Chuck Taylors might fly on a jaunt around the big city, but when it’s time to hit the trails, you’re going to want the best hiking boots for men. Water bottle aside, nothing is more essential for comfortably exploring the great outdoors than a solid pair of hiking boots—tough enough to protect against the dirt, scree, rain, and errant bushes you’re bound to encounter during a day in the wilderness. After all, the right boot and the right fit could mean the difference between a soul-stirring experience and the never-ending agony of squished toes and heel blisters.
Of course, not all hikes are created equal: Some paths are flat, well-maintained, and clear of debris, while others are steep and relentless. Whether you’re planning a leisurely walk in a local state park or a week-long backpacking adventure through the Himalayas, we polled a few of our favorite adventurers to get the scoop on the best hiking boots for men that can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at them. (And if you’re looking for women’s hiking boots, you can find our recommendations here.)
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
For casual day hikes
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II waterproof hiking boots
Let’s get real. You like hiking, but you don’t love hiking. Or maybe your friends are taking you on a big road trip this fall that’s likely to include a few light trails, so you need a solid boot that doesn’t break the bank. The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II is the shoe for you. It’s an affordable trail staple with all the necessary bells and whistles like waterproofing, excellent traction, and mesh paneling for optimal ventilation. Plus, the design is much lighter than similarly-priced Timberlands (less than one pound per boot) and comes in loads of refined colors.
Keen Targhee III waterproof mid hiking boots
Keen’s dependable Targhee IIIs deliver some of the most desired hiking boot features—water-resistant yet breathable leather construction, solid traction, and comfort straight out of the box—at a lower cost than most of the other picks (especially nice if you’re new to the hiking game and not quite sure whether you’ll stick to it). Of course, dollars saved means some sacrifices must be made. For this shoe, that spells inferior stability and ankle support compared to more advanced models. While we wouldn’t encourage taking this pair off-trail or on a week-long backpacking trip, they’re adequate for tackling moderate trails—say, what you would find in most national parks.
Oboz Sawtooth X Low hikers
A flagship shoe for this beloved Bozeman, Montana—based brand, the Oboz Sawtooth X has been on the market for 10 years and just keeps getting better with each redesign. With its proprietary O FIT insole, adaptive cushioning technology, and superior slip-resistance, the Sawtooth has managed to succeed in both comfort and aggressive traction—two things you’ll need if you’re pushing bigger miles or tackling wet, rugged trails. Planning on a lot of stream crossings? The same design also comes in a slightly pricier waterproof edition.
Keen NXIS Speed Mid sneaker
As the lightest hiker Keen has ever made, the NXIS Speed Mid has a lot of hype to live up to, but its unique blend of a comfortable sneaker fit plus techy trail features makes it a huge win for the hybrid hiker market. This boot is designed with a wider toe box to make descending steep inclines a breeze (and pain-free), plus a padded tongue and ankle collar for no-friction support. Sure, the tread is just as grippy as Keen’s other staple footwear, but what really sets this shoe apart is its performance mesh fabric, which helps keep feet vented on hot summer hikes, much like your favorite tennis shoe.
For longer hikes and rougher terrain
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Gore-Tex hiking boots
When you’re going to go big, you’ll want a boot that’s able to tackle both muddy, technical terrain as well as training days on your local, dusty fire road. La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX does just that. Pay no mind to its “futuristic and hardcore aesthetic,” says Sebastian Modak, editor-at-large at Lonely Planet; at just 16.5 ounces per shoe, this boot is light enough to tackle long days in the hills without feeling like you’re wearing ankle weights. “They are remarkably lightweight while still being waterproof, snug, and supportive. At times I forget I’m not wearing trail runners, until I make a misstep and the hefty support of the Ultra Raptor prevents me from rolling an ankle,” Modak says.
Vasque St. Elias Gore-Tex hiking boots
Jersey City resident Bill Maloney successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro—Africa’s highest peak—while wearing St. Elias Gore-Tex hiking boots. “You need a full boot with good stability and a good sole for an extended trip like Kilimanjaro, where you’re carrying a heavier pack and you’re not sure what to expect rain-wise—especially if you go near the rainy season to save money like I did,” he says. This model’s all-terrain mid-soles, rubber toe cap, and waterproof Gore-Tex membrane fight against even the toughest conditions while reaching up over the ankle for added protection on long treks.
