Hiking boots are the main factor that would determine your ability to walk long distances without injury. For the experienced hikers among you – blisters and muscle cramp may be, unfortunately, familiar. To prevent these, it is imperative you pick the right lightweight hiking boots.
The best lightweight hiking boots are those with excellent breathability, waterproofness, traction, and durability. These factors can turn your boots upside down. This kind of boots give the hiker a significant support thanks to their stiff structure. They shouldn’t be too loose nor too tight – that might irritate your feet and cause blisters.
Most hiking boots may serve you in a wide range of activities. For example, they can be useful for climbing, backpacking, hunting, and even mountaineering.
There are several parts for a hiking boot. The outer layers should be waterproof, but it also important they allow your feet to breathe. By doing so, they prevent excess moisture from causing blisters.
The soles should be tough rubber to absorb shocks and prevent injuries. They should also prevent you from slipping by providing friction force beneath you. The upper part is the tongue of the boot. Its purpose is to prevent mud and dirt from entering inside to that your feet stay clean and dry.
There are two main boots constructions – leather and rubber. When it comes to the wet environment, such as crossing rivers or hiking in puddles, we highly suggest you get yourself the rubber type — that kind of construction enables your boots to dry quickly.
However, the rubber does not allow your feet to breathe. For that reason, they are not recommended for long hiking distances.
In that case, we recommend the leather type. These will keep your feet ventilated and allow extensive sweating. By doing so, there are lowers chances of developing blisters and fungal infections.
For trail hikers, we highly suggest you get lightweight hiking boots. These are the most suitable for steeper inclines and muddy paths. These will provide more stability and ankle protection comparing to hiking shoes.
10 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots
1. Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX
- Breathable protection
- Reducing fatigue for all-trek comfort
- Suitable on the roughest terrain
- Long-lasting split suede leather
- Price above average
Salomon has created a great overall product with these. Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX provides great lightweight support with a waterproof breathable leather.
The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX is featured with an aggressive stance and a wonderful fit around the foot and ankle. Moreover, Salomon made sure that dirt and water would stay out thanks to the boots long tongue. These provide you with the possibility to hike long distances in cloudy weather.
With Contragrip rubber technology, Salomon made sure these boots provide excellent traction on the trail. The Quest 4D 2 has some nice spaced lugs which offer a good grip and allow mud to dry quickly.
Some extremely powerful components ensure that the Quest 4D 2 are absolutely waterproof. Among those are the tough nylon and leather construction, gusseted tongue, and Gore-Tex liner.
The Quest 4D’s were provided with a nylon mesh design to wick moisture. These pairs are impressively breathable, a feature which is even harder to get with waterproof technology.
2. Columbia Peakfreak Venture MID Waterproof Omni-Heat
- Waterproof Mesh
- Rubber sole
- Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber
- List Item
- Omni-Tech breathable seam-sealed membrane
- Might feel a bit narrow
These boots by Columbia have a patterned layer upper with an Omni-tech sealed membrane on the inside. This will provide you an absolute waterproof, secured environment.
Clean, sleek design by Columbia combines the best technology in one hiking boot. The men’s Peakfreak Venture Mid Omni-Heat features an Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable technology.
You can be sure your feet would stay dry without gaining moisture. Moreover, this pair is equipped with a thermal reflective lining which provides extra warmth in cold weather. To support your feet, the Peakfreak Venture was designed with a high-traction outsole to deliver a high energy return.
3. Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Multifunctional
- Breathable mesh panels
- Protective rubber toe cap
- Gusseted tongue
- GORE-TEX waterproof lining
- Customized fit all around the foot
- Not as breathable in warm conditions
- Not great traction on smooth rocks
The X Ultra Mid 3 GTX combines both the comfort of a trail running shoe and the support of a hiking boot. By doing so, this pair may be an excellent choice in all trail conditions.
The Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX is provided with a speed lacing system and a padded collar which comfortably wraps around the ankle.
Moreover, Salomon made sure that the toe box is roomy enough so that you can wiggle your toes comfortably. The thick rubber cap in front of the toe box makes sure you won’t hurt your toes while tripping over rocks or roots along the trail.
With the weight of 475g, the Salomon X Ultra is incredibly lightweight for a mid-cut hiking boot. You will barely feel this pair on your feet and will be able to keep putting down the miles.
With the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort footwear liner, the Mid 3 GTX would easily shed away water, mud, and snow during your hike. With this advanced technology, you may be prepared for the upcoming winter.
