1. Home
  2. Shoes

17 Best Hiking Boots for Heading Into Thin Air

No sport captures the human experience quite like hiking. There’s something about pitting your body against a mountain, going forever up to experience incredible vistas and sights that make the heart soar even as the body aches. It is endeavor and joy wrapped up in a single package; but all of that can become nothing but endless misery should your feet get a blister.

The boots you take to the summit are the most important piece of equipment you own, so it’s important to never scrimp, never settle, and always pick items that will keep you going as the hill challenges you. So you don’t miss a step, we rounded up the 17 best hiking boots for any and all climbers.

KEEN Targhee II Mid WP

KEEN Targhee II Mid WP hiking boot 960x720 17 Best Hiking Boots for Heading Into Thin Air
via backpackingmatt.com

Shoe-In: Riding right along the fence between hiking boots and shoes, the Targhee II’s Mid version has the same breathable, comfortable lining as the shoe version, but packs a little more support upstairs for heavier climbs and longer days, even if you have dodgy ankles. [Purchase: $135]

Teva Riva Winter Mid

Teva Riva Winter Mid hiking boot 960x720 17 Best Hiking Boots for Heading Into Thin Air
via fuusora.blogspot.com

Snow Dog: Made for hikers who get their jollies going out when the frost is truly biting, the Riva has a notable icetrek outsole from Vibram, as well as additional insulation to keep out chill. Since water is always the enemy of warmth, there’s also a T.I.D.E. Seal membrane inside to lock out water, though it also makes hotter hikes unbearable. [Purchase: $118-$160]

The North Face Ultra Fastpack Mid GTX

via thenorthface.com
via thenorthface.com

Energy Boost: Fastpackers who want a supremely solid boot that will keep them moving thanks to a Mid-cut fastpacking boot with a Snake Plate for giving a portion of your energy back with each step. They’ll resist water with a little Gore-Tex, though submerging them will leave you soaking. The toe offers a little added grip should you want to try a bit of bouldering as you go. [Purchase: $139-$160]

Ahnu Montara

via alpenglowsports.com
via alpenglowsports.com

Better Balance: The Montara doesn’t do anything that you can’t find elsewhere insofar as design is concerned. It’s a frolicking boot with more than a little protection at the toe, but we found that it helps even out your hiking stride by using a delightfully neutral positioning that prevents soreness, even if you’re new to the world of mountain climbing. [Purchase: $135-$200]

Merrell Crestbound

via treelinebackpacker.com
via treelinebackpacker.com

Backslider: Numerous boots will pack the toe with all kinds of stub-prevention hardware, but very few think to add a little extra to the heel. The entire build of the Crestbound shows off Merrell’s love of trail shoes, but they’ve reinforced these at all contact points to keep water out, enhance durability, and give you screaming comfort for a price that is music to our wallets. [Purchase: $99-$230]

Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX

via outdoorhub.com
via outdoorhub.com

Rock Hopper: A nice mid-weight boot intended for the traditional backpacker, with a contemporary look that adds a little sex appeal to your excursion, the Breeze has attitude to spare. Light enough to go quickly over broken trails, but supportive enough for long slogs, these strike a sweet, saucy balance. [Purchase: $160+]

Merrell Phaserbound

Merrell Phaserbound Hiking Boots

Dig In: The aggressive 5 inch lugs are made for the shale trails where rockslides are common, or the wending hikes where water is a foregone conclusion. A true vibram sole gives plenty of bounce for going that extra mile, while a surplus of padding will keep the most wobbly ankle firmly in place and comfortable. [Purchase: $170]

Adidas Outdoor Terrex Scope High GTX

via gipfelfieber.com
via gipfelfieber.com

Sporty/Snazzy: You won’t get tons of traction from the minimalist lugs, but for quickstepping, there’s few things that compare to the Stealth soles complete with Adiprene midsole. At the collar is neoprene that keeps wetness from gaining entry, and an Ortholite sockliner adds in better protection against twisted ankles and painful missteps. [Purchase: $190]

Scarpa Zen Pro Mid GTX

via tourendatenbank.com
via tourendatenbank.com

Mosey Mate: Not every boot needs to be sturdy to be good. The Zen Pro is technically a mid-weight, but it’s more for the easy amble up a mound or a fun outing in the forest. The flexible sole allows for much faster movement and greater ground feel than its bulkier counterparts, and can even work as a trail running shoe with amped-up support. [Purchase: $156-$219]

Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX

via switchbacktravel.com
via switchbacktravel.com

Upgraded: If you’re like us, you were disappointed with the original 4D from the normally irreproachable Salomon. Be advised: This ain’t your daddy’s busted Quest. Overhauled with new style, new laces, and the hill-happy the Contagrip sole, we aren’t sure why they even kept the name. [Purchase: $165-$230]

Asolo TPS 520 GV Anniversary

via ebay.com
via ebay.com

On the Job: Often used as work boots, the 40th anniversary edition of the 520 GV don’t need to improve much on the standard model. They have the same Vibram soles that are comfortable for daily wear, even years after purchase, and weighing in at a breath under 2lbs. they’re light enough for the most dainty daytripper. [Purchase: $252-$315]

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT

via kerryclimbing.blogspot.com
via kerryclimbing.blogspot.com

Gentleman Climber: The leather is true Italian and capable of literally staying with you until the end of your days should you care for it properly. Built for handling the wet and wicked inclines on the Pacific coast, the Vioz can also take craggy climbs around the rockies and the Appalachian range. [Purchase: $277-$320]

Danner Mountain Pass

via outsideonline.com
via outsideonline.com

Go Retro: Using the same basic design since before the 80’s, the Mountain Pass has a vintage look, but the full-grain leather body and Gore-Tex lining are classics that still stand up to weather better than almost anything on the trail. Airthotic midsoles add a little more comfort for less foot fatigue, and best of all: they’re made right in Portland. [Purchase: $225-$350]

Hanwag Tatra GTX

via seattlebackpackersmagazine.com
via seattlebackpackersmagazine.com

Leatherneck: Though the Tatra looks like a fairly staid and forgettable boot, when your foot lands on the Vibram sole and you realize that fording streams can be done without leaving your tootsies sopping wet due to the Gore-Tex lining, you’ll never forget their plain-Jane steadfastness. [Purchase: $325]

Arc’teryx Bora2

via dancarrphotography.com
via dancarrphotography.com

Unspoken: The liner of the Bora2 is what you’ll want to notice, since it’s nylon monomesh that replaces a tongue inside the boot. This prevents slipping or bunching as you move, and helps keep your foot insulated while traversing any kind of terrain, at any grade, and any attack angle you choose. [Purchase: $330]

La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX

via epictv.com
via epictv.com

Frost Bitten: Made for mountaineering, the goal of the Cubes are to give you a lightweight way to scale glaciers or tackle the toughest ascents on the highest class mountains. For hikers, they work as well, providing traction that deals with trails, or going cross-country through forest and stream. [Purchase: $375]

Lowa Tibet GTX

via 24hourcampfire.com
via 24hourcampfire.com

Air Tight: Wraparound rubber at the base reduces the amount of stitching that will be exposed to the bumps and bruises that heavy-duty hikers take on. They’re fairly dense and a little weighty, but that heft comes in the form of enhanced support for beast-mode pack carrying; so go ahead and load the kitchen sink. [Purchase: $380]

Liked our story? Share it with friends

What do you think?