Danner Light II hiking boots
As the head of brand design for outdoor-centric Hipcamp, Julian Bialowas turns to his trusty Danner Light IIs when he’s embarking on a tougher multi-day trek or knows he’ll run into a few miles of gnarly trail on his day outing. Built with supple nubuck leather, ultra-durable nylon, and waterproof Gore-Tex liners, these boots are abrasion-resistant and keep feet protected in both cold and wet environments. Though Danners come at a heftier price tag than some of our other picks, Bialowas mentions that they’re built to last for years, especially if buyers utilize the brand’s recrafting service. “They’re indefinitely repairable,” he says, “and will last a lifetime to help minimize waste.”
Scarpa Zodiac Plus Gore-Tex hiking boots
Harsh terrain is no match for the mountain-ready Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX, which was designed to excel on and off the trail. Heavy traction from a tough Vibram sole keeps footing secure while you scramble over rocks and up or down steep slopes, the Gore-Tex lining keeps water out in snowy and rainy conditions, and the suede upper and sturdy high ankle provide much-needed support when you’re hauling a heavy backpack. Truthfully, these boots are overkill if you’re only hiking moderate trails, but anyone planning on hiking higher altitudes (or encountering some snow) should give these a go.
Danner Mountain 600 hiking boots
Danner’s Mountain 600 Hiking Boot is a time-honored design that delivers on style while holding its own on trails and mountains thanks to materials like a flexible Vibram sole, waterproof liner, and water-resistant suede. “Danner 600s give me all the ruggedness and support of a hiking boot for the trail, but are comfortable enough to stomp around the yard,” says Rich Seibert, who enjoys hiking in the Mohonk Reserve near his Hudson Valley home. While not as long-lasting as more technical models, the Danner is perfect for hikers that seek comfort from the start, an aesthetic that looks as good on the trails as it does off, and generally stick to casual hikes on well-groomed trails.
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex hiking boots
Although equals in terms of comfort, durability, and waterproof design, the Salomon Quest 4D improves upon the brand’s X Ultra shoe with a heavier, grippier outsole and advanced stability and ankle support, making it a great pick for tougher hikes that require shouldering heavy packs, like New Zealand’s Routeburn Track. These boots aren’t built for your average neighborhood day hike, but will carry you through any serious expedition—off-trail hikes, steep climbs and descents, multi-day journeys through mountain passes—with ease.
Trail runners and multi-purpose shoes
Merrell Moab 2 mid waterproof hiking boots
Avid hiker Daniel Gilligan has trekked everywhere from Mount Mansfield, Vermont, to Oregon’s Mount Hood in his trusted Merrells. “I’ve had the same hiking shoes forever. They are super durable and warm no matter how cold it is outside. I’ve been able to hike in snow for hours and never have an issue with my feet getting cold or wet.” Merrell’s “Mother of All Boots” signature Moab series stand the test of time thanks to their cozy air-cushioned heels, grippy Vibram outsoles, and breathable, waterproof material that seals out water and mud for added warmth and dryness, no matter the season.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 trail running shoes
When we asked our favorite adventurers for their all-time favorite hiking shoes, Hoka is the brand that came up again and again. Thru-hiker and founder of Halfway Anywhere, Tyler “Mac” Fox, keeps a pair of Speedgoats handy because “they come in wide sizes, they have awesome colors, and they’re surprisingly durable.” Meanwhile, author and adventurer Brendan Leonard loves them for everything from ultramarathons to ordinary day hikes. “They’re cushy, but they’re not too squishy,” he says. The newly-redesigned Speedgoat 5 is lighter and boasts more traction than ever before, making it an epic pick for loose dirt and steep, rocky trails.
Cairn 3D Adventure sandals
Sometimes, the best hiking shoe isn’t a boot at all; it’s a sandal. If you’re only embarking on a day hike or want river-friendly footwear that won’t let you down on trails around camp, Bedrock’s Cairn 3D Adventure sandal is a go-to for seasoned outdoor lovers. It offers zero-drop design while still providing great arch support and grippy, long-lasting Vibram soles. Bialowas says these are his top pick for anything that isn’t a multi-day backpacking trip. “They are incredibly comfortable, have superb grip and stability, and allow you to really connect with the environment in a way that shoes and boots just can’t,” he says.
Altra Lone Peak All-Wthr mid hiking boots
As the number one shoe on infamous thru-hikes like the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail, Altra’s Lone Peak trail runners are a tried-and-true favorite for many trekkers who want to put up big miles without a lot of extra weight on their feet. This all-weather mid design keeps the same great features of the original–custom DuraTread outsoles, a wide toe box, and balanced cushioning on the heel and forefoot–while adding a weather-resistant bootie construction with a no-blister lace-up ankle support.