7 Best Day Hiking Boots in 2023

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
7 Best Day Hiking Boots in 2023
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Whether you’ve just decided to start your hiking journey or planning a multi-day hike with your friends, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of great quality day hiking boots that we have examined in our lab. For this guide, we feature the best-rated models we recommended after hiking thousands of miles across all sorts of terrain.

From high-cut style to mid and low-cut models, there’s a perfect fit for all types of outdoor enthusiasts, campers, and backpackers from top brands like Lowa, Danner, KEEN, Hanwag, and Adidas. Whatever day hiking adventure you’re going on, these hikers provide you with that comfort, protection, and extra support you need.  

With tonnes of superb options out there, picking the right pair can be mind-boggling. To save you time, we’ve tested 100+ of the best day hiking boots and ranked them accordingly. Take a look at the outstanding picks we found!

Best day hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX cruised through our test hikes and passed our lab tests with flying colors. , and we subsequently crowned it the best overall boot for day hiking. Unbelievably lightweight, waterproof, and with a superbly grippy outsole, these versatile kicks are our go-to hiking boots for long day hikes.

Our wet hikes proved to us just how well the GoreTex is implemented in this boot. We even submerged them in water almost up to our ankles, but they didn’t let a drop of water in! The mid-height collar and gusseted tongue both have a role to play in this, and they play it well!

What really makes these shoes stand out above the rest is their insanely light weight. The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX manages an excellent GoreTex-to-weight ratio. On the scales, these boots weighed an astounding 14.5 oz (412g), which is 36% lighter than the average waterproof hiking boot! On our hikes, this translates to fresher feet for longer days!

The chevron design of the Contragrip sole wins us over every time, and we can confidently tackle steep uphills and downhills, knowing these boots will hold us steady. We measured the lug depth at 5.1 mm, 0.7 mm deeper than average. In addition, we measured the flexibility of the midsole with a force gauge and found it is 4% more flexible than average. The flex in the sole increases the surface area in contact with the ground, upping the grip. In practice, we can trust these boots on just about anything.

For hikers who prefer a plusher ride, we don’t recommend these boots. We pressed a durometer to the midsole to test for softness and found this boot is 64% harder than average. 


  • 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

Day hiking boots with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX is undoubtedly the number one day hiking boots with the best cushioning. With a midsole that gives our feet a gentle embrace, unrivaled weight in its category, and impressive performance on chilly days, there is more to this boot than meets the eye.

We could shout about the cushioning in the Anacapa Mid GTX from the rooftops! Measuring 22.5 HA with a durometer, it’s much softer than the average 27.9 HA, making for an extremely comfortable ride. We also measured the stack heights in the lab. Both are above average, with the heel measuring 0.5 mm higher than average, and the forefoot measuring 2.3 mm higher than average. What this means in practical terms is more material underfoot to protect our feet from sharp objects.

Since it’s a completely waterproof boot, we might expect the Anacapa Mid GTX to weigh us down, but Hoka have found the perfect balance between impermeability and weight. Weighing in at just 15.4 oz (436g), this boot is a whole 3.5 oz (99g) lighter than our other lab-tested waterproof boots. It’s a great choice for day hikes because our feet still have energy to spare by the end of the day.

We tested the boot for winter use by leaving it in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing it for flexibility. Pushing the boot to 90° with a force gauge, we found it is an incredible 30% more flexible than average! This is a real advantage on cold days since it doesn’t need much breaking in.

The 4.7 mm lugs are deeper than average yet they don’t cut the mustard when it comes to wet granite. We found ourselves slipping on wet days, so we don’t recommend these boots to hikers who regularly hike in this kind of rocky terrain.


  • 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

Day hiking boots with the best support

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Trail Code GTX is our best pick for the most supportive day hiking boots for its superior stability, flexibility and sticky outsole. It is a versatile hiking boot that keeps our feet feeling supported and protected all day long.

We found the Trail Code GTX kept our ankles perfectly supported with its high collar and stiff heel counter. We assessed the heel in the lab, rating it as the stiffest 5/5 – that explains why we experienced zero heel slippage, even on the steepest inclines! The wide midsole measures 112.5 mm, around the average, and it provides a stable platform for our feet even on rocky and uneven trails.

Even with all the support provided by this boot, it doesn’t feel bulky or restrictive. In fact, hiking in the Hoka Trail Code GTX feels almost like wearing a running shoe, and that’s down to its impressive flexibility. We pushed it to 90° with a force guage and were amazed to find it measures just 26.1N, compared to the much stiffer average of 43.8N. Such a flexible boot offers a comfortably natural feel to our hikes, which we find perfect for our day hikes.

