7 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots in 2023

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
We earn affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you when you buy through us. Why trust us

Other than keeping your feet nice and dry, waterproof hiking boots come in a variety of designs to match different types of hiking adventures. That being said, we have created a guide that will help you navigate this vast selection.

Having reviewed over 100 pairs of boots, we have selected the top picks in different categories. Are you looking for a rugged boot for backpacking? A lighter one for speed or urban hiking? Perhaps you only need it for occasional trips and don’t want to spend over $100? See our recommendations to find the one that serves you best.

Also check out our guide sections to learn more about Gore-Tex, the different levels of water protection, and how to maintain your waterproof boots.

Best waterproof hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

When we look for the best overall waterproof hiking boot, it’s got to be supportive, grippy, lightweight, keep the water out, and we want our feet to be comfortable over long distances. We found all of that in the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX!

On our hikes, our feet felt supported by the high ankle collar, and we felt secure even when carrying heavy loads. We can’t get enough of the Contragrip sole, which works wonders on practically anything. The 5.1 mm lugs are 16% deeper than average, and we walked confidently even on loose ground.

We measured the flexibility of the boot with a force gauge by bending the boot to 90°. The average measurement is 42.8N - at 27.9N the X Ultra Mid GTX is a really flexible boot! It gave us a lot of confidence as it helped our feet flex and grip the ground underfoot.

For hikers who like a bit of ground feel, the 31.5 mm midsole heel height is a bonus (the average is 35.8 mm), and it also helps to keep the weight down. At just 13.8 oz (390g), the X Ultra Mid GTX is almost as light as a hiking shoe, but with the extra support afforded by a boot. Given that the average weight for hiking boots is 19.5 oz (553g), this is a godsend! It’s also got some of the most amazing waterproofing we’ve seen - the gusseted tongue and high collar keep the water out, even when standing in running water for over a minute!

For winter hikers, we recommend looking elsewhere. We simulated winter conditions by putting the boot in the freezer for 20 minutes and then testing the flexibility with a force gauge. We recorded an unbelievable 126% decrease in flexibility compared to room temperature, which impacts the boot’s performance.


  • 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

Today's best price

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

Waterproof hiking shoes with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

Boasting ample cushioning to protect our feet over long days and impeccable waterproofing that doesn’t weigh us down, this boot is a great choice for those longer day hikes when the comfort of our feet is of paramount importance. That’s why we have chosen the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX as the waterproof hiking boots with the best cushioning.

Plush is this boot’s middle name, and its EVA midsole feels like a pillow from the moment we slip our foot into the boot. We pressed a durometer to the midsole, measuring a remarkable 22.5 HA - far softer than the average of 27.9 HA. With an additional 2.3 mm of foam under the forefoot and 0.5 mm under the heel when compared to the average, there is still plenty of material to protect our feet from sharp rocks without compromising on comfort.

The boot’s multiple overlays and Gore-Tex lining work together to keep our feet completely dry in wet grass, pouring rain or even submerged in shallow streams! The fully gusseted tongue keeps water and debris out, although we had to be careful not to go any deeper than the low heel counter!

Such a watertight boot often weighs over the odds, but not the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX. Tipping the scales at just 15.4 oz (436g), it’s 4.5 oz (127g) lighter than the average waterproof boot. This makes it our top choice for long hikes, as we can put in more miles before our feet get tired from hauling extra ounces.

We don’t recommend this boot for backpacking, as it isn’t terribly stable under heavy loads. We measured the width of the midsole at the widest part - the forefoot - and it was 1 mm narrower than average. This reduces the landing area, making the boot less stable, especially if wearing a heavy rucksack.


  • 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

Today's best price

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

Best waterproof hiking boots for backpacking

What makes it the best?

Since we can only pick one waterproof hiking boot that is best for backpacking, it has to be the Salomon Quest 4 GTX, without a doubt. It screams support and stability, which is a must for any heavily loaded adventurer, and the Gore-Tex lining is the star of rainy days on the trail. It even performs well in the cold, meaning those early- or late-season treks are still on the cards!

Rarely has such a supportive hiking boot passed through our lab! Salomon’s innovative integrated support system clamps our feet securely into the boot without constricting. The heel counter scored the stiffest rating of 5/5, so heel slippage was non-existent, even on steep inclines. After our manual twisting tests, we rated this boot a very rigid 5/5 for torsional flexibility. Rolling an ankle is not an option, either!

The Gore-Tex lining runs high up the ankle, keeping our feet dry even during stream crossings. The particularly high collar and fully gusseted tongue are especially helpful at keeping water and debris out of the boot. Dry feet mean no blisters - especially important on multi-day hikes.

In the lab, we simulated winter conditions by putting the boot in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing the midsole hardness. At room temperature, the midsole sits at the average of 27 HA. In the cold, it increases only a little, to 32.9 HA. In practice, this means the midsole will still be almost as soft and comfortable as it would be on warmer days without breaking in.

