7 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots in 2024
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Traditional hiking boots are clunky and heavy. Sure, they are made for more demanding conditions and terrains, but that doesn’t mean we need them all the time. Enters lightweight hiking boots. Something to go easier on our feet! We made this guide to showcase the best lightweight hiking boots and explain what makes them so special.

We have tested and reviewed these boots to help you get the right one for your needs. Whether it is a more rugged one that you need for multi-day backpacking or a more urban-ready style, we’ve got a top pick for different categories.

How we test hiking boots

We review lightweight hiking boots by being methodical and nitpicky. The process we go through is enumerated below:

  • We shop for all the hiking boots we test by swiping our own cards. To speak plainly, we don't take part in any sponsorships because we want to be as objective as we can be during our review and testing.
  • We wear test the boots. We take them on our hikes and expose them to different terrains. We even cross water sources during our treks. We like to deliver our own actual experiences rather than blindly trusting what the brands say.
  • We perform different tests in our lab that quantifies 30+ parameters. We also split the shoes in half and cut them into pieces to have various frames of reference in investigating them.

Best lightweight hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

We evaluated the best lightweight hiking boots in the lab and on our actual trail adventures and crowned Outpulse Mid GTX as best overall. It stands out with its shoe-like weight and responsiveness, which enhances our agility. Our hikes feel effortless and energetic with this mid-cut boot.

We discovered that Outpulse lies between a hiker and a trail runner — giving a boot’s protection while having a shoe’s sensation. Weighing 13.6 oz (386g), it’s a mindblowing 4.8 oz lighter than the average hiking boot (18.4 oz/521g)! It significantly sheds off grams by maintaining a humble stack that gives us more control through better ground feel.

Even with the lower-than-average stack, the platform feels comfortable for long hikes. Our durometer confirms it’s 25.4% softer than average. Despite the plush foam, we feel springy and fast because of the stiff TPU Energy Blade that runs through the midsole.

Outpulse’s overall build feels protective with its waterproof membrane on top and its solid Contagrip outsole underfoot. We hiked through rocks, inclines, and loose gravel with no slip issues. However, we don’t recommend this pair on soft ground and technical terrains because its 3.5 mm lugs lack the bite needed for difficult trails.


  • 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


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

Best waterproof lightweight hiking boots

What makes it the best?

When we want a waterproof boot that doesn’t weigh us down, we turn to the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX. It’s also super grippy and supportive so it’s the perfect companion for our multi-day hikes.

It doesn’t get much better on the waterproofing front than being able to stand in running water for more than a minute and emerge with dry feet. The extra-plush 17 mm tongue comes with a full gusset. Together with the high ankle collar and GoreTex membrane, this dream combination works wonders at keeping the water out. We especially appreciate this on our thru-hikes when it can be tricky to dry our boots out overnight.

Our ankles felt supported by the high collar and the pioneering active support system. Salomon opted for traditional lacing in these boots and it does a sterling job at locking our feet in securely. The plastic shank in the midsole provides additional stability and stops our ankles from rolling while traversing rocky and uneven paths.

In our lab, we weighed these boots at a remarkable 13.8 oz (390g), 5.7 oz (163g) lighter than the average waterproof hiking boot. This is good news for our Big Mountain Days, since we can put in more miles before our feet get tired! This weight has to be saved somewhere and we suspected it might be in the midsole. In fact, in the lab, we measured the stack height to be 31.5 mm at the heel. Since the average for hiking boots is 35.8 mm, the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX does have a bit less material underfoot than average, but we really like the increased ground feel. Along with the faultless Contragrip sole and its 5.1 mm lugs (16% deeper than average), we felt grounded and confident on our hikes.

We don't recommend this shoe to hikers who do not enjoy the ground feel. They would have to look at hiking shoes with a higher stack height then. 


  • 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

Lightweight hiking boots with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX packs in heaps of cushioning in an astonishingly lightweight package. With its Hubble heel contributing to silky smooth transitions and a grippy yet cushy marshmallow feel underfoot, the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX is our favorite lightweight hiking boot with the best cushioning out there!

The Anacapa Mid GTX goes all in when it comes to cushioning - it’s super soft and there’s simply more of it! The plush feel is down to the midsole - using a durometer, we found the midsole is 19% softer than average! We found the heel stack measures 0.5 mm higher than average, and the forefoot 2.3 mm higher than average. On the trail, this means more material between our feet and the ground, so we felt wonderfully protected from sharp objects, despite the soft midsole.

On our test hikes, these boots held us steady on uneven forest trails, gravel, and rocky outcrops. The 4.7 mm lugs are only 0.3 mm deeper than average for hiking boots, but the unique and flexible lug pattern is what gives this boot its superior traction.

