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Best Hiking Boots for Men and Women 2015

Hiking boots are specially designed footwear meant for use in situations that involve serious footwork that will put your feet in a lot of strain; for instance, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, backpacking and hunting. They are made from tough materials to protect your feet from harsh environments such as mountainous terrain, stones etc. As such, they are the most crucial item in a hiker’s gear, since their durability and quality directly determine the hiker’s ability to move quickly, safely and far.

Your hiking boots will provide you comfort when you’re walking long distances on tough ground, and will protect your feet from rocks, mud, water and so on. Hiking boots normally have thick heels and soles, and provide ankle support to the wearer. You must pick a hiking boot that is neither too tight nor too loose, so that you don’t get sore feet or blisters.

For someone who is just starting out in hiking, it can be extremely hard to choose from the wide range of best hiking boots, thanks to the wide variety, in terms of both price and features, of hiking boots out there. This article is written as a guide for those who are having trouble picking out the correct hiking boots for themselves, and will tell them everything they need to take into account when purchasing a pair. It will also cover some of the most popular hiking boots, as well as the main manufacturers, so you have an idea about what to look out for in the market.

How To Choose Hiking Boots Best Suited For You

Picking out the perfect hiking boots is similar to matchmaking. The hiking boots which are best for you will:

  • Suit your hiking ambitions: As an example, hefty backpacking boots will not be needed if all you intend to do is day hiking, unless you feel that you’ll be more comfortable in backpacking boots.
  • Fit your feet comfortably: Making sure that your boots fit your feet snugly is an essential part of choosing the right boot.

Types Of Hiking Boots

Certain boots (as well as shoes) walk the line between backpacking, hiking and light hiking. Depending on your hiking ambition, you need to pick the type which is best for you. If you’ll likely be carrying lighter loads for most of your trips, you may consider light footwear.

  • Hiking shoes: Low-cut shoe models with flexible midsoles are great for day hikes. Several ultralight hikers may even opt for trail running shoes for easing their longer trips.
  • Hiking boots: These boots range from mid- to high-cut models meant for day hiking / weekend backpacking with a light burden. They are normally flexible and require little time to get broken-in. However, they lack the durability and support of beefy backpackers.
  • Backpacking boots: These boots are made to sustain heftier loads on trips lasting several days, deep inside backcountry. Many have a high cut which wraps above your ankles to provide ample support. Supportive and durable, with their midsoles stiffer than those of lighter boots, they are great for both on-trail and off-trail journeys.
  • Mountaineering boots: These boots are bulkier, with stiff midsoles meant to support heavy loads and accept crampons that are needed for travel on glaciers. They are tough, durable and provide excellent support.