Unfortunately, while the 38 mm heel stack provides a load of cushioning, the boot has an overall heel-to-toe drop of 18 mm, 5.6 mm higher than average. This may be too much for some people, so we don’t recommend Salomon Quest 4 GTX to hikers who prefer a more natural feel to their boots.


  • Exceptional durability
  • Top-notch waterproofing
  • Excellent impact protection
  • Highly secure ankle support
  • Fantastic stability
  • Comfortable in-boot feel
  • Effective grip on various terrain
  • Fits as expected


  • A bit heavy
  • Gets very stiff in cold
Full review of Salomon Quest 4 GTX

Today's best price

Any color
Olive Night/Peat/Safari (L412925)
Magnet/Black/Quarry (L412926)
Rubber Black Fiery Red (L471564)
Desert Palm Black Kelp (L416307)

Best waterproof insulated hiking boots

What makes it the best?

Once you get to experience winter in the Bugaboot III, chances are, you won't settle for anything less moving forward. Indeed, from its cozy confines to its enduring winter-specific performance, this piece from Columbia has "incredible" written all over its proverbial face. A couple of its workable misfires aside, the Bugaboot III will ensure your safety and enjoyment in the winter season.


  • Jaw-dropping comfort
  • Remarkable insulation
  • Watertight upper
  • Excellent durability
  • Plenty of cushioning
  • High level of support
  • Reliable grip
  • Affordable for its kind


  • Restrictive toebox
  • Heavier than average
Full review of Columbia Bugaboot III

Today's best price

Any color
Brown (1791221231)
Graphite/Black (1791222053)
BLACK (1791221010)

Best waterproof boots for urban hiking

What makes it the best?

We think that the Fairbanks Mid from Columbia is something you'd be compelled to make your go-to on fall-to-early-winter excursions. As long as those excursions are short, sweet, and...easy. You see, there is a lot we love about the boot but when it comes to serious hikes, it works more like a hiking-inspired sneaker than a dedicated workhorse. But for a light, city-trail kind of hike, this super lightweight and snazzy boot is hard to ignore.


  • Remarkably light
  • Head-turning looks
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Good grip on mild terrain
  • Hard-wearing outsole
  • Soft cushioning
  • Flexible design
  • Fits as expected


  • Not a true hiking boot
  • Lacks support and stability
Full review of Columbia Fairbanks Mid

Today's best price

Any color
Caramel/Mountain Red (1950921273)
Collegiate Navy/Wood (1950921464)
Gravel/Dark Moss (1950921339)
Black/Shark (1950921010)
Black/Shark (BM7744)

Best waterproof leather hiking boots

What makes it the best?

The Danner Mountain 600 is great for long weekends on lighter trails. As long as you don't go wild on technical terrain, the grip will not disappoint you! Comfort is superb and the boot feels lightweight, which is why it's great even for casual days. It looks that good.


  • Supportive
  • Very comfortable, like a running shoe
  • Oustanding grip
  • Durable
  • Feels light
  • Great out of the box
  • Waterproof
  • Awesome for casual use


  • Debris gets into the boot
  • Not for technical hiking
Full review of Danner Mountain 600

Today's best price

Any color
Brown (62246)
Brown/Red (62245)
Brown (62249)
Black/Khaki (62287)
Antique Bronze/Murky Green (62285)
Brown (62248)
Brown (62250)
Chocolate Chip/Golden Oak (62290)
Walnut/Green (62272)

Best waterproof hiking boots with a wide toebox

What makes it the best?

Asolo has, in its proverbial hands, an exceedingly satisfying hiking boot in the form of the Fugitive GTX. It's a comfort machine that keeps you on your feet no matter the terrain and weather condition. While it lasts, this bang-for-your-buck piece from Asolo will level up your hikes, transforming the trail in front of you into a legit cakewalk.


  • Superb adhesion
  • Mighty plush
  • Worth the price
  • Waterproof
  • Reliably supportive
  • Light
  • Zero break-in
  • Balance preserver


  • Frail outsole
  • Not-so-cushy footbed
Full review of Asolo Fugitive GTX

Today's best price

Any color
Brown (OM3400508)
Black/Red (0M3400392)
Brown (0M3400914)
Light Black/Graphite (0M3400915)

Comparison of the 7 best waterproof hiking boots

+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
Users rating
Best price
# of colorways

The best waterproof hiking boots: Are they REALLY waterproof?

Reality check: There is no such thing as a hiking boot that can completely block water. 

Yes, the best waterproof boots are more than enough to protect your feet from various wet conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, or bodies of water encountered along the trail. However, your feet aren’t totally shielded from water. Here are ways water can enter your waterproof hikers:

  • During pouring rain, water will trickle down into your boots no matter how tight you lace it up. Quick fix: Wear gaiters or waterproof pants over the shoes
  • Water will enter through the boot’s opening if you completely submerge your boot in a stream or lake.
  • The waterproofing feature of your boots does not last forever and deteriorates over time (the well-liked Gore-Tex included).  

