Best Hiking Boots For Backpacking – Buying Guide 2019

There is no doubt that best hiking boots are the hiker’s most important gears. Admittedly, best value hiking boots are priceless. You will smile all the way down the trail.


Conversely, poor quality boots mean a bad day outdoors. In other words, the wrong pair will leave you gritting your teeth with every footfall.

That said, choosing the right hiking boot is never a walk in the park. But this is not to say that the selection process is complex.

Notably, all the flashy features don’t matter. What matters is the fit and its comfort. Your friend suggestions only apply for identical feet.

Finding the best fit for your feet matters most. A good boot is a snug fit at the heel. Also, has a sizeable wiggling room at the toecap.

We believe this Ultimate Guide will help you find the right hiking boot for you. Ultimately, you will make the most of your hiking. Let us get down to it…

What is a hiking boot?

Hiking is one activity that requires proper planning. Moreover, a pair of hiking boots is a must-have in your backpack.  But what is a hiking boot?

In simple words, this is a special footwear designed to keep a hikers foot and ankles safe during hiking. In other words, this footwear helps a hiker walk long distances without injury.

Why go for hiking boots during hiking?

Over the years, innovations in the hiking gears are more abundant than ever. Research and studies done from all over the world show that today there is a specific type of shoe for every outdoor activity.

To put it differently, running shoes are for running. Again, basketball shoes are for playing basketball. So many hikers have used the ordinary shoes during hiking. Sadly, they end up having a lot of injuries.

All things considered, hiking shoes are specifically designed to meet the needs of hikers. Generally speaking, hiking boots are more supportive and protective than the ordinary shoes.

Hiking boots protect your ankles and legs from twisting during your adventures. Besides, the cut is higher to keep pebbles, debris from getting into the boot.

On top of this, hiking boots have raised uppers to protect you from injuries and snakes bite. Hiking boots also provide amazing traction on any ground.

Finally but not the least, they feature a stiffer construction making it ideal for longer hikes over tough terrains.

Things to consider while buying the best boots for hiking

Choosing a hiking boot is a tricky process given the many options available today. However, this should not confuse you.

The most prominent thing to start with is to identify your needs. This ensures you find the right type of boot for your needs.

Otherwise, you may end up buying a boot that doesn’t meet your requirements. Going forward are the key factors to consider when buying a hiking boot you need.

Comfort and support

Satisfaction outdoors depends on comfort and support the boots provides. If you intend to trek and hike the whole day, choosing a lightweight boot is a wise thing.

That is not all, size matters so you need to find the best fit. A best-fit boot is comfortable and will stay in place. This prevents you from bruises.

Are you hiking for several weeks? Then, factor the weight of a hiking backpack into the equation. As a result, make sure the boots provide sturdier support for easier mobility.

Climate and weather

Equally important, know the climate you will be hiking in. For warmer and drier climates, look for a breathable boot to avoid sweat accumulation.

However, if you will be hiking deep winter snow, pay attention to its insulation. And if you will be hiking in rainy regions, waterproofing should come first. That said, make sure the boot sync with the weather and it is comfortable.


Before you buy hiking boots, answer the following questions: Where will I be hiking. How is the terrain of the place?

The answers to the above questions will get the ball rolling. If your terrain has well-established trails, then robust construction may not count. In case there are no established paths then studier boots are the way to go.

Of course, if the terrain is even then a rugged sole may not be as important as compared to the uneven surface. Lastly, figure out if you are going to hop into marshy grounds and even cross rivers.

In this case, a waterproof boot and stain resistant boot are the best. The bottom line is, whatever boot you choose should provide a good grip and ankle support.


Hiking boots are made of leather or synthetic materials. The good thing is that both have their strengths and weaknesses. Provided you have factored all the other factors, it then boils down to a personal taste when it comes materials.

Essential design features of best rated hiking boots

While hiking boots come with all sorts of flashy features but only a few of them matters. Below are some of the things you should consider.

Having factored these essential features in your decision you can be sure a great pair is right away at hand.


Comfort is the number consideration that should come into your mind. In fact, comfort is a function of the best fit. A good pair is one that fits securely around the heel and ankle for maximum comfort.

After all, you don’t want to end up with painful blisters. Make sure there is enough space for your toes to move around.

On top of this, ensure it has adequate padding to counteract the effects of a stiffer sole. So pay attention to feel of your boots on your foot.


