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 and, as a result, kick off your search in the best way possible.
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 2s, 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
- Best all-round hiking boots - Salomon Quest 4 Element GTX
- Best winter hiking boots - Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP Snow
- Best budget hiking boots - Merrell Moab 2
- Best premium hiking boots - SCARPA Kailash Trek GTX
- Best hiking boots for wide feet - KEEN Ridge Flex
Best all-round hiking boots - Salomon Quest 4 Element GTX
The Salomon Quest 4 hiking boots appear to be extremely well-rounded and versatile shoes for tackling all kinds of terrain.
They are made out of nubuck leather for durability which is then covered in GORE-TEX for water-resistant protection.
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Moreover, Salomon boasts its ADV-C chassis is designed to keep you stable on uneven terrain so, no matter the surface, these boots should have you covered.
All in all, these boots look to be a great option to consider to keep you comfortable and protected on your adventures.
Best winter hiking boots - Salomon Toundra Pro CSWP Snow
Back to 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.
Best budget hiking boots - Merrell Moab 2
If you're after a top pair of walking boots for a relatively inexpensive price, then these Merrell Moab 2s could be for you.
They come with Merrell's M Select DRY technology to seal out any water and let moisture escape to help you stay dry when you're on the move.
Furthermore, Merrell combines suede leather with mesh to keep the weight of these boots to a minimum, but also includes air cushions in the heels to absorb shock and ensure you remain comfortable whilst hiking.
On the whole, we feel these Merrell boots are well worth considering, particularly if you're a beginner looking for a relatively inexpensive pair of boots to get you started.
Best premium hiking boots - SCARPA Kailash Trek GTX
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.
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.
Best hiking boots for wide feet - KEEN Ridge Flex
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.
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 about hiking boots
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 and walking boots are essentially the same things, however, walking shoes can sometimes be slightly lighter and occasionally aimed more toward comfort.
By contrast, hiking boots are sometimes slightly more rugged, with thicker soles and stiffer uppers to protect your feet from debris on a trail.
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 2s 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.