Are you looking for a new pair of hiking boots or boots to wear around town? We put together a list of some of our favorite three-season boots that are perfect for wearing in spring, summer, and fall. The first time you upgrade to a pair of good hiking boots, it changes the way you see the trail.
Even when it’s easy for you to find the right fit, it’s no small task to figure out which boot has what you need to enjoy the outdoors. So we’ve brought together what we think are the Best Hiking Boots of 2021. The list is far from exhaustive, there are many good boots out there that didn’t make the list. But it’s a great place to start if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for.
Best Hiking Boots for Men
We’ll start things off with the boot most people start hiking in, the Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX. It’s not the stiffest, or the longest-lasting, option on the list, but it’s not really competing with everything else on this list. Rather, it’s competing with the old sneakers you’ve been hitting the trails in. Unlike those tennis shoes, these Merrell Boots are honest-to-goodness boots, with Vibram outsoles for enhanced traction on tricky terrain, and a GoreTex membrane providing waterproof/breathable protection so you can keep logging miles even when the weather isn’t perfect. However thanks to the sneaker-style midsole, and famous Merrell lasting, these Merrell Hiking Boots feel more like sneakers on your feet. That means no break-in time, seriously cushioned comfort, and a lighter feel on your feet than many “better” boots can offer is what you get with the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid GTX, one of the best hiking boots of all time.
Designed For: Comfort, Last Minute Hiking Trip
For a more traditional hiking boot experience, consider the Asolo Fugitive GTX Boots. They’re not specialist boots built for one particular discipline, rather solid all-rounders that can help you scramble up the trail all summer long, and stay on your feet when the weather starts to turn in the fall. Partially that’s due to the GoreTex waterproofing, but it’s also a question of the construction. Using burly ballistic nylon and suede, these Asolo Hiking Boots are reinforced with a rubber toe cap, it shrugs off terrain and trail hazards that would shred a lesser boot, while the polyurethane midsole and Duo Asoflex lasting board under your feet provides more protection and support when wearing the Asolo Men’s Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots you’re used to in a boot this light.
Designed For: Hikers wanting support
The most important part of any hiking boot is the fit, and since size only measures the length of your foot, not other factors like width or toe box height. So while the supportive midsole, grippy outsole, and GoreTex waterproofing may seem familiar, this is a different boot. And with that comes a different fit, and depending on you and your foot shape that could be a better fit. So don’t get too caught up on brands and models, instead focus on finding the boot that does what you need that feels best on your foot.
Designed For: A great fitting hiking boot
Don’t get distracted by the fact that these ones aren’t waterproof, that’s the whole point. First off, that makes them breathe better than even the highest-quality waterproof/breathable boots out there. So consider these if all your hiking is going to be in arid regions, or if you’re just not the kind of person to go out when there’s a chance of foul weather. Or you can take the opposite approach and use these in situations where you’re going to get so soaked that waterproof boots could never be enough to keep you dry. With quick-drying nylon uppers, and rust-proof brass hardware, this is the ideal footwear for waterfall climbing, creek exploring, kayak portaging, and all manner of amphibious adventures. Wherever you wear them, you’ll enjoy the engineered support and protection necessary to stay out longer or haul heavy loads over difficult terrain. If you play in or around water these are easily one of the best waterproof hiking boots for men.
Designed For: Getting wet and drying fast
Speaking of aquatic adventures, there’s a reason why river guides and serious paddlers all over still swear by these Keen classics. The Keen Men’s Newport H2 Sandal is rugged, with an enclosed toe and a grippy outsole helping you find footing on river rocks or mountain summits. And they’re light, with a well-strapped sandal construction that not only holds you as securely as any low-rise hiker, but also allows for massive drainage and ventilation potential keeping your feet feeling fresh no matter where you’re headed. Plus, they’ll give you some of the most distinctive tan lines in the world.
Designed For: River rats
This is the boot you wear when you’re heading to class before hitting the trail. These Oboz Hiking Boots have a mellow-lugged outsole splits the difference, avoiding the “hayseed in his hikers” look while you’re in town, while still finding enough traction on the trail to keep you from looking like a city slicker. The all-leather construction is water repellant, shedding light rain and helping you cross puddles (or overflowing gutters) with confidence, and shields your feet from trail hazards or urban filth with ease.
Designed For: On and off trail use
Another way to mix style and performance is to grab the throwback, Vasque Clarion 88 Hiking Booots. Using colorways found in Vasque’s 1988 catalog, these hikers have old-school cool written all over them so you can wear them without shame when you stop by the coffee shop on your way through town. But you’ll feel good at the trailhead too, knowing there’s a Vibram outsole under your feet and GoreTex over the top helping you enjoy your time outdoors too.
Designed For: Style
Vasque has options for people more worried about tricky terrain than fashion too. The Talus XT has the same GoreTex and Vibram technology you’ll find in the Clarion ‘88, but it rides a bit higher than most mid-rise boots. These Vasque Hiking Boots provide protection from trail hazards and a touch more support for more comfort carrying heavy loads through difficult terrain. Don’t get us wrong, the mesh upper isn’t bad looking by any means, but it’s there because of it’s abrasion-resistant construction that handles bumps and scrapes better, meaning you’ve got plenty of miles left in these boots even after your feet feel heavy at the end of a long hike.
Designed For: Heavy use with added support
On the other end of the spectrum you have a boot that isn’t actually Salomon Hiking Boot, that’s not really a boot, but still gives you boot-like protection and stability. For the full details you can check out our full review here (https://mtnweekly.com/reviews/salomon-x-ultra-3-gtx-mens-hiking-shoes/) but the quick and easy version is this- You can have GoreTex on your feet, with plenty of support for your feet with pretty good traction too, while wearing something that weighs basically half as much as most “regular” hiking boots.
Designed For: Multi use adventures
The beautiful thing about hiking is there’s no wrong way to do it. You can be peak bagging deep in the wilderness, or just cruising a local park. You’re still hiking. And you don’t need all the bells and whistles, and the price tag that comes with it, to go hiking. This boot is a perfect example of that. It does have a brand-name outsole, because Vibram really is great at grip. But it doesn’t have GoreTex. Your feet won’t get soggy, it’s got Merrell’s own MSelect Dry waterproof/breathable technology. But you’re not paying a premium to get that. Classic lacing, and reliable textile-and-leather construction has these boots focusing on what’s important. Specifically- protecting your feet so you can focus on exploring new trailheads and seeking new summits.
Designed For: Classic fitting boot
And really, that’s the message here. We’ve found a lot of great boots for you to try, but in the end what makes the best hiking boots special isn’t the buzz words or technology built into them. Instead it’s about the places they will take you, and the experiences you will have on your way there.