Walk It Out With the Best Hiking Boots of 2024

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Not all hiking boots are created equal. Some hiking boots protect you against wet weather while falling short on ankle support. Others offer the ankle support you need but have soles too flexible for technical terrain. To help you find the best hiking boots for your needs in 2024, we’ve created a list of our picks for this year’s best hiking boots. We considered quality, materials, purpose, construction, waterproofing, and traction when choosing hiking boots, and tested each pair of hiking boots in various terrain across the West Coast and Alaska. If you’re looking for more technical footwear, check out our guides to the best mountaineering boots and best rock climbing shoes.

Editor’s Note: We updated this guide on May 8, 2024, to announce the Salomon Quest 4 GORE-TEX as the best overall boot, after several seasons of testing. We also included La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX boots as our best boots for hiking and light mountaineering, updated the Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Boots to the Merrell Moab 3, and added superlatives such as Best Mid-Height Hiking Boots. We also updated the guide to ensure our product selection and buying advice were up to date with 2024’s designs and specs.


Our Best Hiking Boots Picks:



Best Overall Hiking Boots:

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boots

salomon quest 4 gtx


  • Gore-Tex membranes are waterproof and breathable
  • Contragrip rubber outsoles
  • Deep lugs for grip and durability
  • ADV-C 4D chassis for ankle support
  • Inspired by trail running shoes

Why we like it: Supportive all-around boot that excels in most environments, including off-trail backpacking

What we don’t like: Heavy, might be too much boot for non-technical hikes or warm climates

Materials: Leather, textile, Contragrip rubber sole | Weight: 2 lbs 14.4 oz | Waterproof: Yes

While the Salomon Quest 4 GTX ($230) falls solidly in the hiking boots category, its design is inspired by trail running shoes, and lightweight flexibility is a key element. We tested these boots over three seasons of backpack guiding in remote Alaska, and their ankle support and deep lugs excelled in all types of terrain, from slippery tussocks to scree fields to river crossings. The boots were also comfortable and light enough to keep our feet happy on several 10-hour hiking days, even with a heavy pack.

Despite being designed for longer expeditions and tough conditions, the boots were flexible and comfortable enough for groomed on-trail travel, though you may want a mid-height boot or hiking shoe if that is the only type of hiking you plan on doing. While some third-party reviews mentioned durability issues, we put over 100 days of hard travel on a single pair of Quest 4 GTXs without significant issues and still use the same pair for personal trips.

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Best Hiking Boots for Technical Terrain:

Scarpa Zodiac Plus GORE-TEX Hiking Boots

scarpa men's zodiac plus gtx hiking boot


  • 100% suede construction
  • Gore-Tex performance comfort
  • Three densities of EVA midsole to optimize performance
  • Asymmetric lace for a precise fit
  • Sock-Fit DV construction reduces bulk and creates a snug fit

Why we like it: An asymmetric lacing system helps you get a precise fit, suede upper is very abrasion-resistant

What we don’t like: Wide toebox may not fit narrow feet, no heel welt for crampon use, expensive

Materials: Suede leather, Vibram outsole | Weight: 2 lbs 6.4 oz | Waterproof: Yes

Scarpa is renowned for their mountaineering and ice climbing boots, and the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX ($349) is our choice for hiking in technical terrain, including scree fields and scrambling. These mid-weight hiking boots are comfortable enough for long approaches and supportive enough to handle 3rd- and 4th-class terrain, and snow.

Made with Gore-Tex Performance Comfort, these boots keep your feet bone-dry while hiking. They have a strong rubber sole that, while not the sturdiest we’ve encountered, can handle a lot of wear. The shaft measures about six inches from the arch of the foot, and it laces up with an asymmetric lace system, with a Sock-Fit DV construction for a snug fit. The suede upper is extremely abrasion-resistant and the Vibram outsole provides exceptional grip on all types of terrain. Scarpa boots tend to fit wider, and they may not be suitable for narrow feet.

