The 11 Best Hiking Boots for Men of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Salomon’s Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boots will keep your feet supported and protected

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A man wearing hiking boots and standing on grass

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

Few trail items will make or break a successful trek more than your hiking boots. “Hiking boot requirements depend on the person, the terrain, and the weight of the pack you’ll be carrying,” Josh Rasmussen, Backroads Trip Leader and Guide based in Salt Lake City, Utah, says. “If it’s an easy trail with not a lot in the pack, light hiking shoes or even trail running shoes might be sufficient. However, as the terrain difficulty increases, so should your hiking boots and ankle support.”

Reviewed & Approved

Our top overall pick for men is Salomon’s Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boot because they're durable for any terrain yet still comfortable and water-resistant. Merrell’s Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boot also offers plenty of cushioning and support at a budget-friendlier price.

It’s important to select a pair of hiking boots that are comfortable, durable, and supportive. They should also protect against the elements and have traction to keep you safely grounded. We consulted experts and researched the best hiking boots on the market based on these crucial specs. Our team of testers then took to the trails to evaluate each boot on a scale of 1 (would not recommend) to 5 (highly recommend) for seven key attributes: cushioning, comfort, fit, traction, stability and support, water resistance, blister protection, and value. 

Based on our test, here are the best hiking boots for men on the market.

Best Overall

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boots

5
Salomon Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boots

REI

Pros
  • Durable

  • Waterproof

  • Minimal break-in period

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Expensive

Salomon’s Quest 4 is our top pick for hiking boots, with a long list of useful features. A heavier boot with durable outsoles and deep lugs, the Quest 4 is at its best when backpacking challenging terrain and inclines but is also comfortable enough for everyday hikes. And there’s hardly any break-in time, thanks to a midsole that flexes with your foot's stride.

The boot is designed with wings on the sides of the midsole that securely cradle the foot, while lace locks perfect the fit. Hitting high above the ankle with a padded, flexible cuff, our tester found it excels in heel and ankle support (even on steep inclines with a heavy load), rating it a 5 out of 5 for stability and support.

The interior upper has fewer seams, which prevented rubbing and blisters during test hikes. On wet days, the waterproof construction prevented leaks to keep our hiker’s feet dry. They noted, however, that the heavy-duty weather protection tends to trap heat, so it’s not an ideal boot for hot hikes. 

Regardless, we think the Quest 4 is well worth the price based on its perfect ratings in comfort, protection, traction, and support.

Price at time of publication: $230

Upper: Nubuck leather, nylon | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 2.9 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces, lace locks

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boots

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“These are great boots. Incredibly durable and really well put together, plus they look great. They’re especially good when trekking up and down steep dirt and gravel trails.” —Patrick Tamisiea, Verywell Fit product tester

Best Budget

Merrell Men's Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boot

5
Merrell Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boot

REI

Pros
  • Supportive

  • Minimal break-in period

  • Protective rubber toe cap

Cons
  • May run wide

  • Not waterproof

The Moab 3 is comfortable from the first step to miles of incline, which is a major game-changer according to experts like Rasmussen. It offers protection and support for hikes and light backpacking excursions at a budget-friendly price. This boot performs well in warm weather with its mesh ventilation but isn’t ideal for wet or swampy conditions since it’s not waterproof. 

With a padded but flexible collar, a thick tongue, and a shock-absorbing air cushion in the heel, these are comfortable straight out of the box. We also like that the Moab 3 feels wider than others on our list, according to our tester, making them ideal for anyone with wide feet. They even come in a wide width, in case you need room to add an insole. 

On the trail, this boot scored a 5 out of 5 in cushioning and comfort. The upper and midsole don’t cause friction even as you venture off the trail, earning the Moab 3 a 5 out of 5 for blister protection. Your toes are protected by a firm rubber toe cap, and our tester thought they’d be durable enough for many hikes to come. Deep, 5-millimeter lugs in the sole provide solid traction, and a molded arch in the midsole offers stability.

Price at time of publication: $130

Upper: Pig suede leather, mesh | Height: Hits at ankle | Waterproof: No | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 2.02 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“These are solid yet comfortable hiking boots that I can tell will be long-lasting. They got me up and down steep dirt trails easily because of their natural traction.” — Patrick Tamisiea, Verywell Fit product tester

Best Waterproof

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

4.7
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

Lowa

Pros
  • Breathable upper

  • Stable and durable

  • Lightly insulated

Cons
  • Expensive

  • May run narrow

A supportive boot built for backpacking technical terrain, Lowa’s Renegade GTX will keep you dry and warm as you take on the road less traveled. Slightly insulated, the thin, moisture-repellent leather upper breathed well during tests. While expensive, these boots are designed to handle it all—meaning you’ll just need one pair, no matter where you’re off-roading.

