Best Hiking Boots 2023

A pair of light brown hiking boots with black laces and tongues sat on the edge of an orange-rock cliff.
Credit: Clay Banks

A pair of light brown hiking boots with black laces and tongues sat on the edge of an orange-rock cliff.
Credit: Clay Banks

Choosing the best hiking boots can be tricky at times since it's not always clear what type of footwear you need to stay comfortable and supported on your adventures.

While a top tent for hiking may be essential for long-distance treks, it's perhaps equally as important to get the footwear right as the terrain can be challenging, so the stability hiking boots provide is essential to remaining injury-free.

Fortunately, we've compiled a list of our top picks using price, build, and reviews to inform our selection. As a result, we'll kick off your search in the best way possible, taking into account both current options and future great hiking boots. For example, consider the and wander x adidas TERREX Free Hiker 2s, which feature Boost foam in the midsoles for added comfort.

So, whether you're searching for a premium pair, like these boots from SCARPA, or you're searching for a pair of the best hiking boots under 100, like these Merrell Moab 3s, we've got you covered right here.

Don't worry if you have any questions along the way either because we've answered some of the most common queries at the end to help you figure out what exactly it is you're after from a pair of hiking boots. With that in mind, let's get into it...

Best hiking boots

  1. Salomon Quest 4 Element GTX
  2. Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP Snow
  3. Merrell Moab 3
  4. SCARPA Kailash Trek GTX
  5. KEEN Ridge Flex
Salomon Quest 4 Element GTX product image of a single black and khaki boot.
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Credit: Salomon

1. Salomon Quest 4 Element GTX

Best all-round hiking boots

Brand: Salomon
Material: Nubuck Leather

The Salomon Quest 4 hiking boots are extremely well-rounded and versatile shoes for tackling all kinds of terrain, including both mixed surfaces and technical paths.

They are made out of nubuck leather for durability which is then covered in GORE-TEX for water-resistant protection. They also feature high-cut collars for more protection and warmth around your ankles.

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Salomon boasts its ADV-C chassis is designed to keep you stable on uneven terrain too. So, no matter the surface, these boots will keep your stride fluid as you adventure.

All in all, these boots look to be a great option to consider to keep you comfortable and protected on your adventures.

Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP Snow product image of a pair of high black boots.
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Credit: Salomon

2. Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP Snow

Best winter hiking boots

Brand: Salomon
Material: Synthetic

Continuing with Salomon and its Toundra Pro CSWP Snow boots which, as their name suggests, are built to tackle Winter weather conditions.

For example, Salomon state these boots include NASA technology and Aerogels designed to keep your feet warm, even in temperatures as low as -40°.

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Additionally, they come with ClimaSalomon waterproofing and Sno-Cat treads to maximise traction across snow and ice, just like some of the best winter running shoes.

It's also worth mentioning they come with a 2-year warranty, thus making them a great pick to consider for tackling snowy terrain.

Merrell Moab 3 product image of a granite grey suede and mesh boot with blue accents.
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Credit: Merrell

3. Merrell Moab 3

Best budget hiking boots

Brand: Merrell
Material: Leather / Mesh

Merrell's Moab hiking boots were first introduced in 2007 and have undergone several adaptations over the years to enhance their performance for long-distance adventures.

The Merrell Moab 3s have caught our attention as some of the finest hiking boots on a budget, boasting an array of technologies dedicated to maximising comfort. Notably, they are equipped with Kinetic Fit ADVANCED insoles, featuring reinforced heel cushioning to enhance stability on rugged terrains.

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To ensure a lightweight design, the boots incorporate mesh panels, akin to top-tier winter running shoes. However, they don't compromise on protection, as they are also fortified with a waterproof GORE-TEX layer, keeping your feet dry while maintaining breathability.

The boots' traction is truly exceptional as well, thanks to the Vibram TC5+ outsoles with 5mm lugs engineered to provide superior grip and balance across uneven surfaces. All these features combined make the Merrell Moab 3s an excellent all-around choice for hiking enthusiasts.

SCARPA Kailash Trek GTX product image of a single grey boot with blue details.
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Credit: SCARPA

4. SCARPA Kailash Trek GTX

Best premium hiking boots

Material: Leather

From a budget to a slightly more premium pick, these SCARPA Kailash Trek GTX walking boots are made from 100% leather and feature GORE-TEX for waterproof protection.

On top of that, they come with a Vibram XS TREK outsole which, SCARPA boasts, gives you a dependable grip in a wide range of terrain including steep switchbacks to slick granite slabs.

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Also, you get reinforced moulded TPU toe caps which are designed to keep your feet safe from rocks and tree stumps whilst hiking.

Ultimately, if it's a high-quality pair of walking boots you're after, then we think it's hard to look past these SCARPA's.

