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Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down. The trend nowadays is toward light, waterproof boots that still offer decent support. Many are also offered in a non-waterproof version for hiking in hot or dry climates.
Our picks for the best hiking boots of 2017 are broken down into three categories: lightweight boots for day hiking and fastpacking, midweight options that work well for most backpacking trips, and heavyweights for rough terrain or hauling a large load. For more information on choosing the right boot, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks. It you prefer to go even lighter and faster, see our articles on the best lightweight hiking shoes.
Lowa Men’s Renegade II GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Over the past few years, the women’s model of this boot has been widely considered to be the best hiking boot for women. Being the best for female hikers doesn't mean that these boots aren't good for male hikers, however. In fact, the opposite is true.
Although this is a midweight hiking boot, when you walk around wearing them, you can feel their form and support and may easily have the impression that they are lightweight boots.
The boot is very comfortable and you can feel the foam insole while you're walking. They have a Monowrape Frame midsole design made from polyurethane, which provides effective weight-saving, allowing your feet to feel fresh after many miles walked. This weight-saving is also helpful when you find yourself needing to finish a part of your hike under difficult weather conditions or time constraints.
The forefoot of this shoe has an upward curve which catches when walking uphill, giving the effect that something is pushing your foot off the ground, helping you to keep moving. Regarding traction, no matter the terrain or the condition of the path, Renegades are up to any challenge that you might find when hiking.
These boots have a tall ankle collar height and their stability is fantastic. Your flex isn't blocked by the ankle collar and you have enough space to maneuver and feel comfortable when walking. Although the ankle collar is the largest of all the boots mentioned in this article, the boot is very comfortable.
One the down side, many people report issues with the lacing system, stating that the eyelets are relatively small and that the laces that come with the boots do not hold tight when walking quickly uphill and need to be replaced. However, keep in mind that usually Renegades do come with an extra set of laces. They also have one of the lowest flood heights in the midweight category. However, their Gore-Tex layer is excellent when it comes to regulating conditions inside the shoe: your feet will always stay dry while walking in Renegades. Also, as they are the lightest boots in the midweight category, this does mean that they are somewhat less durable than other midweight boots These boots have many leather parts which have to be cared for well in order to preserve their functionality.
For a price of $230, the Renegades might seem overly expensive, but as soon as you put them on and take a few steps, you may feel the comfort is worth the cost.
Vasque St. Elias GTX
This shoe is sad to be a successor of the old-school, classic backpacking boots. It has great water resistance, good durability, moderate stability, and it is much lighter than its predecessors.
The light weight is due to the Eva cushioning in the midsole as well as the materials used to build the collar, which are much lighter than traditional, full-grain leather. Although this boot is much lighter than the older boots from this company, it is one of the heaviest boots in its class. At 3.43 pounds for a U.S. size 11 ½, it is heavier than Renegades and Salomon 4D.
However, this is probably one of the most in durable hiking boots on the market, with quality leather on the upper construction of the boot. Many hikers praise its traction and all-around functionality.
The first thing you will experience in this boot is the extreme comfort of the ankle and insole. Compared with the other boots in this review, this model may have the best lateral stability for the ankle. Although the boot gives excellent support for the ankles, the collar is soft and relatively flexible. The lacing system is good and provides solid performance while you're hiking.
Again, this boot provides excellent traction. On every terrain that you hike, you will feel safe and comfortable in these shoes, and you won't have any troubles with mobility. If you find yourself in a muddy environment, these boots will keep you moving forward. The water resistance is solid and flood height is 6.125 inches.
The price is around $200. If you want the versatility to experience a wide range of terrains, this boot is an excellent bargain and a fantastic addition to your footwear collection.
Merrell Moab Mid WP
This is one of the most popular hiking boots because it is light, comfortable and reasonably priced. These lightweight shoes are the best possible choice for hikers who like to explore or hike regularly on less demanding routes.
Because they are very light, only 1.15 pounds, they don’t offer the ankle support needed for long backpacking trips and they are not as durable as other boots in this review. However, they are fantastic when you want to go outdoors in nature and have fun.
