La Sportiva: Best Mountaineering Hiking Boots
La Sportiva specializes in mountaineering boots with more than two dozen styles available. The company developed a line that offers plenty of support and protection against hazards and the elements without being clunky.
La Sportiva took extra care with key features to reduce wear and tear while increasing protection. For example, the Trango Tower Extreme GTX mountaineering boots stand out thanks to two design features.
The uppers offer more protection against rocks, branches, and general wear thanks to the Honeycomb Guard insets at key points on the boot. Plus, the collar tip gaiter design adds protection and keeps the feet warmer in snow and cold.
La Sportiva also offers an option for skilled hikers tackling technical terrain. The Nepal Cube GTX is versatile enough to manage everything from mixed terrain to vertical ice. The design includes flexible ankle gaiters and multiple Honeycomb Guard insets. Plus, the boot covers more of the lower leg and features an adjustable tongue for a custom fit.
Best Memory Foam Option: Skechers Afterburn Memory Foam Lace Up Sneakers
These hiking shoes by Skechers boast a super comfortable memory foam insole and a rubber outsole that provides excellent grip. Along with a mesh upper for added breathability, the shoes also feature a cushioned tongue that’ll keep the tops of your feet very comfortable. Over 34,000 Amazon customers are fans of the hiking shoes and have given them a 4.5-star rating. “Highly impressed with these shoes,” said one customer. “These fit perfectly and very pleasantly surprised with the memory foam. Takes a little getting used to, but not in a bad way, just a something new and different way. The color and build is very high quality and should last many many years I imagine. These are nice enough to wear out and about as well as a good hike.”
To buy: , from $42
Salomon Quest 4d 3 Gtx
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX is a redesign of the classic 4D 2 GTX and is the premier backpacking boot in Salomons line. The Quest 4D is known for extreme comfort, durability, waterproofing, and stability, most of all. Its a heavy boot made with premium Nubuck leather and a thick cushion, so is typically overkill for light trails or ultralight backpackers. But if youre heading to wet, rugged terrain and have a narrow foot, you simply cant do better than the Quest 4D. Salomon updated the outsole, and it now uses the classic Contragrip technology for incredible traction and toughness. The 4D Advanced Chassis allows a smooth ride and foot flexion, and the boot is known for all-day comfort. Read the full Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX review.
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Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof boots are a new version of the classic Moab, a shoe that was a huge hit in boot and hiking shoe form. The Moab 2 has updated suede, slightly different lace hooks, and a different look. Its known for a wide and comfy fit, and works out of the box for most people. The Merrell in-house waterproofing works, but not as well as other hiking boots on this list. Overall you get traction, decent comfort, and reasonable durability for the price. Dont expect hundreds of miles on tough terrain, though.
The Danner Mountain 600 is a hiking boot that falls between casual, workwear, and a trail shoe. Danner is known for work boots, and with the release of the Mountain 600, the company has created a lightweight waterproof hiker with a classic look. The shoe uses Danners Danner Dry waterproof protection, has a suede leather upper , a new Vibram SPE midsole, and a Vibram Fuga outsole. They are light, feel-good out of the box, and work well for trails or around town. You can take them on longer backpacking trips, but seam durability is an issue on gnarly trails.
- Best for: Wilderness Backpacker
Merrell Alverstone Mid Waterproof Womens Hiking Boots
Those looking for good ankle support and stability on those rougher trails will want to step into these Merrell womens hiking boots. The suede leather and mesh upper and rubber toe cap guards keep your feet protected from debris and the elements, while the waterproof membrane keeps water and moisture out.
These mid-profile hiking boots are as comfortable as they are sturdy, thanks to the molded nylon arch shank, removable contoured insoles, and the compression-molded flexible EVA midsole. The companys air cushion technology helps to absorb shock in the heels, and the outsoles feature a 5mm lug depth that allows the shoes to grip onto a range of smooth and rugged surfaces. The bellows tongue also helps to keep out dirt and rocks.
The heel pull tabs make it fairly easy to step into this pair, and each shoe weighs 13 ounces. Bonus: these shoes also feature an anti-microbial interior to cut down on odors.
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Best Hiking Boot Brands:
- Rock climbing
Lowa has exclusively been making footwear since 1923 and therefore it is no surprise that their hiking boots are of the finest quality. Lowa hiking boots utilize high-quality materials and are in general lighter than competitive hiking boots. Despite being lightweight, they provide good support, cushioning and durability not least because Lowa only utilizes polyurethane midsoles which have much better characteristics than the more commonly used EVA midsoles. Speaking of quality, Lowa also produces boots exclusively in Europe, unlike many other brands which have moved production to Asia where the quality control is often questionable. Lowa has been popular in Europe ever since its inception and now it seems that its also gaining traction in North America and other big markets. The most popular products from Lowa are the Renegade hiking/backpacking boot and the Mountain Expert mountaineering boot.