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Best Boots for Hiking and Light Mountaineering:

La Sportiva Trango Tech GORE-TEX Boots

La Sportiva Trango Tech best hiking boots best light mountaineering boots


  • Multi-directional upper hinge supports ankle movement
  • Vibram sole offers high-performance traction
  • Impact brake system reduces impact forces
  • Heel-welt to attach semi-automatic crampons

Why we like it: Excellent light mountaineering boot that’s light enough for long approaches

What we don’t like: Expensive, stiff, not for everyday hikes

Materials: QB3 waterproof fabric, Vibram sole | Weight: 2 lbs 15 oz | Waterproof: Yes

The La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX ($299) is designed to bridge the gap between hiking and mountaineering boots and is ideal for all-in-one objectives that include hiking, snow, and climbing. We used them while hiking and climbing in the Cascades of Washington, where it’s not unusual to start the day on a trail and end up on a glacier. We were impressed by how comfortable they were while hiking, while still being secure enough for climbing.

A multi-directional upper hinge is responsible for much of this comfort, as it allows your ankle to flex more than in a traditional mountaineering boot. That said, this flexibility comes at a cost, and for climbs or approaches where you will be on snow and ice for most of the route, you may want a burlier mountaineering boot.

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Best Hiking Boots for Style and Performance:

Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

timberland men's white ledge mid waterproof hiking boot


  • Made from  premium Timberland  leather
  • Waterproof lining keeps feet dry
  • Rust-proof fast-lacing
  • Sturdy and fashionable
  • Lining made with at least 50 percent recycled plastic

Why we like it: Sturdy and fashionable, at home whether you’re on the trail or at home

What we don’t like: The rubber welt around the toe isn’t the most durable

Materials: Leather, rubber sole | Weight: 2 lbs 4 oz | Waterproof: Yes

The Timberland White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots ($89) are sturdy enough for trail hiking, and their all-leather look also makes them a stylish choice for casual wear. From a leisurely hike to a night out at the brewery, these men’s hiking boots can go just about anywhere.

The shaft measures approximately five inches from the arch, providing moderate support on non-technical trails. The White Ledge Hiking Boots also have a premium, full-grain waterproof upper, and the seams are sealed with waterproof construction. The lace hooks are rustproof, and the hooked closure design lets you lace up the boots quickly and securely. These boots are a great option for people looking for a daily walking shoe that can handle hiking trails as well.

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Best Mid-Height Hiking Boots:

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

merrell men's moab 2 mid waterproof hiking boo


  • Merrell Air Cushion for maximum shock absorption
  • Kinetic Fit contoured insole for comfort
  • 100 percent recycled laces and mesh lining
  • Waterproof membrane
  • Vibram sole for maximum traction

Why we like it: Priotizes comfort, durable and lightweight

What we don’t like: Not enough ankle support for heavy packs or technical terrain

Materials: Leather, mesh, Vibram sole | Weight: 1 lb 12 oz | Waterproof: Yes

Merrell’s Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots ($150) is a mid-height hiking boot that prioritizes cushioning and comfort. An advanced Kinetic Fit removable contoured insole supports the heel and arch structure and absorbs shock. The soles are also durable, and we found them to stand up well to the stresses of hiking. The boots also have a sturdy rubber sole, with a waterproof finish reinforced by the M Select Dry Barrier, a breathable waterproof membrane.

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots are very comfortable for long days on your feet, the waterproof membrane keeps out water while allowing internal moisture to evaporate. This is an excellent budget hiking boot that will last you a while.

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Best Hiking Boots for the Desert:

5.11 A/T Mid Hiking Boots

5.11 a t mid boot


  • 5.11 A.T.L.A.S. Load bearing system
  • Ortholite footbed
  • 3D molded heel and toe protection
  • High traction outsole that is slip and oil-resistant
  • Welded mesh upper
  • Mid-height support

Why we like it: Lightweight and breathable, with mid-height support

What we don’t like: Water-resistant only, not suitable for wet conditions

Materials: Welded mesh, rubber | Weight: unknown | Waterproof: No, water resistant

This boot ($150) felt closer to a trail running shoe but offered similar weight distribution and support to many hiking boots. The 5.11 A/T Mid Hiking Boots‘ load-bearing assistance system helped us feel well-supported, despite the mid-height size of the boot.

Other key features include the Ortholite footbed for added comfort, 3D molded TPR heel and toe protection, the high traction outsole, and the foam cushioning throughout the boot. However, the welded mesh upper is only water resistant, not waterproof. While this makes these boots unideal for wet conditions, their breathability without full waterproofing makes them a great pick for the desert, where they aren’t likely to get wet and will dry quickly if your feet get sweaty.

