7 Best Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Boots in 2023
It’s about time to switch from your clunky boots to these top-rated lightweight kicks. Utilising innovative concepts and technological advances in boot-making, giant footwear brands like Lowa, Salomon, Merrell, Adidas, and Columbia recently released their highly regarded lightweight waterproof hiking boots.
If you’re like many outdoor enthusiasts who prefer to shed off unwanted poundage on the trail, then you will definitely love the Innox Pro from Lowa built for backpackers, or the X Ultra series from Salomon. There’s actually a solid range of really good choices that we see in this category.
In fact, with over 100 pairs of lightweight waterproof hiking boots in our inventory, picking the perfect pair for you can be time-consuming. We can help you with that! Since we personally wore the shoes during our hikes, we already got a feel for each of them. Therefore, our opinions are not baseless. With that, we give you our in-depth reviews and top rankings of lightweight waterproof hiking shoes.
Best lightweight waterproof hiking boots overall
Lightweight waterproof hiking boots with the best cushioning
Lightweight waterproof hiking boots with the best support
Best lightweight waterproof hiking boots for urban hiking
Best lightweight waterproof hiking boots for backpacking
Best lightweight waterproof hiking boots for speed hiking
Comparison of the 7 best lightweight waterproof hiking boots
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
+ + Add a product
|# of colorways|
As the old saying goes "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment," and this is particularly true when it comes to hiking in wet and rainy conditions. So pack your waterproof jacket, pair of boots and get out there. Here's all you need to know to find the best lightweight waterproof hiking boots to suit your needs.
What are lightweight waterproof hiking boots?
We consider a boot to be lightweight if it weighs less than 17.6 oz (500g) in a men's US size 9.
There are various styles of lightweight waterproof hiking boots, ranging from casual day hikers to more intensive backpacking boots. Whether you're a novice or an experienced hiker, having the right pair of lightweight waterproof hiking boots can make all the difference in your outdoor adventure.
Benefits of using lightweight waterproof hiking boots
Lightweight waterproof hiking boots are an ideal choice for hikers, as they offer a number of benefits. They are:
- Lightweight for manoeuvrability
- Weatherproof for adaptability
- Rugged for a range of terrain
By utilising lightweight materials and construction, these boots provide superior comfort and support while still being easy to move around in.
Additionally, the weather-proofing offered by these boots means that hikers can stay dry even in wet or rainy conditions. The reinforced soles and toes also provide extra protection against rough terrain, helping to keep your feet safe and sound.
Best situations for lightweight waterproof hiking boots
The best lightweight waterproof hiking boots are highly adaptable, with some hikers choosing them as their go-to boots in a whole host of conditions.
In wet climates
Lightweight waterproof hiking boots are an ideal choice for hikers in wet climates, as they provide brilliant protection against rain and dampness while still being lightweight and comfortable. The breathable materials used in these boots will also help to keep your feet cool even after extended periods of walking, which is especially important when you're dealing with wet conditions.
On multi-day backpacking trips
When backpacking, having the right pair of lightweight waterproof hiking boots is a great choice. On multi-day trips, you're likely to encounter a variety of terrain and weather conditions, which means your feet will need extra protection. Lightweight waterproof hiking boots are adaptable and provide protection while still being comfortable enough for long days on the trail.
For long day hikes on varied terrain
For long hikes, lightweight waterproof hiking boots are a must. With the varied terrain that you'll likely encounter on these hikes, having a pair of boots that can handle both wet and dry conditions allows you to be prepared for anything. The lightweight construction will help to reduce fatigue and make it easier to get through your hike with minimal discomfort.
Lightweight waterproof hiking boots are fantastic for thru-hikes, as they will protect your feet from the elements and provide support over long distances. The combination of lightweight construction and weather-proofing ensures that your feet will remain dry, even if you encounter unexpected wet conditions. Keep in mind that the lightweight construction will mean that you may wear out a pair if thru-hiking an epic trail like the Appalachian.
6 things to consider when buying lightweight waterproof hiking boots
High level of waterproofness
When buying lightweight waterproof hiking boots, it's important to look for boots that offer reliable waterproofness. This is especially true if you plan on doing any wet or rainy-day hikes, as the waterproofing will help to keep your feet dry and comfortable while you walk.
Lightweight construction is essential when it comes to hiking boots, as this can help reduce fatigue and improve your overall comfort. When looking for lightweight waterproof hiking boots, make sure to choose models with a lighter weight that won't weigh you down on the trail letting you be more mobile.
Grippy and flexible soles
Having a solid sole is important when choosing lightweight waterproof hiking boots. Look for models that offer good traction, as this will help to keep you steady on the trail even in slippery conditions. Look for boots with an EVA midsole and shock-absorbing features like Vibram that can provide additional cushioning and support.
Breathability to stay cool
Breathable boots are an absolute must for any type of hiking. This will help to keep your feet cool and comfortable while you walk. Look for models with a waterproof membrane that still allows air circulation, as this will help to regulate temperature and prevent your feet from getting too hot.
