September 25, 2022

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Few things are more rewarding than traversing a mountain or exploring a remote trail on your own two feet. Hiking seems underrated in its simplicity, but to get the most out of it, there’s a crucial component: hiking boots. They’re the cornerstone of an experience being good or bad and should be the foundation which flashier items like down jackets, backpacks or trail running kits are built upon.

What to Look for in a Hiking Boot

There are myriad features that determine which type of boot is best for a specific type of terrain and a specific type of hiker. Do you live in a rainy climate? You’ll want to look for an option that comes with a Gore-Tex lining or membrane, which will protect your feet from moisture and weather. Do you typically hike in rockier terrain? Go for a boot with maximum ankle support and minimal flexibility, as well as multi-directional lugs that will provide traction and grip. Live in a desert climate? Lace up a pair of boots with a breathable mesh liner and upper to maximize airflow.

Below, I’ve outlined the top options for anyone who likes to lace up and get out there: technical alpine trekkers, city-to-mountain kickers and best-all-around hikers.

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Best Overall Hiking Boots

Vasque Breeze LT NTX

Best Upgrade Hiking Boots

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid WS

Best Affordable Hiking Boots

Merrell Moab 3 Mid

Best for Technical Trails

Scarpa Kailash Trek GTX

Best Backpacking Boot

Salomon Quest Element Gore-Tex

Best Style:Capability Ratio

Arc’teryx Aerios AR Mid GTX Boot

Best Classic Style

Danner Mountain Light

Best New Brand

Thesus The Weekend Boot

Best For Tough Trails

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots

Best For Toe Splay

Altra Lone Peak Hiker Hiking Boots

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