The best hiking boots 2024: cover your bases with top notch footwear for the trails

Collage of the best hiking boots
(Image credit: Future)

The best hiking boots are the backbone of your trail kit and worth investing in. While you might be happy cutting corners elsewhere, nothing matches the ankle support, insulation and protection of a quality hiking boot.

For warmer weather and speedy trails you may be looking for a lightweight boot that doesn't require maximum grip. Meanwhile, in wet conditions a boot with a waterproof membrane, such as Gore-Tex, is vital. The best hiking boots usually come with waterproofing as standard, as well as grippy rubber outsoles that provide traction on boggy ground and wet rock. They should also save you from a soaking if you unexpectedly find yourself up the ankle in mud! Meanwhile, the high cut of these kinds of boots will mean your ankles stay protected from knocks and bumps.

We rate the ever-popular Merrell Moab 3 Mid as the best hiking boot overall, while the Aku Trekker Lite III is an ideal choice for mountainous hiking, although vegans may prefer the Aku V Slop Light GTX. For serious backpacking on rough trails, we recommend the La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX. There's also a barefoot option to consider if that's more your speed - Vivobarefoot's Magna Lite SG. Female hikers should also see our guide to the best women's hiking boots.

The quick list

This is our quick list, a brief overview of the best hiking boots available today. To delve deeper into each pair, see our more detailed write ups further down the page in this guide.

The best hiking boots we recommend in 2024

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The best hiking boots overall

Man's feet wearing Merrell Moab 3 Mid GTX hiking boots

A well-priced everyday hiker that is deservedly popular, thanks to its instant out-of-the-box comfort, accommodating fit and solid all-round performance (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best hiking boots overall

Specifications

Gender availability: Male / female
Weight (per boot, size UK 12/US 13): 593g / 20.9oz
Materials: Pigskin leather and mesh upper; Gore-Tex membrane; 100% recycled mesh lining; Merrell Air Cushion heel; Vibram TC5+ outsole
Compatibility: 3 season use: sub-alpine hiking and trekking on hills, dales and trails

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable to wear
+
Good grip
+
Durable build
+
Some recycled materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Low ankle cuff even for a mid
-
Not ideal in hot weather
-
Chunky design
-
Heavier than some similar boots

Merrell has kept the key features that make the Moab a classic, including its accommodating fit, wide toebox and plush padded ankle collar, but this third iteration has had a few upgrades too. In our tests, we noted that the redesigned uppers have smaller mesh panels and more robust pigskin suede leather for enhanced durability, backed with a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex liner. 

In common with trends in the wider outdoor industry, Merrell has focused on making the Moab more sustainable too. The mesh, webbing and laces are all now made from recycled materials.

We found that the midsole delivers a good balance of stability and cushioning, with a bit more arch support than most mid boots. The Vibram outsole also has chunky 5mm lugs for dependable traction. All in all, it’s a solid and well-built boot, which is comfortable and reliable, with versatile all-round performance and an accommodating fit.

Read our full Merrell Moab 3 Mid GTX hiking boots review

The best hiking boots for mountain routes

Person's feet wearing Aku Trekker Lite III GTX hiking boots

The Aku Trekker Lite III GTX are stylish hill-ready hiking boots born in the mountains of Italy  (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best hiking boots for mountain routes

Specifications

Weight (per boot): 570g / 20oz
Materials: Suede & welded PU full upper; Gore-Tex membrane; double-intensity die-cut EVA midsole; Vibram Curcuma outsole
Compatibility: 3- to 4-season day hiking on almost any trails, and a good boot for longer trips in decent conditions

Reasons to buy

+
Secure and supportive fit
+
Waterproof and breathable
+
Available in wide-fit last

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than La Sportiva
-
Fairly weighty for day boots

These beautiful boots from a brand based in the Italian alps absolutely ooze style before you get them dirty, but we found they also perform impressively once we stopped posing and started tackling trails and peaks. The construction is robust, with precision stitching reinforcing each eyelet in the lacing system, which is where pressure is applied every time you pull the boots on. Having three pairs of quick-lace hooks at the top of each boot really enabled us to get them done up nice and tight, for a firm and secure ride when we started pounding the paths. 

