12 best summer hiking boots

Based on reviews from 46 experts and 672 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to summer hiking boots. Updated May 2020.

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    When your trip is set in a warm and humid environment, you should check what a pair of summer hiking boots can offer you. These products are engineered towards optimal breathability so your feet can remain comfortable in high temperatures. They are also designed to supply you with sufficient grip, traction, and toughness while you’re out on a hike. If you’re after a pair that emphasizes airflow, better take a look at these summer hiking boots and the benefits they bring outdoors.

    Benefits of the best summer hiking boots

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    Best summer hiking boots - May 2020

    Breathability

    The primary quality of summer hiking boots is breathability. The upper construction of this gear prioritizes maximum ventilation which allows air to enter and leave easily. This footwear design cools your feet while you’re out hiking in a warm and dry terrain. 

    Lightness

    A majority of summer hiking boots available in the market forego the use of stiff and heavy components, such as full-grain leather uppers and polyurethane (PU) midsoles. Instead, these hikers are equipped with mesh uppers and ethylene-vinyl acetate midsoles. The use of these materials helps reduce the gear’s overall weight, giving you a lighter feel on the trail. This lightweight construction allows you to move faster by lessening the burden on your feet.

    Support

    Bringing all of your outdoor essentials in a backpack can affect your balance, especially if your ankles aren’t supported well. Summer hiking boots are designed to compensate for this extra weight by preventing your ankles from twisting the wrong way. Their midsole components are also engineered to cushion your movement and prevent you from losing balance.

    What you should look for in a pair of summer hiking boots

    Comfort

    Comfort is a key aspect of your outdoor performance. When searching for new summer hiking boots, it’s important to lock this quality down before finalizing any purchase. They should come with certain components that keep your feet comfortable, such as a padded collar and a cushioned insole. You should also go for summer hikers that absorb shock so your every step won’t be excruciating.

    Fit

    Along with comfort, getting the right fit from your summer hiking boots is a must for your adventure. It’s vital to try out your target hikers first before taking them outdoors. Before purchasing these boots, walk around in them for a few minutes. Your feet shouldn’t move inside, and your heels must not lift when making a step. Don’t forget to break them in too before embarking on your trip. Otherwise, you might suffer from blisters while wearing your new summer hiking boots.

    Protection

    Another essential quality you should look for in a pair of summer hiking boots is the level of protection they grant your feet. The best footwear models for summer hikes are imbued with rubber toe caps. This component protects your toes from stubbing. A gusseted tongue is also a useful feature in hindering debris from entering the gear. Moreover, select boots come with anti-microbial technology to keep your feet fresh in warm weather. These are just some of the things that can come in handy when you’re out on your trip.

    Durability

    Even with the absence of various wet trail obstacles, summer hiking boots are still exposed to harsh conditions in a dry and humid environment. It’s important to look for a pair that’s built with durability in mind. Some footgear products for summer hikes use a mesh upper while select models combine it with leather. The latter is tougher against abrasion, but its breathability may be compromised.

    You should also consider the midsole and outsole components of your target pair. They need to be resistant to wear and tear without adding extra weight to your feet. When all of these requirements are met, your summer hiking boots can last long to give you ample outdoor performance.

    When and where should you not use your summer hiking boots

    This type of footgear is made specifically for an environment devoid of wet trail conditions. It’s important to familiarize yourself with various terrain conditions that are detrimental for summer hiking boots. Shown below are some examples:

    • Your summer hiking boots won’t be practical in a terrain filled with various wet trail conditions, such as streams and fields of dew-soaked grass. They’re also detrimental if you’re going to hike under rainy weather. Their breathable uppers allow water to easily enter, placing your feet at risk. If you’re going to face these conditions, it’s better to go for robust hiking boots that prevent water from being absorbed.
    • Taking your summer hiking boots in a snowy environment will do you more harm than good. They don’t possess any form of insulation to keep your feet warm in frigid temperatures. Hiking boots for winter adventures are more suitable in this terrain to counter the cold.
    • Leave your summer hiking boots at home if your trip is going to exceed a single day and there are a lot of challenging obstacles along the trail. What you need in this terrain are improvements in traction, support, protection, and durability. You can find these qualities when you use sturdy backpacking boots for this kind of outdoor activity.
    • Ditch your summer hiking boots if you’re not going to bring a backpack or your trip won’t last half a day. You’ll benefit more from quality low-cut shoes for light hikes because they’re lighter and provide more range of motion to your ankles.

