The 8 Best Men's Hiking Boots and Shoes for Any Terrain (2024)

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Trail running shoes are the most popular footwear on-trail these days, which may lead you to think traditional hiking boots are on the way out. Our big test this year suggests something different: Most of the 41 models we tested proved emphatically that proper hiking boots and shoes make backpacking easier and more comfortable, protect our feet and ankles, and stick to roots, rocks, and dirt.

But the push to go fast does permeate the entire market these days, which is great. It means lighter weights, a nimbler feel, and smoother striding, no matter the style of boot. The very best hiking shoes and boots for men—the ones that made this list—will help you walk with less effort, leaving you more energy to go further and faster while savoring the journey along the way.

At a Glance

All gear in this guide was tested by multiple reviewers. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. This supports our mission to get more people active and outside. Learn more.

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Editors’ Choice

Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX

$190 at Amazon $190 at Running Warehouse

Weight: 12.6 oz (men’s) / 11 oz (women’s)
Sizes: 7-15 (men’s) / 5-12 (women’s)

Pros and Cons
Springy trail runner fit and feel
Lacks backpacking support

Trail runner-based boots tend to skew in one direction or the other—either they’re too light to support heavy loads, but feel great at speed, or they’re too overbuilt to move fast. One of the lightest high-top boots we’ve ever tried, the Ultra Ridge GTX might just be the first fusion to hit the bullseye. “It’s as comfortable as the most comfortable running shoe, but with the ankle support of a light boot,” gushed tester Patrick Lowkes after a 17-mile hike and run through New York’s Tongue Mountain Range. A Pebax-based foam insert in the midsole—the same kind used in bouncy, marathon-racing super shoes—is remarkably comfortable and lively-feeling underfoot.

It never felt squishy or unstable thanks to a firmer EVA frame below and around the insert and a lightly padded high-top that provides lateral support. It excels over a variety of surfaces: an unobtrusive rock plate prevents bruising while a grippy, durable, chevron-studded outsole digs into mucky and slippery surfaces. Testing them through a soggy New England summer, Lowkes says the Gore-Tex liner didn’t overheat in humid, 75-degree weather, deflected all-day rain, and emerged from a four-inch-deep mud puddle unsodden.

And there’s year-round utility, too. Outside’s senior running editor, Jonathan Beverly, found there was enough ankle height to keep snow and slush from spilling over the top. Backpackers who kept their weight under 30 pounds loved the Ultra Ridge GTX, but the soft upper cuff doesn’t offer enough support for heavier loads. For trail runners headed into crap weather, the boot-averse, and anyone else who ranks weight and spring above all else, the Ultra Ridge GTX is the most comfortable and speedy hiker we’ve tried.

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Best for Backpacking

Lowa Trek Evo GTX Mid ($340)

$340 at Lowa
Weight: 1.4 lbs (men’s) / 1 lb (women’s)
Sizes: 7.5-14 (men’s) / 5-10.5 (women’s)

Pros and Cons
Excellent grip

Lowa calls the Trek Evo a fastpacking boot, but our testers swear its sweet spot is backpacking. It’s certainly energetic enough for moving quickly down the trail: For a six-inch-tall hiker, it’s relatively lightweight, thanks to an all-synthetic upper with just a thin TPU film for toe and heel protection. (Despite the lightweight construction, however, our sample still looks new after nearly 100-miles of testing.) Cutouts in the tongue and heel enhance the forward flex.

Even more impressive? As testers added pounds to their pack, the boots never wavered. The TPU midsole wrapped around the sides of the foot and worked with stiffer synthetic panels on the upper to cradle and support the ankle, while three open eyelets allowed micro adjustments. And the Vibram Rock Trac outsole provided reliable grip on a variety of surfaces, including rock edging and smearing. Climbing Vancouver Island’s Victoria Peak with a 30-pound pack, the boots provided a stable platform for mountain guide Bill Phipps. “They made me feel more confident, especially carrying a heavy load,” he says.

