7 Best Gore-Tex Hiking Boots in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Gore-Tex Hiking Boots in 2024
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Enjoy and conquer the great outdoors with these top-rated Gore-Tex hiking boots. A world-renowned and trusted technology in the outdoor footwear industry, Gore-Tex is a waterproof fabric membrane that ensures all-around protection and comfort for all outdoorsy adventurers.

When your next planned hiking trips involve traversing through rainforests, shallow streams, or snowy trails, wearing the ever-dependable Gore-Tex boots is a smart decision. They will keep your feet dry, well-protected, and comfortable from the moment you leave the base camp to the highest peaks.

To make our top recommendations, we tested each pair in all sorts of terrain where water, mud, or slush is a threat. We also took them to the lab and subjected them to dozens of our standardised tests. Evaluation and conclusion come right after. Finally, we chose the best performers in different categories for your browsing pleasure.

How we test hiking boots

Each Gore-Tex boot on this list gets a verdict based on strict criteria that involve the overall design, quality of materials, added commercial benefits, and real-life performance on the trails. All the models go through the exact process of lab analysis and comprehensive wear tests.

Our procedure involves the following:

  • We procure the Gore-Tex hikers from various brands using our own funds. We’re committed to providing independent reviews and rankings of the best outdoor footwear out there.
  • We use a tracking fitness device to measure the distance we cover for each Gore-Tex boot. We tackle technical terrains and brave the challenging backcountry routes in severely wet conditions. We take note along the way of the kick’s actual fit, comfort, versatility, traction, and many more. Additionally, we evaluate all aspects of the boots and give our final assessments of their true worth.
  • We also dissect the shoes and we collect more data from their weight, measurements, and lab test scores. This allows us to back our claims in the field with scientific facts and indisputable evidence.

Best Gore-Tex hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

Many pairs of hiking boots have passed through our lab, but only one is worthy of the title of best overall Gore-Tex hiking boot. Our pick is lightweight, grippy, and flexible - a great combination for multi-day hiking. Give it up for the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX!

It is jaw-droppingly light for a Gore-Tex boot. Our scales showed an astounding 13.8 oz (390g). Given that the average of all the hiking boots we have tested in our lab is 18.3 oz (519g), this is an amazing achievement for the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX! The energy we saved over the course of a long day made our multi-day hikes far more enjoyable.

Grass, gravel, and wet rock are no match for the grippy Contragrip outsole. We measured the lugs at 5.1 mm deep, 0.7 mm deeper than average. The shoe scored 2/5 in our torsional flexibility tests, where 1 is the most flexible. This malleable midsole allows our feet to flex over uneven terrain, maximising the surface area in contact with the ground and increasing the grip even further. We felt secure footholds on whatever we found ourselves hiking on.

We tested the waterproofing in a classic way - by standing in a stream for over a minute. The fully gusseted tongue and high collar kept the water out and our feet stayed bone dry. This is crucial for our multi-day hikes when damp boots can cause blisters quickly.

On cold winter days, these boots will stiffen up significantly, as we found when we left them in the freezer for 20 minutes. We then tested them for flexibility and found they were an unbelievable 126% stiffer than at room temperature. We, therefore, don’t recommend them to hikers looking for a boot for winter hiking unless they plan to keep them indoor and give them time to warm up if needed.

Pros

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

Cons

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

Best Gore-Tex hiking boots for backpacking

What makes it the best?

The Salomon Quest 4 GTX is our best Gore-Tex hiking boot for backpacking. Not only is it completely watertight, but also impeccably supportive and durable, making it the perfect companion for long days carrying a heavy load.

This boot is a champion of support, keeping us feeling stable and confident while hiking on rough, rocky trails. Salomon’s integrated support system boasts unparalleled lockdown and stability, and we couldn’t roll our ankles if we tried! In the lab, we bent and twisted the shoe, finally rating it 5/5 - the stiffest rating possible for torsional flexibility. On the trail, we found that even with a heavy pack, the stiffness in the midsole prevented us from twisting and injuring our foot.