Features Of Hiking Boots

  • Hiking boot uppers: Materials affect a boot’s durability, water resistance, breathability and weight.
    • Full-grain leather: Full grain leather is highly durable and resistive to abrasion, besides being highly water resistant. It is used most frequently in backpacking boots for heavy loads, extended trips and rugged terrain. It lacks the breathability and lightness of split-grain/nylon leather mixes, and requires considerable time to be broken in before an extended trip is undertaken.
    • Split grain leather: This type of leather is normally paired with nylon / nylon mesh to provide breathable and lightweight comfort. It ‘splits away’ the coarser inner cowhide in favour of the smoother exterior. This reduces its cost but also lowers its resistance to abrasion and water (although several incorporate waterproof liners).
    • Nubuck leather: This is full-grain leather which has been buffed to look like suede. Highly durable, and resistant to abrasion and water, it is also quite flexible, but it still requires plenty of break-in time before taking a long hike.
    • Synthetics: Nylon, polyester and ‘synthetic leather’ are becoming common in modern boots. They are lighter than genuine leather, easy to break-in, quicker to dry and cheap. On the downside, they get worn out sooner due to the increased amount of stitching on the boot’s exterior.
    • Waterproof: Shoes and boots that are called waterproof incorporate uppers made from breathable/waterproof membranes e.g. eVent® or Gore-Tex® to keep the wearer’s feet dry in wet environments. The downside is that the wearer’s feet may get sweaty on hot days as a result of the lowered breathability created by the membrane.
    • Vegan: Vegan-friendly hiking shoes and boots are made out of non-animal ingredients / by-products.
    • Insulated: Some mountaineering boots may feature synthetic insulation for extra warmth when hiking in glacial conditions.
  • Hiking boot midsoles: The midsole, which offers the cushioning, protects the feet from shock and is the biggest determinant of the boot’s stiffness. Even though stiff boots may seem initially unappealing, they provide more comfort and stability on extended hikes on uneven and rocky ground. A stiff boot will prevent your feet from wearing out by wrapping around every uneven obstacle your foot steps on. Midsoles are usually made from either polyurethane or ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA):
    • EVA: It is lighter, cushier and less costly. Midsoles use a variable density of EVA to provide buffering wherever required (e.g. around the forefoot).
    • Polyurethane: It is normally firmer and more long lasting, so it is present, usually, in mountaineering and extended backpacking boots.
  • Hiking boot support components:
    • Shanks: These are 3 to 5 millimeter thick inserts that are sandwiched between the outsole and midsole to increase load-sustaining stiffness to the midsole. Their length is variable, with some covering the midsole’s entire length, while other covering only half.
    • Plates: These semi flexible, thin inserts are placed between the outsole and midsole, and if the shank is present, below it. They shield the foot from bruising due to uneven rocks or roots.
  • Hiking boot outsoles: Rubber is utilized on every hiking boot outsole. Additions such as carbon are sometimes included in mountaineering or backpacking boots to increase their hardness. Hard outsoles increase the boot’s durability but can also feel slick if you go off the trail. Other considerations for hiking boot outsoles include:
    • Heel brake: This means the well-defined heel zone which is separate from the arch and forefoot. It lowers the risk of sliding during sharp descents.
    • Lug pattern: Lugs are bumps on the outsole that give traction. Thicker, deeper lugs are present on mountaineering and backpacking boots to enhance their grip. Lugs that are widely spaced proved good traction and get rid of mud easily.
  • Hiking boot rands: Present on certain breathable/waterproof boots, a rand refers to the wide rubber wrap that encircles the boot (or, in some cases, only the toe area) where the midsole meets the upper. It provides added protection against water penetration on mucky, wet trails. It also protects the boot’s leather from abrasion.
  • Crampon compatibility: The type of boot you have will determine your options in crampon binding systems. Crampon compatibility is vital for safety and performance.
    • Strap-on crampons incorporate nylon webbing straps which secure them to your boots. Although these take a longer time to attach compared to other systems, they can be attached to almost any boot. For flexible footwear such as hiking boots, backpacking boots and hiking boots, ensure that the crampon’s center bar is a match with the flex of your boot.
    • Step-in crampons have a wire bail which keeps the toe in place as a heel lever attaches the crampon to your boot’s heel. This is the fastest, easiest and most accurate attachment system but it can only be used with certain types of boots. To use step-in crampons, boots must have rigid soles and a minimum of 3/8’’ groove or welt on the toe and heel. This type of crampons normally works with heavy-duty hiking boots but are not compatible with light mountaineering boots, backpacking boots or hiking boots.
    • Hybrid crampons combine features of both the step-in and strap-on variety. They incorporate a heel lever & toe strap, and work with a stiff soled boot that comes with a heel welt or groove to keep the heel lever in place. The toe strap, on the other hand, doesn’t require a welt to stay in place. They can be attached easily and quickly, and are compatible with the majority of lightweight mountaineering boots, as well as certain backpacking boots, but are normally incompatible with hiking boots.

Top 5 Hiking Boot Reviews

PREVIEWMODEL PRICERATING
Timberland_300_ White Ledge Waterproof BootTimberland’s Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot $$$4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)
Salomon_300_ Men 1Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot $$$4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)
Merrel Men_300_ Moab Ventilator Hiking ShoeMerrel Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe $$$4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Adidas Outdoor_300_Terrex Conrax CP Primaloft Mountaineering Boot  Mens  1Adidas Outdoor Terrex Conrax CP Primaloft Mountaineering Boot - Men’s $$$5.0 Stars (5.0 / 5)
Maelstrom_300_LANDSHIP 8 Military Tactical Boots with Zipper 1Maelstrom LANDSHIP 8’’ Military Tactical Boots with Zipper $$$4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

Timberland’s Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot             

4.4 Stars

Timberland White Ledge Waterproof Boot

 

Made from high quality full-grain waterproof leather which is seam sealed for total protection from water crossings and raindrops, these White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiker boots by Timberland are made to get you to the peak and then back safe and comfortable. The traditional hiker silhouette looks perfectly right when you’re out hiking, and the shoes guarantee comfort all day long because of the removable dual-density EVA footbeds, BSFP motion efficiency system active rubber lug outsole and padded collar.

