7 Best Hiking Boots, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
7 Best Hiking Boots, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2023

Confused about what to buy after seeing the hundreds of boots available online? Well, worry not. Whether you’re a beginner hiker planning to go on a nature walk or an experienced backpacker looking for a new pair of kicks, our list of best hiking boots and the detailed guide are here to help make your boot hunting experience a breeze.

Having tested over 80 pairs of hiking boots, we know what makes the best one. Whether you’re looking for a heavy-duty trailblazer or a lighter option for some speedy hikes, we have selected our top picks in five different categories.

How we test hiking boots

RunRepeat aims to help boot shoppers find the right hiking boot without going through the hassle of checking thousands of user opinions and hundreds of retailer sites. When it comes to reviews, we offer one of the largest databases. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Choose from over 400 hiking boots
  • We have analyzed reviews from 900+ experts and 110,000+ users

If you’re a numbers-kind-of-guy or gal, we already did the statistics for you and calculated the ratings for each shoe. Our CoreScore (which is a rating from 0-100) will help you easily gauge how liked the shoe is by our experts and its users.

Best hiking boots overall

Salomon Quest 4 GTX
Salomon Quest 4 GTX


4.3 / 5 from 5,789 users
87 / 100 from 9 experts


  • Waterproof
  • True to size
  • Secure fit
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Grippy


  • A few days break-in needed
  • Runs hot
  • Not for easy hikes


At $230, the Salomon Quest 4 GTX is reasonably priced. It is durable, comfy, and grippy. With its waterproof protection, your feet will stay protected even on wet hiking sessions.
Salomon Quest 4 GTX full review

Best hiking boots for backpacking

Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid
Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid


4.6 / 5 from 1,375 users
87 / 100 from 4 experts


  • Extremely comfortable
  • Incredible ankle support
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Highly durable
  • Lightweight
  • Feels nimble
  • Astonishing looks


  • Questionable grip


Where the trail turns for the worse and your backpack is as loaded as ever, rest easy in the Zephyr GTX Mid. From its cozy, weatherproof confines down to its exemplary support system, this durable shoe is more than ready to do all the dirty work for you. Yes, the Zephyr GTX Mid can work wonders on your treks, especially if you keep to the rugged sections of the trail.
Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid full review

Best lightweight hiking boots

Xero Shoes Xcursion Fusion
Xero Shoes Xcursion Fusion


4.4 / 5 from 1,530 users
92 / 100 from 11 experts


  • Impermeable
  • Fences out moisture
  • Extremely comfy
  • No break-in period
  • Barely-there feel
  • Grippy outsole
  • Incredible flexibility
  • Unrelenting collar
  • Excellent ankle support
  • Responsive


  • Stiff underfoot (women’s version)
  • Ventilation issues


Where the backcountry demands a bit more ruggedness in your nimble step, turn to the weather-proof Xero Shoes Xcursion Fusion. A burlier option than the crowd-favorite original, this hiker makes you move like a ninja while empowering your every landing with its brawnier outsole. Once you get accustomed to its stouter platform, propelled and worry-free strides are yours.
Xero Shoes Xcursion Fusion full review

Best hiking boots with wide toe box

Xero Shoes Alpine
Xero Shoes Alpine


4.5 / 5 from 1,639 users
88 / 100 from 12 experts


  • Mighty cozy in cold conditions
  • Roomy toe box
  • Traction wonder
  • Watertight
  • Lightweight
  • Amazing foot-to-ground sensitivity


  • Middling flexibility
  • Low clearance


If you wish to bring the campfire with you, especially where frozen terrain and slush get in the way, gear up with the Alpine. In this Xero Shoes hiker, ground intimacy is yours, giving a sense of control and freedom like never before. While it does not have a spotless minimalist resume, the Alpine is still a boon for those who like going agile in the cold.
Xero Shoes Alpine full review

Hiking boots with best comfort

KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid
KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid


4.3 / 5 from 44,923 users
87 / 100 from 11 experts


  • Lightweight
  • Excellent ankle support
  • Offers comfortable feel
  • Flexible
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Laudable warmth
  • Excellent grip on various terrain
  • Short to zero break-in period
  • Commendable toe cap


  • Unsatisfactory waterproofing
  • Lack of breathability
  • Restrictive fit
  • Poor quality


The KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid was complimented for delivering immediate comfort and for having a tacky outsole and warm interior. However, it still was not able to evade criticisms. Overall it can be said that the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid is an affordable hiker that can please beginners and seasoned hikers alike in their on-trail adventures. Its questionable durability, however, is something that might make potential buyers take a step back.
KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid full review

Best value boot

Asolo Arctic GV
Asolo Arctic GV


4.8 / 5 from 65 users
98 / 100 from 2 experts


  • Thermal wonder
  • Light
  • Precise fit
  • Comfy
  • Sticky (particularly on ice)
  • Heavy-duty
  • Attractive


  • Quite expensive
  • Might not secure lace-hooked gaiters properly


When the going gets tough on snowy trails, the tough (a.k.a. the Arctic GV) gets going. With the latest advancements in insulation, this mesmerizing boot will make the biting cold bow down in submission as you blaze through frigid terrain. And although there are budget-friendlier options out there, the Asolo Arctic GV hits it out of the park with its excellence in both form and winter-focused function.
Asolo Arctic GV full review

Hiking boots: are they necessary?

There’s probably a time when you’ve thought of wearing your reliable beaters, Dr. Martens or flip-flops for hiking. Since it’s just a walk up the mountains, your everyday Chucks might just be able to survive the beating. The question is: would your feet make it?

If you’re the type who has strong ankles and likes to travel light, then your trail runners or sandals might just make it. Keep in mind though, that however strong you think your feet are, there are hiking adventures that will require you to wear non-slip hiking boots. Checking the mountain’s hiking rules is always a good idea to avoid any unnecessary hassle on your part. 

Hiking boots vs hiking shoes and other footwear 

Generally, when hiking, your footwear needs to be grippy, stable, supportive, and protective. While hiking boots offer these benefits, we’re not saying that it’s always an ideal option. 

In case you're wondering what hiking boots have that trail runners, hiking shoes, and whatnots don’t, here’s a side-by-side comparison.

Hiking boots vs hiking shoes vs Trail runners vs whatever kicks.png

NOTE: The ratings are based on how each type of footwear performs in general. This does not, however, apply to each model that exists. The ratings will vary depending on the make and model of the shoes.

Types of hiking boots (based on your hiking plans) 

Before you finally click on that buy button, have you considered checking the difficulty level of your upcoming hike? Hiking trails have levels of difficulties and include a variety of terrains. Knowing the elevation and distance of a hike (plus the weather condition on that day) will help you figure out the right footwear to wear. 

When it comes to difficulty, trails can be rated from easy to very strenuous. Below, you’ll find the various difficulty levels of trails as defined by the National Park Service (NPS). As a bonus, we also added the types of boots that will work best for each difficulty level.

NOTE: The weather condition or season will definitely affect your choice. Hiking during the summer will require you to wear breathable kicks. On the one hand, insulated hiking shoes are recommended for winter hiking.

Hiking boot types - based on your hiking plans.png

Hiking boot anatomy and why it matters 

The construction of a hiking boot plays an important role in the footgear’s performance. You need to determine the kind of hike you’re planning to take so you can choose the appropriate boot configuration. 

Here are the major parts of a boot, common materials used, and their key benefits as well as their flaws.

  Common Materials Used Key Benefits Could-be-betters
Leather (Suede/ Nubuck/ Full-grain) - Durable (material can last for years)
- Stable and supportive
- Comfortable overtime (this material most often molds to the shape of the foot over time giving hikers a customized fit)
- Feels warm (making it perfect for cold-weather conditions)
- Naturally capable of repelling water
-Takes a long time to break-in
-Full-grain leather boots are heavy on the feet
-Less breathable
Synthetic Mesh/Nylon -Breathable
-Dries quickly
-Weighs less
-A more affordable option
-Feels softer out of the box
-Prone to wear and tear
-Provides limited support and stability
-Tends to absorb water
EVA -Soft to mildly stiff cushioning underfoot
-Much more flexible
-Less supportive
-Tends to compress over time
PU -Supportive (helps when carrying a heavy pack)
-Feels stiff out of the box
-Weighs more
Nice to know: Some boots are made with shanks or plates placed in between the midsole and outsole improving the boot's stability. This equates to less foot-fatigue. The plates also prevent bruising underfoot caused by sharp rocks.
Soft rubber -Stickier
-Best used when scrambling in rocky terrain
-Mediocre performance on muddy trails
Hard Rubber -Durable
-More protective
-Lacks flexibility
-Feels heavy underfoot
-Less traction on sleek surfaces like wet rocks
Nice to know: Deeper outsole lugs offer better grip on muddy terrain and shed debris with ease

Waterproofing in hiking boots

Some of the things you will encounter when hiking or backpacking are rivers, streams, and muddy trails. Enter waterproof boots, or should I say water-repellent boots, or maybe water-resistant boots - now you’re at a loss. Don’t fret though. We’re here to help you decode those confusing labels.

