7 Best Summer Hiking Boots in 2023

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
7 Best Summer Hiking Boots in 2023
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There is something quite appealing about venturing into the great outdoors as the sun is blessing nature all around. Being in such a bright and breezy environment, of course, calls for the best summer hiking boots.

We have gone through over a dozen summer boots to see which are unparalleled in various categories. We have tried them on for hours and we also spent a significant amount of time in our lab just to be totally sure of our verdicts.

Indeed, the top picks that await you here will exceed your expectations—from the most endearing summer all-rounder to the mightiest backpacking boot.

Best summer hiking boots overall

What makes it the best?

A mid-top kick laden with superlatives—this is a befitting description for the Moab 3 Mid. Seriously, this 3rd-gen Moab boot from Merrell has got to be the fluffiest summer kick, ready to impress you with its no-wobble construction as you pull off one surefooted step after another. And the best part is, this long-lasting boot has a list price that's a hit among the masses.


  • Incredibly supportive
  • Cloud-like plushness
  • Minimal break-in
  • Superb grip
  • Heavy-duty
  • Flushes out stuffiness
  • Prevents odor buildup
  • Easy on and off
  • Uberly low-priced


  • A tad heavy (women's version)
  • Squishy toe zone
Full review of Merrell Moab 3 Mid

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Any color
Black Night (J03656)
Granite (J03586)
Avocado (J03703)
Monument/Fuchsia (J03721)

Summer hiking boots with the best comfort

On Cloudtrax

What makes it the best?

Whether it's the urban jungle you wish to tackle, or it's the trail you seek, the On Cloudtrax will take you to your destination with no fuss in the equation. A full-fledged day hiking boot, this kick delivers heightened control on shifting terrain, cutting through various surfaces, be they dry or moderately damp. And, boy, isn't the Cloudtrax just mesmerizing to look at? We definitely think so!


  • Stellar grip
  • Incredible comfort level
  • Lightweight
  • Shock-absorbent
  • Convincing water resistance
  • Super-easy lace-ups
  • True to size
  • Great aesthetics


  • With break-in
  • Slippery tongue
Full review of On Cloudtrax

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Any color
Beige (5399056)
Midnight Glacier (5398064)
Black (5398589)

Best summer hiking boots for speed hiking

What makes it the best?

If there's ever one hiker that really blurs the divide between trail boots and sneakers, it has to be the Free Hiker 2 from Adidas. It's as mighty effective on backcountry terrain as it is impossibly difficult NOT to admire. And as far as comfort is concerned, it's simply heavenly, especially once you're past its customary break-in period.


  • Next-level comfort
  • Surprisingly supportive collar
  • Promotes balance
  • Charming grip
  • Quite light
  • Superb workmanship
  • Above-average flexibility
  • Eye-catching looks


  • With break-in
  • Tricky to put on
  • Expensive
Full review of Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2

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Any color
Core Black Core Black Grey Six (GV8920)
Coral Fusion/Coral Fusion/Wonder White (HQ8399)
Purple (HQ8398)
Wonder Steel/Grey Three/Legend Ink (GZ0683)
Bliss Lilac/Beam Orange/Pulse Magent (GZ0688)
wonder steel/grey three/legend ink (HQ8396)
Core Black/Core Black/Grey Six (GZ0679)
Wonder Taupe/Earth Strata/Black (HQ8397)
More colors

Best summer hiking boots with a wide toebox

What makes it the best?

The jury is in, and the consensus is that the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 carries the big guns when it comes to giving the foot unshakable tenacity on the trail. It's something that gets even more impressive as you wear it, thanks to its great ability to keep your gait upright, minus the squished toes and bruised heels. This day hiker is also a dream to wear in the summer.


  • Amazing multi-surface grip
  • Sensational comfort
  • Quite light for a boot
  • Remarkably supportive
  • Spacious toe box
  • No heel lift
  • Incredibly breathable


  • Its outsole could be more durable
  • Unruly laces (women’s version)
Full review of Topo Athletic Trailventure 2

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Any color
Charcoal/Mustard (M053CHAMUS)
Stone/Navy (M053STNNAV)

Best lightweight summer hiking boots

What makes it the best?

While far from being a teleportation device, the NXIS Speed Mid hurls you from point A to point B in a flash, minus the slipping and sliding along the way. This ultra-comfy hiker from KEEN also has fantastic ventilation that matches its speedy nature, giving you a fresh hiking experience each time you venture out. And with its fair asking price, the mighty supportive NXIS Speed Mid has great investment written all over it.


  • Transcendent comfort
  • Barely-there lightness
  • 10/10 support
  • Through-the-roof grip level
  • Fantastic softness
  • Awe-inspiring breathability
  • Roomy toe box
  • Attractive


  • Frail heel loop
  • Needs more poke protection
Full review of KEEN NXIS Speed Mid

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Any color
Drizzle/Red Carpet (1026112)
Black Magnet (1026110)
Canteen Olive Drab (1026111)

Summer hiking boots with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

Trail explorers are drawn to the Hoka Anacapa Breeze Mid for the immense summertime comfort it provides. On top of that, its gait-corrective support system translates to hikes where aches and pains are dealt with in just a matter of days. And while its longevity is rather questionable, the boot's performance is one for the books, particularly on extended outings.