The grippy outsole sticks on steep, slippery slopes, wet mud and loose gravel with ease. In the lab, we measured the toothy lugs to be 4.7 mm – 0.2 mm deeper than average, which explains their tackiness. We felt confident on varied terrain during our test hikes.

We found the Hoka Trail Code GTX isn’t suitable for hikers with narrow feet. At the widest part of the forefoot, it measures 97 mm, and is 3.4 mm narrower than average. Hikers with wide feet are advised to go half a size up.


  • 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

Best boots for urban hiking

What makes it the best?

In our lab tests and out on the trail, we found the Timberland Euro Hiker is a champion of urban hiking. Its plush padding provides comfort from day one and keeps our feet cozy on cold days. The grippy outsole is well-suited to urban environments and the midsole delivers consistent support in all weather.

Straight out of the box, these shoes have comfort (and style) written all over them. The ultra-padded tongue measures a whopping 22.3 mm thick - 9.7 mm thicker than average! We squeezed the padded heel counter and gave it 2/5 for flexibility, where 1 is the least flexible. It held our feet comfortably in the shoe without being over the top.

The grippy outsole is versatile, offering surefootedness on maintained and hard-packed trails. In the lab, we measured the thickness of the outsole at 3.5 mm, a substantial increase from the average of 2.7 mm. Even with the wear and tear inherent in hiking on asphalt, these outsoles have a lot of miles in them!

The boot feels supportive underfoot, so in the lab, we pressed a durometer to the midsole. It measured 54 HA, 86% firmer than average. That accounts for the stability we noticed on our hikes! In order to simulate winter conditions, we left it in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing it again. Remarkably, it only gets 7% firmer with exposure to sub-zero temperatures, so it performs almost the same as on warmer days.

It is worth noting that the Timberland Euro Hiker is not waterproof, so we don’t recommend it for wet or snowy winter hiking.


  • Amazing in-shoe comfort
  • Insanely lightweight
  • Supportive arch
  • Lasting construction
  • Above-average traction
  • Recycled rubber used
  • Attractive design
  • Affordable


  • Subpar ventilation
  • Unruly laces
Full review of Timberland Euro Hiker

Best day hiking boots with a wide toebox

What makes it the best?

By the end of all of our rambling adventures testing out the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2, exhausted legs and feet have never been included in the post-hike aftermath. This hiking shoe prevented our feet from being crushed from tightness. Instead, it offered a nice space for our toes to splay. Also, the demands of day hikes are easily met by this champ.

The looks of the Trailventure 2 are quite deceiving, as our eyes see chunky but our legs feel airy. Due to this, we are not overtaken by fatigue even after spending the whole day trekking. One thing we also loved is that the cushioning is not compromised despite this boot being light for its kind. We found a fortress in the Trailventure 2 with its bountiful padding and liberal cushioning.

The superior traction of this hiking boot also helped us conquer our day hikes with surefootedness all throughout. Sadly, we noticed that the outsole does not hold up well. If you don’t plan on putting this pair through extreme conditions, there is no need to worry.


  • Amazing multi-surface grip
  • Sensational comfort
  • Quite light for a boot
  • Remarkably supportive
  • Spacious toe box
  • No heel lift
  • Incredibly breathable


  • Its outsole could be more durable
  • Unruly laces (women’s version)
Full review of Topo Athletic Trailventure 2

Best leather day hiking boots

What makes it the best?

It’s hard to beat the plush comfort coupled with superb support offered by the Danner Mountain 600. Their classic leather profile is eye-catching, yet there’s more to this boot than meets the eye. Out-of-the-box comfort, a durable and grippy outsole and weatherproofing abilities tick all of our boxes, leading us to choose the Danner Mountain 600 as the best leather boots for day hiking.

The supple suede upper and overall design of the Danner Mountain 600 give this boot a delightfully classical look. The leather is naturally waterproof, plus the integrated Danner Dry waterproof lining helps moisture escape without letting stream water in. Despite stream crossings and stormy days, these boots have never let us down over hundreds of miles of hiking.

These boots are so cushy, they almost feel like a running shoe when we put them on! The plush EVA midsole is like a pillow, and our feel feel comfortable yet supported during our all-day hikes. We didn’t need any time to break them in, and still our blister-prone feet remained pain-free throughout! Win-win!

