Hiking boots are an important part of the hiking experience. They need to be comfortable, durable and protect your feet from various hazards that may happen on the trail.
There are many different brands of hiking boots on the market today and some perform better than others. Some hikers prefer a specific brand because they have a long-standing positive experience with it while other hikers switch between brands as new models come out or older models go on sale.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the best hiking boot brands hikers love but first, we’ll go over hiking boot benefits, hiking boots vs shoes, and what to look for when buying hiking boots.
Benefits of Hiking Boots
Some great benefits of hiking boots are their ability to protect your feet from rocks, sticks and other sharp objects on the trails. They also offer better grip than regular shoes which means you won’t slip as much or get stuck in mud or wet grass during rainstorms.
The best brands will have a high-cut design that protects your ankles from injuries, use high-quality materials for improved durability, have increased cushioning against impact force, be water-resistant so they don’t soak up moisture when it rains especially since this can lead to blisters or worse if you are hiking with heavy backpacks.
Some models are even insulated to keep your feet warm in cold weather so you don’t end up with frostbite when the temperature drops overnight.
Hiking Boots vs Shoes
Hiking boots are different from regular shoes in several ways. The most obvious one is the thick, sturdy sole which distinguishes them from lighter footwear that can’t protect your feet on rough trails or slippery surfaces.
Hiking boots have more insulation so they are warmer than regular shoes and also have better arch support which reduces strain on your legs while walking for an extended period of time.
On the other hand, they usually weigh more because of all these features so if you plan to hike once or twice a week then it’s wiser to get a high-quality pair of lightweight hiking shoes instead.
Choosing Your Hiking Boot
When you’re trying to decide what kind of hiking boots you want there are several things to take into consideration like where you plan to go hiking, how often you will be doing it and what weather conditions to expect at the time. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before making a final choice:
1) How Often Will You Be Hiking?
If you want something that can handle tough trails all the way up mountains with steep slopes then you’ll need hiking boots designed for this purpose.
If you’re just looking for casual footwear that’s breathable, comfortable and lightweight then buying an expensive pair of boots is unnecessary.
Another thing to keep in mind is if they are waterproof or not since this can affect your comfort level during different seasons when rain becomes frequent. Going on short backpacking trips where weight matters more than comfort Then there’s no reason why lightweight hiking shoes wouldn’t suffice.
2) Where Will You Be Hiking?
To make sure you get the most out of your money read some hiking boot reviews and look up images of the most popular models like Salomon, Merrell and Keen to see what they look like and which types of trails they can handle.
If you plan on going through tough conditions then definitely go with a hiking boot that uses Gore-Tex or another waterproof material to keep your feet dry in wet weather.
This way you don’t end up with blisters, bacterial infections or worse when wet boots trap sweat close to your skin for hours at a time.
3) What Kind Of Trails Will You Be On?
As I mentioned before make sure the shoe has a durable hiking sole to take on sharp rocks or any other trail debris you might come across.
Also, look for boots with extra cushioning in the insole since this will make them more comfortable when going through long distances. Any boot with mesh panels is a good choice for breathability so your feet don’t get too sweaty when it’s hot outside while leather or synthetic uppers are generally best when it comes to durability and protection against bad weather.
These are just some of the things you should consider when buying a new pair of hiking boots.
Read Also: Hiking Boots vs Work Boots
Best Hiking Boot Brands
The following is a list of some of the best hiking boot brands on the market today:
This Italian company has been making boots since 1876 and is known for its support, comfort and lightweight materials.
They use top-of-the-line waterproof leathers and suedes in every model. The TPS 520 and TPS 520 GTX models are both excellent boots for backpacking, mountaineering and winter expeditions.
These shoes feature the trademark three stripes on the side panel which you can see as soon as someone tries to run away with your backpack in a crowded train in Europe.
They also have a running shoe made specifically for trails called Terrex which is lightweight and supportive. If you want something more heavy-duty they have the Salomon Quest 4D GTX hiking boot which has GoreTex lining and a protective rand around the toe area.
This is a relatively new brand and they make shoes for both men and women. Their shoes are ultra-lightweight with hardly any cushioning, perfect for thru-hikers who want to avoid carrying extra weight on the trail.