When it comes to hiking boots, durability is always getting the highest priority. For this reason, a good pair should be made with more rugged materials.

A tougher construction increases peace of mind on the purchase. It means that the boots will remain a royal hiking partner for quite some time. Hiking boots made of leather are moderately durable than their synthetic counterparts.


A good hiking boot must remain stable on all grounds. Stability depends on the amount of traction the outer sole offers.

For better traction, consider the depth of lug patterns, heel brake, shank size, midsole and overall ruggedness of the outer sole.

Height and weight

Pay attention to the boot height and weight. These aspects affect performance and comfort while hiking. The low cut boots are the way to go if you are looking for versatility.

Also, they are lightweight and easy to pack. On the other hand, mid-cut boots are suitable for hiking for more than a couple of hours out.

A mid-cut boot offers better ankle support and protection from mud, sand, gravel, and debris. Conversely, the high cut boot is the best choice for maximum protection on longer treks and off-trail excursions. Ensure the weight of the boots is bearable.


A comfortable hiking boot fits nicely and it is breathable. However, this option is best for warm climates and dry conditions.

A breathable upper keeps your foot dry and fresh. Even better, it allows the boots to dry faster.


If you are hiking in cold weather, an insulated lining is necessary to keep you warm. These linings trap heat and reflect it back to create a thermal microclimate inside the boot.

Water resistance

Not all hiking boots are waterproof. However, this is a crucial factor if you will be hiking in mild conditions.

A wet boot can be increasingly heavy. Furthermore, it creates an ideal environment for the growth of foot fungus.

That’s not all, waterproofing construction also reduces wear and tear. This help extends the life of your boot.

Introduction to different types of hiking boots

Hiking boots do not look alike.  In a like manner, every hiker is unique and therefore requires a unique hiking boot.

As a result, finding the best hiking boot becomes a tough process especially if you don’t know where to start. Below we shall find out the various types of hiking boots available in the market and help you select the perfect pair for you.

Hiking sandals

KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal,Magnet/Sangria,8 M USThese are special types of sandals. Hiking sandals are carefully designed and structured with the sturdiest sole, adjustable and strong straps.

They feature a molded arch support and shaped footbeds. They are best for a quick hike and during summer and on easier terrains.

Hiking sandals are a good choice in terms of comfort and breathability. For durability, sturdier sole and stronger straps counts.

Hiking shoes/Low-cut hiking boots

Vasque Men's Mantra 2.0 Hiking Shoe,Beluga/Rooibos...These boots are made from nylon, suede with some reinforced by leather. These shoes are flexible and easy to break in so you can hike right away.

The architectural frame provides ideal foot support while preventing dirt and debris from getting into the footwear. Furthermore, they are lightweight and provide a great grip.

Mid-weight boots/backpacking boots

Rax Men's Wild Wolf Mid Venture Waterproof...These are the preference of most hikers. Mid-weight boots are very stable and yet comfortable.

These mid-weight boots are good for on-trail or off-trail terrains. Another cool thing about these boots is that they are waterproof.

Sadly, it takes some time to break in. what this means is that you should not take it out for more than a couple of hours right after buying.

Heavy boots

Carolina Non-Metallic Waterproof 800 Gram Thins...These boots incorporate both the features of mountaineering and ordinary hiking shoes.  If you love blazing off-trail and adventures, this is your boots.

They are sturdy to provide the ultimate foot support against twist and other common foot injuries. As is if that is not enough, they are breathable and water resistant. The only complaint is their heavyweight that requires getting used.

Mountaineering boots

SCARPA Men's Zodiac TECH GTX Mountaineering Boot,...Mountaineering boots are the best choice for serious hikers and mountain climbers. In terms of ankle support, they are the best when it comes to foot support.

Mountaineering boots feature a hard shell, inflexible sole and extra insulation. Unfortunately, the boots are not good for a day hiker. Do not forget they are slightly expensive.

Description of different parts of hiking boots

Several parts are sewn together to make a hiking boot. However, not all boots come with all these parts. Despite, that understanding the main parts of a hiking boot is a wise idea.

It helps you distinguish a great boot easily. It also helps you find the right boot for a specific outdoor activity. For better understanding, let us break them into two categories namely:

  • Internal parts
  • External parts

Interior components


It is the internal lining in most hiking boots to provide waterproofing capabilities. On top of this, it provides some extra cushion to the body.


