Salomon Hiking Boots on a Mountain Rock

A Beginner’s Guide to Buying The Best Hiking Boots

Finding the best hiking boots can be a daunting task especially if you don’t have any idea about where to start. For an amazing outdoor adventure, your hiking boots need to sync with your feet and of course, the terrain you choose.

Simply put, you need to determine that the hiking boots you have are the best fit for your foot and the place you’ve decided to go for hiking.

Different Types of Hiking Boots For Men And Women

You can get an exciting variety of choices from ultra-light hiking boots to ones featuring DURA leather and waterproof lining. Understanding a little more about the different kinds of hiking boots can help you refine your selection and make a better decision.

women hiking boots display on a rocky shore

When it comes to selecting the best value hiking boots, forget about the looks, colors, sizes and the features your friend recommended. The main factors you need to consider at this stage are comfort, fit, durability, weight, water resistance and stability.

Making Sense of The Best Light-Weight And Leather Hiking Boots

Generally hiking boots or footwear can be divided into four main categories:

  • Trail shoes
  • Light-weight hiking boots
  • ​Backpacking boots
  • Heavy-duty or mountaineering boots

Trail shoes, as you can guess provide moderate cushioning and are ideal for shorter hikes. Thanks to their light-weight construction and excellent foot support, you can also use them for routine casual wear too.

Light-weight hiking boots are ideal for hikers walking on easy to moderate terrain. These boots offer more foot support and cushioning than light-weight trail shoes without adding extra weight. While these boots are ideal for beginner hikers, they might not work well in extremely rugged environment.

light weight brown hiking boots

Backpacking boots are especially designed to make your tougher terrain adventures exciting. These boots provide adequate support and cushioning to your feet and you can wear them while carrying a heavy backpack. Most backpacking boots have a high cut design that wraps right above your ankles for excellent support.

Remember that backpacking boots fall into the mid-weight category, i.e. they are slightly heavier than light-weight hiking boots. In addition, they are not the best hiking boots for icy terrains and technical mountainous or alpine ascents.

Heavy-duty mountaineering boots are extremely durable and provide maximum protection. They have thick, stiff soles and some include additional insulation to protect your feet in icy cold conditions.

Most mountaineering boots are waterproof and are excellent for significant elevation mountaineering. Not to forget, they are pricier than other models. If you don’t want to end up with dozens of foot blisters, make sure your boots are well broken before attempting the adventure.

Hiking Boots And Weather Protection

If you prefer hiking when weather is pleasant, standard trail shoes and light-weight hiking boots are good to go. However, if you are likely to encounter rugged terrain and wet and icy cold conditions, investing in waterproof hiking boots is the way to go!

Some summer hiking boots and even other models have waterproof breathable lining built into the shoes to prevent moisture from reaching your feet. These breathable linings (like Gore-Tex fabric) provide excellent protection from moisture and keep the inside of your boot dry.

hiking boots worn on rocks next to a stream

Remember that even the best hiking boots can become problematic if they absorb moisture so make sure that the model you choose is waterproof.

Full-grain, ankle high leather hiking boots can be your best bet for extended trips and rugged terrain. These boosts are durable and offer excellent water resistance. While full-grain leather boots are not light, they’re still a good choice if you plan to carry a heavy backload for an extended adventure.

Hiking boots made with split-grain leather also feature nylon or nylon mesh to create the perfect boot that offers excellent breathability.

The Importance of The Right Fit

Well, getting the right fit is one of the most talked about aspects of hiking boots. After all, the last thing you would want during hiking is a painful blister. If you want to find hiking boots that fit you well, make sure you try them with the right kind of hiking socks.

That’s right. Simple details like toe seams and overall thickness of the socks can make all the difference when you buy boots for your next adventure. If you don’t have hiking socks at hand, it’s always good to buy socks and hiking boots at the same time.

If you talk about the shoe that fits you well, you need to pay attention to how it feels on your feet. Simply put, you should ignore the number and other superficial aspects such as color and brand name and choose footwear that is comfortable.

The shoes you buy should have enough space for your fingers to move around. However your feet should never slop or torture your bones. The efficiency of your best hiking boots depends on how well your shoes fit, but the models you choose also need to have the right shape and adequate padding.

If you have a model with stiffer sole, there needs to be enough padding to counteract the effect of a rigid sole. Remember, hiking boots with a stiff sole can become immensely painful on steep up-hills and long trails.

man hiking boots worn by a hiker on a rock

Internal ankle padding you find in boots is an amazing feature that’s critical to your comfort. Because you would be walking for a long distance, you should look for hiking boots that fit securely around your heel and ankle and eliminate excess movement.

Most blisters occur in the heel region and no matter how hard you try, you cannot avoid heel friction. To make your life easier however, choose a model that is appropriate for your terrain and time of trail. Another way to reduce blisters and chaffing to make sure your boots are well broken in before you head out to the adventure.

What Are The Best Hiking Boots to Get This Season?

Here are our top 5 hiking boots!

Merrell Men's Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

This waterproof light-weight hiking boot is a great choice for all your summer and wet weather outdoor adventures. Nylon ventilator mesh along with waterproof DURA leather offer ample flexibility and support and at the same time, keep your feet breathing.