The component parts are all top end, from the Vibram Curcuma outsole up to the Gore-Tex lined suede-and-fabric upper. There is an all-round rand that shields toes and heels and on test they were warm, comfortable, confidence-giving and classy, protecting our feet from the elements and supplying a really decent level of performance. They’re not as lightweight as some other daywalking boots out there, but the level of ankle support is far superior to the vast majority of other comparable boots.  The standard last is quite narrow in the toebox department, but the Trekker Lite IIIs are also available in a wide fit.

Read our full Aku Trekker Lite III GTX review

The best hiking boots for serious backpacking

Person's feet wearing La Sportiva TX5 GTX hiking boot

The La Sportiva TX5 GTX is a hardcore boot for hardcore backpackers (Image credit: La Sportiva)

3. La Sportiva TX5 GTX

The best hiking boots for serious backpacking

Specifications

Weight (per boot): 530g/18.7oz
Materials: Nubuck leather upper, Gore-Tex extended comfort liner, Ortholite Approach footbed, Vibram MegaGrip outsole
Compatibility: Big backpacking adventures

Reasons to buy

+
Vibram MegaGrip outsole
+
Capable of heavy backpack loads

Reasons to avoid

-
Narrow fit for some
-
Break-in required

When you throw a heavy backpack on your shoulders, you need a rugged hiking boot to carry the load. We found that the La Sportiva's TX5 is up to the challenge. A Gore-Tex Extended Comfort membrane supplies the breathable barrier against the in ingress of water, while an Ortholite Approach footbed supported our foot inside the boot. On the outside the Nubuck leather upper is mountain-fit, and a protective rubber rand, toecap and a combined to shield our feet from roots, rocks and trail debris. The high collar not only provides protection for ankles, its also supplies excellent support for when we were tackling technical trails with a heavy pack.

Deep in the forest and high in the hills, when the underfoot conditions are rocky, slippery and uneven, the boot’s Vibram MegaGrip sole and Impact Brake System offers shock protection and stability. LaSportiva’s 3D Flex System and an underfoot stabilizer provides freedom of movement yet further protects your lower legs from twists and turns on challenging and tricky terrain.

The best hiking boots for easy hiking

Man's feet wearing Keen NXIS EVO Mid hiking boots

Lightweight hiking boots for fast-paced footpath and trail trekking across nine months of the year (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best hiking boots for easy hiking

Specifications

Gender availability: Male / female
Weight (per boot): 429g / 15.13oz
Materials: Performance mesh upper with TPU overlays, KEEN.DRY waterproof & breathable membrane, speed-lace webbing system, breathable textile lining, removable PU insole, compression-molded EVA midsole, KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole
Compatibility: Three-season hiking and trekking with or without packs on peaks and trails; hut-to-hut hikes, weekend adventures and day walks in reasonably easy conditions

Reasons to buy

+
Light to wear
+
Effective heel lock
+
Breathable and waterproof

Reasons to avoid

-
Mesh upper collects mud and muck
-
4mm lugs not very aggressive
-
Not protective enough for winter hiking

This is one of the lighter and less protective and aggressive models in the Keen boot range, aimed at people who prioritise staying nimble and moving fast across landscapes such as long-distance trails, rather than attempting hard hikes in really tough terrain. However, with some ankle support and an excellent heel-lock system, they are capable of looking after you on reasonably technical trails and/or multiday escapades while wearing a pack. The 4mm multidirectional lugs on the outsole are also adequate for such escapades in most conditions, but they’re not aggressive enough for anything too epic. 

But, used in the right conditions and on the tracks they were designed to tackle, these boots are a joy to wear. Quick and easy to put on, they felt fantastically light and comfortable on our feet. Featuring the brand’s own KEEN.DRY membrane, the NXIS EVOs are waterproof and breathable. On test in wet and muddy conditions, we found that the external knit mesh did accumulate lots of dirt, however, which impacted their performance.

