Verdict from 4 experts and 100+ user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • The excellent level of comfort of this Kenetrek boot impressed scores of verified purchasers.
  • More than a dozen of owners got a very precise fit in the Hardscrabble Hiker.
  • Many users were genuinely pleased with the boot’s supportive build.
  • Its justifiable price tag was greatly appreciated by numerous patrons.
  • Some devoted hikers swore by the Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker’s unrelenting traction.
  • Based on a handful of reports, this hiking gear is amply warm despite not having proper insulation.
  • A few wearers said that they got a remarkably stable ride in the Hardscrabble Hiker.
  • In terms of waterproofing, this gear didn’t disappoint a couple of testers.
  • A wide-footed blogger lauded the roomy forefoot of the Hardscrabble Hiker from Kenetrek.

2 reasons not to buy

  • It took more than a handful of users a long time to break in this hiking gear.
  • A professional footwear critic gave the boot a thumbs-down for having an outsole that peeled off too soon.

Bottom line

This Kenetrek boot is comfortable, but it is also beyond satisfactory when it comes to overall support and fit. Those who are looking for a quick break-in period may not find it in this day hiking gear, unfortunately. Overall, minus its manageable misstep, the Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker still stands as a worthy investment all thanks to its pool of impressive traits.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • A full-grain leather upper gives the Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker that grounded, classic look. It is engineered with a waterproof yet breathable membrane from Windtex.
  • Keeping the hiker’s footing as steady as possible is the boot’s nylon midsole. It tapers towards the forefoot, giving the gear ample drop.
  • Right beneath the Hardscrabble Hiker’s hefty midsole is the K-Talon outsole. This component can be replaced with a new one, making it one of Kenetrek’s resolable boots. 

The Hardscrabble Hiker is a fairly true-to-size boot for male and female adventurers. The men’s version comes in narrow, regular, and wide widths, while the women’s boot is only offered in regular. Both versions are listed in a decent number of half and whole sizes. A secure and custom fit is achievable with the boot’s speed lacing system.

K-Talon, a Kenetrek-exclusive outsole, is what secures the hiker’s footing over various types of terrain. Its ability to provide multi-directional grip is largely linked to its K-shaped lugs. Over at its heel and forefoot regions are ridges that offer a level of ascent and descent assistance. This component also gives the boot a decent toe bumper. 

The Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker has a nylon midsole at 7 mm thick. It is engineered with a chunky heel to absorb shock upon every landing. It also has adequate stiffness to stabilize the user’s bearings when navigating through rocky terrain. 

Offering further underfoot cushioning is the Hardscrabble Hiker’s default insole. Its surface is covered with textured fabric for added in-shoe comfort. 

The Hardscrabble Hiker gets to shield the wearer’s feet from destructive elements with its 2.8-millimeter thick full-grain leather upper with a full-on rubber rand. Its over-the-ankle collar is padded, rendering the boot both supportive and comfortable. Inside is the Windtex liner which allows the boot’s interior to disperse heat and moisture while walling off wet elements. Keeping debris fenced out, on the other hand, is the footwear’s gusseted tongue. 

Metallic eyelets take up the majority of the instep and collar regions, giving this hazel-colored gear a nice glint. Together with the synthetic laces, they complete the closure system of this leather hiking boot


How Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 21% hiking boots
All hiking boots
Top 40% Kenetrek hiking boots
All Kenetrek hiking boots
Top 20% day hiking hiking boots
All day hiking hiking boots


The current trend of Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker.
Compare to another shoe:
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.