When you are out on the hill or on a long trek, your hiking boots are among the most important pieces in your kit. You need a good pair of boots or shoes to suit the terrain. Some people, for example, prefer shoes for trekking or hill walking, but for me, a good pair of comfortable and neatly fitting boots gives me the support and comfort I need for some of the rugged terrain.
Read our review of lightweight hiking shoes.
It’s the same for walking other trails – even simple cross-country hikes on the Pennine Way in England, or a hike around the Scottish Borders – the choice of footwear is a personal one.
This review is looking at the top 10 hiking boots you can find on the market today, for hikers who want to get the best out of their free time on the trails, so let’s have a look.
- 1 Top 10 Hiking Boots
- 1.1 1: Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail
- 1.2 2: Kodiak Women’s Surrey II
- 1.3 3: Ariat Men’s Terrain H20
- 1.4 4: Vasque Women’s Talus Trek Ultradry
- 1.5 5: Keen Men’s Targee II
- 1.6 6: Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent
- 1.7 7: Danner Men’s Mountain 600
- 1.8 8: Camel Crown Men’s Hiking Boots
- 1.9 9: Salomon Men’s Quest Prime GTX
- 1.10 10: Ecco Rugged Track GTX
- 2 Hiking Boots Features to Consider
- 3 Conclusion
Top 10 Hiking Boots
1: Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail
This neatly made and rugged boot from the renowned Timberland brand is a good choice for anyone looking for a strong a proven hiking boot. Made from fully waterproof leather uppers with a tough rubber sole, with patented Timberdry membranes for added protection from the elements, they are designed to be a comfortable fit and not too heavy. A lot of effort and research has gone into the anti-fatigue technology, and these boots come highly recommended by many satisfied users. Well priced in the market, it’s a good all-round boot for the regular walker.
Key Features – waterproof, anti-fatigue, leather upper, rubber sole, great brand
2: Kodiak Women’s Surrey II
For women, having specifically designed boots is a must as it is the only way to get the maximum comfort and ability. These very nice boots from Kodiak – a well-known brand with a great reputation – are well-made and come at a sensible price. Good looking and made from quality waterproof leather with sealed seams and an internal membrane, they feature a secure lace-up closing and a removable memory foam insole. A strong and durable rubber sole gives you excellent traction while a high 6.5” shaft offers complete support, so they are perfect for even the most demanding of the Caminos.
Key Features – women’s design, high shaft, waterproof, removable insole, rubber sole
3: Ariat Men’s Terrain H20
A man’s boot made to a high quality and with the best materials, this boot from Ariat merges excellent technology and quality in the field, and is certainly worth a look. With leather waterproof uppers, finished in a very attractive copper colour, like most men’s hiking boots, this one is available in sizes through 10 up to 14, so they should be suitable for most walkers. A full membrane lining adds further protection against water, and the toughened rubber sole gives great traction. Sensibly priced in what is a very competitive market, this is one for your shortlist if you want quality on a budget.
Key Features – leather oiled uppers, rubber sole, waterproof membrane, wide range of sizes
4: Vasque Women’s Talus Trek Ultradry
The Vasque range of hiking boots is very impressive, with a wide variety of different designs and options. This boot is a nice design for women and is good-looking and stylish as well as practical and very capable. The combined leather and synthetic upper is carefully designed to be waterproof, with the UltraDry system – developed by the brand – incorporated for extra protection. A strong and very durable Vibram sole is an added benefit, as is the EVA foam footbed which provides extra comfort for those arduous long hikes. All in all, a very nice boot with some interesting features, available in a full range of sizes at a sensible price.
Key Features – Vibram sole, EVA footbed, fully waterproof, leather and synthetic upper
5: Keen Men’s Targee II
Keen is a US brand with a great range of hiking boots and a reputation for excellent products at sensible prices, and this boot – the Targee II – is a good example of why they deserve that reputation. Made from quality leather and textile uppers, and designed with breathable leather lining within for added comfort, this boot comes with a high shaft – 4.5” – for extra support, and a strong rubber sole for an impressive grip on all terrain. Presented at a price that is very competitive, Keen has many satisfied and loyal customers who will happily testify to the impressive quality and capability of boots such as this one.
Key Features – waterproof, leather upper and lining, rubber sole, high shaft, US made
6: Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent
Among the many brands that have a strong reputation for quality hiking boots and other sporting footwear, Merrell stands very much towards the top of the list. This woman’s hiking boot, with its quality leather and textile uppers providing excellent waterproofing, is a good example of why you should keep the Merrell brand in mind. A cell-formed tongue and breathable mesh lining add to the comfort, a Vibram sole adds grip and ability, and the specially designed contoured footbed means you can wear these boots for long periods of time without concern. At the price, a great woman’s boot that is certainly worthy of being on this list.
