Best Hiking Boots for Men for Comfort on Every Trail (2021)
By Kay Rodriguez
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Updated July 17, 2023
Having the proper footwear for any hike is necessary for staying safe and comfortable on the trails. There are so many options and styles out there, but the best men’s hiking boots will ensure your feet have the stability and protection they need to tackle any trail or terrain. After testing, researching, and evaluating dozens of products, we created this list of the best hiking boots for men to help you choose the perfect pair for your outdoor adventures.
To narrow down our selection of the best hiking boots for men, we went through a rigorous research and testing process. Our investigation started with a list of dozens of different products and brands. Using a mixture of professional review websites, customer reviews, product pages, and our own hiking experiences and standards, we used a very informed and practical approach to narrow down our list and create this guide. We hope it helps you find the best men’s hiking boots for your budget and preferences!
A hiking boot’s height is one of the central pillars of comfort and function. Men’s hiking boots typically come in three different heights: low or below ankle, mid or ankle-height, and high or above ankle. Here are some of the common features of each ankle boot height range:
Below ankle: Low-cut hiking boots fall below the ankle and fit similar to regular running shoes or sneakers. Trail runner styles would also fall under this category. These are the most comfortable and lightweight boots but generally offer the least ankle and foot support for uneven terrain. They’re best for warm weather and flat, even trails.
Ankle/Mid Height: This is the most common height for hiking boots and hits right around the ankle area. These provide moderate ankle/foot support but are a bit bulkier and heavier than the lightweight, below ankle boots. Typically, mid-size ankle boots are great all-around options for a variety of terrain, but may not provide the most support on the rockiest or steepest trails.
Above ankle: Above ankle hiking boots typically cover the ankle and provide the most support. They are the heaviest and most bulky kinds of boots. Popular with regular hikers, mountaineers, and backpackers, these heavy duty boots are designed to tackle any kind of terrain or scramble and are typically built to withstand any conditions. These are most common for hikers that typically tackle very rough terrain or spend a lot of time in the backcountry.
A boot’s weight is another important characteristic to consider – any unnecessary weight will definitely add up over miles and miles of hiking. Generally, the best hiking boots for men are lightweight but still provide good ankle support for rugged, uneven terrain. Of course, the smaller and shorter the boot, the lighter it will be. However, a boot’s materials, design, and sole can also contribute to how heavy a boot feels.
Waterproofing is a common feature of the best hiking boots for men. Many hikers prefer boots with waterproofing to keep their feet dry during shallow stream crossings, rain, or snow. However, an added waterproof layer can make hiking boots a little heavier and less breathable, so that’s something to consider if you don’t often hike in wetter conditions. Waterproofing can be a basic lining or a more robust GORE-TEX construction that fully weatherproofs a boot.
Comfort & Fit
Though very subjective, comfort and fit are arguably the most important attribute when choosing men’s hiking boots. Boots typically come in medium and wide widths for different foot sizes, and the different heights of the boots may hit differently on different men. Every man’s foot is different, and the best way to determine a boot’s fit is simply to try them on.
While comfy, sturdy hiking boots are fantastic, they’re not very useful if they don’t hold up over the course of many, many hikes. The best hiking boots for men are durable and last several years and hundreds of miles without ripping or breaking. Most brands offer some kind of warranty to cover manufacturer defects and damages within the first few years of purchase. When we can’t gauge durability over the course of miles and miles of hiking, we usually read customer reviews to figure out what others have to say.
While you shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to enjoy your favorite hiking trails, buying a pair of hiking boots is an investment. Let’s face it: the best men’s hiking boots aren’t cheap, and you’ll want to shop around for a pair the not only falls within your budget, but also supports your feet comfortably.
Below, we’ve grouped the best hiking boots for men into the following categories:
Why They’re Awesome: Waterproof, comfortable, versatile construction for any type of trail
There’s a reason why the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof boots are consistently praised as the best hiking boots for men and women. In addition to being some of the most popular hiking boots, they’re also comfortable, versatile, and sturdy enough for a wide range of trails and terrain. With its mid-ankle height, it provides a good amount of ankle and foot support without being too bulky or heavy. Moreover, it’s one of the most affordable options on our list, meaning it’s more likely to fit into your budget than some of our higher-end recommendations.
On top of the Moab 2 Mid Waterproof boots, there are also low-height and GORE-TEX options of the Moab that are suitable depending on what your typical hiking preferences are. These boots have great tread for lighter hikes, wet conditions, or backcountry adventures. So many customers (us included) are sold on Merrell boots for a long time after hiking in the Moab boots.
While the Moab 2s are a versatile, comfortable boot, they aren’t without drawbacks. There are a few customer complaints of durability issues, and this doesn’t surprise us given the price point. But many users similarly comment that these boots have lasted hundreds of miles over several years. Additionally, they’ve got a little less ankle support than true backpacking or high rise boots. If you’re seeking the best hiking boots for men at the best price, we’d give the Merrell Moab 2s some serious consideration.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR MERRELL MOAB 2 MID WATERPROOF:
Why They’re Awesome: Tough design for backcountry, lightweight for their heavy-duty construction
If more lightweight and casual boots aren’t tough enough for your backcountry adventures, we’d recommend the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots. With the durable, sturdy support of traditional backpacking boots but a lightweight construction, the Renegades offer the best of both worlds for strenuous hikes, rugged terrain, and backcountry adventures.