Amazingly, considering its many perks, the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX is an incredible 4.5 oz (127g) lighter than the average waterproof hiking boot, making it a great choice for long days on the mountain.

While hiking with heavy loads we found the collar was too weak to support both our weight and that of a backpack. For this reason, we don’t recommend the Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX for backpacking and through-hikes.


  • 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

Lightweight hiking boots with the best comfort

What makes it the best?

We hit the jackpot when we found the Hoka Trail Code GTX. First-rate comfort, this is an unbelievably lightweight, waterproof boot with a sticky outsole, making the Hoka Trail Code GTX our best pick for the most comfortable lightweight hiking boots.

Hoka’s iconic hubble heel delivers ultra-smooth transitions and, paired with soft cushioning, the Trail Code GTX makes our hikes on smooth, maintained trails an absolute dream. Back in the lab, we pressed a durometer to the thicker-than-average midsole. The durometer measured a jaw-dropping 23.4 HA, making it 16% softer than the average hiking boot! It’s no surprise we felt we were walking on clouds!

For a completely waterproof boot, we were surprised to find how light the Trail Code GTX feels on our feet. It tips the scales at a remarkable 15.5 oz (440g) – 3.4 oz (96g) lighter than average. Our feet felt far less tired than we had expected after a long day’s hiking.

Wet rock, loose gravel and sticky mud are no match for the Hoka Trail Code GTX, and we felt confident hiking on all types of terrain. The well-spaced lugs shed mud well, and when we measured them in the lab we found them to be 4.7 mm – 0.2 mm deeper than average. Coupled with a slightly softer outsole than average (86.6 HC compared to 87.5 HC), we trust these boots to bite on almost anything.

Pushing the boot to 90°, our force gauge measured 26.1N, making this an incredibly flexible boot. We don’t recommend the Hoka Trail Code GTX to long-distance backpackers for the simple reason that it lacks sufficient support for our feet during our multi-day hikes.


  • 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 lightweight hiking boots for backpacking

Hoka Kaha 2 GTX

What makes it the best?

There is a lot to love in the stylish Hoka Kaha 2. It has support and cushioning in bucketloads, yet still manages to weigh in below average, plus it has a marvelously grippy outsole. It knocks the proverbial socks off the competition, so we chose the Hoka Kaha 2 as the best lightweight hiking boot for backpacking.

Even when hiking over roots and rough trails, it felt nigh on impossible to roll an ankle due to the wide platform of the Kaha 2. Back in the lab, we brought out the caliper to get a handle on just how wide it is. We were expecting it to be wide, but even we were surprised! The Kaha 2 has a very broad forefoot, measuring 117 mm compared to the average of 113.8 mm. But the secret to the superior stability hides out in the heel. Measuring a whopping 106.1 mm wide, the heel is 14.6 mm wider than average! Both backpackers and wide-footed hikers can rest easy, knowing the Hoka Kaha 2 does it utmost to keep us supported and stable.

For a fully waterproof, Nubuck leather backpacking boot, the Hoka Kaha 2 still manages to weigh in just below the average fpr waterproof hiking boots. Tipping the scales at 18.5 oz (525g), we find it balances the line perfectly between weight and the supportive features which make it such a good choice for backpacking.

We were mightily impressed by the Hoka Kaha 2’s ability to grip on soft, wet ground, slippery rocks and loose trails alike. When we took a closer look at the lugs though, all became clear. The chunky lugs measure 4.9 mm, 9% deeper than average! They dealt admirably with hugely varied terrain during our back-country hikes.

Our only gripe with the Hoka Kaha 2 has to do with the tongue. The plush padding measures 12.5 mm thick, which is around the average, but the problem is that the tongue is just too short. Tying the laces up normally leads to uncomfortable lace bite. This can be solved by wearing a second pair of socks, or alternative lacing.


  • Sky-high comfort level
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • High-quality materials
  • Pain-alleviating support
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transitions
  • Incredibly stable
  • Superb grip
  • Surprisingly light
  • Minimal break-in period
  • Includes sustainable materials


  • Short tongue (laces slip and cause pressure)
  • Bulky heel gets stuck in stones
  • Polarising aesthetics
Full review of Hoka Kaha 2 GTX

Best lightweight hiking boots for urban hiking

What makes it the best?

In a combination of our lab investigations and test hikes the Timberland Sprint Trekker came out on top as the best lightweight hiking boot for urban hiking. With an impressively durable outsole, incredibly light weight for its category and a flexible midsole, the Sprint Trekker is our boot of choice for city hikes.