The difference between waterproof, water-repellent, and water-resistant boots

You want boots that can protect your feet from water but then you encounter terms like waterproof, water-resistant, water-repellent. Is there a difference?

The answer is YES. To help you understand each one, here’s a quick rundown of their differences.

  Water-resistant Water-repellent Waterproof
General characteristics a tightly woven fabric that is naturally capable of resisting water upon contact fabric treated with durable water-repellent (DWR) or hydrophobic chemicals -fabric treated with DWR
-have waterproofing membranes like Gore-Tex and OutDry
-have seam-sealed construction for extra protection
Water protection level low water protection moderate water protection high water protection
Water pressure resistance 0-5000 mm (no pressure or moisture) 6000-10000 mm (light pressure) 10000-20000 mm (high to very high pressure)
Weather conditions best used in light rain shower and dry snow light rain and average snow moderate to heavy rain and average to wet snow

Disadvantages of wearing waterproof hiking boots

When it comes to repelling water, waterproof boots indeed stand out. However, the high degree of water protection and the versatility that these shoes offer come with a price. 

Apart from having a higher price tag, here are other traits that make waterproof hiking boots inferior when compared to non-waterproof boots or even water-resistant and water-repellent boots.

Disadvantages of wearing waterproof hiking boots.png

Best time to use/not to use waterproof boots

Considering all its pros and cons, we can say that waterproof boots are not your all-around-type of footwear for hiking. Yes, it is versatile as it can adapt to various terrains and weather conditions but it has its limits. You’ll find below which activities, climates, and terrains waterproof hiking boots are best used/not used in:

Pro tip: If you prefer to go fast and light, then lightweight hikers will be your ideal choice. Quick-drying and breathable shoes like those made for water hiking are worth considering if your adventure entails a lot of river crossing. Trail-centric sandals may also be up your alley especially if your planning to traverse the desert trails in Utah or California.

Best time to use_NOT to use waterproof hiking boots.png

What is Gore-Tex?

Gore-Tex is undoubtedly the oldest and most popular when it comes to waterproofing tech. Gore-Tex membranes contain small pores that stop the entry of water droplets while allowing moisture to escape.

Compared to other technologies like Merrell’s M-Select Dry, Columbia’s OutDry, and KEEN’s KEEN.Dry, Gore-Tex is said to be the most effective. You will also find this used by sought-after brands like Salomon and Merrell. However, this will cost more than those made with brand-exclusive waterproofing membranes. 

Bonus Topic: 4-step guide to waterproofing your boots

Want waterproof boots but your budget doesn’t allow it (even after checking out the cheapest waterproof boots)? Or maybe you’d rather go with your regular boots but you’re worried about getting your feet wet? Don’t fret. You can actually turn these into water-repellent ones using waterproofing treatments or sprays.

Take note, however, that smearing waterproof treatment solutions on a boot can decrease its breathability. It does not also last long. But, if you’re just planning to go on a day hike then consider this a great alternative. 

Choose the right waterproofing treatment. When choosing a treatment, make sure to read the labels carefully. There are treatments designed specifically for fabric, leather, nubuck, and suede boots. Also, check your boots’ care instructions. Some discourage the use of wax-, oil-, and grease-based treatments because of its negative effects on the shoe’s breathability.

Clean your boots thoroughly. To ensure full coverage, your boots should be dirt- and muck-free. That’s why it’s ideal to apply the treatment after cleaning the boots. 

Prior to cleaning, remove the laces. You can use a soft brush and cleaner to scrub off the mud and dirt. Ensure to clean every nook and cranny including the folds of the tongue. After that, rinse well.  

Read and follow the waterproofing product’s application instructions. Some treatments will ask you to apply the treatment when the boots are dry. Others will require the boots to be fully soaked in water. To ensure a successful waterproofing treatment, following the instructions is a must.

Dry the boots in a well-ventilated area. Leave your boots to dry in an airy area with low humidity. For quick drying, you can use a fan or stuff old newspapers into the boots. Don’t forget to replace the wet paper inside with dry ones. 

4-step guide to waterproofing hiking boots.png

How we test hiking boots

Here at RunRepeat, we gather, collect, and analyze data from our very own testing procedures. Primarily, we acquire all the waterproof hiking boots we want to test by paying with our own money. We are very stern about this because we only believe in delivering truthful and impartial reviews.

Secondly, we go crazy with the boots. We hike in them as we would normally do in our treks. We subject them to different landscapes from the steepest inclines to the deepest declines and many more - not to mention the watercourses we pass through.

Lastly, we unravel more data by conducting lab tests on the shoes. This is to discover the science and numbers behind how the boots perform. Also, we cut the shoes into pieces, giving us a fuller view of everything!

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run 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 analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.