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! This guide will showcase the best lightweight hiking boots and explain what makes them so special.
We have reviewed 80+ pairs of boots to help you get the right one for your needs. Whether it a more rugged one that you need for multi-day backpacking or a more urban-ready style, we’ve got a top pick for five different categories.
Out of the literal hundreds of hiking boots we’ve tested, we are so proud to crown the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker as the king of agility!
Lightness is coded in the construction of this shoe, and we have no complaints. Case in point, at roughly 760 g a pair, the Terrex Free Hiker gives its name justice. As for our time with it, we found ourselves zooming past obstacles left and right at break-neck speed!
Let’s turn our attention toward the prestigious Adidas Boost midsole. Yup, you read that right—the Terrex Free Hiker is built with Boost, which allowed us to negotiate tricky terrain as if we had cherubim wings on our ankles!
And dare we forget the Terrex Free Hiker’s level of comfort? Nope! This Adidas must-buy overflows with plushness. Right from the box, this lightweight boot made our tootsies sing in ridiculous comfort.
How about underfoot? Is it that sticky? Well absolutely! Don’t let its low-profile lugs fool you. They kept us surefooted on slick surfaces (e.g., wet grass, mossy logs, and slick rocks) quite effortlessly.
Do yourself a favor and get the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker now!
Ok, the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX has to be on your radar, too, if you’re gunning for a combination of solid performance and lightness.
At 850 g a pair, the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX made us feel very mobile. Never did we feel held back or weighed down by this Salomon boot. We were especially impressed with how it cut through shallow streams, emerging from them with fluid grace!
Speaking of streams, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX didn’t let water in when we went through them. We also tested this remarkable hiking boot in the rain (it rained moderately one afternoon), and our tootsies came out completely moist-free.
We give the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX two thumbs up in the area of comfort. Its plush lining and remarkable breathability worked in tandem to pamper our feet without fail. Mesmerizing!
We weren’t let down by the boot’s Contagrip outsole, either. Yes, the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX stuck to virtually every surface we stomped on. Most impressive was its sticking performance on logs and the moderately mossy parts of the slopes we had to climb.
Get the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX and blaze through your favorite trail now!
We have to hand it to the OUTline Mid GTX for being the nimblest of them all! Its light weight, which is roughly 420 g a boot for men, contributed greatly in this regard. That said, we dare not leave out its stunning sole unit, which allowed us to glide on well-maintained trails and rocky terrain alike.
Throughout our speedy escapades, our time in the Salomon OUTline Mid GTX was one marked with comfort. There was no need to break it in; we used it right away and got floored!
As for grip performance, the Salomon OUTline Mid GTX blew us away. We went practically everywhere—slopes, sidehills, near streams—and the boot didn’t give us a hard time. We didn’t lose our footing or slipped anywhere at all.
Let’s also talk about its support system. In our day’s journey, our feet remained in place and didn’t give in to the ruggedness of the trail. Both the OUTline Mid GTX’s collar and cushy midsole were amazingly supportive!
In terms of water protection, the OUTline Mid GTX was quite impressive, too. Moisture was kept at bay in it throughout our fast hikes.
If you want trail adventures at lightning speeds while wearing a boot, there’s no beating the OUTline Mid GTX from Salomon!
There’s no getting around this: Lowa has made a tough-yet-speedy hiking boot in the Innox Pro GTX Mid, and we love it!
Just a few grams heavier than our top pick (it’s 450-ish per shoe), the Innox Pro GTX Mid rolled with us without hiccups. And we say “roll” quite literally here, as the boot in question allowed us to pull off transitions quite smoothly.
Did we slip on wet rocks on it? Nope. The Lowa Innox Pro GTX Mid was lizard-like through and through! Its grip level on gravel and sand was nothing to be sneezed at, either.
On comfort, this Lowa must-have didn’t fail to impress us. Our feet in our pairs were just singing with joy the entire time. What more can you ask?
We are also quite confident about its longevity. The Innox Pro GTX Mid came out almost scratch-free after days of fast hikes on rugged terrain. It sustained some smudges, but we wiped them off effortlessly!
The Lowa Innox Pro GTX Mid is rather pricey, and we probably wouldn’t use it during the summer. Still, its agile performance, comfy confines, and relentless waterproofing are enough to keep us busy (and happy) for months!
What we got in the Firecamp Boot from Columbia is a downright looker of a boot with remarkable versatility!