In our experience, harder outsole rubber lasts longer, and we fully expect the Sprint Trekker to keep on giving! We measured 3.8 mm of rubber on the outsole, excluding lugs - that's 41% more rubber than average! Not only that, but our durometer readings were among the highest we’ve seen. At 92 HC, the outsole is much harder than the average 87.5 HC, making it able to withstand long days on hard, concrete surfaces.

Weighing in at 16.5 oz (468g) we were pleasantly surprised by how light this leather boot feels on our feet. It’s 2.4 oz (68g) lighter than average and never felt heavy on our full day hikes.

The Sprint Trekker helps us find our natural stride thanks to its balanced flexibility. Our force gauge measured 38.6N when bending the boot to 90° - 5.2N less than average. Our feet feel supported but not confined, and we can bend our feet naturally as we walk. We find this ideal for well-maintained, urban trails.

At a glance, the Timberland Sprint Trekker tapers excessively at the toebox, and our measurements confirm the observation. At 69.6 mm, the toebox is 7 mm narrower than average! We don’t recommend this boot to hikers with wide feet.


  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Very light for a leather boot
  • Hard-wearing rubber outsole
  • High-quality nubuck upper
  • Deep lugs and great grip
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Affordable


  • Not a proper hiking boot
  • Narrow restrictive toebox
  • Lacks breathability
Full review of Timberland Sprint Trekker

Best lightweight hiking boots for speed hiking

What makes it the best?

Countless hours of lab tests and actual hikes can confirm Merrell Moab Speed Mid GTX is our ultimate speed hiking boot in the lightweight category. It offers the cushion and support of heavy-duty boots while maintaining the ride and nimbleness of trail shoes. It sustains our speed over long excursions without feeling tired.

Upon first wear, we instantly know it’s lighter than its counterparts. Our scales confirm it’s only 11.7 oz (332g), 34.1% lighter than the average hiking boot. It boosts our agility and speed through various terrains without weighing us down.

Moab Speed Mid GTX aced its midsole, delivering luxurious comfort and unparalleled propulsion. It encouraged faster paces while exempting us from weariness with its luscious 38.1 mm heel and ultra-plush 18.6 HA cushion. Our durometer measurement stands 26.2% below average. Other than protection from underfoot hazards, the platform offers an enjoyable rebound with every step.

The boot caught us off guard with its level of ankle support. It might be lightweight, but it sure is a mighty shield. From top to bottom, it ensures our protection with the durable upper with a fully gusseted tongue and the grippy outsole with 3.5 mm lugs. 

While this shoe feels stable, it lacks the firm cushion needed for carrying heavy backpacks over long periods. This type of adventure requires a sturdier boot.


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


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

How much do these actually weigh?

For a hiking boot to be considered lightweight in our database, it must weigh less than 17.6 oz or 500g. To get some context, here are a few more data points: 

  • The average weight of hiking boots in our database: 18.4 oz or 520.8g
  • 56% of hiking boots in our database weigh more than 17.6oz (500g)
  • The average weight of hiking shoes in our database: 13.0 oz or 369.6g 

All the hiking boots that enter our lab are measured on the scale and, as it turns out, we don’t always get the same numbers as those published by the brands. 

Measuring the weight of a hiking boot in RunRepeat lab

Sometimes there’s even a difference between the weight of the right and left hiking boot. 

Pros and cons of lightweight hiking boots

Benefits of hiking in lightweight hiking boots:

  • You can experience the hiking world without the extra bulk
  • Less strain on the legs, or less foot fatigue because you’re not carrying a lot of weight 
  • You can do speed hiking and be more agile because of the light weight

The potential downsides of hiking in lightweight hiking boots: 

  • You don’t get as much support and protection from the boots as the material are lighter, less dense, less firm, and maybe there’s less of them entirely 
  • You should not do demanding hikes over very long distances and difficult terrain in lightweight boots because you want all the support and protection you can get. This especially applies to backpacking.
  • They are not meant for very cold weather as they lack stronger materials and maybe even insulation.

How to nail the fit in lightweight hiking boots

When trying out the hiking boots, here’s what we’re looking for: 

  1. Comfort first. Boots should feel comfortably snug, not tight and not too wide. 
  2. When you push the foot forward inside the boot, there should be one thumb’s width of room behind your heel. Or glue to heel to the back and sense whether there’s room in front of your big toe.
  3. There should be no pressure/hot spots
  4. Your heel must not be slipping
  5. When going uphill and downhill, your feet should be locked in the boots and not sliding from one side to the other inside the boots. 

How we achieve this? 