With its multiple overlays made from rubber, nubuck leather and a robust Cordura-like fabric, this boot means business. It looks as tough as nails, and it survived our test hike without damage too, so we put it to the test in the lab. We applied a Dremel at a force of 3.2N and 5K RPM for 12 seconds on the toe. It left only a small scratch on the upper. We tried a similar test on the outsole, only this time at 10K RPM for 22 seconds - the resulting damage to the lug was less than a millimetre deep. If we needed any proof of the Salomon Quest 4 GTX’s durability, this is it!

No backpacker wants wet feet during their thru-hike as we all know how uncomfortable wet boots are after several days. The Gore-Tex membrane resists rain for hours on end and river crossings are a piece of cake. The fully gusseted tongue prevents water and debris from sneaking into the boot, and the high collar makes it possible to cross deep puddles and streams without water flowing in. On rainy days, the 4.7 mm lugs gripped well in mud, and we found the wide spacing between the lugs made it easy to shed, increasing our grip.

Backpackers who spend a lot of time hiking in winter will want to know that this boot is very rigid in winter! We put it in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing it for flexibility with a force gauge. The force gauge recorded an unbelievable 85.3N! For reference, the average for hiking boots is 62.2N in winter conditions (which is in fact the room temperature flexibility of the Salomon Quest 4 GTX). There is no doubt that this is a rigid shoe in the cold, and it will need some breaking in on cold days. We don't recommend it to hikers looking for a flexible cold-weather boot.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

Best Gore-Tex hiking boots for speed hiking

What makes it the best?

We evaluated GTX hiking boots in the lab and on actual adventures and found Outpulse Mid GTX the best for speed hiking. This mid-cut kick shines with its shoe-like features that all enhance speed — lightweight, flexible, and natural feel — while giving the protection of a solid boot.

Outpulse significantly reduces its weight and provides enough flex to boost our speed and agility. In our bend test, it emerged 32.7% more adaptive than average. It maintains a low stack that allows us to navigate tricky trails better. Upon checking our scale, this boot weighs like a heavy-duty shoe at 13.6 oz (386g). That’s astonishingly light vs. the average hiking boot (18.4 oz/521g)!

Outpulse proves its capacity to maintain a fast pace effortlessly in our hikes. Upon checking in the lab, it has a TPU Energy Blade integrated into the midsole that launches us forward. It uses our energy efficiently by springing back the power we give with every stride.

On wet encounters, the premium Gore-Tex membrane ensures our feet stay warm and dry. Under our microscope, we saw how tightly knit the material is.

Unfortunately, Outpulse can only handle streams and puddles below the heel collar level. The fit feels sloppy. Even if we tighten the laces, there’s still room for water to creep in. Best to avoid deep water levels with this pair.

Pros

  • Astonishingly light
  • Comfy like a sneaker
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Very durable build
  • Soft and springy cushioning
  • Low-to-the-ground platform
  • Remains soft and flexible in cold weather

Cons

  • Loose collar fit
  • Not for technical terrain
Full review of Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX

Gore-Tex hiking boots with the best comfort

What makes it the best?

Did someone say a super plush, lightweight, waterproof hiking boot? We sure did. The Hoka Trail Code GTX came back from the lab and our test hikes with the lofty label of the most comfortable Gore-Tex hiking boot. It’s our go-to boot when we need something cushy that will protect our feet from the elements.

With a higher-than-average stack height, the Hoka Trail Code GTX has plenty of material underfoot to soften our steps and protect our feet from the trail. But it’s not just the amount of material that matters. The secret to the Trail Code GTX’s plush feel is in the midsole. We pressed a durometer to the midsole, registering a seriously comfy 23.4 HA. Since the average hiker measures 27.9 HA, the Trail Code GTX is like walking on marshmallows!

This boot takes waterproofing seriously, with a number of features coming together to keep our feet warm and dry, whatever the weather. We found the high collar and gusseted tongue keep water and dirt out of the boot, while the tightly-woven upper fabric works with the Gore-Tex to keep the rain at bay. Just to make sure, we tested the boot’s breathability in the lab by pumping smoke into the boot. Absolutely no smoke came out, so we awarded the boot the least breathable rating of 1/5.

