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The Best Hiking Boots for Adventurous Men

CEO Tinh Phung
As an avid hiker, I used to be skeptical about the benefits of hiking boots. They seemed cumbersome and heavy, hindering my freedom on the trails. However, my perspective changed as I embarked on more...

As an avid hiker, I used to be skeptical about the benefits of hiking boots. They seemed cumbersome and heavy, hindering my freedom on the trails. However, my perspective changed as I embarked on more challenging adventures. I discovered that the right hiking boots could enhance my performance and protect my feet in demanding terrains. Today, as a backcountry guide in Denali National Park, I rely solely on boots to navigate the rugged and unforgiving wilderness. In this article, I have tested and reviewed various options to help you find the perfect pair of hiking boots that suit your needs.


Having been a hiking shoe and trail runner enthusiast in the past, I gradually transitioned to hiking boots as I explored the Alaskan backcountry. I selected boots that had proven reliable over the years and conducted extensive research on the best hiking boot companies globally, such as Merrell and Vasque. I personally tested all the boots mentioned in this article and evaluated manufacturer claims through real-world scenarios. I assessed their waterproofing capabilities, traction, and most importantly, their comfort. After all, there's no reason to endure blisters and pain when there is a wide range of high-quality hiking footwear available.

Best Overall: Merrell Moab 3

Merrell Moab 3 The Merrell Moab 3 is the ultimate hiking boot.

The Merrell Moab 3 is my top pick for its outstanding performance on the trails. Having personally worn various Merrell models for over 3,000 miles, I can confidently vouch for the comfort, traction, and durability of the Moab series. The latest iteration, the Moab 3, builds upon its predecessor, incorporating enhanced features such as an improved footbed, arch support, and an eco-friendly design. The TC-5 Vibram outsole offers exceptional grip on various terrains, ensuring stability and preventing slips. The Moab 3 is available in non-waterproof, waterproof, and Gore-Tex waterproof options, catering to different hiking conditions.

Best for Mixed Terrain: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor ll Mid GTX

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor ll Mid GTX The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor ll Mid GTX bridges the gap between trail runners and scrambling boots.

If you encounter unpredictable weather conditions or encounter rough terrains that demand versatile footwear, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor ll Mid GTX is an excellent choice. This boot strikes the perfect balance between a trail runner and a scrambling boot, offering lightweight design without compromising on protection. The outsole features specially designed lugs for optimal grip and stability. The abrasion-resistant breathable mesh upper, combined with a rubber toe cap, ensures durability and protection against debris. With its Gore-Tex waterproofing, this boot keeps your feet dry in any weather.

Best Budget: Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof

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Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof offers great value for money.

You don't have to break the bank to enjoy the benefits of high-quality hiking boots. The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof offers excellent performance at an affordable price. Constructed with a combination of leather, suede, and mesh, these boots are perfect for tackling rough and rocky terrains. The proprietary outsole provides excellent traction on loose dirt, gravel, and snowy surfaces. While they may not offer extensive ventilation, the waterproof design keeps your feet dry in wet conditions. These boots are a great choice for beginners or budget-conscious hikers.

Best Lightweight: Hoka Kaha GTX 2

Hoka Kaha GTX 2 The Hoka Kaha GTX 2 is a lightweight boot with exceptional comfort.

For those who value lightweight footwear without compromising ankle support, the Hoka Kaha GTX 2 is an excellent option. As the lightest hiking boot with a full high-top design, these boots provide a comfortable and cushioned fit for long hikes. The sole design offers a slight arch, creating a rocking motion that propels your steps forward. The plush cushioning and enhanced shock absorption make these boots ideal for long-distance hikes. The Gore-Tex lining ensures waterproof protection, while the Vibram Megagrip outsole guarantees excellent traction.

Best for Winter: Lowa Renegade Warm GTX Mid

Lowa Renegade Warm GTX Mid The Lowa Renegade Warm GTX Mid is perfect for cold and snowy conditions.

If you frequently venture into wintry landscapes, the Lowa Renegade Warm GTX Mid is specifically designed to keep your feet warm and dry. With additional layers of Gore-Tex and polyester insulation, these boots provide optimal warmth and protection on icy, snowy, and frozen terrains. The Vibram Evo Icetrek outsole offers superior grip, adapting to icy surfaces and providing excellent traction. The dialed-in lacing system ensures a secure and comfortable fit. These boots require minimal break-in time and are perfect for winter hikes and backpacking trips.

Most Versatile: Vasque Breeze

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Vasque Breeze The Vasque Breeze is a versatile boot suitable for various terrains.

The Vasque Breeze is a tried and tested boot that has been a favorite among hikers and backpackers for two decades. Known for its durability and performance, the Breeze has undergone modern updates, including VasqueDry waterproofing made from recycled materials. The Trail Strider outsole, exclusive to Vasque, provides excellent traction with its thick, aggressive clover-shaped lugs. This versatile boot is suitable for multiple terrains and offers a 7-inch top to keep out debris. The Nubuck waterproof leather and breathable mesh upper ensure durability and comfort throughout your hikes.

Best for Bushwhacking: Meindl Comfort Fit Hunter 400

Meindl Comfort Fit Hunter 400 The Meindl Comfort Fit Hunter 400 is a rugged and durable boot.

If you thrive in challenging off-trail expeditions, the Meindl Comfort Fit Hunter 400 is your go-to boot. Built with full-grain nubuck leather and wrapped in Gore-Tex, these boots are designed to withstand water, thick brush, and rugged terrains. The combination of waterproofing and insulation keeps your feet dry and warm in various conditions. With a height of 9.25 inches, these boots provide exceptional ankle support. The Vibram Multigrip 6.0 outsole offers superior traction, while the lacing system ensures a snug and secure fit. These boots are an investment that will last a lifetime and are perfect for extended hunting and backpacking trips.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Hiking Boots for Men

When selecting the right hiking boots for your adventures, personal preference plays a significant role. Here are some key areas to consider before making a purchase:

Weight: Hiking boots are generally heavier than trail runners or low-cut shoes. The weight varies depending on design, materials, and features. Lighter boots offer more freedom of movement, while heavier ones provide additional support and the ability to carry heavier loads.

Waterproofing: Most hiking boots come with some level of waterproofing, often featuring Gore-Tex technology. Consider the weather conditions and terrain you'll be encountering to determine the level of waterproofing you need.

Outsoles: Look for boots with grippy outsoles that provide traction on different surfaces. Thicker, spaced-out lugs excel in mud and snow, while thinner, closer lugs perform best on slippery or loose terrain.

Insoles: Factory insoles are often thin and offer limited impact absorption. Upgrading to aftermarket insoles, such as Superfeet, can provide better cushioning and support.

Stiffness: Higher cuff boots limit ankle movement and protect against debris, but they can cause "shin bang." Ensure that the boot's design suits your ankle and calf shape to avoid discomfort.

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At Outdoor Life, we have been a trusted authority in testing and reviewing outdoor gear since 1898. Our team of experienced outdoorspeople and trained journalists provide unbiased reviews based on extensive field testing, interviews with manufacturers and experts, and objective data. We prioritize providing our readers with accurate and reliable information to aid their gear selection. Our reviews are not influenced by advertising, and we strive to highlight both the strengths and weaknesses of the products we review.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right hiking boots is crucial for a successful and enjoyable outdoor experience. Ill-fitting or inadequate footwear can lead to discomfort and even injuries. While there isn't a one-size-fits-all boot, this comprehensive list of top brands and models will help guide you in the right direction. Remember, personal preference and comfort are key when selecting the best hiking boots for your adventures. Happy hiking!