Key Features – Merrell brand, waterproof uppers, Vibram sole, contoured footbed
Strong, practical and good looking, the Danner Mountain 600 is a typical hiking boot that would make a great choice for tackling the Camino, or for any other challenge across the world. It’s made from waterproof, full-grain leather uppers with a tough Vibram sole for added grip and performance, has a 4.5” shaft for greater support, and is available in a full range of sizes. A fully cushioned, carefully crafted footbed means you can walk for hours in perfect comfort, and with many satisfied customers, this one comes highly recommended at a sensible price.
Key Features – waterproof leather upper, Vibram sole, 4.5” shaft, cushioned footbed, all sizes
8: Camel Crown Men’s Hiking Boots
If you are on a limited budget – as many of us are – yet still want a quality hiking boot that would enable you to tackle most trails, this men’s boot from Camel Crown may be an ideal choice. Simple yet effective, and practical throughout, it is a well designed hiking boot with a strong, waterproof leather upper and a tough rubber sole. It also comes with a breathable lining for added comfort on those long walks and is a wide fit, so if that’s for you, it’s worth a look. Good boots from a well-known brand at a great price, I think these are worth checking out.
Key Features – leather upper, rubber sole, waterproof, wide fit
9: Salomon Men’s Quest Prime GTX
The sheer variety of hiking and walking boots on the market proves just what a popular pastime this is, and also that walkers are people who are very choosy about the boots they prefer. These men’s boots from Salomon are a very popular choice, and with leather and water-resistant textile uppers, a rubber sole and a 5” shaft for added support, are designed for heavy use. They come with a rubber toe cap for protection and a GORE-TEX breathable membrane for added comfort, and at the price, I believe that they represent a very sensible choice.
Key Features – leather and fabric upper, waterproof, rubber sole, 5” shaft, breathable membrane
10: Ecco Rugged Track GTX
The last on this list is this fine boot from Ecco, another brand with a wide range of such items, and it is a very good looking boot designed for use on even the most difficult of walking trails, so perfect for the Camino. A strong leather upper and breathable membrane offers perfect protection from water, the tough rubber sole provides all the grip you need, and the 6” shaft offers the ultimate support and comfort for long walks. This one may be among the most expensive on the list, but it’s very good indeed.
Key Features – leather upper, strong rubber sole, breathable membrane, 6” shaft, waterproof
Hiking Boots Features to Consider
Comfort and Fit
This is the very first consideration you need to make; when you are trying on walking boots, do they give you the level of comfort you need? Do they fit to the point where you are confident you can walk for many miles without discomfort? We all have different sizes and shapes of feet, so it is important to make sure you have boots that are right for you, so take the time to make sure you get a good fit.
The above listed ten boots are designed for hiking and come with rubber soles – some with a patented Vibram sole. For many people, the latter is the best choice, and what you want is a sole that grips as well as possible in all conditions.
Hiking boots are not, by their nature, lightweight footwear; they are designed to be tough and to withstand heavy use, so you should expect them to weigh on your feet – but not so much that they become a burden. Across the above ten options, there is no doubt that there are many different weights, so be sure to check them before you buy.
This list includes links to online shops, yet I do advise you test your boots in person if you can before buying. You can also check customer testimonies, as these will give you an idea of any recurring problems.
We all have a budget, hence price needs to be a factor to consider. My list of ten hiking boots – including both boots for men and women – covers quite a wide range of prices, so I hope that you can find one in your budget. My main advice in this area is to always buy the best you can afford – after all, you want your boots to last.
You might believe you have a size 9 foot, for example, but when was the last time you had your feet measured? You would be surprised at the number of people who routinely wear the wrong sized boots, and when it comes to heavy duty hiking boots, this can lead to problems. Make sure you get your feet measured, and ensure that your boots are the correct size.
Even when walking the Camino, the weather can be a problem, and it might rain even when you don’t expect it to. That’s why all the boots I have featured offer at least a level of waterproofing, and some go much further still. Check the descriptions, and also have a good look at the manufacturer specifications for further information, and you should enjoy many miles with dry feet.
You not only want your boots to be comfortable, sensibly priced and waterproof, you want them to last a reasonable amount of time. All the boots I have featured are from well-known makers and come with certain warranties; check these out before you buy and make sure you get the best deal.
The Vibram sole, a patented design from an Italian company, is the sole of choice for many people, yet it is essential to remember that it is a rubber sole, and that all of my choices offer this durable and very versatile material for grip. Check out customer comments for ideas on grip, as you may find some important differences between brands and designs.
Your feet are going to be enclosed in a tight space for a long time when walking the Camino – or indeed anywhere else – so you will find that all makers have incorporated their own aids to breathability in their hiking boot designs. You might have your own preference, so make this a priority feature to check out.
That’s my list of important features, so which of the above boots is for you?
With any form of footwear, or other items that are going to be used on the person, the individual will have their own preferences as to what they want in the product, so it is difficult for me to single out one specific men’s and women’s hiking boot for preference.
What I will say is that across my list I have done my best to include the leading brands and best-selling products, so you have a good cross-section to choose from. I recommend you take another look, check out the specifications in detail, and buy a pair of hiking boots that will allow you to enjoy your walking to the best possible level.
See our review of hiking shoes here.