  • Mighty supple all over
  • Alleviates pain
  • Incredibly supportive
  • Fantastic in warm conditions
  • Surprisingly light
  • Glove-like fit on day one
  • Remarkable traction


  • Subpar durability
  • Not-so-black colorway
Full review of Hoka Anacapa Breeze Mid

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Any color
Castlerock Harbor Mist (CHMS)
Dune/Oxford Tan (DOTN)
Avocado/Burnt Ochre (ABOC)
Black (BBLC)

Best summer hiking boots for urban hiking

What makes it the best?

If you want an outdoorsy pair of boots without the bulk of typical hiking footwear, the Sprint Trekker from Timberland is very worth considering. We instantly fell in love with the boot’s elegant leather upper and snazzy eyelets. What's more, it feels super light on the foot! As long as you think of it as a hiking-inspired sneaker for casual and easy-going trips, you will be pleasantly surprised.


  • 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

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Any color
Medium Brown (C29241)
Black (14440)
Black (A1YN5)

Comparison of the 7 best summer hiking boots

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How to choose summer hiking boots

From multi-day excursions through countryside villages to quick day trips along coastal cliffs, summer hiking offers an unbeatable combination of adventure and natural beauty.

In this guide, we provide insights on how to choose the right boot for your needs.


What are the benefits of summer hiking boots?

Compared to their winter counterparts, summer hiking boots offer the following benefits:

  1. Cheaper price
  2. Lighter weight
  3. Higher breathability
Summer hiking boots Winter hiking boots
$157 $185
14.8 oz (420g) 20.6 oz (584g)

Find your type of summer hiking boots

There are numerous types of summer hiking boots available, and each boot is designed with specific features to suit different needs and preferences.

Adidas-Terrex-Free-Hiker- On-Feet_1.1.1_1.1.1.jpg

Decide what kind of activity you need a new pair of boots for:

Day hiking

  • Best for: moderate/technical terrain with a steady incline and some steep sections
  • Average weight: 15 oz (425g)
  • Characteristics: sturdy, supportive, durable

Speed hiking

  • Best for: moderate trails with a steady incline
  • Average weight: 13.4 oz (380g)
  • Characteristics: lightweight, responsive cushioning, feel like running shoes

Urban hiking

  • Best for: paved roads and groomed trails
  • Average weight: 12.6 oz (357g)
  • Characteristics: casual design, less durable, feel like sneakers

How long does it take to break in summer hiking boots?

Breaking in a pair of summer hiking boots can take some time, depending on the type of materials used and how often you wear them. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1

Generally, it is recommended to wear your new hiking boots around the house for a few days before taking them out on the trails. This eases your feet into the boots and allows any potential issues with fit or material to be identified.

Step 2

As you wear your hiking boots, the uppers will soften and loosen over time to conform to the shape of your feet for a more comfortable fit. Depending on the material, it can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks or even longer to properly break in summer hiking boots.

So, if you plan on heading out soon, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to ensure your boots have been properly broken in before hitting the trails.

Can I wear hiking shoes instead of boots in the summer?

Hiking shoes can be a great alternative to boots during the summer months, as they are generally lighter and provide more breathability. Although not suited for rough terrain or heavier backpacking trips due to their lower ankle support, hiking shoes offer sufficient traction and cushioning to make them perfect for short day hikes where weight is an important factor.

For those looking to travel light on a day hike, investing in a pair of quality hiking shoes could be an ideal choice, but for longer days out hiking boots are a better choice. You can even consider well-cushioned trail running shoes for that purpose.


Do I need Gore-Tex hiking boots in the summer?

Gore-Tex is a waterproof and breathable material commonly used in winter hiking boots to keep feet dry in cold, wet conditions. So there is no definite need for Gore-Tex boots when hiking during the summer months, as you are more likely to encounter warmer and drier weather.

Gore-Tex might be holding you back

While it may be tempting to opt for a pair of Gore-Tex boots for extra protection, the added material can ultimately lead to sweaty feet and discomfort in warmer climates. Instead, look for summer hiking boots with a breathable upper that is designed to keep moisture out without trapping heat. With this combination of features, you should be able to stay dry and comfortable during your summer hikes.

If you live in a region where it still rains regularly during summer and are looking for one boot to wear throughout the year, then you may want to consider a pair of Gore-Tex hiking boots.


How to prevent blisters in summer?

Preventing blisters during summer hikes can be a challenge due to the combination of heat and sweat which can cause chafing and friction.

Consider the following to help keep blisters to a minimum:

  • Well-fitted hiking boots
  • Wear moisture-wicking synthetic socks
  • Regularly check for hotspots
  • Use a lubricant

To help reduce the risk of blisters, it is important to wear well-fitted hiking boots that provide ample cushioning and support. Also, wearing moisture-wicking socks can help keep your feet dry and prevent chafing.