The average weight of the waterproof boots that have passed through our lab is 18.9 oz (536g), so we were astounded by the extremely lightweight feel of the Hoka Trail Code GTX from the moment we put it on. The scales provided an explanation – this boot weighs an impressive 15.5 oz (440g) and is 18% lighter than average! We still have energy in our feet at the end of a long day of hiking in this boot.

The Hoka Trail Code GTX is advertised as having a 6 mm heel-to-toe drop, but we found evidence to the contrary during our lab tests. With a drop measuring 11.2 mm, it is still 1.2 mm lower than average, but may be a surprise to hikers who prefer a boot with a lower drop.

Pros

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

Cons

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

Gore-Tex hiking boots with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

There’s only one best cushioned Gore-Tex hiking boot and it’s undoubtedly the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX. Not only does it have a plush midsole to die for, but it’s also completely waterproof, lightweight, and stable, making it a worthy companion for our long day hikes.

We could rave about this comfy midsole for hours! We put it to the test in the lab, finding the midsole is way softer than average – 22.5 HA compared to the average of 27.9 HA. It’s noticeable from the moment we slip our feet into the boot and it keeps our feet comfortable and raring to go all day. We also tested the midsole in cold conditions by putting the boot in the freezer for 20 minutes before retesting with a durometer. Interestingly, it only stiffened up to 29.5 HA, making it just a little stiffer on cold days than most other boots at room temperature! Good news for winter hikers.

The Gore-Tex lining of the Anacapa Mid GTX is perfectly implemented, keeping our feet warm and dry in even the most torrential downpours. The gusseted tongue stops both water and debris from entering through the gaps. And while waterproof boots are usually a bit weightier, the Anacapa Mid GTX is remarkably light, weighing in 3.5 oz (99g) below average! By the end of our long hikes, our feet still felt fresh and with energy to spare.

We noticed the rigidity of the midsole on our hikes, and even landing unevenly on rocks and roots we didn’t twist an ankle. Back in the lab, we bent and twisted the shoe manually. We finally awarded it 5/5 for torsional rigidity, the stiffest rating possible. We felt surefooted and trusted our foot placements on uneven trails.

Our durability tests of the upper didn’t leave us feeling very confident in the shelf-life of this boot. After applying a Dremel at a force of 3.2 N and 10K RPM for 12 seconds, a large hole appeared in the upper. This doesn’t bode well for hiking or scrambling in rocky environments, so we don’t recommend this boot to hikers who predominantly trek on technical terrain.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Gore-Tex hiking boots with the best support

What makes it the best?

Backpacking in the wilds in the Asolo Fugitive GTX is a dream. Among Gore-Tex hiking boots we tested in and out of the lab, we found Fugitive GTX to offer the best support. This boot is all about safety and protection with its water-repellant upper, firm cushion, rigid build, and patterned midsole.

The Gore-Tex lining in this boot is second to none, and our feet stayed dry all day, even after multiple stream crossings. Looking through our microscope revealed a tight braided mesh upper, which ensures unwanted debris will stay out. In addition, the tongue is fully gusseted and the collar stands high, preventing rain and stream water from sneaking in.

Every step feels surefooted as we tackle rocky and steep paths. The firm cushion enhances stability and protects our feet from sharp objects. Our durometer confirms the foam is 34.0% denser than average. Further avoiding awkward ankle rolls is the rigid platform that doesn’t bend easily to protruding roots.

The patterned outsole is a champion of traction, with its variously-shaped lugs. We experienced excellent grip on loose ground, snow, mud, and wet rocks.

A backpacking boot of this calibre is a heavyweight champion. Weighing in at 24.8 oz (704g), it is 7.2 oz (204g) heavier than the average hiking boot. Those looking for a lighter option may want to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Superb adhesion and traction
  • Great impact dampening
  • Worth the price
  • Waterproof
  • Reliably supportive
  • Feels light on the foot
  • Zero break-in
  • Balance preserver

Cons

  • Outsole started peeling off
  • Not-so-cushy footbed
Full review of Asolo Fugitive GTX

Best lightweight Gore-Tex hiking boots

What makes it the best?