The good thing about these boots is that you can achieve maximum durability and waterproof protection while keeping foot odor at bay. You also don’t need to worry about abrasions, blisters, bumps and discomfort thanks to synthetic leather toe bumpers and heel wraps.

Merrell Men's Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Ideal for all-day wear, Merrell hiking boots offer reliable performance on both wet and dry surfaces. Fortunately Merrel Moab ventilator mid is one of the super breathable, light-weight hiking boots you would come across. And you should definitely consider them when going out on hot and dry trails as the shoes will keep your feet cool, dry and comfy.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that these shoes provide little protection from pointy rocks and other irritating trail debris like twigs. So in summary this ultra-light hiker is a good choice if you would be going out in the heat and don’t need any sort of waterproofing for your feet.

If you want a product that offers waterproofing, go for Merrell version of this boot featuring a GORE-TEX liner.

Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot

If active summer hiking is on your wish list, this highly breathable hiking boot should be the one you’re looking for. These breathable boots are constructed using DURA leather and feature nylon ventilator mesh.

Those of you, who hate sweaty, smelly feet after a long day of warm weather hiking, would love the comfort and ample durability and flexibility offered by the Nylon mesh linings and compression molded EVA midsoles.

Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots

Merrel mid height boots are ideal for long-lasting performance during the summer season. As stated earlier, nylon mesh lining wicks away moisture from your skin to the outside and keeps your feet dry. The protective rubber toe bumpers minimize abrasion and friction and more importantly, provide the much needed durability. You can use Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator mid Hiking Boot both on wet and dry surfaces.

Columbia Men's Newton Ridge plus II Hiking Boot

What you get here is an excellent combination of durable and light-weight construction. The design is classic, which makes it appropriately suited for casual hangouts. For those of you who are looking for a high-performance hiking boot for winter adventure or alpine terrain, this is not the right choice. But Columbia Newton Ridge plus II offers some interesting advantages.

This model is the latest version of hiking boots offered by the brand and isn’t too pricey. You get a good bargain as these shoes retail for about $90. If you talk about comfort during basic hiking, the 15.9 oz boot is fairly light and easy on the feet. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that the construction material is very thin which means this pretty boot can get really cold in snow or sub zero temperatures.

Columbia Men's Newton Ridge plus II Hiking Boots

Newton Ridge II plus users are impressed with the traction ability. These boots in fact are as effective of the most popular rubber formulas. As stated light, thin material used in construction doesn’t offer much ankle stability, but if you want to get serious light, Newton Ridge plus II may be your best option.

The waterproofing is effective thanks to synthetic material mesh, but again you cannot use this light-weight for winter or alpine adventures as the thin leather exterior can freeze faster. So in summary, these boots offer a good value for money for casual hikes. That being said, you can think about having them as your first great pair of boots for easy trails.

Timberland Men's Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex mid Hiking Boot

This classic design leather hiking boot has one of the best lacing systems. There’s well padded lining to comfort your feet on the trail. While the sole looks firm, it is flexible at the front of your foot and you would simply love the intricate mesh and leather pattern in bold colors.

If you talk about support, the removable EVA foot beds support your feet and the full leather exterior is surprisingly flexible. Perhaps one of the most exciting features of the Timberland Chocorua Trail hiking boots is the ‘Braking-Supporting-Flexing-Propelling’ system. This simply means as you walk on the trail, the boot will allow your feet to move through its full natural range of motion. The excellent braking system ensures that you remain steady while hiking uphill or moving down.

Timberland Men's Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex mid Hiking Boots

As far as traction goes, the solid rubber soles keep the boots gripped in mud, sand and even on granite surfaces. Thanks to Gore-Tex lining, these boots offer worthy and reliable waterproofing and breathability.

Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot

Salomon has created a mid-weight hiking boot that is comfortable and functional. This particular model, i.e. the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX can be your best bet to cover long distances fairly quickly. That’s right. This high performance model is durable, and stable enough for the most rugged terrains. The additional advantage is that the 4D advanced chassis provide excellent foot support and the innovative sole provides unbeatable traction across a wide range of surfaces.

Hikers and backpackers are particularly impressed with the unique heel design of the boot that allows them to move forward faster. That being said, this is the only footwear you need to sprint through the toughest terrains comfortably and more importantly, as fast as you can.

The first thing you would notice looking at these boots is the slightly raised heel design, but you don’t have to worry. These boots are comfortable and even the forefoot area has enough space for your fingers to move around.

Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boots

As far as breathability is concerned, you can’t go wrong with the Gore-Tex breathable lining. This model is rated high when it comes to water resistance, stability, ankle support, traction (especially if you heading up and down on rocky surface) and durability. When used with a thick wool sock, Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX is the perfect winter hiking boot as well.


Hiking is cool and there’s something amazing about heading out into the nature. Just in case you’re considering adventure anytime soon, it’s better to take care of your feet and invest in some high-quality footwear. Here’s hoping that you can now find the fastest and most comfortable hiking boots for all kinds of terrain.

Remember, there aren’t too many things more painful than hiking up the mountain with dozens of blisters. If you’re thinking about buying some gear mentioned here, don’t wait any longer. Get your favorite pair of backpacking shoes today.