Which men’s hiking boot is best?
A well-made pair of men’s hiking boots are the perfect outdoor companion for anyone venturing to rugged, uneven terrain. Made to conquer the toughest trails and weather conditions, hiking boots are a must-have for serious hikers and backpackers. By providing lasting comfort and support, the best hiking boots will help you take proper care of your feet while in the outdoors.
Choosing the pair of hiking boots that will best compliment your hiking style and needs comes down to a variety of factors, including sizing and fit, materials, sole construction and the environment in which you intend to hike. The KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof boot has the ability to tackle any terrain with ease, keeping you dry and protected.
What to know before you buy men’s hiking boots
Hiking shoe/trail runner
Some trail running shoes may be difficult to tell apart from standard running shoes or sneakers, with the main difference being a sole with increased grip. While most are lightweight and breathable, they often utilize a low cut design and provide little ankle support. Hikers focused on speed or those who don’t need to carry a heavy pack can benefit from this style of footwear.
A traditional hiking boot will be more durable than a trail runner and provide sturdy ankle support for longer treks. With a firmer base and thicker rubber soles, hiking boots can hold their own when used in a variety of harsh terrains and conditions, especially considering many are waterproof.
Similar to a hiking boot but with even more ankle support and protection, backpacking boots are stiffer and heavier, providing maximum protection while on the trail for prolonged periods.
Mountaineering boots are not designed for everyday trail use or shorter day hikes. These are rigid and designed to be used when attempting to summit-high peaks. They are often built to account for the addition of crampons or snowshoes.
Finding the perfect fit sometimes takes a little time, as standard shoe sizes don’t always translate perfectly to hiking boots. You should always wear thicker hiking socks when trying on hiking boots in order to simulate a more realistic fit.
While hiking boots should have a snug fit all the way around, they should not restrict your toe movement or apply an uncomfortable amount of pressure to any specific area of your foot, which could lead to blisters and hot spots. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be too loose either, riding up and down on your ankle while you walk.
Once you’ve found the perfect fit, your hiking boots will still require a break-in period. Avoid attempting a long hike with boots straight out of the box. Instead, start by wearing your boots while at home and then on short walks outside. This will give your feet time to get used to the new books as well as allow you time to notice any areas of discomfort so you can adjust as needed before you hit the trail. For further break-in tips, check out the men’s hiking boot review from BestReviews.
What to look for in quality men’s hiking boots
Often used on heavy-duty backpacking boots, full-grain leather is highly durable, naturally water-resistant and tough but may not be needed for casual hikers. This can also be an expensive option.
Cheaper and more breathable than full-grain, split-grain leather is a good mid-range material that still offers some water-resistance and may be combined with other synthetic materials. Some split-grain options feature a waterproof lining
Polyester, nylon and even artificial leather are common synthetic materials. While they aren’t as durable or long-lasting, they take less time to break in and provide breathability. You can also find synthetic boots with waterproof linings.
Keeping your feet comfortable is important when hiking for miles at a time. If the included sole isn’t cushioned enough, you may want to consider custom orthotics. However, be aware that they may affect the overall fit.
Having a high traction outsole is necessary when trekking over rocks and logs or attempting slippery water crossings. Look for hiking boots that provide thick rubber outsoles with sufficient grip. Lug soles are another smart option as they will help increase stability and overall traction.
How much you can expect to spend on men’s hiking boots
Low-cut options will often cost between $60-$120 with more supportive boots ranging from $80 to $200. High-end backpacking boots can sometimes cost upward of $300.
Men’s hiking boots FAQ
What type of hiking boot should you wear for short day hikes?
A. This depends on the type of terrain, your personal preference and comfort. Some hikers prefer to wear ankle-length hiking boots on day hikes while others are happy using a lightweight pair of trail runners. Check trail and weather conditions beforehand to help you decide what footwear would be most appropriate.
How many miles will hiking boots last?
A. You can expect to receive anywhere from 500-900 quality trail miles from a good pair of hiking boots. Lightweight sneaker-style hiking shoes will typically last 300-500 miles.
What’s the best men’s hiking boot to buy?
Top men’s hiking boot
What you need to know: The Targhee II is a versatile boot with trusted and reliable performance.
What you’ll love: With a waterproof exterior and lightweight build, you will spend less time breaking them in and more time outdoors.
What you should consider: They are known to run slightly small.
Top men’s hiking boot for the money
What you need to know: This model offers affordability and reliability on all types of terrain.
What you’ll love: The outsole features an advanced grip to give you traction even on slick or wet surfaces.
What you should consider: There have been occasional sizing discrepancies.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This breathable boot is a great low-cut option for shorter hikes and casual wear.
What you’ll love: With supportive soles and a premium grip, these boots are a great value. Many hikers also appreciate the lightweight design.
What you should consider: These do not offer much ankle support.
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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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