  • We go shopping late in the day when our feet are already naturally swollen a bit.
  • When trying out the boots, we use the socks we plan to hike in and maybe even our orthotics (if using). 
  • We make sure to break in the hiking boots before heading out on the first longer hike in them 

In case you have wider feet and want room for your toes to splay, look for lightweight hiking boots with a wider toebox. In our lab, we measure the width of the toebox at the ball of the foot (where it’s the widest) and at the big toe. 

toebox measurements in runrepeat lab

Using a digital calliper to measure the width of the toebox in 2 places, where it's the widest (up) and at the big toe (down)

We give more value to the big-toe measurement because it’s where the toes would like to splay. Especially if you have non-Egyptian type of toes. 

Prioritising grip in lightweight hiking boots 

Twisting ankles due to slipping or losing the ground and falling due to the boots not biting hard enough into the ground is nothing a hiker dreams about. We avoid that by focusing on the grip. The grip is about a) the hardness of the outsole/lug rubber and b) how deep the lugs are

Fortunately, we measure both in our lab. Some general guidelines are: 

  1. If you’re doing an average hike with no demanding/extreme elements (like scrambling, sharp large rocks, very deep mud, etc.), go for around-the-average lugs or 4mm. 
  2. If you plan to hike on hard flat ground, go for shallower lugs (less than 4mm). 
  3. If you plan to hike over mud, slush, or snow, go for deep lugs (deeper than 4mm). 

Measuring the depth of the lugs on a hiking boot using a digital calliper

When it comes to the hardness of the rubber, usually the softer rubber is stickier and more agile, while the harder one offers more protection and is more durable. 

Using an HC durometer to measure the hardness of the outsole rubber: the lower the number, the softer the rubber

Stability in lightweight hiking boots

While grip helps a lot with staying put and feeling planted, stability in hiking is also very important.

Testing the lateral stability of lightweight hiking boots

Here, we consider 3 factors: 

  1. Width of the base 
  2. Torsional rigidity 
  3. Stiffness of the heel counter. 

When it comes to the width of the base, the wider it is, the more stable you feel in the boots. We measure this width in our lab in 2 places: at the forefoot and at the heel. 


Measuring the width of the base with a digital calliper: at the heel (up) and at the forefoot (down)

Given that we land on the heel while hiking, it’s the width we give more value to when analysing the numbers and stability. 

Torsional rigidity is assessed on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the most rigid. 

Assessing the torsional rigidity of a hiking boot

And heel counter stiffness is a very personal thing - you hate it or you love it. When it comes to stability, it does offer a bit more of it when it’s a stiff counter. It simply keeps the heel and the part below the ankle in place in a stricter way. 

Assessing the stiffness of the heel counter

Taking all of these aspects into account, here are some numbers on stability in lightweight hiking boots: 

Finding the most durable lightweight hiking boots 

While less weight can mean less rugged materials, we’re here to check that out. We are very interested in this because more durability means more protection! This way, sharp objects and debris are less likely to penetrate the toebox or the outsole or to hurt the feet in any way. We test durability in 3 places: the toebox (upper), the outsole (or lugs), and the heel counter. 

In all 3 cases, we use a Dremel to basically make damage (or a dent) on the hiking boot materials. Then, we assess or measure how big the damage is. 

Toebox durability test: using a Dremel 

When assessing the damage, which is something we do for the heel counter and the toebox, we give a rating on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the most durable. 

different toebox damages on the upper of lightweight hiking boots

Different levels of damage (and, therefore, durability) done on the upper of hiking boots

Damage on the heel padding done by the Dremel during a durability test

But, when measuring the durability of the outsole, we are able to measure the depth of the dent accurately, using a tyre tread gauge. The deeper the dent, the less durable the outsole. 

Using a Dremel to test the durability of the outsole

dent on the hiking boot outsole made by the dremel

Closeup on the dent on the outsole done by the Dremel during the durability test

Based on these numbers, it’s easy to pick the more or less durable lightweight hiking boots. 

The most breathable lightweight hiking boots

How to find them? Generally, look for non-waterproof boots because they tend to breathe more. And consult our breathability ratings. 

In the example above, we see how a breathable, non-waterproof upper compares to a waterproof and non-breathable one

We test the breathability of lightweight hiking boots by pumping the smoke into them and watching where the smoke comes from, how fast and at which pace. Based on this, we assign a 1-5 rating, where 5 is the most breathable. 

To cement our findings, we also look at the upper under the microscope. This allows us to see how dense the material is and whether there are some tiny ventilation holes. 

microscope upper closeups on hiking footwear

Uppers under the microscope: breathable vs. non-breathable one

Waterproof and lightweight hiking boots

While waterproof hiking boots that are waterproof tend to weigh more, we still have boots in the category of both waterproof and lightweight. 

It’s easy to recognise waterproof hiking boots, they usually have the name of the membrane (like Gore-Tex) written on the upper, or simply say Waterproof or WP.

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.