If you are embarking on a rigorous hike tour over a rough terrain and you are carrying heavy loads, this isn't the boot for you. The mid-height construction will not give you the needed support and you will have issues with injuries or fatigue.
Again, if you want to visit rough terrains, this shoe will not provide the support and long-term durability that you need. However, its price is less than half that of boots designed for those situations. The model with an upgraded GORE-TEX layer costs just $150. There is also a model without a waterproof membrane that is $20 less and that is possibly the shoe with the best ventilation among these five.
In terms of price-quality ratio, this is an excellent shoe for all the hikers who want to enjoy nature and not subject themselves to 15 miles hikes through rocky terrain with huge loads.
Keen Targhee II Mid Review
This boot weighs only two and a half pounds for a pair of U.S. size 11 ½. Although this is a lightweight shoe, you will be able to move across all terrains wearing it without any problems. In the lightweight category, you will probably not find better shoes in regards to water resistance. The flood height is 5.12 inches, putting it among the tallest in this category. Because this shoe has a wide toe box compared to other boots, many hikers who have a problem with bunions say that this shoe is the perfect one for them.
If you are very concerned about keeping your ankles safe, you might be concerned that this boot’s height from insole to the highest point of the ankle collar is only 4.75 inches. However, this height does not mean that it is an unstable shoe.
Keen Targhee only cost $135. The manufacturer has its own waterproof membrane, KEEN.DRY, which is less expensive than GORE-TEX. Keen Targhee breathes very well; in conjunction with the wide toe box, this means that your feet will feel continually refreshed.
The cost-quality ratio is very good with these boots, and we are putting them on our list.
Salomon Quest 4D II GTX
Without a doubt, the best hiking boots that you can find on the market are Salomon Quest 4D II GTX. According to the reviews of their owners, they are the absolute winners. Everything about them represents the highest quality and functionality, and they are currently at the top of the hiking boot manufacturing industry.
They are midweight boots that will allow you a comfortable hike while insuring that your ankles are stable, excellently supported, and protected from the dangers of rough terrain or large baggage. The 4D Advanced Chassis will provide you good support and torsional stability. Their Contagripe sole provides fantastic traction on various types of surfaces, and you will definitely feel the difference compared to other boots. The lacing system is fantastic and the ankle collar is so comfortable that you won't even feel it when moving down harsh or steep terrains. When you are carrying heavy loads, this is the best boot for you.
The Salomon 4D has one unique quality that separates them from other shoes: Their heels are slightly raised. In combination with the other features of the boot, this provides good stability and protects your feet from various injuries.
For all of you fastpackers, this is the best boot on the market. With your lightweight equipment, you can easily surpass 20 miles in one day without feeling that your feet are even slightly tired. It is quite possible to move faster, or even run, in these boots. They are flexible and very stable compared to other boots, and they will endure no matter the terrain or the intensity of their use.
People with both wide and narrow forefeet praise the Salomon 4D, writing in reviews that they feel comfortable and safe while wearing it. Many of you have heard about plantar fasciitis. Salmon 4D reduces the possibility of getting plantar fasciitis and eases the pain if the owner has symptoms.
When you are standing in them, you will feel amazing comfort. If you are wearing them for the first time, it might be a little awkward. For some hikers, the feeling while walking in the boots will be strange for the first couple of miles. Once they get used to the boots, however, the experience will be fantastic.
Salomon 4D weighs 3.24 pounds for a U.S. size 11 ½. This is a few ounces heavier than the Renegade, but with regard to their durability, Salomon Quest 4D II GTX is definitely the superior shoe. The flood height of this model is 6.125 inches, one of the highest in this category. GORE-TEX Performance Comfort Footwear membrane is one of the materials included in manufacturing these boots.
The price is around $230, a fair price considered the effort that the designers put into this hi-tech boot. Overall, this is the best boot on the market. For your money, you will get excellent stability, excellent traction, and fine comfort.