The Vibram outsole works perfectly on both wet and dry rock, loose ground and mud, and we happily take these boots anywhere. Their sleek profile even fits in under jeans and around the city, and we love their versatility! They make an excellent urban boot for winter, too, keeping our feet warm and dry and grippy in snow and slush.

Our main gripe with this boot is the wide collar around the ankle. On our hikes, debris easily made its way into the boot and we had to stop regularly to scoop it out.


  • 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

Best lightweight day hiking boots

What makes it the best?

Taking the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 in our daylong outings is nothing but just a day filled with comfort and support. We found that this is the best lightweight hiking boot to bring to daytime hiking trips because walking in it isn’t taxing at all. Advancing in it is as effortless as it can be!

The Terrex Free Hiker 2 is not the typical hiking boot in the market. Compared to most of its kind, this one is on the sleek side. As expected, lightness comes with its sleekness. And thanks to its 15 oz (425g) construction that is 16.8% lighter than most hiking boots, our hikes are so pleasurable we forget what’s pain like.

Behind our effortless strides is the flexible construction of the Terrex Free Hiker 2. We didn’t have to strain our feet and arches just to take a step. This boot naturally moved with us. This does not equate to flimsiness, though. As a matter of fact, it provided a secure feel on rough trails.

While the boot is flexible, it still necessitates a break-in time. So we do not recommend this for adventurers who prioritize immediate comfort.


  • 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

Comparison of the 7 best day hiking boots

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Most hikers have their “daily driver” pair of boots. That's the one we reach for nine out of ten times when we head out on our local trails. The best daily drivers are often day hiking boots, they’re good enough for the majority of hikes, and for some hikers, they may be the only type of boots you’ll ever need.

Hoka Trail Code GTX review

What is a day hiking boot?

Day hiking boots are, by design, what you imagine when you think of a hiking boot, they're all-rounders and are the perfect boot for many hikers.

What are the features of a day hiking boot?

Designed to provide comfort and support for short hikes, day hiking boots usually have a lightweight construction and have greater cushioning and stability than regular running or walking shoes.

The best day hiking boots find the balance between having sufficient ankle support while still allowing plenty of flexibility in the foot area. They also provide good traction on various surfaces on all but very technical trails.

What conditions do day hiking boots perform best in? 

Day hiking boots are designed to perform on short hikes, typically on relatively flat terrain. The lightweight construction and cushioning make them ideal for hikes like these.

Factors to consider when buying day hiking boots 

As day hiking boots are quite standard boots, there's nothing too specialised to look out for when buying a pair. Just keep in mind the terrain and weather you plan to be in and you'll find a great pair.

Consider the:

  • Fit
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Weight
  • Waterproofing
  • Breathability
  • Traction

A good fit is vital

The best day hiking boots should fit snugly, but not too tight, around your feet and ankles. Your toes shouldn't be cramped or feel squished in the toe box, as this can lead to blisters and general pain.

Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX Toebox width at the big toe

There should also be enough room for your foot to flex when walking downhill. When shopping for a pair of day hiking boots, make sure you try them on with the socks you intend to wear when hiking as this can make a difference out on the trail.

Make sure you're comfortable on the trail

Your boots should be comfortable as soon as you put them on. They shouldn’t cause any discomfort in the ankle, foot or toes and fit snugly to provide support when walking. The cushioning of the boot should also provide enough support when stepping down onto hard surfaces and shock absorption in the soles will help prevent fatigue on the trail.

Durable boots keep you hiking for longer 

Try to find a pair of day hiking boots that have been constructed with high-quality materials that will last through multiple hikes. The material should be waterproof to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.

Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX Toebox durability comparison

We perform durability tests on each hiking boot in our lab.

Less weight makes it easier to move

Day hiking boots should be lightweight enough to reduce fatigue and strain on your body when hiking. Look for a boot with a lightweight sole, EVA midsole, and air-mesh upper which all contribute to reducing weight without compromising on durability or support.

Hoka Trail Code GTX style

Day hiking boots are 1.4 oz (40g) lighter than all types of hiking boots on average.

Keep waterproofing in mind

The best day hiking boots should be waterproof or water-resistant to some degree, based on where you plan to use them. Look for a pair with either a fully waterproof membrane or a pair with a water-resistant treatment to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.

Hoka Trail Code GTX Drop

Breathability is important in all conditions

Some of the best-reviewed day hiking boots on the market have breathable uppers to help keep your feet cool and comfortable. Hiking can cause us to sweat and if this can't escape from our boots then it can make moving about uncomfortable and may even lead to blisters.