4. KEEN – Durand Waterproof Mid
- Contoured heel lock
- PU heel cushion for maximum comfort
- Breathable membrane
- Inaccurate sizing
- Only 1 year warranty
The Keen Durand Mid WP is one of the best outdoor products which would probably suit your hiking needs. This lightweight pair has got an excellent grip on all terrains. With robust features and compression resistance, Keen ensures this product to be long-lasting.
Be aware that the Keen Durand Mid WP fits small and wide feet. A wrong size picking may result with rubbing and blisters. Therefore, we suggest you order a size 0.5 larger than your usual.
The featuring interior cushioning and integrated polyurethane heel and midsoles allow the boot to fit naturally to the shape of your foot. By doing so, it is ensuring no blisters nor hotspots after a high distance walk.
Keen provides us with a critical component of the boots being entirely waterproof. The Keen Durand Mid WP will keep your feet dry even in extreme conditions such as strong streams, puddles, and thick mud.
5. Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX
- GORE-TEX waterproof membrane
- Exceptional breathability performance
- Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue
- Protective rubber toe cap
- Not breathable enough for warmer conditions
These mid-height GTX boots from Merrell are both light and extremely durable. They feature a Vibram sole leather tops with a rubber toe cap to protect your fit.
With a cushioned collar and tongue, a supportive footbed and enough flexibility – there is no doubt you are going to will feel comfortable with the Merrell Moab 2. Also, these boots are modeled with extra padding in the heel which provides decent ground isolation and support.
With the weight of 2 pounds, the Moab 2 Mid provides a fantastic experience for the average hiker. The lightweight does not compromise support nor comfort on the trail, making the Moab 2 an ideal choice for long distance hikes.
With the Vibram rubber compound, Merrell made sure these boots provide decent all-around traction over rock and dirt. This elegant design, which also featured the previous pair, turns the boots durable and ensures a long lifespan.
The Moab 2s features with a bit of mesh along the sides and top, which will keep you comfortable in long hikes. We recommend wearing lightweight socks with them, to keep your feet dry and prevent moisture.
6. Salomon Authentic LTR GTX Backpacking Boot
- Waterproof Split Suede Leather
- Internal Sensifit
- Full GORE-TEX bootie
- Rubber sole
- A bit too narrow
The Authentic LTR GTX features some great qualities that might be in your best interest. First, the waterproof split suede upper leather ensures that your feet will stay dry. Combined with the gusseted tongue, which prevents debris from entering, they are suitable for wetter weather.
The high-cut profile provides with increased ankle support, stability and protection. Hence, this pair is most certainly suitable for all-terrain trails.
Regarding comfort, the Authentic LTR GTX features the Gore-Tex extended comfort technology. Combining this with the protective heel and toe caps, you get yourself the ideal comfort on trails.
7. Salomon X Ultra 3 Wide Mid GTX
- Prevents slippage
- Maximized stability and cushioning
- Waterproof PU coated leather
- Comfort of a trail runner
- Not as breathable in warm conditions
- Not great traction on smooth rock
If you are looking for the combination of comfort and support from a hiking boot, then the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX is the one you should get. This pair was designed to endure water and slopes in an all-terrain environment.
The X Ultra Mid 3 wraps around the ankle perfectly thanks to its speed lacing system and therefore delivers additional support in heights. That particular would achieve a high score in the trail running category.
However, it is less suitable for heavyweight and rough terrain. Salomon chose Contagrip HT (High Traction) rubber for the Ultra Mid 3 GTX which improves its downhill performance even on wet stone or mud.
8. KEEN Targhee II Mid Waterproof
- Waterproof Nubuck Leather
- Rubber sole
- Ghillie lacing for comfort and secure fit
- Padded tongue and collar
- Breathable leather lining
- Its laces tend to come loose quickly
The Targhee II features excellent comfort and toe protection in one inexpensive package. Even though its waterproof, it was designed with a breathable membrane and roomy toe box which allow your feet to breathe with thin socks.
The boots flexibility of the upper layer may serve folks properly with both wide and narrow feet. It also features a pretty wide sole which provides a stable base even on rough terrain.
The Targhee’s rubber sole sticks well on wet stone and allows you to handle slope with good balance. With the weight of only one pound, the Targhee’s falls within the light part on the lightweight scale.
This is even though its thick midsole and high-traction outsole that would probably serve higher durability on the long haul.
9. Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid
- Breathable mesh lining
- Protective rubber toe cap
- Closed-cell foam tongue
- Air cushion in the heel
- Low performance with water resistance
The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mid hiking boot provides a comfortable, cushioned walking experience for the casual backpacker or day hiker. They suit best on dry terrain as they do not feature a waterproof liner of any type.
These boots got a great flexible sole which comes along with a wide, roomy fit. Moreover, Merrell equipped that boot with a well-padded ankle collar which goes around comfortably.
Featured with a Vibram rubber sole called TC5+, the Moab 2 score pretty low in the traction department. Due to this, they are less suitable at hiking in variable terrain including mud, snow, and scree.
10. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof
- Leather upper
- Breathable mesh tongue
- Lace-up vamp
- Padded tongue and collar
- The entire boot is not waterproof
- Color selection is limited
The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II provides both durability and comfort. One of its most prominent features is the long breathable mesh tongue which allows your feet to breathe and stay dry.
This may be effective regarding blisters and bacterial growth. Also, the mid-level shaft, firm shank, and lacing system will make sure your feet will be sealed perfectly.
The rubber outside layer provides both traction and impact absorption. This will allow hiking in variable terrains with more slippery surfaces.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Hiking can get messy when sweat is involved. Experience has taught us how inconvenient that might be in addition to the physical activity effort. For that reason, we picked the most breathable hiking boots we could find.
Hiking is an exceptional activity compared to others – it involves an extremely long duration and intensive walk. Along with foot friction, moisture would haste blisters and bacteria occurrence. Hence, we paid a high intention to breathability.
It doesn’t matter on the season, we all know that hiking usually involves water. From puddles to rivers, your feet are going to get wet. By the same concept as sweat, a damp environment can cause blisters and infections.
For that reason, we focused on waterproofness as another factor with great importance. With current technology, that feature is quite common. However, the combination with proper breathability, traction, and durability is more challenging.
Whether your activity is running, climbing, training or hiking, proper traction is with great value. Its primary purpose is to prevent you from slipping.
Hiking is again, an exceptional – for its environment continuously shifting. One day you might find yourself walking on wet rocks by a river, and in the next – climbing a mountain in the pouring rain. We take safety seriously, and for that reason, we chose to focus on boots which provide excellent traction.
Hiking shoes are not cheap, and we are aware of that. No one wants to buy a pair of boots for a single hike and throw them away right after. Moreover, hiking is a highly repetitive activity – boots with low quality won’t last long.
It is also important that your boots are in good shape for your health and safety. Weary boots can cause injuries by stepping wrong or falling. We chose the boots carefully, so you will be able to use them as long as possible.
- Q: What are good hiking boot brands?
- A: There are lots of different hiking boot brands out there, and each brand features with its boots qualities. However, some of them stand out the most. The top leading and most popular would be Salomon, KEEN, Merrell, Columbia and SCARPA.
- Q: What are the most comfortable women’s hiking boots?
- A: Comfort may change with each person for everyone has different foot anatomy. The answer to that question has to lean on what most people say. The top rated for women in the comfort category were the KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid and the Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge.
- Q: How do you size hiking boots?
- A: While wearing your boots, you should be able to wiggle your toes. They should feel snug all over your feet, not tight. It is recommended to try them on with the socks you are planning to hike with.
- Q: Do I need hiking boots?
- A: That depends on your future activity. If you are planning on a hike in the summer on natural ground, then maybe you would be satisfied with hiking shoes instead. On the other hand, if your walk would be on rainy weather or would involve water and mud, perhaps hiking boots would serve you better.
- Q: Should my the toes touch the end of boots?
- A: They should not. It is recommended to have a finger width between the end of your longest toe and the shoe. Touching the inner part may cause friction and later on injuries on long hikes.
- Q: Are hiking boots good for work?
- A: Hiking boots are much different than working boots. They are much thinner and may tear during activities in a working site. Hiking boots are durable for hiking, and you should use them mainly for that purpose.
- Blisters on Skin & Face: Common Causes & Treatment Options – WebMD, 2017
- Boot traction enhancement system – Loughran, Frank, 2018.
- What’s Inside A Hiking Shoe? – Merrell Australia Blog, 2016
- Like Hiking? Why Breathable Hiking Shoes Are Must-Have Gear – Gore, 2017
- How Durable Are Your hiking Boots? It My Depend on What Manufacturers Never Tell You. Outdoors.org, 2012