We listed Zamberlan boots in our review of the Best Boots for Hiking and Backpacking.
- Trail Running
Tips On Maintaining Hiking Shoes
Break in your shoes slowly
Most hiking shoes are made from leather, and leather shoes often need to be broken in before you can fully enjoy them. Trying to break in your shoes quickly can lead to irreparable damage. When you get new hiking shoes, use them for a while and see if they will break in naturally before you attempt to use wax or any other method. You should make sure you break in your shoes slowly so they last you a long time.
Clean, dry, and moisturize your shoes after every trip
Your shoes would unavoidably get dirty when you go hiking. Leaving this dirt on your hiking shoes will cause damage and your shoes might not last as long as intended. So, whenever you get back from your trip, you must clean your shoes with a brush and soapy water. After you are done with this process, dry the shoes in the sun and then apply a little oil to the leather.
Remove insoles and laces after use
When you are back from your trip, always make sure to remove the insoles and laces from your hiking shoes. This will allow you to flush out dirt and stones that might have gotten stuck inside the sole during your hike. You should also wash the laces and insoles thoroughly and allow them dry before putting them back in your shoes.
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Salomon X Ultra 3 Gtx
Price: $150Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz. Waterproof: Yes What we like: Great mix of lightness, durability, and on-trail performance.What we dont: Gore-Tex model runs warm.See the Mens Salomon X Ultra 3 See the Womens Salomon X Ultra 3
Salomons X Ultra line of hiking footwear is one of our long-time favorites for all types of uses from day hikes to lightweight backpacking trips. We tested the low-top shoe version through everything from early winter conditions in the Pacific Northwest to summer in Patagonia and feel that Salomon hit the mark: the shoe is light, nimble, grips well on just about any surface, and will hold up through extended rough use. Below we break down the X Ultra 3s overall performance. To see how it stacks up to the competition, see our article on the best hiking shoes.
Learn A Few Lacing Techniques
Knowing a few lacing techniques might sound elementary, but this can actually help you avoid unnecessary mishaps when hiking. Lacing too loose might not give you the support you need while lacing it too tight may lead to blisters and hotspots. Here are a few techniques worth learning to remedy the most common foot problems when hiking.
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Match Your Footwear To The Activity Youre Doing
This is the advice that ACMG certified mountain guide Colin Garritty gave us. Choose shoes designed for the thing you plan to use them for, whether thats hiking, running, or climbing.
Theres been a recent shift in the outdoor industry towards the minimalist shoe. Brands have made hiking footwear lighter, more nimble, and closer to street shoes almost everything skews towards looking like a trail runner.
But, there are a lot of cases where a waterproof hiking shoe is the better option. From what Garritty told me, most people will benefit from the added sturdiness, stability, and protection from a pair of hiking shoes. And, if youve got a few pounds on your back, youre going to find your body doing less work in a pair of hiking shoes than it would while wearing trail runners.
The shoes on our list are suitable for day hikes, groomed trails, and light backpack weight. For backcountry hiking or backpacking, most people will feel more comfortable with the added protection of a backpacking boot. Travelers will find some good options here, too, with hiking shoes being more versatile and easier to pack than boots. And, for long days spent walking on city streets, lightweight hiking shoes offer more support and cushioning on hard concrete than many sneakers do.
How To Choose The Best Hiking Boots
The two key things to prioritise when hunting for the best hiking boot for you: finding the right boot style for the activity, and getting a really good fit for your individual foot shape. The fit will vary by brand and style of boot, with some coming up much narrower in the midfoot than others. It’s absolutely vital to try boots on before embarking on an expedition, and usually wearing them round the house before removing the retail labels is enough to show up any hotspots that could lead to painful difficulties further down the line. Head to our guide to how to break in hiking boots for some top tips .
Although there are some stunning and super-technical hiking boots that might catch your eye, make sure you actually need the features they’re offering before you shell out. Super-stiff mountain boots can be a trial on casual Sundays strolls, but equally, rocking up in trainers for a snowy ascent is a terrible idea. Generally though, the extra support of a good hiking boot will see you happily meander wherever the fancy takes you.
The golden rule is to buy what fits, and a model that suits your main use. In terms of brands, at the more robust end of the spectrum La Sportiva, Scarpa, Mammut, Lowa and Aku all build boots that will shame a tank, while at the lighter, summery end Teva, Keen and Salomon bring considerable expertise to the table.
- Illuminate your trail with one of the best head torches for running or hiking
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Altra: Best Lightweight Boots
Altra doesnt make many hiking boots, but they have a few versatile options. At first glance, Altra footwear looks more like stylish sneakers than rugged trail gear.