  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

Take note, however, that when a shoe is waterproof, its breathability decreases due to the added layers (regardless if it's made with the popular Gore-Tex or other waterproofing membranes out there). It would also feel heavier compared to water-resistant and water-repellent hikers. 

So, if you value breathability and weight and you plan to take an adventure in the hot tropics, consider non-waterproof boots that are quick-drying. If you have to go with regular boots, you can always turn these into water-repellent ones by using waterproofing sprays that cost around $5 to $25.  

Other important features in hiking boots

Yes, there are other things worth considering when out boot hunting. Here are just a few of them:

Additional hiking boot features to look for 2.png

How to know that you have the right fit in hiking boots

When fitting hiking boots, it is vital to ensure the fit is snug (not too loose, not too tight). How? Try these methods out.

Go shoe shopping late in the day. Your feet tend to swell after a day full of activities. It happens too when you are hiking, so to get the best fit, try your boots in the afternoon.

Try it on, lace it up, feel your toes, and check for pressure points. Slide your foot inside and push it forward as far as it goes inside the boots. Once settled, feel your toes. There should be a thumb’s width space between the end of the boot and your toes. Check as well if your feet move from side to side. If it does, then the boots are too wide. It should be comfortable, non-constricting, and snug. 

Make sure to try the boots while wearing your hiking socks. Bring the socks that you intend to wear with the hiking boots you are going to purchase. Do not use cotton fabric as it does not offer any insulation and retains moisture. It can leave you with cold feet on the terrain. Wool or synthetic is a better choice of material for socks.

Take your orthotics or preferred insoles with you. Consumers are often not satisfied with the default insole of the hiking boots. Do not fret if the volume is too high or too low for you. Remember that brands manufacture their boots for hiking using different lasts and this can affect how your feet fill the boots’ volume. If it did not work with your insoles, try another pair of hiking boots.

Walk up and down the ramp. This tests the snugness of the boots. When you go up the board, observe for any heel lift or constraint on the collar. When you go down, observe if your toes jam the front of the boots. If your heel rises more than a quarter of an inch or if your toes hit the front, try adjusting the laces or sizing up.

Before your trip, make sure to break your boots in. Every boot, especially the heavy, leather hikers, requires a different break-in time. Start small by wearing it inside your house with your preferred socks (it might look awkward but your feet will surely thank you in the end). From there, gradually increase your miles. 

6 step guide to ensuring proper fit - hiking boots.png

Common hiking boot problems and remedies

While the best hiking boots offer the support, durability, and protection you need to hike that difficult terrain, we can’t deny how heavy and uncomfortable boots are after wearing it for some time. But you don’t have to feel disheartened. Here’s a list of common hiking boot fails and their remedies.

Problem Symptoms Cause Remedy
Numbness starts with painful pressure in the instep which later on turns to numbness laces are tied to tight due to too much interior volume -attach adhesive back felt pads to the inside of the boot's tongue to cushion your instep.
NOTE: If symptoms persist, seek the help of a podiatrist
Black toenails discoloration of toenails -toenails are too long
-ill-fitting heel cups (feet and slide forward when going downhill causing the toes \to hit the front o the shoe)
-low toe boxes that push down on the top of the toenails
-clip your toenails
-tie laces snugly to lock your heel in place
Blisters fluid-filled bubbles found usually on the heel or the top of the toes heat and friction caused by heel slippage (wide heel cups or boots are too long) -wear wool or synthetic socks that wick away moisture
-choose boots made of breathable materials like mesh
-tighten the laces on the top of your foot until you achieve a snug fit
-try on aftermarket insoles or custom orthotics to improve the boot's fit
-keep a bottle of Vaseline (or other brands of petroleum jelly) in your pack - it's cheap and it treats blisters like a charm.

As you can see above, most problems can be quickly fixed by adjusting the laces. Here are two lacing techniques that can help remedy blisters and toenail issues when out and about.

Combines lacing.png

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.