Backed up by the lab and actual trail escapades, Merrell Moab Speed Mid GTX is our top lightweight Gore-Tex hiking boot. Its airy construction and plush cushion almost feel like a trail shoe with the added support and protection of hiking boots. On top of that, it adds some bounce that allows us to speed through terrains without counting the miles.

This hiker registered a mere 11.7 oz (332g). Compared to the average hiking boot, it sheds a mind-blowing 34.1%! Its lightness enhances our agility, making sustained faster paces effortless.

There is no trouble in getting ourselves in drizzly and damp situations, as the Gore-Tex material perfectly shields our toes from moisture. Under our microscope, we discovered an incredibly dense pattern to block off water, with tiny gaps to promote airflow. Testing the upper against our Dremel test, we confirmed it’s built to last, showing 62.5% less indentation than average. 

Another line of defence against unwanted hazards is the plush midsole. Our durometer confirms it’s 26.2% softer than the average. We enjoyed the propulsion it offers, which keeps our momentum strong. Surprisingly, we felt stable even when the terrain got more extreme. Credits to the ankle-bolstering collar of the boot, which grants us steadiness. 

For extra support on multi-day backpacking, we recommend a sturdier and heavy-duty option.

Pros

  • Instant comfort
  • Extremely light
  • Unrelenting collar
  • Mighty ankle support
  • Grippy outsole
  • Propelling boot
  • Watertight
  • Comfy all year round

Cons

  • Not ideal for backpacking
  • Unruly laces
Full review of Merrell Moab Speed Mid GTX

How to recognise Gore-Tex hiking boots

Just look for the Gore-Tex sign on the boots or on their box. Brands usually write GTX in the boot name as well. 

goretex logo visible on hiking boot uppers
Gore-Tex logo attached to the upper of GTX hiking boots

What to expect from Gore-Tex hiking boots 

Hiking boots that are equipped with Gore-Tex are: 

  • Waterproof
  • Not so breathable
  • Usually more expensive than boots with no waterproof membrane. 

When we test GTX hiking boots, we make sure to wear-test them in wet conditions to check the level of waterproofness. 

When it comes to prices, at the moment of writing this guide, the average price of GTX hiking boots was £220.5, while the average price of non-waterproof hiking boots was £200.2. 

Poor breathability of GTX hiking boots

When we take the boots to the lab, we measure the breathability. We pump the smoke into the boot and wait for the smoke to come out. In GTX hiking boots, it does not come out or at least not where we’d want it for a boot to be great at breathability. In breathable footwear, the smoke comes out through the upper: the toe box, the sides, maybe even the tongue. 

See how the Gore-Tex hiking boot (left) does not breathe at all while the non-waterproof boot (right) lets the smoke out through the upper

Based on this test, we rate the breathability on a 1 to 5 scale, where 5 is the most breathable. 

What prevents these boots from breathing more is the GTX layer which is usually laminated. When we cut the boots in half, we can easily see that layer. 

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Drop
GTX layer (light grey) visible on the inner side of the upper nce the boot is cut in half

We also examine the upper under the microscope.

looking at a GTX upper under the microcscope

This just confirms our breathability ratings because we get to see how tight and dense GTX uppers are, unlike the non-waterproof ones where we’re able to see looser threads and sometimes even vent holes. 

Different levels of waterproofness examined on the upper of hiking boots under the microscope
Hiking boot uppers under the microscope: non-wateproof (left), waterproof (middle), waterproof GTX (right)

The downside of GTX hiking boots

As mentioned above, these boots are not breathable. So you should make sure you really need them or be cautious when wearing them. We’re saying this because: if water gets inside of your boots somehow, it is almost impossible for it to get out. The boots are not breathable enough for the heat of your feet and perspiration to vent the water out. And hiking in wet boots is uncomfortable, at least. 

standing in water in gtx hiking boots

What you can do is get waterproof (maybe GTX) gaiters. Ideally a knee-high pair that will prevent the water from getting inside of your boots. 

Also, when hiking in non-breathable hiking boots, it’s best to wear moisture-wicking socks. We recommend those made of wool or bamboo. 

Grippy, not slippery! Traction in GTX hiking boots 

Hiking in wet weather means dealing with rain, snow, mud.