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Best for Carrying Heavy Loads

Meindl Eurolight Hunter Uninsulated

$295 at Meindl

Weight: 1.5 lbs (unisex)
Sizes: 7-14 in D width, 8-14 in EE

Pros and Cons
Off-trail performance
Tall and heavy

As the name suggests, Meindl designed these 9-inch-tall boots for hunting— which means they’re stellar for heavy loads and bushwacking. After plodding along logging roads, rolling down trails, and scrambling up steep hillsides, our testers say the Eurolight Hunters stand out in how nimble they feel for such a burly boot. The waxed, full-grain Nubuck leather upper with eight lace eyelets reaches well above the ankle, and a polyurethane midsole creates a stable base to carry more than 50 pounds.

Despite all that stability, the Eurolight Hunter isn’t particularly stiff—cutouts in the leather along the tongue and in the achilles area and gusseting allow for more flex and fluid movement. They required only a couple of day hikes to break in and were easy to pull on and take off, says JF Marleau, a sea kayak guide who tested them in the B.C. Coast Range while hiking and hunting. Bashing around off trail, the outsole’s deep round lugs and sharp edges provided excellent grip and stability in a variety of on- and off-trail surfaces.

Even more impressive was the Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable liner. While the all-leather upper got sweaty in temperatures above 65 degrees or when going hard, this boot was impermeable. “It was raining, and I had to cross many creeks,” says Marleau. “At the end of the day, my feet were dry and happy.”

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Best for Scrambling

Zamberlan Salathe Trek GTX

$330 at REI

Weight: 1.1 lbs (unisex)
Sizes: 7.5-13 (unisex)

Pros and Cons

Zamberlan’s Salathe Trek GTX is the new, mid-cut big brother of the popular Salathe approach shoe. The brand kept the foot-conforming suede upper (backed by a Gore-Tex liner), the to-the-toe lacing for a snug fit, a chunky Vibram outsole with smearing and edging sections, and a 360-degree rubber rand to protect against scree and rock gashes.

To handle pack weight and the uncertainties of route-finding, Zamberlan raised the ankle to six inches high with just a bit of foam for support. The extra height and waterproof membrane were appreciated in soggy conditions: The hydrophobic suede deflected melting snow while the Gore-Tex liner stood up to an all-day soaker. The liner also upped breathability, which was above average for an all-leather boot. (Testers noticed some clamminess above 65 degrees.)

To maintain walking flexibility, Zamberlan added a cutout at the ankle crease, which allows for natural motion in combination with a springy, lightweight, dual-density EVA midsole. “They felt light on my feet and springy on the ground,” says tester Jakob Schiller, who wore them scrambling in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains of New Mexico. There’s enough boot here for gear-intensive trips and backpacking, unless you load up with more than 35 pounds on the back, when an ankle roll starts to feel inevitable.

Otherwise, Schiller says, what stands out is the quality: thick suede leather, durable rubber rands, high stitch counts, and a resoleable design: “They’re built to last.”

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Best Mountain-to-City Hiking Shoe

Salewa Puez Knit PTX

$240 at Salewa

Weight: 1 lb (men’s) / 13 oz (women’s)
Sizes: 7-14 (men’s) / 6-11 (women’s)

Pros and Cons
Out-of-box comfort
Not stable enough for backpacking

The Puez Knit PTX Low is the rare hiker that can pull double-duty on a variety of trails and blend in seamlessly around town. For folks who care more about utility than looks, the upper is a knitted nylon and ripstop polyester that stretches to create a conforming fit. A waterproof-breathable membrane and full wrap rubber rand add water and scuff protection. A dual-density EVA midsole (partially made with hemp) adds stiffness and cushioning.

Wearing them right out of the box, tester John Waters climbed a steep, muddy trail, crossed hard-packed summer snow, and scrambled up rock slabs to snag a Vancouver Island peak without even the suggestion of a blister or hot spot. The outsole has big, chunky lugs covering most of the shoe, with a smearing area at the toe. It’s a versatile combo that shed mud and stuck to slick rocks. “They have amazing grip and awesome stability for a shoe,” Waters says, although their low cut and softness meant they were not up to overnight loads.

For around town, one tester found that the PTX Low’s were the perfect traveling shoe, cushioning miles of pavement wandering. Their earth-tone hues and multi-textured fabric helped them blend into the background for wearing into restaurants and shops post-adventure.

