As a hiker, your hiking boots are undeniably the most important piece of kit you own. All the best hiking boots have three things in common: comfort, protection and durability on the trail. Beyond that, which hiking boots you choose really comes down to what you’re going to do in them. Are you looking for a lightweight pair of boots that you can wear on and off the trail or tough trekkers built to withstand long distances and challenging conditions? Are you on a budget or looking for the best boots money can buy?
It turns out that different brands cater to different sectors of the vast hiking market, and as a result, there are a lot of great brands out there competing for your attention. Whether you’re looking for out-of-the-box comfort for day hikes or high-performing, rugged protection for technical terrain, we help you find the best brands of hiking boots for your next adventure.
Best affordable hiking boot brands
The idea for Merrell was conceived in 1981 when two executives for the Rossignol ski company, Clark Matis and John Schweizer, decided to launch a new line of hiking boots. They enlisted the help of high-end custom bootmaker Randy Merrell and the company launched two years later. Since 1997, Merrell has been owned by American shoe industry giant Wolverine World Wide, which is responsible for Wolverine boots and Hush Puppies. Today, Merrell continues to focus on lightweight and affordable hiking boots great for out-of-the-box comfort on day hikes.
The Moab boot (standing for 'mother of all boots') is widely praised for out-of-the-box wearability and performance and comes in a variety of styles including the Moab 3 hiking shoe.
If you’re a skier, you’ll be well acquainted with Salomon, a French company known for its skis, boots and bindings. Salomon was founded in the French Alps in 1947 and began as a simple workshop making ski edges. Today, they’re a leading worldwide manufacturer of sports gear for winter sports and trail running as well as hiking and mountaineering. After being owned by Adidas in the early 2000s, the brand is now owned by the Finnish group Amer Sports. Its hiking boots are reasonably priced and their light weight makes them popular for fastpacking adventures.
The Cross are great for speed hiking, fast packing and pacey all-day adventures.
Best high-end hiking boot brands
If you’re seeking superb craftsmanship from a long legacy of Italian shoemakers, you’ll want to check out AKU. Founded over 40 years ago in a small Venetian town where almost every family is involved in the shoemaking industry, AKU is named after the benevolent spirit that protects the earth and its inhabitants told in one of the legends that populate the lore of the natives of Easter Island. Its hiking boots are supreme quality using high-end materials and their beautiful boots absolutely ooze style before you get them dirty, but they also perform impressively when you stop posing and start tackling trails and peaks. They tend to be priced on the higher end of boots, as you’d expect for the quality, and are favored by those with wide feet.
The Trekkers are stylish hill-ready hiking boots that come in Lite, Pro, waterproof and wide versions.
Since 1932, Portland, Oregon-based Danner has been crafting high quality boots built for pioneers. Founded by Charles Danner, who headed west during the Great Depression to build the best work boots for loggers, the brand started out with five employees and has grown to be one of the most iconic brands in high-end hiking boots, delivering much sought-after, sturdy boots with a classic aesthetic. Though their hiking boots come with a higher price tag than some, their recrafting team will rebuild yours to as good as new when they’re well worn in, meaning one purchase can last you a lifetime.
The classic look of their full-grain leather Mountain line of boots such as the Mountain Pass incorporates modern technology for high performance and maintains enduring popularity amongst trail lovers.
Bavarian footwear brand Lowa knows what works in the mountains, and their boots are typically well made, robust and equal to any alpine challenge you might want to chuck at them. Lowa was founded in 1923 Europe and its production remains in Europe, which many feel gives them better oversight of the quality of their hiking boots, and quality is the name of the game here. Their boots are a little pricier than some and categorized by use, such as walking and mountaineering. While they’re well-known for their lightweight, flexible leather boots, they’ve also trotted out a line of vegan boots and shoes, too, in recent years.
The Renegade is a best-selling lightweight, flexible leather boot ideal for hillwalking and country trails.
Best hiking boot brands for wide feet
Though it’s made our list of best hiking boot brands, the story of Keen starts with a sandal. The Newport Sandal, an iconic water sandal, was designed by Martin Keen in 1999 in Jamestown, Rhode Island. The company began designing footwear for water sports before branching out to produce footwear for other sports like hiking as well as bags and clothing. Keen moved its headquarters to Portland, Oregon in 2006 where they re-purposed almost all existing materials within the old building to complete their renovation. The company has grown rapidly and its affordable hiking boots are particularly popular among day hikers looking for boots that are comfortable for wide feet.
The Targhee model is Keen’s bestseller, while the KEEN Explore are lightweight but surprisingly robust.
Best hiking boot brands for technical trails
Well known for its climbing shoes, ski boots and mountaineering boots, Italian brand La Sportiva was founded in 1928 by Narciso Delladio. He started out manufacturing boots and clogs for farmers and lumberjacks before helping to provide Italian soldiers with mountaineering boots during World War II. Today it’s known for sponsoring some of the world’s top athletes including rock climber Tommy Caldwell, who climbed the Dawn Wall wearing a pair of their climbing shoes. Their hiking boots are known for offering premium performance at a mid-range price point.
The Ultra Raptor boots are lightweight and versatile but offer plenty of protection.
Founded in 1935 in Munich, Salewa has a long history of kitting out the world’s best mountaineers, including Reinhold Messner, and producing alpine gear from crampons to clothing, but their rugged hiking boots really epitomize the brand’s commitment to high performance in tough terrain. Their hiking boots better resemble modern mountaineering boots than some of their competitors’ commitment to classic leather aesthetic, and their website comes with a handy guide to picking out the right boots for your adventures. Expect to pay a little more for these boots in return for clever construction and reliable protection.
The Mountain Trainer is a lightweight alpine trekking boot with a robust suede upper.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.
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