Look for a boot with air-mesh panels or vents to allow airflow while walking and reduce any build-up of sweat.

We test the breathability of each hiking boot with the help of a smoke-pumping machine.

Choose an appropriate amount of traction

Hiking boots should provide good traction on a variety of surfaces. Look for grippy lugs with an aggressive tread pattern that will provide enough grip to keep you safe when walking on wet or muddy trails as well as rocky terrain.

Salomon-X-Ultra-4-Mid-GTX 10.jpg

Lug depth ranges from 3.5 to 5 mm. Choose deeper lugs if you hike on loose muddy terrain.

Day hiking boots vs. backpacking boots

Backpacking boots are a great choice if you’re looking for a very durable pair of boots that you can wear on multi-day treks. Here’s how they compare with day hiking boots.



Day Hiking Boots

Backpacking Boots


Day hikes

Backpacking trips


Sturdy, ankle support, rugged materials

Sturdy, ankle support, rugged materials


Aggressive treads

Aggressive treads


More cushioning and support

Even more cushioning and support


Designed for hiking, can last for many years

Designed for backpacking, can last for many years


Can be more affordable

Can be more expensive

Find out more about the best backpacking boots.

Day hiking boots versus day hiking shoes

Day hiking shoes may be a good alternative if you’re looking for a lightweight option with lower ankle cuffs. Here’s how they compare with day hiking boots.



Day Hiking Boots

Day Hiking Shoes


Longer hikes, rugged terrain

Shorter hikes, less rugged terrain


Sturdy, ankle support, rugged materials

Lighter, more breathable materials, lower ankle support


Aggressive treads

Flatter treads


More cushioning and support

Lighter, less cushioning and support


Designed for hiking, can last for many years

May wear out more quickly


Can be more expensive

Generally less expensive

Find out more about the best day hiking shoes.

Day hiking boots FAQ

How should I break in my day hiking boots?

Breaking in your day hiking boots is an important part of the process to ensure that your feet are comfortable on hikes. Before hitting the trail, wear them around the house for a few hours each day and walk around with them outdoors. This will help to break them in more quickly and you’ll be assured that you have a great-fitting pair of boots.

How often should I replace my day hiking boots?

Day hiking boots should generally be replaced every 500-600 miles, or once the tread is significantly worn down. It’s important to inspect your boots regularly for signs of wear and tear, such as worn-out laces or holes in the material.

How do I care for and maintain my day hiking boots?

It’s really important to clean your boots regularly with a soft brush or cloth. After each hike, remove any dirt or debris from the upper materials and lugs of the sole. You should also use a waterproofing treatment from time to time to help protect the material from water damage.

Can I wear my day hiking boots for other outdoor activities?

Yes, you can wear your day hiking boots for other outdoor activities like camping or light backpacking. However, it’s important to consider the specific activity you’re doing and choose a boot that’s designed for it. But if you only have one pair of boots, you’ll find that day hiking boots are amongst some of the most adaptable.

Should I buy day hiking boots with ankle support?

Whether or not you should buy day hiking boots with ankle support depends on the type of terrain and difficulty of the hikes that you typically do. If your hikes involve more rugged terrain, then it's a good idea to opt for boots with higher ankle support. On the other hand, if you're mostly doing trails with well-maintained paths, then you mightn’t need the extra ankle support.

Should I buy day hiking boots with a wide or narrow width?

The best way to determine whether you should buy day hiking boots with a wide or narrow width is to try them on and see how they fit. If your feet feel cramped in the boot, then you may want to consider a wider width. However, if the boot feels too loose on your foot, then a narrower width may be better.

How we test hiking boots

All the hiking boots in our database are carefully examined inside the RunRepeat shoe testing lab. We take note of the materials, weight, arch support, and other features of the footwear. We then head out to the great outdoors and report back with our first-hand assessments.

To make the selections, we do the following:

  • We buy the day hiking boots from our own pocket. This makes sure that our top rankings and comprehensive reviews are devoid of any bias.
  • We wear the boots on our next-day hiking excursions to test their real-life performance and value. We check each model’s comfort level, break-in time, traction, stability, and many more.
  • We further gather more useful data by quantifying the parameters of the shoes. We are dedicated to excavating facts and evidence so we test the shoes to the fullest extent by tearing them apart and viewing their interior.
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 analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.