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Best for Speed Hiking

Oboz Katabatic Wind Low

$185 at REI $185 at Amazon

Weight: 12.3 oz (men’s) / 10 oz (women’s)
Sizes: 8-14 (men’s) / 6-11 (women’s)

Pros and Cons
Cushy ride
Good value
No weather protection
Built for light-loads

As comfortable as a pair of runners, the Katabatic Wind Lows are made for going fast. Oboz borrowed tech from running shoes, including a forked carbon-fiber plate, nitrogen-infused foam (which is springier and more cushioned than typical EVA foam), and a rockered outsole. “So cushioned I never got sore feet and found myself wearing them all the time,” says Alabama-based tester Seth Kromis. On heel strike, the combo seemed to absorb energy, roll to the toe, and accelerate the foot into the next stride, says Kromis.

The mesh upper—highly breathable but not weatherproof at all—has TPU inserts along the forefoot for durability and in the heel for a touch of rigidity. “It’s the perfect balance of support and bounce that made me feel like breaking into a run,” says Bozeman-based Allison Bodznick, who used the shoes as trail runners and city walkers. The chevron-shaped tread pattern, enhanced by the proprietary sticky rubber compound, provided solid traction on a variety of surfaces. “I could feel the treads sticking to the ground like frog feet,” says Bodznick. These shoes are built for speed and will last a lot longer than trail runners, but watch that pack weight: even on a day hike, the Katabatic Wind Lows started to feel unsupportive when loads exceeded 20 pounds.

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Best for Weekend Backpacking

Asolo Falcon Evo Jacquard GV

$240 at REI $240 at Asolo

Weight: 1.1 lbs (men’s and women’s)
Sizes: 7.5-13 (men’s) / 6-10.5 (women’s)

Pros and Cons
Poor grip in gravel

Don’t let the mid-height of these boots fool you—the Falcon Evo Jacquard GV’s are speed demons. For one, they’re lightweight, weighing eight ounces less than similarly-constructed hikers, thanks to a feathery woven polyester blend rather than suede or leather, and a coating of polyurethane along the base of the upper in lieu of a rubber rand. Webbing daisy chain eyelets and just a thin bit of foam cushioning around the heel and tongue cut even more weight.

The exception to the gram-counting? The midsole: A dual-density EVA that provides solid cushioning and stability. “They’re extremely comfortable,” says Lindsay Elms, who tested the boots over 30 miles of running, hiking, and mountain climbing around his home on Vancouver Island. “The boot responded well to quick changes in rough terrain and was malleable without being too soft.” There’s just enough structure for light backpacking and off-trail day hikes carrying up to 30 pounds.

Elms found the Vibram Megagrip outsole worked well in mud, dirt, and rock, but was less predictable in loose gravel and sand. The Gore-Tex liner, which rises nearly to the top of the boot, keeps feet dry when low cut shoes would be underwater. Durability is solid, but we don’t expect the lightweight material mix will hold up over the long term compared to the other mids in test—an acceptable tradeoff for such a lightweight boot.

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Beefiest Low-Top

Scarpa Moraine Low WP

$169 at Scarpa

Weight: 1.4 lbs (men’s) / 1.1 lbs (women’s)
Sizes: 7-13 (men’s) / 6-10 (women’s)

Pros and Cons
Built-in RECCO locator

Opting for an airy low-top doesn’t necessarily mean less stability and protection than a tall boot. The Moraine Mid WP is prime example: In addition to dual-density EVA cushioning, Scarpa added a nylon medial shank and a stiff TPU counter to the shoe, which wraps high around the heel. The Moraines don’t have the bouncy feel of a speedier hiker—they feel quite stiff, in fact—but compensate by smoothing out uneven ground and providing a surprising amount of ankle support for a low-cut hiker.

“They have boot-sized stability without the clunk,” says category manager Ryan Stuart. “After hard hikes, the added protection left my legs feeling fresher.” He found the Moraines were most at home on day trips, but he didn’t wish for taller boots (the Moraine comes in a mid height as well) while hauling a 25 pound load into Cream Lake on Vancouver Island or route-finding in Coast Range scree. And on a rainy fall hike, the oiled nubuck leather and recycled mesh upper, backed by a waterproof-breathable membrane, kept his feet dry. After more than 50-miles of use, the Moraine Low WP’s showed no signs of wear.

