka Trail Code GTX is one of our top picks for plush comfort. This lightweight hiker is filled with padded goodness from the collar to the sole. But when an obstacle comes your way, the boot also shows its teeth in order to grip, support, or keep you safe from water and debris. We are amazed at how much value the boot offers at such a reasonable price.


  • Mind-blowingly comfortable
  • Fantastic waterproofing
  • Lighter than average
  • Excellent impact protection
  • Very stable and supportive
  • Superb grip
  • Reflective elements
  • Sustainable materials
  • Head-turning looks


  • Awkward on descents
  • Not for tough hikes
Full review of Hoka Trail Code GTX

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Any color
Castlerock/Persimmon Orange (CPOR)
Blue (BGBCR)
Black (BRVN)
Green (OHCRT)
Hot Sauce/Shifting Sand (HSSS)

Best lightweight hiking boots for speed hiking

What makes it the best?

The pitch meeting for the Moab Speed Mid GTX may have been one that focused on addressing 2 hiking concerns: restriction and hit-or-miss control. Now it can be assumed that the meeting was a success since it resulted in a shoe that is solidly reassuring (and comfy) without the unwanted bulk. While owning one can be a gamble durability-wise, the shoe in question is barely a disappointment in virtually everything else.


  • Instant comfort
  • Extremely light
  • Unrelenting collar
  • Mighty ankle support
  • Grippy outsole
  • Propelling boot
  • Watertight


  • Frail outsole
  • Unruly laces
Full review of Merrell Moab Speed Mid GTX

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Any color
Navy (J13541)
Black (J13540)
Black/Asphalt (J06707)

Best lightweight hiking boots for backpacking

Hoka Kaha 2 GTX

What makes it the best?

We consider the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX a convincing day hiking option with backpacking capabilities. The boot justifies its above-average price point with exceptional material and build quality as well as exemplary waterproofing. We are amazed at how much support and cushioning went into the boot while still keeping it lighter than average. Even Kaha's few downsides are easily outweighed by the many benefits it offers.


  • Sky-high comfort level
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • High-quality materials
  • Pain-alleviating support
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transitions
  • Incredibly stable
  • Superb grip
  • Surprisingly light
  • Minimal break-in period
  • Includes sustainable materials


  • Short tongue (laces slip and cause pressure)
  • Bulky heel gets stuck in stones
  • Polarizing aesthetics
Full review of Hoka Kaha 2 GTX

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Any color
Castlerock/Harbor Mist (CHMS)
Blue (BCBGR)
Black (BBLC)
Green (OHMR)
Limestone/Shifting Sand (LSSND)
Green (DBRYL)
Red (ROTN)

Best lightweight hiking boots for urban hiking

What makes it the best?

If you want an outdoorsy pair of boots without the bulk of typical hiking footwear, the Sprint Trekker from Timberland is very worth considering. We instantly fell in love with the boot’s elegant leather upper and snazzy eyelets. What's more, it feels super light on the foot! As long as you think of it as a hiking-inspired sneaker for casual and easy-going trips, you will be pleasantly surprised.


  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Very light for a leather boot
  • Hard-wearing rubber outsole
  • High-quality nubuck upper
  • Deep lugs and great grip
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Affordable


  • Not a proper hiking boot
  • Narrow restrictive toebox
  • Lacks breathability
Full review of Timberland Sprint Trekker

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Any color
Medium Brown (C29241)
Black (14440)
Black (A1YN5)

Comparison of the 7 best lightweight hiking boots

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# of colorways

4 features of lightweight hiking boots 

We’ve covered hiking boots in great detail in our guide for buying the best hiking boots. Here, we’ll focus on what makes lightweight hiking boots different:


  1. Lightweight: at RunRepeat, all lightweight hiking boots weigh less than 500g. 
  2. Breathable upper materials: synthetic materials, suede, mesh. 
  3. Soft: these shoes have a shorter break-in period because they aren’t as rigid as traditional hiking boots. Your feet have a greater degree of freedom in them. 
  4. Flexibility: you’ll notice you’re more agile in these shoes when covering uneven terrain. Less stiff rubber sole allows them to bend, which is impossible to do in traditional hiking boots.

Lightweight hiking boots can be found both in mid-cut and high-cut versions. 

Hiking boots weight comparison 

This average difference of 242g is what makes lightweight hiking shoes so special! 


Steps for finding your perfect fit 

There are a few important steps to follow when it comes to trying on and buying hiking boots.

These 6 steps will guide you through the process of trying out the hiking shoes. 


  1. Go shopping in the afternoon, so feet are swollen at least a bit. Swelling happens anyway when hiking, so it makes sense. 
  2. Try the boots with your hiking socks on. Bring the socks that you plan to wear with your hikers when shoe shopping. Avoid using cotton, but choose wool or synthetic socks.
  3. Try it on, lace it up, and check for pressure points. You don’t want any part of your shoe to feel loose! 
  4. There should be a thumb’s width space between your toes and the front of your boots.
  5. If you’re wearing special insoles or orthotics, take them with you and insert them into the boots when trying them on. 
  6. Use the ramp! All hiking/outdoor stores have it. Walk up and down. This tests the boot’s snugness. When you go up the board, observe for any heel lift. When you go down, check if your toes hit the front of the shoes. If your heel rises more than a quarter of an inch, try adjusting the laces. If your toes hit the front, try sizing up.

When you’ve made the purchase, make sure you break in your boots before your adventure. 

When you should (not) wear lightweight hiking boots 

To make them lightweight, some hiking boot features had to be omitted or reduced to a certain level. This is what defines when and where you should (not) wear the lightweight hiking boots: 

Lightweight hiking boots: when (not) to wear them



Short hikes, a day or a few days long

Mountaineering and heavy backpacking, especially at high altitudes

Lower-attitude adventures, as they don’t include severe weather conditions 

Difficult weather conditions - they are more breathable and, therefore, less able to endure great amounts of snow and rain

Warmer and dry weather, high breathability won’t keep your feet as warm

Cold weather - traditional hiking boots will keep your feet warmer than the lightweight ones

Easy hikes, on terrain that is not too demanding; for technical parts, it’s best to have stiff boots with rigid soles  

Hikes where you need to use spikes (crampons): for this, you need to check if your shoes are compatible with crampons and graded for that use. Most lightweight shoes would fall on both tests - their soles can’t have crampons attached to them and they are not rigid enough. 

If you insist on light hiking shoes, but know there will be some rain - check our lightweight waterproof hiking boot collection. This feature can be a day-saver! 

How we test hiking boots

We review lightweight hiking boots by being methodical and nitpicky. The process we go through is enumerated below:

  • We shop for all the hiking boots we test by swiping our own cards. To speak plainly, we don't take part in any sponsorships because we want to be as objective as we can be during our review and testing.
  • We wear test the boots. We take them on our hikes and expose them to different terrains. We even cross water sources during our treks. We like to deliver our own actual experiences rather than blindly trusting what the brands say.
  • We perform different tests in our lab that quantifies 30+ parameters. We also split the shoes in half and cut them into pieces to have various frames of reference in investigating them.
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.