The Lone Peak model is popular among many hikers and they also offer an all-terrain shoe called Olympus. They also have a footwear line made specifically for the rigors of tactical operations by US Special Forces members called Tactical Performance Shoes (TPS).
4) Hoka One One
This is a new brand on the market but they have already made a name for themselves as being one of the best brands by ultra-runners.
They offer maximum cushioning and protection from rocks and other debris. The Tor Ultra Hi WP model is heavy-duty enough for hiking in difficult winter terrain, although it can be very hot to wear during summer hikes.
Another Italian brand that creates some of the most popular hiking boots on the market today. They have a lightweight option called Renegade GTX with a Vibram sole which makes them suited for mountaineering and long treks along trails.
If you prefer going off-trail there is also a mid-height version called Himalaya GTX TC which comes with an aggressive outsole for rough terrain.
This brand has been around since 1981 and they are known for their lightweight, comfort and durability. They have many different models to choose from but the most popular ones are the Vapor Glove 2 which weighs only 7 ounces per shoe, Moab Ventilator for hot weather hiking, Jungle Moc Waterproof which is great for wet conditions and the Moab Mid Gore-Tex if you want a heavy-duty boot that can handle rough trails.
Another brand that specializes in running shoes but has branched out into hiking boots as well. The Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX model is perfect for rugged terrain thanks to its aggressive rubber rands and waterproof suede leather.
The S/Lab Ultra is another popular model but it’s more suitable for long expeditions thanks to its low weight and great stability.
This Italian company has been making footwear since 1947 and offers a wide variety of boots including the Stix GTX mountaineering boot, Mojito casual shoe, R-Evolution running shoes and many different models designed specifically for rock climbing.
Their hiking boots are comfortable enough to wear all day on trails with uneven terrain but they tend to be somewhat heavy which makes them more suited for longer treks.
Salewa is an Austrian brand that specializes in waterproof footwear such as rain boots and backpacking models which are perfect for trekking through rough terrain.
They have a model called the Mountain Trainer Mid GTX which is ideal for mountaineering and hiking in cold, wet weather.
If you prefer going off-trail they have something called the Firetail 3 which comes with a Vibram sole and aggressive outsole for climbing rocks and scrambling up steep hillsides.
Vasque has been around since 1967 and specializes in footwear that can handle tough conditions including high altitudes, snow and ice.
The Salish model is an all-round great boot for many different kinds of trails, while the Breeze 2.0 is a lightweight option if you want to carry less weight on back when going over long distances.
11) La Sportiva
This Italian brand specializes in footwear for climbing and mountaineering but they also have boots that are great for hiking.
The Nucleo High GTX model is ideal for the trails with uneven terrain, while the Olympus Mons has a stiff sole to provide extra stability during mountain hikes.
Their most popular boot though is the Spire GTX which comes with an aggressive outsole for scrambling up rocks.
This is a company that specializes in lightweight boots, although their Firebrand II model comes with thicker soles that work great for hiking in difficult winter terrain. Many people like to wear them when they go snowshoeing too.
They also offer the Sawtooth which comes with an outsole designed for trail running but can be used on difficult trails as well. The boot has high ankle support and plenty of cushioning in the insole, making it one of the best brands on the market today.
This is another company known for its lightweight boots which are comfortable enough to hike all day in yet durable enough to handle tough terrain.
The Trekmaster GTX model is perfect for traveling over rocky trails and has a lot of cushioning for extra comfort.
Their lower range models such as the Horizon GTX or Maverick GX are ideal for easy trails and urban hikes, while their higher end ones like the Velocity 2.0 GTX or Koala II WP can handle winter conditions and wet terrain.
14) Under Armour
This brand has been around since 1996 and is best known for its sports gear including running shoes and compression shirts but they also make hiking boots in addition to other types of footwear like casual shoes.
The UA Storm technology makes their boots waterproof so you don’t have to worry about heavy rain when wearing them on any trail.
The HeatGear technology keeps your feet cool no matter how much you work up a sweat during high-intensity activities.
15) Hi Tec Clarke
This is an Australian company that makes rugged hiking boots designed for backcountry trails and mountaineering expeditions.