The midsole is the part of the boot that sits between the outsole and the insole. It acts as shock absorbers. This protects foot bones from the hits of the ground.  Sometimes the midsole can be more than 1 to increase the sturdiness of the boot.


As the name suggests, it is the comfortable part sitting on the midsole, which your feet rest. The insole provides cushioning for the base of the foot.

The insole is usually removable in some hiking boots. As a bonus they contain microbial protection properties that keeps bad odors away.

External components

  • Scree color

It is the top collar of the boot on the fitted on the inside. This part helps to keep rock debris and other unwanted materials out of the boots.

  • Tongue

It is the same thing as the tongue on any regular shoes. Uniquely hiking boots have a gusseted tongue.

The tongue functions like the Scree color to prevent the gravel, rocks and other debris from getting into the boots. Beyond this, it cushions the top part of the foot.

  • Uppers

This is the top part of the boot commonly made of leather, textile or a mixture of two. It covers the foot and creates a barrier against cold and moisture.

  • Lace eyelets

Lace eyelets are the openings through which boot laces pass through. They allow you to tie up the boots

  • Outsole

As its name suggests, this is the outside hard part that protects your feet from sharp objects. It is made from a rubber technology and helps to provides grip and traction on the surface.

  • Lugs

This is nothing new but the pattern on the outsole. The lugs constitute the pattern on the outsole for traction and grip on surfaces.

Notably, the thicker and deeper they are, the more the grip on muddy surfaces. Consequently, thinner lugs provide better grip on rocky surfaces.

  • Welt

It is the thick stitching on the rim of the boots. In other words, this is the junction where the upper connects to the sole.

  • Backstay

It is a leather strip running up and down the back of the boot. The backstay stiffens and provides extra support to the boot so it can hold up the top.

  • Shank

This is a thin metal or heavy plastic strip tacked into the sole of hiking boots. The shank helps to reinforce the wearers arch alongside supporting the bottom of the boot.

It can either be a full or ¾ shank. A full shank runs to the toe but a ¾ shank runs to the ball of the foot.

  • Toe box

This is the reinforcement in the toe area. The sole purpose of this part is to protect the toes from injury in case something drops onto them

The pros of hiking boots

  •  Provides enough ankle support and stiffness

When walking outdoors with a backpack adequate support and stiffness level is paramount. Hiking boots provide more support in the shaft than a regular sneaker.

In addition, hiking boots have thick and stiffer midsoles which stops you from rolling your ankle on uneven terrain.

  • Highly water-resistant

Hiking exposes you to the harsh environment including mad, streams, rain and so on. The good news about hiking boots is that they are highly water-resistant. They feature a waterproof lining that allows you to walk through the marshy environment without soaking.

  • Coarse structured sole

One thing that stands out with hiking boots is the sole design. The coarse structured sole adapts to any surface. On top of this, they are anti-skidding to give you a good grip on any terrain.

  • Robust construction

A good hiking boot prioritizes long trekkers in mind. They are made to last. This means that it is not likely to break during hiking, no matter where you are hiking. As if that is not enough, hiking boots comes with special lacing to allow for a personalized fit.

  • Good for cold and hot weather

Best hiking boots feature a thick lining that provides insulation when hiking in extremely cold environments. Beyond this, the uppers are mesh to encourage airflow.

  • Are more comfortable

Most hiking boots are lightweight. This allows the hiker to trek for several without feeling exhausted. In addition to this, the boots ensure you don’t take irregular breaks every now and then to dump annoying sand and stones.

  • Protection against injuries when going cross-country

Hiking boots protect your feet against thorny plants, ankle-cutting-happy talus, snakebites and anything else that can inflict injuries. 

The Cons of hiking boots

  • Expensive
  • More weight
  • Comparatively stiff sole does not conform well to ground

Final verdict

Be it as it may be, heading out into nature is cool. And when planning an adventure prioritize the safety of your foot first. These measures entail investing on a high-quality hiking boot.

Of course, there is nothing more painful than hiking with dozens of blisters. Luckily, this guide provides most if not all of the information you would want to know about hiking boots.

At this point, our hope is that you can now find the best and most comfortable hiking boot for you. There is no doubt, by honoring the directions of this guide the right pair of hiking boots is right in your hands.

And the bottom line is; ensure your selection is the best fit for your foot and above all sync with the terrain you choose to go hiking.

How To Choose The Best Affordable Hiking Boots: A Video

Last update on 2019-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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