    Notable footwear brands that offer summer hiking boots for men and women

    Merrell

    Merrell hiking boots for summer adventures use a blend of sturdy leather and breathable mesh panels in the upper. This combination grants enhanced ventilation and durability to these products. They are also infused with Merrell’s patented midsole technologies to give you a cushioned performance on the trail.

    Keen

    Keen’s summer hiking boots are built with mesh panels in the upper to keep your feet comfy in warm weather. They feature supportive midsoles and tough rubber outsoles to help you overcome various ground conditions. These footgear models are also coated with Cleansport NXT which prevents microbes from causing your feet to smell.

    Salomon

    Salomon’s hiking boots for summer trips feature 3D mesh uppers to maximize airflow. They are reinforced with sturdy toe caps to boost durability. The brand’s summer hiking boots are also equipped with cushy midsoles and grippy outsoles for improved stability and traction.

    Vasque

    Select summer hiking boots manufactured by Vasque are equipped with nubuck leather and Air Mesh uppers for optimal airflow. They also contain ventilation ports in the toe and heel section to enhance their breathability. Vasque engineered this upper for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore terrains set in hot and arid weather conditions.

    Oboz

    Select Oboz hiking boots come with synthetic mesh panels in the upper to cool your feet during a warm hike. The gear’s mid-cut design grants additional ankle support, a vital quality you’re going to need when carrying a backpack outdoors. Moreover, Oboz’s summer hiking boots use outsoles with aggressive lugs to keep you steady over treacherous terrain.

    Frequently asked questions about summer hiking boots

    Can I consider waterproof boots for summer hiking?

    Breathability is the main benefit you should have when going for a summer hike. Waterproof hiking boots are imbued with liners to prevent water from entering them. At the same time, they also restrict airflow into these hikers. No matter how these waterproof membranes are advertised, they don’t grant complete breathability to your feet. Using hiking boots without any kind of waterproofing layer is a wiser course of action in warm and humid environments. Use waterproof ones only when you expect wet trails.

    How can I maintain the quality of my summer hiking boots?

    The secret to keeping your summer hikers in good condition is to clean them regularly. Shown below are some steps to help you in this endeavor.

    • First, remove the laces and insoles of your summer hikers. Taking these components away will help you clean those inner areas better. 
    • Get a damp piece of cloth or an old toothbrush and use it to wipe traces of mud and dirt on your summer hiking boots.
    • Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water. Use this solution to clean your pair thoroughly.
    • Leave your summer hiking boots in a well-ventilated spot to dry. Don’t place them near or in the direct path of a heat source, such as the Sun’s rays, to prevent any loss in quality.

    Is it wise to buy summer hiking boots online?

    Purchasing a new pair of boots for warm weather from an online retailer is a great way to save time and energy. On the other hand, getting the right fit can be tricky if you don’t know how to determine your size. Here are several tips to help you get a precise fit from your summer hiking boots.

    • You need to place both of your feet on two pieces of paper respectively. 
    • Mark the position of your heels and longest toes with a pencil or pen. Measure the distance in centimeters or inches.
    • Check manufacturer’s website of your target summer hiking boots and locate their fit guide. Match the measurement to its corresponding size on the chart.
    • If the hikers you ordered don’t fit, contact the brand or online retailer and request for a replacement.

    8 best summer hiking boots

    1. Danner Mountain 600 EnduroWeave
    2. Lowa Renegade LL Mid
    3. Asolo Drifter Evo GV
    4. Astral TR1 Merge
    5. Inov-8 Roclite G 370
    6. Asolo Nucleon Mid GV
    7. Merrell Rove Mid Knit
    8. Merrell Ontario Mid
    Author
    Paul Ronto
    Paul Ronto

    Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.

    paul@runrepeat.com