Read our full Keen NVIS EVO Mid review

The best lightweight all rounder

Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid Gore-Tex hiking boot

The Merrell Moab Speed 2 Mid Gore-Tex hiking boot is a lightweight version of a hugely popular classic, and works for all but rugged mountain terrain (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best lightweight all rounder

Specifications

Weight: 400g / 14.1 oz
Materials: Nylon ripstop and TPU upper, Gore-Tex membrane, Vibram TC5+ rubber outsole, 100% recycled mesh and laces, 50% recycled EVA foam footbed
Compatibility: Most forms of hiking throughout the year

Reasons to buy

+
Lighter than the Moab 2
+
Don't need breaking in
+
Top notch waterproofing
+
Excellent grip

Reasons to avoid

-
Trainer-style looks won't be for everyone
-
Not suitable for technical mountain terrain
-
Less protection than more technical boots

It might be named after Moab city on the edge of Utah's Arches National Park, but many hikers believe the name of the original Merrell Moab stands for Mother of All Boots, and with good reason. The brand claims it as the world's best selling hiking boot, with more than 28 million sold since it was launched 15 years ago.

Now the company has produced the Merrell Moab Speed 2 GTX, a hiking boot aimed at delivering all the desirable features of the flagship design, but at a lower weight. Our tester described this model, available in mid and low-cut options, as looking like a boot but feeling like a shoe. They're a significant 193g (6.8 oz) lighter than the Moab 3 Mid GTX, tipping the scales at just 400g (14.1 oz).

And while they may have more of a sneaker aesthetic than the classic version, they still tick the hiking box, with features including a Gore-Tex membrane to keep the water out, grippy Vibram soles and upper lace hooks. They're comfortable straight away too, although with less space for your toes than rival brand Keen.

As a lighter option, there's no leather in the Speed 2. Instead it has a ripstop nylon upper and uses a significant amount of recycled materials. There's plenty of ankle cushioning and a gusseted tongue to keep out trail muck. However, there isn't a protective rand, and the outsole is less rigid than the classic version, which is probably why the brand rates this design for moderate trail use rather than truly rugged terrain. This model is a standout on comfort though, with our tester rating them as among the most comfortable boots they've ever worn. 

Read our full Merrell Moab Speed 2 GTX review

The best vegan hiking boots

Aku Slope V-Light GTX hiking boot

We tested these vegan boots - a revamped classic - in the Dolomites and they lived up to the expectations set by their original (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best vegan-friendly hiking boot

Specifications

Weight: 510g / 18 oz
Materials: Microfibre re-pet recycled 1.8mm + air 8000, Gore-Tex performance comfort recycled lining, Double density die cut EVA midsole, Vibram Erica Eversest outsole
Compatibility: Hiking all year round but not compatible with crampons

Reasons to buy

+
Vegan materials
+
Waterproof and breathable
+
Reasonably lightweight
+
Sustainably made

Reasons to avoid

-
Premium price compared to other high end boots
-
Less protection than other similar boots

This is a new take on Aku's Slope, which was designed as a light trekking shoe in the 1990s. At the time it was pioneering in its use of Gore-Tex - the first Italian boot to feature it, and for its comfort levels, which were quite different from the stiff options typically available at the time.

The new V-Light model has taken a giant step towards sustainability, thanks to the use of recycled microfiber for the upper, which is significantly lighter than the leather used in the original. In fact, this is a vegan-friendly hiking boot that eschews animal materials entirely. Aku also traces the journey of every component to its factories in Italy, with the aim of reducing its environmental, err, footprint.

Thankfully, despite these changes, it has retained many of the features that people like about the design, with a last that's designed for dynamic action, providing support to the heel and giving forefoot propulsion when tackling mountain trails and uneven ground.

The Gore-Tex membrane is highly waterproof and breathable, and bonded to the rest of the upper using Aku's Air 8000 tech - a glue that's applied with a lattice construction, to enhance, rather than hinder breathability. The tongue is integrated into the upper, keeping out trail muck and adding to the boot's waterproofing.

Choosing a microfiber upper has cut the weight by 30% from what it would have been had suede been used. With lugs designed to hold fast on muddy ground, a build that allows a respectable hold when edging, and a precise fit there's a lot to like here. 

