The best hiking boots

These hiking boots will keep you surefooted even on the gnarliest of hikes

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Whether you’re embarking on a day hike or setting out on a weeklong expedition through the backcountry, your feet are key to a comfortable endeavor. You cannot place enough importance on the footwear that separates you from rugged, muddy, and often wet terrain. To tackle the toughest geography and reach the highest summits, you need to have the right boots. Here are some of the best hiking boots you can buy, sure to keep you comfortable and moving confidently mile after mile.

The best winter boots

Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat for Men ($160)

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These boots are the tallest in the Bugaboot line and ideal for all-around winter hikers. They’re reasonably light, durable, and completely waterproof. The Bugaboot Plus III features Columbia’s proprietary Omni-Heat reflective technology and 600 grams of insulation to keep your toes toasty even in the most frigid temperatures. The Omni-Grip rubber outsole makes sure you keep your footing on slippery terrain and the Techlite serves as a comfortable midsole, providing enough cushioning to outlast even the longest of days.

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Vasque Pow Pow II Ultradry for Women ($100)

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Made for the winter elements, the Vasque Pow Pow II Ultradry for Women feature 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation and faux shearling lining. The boot’s high rise style offers stability and keeps your feet dry in a relatively large amount of snowfall, as well as in puddles up to eight inches deep. Other attractive features include streamlined contours and a noticeable lack of bulkiness. ColdHold rubber outsoles and heel kicks provide traction and are compatible with snowshoes.

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The best boots for hiking on ice

Winter’s cold, snowy elements require boots with quality insulation and waterproofing, but when you’re walking on ice you’re most concerned about traction. In icy conditions, metal crampons are unbeatable but on more casual days, you might want to opt for a sole with specially formulated rubber that grips to ice — even when wet.

Merrell Moab FST Ice+ for Men ($160)

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The Merrell Moab FST Ice+ is a top-of-the-line winter hiking shoe featuring Vibram Arctic Grip outsole technology, specifically engineered to perform on wet ice. The textured material grips the surface of the ice and maintains effectiveness for the duration of its lifetime. These boots rank highly in terms of comfort, providing 100 grams of insulation and an air cushion in the heel that serves as a shock absorbing mechanism. The boot utilizes Merrell’s M Select Dry membrane to keep out unwanted moisture.

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Merrell Capra Glacial Ice Mid WP for Women ($170)

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Similar to the men’s Moab FST Ice +, the Capra Glacial Ice boots are designed with Vibram Arctic Grip, for the utmost traction in slippery conditions complemented by an aggressive lug pattern. A higher rise style than the men’s pick serves for increased ankle stability. These boots provide 200 grams of insulation and Conductor fleece lining for added warmth, making them a comfortable, durable, and ice-worthy selection.

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The best boots for the day hiker

When the snow begins to melt away, leaving those once white peaks naked and rocky, it’s time to start thinking about trading in those heavy-duty insulated boots for lighter weight day hikers. It’s an entirely different world trudging along on rugged earth as opposed to deep snow, and requires a different quiver of footwear.

Scarpa R-Evolution GTX for Men ($240)

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Scarpa is known for its production of alpine shoes, and you can find a very trusty hiking companion in the R-Evolution GTX. The boots boast a lightweight and high-end support featuring Scarpa’s Sock-Fit DV construction. The product also utilizes stretchy Schoeller fabric and memory foam in the tongue to ensure the utmost comfort. A Gore-Tex membrane provides waterproof, breathable performance, leaving you nothing to complain about.

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Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX for Women ($130)

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The Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX won the top spot for women based on their all-around comfort, short break-in time, and light weight. These boots are contoured for a women’s foot, featuring a soft polyester lining that easily wicks away moisture. Extra padding is provided by EVA midsoles and OrthoLite sock liners. These shoes don’t skimp on any details, including mudguards and integrated rubber toe caps for tackling challenging trail obstacles.

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The best boots for the long-distance backpacker

When your journey takes you further than you’ve ever gone before, you need boots that stay comfortable and remain efficient for days on end.

Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX for Men ($250)

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Scarpa brings another quality shoe onto the hiking scene with the Zodiac Plus GTX, this one built more robustly than its R-Evolution GTX companion. These boots are ideal for when you leave the maintained trail behind and head out into the wilderness. A waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex membrane keeps your toes dry during creek crossings and through rain storms. Softer than a mountaineering boot but rigid enough to handle rugged terrain with a heavy load, the Zodiac Plus is ideal for any long-distance backpacking expedition. Scarpa’s trademark Sock-Fit construction also makes for added comfort.

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Hoka One One Tor Ultra HI for Women ($195)

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While it might not look like a traditional hiking boot on the outside, the Hoka One One exceeds all expectations for long distance hiking. The seeming bulkiness of the sole is balanced by a high ankle shaft to ensure stability and prevent rolling. The thickness of the sole merely adds to the unsurpassed comfort of these boots, complemented by three distinct cushioning components highlighted by an oversized midsole. Amazingly, these bulky boots weigh less than two pounds and provide the same water resistance as traditional leather shoes. The Vibram rubber outsole sticks to incredibly slippery terrain so you can travel the backcountry with ease.

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The best boots for the budget conscious

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get your hands on a quality pair of hiking boots. Do your research and you can find quality brands offering products with everything you want in a hiking boot.

Keen Targhee II for Men ($135)

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The Keen Targhee II has been a long time favorite among hikers and truly packs a lot of value into its small price tag. Sturdy lugs provide excellent grip on uneven terrain and a waterproof, breathable eVent insert keeps your toes dry. The mid-cut height serves for decent ankle support. These boots are stiffer than other models, featuring a torsion stability ESS shank and a dual density compression molded midsole so that you never miss a step.

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Vasque Monolith Ultradry for Women ($104)

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An outstanding choice for the moderate hiker, it’s amazing how cheap Vasque offers its Monolith Ultradry boots. This lightweight shoe has a ton of desirable features, including Vasque’s proprietary UltraDry membrane, a TPU midfoot stabilizer, and molded EVA midsole. The aggressive tread pattern helps you maintain your balance even across slippery, unstable terrain. If you’re low on cash and need a pair of quality hiking shoes, you won’t get better value than these.

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The best shoes for day hikes

For those who prefer hiking with lower cut, lighter weight products, manufacturers have moved toward developing high-end shoes that can handle rugged terrain just as well as their bulkier boot comrades.

Merrell Moab 2 for Men ($120)

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This popular shoe has been enhanced for added comfort, with more cushioning added to the footbed. The suede leather and mesh material are complemented by rubber toe caps so you don’t have to worry about trail obstacles getting in your way. The shoe’s contoured footbed forms to your foot and provides plenty of arch support while an air cushion in the heel absorbs shock. The grippy, Vibram outsoles round out this impressive boot, making it so you’ll never want to switch back to your bulkier hiking models.

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The North Face Hedgehog for Women ($120)

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These lightweight, waterproof hiking shoes feature a Gore-Tex membrane for protection from the elements. A well-designed combination of leather and mesh make for stability and durability, while dual-density compression molded EVA midsoles attribute to plenty of heel-cradling comforts. You’re able to cover serious ground in these shoes as they are often favored for fastpacking. Vibram outsoles provide enough grip for slogging through mud or ascending a slippery slope.

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The North Face

The best shoes for the trail runner

When you want to move at a faster pace but prefer to ditch the asphalt and hit the trails, there are plenty of top-notch trail running shoes on the market. These are our top picks.

The North Face Ultra 109 GTX for Men ($120)

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The North Face Ultra 109 GTX will take you blazing down uneven, slippery trails, featuring a SnakePlate under the ball of the foot and heavy duty UltraTac rubber soles. You won’t have to fear changing weather conditions in these shoes, constructed with a Gore-Tex breathable, waterproof membrane. Stability and durability are provided by a compression molded EVA midsole, ESS midfoot shank, and hardy mesh upper materials.

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The La Sportiva Wildcat for Women ($110)

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La Sportiva has been a leading footwear brand for decades — and the Wildcat is a favorite among trail runners. The outsole has been meticulously crafted to navigate varied, unstable terrain, featuring a Frixion AT sole with an impact brake system and X-Axis. Vented AirMesh provides for unsurpassed breathability, making it an ideal shoe for warmer seasons. The Wildcat is also La Sportiva’s most cushioned shoe, with a nylon molded flex transfer shank and a layer of LaSpEVA so that you stay comfortable however far you travel. 

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