Cushioning for extra comfort
Having a cushioning insole is important when choosing lightweight waterproof hiking boots, as this can help to absorb shock and provide extra comfort while you're on the trail. Look for models with an EVA midsole that provides ample cushioning without adding too much weight to your feet.
The right ankle cuff height
Choose a pair of lightweight waterproof hiking boots with the right ankle cuff height. A taller cuff will provide more support and protection for your ankles, but may be more uncomfortable if you are not used to it. A low-cut model will be lighter and easier to break in, but will not offer as much ankle stability on the trail.
Best materials for lightweight waterproof hiking boots
The best lightweight waterproof hiking boots live and die by their material choices. Here's what to keep an eye out for when you're looking for your next pair.
Nubuck leather is a type of leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, creating a velvety texture. This material is lightweight yet durable, making it ideal for use in hiking boots. It’s also highly breathable, allowing air to circulate inside the shoe for comfort and temperature control. Nubuck leather is also resistant to water, meaning your feet will stay dry even in wet conditions. Best of all, nubuck leather looks great and will keep its appearance for years to come.
Synthetic mesh uppers
Synthetic mesh is a lightweight and breathable material used in many lightweight waterproof hiking boots. The fabric is strong yet flexible, allowing for easy movement while still providing protection from the elements. This material is also highly breathable, allowing air to circulate inside the shoe to keep feet cool and comfortable. Synthetic mesh is also water-resistant, so your feet will stay dry even in wet conditions.
Flexible midsoles are lightweight, shock-absorbing materials used in many lightweight waterproof hiking boots. This material provides cushioning and support during long hikes without adding additional weight. The flexibility of these midsoles allows them to mould to the shape of your foot for superior comfort and fit, while also providing excellent shock absorption to protect feet from the impact of rough terrain.
Gore-Tex is a breathable, waterproof material used in many of the best lightweight waterproof hiking boots. This fabric is designed to be completely waterproof while still allowing air to circulate inside the shoe. The unique construction of this material allows it to form a reliable barrier against water while also remaining flexible and breathable. Gore-Tex is highly durable and will keep your feet dry even in wet conditions.
Waterproof leather is a rugged and breathable material used in many lightweight waterproof hiking boots. This type of leather has been treated with a special coating that makes it impermeable to water, ensuring your feet will stay dry even in the wettest conditions.
Seam-sealed construction is an innovative process used in the manufacturing of lightweight waterproof hiking boots. This technique involves sealing all seams and stitching with a water-resistant adhesive to create a completely waterproof barrier. This means that no water can penetrate the seams, even in wet conditions. Seam-sealed construction adds extra protection from moisture, keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
Are waterproof hiking boots essential?
In dry climates or on short hikes, waterproofing isn't always essential. If you are only hiking in terrain with minimal mud and water, then a non-waterproof hiking boot might suffice. And if you are going on a short day hike in generally dry conditions on non-technical trails, lightweight non-waterproof hiking shoes can provide plenty of traction and comfort.
What are the downsides of waterproof hiking boots?
While waterproof hiking boots offer many benefits, there are some potential downsides. As these boots use a more breathable material than leather, they can be less durable and may not last as long.
Waterproofing materials used in the construction of these boots can cause them to be heavier and less flexible than non-waterproof options.
Finally, boots with waterproofing are more expensive than non-waterproof models.
|Waterproof hiking boots||Non-waterproof hiking boots|
How to maintain lightweight waterproof hiking boots
Regularly cleaning and maintaining your boots will help extend their lifespan and will keep your feet comfortable and dry out on the trail.
- Clean your boots regularly with a brush and mild soap
- Apply waterproofing products to prevent water from penetrating the material
- Keep the laces tight, but not too tight to cause discomfort
- Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use
- Repair any damages as soon as possible
- Let your boots air out after a long day of hiking, and avoid keeping them in plastic bags
- Deep clean your boots every 6 to 12 months, depending on how often you use them.
- Consider having a professional waterproofing treatment every few years to extend the life of your boots.
When it comes to finding the best lightweight waterproof hiking boots, it pays to take the time to do your research. Lightweight boots offer superior comfort and fit while providing protection from the elements.
The right pair of boots can make all the difference in any outdoor adventure – so be sure to invest in quality footwear with features like nubuck leather, Gore-Tex, flexible midsoles, and seam-sealed construction. With the right amount of research and care, your boots can keep your feet comfortable and dry for many hikes to come.
How we test hiking boots
We combine our very own experiences with our findings at the RunRepeat shoe testing lab. After carefully analysing each boot inside the lab, we take the lightweight boots on actual hiking excursions and backpacking trips.
Before publishing our reviews and rankings, we do the following:
- We purchase lightweight waterproof hiking boots from various brands. We invest our own funds to maintain the objectivity of our reviews and rankings.
- We go for day hikes or long-distance treks covering 30+ miles for each pair of boots. We test the footwear’s performance, comfort, traction, waterproofness, durability, and reliability in different kinds of terrain.
- We get more useful information from our lab tests, which also entail the dissection of the shoes.