Read our full Aku Slope V-Light GTX review

The best crampon compatible hiking boots

Scarpa Mescalito TRK Pro GTX

The Scarpa Mescalito TRK Pro GTX is a crampon compatible hiking boot that's versatile enough to use in almost all seasons (Image credit: Craig Taylor)
The best crampon compatible hiking boots

Specifications

Weight: 710g / 1.6 lbs (size 42)
Materials: Nubuck leather upper
Compatibility: Backpacking, trekking, mountaineering

Reasons to buy

+
Suitable for all seasons
+
Very comfortable
+
Excellent waterproofing
+
Crampon compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy if you're looking for a speedy boot

The Scarpa Mescalito TRK Pro GTX might not be the lightest boot out there, clocking in at a not insignificant 710g / 1.6 lbs for a US size 10 (UK size 8, EU 42). But that shouldn't count against it, as this is a heavy duty boot and its weight is comparable to boots like the La Sportiva Trango Tower GTX, which is designed to do a similar job.

This is a durable model, with a decent price relative to other boots with the same kind of spec. The design combines comfort and flexibility with a high level of protection and durability. And it's got a B1 rating to boot (sorry), which means it's crampon compatible. Although the plush nubuck upper means it's warmer than some, it's perfectly suitable for use in all seasons in more temperate countries like the UK and so definitely falls into the all rounder category. 

Do bear in mind that this is a style that needs to be worn in, although not for as long as our tester anticipated, finding that they were comfortable enough after just a couple of wears. It is important to lace these boots properly and position the tongue correctly. The fit needs to be precise or you will get rubbing. But don't let that put you off - just don't scrimp on adjusting them properly when you pull them on and you should be fine. 

Despite wearing them across boggy ground for long periods, our tester found the waterproofing held up well, with no water penetrating inside the boot. The DYNAMIS TRK sole was impressively grippy and handled technical terrain well, while remaining comfortable on flat paths as well. 

Read our full Scarpa Mescalito TRK Pro GTX review

The best hiking boots for overnight adventures

Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX hiking boots, worn by Pat Kinsella

Danner's latest incarnation of its classic 600 boot has a beautiful leather grain, a grippy sole, and reasonably good, if not total, waterproofing (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best hiking boots for overnight adventures

Specifications

Weight (per boot): 510g / 18oz
Materials: Full-grain leather upper, Gore-Tex lining, Ortholite ECO footbed, Vibram SPE midsole, Vibram Fuga outsole with Megagrip
Colors: Grizzly brown & rodeo red / Loam brown & glazed ginger / Obsidian & kangaroo / Choc chip & roasted pecan
Compatibility: 3-season, non-technical hiking in a range of environments and conditions, from forest paths to alpine trails

Reasons to buy

+
Very grippy
+
Comfortable out of the box
+
Supportive
+
Uses some recycled materials
+
Wide fit available

Reasons to avoid

-
Not fully waterproof
-
Extra care needed for leather
-
Unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans
-
Expensive compared to similar boots

Made with a beautifully soft, full-grain leather upper, available in wide or standard width, and backed by a partially recycled Gore-Tex liner, the Mountain 600 Leaf GTX are comfortable straight out of the box, reliably waterproof to the ankle and reasonably breathable. 

These stylish boots come with two lace options. There are five pairs of robust metal eyelets, plus two pairs of speed hooks, and the system facilitates a good firm grip. The gusseted tongue is waterproof and integrated, but only up to the bottom of the speed hooks, which, as our tester points out, means the boot can be breached in relatively shallow water. 

Danner have used Vibram SPE midsoles, heralded as equally dynamic but far more durable than EVA equivalents, and Fuga Outsoles with Megagrip ‘self-adaptive’ diamond-shaped lugs, which are intended to supply grip without restricting the flexibility of your foot. Our tester was impressed with the traction these soles provided, but somewhat skeptical about the proclaimed ‘intelligence’ of the outsole, noting that the performance was broadly similar to soles with chevron-shaped lugs. 

The outsole also has ‘flex lines’, which enable the boot to bend as you tackle trails, adding to the dexterity of the footwear (although this does mean they lack the rigidity required for rock edging on more technical terrain). However, these boots are designed more for low alpine adventures and weekend-long escapades on fairly well-formed tracks and trails, rather than high mountain missions. So they prioritize weight savings over heavy protection, and feature a minimalist toecap and a small rand that only really covers the heel. For their intended purpose, they do offer excellent comfort and confidence, with good ankle support to help with balance when carrying a backpack. 

Danner offer a recrafting, repair and resoling service on their footwear, which is ostensibly great for the environment, but quite heavy on your wallet. 