The Renegade boots have an external frame (the Monowrap) that helps to reduce their weight and increase stability. With a GORE-TEX outer construction, they’re waterproof and weatherproof and hold up in any season or conditions. Grippy treads, comfortable fit, added support, and very little break-in time make these boots a great fit for backpackers and day hikers alike.
In reading customer reviews, there have been a few instances of these boots not holding up in wet or tough conditions. For the most part, however, they are extremely sturdy and have lasted many hikes for several hundred miles.
Why They’re Awesome: Budget-friendly, waterproof, leather construction
We love Columbia gear because of its great value for the price, and the Columbia Newton Ridge II Plus Waterproofboots are no exception. These solid, waterproof mid-ankle shoes are some of the best hiking boots for men on a budget. Made of a leather upper with thick soles and plenty of in-boot cushioning, this affordable boot feels much nicer than you’d expect at the price point. It also comes in a few different colors you can choose between.
Despite being a great value, the Columbia Newton Ridge isn’t as supportive in the ankles as other boots on our list, nor is it as durable. Given the significantly lower price than any other boots on our list, we still think it is the best budget option for moderate or occasional hikers and those who want to spend less than $100.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR COLUMBIA MENS NEWTON RIDGE II:
Why They’re Awesome: Sturdy leather construction, great waterproofing
An extremely popular and durable hiking boot, Keen Targhee III Mid Waterproof is an excellent choice for those seeking a solid all-around boot. With a leather construction and good sole treads, this is a fantastic boot for more moderate trails and rocky terrain. Its price falls on the lower end of our spectrum, making this a great choice for the budget-conscious hiker looking to make an investment in a pair of boots that will last several miles and years on the trails.
One of the things that confuses us about the Keen Targhee II and III models is the discrepancy in fit. Overall, it seems like the Targhee II is built to fit a little wider, while the III fits more snugly and narrowly around the foot. However, this has caused many sizing issues for those seeking a boot that fits their foot build (especially when buying online). Additionally, it’s a little less breathable than its main competitor, the Merrell Moab 2s, so those ended up winning us over.
Why They’re Awesome: Lightweight, comfortable, cool and fun colors
Salomon makes some really tough outdoor gear, and the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX boots are a favorite of hikers and backpackers alike. With GORE-TEX, lightweight construction, and lots of cushion from the EVA midsole and OrthoLite sock liner make this an extremely comfortable and supportive boot.
Despite their stellar set of specifications on paper, a large number of reviewers and customers had complaints of durability issues, especially when it came to the waterproofing. We read a LOT of reviews that these shoes began to leak after just a few months of wear. While Salomon does offer a 2-year warranty, it won’t help if you’re mid-hike in wet and freezing conditions. While it doesn’t happen to everyone, you may want to consider this before you buy.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR SALOMON X ULTRA MID GTX:
Why They’re Awesome: Leather construction, lots of support for backpacking or strenuous hikes, durable waterproofing
For those who crave more ankle support and high-quality leather construction, the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX is all you need. These high-end hiking boots are made of smooth, sturdy leather and GORE-TEX weatherproof material to block out rain without losing their sleek look. Additionally, with thick, rubbed soles and moderate tread, slippery conditions are much easier to navigate in these. While they’re probably overkill for more relaxed hikes, summit hikers, alpine mountaineers and backpackers will appreciate the support and sturdiness of this burly boot.
The most obvious downside of this boot is its weight – at nearly 3 pounds per pair, these boots weight considerably more than many of the other pairs on our list. For those who enjoy minimalist or lightweight hiking gear, these may not be the right boots for you. But those who are okay with taking on extra weight with additional ankle support and sole tread will be pleasantly surprised how tough these boots can be.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR VASQUE ST. ELIAS FG GTX:
Well-known for making high-quality rock climbing shoes, the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX hiking boots are some of the most premium men’s hiking boots on our list. They check all the boxes – GORE-TEX construction, fantastic ankle support, grippy treads and soles, and comfortable cushioning all over. The Zodiacs are known for being one of Scarpa’s more versatile hiking boots – sturdy enough to handle long haul backpacking trips but flexible enough to tackle all different kinds of terrain and scrambles.
What we don’t love about the Scarpa Zodiac boots…is the price. It’s by far the priciest hiking boot on our list, and while it does have everything we could want in a boot, there have been somewhat mixed reviews about its durability on adventures and trails. Additionally, they seem to only come in one color, which includes a pretty wacky orange detail that might not be for everyone. Those things aside, you may just try on this boot and fall in love with how tough yet cushioned it is.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR SCARPA ZODIAC PLUS GTX:
Why They’re Awesome: Lightweight, ergonomically designed, come in fun colors
Hoka One One is famed for its ultra functional running shoes, but they’re beginning to make a name for themselves in the hiking industry as well. The Hoka One One Kaha Gore-Texis one of their most popular shoe in this arena, making an appearance on many lists of the best men’s hiking boots. People love how comfortable these shoes are, both for running and hiking, and they’re equipped with GORE-TEX outers as well as Vibram soles to tackle a variety of terrain.
Despite being lightweight, these shoes are very pricey and don’t provide the same level of support and cushion as traditional hiking boots. In our opinion, their design is a little bulky and cumbersome (and also not as nice aesthetically) compared to other options on our list. There have also been complaints about durability issues on rougher terrain and more strenuous hikes/backpacking trips. Based on our evaluations, given the price of the Hoka One One Kaha boots, there are definitely more affordable and practical options for men’s hiking boots.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR HOKA ONE ONE KAHA GORE-TEX:
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