On the lightness front, the Firecamp Boot is wooing at 420 g per shoe. At first, it looked quite imposing, but when we slipped into it and tried it for a spin (about a mile hike), we were astounded by its weightlessness.
On the same initial hike, we encountered light rain and some puddles along the way. Not a droplet seeped into the Firecamp Boot’s confines. It was also rather chilly around the same time, which was perfect because we were able to test its insulation—it worked to our expectations!
Oh, but we haven’t told you yet about the compliments we’ve received while we got the Firecamp Boot on. Let’s just say that, whether on the trail or in the city, people were just smitten by its urban beauty.
We have no complaints about the Firecamp Boot’s adhesive performance. On trails, whether damp or dry, the boot didn’t slip. We took it to town soon after and traveled on some wet pavement, and it worked like a magnet. Amazing, right?
Anyway, what we’re saying is don’t hesitate. Get the Firecamp Boot now!
If adventures around town are what you’re after, you’d better have the OUTsnap CSWP in your collection!
This city-centric boot is light at 720 g a pair! We almost mistook it for a pair of sneakers because of this.
Speaking of sneaker shoes, you can liken the Salomon OUTsnap CSWP to such, and we won’t complain. We are talking about its incredible comfort, of course. Its plush interior pampered our feet straight out of the gate. The plushness of its collar was also a blessing in the entirety of our urban hikes!
“Clawing” is the word we’d use in describing the OUTsnap CSWP traction-wise. On packed soil, dusty tracks, and grass, we didn’t have any instance of slippage. We also tested the boot on concrete pavements, and we safely made it through!
Despite its sneaker-like lightness, we still got more than enough support out of it. Its furry collar, though plush, secured our ankles. Underfoot, our arches didn’t ache after hiking for several miles.
We just wish the OUTsnap CSWP was a bit warmer. Nevertheless, this hiker is a great pick, especially on days where you feel like just hanging around town.
The verdict is in: KEEN’s Targhee III Waterproof Mid is royally comfy, besting some 100+ lightweight hiking boots that we’ve tested!
Zooming in on comfort, the Targhee III Waterproof Mid pampered our precious feet without the customary break-in period. The suppleness of its interior (especially around the instep) and the cushiness of its footbed just spoiled our tootsies from the off!
At no more than 500 g per shoe, the Targhee III Waterproof Mid allowed us to pull off longer strides without weighing us down. Its tank-like appearance fooled us, indeed.
Speaking of tanks, you can say that the Targhee III Waterproof Mid was cut from the same cloth. We felt oh so secure in its solidly leather shell the whole time. Oh, but the star of the show in this regard was its rubber bumper. This toe cap, man—kicking unflinching roots and rocks with it was fun!
Its provision of support is something to write home about, too. Yes, the Targhee III Waterproof Mid’s collar kept our ankles safe, especially where twisting maneuvers were required.
And if you are worried about its price, don’t. The Targhee III Waterproof Mid is one affordable beast, selling for no more than $145 a pop. Get yours today!
Yay! The chunky Stinson Mid GTX from Hoka One One is one plush beast!
Man, is the Stinson Mid GTX towering or what!? Just look at that sole! A mammoth of a shoe, indeed. That said, don’t let its greatly imposing sole unit fool you—the boot is still light at less than 500 g a shoe!
And while we’re in the discussion of the Stinson Mid GTX’s juggernaut of a midsole, the boot is mighty comfy because of it. Sure, its lined confines are pampering, but its powerful underfoot platform was what kept us going on our extended hikes.
Speaking of its empowering midsole (still?), it was a real boon to our adventures. You get what you pay for on it, thanks to its mighty supportive arch zone. Yes, the Hoke One One Stinson Mid GTX doesn’t have an enviously bulging midsole for nothing!
On the waterproofing front, the Stinson Mid GTX is highly recommendable. Its Gore-Tex liner didn’t let a single drop ruin our hikes. Its waterproof gusseted tongue also allowed us to monkey around in some 3-4 inches of water with nary a trace of moisture after the fact.
Yes, we ask you to consider this chunky wonder, especially if you have slightly narrower feet.
Fact: The Newton Rudge Plus II Waterproof doesn’t mess around price-wise. Seriously, this bad boy from Columbia blew us away with its 80-dollar asking price!