Read our full review of the Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX

The best hiking boots for summer

Person's foot waring Hanwag Banks hiking boot

A beautiful nubuck-leather boot born in Bavaria, and conceived for lowland trekking, gentle hillwalking and hut-to-hut hiking (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best hiking boots for summer

Specifications

Weight (per boot): 625g/1lb 6oz
Materials: Nubuck leather / Suede / Cordura nylon upper; Gore-Tex membrane; Vibram Endurance Pro sole
Compatibility: 3-season walking on less technical lowland trails

Reasons to buy

+
Thoughtfully designed and engineered
+
Extremely comfortable
+
Beautifully finished and durable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not tough enough for alpine trails
-
Lack of bite in the outsole lugs

This version of the Hanwag Banks has been 15 years in the making. During that time the Bavarian-based designers have been constantly evolving the last for this family of boots in response to hikers’ heartfelt feedback, and the men’s version is now available in versions made with a normal last, and a straight-fit extra last. We discovered that the Vibram sole offers excellent grip, although the lugs are nowhere near as aggressive as some of the more technical boots featured here.

It's primarily designed as a hut-to-hut hiking boot, for use in the lower areas in late spring to early autumn, but there’s a reinforced PU-foam wedge in the heel to increase cushioning during foot strike, and to improve the roll-off as you take your net step. The 100% PFC-free upper is made from certified-sustainable Nubuck leather, and there’s an option to go with or without the Gore-Tex liner (the alternative option being you stick with the comfy leather lining).

Read our full Hanwag Banks review

The best hiking boots for winter

Person's foot wearing La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX hiking boot

A three-and-a-half season trekking boot, the La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX has superb scrambling capability (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best hiking boots for winter

Specifications

Weight (per boot): 720g/1lb 9.4oz
Materials: Idro-Perwanger Leather; Gore-Tex Performance Comfort; Vibram sole
Compatibility: 3-season-plus off-track trail blazing and alpine adventures with a heavy backpack

Reasons to buy

+
Terrific traction
+
Great flex around ankle 
+
Useful rock-edging feature on the sole

Reasons to avoid

-
Tight toe box
-
Potential durability concerns around lace loops

An instantly striking-looking boot, the Trango TRK GTX boasts a distinctive and durable waterproof upper constructed from top-quality 1.6mm-thick Idro-Perwanger leather. Beneath the bright and brazen outer, a breathable Gore-Tex performance comfort membrane works its magic to complete the breathable waterproofing system. 

La Sportiva’s excellent 3D flex system facilitates impressive bendiness both between the ankle and the foot, and across the toe region, while attempting to maintain a level of rigidity across the sole that’s crucial to confident rock work. We found the Vibram Mulaz rubber sole to be stickier than a good old pub floor, making this a great boot for scrambling. The rear lugs and the impact brake system help maintain control and traction on tricky terrain and steep slopes, and the sole also features a technical ‘climbing zone’ beneath the toe, ideal for rock edging and use on via ferratas.

Read our full La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX review

The best barefoot-style hiking boots

best hiking boots: Vivobarefoot Magna Lite SG

Lightweight, minimalist walking boots for tactile hikers who like to really feel the trail they’re traversing and think about each foot placement  (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best barefoot-style hiking boots

Specifications

Gender availability: Male / Female versions
Weight (per boot): Men’s: 350g / 12.5oz; Women’s: 310g / 11oz
Materials: Vamp Engineered Mesh upper (62% Rcd Cationic Yarn, 38% RPET); Soft ground outsole (60% Polymer, 30% Silica, 10% Vulcanised Chemical); 100% RPET insole and laces
Colors: Men’s: Botanical green / Moonstone; Women’s: Moonstone
Compatibility: Low level hiking, trekking and fastpacking on soft terrain in reasonably warm weather. Can also be worn scrambling.

Reasons to buy

+
Almost all recycled materials
+
Fantastic trail feel
+
Wide toe box
+
Breathable and lightweight
+
Great flexibility

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof
-
Lacking thermal protection
-
Lack of cushioning takes getting used to
-
Walking on hard surfaces can be uncomfortable
-
Few colors

Light on the foot and on the planet, the minimalist Vivobarefoot Magna Lite SG boots are made almost entirely from recycled materials and have a barely there feel when you’re wearing them out on the trails. If you’re a barefoot fan, then these boots are well worth looking closely at. On test we found them to be very breathable and comfortable to wear over long periods of time, although they are not waterproof. 