You should consider this before buying the GTX boots as different lug depths allow for different grip: 

  1. Very deep lugs, 4mm and deeper, are best for mud and snow. If hiking in mud, best if the lugs are spaced further apart to allow mud shedding. 
  2. Average lugs, around 4mm, are usually found on versatile boots which means you can cover a bit of everything
  3. Shallower lugs (<4mm) can be used on hard ground like large flat rocks

When testing hiking boots in our lab, we measure the thickness of the lugs with a calliper. You can always find that number in our hiking boot reviews. 

Measuring the depth of the lugs on a waterproof hiking boot
Measuring the thickness of the lugs using a digital calliper in RunRepeat lab

However, the hardness of the outsole rubber also plays a role in traction. Softer rubber is usually stickier and harder rubber is more durable. We also measure this in our lab. 

Hardness of the outsole measurements
Measuring the hardness of the outsole in GTX hiking boot using a shore C durometer

How durable are Gore-Tex hiking boots 

Because we tested GTX hiking boots for different purposes, terrain, and from different brands their durability varies. 

We test durability in 3 places: on the toe box, heel collar, and outsole. To test durability of footwear, we use a Dremel.

Using a Dremel to test the durability of the toe box in GTX hiking boots

We standardise tests which means we always use the same pressure, RPM and time needed to do the test. 

different damages of the upper on a durability test
2 different levels of damage made by our Dremel during the toebox durability test in our lab: very good 5/5 (left) and very bad 1/5 (right)

When testing the durability of the heel collar and the toe box, we visually assess the damage our Dremel has made. We rate the durability with a number from 1 to 5, where 1 is the least durable (we would see big damage). 

Heel counter damage after a durability test in RunRepeat lab
Damage made by the Dremel on the padding around the heel of hiking boots

However, when doing the test on the outsole, we’re able to precisely measure the depth of the dent our Dremel has made.

Using a Dremel to test the durability of the outsole rubber in GTX hiking boots

We do it using a tyre tread gauge. The shallower the dent, the more durable the outsole! 

Different levels on damage seen on the outsoles of hiking boots after a durability test
The dents made by the dremel during the outsole durability test

Finally, here’s how top GTX boots in our database got rated for the durability: 

Flexibility of GTX hiking boots varies

Hiking in wet weather means you want all the stability you can get. Sometimes, that means using stiffer hiking boots that keep their “form” when covering uneven surfaces covered with sharp rocks or debris. This is especially important when the terrain is wet and you don’t want to slip. 

GTX hiking boot wear testing

On the other hand, more flexible boots are better if you plan to do speed hiking, because they allow for a more natural foot movement as they bend with the feet. 

Testing the stiffness of a GTX hiking boot in RunRepeat lab

We test the stiffness of hiking boots in our lab. We clamp the forefoot and push the heel using a digital force gauge while bending the boot to 90 degrees. The more force we need to do this, the stiffer the boot. 

Assessment of torsional rigidity in a GTX hiking boot

We also try to twist the boots in our hands and we assess the torsional rigidity this way, on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the most rigid. 

Proper fit in Gore-Tex hiking boots 

If this is you, buying your first pair of hiking boots, we recommend sticking to these guidelines to ensure a good fit: 

  1. Go boot shopping later in the day, in the evening or in the afternoon. By then, your feet are most likely swollen a bit and it’s just what we need because similar swelling happens on the hike. 
  2. When trying the boots on, use the socks you plan to hike in and orthotics, if you’re using them. 
  3. Lace the Gore-Tex boots up and sense if there are any hot spots. There shouldn’t be any. Boots should feel comfortable, not too snug and not too wide. 
  4. There should be a thumb’s width of space in front of your toes when you pull the heel to the back of the boot. 
  5. Use the ramp that most specialised stores have - covered with different materials, artificial grass, pebbles, large rocks. Walk up and down. Your feet should not slide inside the boot from side to side and there should be no heel slipping. 

Fit of a hiking boot laces closeup

And, keep in mind, many hiking boots must be broken in before their regular use. Do that to ensure pain-free hikes. 

Author
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.