How to Choose the Right Hiking Boots


The most important consideration for hiking boots is fit. They should feel snug (but not tight) everywhere except around the toes, where you want a little extra room to accommodate foot swelling and to keep piggies from hitting the end of the shoe on downhills. All footwear brands come with their own idiosyncrasies—finding the exact right fit will take trial-and-error. So it’s best to try boots on before purchasing. Ideally, go to a brick-and-mortar retailer later in the day when your feet have swelled a little. Bring your favorite socks and a footbed if you prefer an after-market one. Once you’ve found a pair that seems to fit, resist the urge to hit the trail right away. Instead, wear them around the house for a few hours. This will give you an early sense of any issues while retaining the option of returning them.

Hiking Style

Before you start trying pairs on, think about the type of hiking you’ll be doing. For light and fast hiking, a lower cut and softer, more flexible midsole is preferable. For heavy pack loads or mountainous terrain, an above-the-ankle boot and stiffer midsole may work better. These burlier boots often have shanks and heel counters, which add even more rigidity and support. Many boots and trail runners also come with a rock plate for protection from bruising on sharp trail protrusions.


Finally, focus on trail conditions and environment. For rainy or wet trails, a waterproof membrane will keep your feet dry. For a dedicated summer hiker or for hot and dry conditions, a mesh boot will breathe considerably better and dry out quickly. Turn the boot over and look at the outsole pattern. Most lug patterns offer versatile grip, but in general, wet trails benefit from a deeper and wider lug pattern, which digs into and sheds mud better. A sharp inside edge and lug-less smearing zone around the toe help with scrambling on rock and slabs.

How We Test

  • Number of testers: 17
  • Number of products: 41
  • Number of miles hiked: Pushing 700
  • Number of peaks climbed: 23

Mostly we just let our testers do what they do best: walk. We called in 41 different hiking boots and shoes and handed them out to 17 testers with instructions to put on some serious miles. They took short hikes and 30-mile backpacking trips, on-trail and off. They scrambled up peaks and down canyons, logging more than 700 miles in total. As they trekked along, we asked them to consider everything from fit to grip, cushioning to stability. Because pack weight can influence all these variables, we had them hike with both light loads and heavy packs. And to understand how boots and shoes performed in different weather conditions and environments, we spread testers and samples across the continent, from coastal British Columbia to New England’s windy summits.

Meet Our Lead Testers

Ryan Stuart has been lacing up for more than 30 years. Growing up in Alberta, Canada, he started hiking as a teenager on the world class trails of Banff National Park, before moving on to the coastal hikes and lonely mountain trails of Vancouver Island, where he now lives. His hiking resume spans the world, from Australia to Ireland, northern Canada to the U.S. southwest.

Lindsay Elms was running ultra races and knocking off Fastest Known Times long before they were trendy. Originally from New Zealand, he’s lived on Vancouver Island for more than 30 years. He reckons he logged more than 50 hours of trail time testing hiking boots this year.

Podcaster and photographer Adam Sauerwein (@mradamx) lives out of his van, which makes it easy for him to do a lot of hiking. Like a lot. The host of The Pursuit podcast, he estimates he trekked more than 250 miles in two months of testing, mostly in upstate New York, but also in Pennsylvania and Arizona.

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. We do not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.

The 8 Best Men's Hiking Boots and Shoes for Any Terrain (2024)


Is there a difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots? ›

Hiking shoes take the best elements of hiking boots and trail runners and combine them into one. They are lighter and more comfortable than hiking boots, but generally offer the same level of protection (minus the cuff around your ankle).

What is the ideal type of shoes to use when hiking or trekking? ›

If you're going for multi-day hiking, hiking boots are the way to go. They give your feet more support, protection, and traction on any kind of terrain and weather condition. Meanwhile, hiking shoes or trail running shoes are great for short hiking trips.

What would be the best footwear to use for well defined trails? ›

Synthetic/Leather Boots

Synthetic/leather (aka. composite) boots have been one of the most popular choices in backpacking footwear for many years. The waterproof uppers consist of synthetic or a fusion of synthetic and leather materials such as suede or nubuck.