They have a 2.5mm sole base, which provides some protection from puncture wounds caused by sharp sticks and stones, but the trail feel remains excellent. The 5mm chevron-shaped lugs are intelligently arranged to supply good traction and braking control when walking down steep descents.

The boot is very flexible – you can roll it up with one hand – which makes them easy to pack and very useful for taking on your travels. There are downsides to this, of course, because they offer none of the rigidity and all-foot, all-weather protection that a more traditional hiking boot supplies. With this in mind, we would not advise using them when carrying a heavy pack, or for hiking at altitude or in cold and challenging climates.

Read our full Vivobarefoot Magna Lite SG hiking boot

The best hiking boots for day hikes

Person's feet wearing Vasque Breeze LT GTX hiking boots

The Vasque Breeze LT GTX provide a lightweight platform for fast and light day hikes (Image credit: Vasque)

12. Vasque Breeze LT GTX

The best hiking boots for day hikes

Specifications

Weight (per boot): 754g / 1lb 11oz
Materials: Synthetic abrasion-resistant upper with mesh; Gore-Tex membrane; Dual-density compression-molded Enduralast EVA midsole; Vibram Ground Control LiteBase outsole with Megagrip compound
Colors: Mens: Beluga & Lime Green / Gargoyle & jet black / Ranger / Dune/ Jet Black / Rabbit & tawny olive / Anthracite / Silver Birch; Women’s: Egg plant & anthracite / Black & teal / Trellis & mist green / Drizzle & vintage violet
Compatibility: Walking fast and light in late spring to early fall, on most trails below technical alpine

Reasons to buy

+
Light and nimble
+
Comfortable
+
Flexible 
+
Breathable
+
Waterproof

Reasons to avoid

-
Sizing can be narrow for some hikers
-
Designed for day hiking, not heavy backpacking loads
-
Not robust enough for some conditions

Another entry in Vasque’s iconic Breeze model line-up, the LT boots are 25% lighter than previous models. Best-in-class lightweight materials and construction keep your feet comfortable, dry and stable when you are pushing miles on a fast and light day hike. Created exclusively for Vasque, Vibram’s Ground Control LiteBase with Megagrip offers a hard-to-match combination of lightweight and superior traction on rocks, roots and mixed terrain. 

The upper is constructed from a combination of synthetic microfiber, abrasion resistant mesh and a waterproof Gore-Tex liner. We found that the result is a very lightweight comfortable boot for hiking dawn to dark. These are highly recommended for fastpackers. For color conscious hikers, there are multiple combinations to match your style preferences. 

The best hiking boots for versatility

Haglöfs Duality AT1 GTX Mid hiking boots

The Haglöfs Duality AT1 GTX Mid hiking boot is a high quality waterproof boot with interchangeable midsoles that provide two different degrees of support. (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best hiking boots for versatility

Specifications

Weight (per boot): 1,180g/2lb 9.5oz
Materials: Leather and recycled polyester upper, Gore-Tex membrane, algae-based Bloom Foam midsoles, high-abrasion resistance rubber outsole
Compatibility: 3-season, non-technical hiking in a range of environments and conditions, from forest paths to alpine trails

Reasons to buy

+
Made with recycled materials
+
Adjustable midsole
+
Waterproof and breathable
+
Comfortable knitted upper prevents ingress of grit
+
Wide fit
+
Good heel and toe protection
+
Stylish design

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be hard to put on
-
Shallow outsole
-
No insulation

The Duality GTX mid-height boots offer something genuinely different, with two interchangeable, color-coded pairs of midsoles: a red one designed for hiking through forests and along country and coastal paths, and a green pair for tackling more technical terrain, potentially even alpine ascents (although these are definitely not mountaineering boots – they’re better suited to 3-season low-alpine use). Although it might appear slightly gimmicky, on test we found that the distinction between the midsoles was indeed tangible, and that it did make a noticeable difference to our hiking experiences. 