The all-terrain rubber outsole provides excellent traction. Other notable features include a waterproof nubuck upper, gusseted padded tongue, d-ring lace-up front, padded collar and heel tab, Mesh lining with cushioned removable insole and shock absorbing midsole.

Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot                    

4.7 Stars

Salomon Men 1

 

With their updated Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX , Salomon have retained the excellent grip and stability, and incorporated a more ergonomic tongue for extra comfort, and laces which stay tied much better than before, besides adding fresh design details. These hiking boots boast a leather upper made from nubuck and textile, along with a protective heel cap and rubber toe, gusseted tongue and hell foam. The Ortholite footbed, Gore-Tex membrane, modified EVA midsole and 4D advanced chassis rest atop the non-marking Contagrip outsole, and work in conjunction to provide you unprecedented support and comfort.

Merrel Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe  

4.5 Stars         

Merrel Men Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe

 

Merrel Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoes will keep your feet cool, comfy and ready for more action, whether you’re riding your mountain bike on some red rock rail, or hiking through a canyon drenched in sunlight. These shoes were made from leather strapping supports to shield the breathable mesh uppers which ensure a constant supply of fresh are to your feet, even on blazing hot desert hikes. The Air Cushion midsole acts as a shock absorbent on jerky downhill descents, and an EVA footbed that is compression molded gives the much needed support on varied ground conditions. Light to mid-weight socks are recommended by Merrel to be worn with these shoes.

Adidas Outdoor Terrex Conrax CP Primaloft Mountaineering Boot    

5.0 Stars 

Adidas Outdoor Terrex Conrax CP Primaloft Mountaineering Boot  Mens  1

 

The Men’s Terrex Conrax CP Boot by Addidas combines Adidas’s game-changing comfort with climate-blocking mechanisms to provide you the upper hand in winter conditions. It is an amalgamation of cross-country ski boot, warm winter boot and aggressive hiking boot, with the aim to give you the entire arsenal of winter footwear into a single athletic boot.

  • The CLIMAPROOF membrane provides waterproof protection in wintery environments without cutting of your foot’s air supply.
  • PrimaLoft insulation gives you vital warmth in very low temperature.
  • The zippered snow cover stops the snow from accumulating and moisture from seeping at the tongue.
  • Speed lacing allows fast and easy entry / exit in the cold when you’re having a hard time feeling your fingers.
  • Aggressive Traxion outsole gives you the much needed traction on snow and ice.

Maelstrom LANDSHIP 8’’ Military Tactical Boots with Zipper

4.1 Stars

Maelstrom LANDSHIP 8 Military Tactical Boots with Zipper 1

 

This the ultimate pick for law enforcement individuals as well as outdoor enthusiasts. With an upper combination of full grain leather, suede and breathable air mesh, the boot improves breathability by using perforated foam padding. The moisture management system is further enhanced by moisture-wicking and antibacterial linings. The material combination keeps the feet dry and comfortable throughout the day. The lightweight, shock buffering midsole mechanism provides the best support for high impact activities with enhanced compression and rebound which results in speed, stability and comfort. This cushioning mechanism sits atop the specially made outsole with deep threads for amazing traction in all ground conditions. In addition, the side zipper allows for simple on and off. Made to be fast, comfortable and light, the LANDSHIP boot packs bleeding-edge athletic design features, conventional construction processes for proven long life and excellent value.

Conclusion

With the continuous influx of hiking boots and shoes in the market, it can be quite challenging to know what to look for. However, having a good knowledge of what to watch out for before taking that buying decision is extremely crucial. The details we have provided in this guide were designed to give you a safe path to follow (hiking boot reviews). The Hiking Market is huge and it’s growing daily, we will continue to update you with the most important information and how they affect your outdoor experiences.

About the author

John and Ellen Macaully

We are the voices behind footwire, we love to travel and are very active. Some of our favorite activities are hiking, running and rock climbing. We are very passionate about the shoes we choose for our personal use and each and every review we conduct is from the perspective of what we would buy for ourselves.

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