Which hiking boots are most waterproof? ›

During this testing period the Salomon X Ultra 4 came out on top, with a top-notch combination of comfort, traction, waterproofing, and breathability. We've listed the best picks for waterproof hiking boots, whether you're hitting a local route or traveling to trails around the world.

What boots do Navy Seals wear in water? ›

Used by river professionals, rescue agencies and Navy SEALS, the NRS Workboot Wetshoe is the hardest-working river boot on the market today. When you need a water shoe that works as hard as you do, on and off the water, the NRS Workboot is your best choice.

Should I size up or down in hiking boots? ›

In fact, when it comes to hiking shoes, you should order up a half-size. That said, they shouldn't be too loose anywhere in the shoe except for your toes. If your foot is sliding around inside your shoe even when they're tied tight, that's not a good fit (also a recipe for blisters and skinned feet).

Is it OK to wear hiking boots for walking? ›

Hiking shoes are designed to provide support and protection for a variety of terrains, so they can certainly handle walking on flat, even surfaces. However, they might be a bit overkill for casual, everyday walking and may not be as comfortable or lightweight as shoes designed specifically for walking.

Is it better to have loose or tight hiking boots? ›

Your boot or shoe should feel comfortably snug and supportive, but not tight. Be sure there's enough room in the toe box for you to wiggle your toes, but not so much that your foot slides or shifts around. Adjust the lacing to get just the right snugness—numb or tingly feet can mean your laces are too tight.

How many pairs of hiking boots do I need? ›

Many people want a boot that can be used for all types of trail and terrain, but if you are an enthusiastic hiker our recommendation is that your should have at least two different pairs.

Is Merrell a good brand of shoes? ›

These shoes were made for running paved roads or rugged trails while adding stability. Definitely a great addition to my collection and will be well used this fall. Another standout quality – in a world of waste – is that Merrell is a sustainable brand. They build their shoes from recycled polyester, rubber, and EVA.

Are Hokas good for hiking? ›

Hoka's Anacapa 2 Mid GTX stands out among the hiking boot competition for its over-the-ankle coverage in a light, well-cushioned, and smooth-riding design. Salomon's popular X Ultra 4 Mid GTX shares many of those same features but strikes us as the more well-rounded pick.

What sort of boot or shoe is identified as being the best choice in rough terrain and over a long distance? ›

Walking boots are great for walking long distances uphill and across uneven terrains, although they are noticeably heavier than walking shoes. This is necessary for mountain hiking, or off-the-beaten-track trails where the path underfoot is likely to keep changing.

Are hiking boots good for everyday use? ›

Can hiking boots be worn casually? Hiking boots have many properties that make them a great choice for everyday wear. They are comfortable with many options offering excellent ankle support; many styles have waterproof technology to keep your feet dry all year round.

Is it OK to wear trail shoes on the road? ›

Because of the softer rubber, wearing trail-running shoes on the road, where they will regularly pound and rub on hard pavement, can wear the soles out more quickly than if you stick to the softer surface of a trail.

Which waterproof boot is best? ›

Our favorite boot for support and comfort is the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex.
  • Read more: Hoka Kaha 2 GTX review.
  • Read more: Women's La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review.
  • Read more: Men's Moab 3 Mid Waterproof review.
  • Read more: Women's Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP review.
  • Read more: Men's Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex review.
6 days ago

Which boots are really waterproof? ›

Best Overall: Blondo Prestly Waterproof Leather Bootie

Reviewer Highlight: "I live in the PNW and was in search of a stylish, sturdy and waterproof pair of boots to brave our gloomy weather. These fit the bill! Not only are they great in the rain, but they are extremely comfortable.

Are any walking boots truly waterproof? ›

Are they waterproof? The majority of modern walking boots will be waterproof. This is because of a sock-like lining built into the boot. GORE-TEX® lined walking boots are by far the best known, but there are many, high quality options available.

What is the difference between GORE-TEX and waterproof boots? ›

The central differences between GORE-TEX and normal waterproofs is the former's fabric reliability, versatility and broad range of uses. Everyday generic waterproofs are usually made from PVC, polyurethane, rubber or vinyl materials.


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