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Best Budget Hiking Boots:

NORTIV 8 High Waterproof Hiking Boots

nortiv 8 men's ankle high waterproof hiking boot


  • Multi-directional lugs to support traction
  • Shock-absorption midsole
  • Slip-resistant
  • Waterproof lining
  • EVA footbed insole
  • Half the price of many other options

Why we like it: Multi-directional lugs support traction, slip-resistant with a waterproof lining

What we don’t like: Don’t hold up in sustained wet conditions

Materials: Suede, mesh, rubber | Weight: 2 lbs | Waterproof: No, water resistant

As one of the most durable and affordable boots on our list, the NORTIV 8 High Waterproof Hiking Boots ($53) are fantastic budget hiking boots. The rubber outsole is non-slip, with multi-directional lugs to support traction, and the shaft measures approximately five inches from the arch, giving you moderate ankle support. They also feature a cushioned EVA footbed to support the foot’s arch and provide comfort.

These hiking boots have a water-resistant finish, which will help keep your feet dry through puddles and light rain. However, they lack full waterproofing and are not recommended for sustained wet conditions.

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Honorable Mentions

Garmont Vetta Tech GTX

garmont vetta tech gtx


  • Efoam inserts at heel and toe for added protection and comfort
  • Ultralite footbed
  • Michelin Off-Road double compound outsole
  • Suede leather upper
  • Lacing system up the entire boot for a precision fit
  • Ankle support and precise fit make these great for backpacking trips

The Garmont Vetta Tech GTX boots ($248) straddle the line between hiking and mountaineering boots, and perform well as an approach shoe to bigger climbing objectives or as a backpacking boot in technical terrain. Unlike the La Sportiva Trango Tech boots, they don’t have a heel welt and aren’t as easy to use with crampons.

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Nortiv8 Polar Bear Series Hiking Boots

nortiv8 polar bear series hiking boots


  • Rubber outsole with tread design for traction on uneven, slippery surfaces
  • Exceptional performance for a budget-friendly boot
  • TPU midsole and MD Midsole for shock absorption
  • Mesh liners for sweat-wicking and breathability
  • Water-resistant fabric upper

We found the Polar Bear Series Hiking Boots ($65) very comfortable, thanks to the quick break-in period and support throughout the shoe. They dried quickly and, while they don’t feature fancy technology like Vibram or GORE-TEX, they still performed well for budget-friendly boots. We would have liked for them to be a bit warmer but overall were happy with the performance for the cost. These boots are water-resistant, not waterproof.

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KEEN Men’s Targhee III Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

keen men's targhee ii mid waterproof hiking boot


  • Waterproof leather construction
  • PFAS-free waterproofing
  • Contoured heel supports stability
  • Good traction on the rubber sole
  • Eco anti-odor keeps boots smelling fresh

The KEEN Targhee IIIs ($174) are a great, budget-friendly boot for day hikes and beginner hikers. These comfortable, rubber-soled boots are made from 100% waterproof Nubuck leather and have PFAS-free waterproofing. We like the rubber toe cap for extra toe protection, but this does mean more time to break in the toe box. They don’t offer as much stability as some of the other hiking boots on this list and aren’t the most breathable option.

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Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II

columbia men's newton ridge plus ii


  • Waterproof suede/mesh/faux leather combination
  • Lightweight midsole for impact-absorption
  • Metal hardware, seam-seal construction
  • Lace-up closure
  • Multi-terrain traction

The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II ($99) are comfortable, all-around mid-height hiking boots. The boots are made of faux leather, breathable mesh, and waterproof suede to keep your foot dry and comfortable throughout your hike. A unique, lightweight midsole adds comfort and cushioning, and the synthetic outer sole has a multidirectional grip to aid balance. The sole has a specially crafted dual track, which makes these hiking boots a good choice in winter and reduces the risk of slipping.