Lastly, make sure to regularly check for hotspots which could be a sign of an impending blister, and consider using a lubricant such as petroleum jelly on areas that are prone to rubbing.

How should summer hiking boots fit?

The fit of your summer hiking boots is essential for your comfort and safety when out on the trails. The best summer hiking boots should be snug, but not too tight, as you don't want to restrict circulation or foot movement.

Pressure is ok, but tightness is not

The boot material shouldn't irritate your feet and there should not be any pinching or slipping in the heel area. As well as getting the length right, the toe box should have enough room for your toes - you don’t want them to feel like they are being squished in there.

It might take a few tries to find the right pair that works best for your feet, but it's well worth spending the extra time seeking out boots with a secure fit that will keep you comfortable while allowing you to enjoy your hikes.

How to maintain summer hiking boots?

To maintain your summer hiking boots, it is important to do regular cleaning and conditioning to keep them in good condition.

Step 1

After every wear, remove any dirt or debris from the boots with a soft brush or cloth.

Step 2

To clean leather uppers use a mild soap and water solution while synthetics can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

Step 3

Afterwards, you should use a wax-based leather conditioner to moisturize and protect the material, as well as help keep them waterproof. Doing this regularly will not only help extend the life of your summer hiking boots, but also ensure they are in top condition when you hit the trails. 

Step 4

Additionally, it is important to store them in a cool dry place to help extend their lifespan and minimize the risk of wear and tear. 

How often should you replace your summer hiking boots?

Remember to replace your boots if they are showing signs of wear or ill-fitting as this can cause injury or discomfort on the trail. With proper maintenance and care you should be able to get many years of use out of your summer hiking boots.

Can you wear summer hiking boots in winter?

When winter rolls around, it can be tempting to grab your summer hiking boots and hit the trail. But depending on the conditions you may face during a winter hike, it might be worth considering investing in some winter hiking boots instead. When temperatures dip below freezing, keeping your feet warm and dry is critical for staying comfortable in the outdoors.

Insulation is important in winter

Summer hiking boots often lack the necessary insulation, waterproofing and traction required for hikes in cold and wet conditions. Winter hiking boots provide the right combination of breathability and protection to ensure your feet stay comfortable when trekking through snow or mud.

So, while summer hiking boots can work well in an emergency if they are all you have on hand, if you want to maximize comfort and safety when exploring icy trails this winter season - look into getting a pair of purpose-built winter hiking boots.

Can you wear winter hiking boots in summer?

Winter hiking boots can be used in the summer months, as they are usually equipped with breathable materials and insulation to keep feet warm during cold weather excursions. However, their bulkier design and added features can make them a bit uncomfortable in warmer climates.

Winter boots can be overkill

Winter boots often have a thicker sole for extra protection on icy terrain, which can increase the weight and make them less suitable for long hikes. As well as this, the waterproofing of winter hiking boots may not be necessary in drier climates and can trap heat, leading to sweaty feet.

 FAQs about summer hiking boots

Hiking is a deep topic with many different things to consider. Here's a FAQ to help you get all the information that you need.

What are the best summer hiking boots brands?

When it comes to the best summer hiking boots, there are a variety of brands offering high-quality models designed for comfort and performance. Some of the most popular and reliable brands include Keen, Salomon, Danner, and Columbia. Whether you’re looking for lightweight trail boots or rugged summer boots, these brands have a range of options with features to fit any type of terrain.

Do ankle cuff heights matter on hiking boots?

The height of your hiking boots' ankle cuffs can have a big impact on your overall comfort and safety.

Higher cuffs provide the most protection and can be great for rough terrain or carrying heavy loads, but they may also feel a bit restrictive.

Mid-height models offer enough support and coverage, while still feeling lightweight and flexible.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which cuff height is best suited to your needs and the type of trails you intend on tackling.

How to prepare for summer hiking

Summer hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it can also be quite challenging if you don’t have the right supplies. One of the most important pieces of equipment when going on a hike during the warmer months are summer hiking boots.

Hiking boots are a key part of summer hiking, but you'll also want to consider the following to keep you safe:

  • Socks that wick away moisture
  • Breathable, quick-drying clothing
  • A hat or visor to protect from the sun
  • Drinking water
  • Sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher
  • A map or GPS device and a compass
  • First aid kit

How we test hiking boots

Rounded up in this space are the finest summer hiking boots known to man. Detailed below is our no-frills-yet-meticulous process.

  • Using our own funds, we purchase summer hiking boots (be they cheap or expensive).
  • To find out the strengths and weaknesses of these breathable hikers, we hike in every pair under the heat of the sun for days.
  • We collect more information in our lab. We measure the different attributes of the shoes and we utilize our expertise in this field to rate and analyze each aspect. Plus, we inspect the interior of the shoes by dissecting them.
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.