KEEN Ridge Flex product image of a single brown and red boot.
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Credit: KEEN

5. KEEN Ridge Flex

Best hiking boots for wide feet

Brand: KEEN
Material: Leather / Recycled Plastic

These KEEN Ridge Flex boots look to be a great pick for wider feet thanks to their apparent flexibility that allows bending where other boots crack and weaken over time.

As expected, these boots are waterproof and come with high-traction 4mm multi-directional lugs which have been designed to provide grip in all conditions.

Read More: Best Garmin watches for tracking your walks

It's also worth noting that the mesh parts of these boots are made from recycled plastic, so they are built in a sustainable manner with the aim to give back to the environment.

Overall, we feel the KEEN Ridge Flex boots are well worth considering, especially if you're looking for something slightly wider to accommodate your feet.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

With so many different kinds of hiking boots available, you probably have a number of questions about them, but we're here to clear up some of the most common queries.

What are the differences between hiking and walking boots?

Hiking boots and walking boots are both types of footwear designed for outdoor activities, but they have some key differences in their construction and intended use.

For example, hiking boots are specifically designed for hiking and trekking activities, which involve traversing various terrains, including uneven and rugged surfaces, steep slopes, and sometimes even rocky or snowy trails. Walking boots, on the other hand, are more general-purpose footwear suitable for casual walking and light outdoor activities on even surfaces like city streets, parks, or well-maintained trails.

As a result, hiking boots are typically more rugged and durable compared to walking boots. They are constructed with sturdier materials, such as leather or synthetic uppers, reinforced toe caps, and thicker rubber outsoles, to provide better protection and withstand rougher conditions encountered during hiking. Walking boots often have softer uppers made from lightweight materials like mesh or synthetic fabrics, which offer more breathability and flexibility but may sacrifice durability in demanding environments.

Also, hiking boots generally provide greater ankle support than walking boots. They typically have higher-cut designs that extend above the ankle to stabilise and protect it during uneven terrain or when carrying heavy backpacks. Walking boots usually have lower-cut designs, resembling athletic shoes, which offer more freedom of movement but provide less ankle support. It's worth noting this isn't always the case though. Some walking boots feature high collars.

Another note is that hiking boots often incorporate waterproof or water-resistant technologies to keep your feet dry in wet conditions like rain, snow, or stream crossings. They may feature specialised membranes like Gore-Tex or have treated leather uppers. Walking boots may or may not have waterproofing features, as they are typically designed for drier environments or light rain on a daily basis.

As a result, it's important to consider the specific activity and terrain you'll be encountering to choose the appropriate footwear. Hiking boots are best suited for more challenging hikes and rugged terrains, while walking boots are better for casual walks and less demanding outdoor activities on even surfaces.

Are hiking boots comfortable?

Hiking boots can sometimes be quite stiff and may take a little while to break in, but they've definitely vastly improved in recent years. For example, the Merrell Moab 3s feature contoured footbeds with extra arch and heel support to maximise comfort during long treks.

Also, hiking boots typically come with a ton of padding for protection and support, particularly around your ankles, which should add to the levels of comfort.

That said, it's important to get the fit right to maximise comfort. Clarks recommends leaving about a finger's width of space between your longest toe and the end of your shoe, something which we feel can be used to determine what size hiking boots to go for.

Most manufacturers come with a handy size chart to compare if you're really unsure. Check out our guide to measuring your shoe size to help you get started.

What is GORE-TEX?

Simply put, GORE-TEX is a durable, breathable waterproof, and windproof fabric often used to cover outdoor clothing and footwear.

It's made from expanded ePTFE which may sound confusing, but it essentially creates a fabric that blocks rain, but also still allows sweat to escape to keep whatever's under it dry.

How do you lace hiking boots?

There are many different ways of lacing a pair of hiking boots, but one of the most popular methods, as described by GORE-TEX, is to cross them over the tongue, then finish things off with an overhand knot.

However, another approach you can take is to use a surgeon’s knot which essentially achieves the same goal as the overhand, but is often regarded as a little more secure to help prevent your heel from slipping.

To tie a surgeon's knot, simply complete an overhand knot, then loop a lace underneath one more time to increase friction and improve tension.

You can also use the surgeon knot as you work your way up your boots to take things a step further, just make sure you leave enough shoelace left to tie the two ends together at the top.

Do you need to break in hiking boots?

In short, yes; however, different boots will require different amounts of time in order to break in fully.

For instance, lighter hiking boots may only need a short break in period or might even fit comfortably as soon as you take them out of the box.

However, thicker, more robust hiking boots, particularly ones made of leather, will likely require a little more time to break in as the leather needs to soften up in order to conform to the shape of your feet.

The simplest way to do this is to just wear them around your house or during short walks outside whilst wearing the socks you're planning to wear whilst hiking. Deliberately walking on uneven terrain may help speed up the process.

There's not really a set time frame on how long it will take to break in your hiking boots. Therefore, our recommendation would be to gradually increase the length of your walks once you start to feel your boots loosening up and becoming more comfortable.

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