Equally mesmerizing about this affordable wonder is its break-in-free comfort. We hiked for about a couple of hours in the Newton Rudge Plus II Waterproof straight from the box, and we experienced neither pinching nor hotspots. And our toes and heels? No blisters!
Did it ever weigh you down, you might ask? Not at all. At 450-ish grams a shoe, we found the Newton Rudge Plus II Waterproof quite freeing. We link this quality to the boot’s lightly seamed leather upper.
Sticking to both dry and wet surfaces is also business-as-usual for the Newton Rudge Plus II Waterproof. We traversed inclines, negotiated downhills, and balanced our way on some mossy logs, and we didn’t lose footing. On some wet grass, the Newton Rudge Plus II Waterproof gripped like a king, too!
But before we forget, the Newton Rudge Plus II Waterproof lives up to its name. Indeed, it is relentlessly waterproof. We found not a single drop of moisture on our pampered tootsies in it.
Are you looking for the perfect summer boot without breaking the bank? Then set your sights on the Euro Hiker from Timberland.
While it is mildly pricier than our top pick for comfort, the Euro Hiker we still consider quite an affordable hiker at $110 MSRP. Out of the 100-something boots we’ve tried (particularly those for summer use), we give this a thumb up for budget-friendliness!
When it comes to weight, less than 500 g is considered a blessing in hiking boots. The Euro Hiker from Timberland is interesting in this regard because when we tested it for hours, the boot was lighter than what the box told us, which read 450 g.
The Timberland Euro Hiker is quite comfortable. There’s a BUT here, unfortunately, as, during its short break-in phase, we experienced just a bit of a hotspot around our toes. This feeling went away quickly, though.
As for support, the Euro Hiker gave us tons. Our feet (particularly our arches) weren’t battling it out there—they were quite intact after this one 4-hour-long off-trail hike.
And have we mentioned yet that this Timberland piece looks dapper? Yes, this one is a keeper!
Soft: these shoes have a shorter break-in period because they aren’t as rigid as traditional hiking boots. Your feet have a greater degree of freedom in them.
Flexibility: you’ll notice you’re more agile in these shoes when covering uneven terrain. Less stiff rubber sole allows them to bend, which is impossible to do in traditional hiking boots.
Lightweight hiking boots can be found both in mid-cut and high-cut versions.
Hiking boots weight comparison
This average difference of 242g is what makes lightweight hiking shoes so special!
Steps for finding your perfect fit
There are a few important steps to follow when it comes to trying on and buying hiking boots.
These 6 steps will guide you through the process of trying out the hiking shoes.
Go shopping in the afternoon, so feet are swollen at least a bit. Swelling happens anyway when hiking, so it makes sense.
Try the boots with your hiking socks on. Bring the socks that you plan to wear with your hikers when shoe shopping. Avoid using cotton, but choose wool or synthetic socks.
Try it on, lace it up, and check for pressure points. You don’t want any part of your shoe to feel loose!
There should be a thumb’s width space between your toes and the front of your boots.
If you’re wearing special insoles or orthotics, take them with you and insert them into the boots when trying them on.
Use the ramp! All hiking/outdoor stores have it. Walk up and down. This tests the boot’s snugness. When you go up the board, observe for any heel lift. When you go down, check if your toes hit the front of the shoes. If your heel rises more than a quarter of an inch, try adjusting the laces. If your toes hit the front, try sizing up.
When you’ve made the purchase, make sure you break in your boots before your adventure.
When you should (not) wear lightweight hiking boots
To make them lightweight, some hiking boot features had to be omitted or reduced to a certain level. This is what defines when and where you should (not) wear the lightweight hiking boots:
Lightweight hiking boots: when (not) to wear them
Short hikes, a day or a few days long
Mountaineering and heavy backpacking, especially at high altitudes
Lower-attitude adventures, as they don’t include severe weather conditions
Difficult weather conditions - they are more breathable and, therefore, less able to endure great amounts of snow and rain
Warmer and dry weather, high breathability won’t keep your feet as warm
Cold weather - traditional hiking boots will keep your feet warmer than the lightweight ones
Easy hikes, on terrain that is not too demanding; for technical parts, it’s best to have stiff boots with rigid soles
Hikes where you need to use spikes (crampons): for this, you need to check if your shoes are compatible with crampons and graded for that use. Most lightweight shoes would fall on both tests - their soles can’t have crampons attached to them and they are not rigid enough.
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.