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Lowa Renegade GTX Mid-Hiking Boots

lowa renegade gtx mid hiking boots


  • Nubuck leather upper
  • Gore-Tex and polyester liners
  • Vibram soles
  • Cordura Ankle bands
  • Nylon shanks
  • Gusseted tongues

Lowa is one of the biggest names in hiking boots, and they’ve been perfecting the Renegade boots for over twenty years. Waterproof with a sticky Vibram sole, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid-Hiking Boots ($255) are Lowa’s best-selling hiking boots. They’re also a great option for light backpacking, but if you’ll be hiking in technical terrain or under heavy backpacks, you may want a more supportive boot, like the Salomon Quest 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots.

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About Our Testing Process

hiking boots

The Explorers Web team has tested dozens of hiking boots in terrain all across the West Coast, Utah, and Alaska. We’ve hiked groomed city trails, through Utah’s canyons, across tundra above the Arctic Circle, and took a few pairs on mountaineering objectives.

Kirby Kahl started this guide in November 2022 and brought five years’ worth of expertise as a tech rep for several footwear companies to the original testing phases. They tested boots throughout Oregon and Washington, including the high desert of Bend and the Enchantments. Gear Editor Chelsey Cook took the guide over in April 2024. She has over twenty years of experience in hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering and has run through more pairs of boots than she can count. She’s worked as a professional mountain guide in Alaska for the past six years and tested several of the boots found on this list during her remote backpacking trips. She also brought pairs on trips to Utah, Scotland, Peru, and Tanzania. Chelsey values comfortable, supportive footwear that will last numerous seasons.

When testing durability, we wear the boots as much as possible, in a variety of conditions, and look to see how the boot holds up physically and how well it continues to support our feet and ankles. When looking at stability, we hike through rocky, uneven terrain, including scree fields and river crossings, both with heavy backpacks on and without. For traction, we test how well the boots grip on a variety of surfaces, including wet rocks, desert slickrock, and wet gravel. Lastly, we test waterproofing by seeking out puddles and shallow creek crossings, and wearing the boots in wet, muddy conditions.

Our collection of the best hiking boots is a mix of top-of-the-line boots, budget-friendly models, mid-height, and full-size boots. We looked for a variety of applications, lug patterns, support levels, and materials to appeal to a wide user base. Our best hiking boots guide will continue to grow and change as we test new boots.


Things to Consider When Buying Hiking Boots

Hike Duration and Terrain

If you prefer short hikes on well-maintained trails, a hiking shoe or a mid-weight hiking boot may have enough support to meet your needs. If you’re planning to hike in technical rocky terrain, go for long hikes, or undertake backpacking trips with heavy packs, you’ll probably want hiking boots that go over your ankle and have a stiffer sole for additional support.


Traditional hiking boot construction features leather, and many brands also use textiles or mesh combined with leather to make more breathable boots. Soles are typically made of rubber, and certain brands offer features like Vibram or Contragrip that increase your traction.


Waterproof boots are ideal for people hiking in wet or snowy terrain. A waterproof boot will have a layer or a membrane for breathability, while keeping out water and preserving your sock and foot. Some brands offer PFAS-free waterproofing. Keep in mind that a waterproof boot won’t keep your feet dry if water goes over the top of the boot, and in fact, may make the boot harder to dry if that happens. Same if your feet sweat while inside a hiking boot. If you hike solely in the desert or have a lot of deep water crossings, you may want to consider a non-waterproof boot that will dry quickly.

Arch Support

The foot’s arch is susceptible to damage and collapse, so look for hiking boots that have good cushioning in the midsole area. Consider the shape of your arch as well. If you already have high arches, you may need additional arch support. For folks with low arches, excessive arch support can be tiring on the feet.


When walking on uneven and rough terrain, a stable hiking boot is a must-have to keep your ankles safe. If you’ll be hiking in rocky, technical terrain, under heavy packs, or have weak ankles, look for hiking boots with high ankle support and a stiff sole. If you’ll mostly be hiking on groomed trails, opt for a lighter, more flexible mid-weight hiking boot.


Traction is key on slippery and uneven terrain. You won’t need as much on well-developed and maintained hiking trails. However, if you’ll be crossing slippery rocks you’ll need solid traction. Traction is created through lugs, the deep grooves on the bottom of the shoe, or the outsole. The deeper the lugs, the more grip and traction.


Types of Hiking Boots

hiking boots

Hiking boots come in a variety of different types, with different levels of support, depending on the terrain and style of hiking. Choose a hiking boot style that best fits your own needs.

Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes bridge the gap between running shoes and hiking shoes. They generally have aggressive traction but are often not waterproof or as supportive as hiking boots. They’re a good option for short, non-technical hikes or running on rough terrain.

Day Hiking Shoes

Day hiking shoes are all-around shoes that are suitable for non-technical terrain and shorter hikes. They are generally lighter than hiking boots but don’t offer as much support. They are a good option for beginners and day-to-day activities.

Day Hiking Boots

Day hiking boots generally are either mid- or high-cut, and offer more ankle support than hiking shoes. They’re also often waterproof and can stand up to prolonged use. They aren’t as heavy or as supportive as backpacking boots.

Backpacking Boots

Backpacking boots are meant for multi-day trips where you may be carrying a heavy backpack. They typically extend over your ankle and have stiffer soles and shanks to offer more support in technical terrain and under heavy backpacks.

Mountaineering Boots

Mountaineering boots are stiff, rugged boots designed for glacial travel and rock and ice climbing. They extend well above your ankle, have stiff soles, and often come with a heel and toe welt to attach crampons. Because of their stiff shank, they generally alter your walking gait and are not comfortable for long days on the trail.


Frequently Asked Questions

How to choose the best pair of hiking boots?

Start with assessing your hiking needs (will you be hiking on well-groomed trails or technical terrain) and how much ankle stability you need. If you need more stability or will be hiking on technical terrain, choose boots with high ankle support. If you’ll be on well-groomed trails and don’t need as much support, look for hiking boots that are mid-height or buy hiking shoes.

Do I need waterproof hiking boots?

You may not need waterproof hiking boots if you mostly hike in the desert where it rarely rains. However, for most hikers, we recommend some level of waterproofing in your hiking boots to keep your feet warm and dry in rainy, wet conditions.

How do I know if my hiking boots fit?

Your boots should feel snug and comfortable, but you should still be able to wiggle your toes. If you are concerned about the fit of your boots, look for a boot with a warranty or return policy.

Should my hiking boots be a size bigger?

Sizing is very brand-dependent, however sizing up your hiking boots by a half-size is often a good idea to account for bulky hiking socks and swollen feet on long days.

Can I wash my hiking boots?

Yes, most hiking boots can be cleaned. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when cleaning them. Different boots will have different materials like Nubuck leather, a Vibram sole, or synthetic uppers, and each material will require different care.

Should hiking boots be tight or loose?

Hiking boots should be laced tight enough so that your feet aren’t sliding around and your toes aren’t jamming in the toe box, but should not be so tight that your feet go numb. If you can, try on the boots with your hiking socks in person and ensure a snug fit where your foot doesn’t slide around as you walk. Ensure you can wiggle your toes and that the toe box has some space but that your toes are not sliding forward or backward. Keep in mind that not all hiking boots will fit your foot, so you may need to try on multiple pairs to find the right size, shape, and support.

Can you wear hiking boots for walking?

You can use hiking boots for daily walks to support your feet and gait. You may want a pair of lightweight hiking boots for this purpose. Many people like to wear hiking boots as their daily shoes, especially if they have long walks to work, have foot problems, or live in a wet climate where a waterproof hiking boot can provide excellent wet weather protection.

Tuesday Kirby Kahl

Tuesday Kirby Kahl is a native Texan now residing in Portland, OR. In addition to her work as a writer, she’s a competitive climbing coach for youth and adult athletes. When she’s not working, you’ll find her rock climbing, exploring, skiing, and paddle boarding all over the Cascades. When at home, she’s usually tending to her collection or houseplants or painting with a cup of tea in hand.

Chelsey Cook

Chelsey Cook is a gear editor for ExplorersWeb. She’s been writing and editing adventure and conservation articles for the last five years.

Beyond being a writer, Chelsey is a mountain guide, and an avid human-powered athlete and traveler. She’s pulled climbers out of crevasses at 13,000 feet on Denali, gotten trench foot during a packrafting misadventure above the Arctic Circle, had snowball fights with Quechua children in Peru, raced winter ultramarathons in Alaska, and gotten the van she lived in for six years stuck on more than one backroad in Utah.

Based in Alaska, Chelsey can be found flying her bushplane up the neighborhood glacier, floating a river after work, or exploring somewhere deep in the tundra when she’s not traveling abroad.