They have a wide variety of models that they offer which is why people consider them to be one of the best brands on the market today.
Their low range includes lightweight boots like the Crush 2.0 and footwear for casual wear, while their high-end ones come with stiff soles and lots of padding for more stability during challenging hikes such as the Rover GTX model.
This US brand has been around since 2003 but they gained popularity after sponsoring several long-distance runners including Scott Jurek who broke the speed record when running the Appalachian trail in 2015.
Their footwear is meant for hiking, mountaineering and other outdoor activities that require a lot of support and stability.
Many of their models also come with an all-day comfort guarantee so you can wear them on any trail and your feet will stay happy no matter how long the journey takes.
The Targhee III Mid model is one of their most popular boots because it has a protective upper which serves as a natural shield against thorns and other types of vegetation found on the trails.
Their lower range includes lighter options such as the Gray’s Peak II while their high-end ones come with lots of padding like the Monarch IV model.
This company started out by making raincoats but they quickly expanded to include various types of outdoor clothing and footwear.
Hiking shoes are a big part of their business, thus they have a wide variety to offer from low range models such as the Newton Ridge to high end ones like the Mountain Masochist II WP which is perfect for difficult trails with its aggressive outsole and waterproof membrane.
Their most popular boot though is the Redmond Mid which comes with Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining so your feet stay happy throughout the hike no matter how low or high the mercury drops.
This German company has been around since 1921 and specializes in mountaineering boots that come with lots of insulation because long car trips can be uncomfortable especially when you have to sit all day in a cramped space without being able to stretch your legs.
Their most popular model is the Kailash GTX which comes with Vibram Mega sole and G-Flex technology for extra cushioning.
This boot is perfect if you plan on spending long days hiking such as when crossing glaciers or climbing high summits since it will keep your feet safe and healthy without adding too much weight to your pack.
They have been around since 1932 but they only became a household name after sponsoring several athletes including golfers, runners and skiers thus becoming one of the top sports companies today.
They make a wide range of boots from low-end casual ones like their Mountain Light model to high-end mountaineering footwear like the Lithia AR which has an ankle support system, a waterproof membrane and special insulation for cold weather conditions.
Their most popular model is the Mountain 600 which has a classic look but with all the modern technology, thus making it perfect as both casual footwear as well as an outdoors one.
This German brand specializes in mountaineering boots, thus they come with lots of insulation because long car trips can be uncomfortable especially when you have to sit all day in a cramped space without being able to stretch your legs.
Their most popular model is the GTN Quest which comes in two variations for men or women so you can pick one depending on your preferences.
This boot has a lot of cushioning plus it has SONIC technology for added safety when crossing rocky surfaces. It also comes with an anatomically correct footbed that’s meant to keep your feet happy even after several hours of hiking. The MVA sole also provides great grip no matter if you are climbing steep slopes or crossing a glacier.
This Italian shoe company started out by creating skiing boots but they have expanded their line of products to include a wide range of footwear that can be used for casual wear or sports.
One of the most comfortable models available today is the Summit model which comes with a removable footbed and a padded tongue, thus guaranteeing full comfort whether you want to go hiking on an easy trail or climb high summits deep in the backcountry.
It also has triple density EVA foam plus PU shank reinforcements which give it great stability when carrying heavy loads.
This boot brand has been around since 1902 so they have a lot of experience with boots, thus their products are amongst some of the most popular ones out there.
They specialize in hiking shoes so all their models are meant for rough conditions that include crossing rivers or climbing steep slopes where you need reliable footwear that won’t give up on you despite the harsh conditions.
Their Vioz GTX model is perfect for this type of hike because it comes with a protective toe box, an anti-debris membrane to keep your feet dry and special lace closures that make sure they stay put even when worn over thick socks.
Read Also: Best Hiking Boots for Kids
Like I said before it’s best to know what kind of trails you plan to go hiking on and how much wear and tear your boots will have since this way you can decide whether or not they’ll even last long enough for you to get your money’s worth.
If you’re going through tough terrain then look for boots that are the most durable, the most comfortable and obviously waterproof as well since there’s no reason why your footwear shouldn’t protect you from any weather conditions like heavy rain and snowstorms.