Dig a little deeper into these hiking boots to find some surprising features. Signature footbed mold to your feet, extra cushioning provides exceptional support, and the Duratread outsole has varied treads to handle nearly any terrain.
Of the three styles, Altras Lone Peak All-Weather Mid is the top choice with plenty of cushion and ankle support for comfort. It also features a unique tread design with special lugs positioned under the toes to give you better traction.
Altra also crafted a Lone Peak Running Shoe thats a lighter trail shoe with a slightly lower, more contoured ankle. This style is perfect for trail runners because it still features a unique traction system on the sole, though not as thick or pronounced as the All-Weather Mid.
Sweat Can Lead To Blisters
The buildup of sweat inside of hiking footwear and your socks can lead to blisters. When your socks stick to your skin, they can cause friction, and a friction burn, which is how blisters form. Breathability is key to preventing sweat build-up, which is why so many hikers prefer mesh hiking footwear since it dries while you wear it.
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The North Face Hedgehog Futurelight: Nimble Everyday Hikers We Cant Wait To Test
Weight : 1 lb 13 oz
Weight : 1 lb. 8 oz
Upper Material: Polyurethance-coated leather/ synthetic nubuck
Waterproofing: DryVent membrane
Midsole Material: Single-density EVA
The mens and womens The North Face Hedgehog Fastpacks were the nimblest of our winners in the previous version of this guide, and what we liked most was how it could transition from a hiking shoe to a trail runner to an everyday casual sneaker. It was more than supportive on day hikes, and the breathability was impressive. Were curious to see how the Futurelight membrane compares to Gore-Texs weather-resisting capabilities. The waterproofing on our older Fastpacks held up we stood soaked in the river for many minutes, and our feet remained dry, but the water still soaked into the fabric.
We also want to review the quality of the Hedgehog Futurelights and check in on customer reviews. Despite our positive experience, the version we tried had a single issue concerning quality popping up online. Wed like to test out the durability for ourselves.
Just a handful of the mens hiking shoes we tested side-by-side.
Merrell Vs Salomon Who Makes The Most Comfortable Hiking Shoes
Theres nothing quite like hiking. The scents and sounds of mother nature, the fresh mountain air, and the unforgettable views whats not to like? However, just like most outdoor activities, hiking requires adequate equipment.
When shopping for outdoor gear, people often focus on jackets and backpacks. While these are essential, nothing beats the importance of footwear hiking shoes and hiking boots, to be more precise. After all, its the footwear that suffers more wear and tear than all other gear combined.
Today, weve decided to focus on two acclaimed manufacturers of hike boots and shoes Merrel and Salomon. Which one of these two brands makes the best footwear? Lets compare them side by side and find an answer to that question:
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Salomon: Best Trail Running Shoes
Trail runners have slightly different needs for traversing trails, namely a lightweight shoe with plenty of tread for grip. Salomon boots might be comfortable and supportive, but the companys trail running footwear could be some of the best on the market. Theres a reason they made it onto my list of the best trail running shoes three times.
The uppers are breathable and lightweight so they wont weigh you down or leave your feet soaked in sweat. Salomon rounds out the trail running shoe line with a cushioned footbed and deeper treads to provide a better grip for navigating light to moderate trails.
Salomons Ultra Glide might be the most popular option with a range of colors and sizes for men and women. Youll feel the bounce but not the pricks and pokes from every stone and twig you touch. The only drawback is that these shoes are not waterproof.
If you need a waterproof shoe, Salomon offers the Wildcross 2 GORE-TEX thats designed specifically for wet and muddy conditions. Along with the waterproof GORE-TEX uppers, these trail runners feature special soles with unique, multi-shaped treads to provide better traction in the mud. Note that you dont get as much cushion or color selection with this style.
Other Good Hiking Boots
If youre looking for a stylish, all-leather boot that molds to your foot after a long-ish break-in period: Consider the Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boots , which are comfortable and stylish. Some of our testers found them to be too wide, but others loved the slightly bulkier fit if you do find these boots attractive, we recommend trying them on before you buy, as well as ordering in your street-shoe size rather than sizing up. The Mountain 600 boots have a longer break-in time than some of the others we tested because theyre made with suede leather. But once theyre broken in, theyre more likely to mold to your feet. The underfoot protection kept our feet happy during a 6-mile hike through fairly easy terrain, and theyre unexpectedly lightweight at 2 pounds 5 ounces theyre lighter than the Salomon Quests and similar to our budget pick, the Merrell Moab 2 pair. But on wet days, we didnt feel secure on wet rocks, and our feet got hot quickly since leather isnt very breathable. In addition, these boots arent likely to be waterproof for long, considering their suede materials, nor are they a good option for mountaineering or even advanced backpacking trips. But for day hikes on moderate terrain, they should do just fine.
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