The upper is constructed from supple nubuck leather with a tight fitting, densely woven inner sock that reaches around the Achilles and extends for the full length of the laces. The whole ensemble is extremely flexible, requires no breaking in, and it’s really comfortable to wear – once you’ve got the boots on that is, because that can be a bit of a struggle, thanks to the tightness of the sock. 

The upper is enveloped in a Gore-Tex membrane, which supplies effective breathable waterproof protection. There are vent holes on the leather chassis, which help with the breathability of the boot. With substantially reinforced toe and heel protection, these boots do look after your feet very well. The lugs aren’t super aggressive, but they do their job well, supplying grip, traction and braking control when required. 

The environmental credentials of the Duality boots is pretty decent – the midsoles are made with algae-based Bloom Foam, and the knitted upper, webbing and laces are all 100% recycled polyester. The leather comes from a tannery audited by the Leather Working Group and the DWR treatment used is fluorocarbon free. 

Read our full Haglöfs Duality AT1 GTX review

The best hiking boots for grip

Person's foot wearing inov-8 ROCLITE 345 GTX hiking boot

Fast and featherweight, the inov-8 ROCLITE 345 GTX punches well above its weight on the trails (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best hiking boots for grip

Specifications

Weight: 345g/12.1oz
Compatibility: Spanning the divide between trail shoe and hiking boot, these agile rock hoppers can handle fairly tough and technical trails up to low alpine level
Colors: Black/Black and yellow/Brown and red/Navy and yellow

Reasons to buy

+
Light 
+
Tough and durable
+
Superb grip

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively low thermal qualities
-
Too flexible in the foot for really high-end trails

Combining the light feel and track-clinging capability of the best trail running shoe with the ankle support and extra protection of a decent hiking boot, the Roclite 345 GTX is proving a popular choice for hikers who don’t want to dawdle. The graphene-strengthened G-GRIP outsole – appearing here for the first time on a walking boot – seizes hold of challenging terrain like an angry gorilla, but we found it also quickly shook off mud, grit and snow thanks to the multi-directional claw-shaped cleats.

We found the Gore-Tex upper provides good weather protection, while a cushioned midsole supplies some suspension, absorbing the shock of downward foot placement while returning plenty of bounce back into your step. The bendy blade is, of course double edged, and some of what you gain in flexibility and dexterity you lose in sturdiness, but Inov-8’s footwear is forged in the fells of the English Lake District and can deal with almost anything the elements throw at them.

Read our full Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTX review

The best hiking boots for cushioning

best hiking boots: Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking Boots

Fast footwear for zipping along less-technical trails, the new Zionics are lightweight, highly cushioned and very comfortable but provide less protection than Keen’s other boots  (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
The best hiking boots for cushioning

Specifications

Gender availability: Male / Female versions
Weight (per boot): Men’s: 480g / 16.93oz; Women’s: 450g / 15.87oz
Materials: Recycled Ripstop mesh upper with TPU overlays, KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane; TPU outsole
Colors: Men’s: Fjord blue & evening primrose / Black & steel grey / Dark olive & scarlet ibis; Women’s: Dark forest & sea moss / Fjord blue & tangerine / Steel grey & magnet
Compatibility: The Zionics are ideal for speedy 3-season hiking on formed trails and fastpacking adventures

Reasons to buy

+
Made with recycled materials
+
Excellent cushioning
+
Waterproof and breathable
+
Lightweight
+
Good quicklace system
+
Integrated tongue

Reasons to avoid

-
Low-profile lugs can be slippery on some surfaces
-
Modest heel support
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Lower levels of toe and foot protection than other Keen boots

From North American footwear specialists Keen, the Zionics are another model in the brand’s ever-expanding range of lightweight walking boots that supply weather protection and foot support without the heft and bulk of a traditional hiking hoof. Impressively, the Ripstop upper of the Zionics is made with mostly with recycled P.E.T. plastic, with some TPU overlays for additional strength.

While remaining lightweight, there's a little bit less mesh on display on these boots than on the Keen NXIS Evos, and they don’t accumulate as much muck as a result. The waterproofing is good, enhanced by PFA-free DWR, and the fit is really comfortable. The level of cushioning is what makes the Zionics stand out, however. They feature an air-injected midsole, plus a stability shank, and boast a heel ‘crash pad’, formed by the outsole extending around the heel to help absorb the impact of repeated footfall.

Read our full Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking Boots review