Even when fully submerged, the gusseted tongue and GORE-TEX lining kept our tester’s feet perfectly dry, scoring a 5 out of 5 for water resistance. Back on the trail, we were impressed by how this boot’s perforated footbed released heat and sweat, making these a good choice for long hikes.

The solid outsoles can feel heavy, and the midsole is stiffer compared to others on the list. But this makes the Renegade GTX grippy and supportive enough to handle rocks, snow, and dirt, earning a 5 out of 5 for traction and stability. We also love that they have speed hook lacing for a quick, customized fit. Though our tester noted that the boots run slightly narrow, they come in three widths. 

Price at time of publication: $245

Upper: Nubuck leather | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: Light insulation | Weight (Pair): 2.4 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“There are a couple of things to keep in mind when trying on hiking boots. First, try boots on at the end of the day because your feet tend to swell throughout the day, and they will most likely do so as you’re hiking as well. Second, bring socks that you plan on hiking in when you try on boots because they may be a little thicker than normal socks.” —Josh Rasmussen, Backroads Trip Leader, Salt Lake City, Utah

Best for Winter

Columbia Bugaboot III Snow Boot

4.7
Columbia Bugaboot III Snow Boot

DSW

Pros
  • Waterproof

  • Lightweight

  • Thermal insulation

Cons
  • May run small and narrow

  • May be difficult to adjust while wearing gloves

Columbia’s Bugaboot III is our pick for a hiking boot that has enough warmth and traction to excel in cold temperatures. Designed for adaptable, multi-terrain winter performance, they boast thermal insulation, seam-sealed lining, and complete waterproofing. Their plush, padded collar, gusseted tongue, and tall profile kept snow and water out, earning this boot a perfect 5 out of 5 in waterproofing during testing. We recommend sizing up in these boots, especially if you plan on wearing thick socks, since our tester found that they may run small and narrow.

The Buggaboot features a removable, cushioned insole that absorbs shock, plus a multi-directional, anti-slip sole that will keep you grounded. Protective rubber extends up the reinforced toe and up the back into a heel brake for ultimate traction. This pair scored a perfect 5 out of 5 in traction and stability with our tester, who also noted that the boots won’t mark up floors when you come in from the cold.

They also weigh less than most of the other pairs on our list. Other standout features include a lace-up closure, which stays securely tied. But since these boots lack a speed lacing system, they may be tough to adjust while wearing gloves or mittens. 

Price at time of publication: $130

Upper: Waterproof leather, synthetic | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: Yes | Weight (Pair): 1.53 pounds | Closure: Laced eyelets

Columbia Bugaboot III Hiking Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“As soon as I put them on, I felt like my feet were in a pillow. Very well cushioned, warm, and cozy, though they seem to run slightly small—especially if you wear thick socks in the winter. They’re well-constructed and very durable in order to handle snow. I’d recommend these for anyone living in colder and snowier climates for hiking or day-to-day use during the winter.” Patrick Tamisiea, Verywell Fit product tester

Best Lightweight

Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid Hiking Boots

4.4
Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid Hiking Boots

REI

Pros
  • Wide toe box

  • Breathable waterproof upper

  • Good traction

Cons
  • Not supportive enough for heavy-duty hiking

  • Toe box may feel stiff

Altra’s modern Lone Peak ALL-WTHR hiking boot is a watertight kick that is remarkably lightweight and comfortable for short day hikes. The boot's responsive midsole and zero-drop platform scored a 4 out of 5 for stability and support. During tests, the wide toe box allowed our tester’s toes to relax and spread out, making these a great pick for those with wider feet. However, since the upper is waterproof, the fabric may feel too stiff for some hikers who want a more flexible lightweight boot.

The grippy outsole performs well on soft, muddy, and snowy trails due to the wide-spaced lugs, earning these boots a 5 out of 5 for traction. On the trail, the inner weatherproof bootie kept feet ultra-dry, breathed well, and conformed to the foot and ankle once tied, scoring a 5 out of 5 for waterproofing and comfort. 

Weighing just under 2 pounds, these minimal boots felt “like wearing a hiking sock with a rubber sole,” according to our tester. But while we like the mid-height, flexible ankle collar and comfortable midsole, they can present a challenge for long, tough treks. 

Price at time of publication: $170

Upper: Fabric, nylon | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 1.87 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid Hiking Boots

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“The minimalist design makes for great trail feedback. It feels like the shoe is designed to benefit from how the body naturally functions, with the flexing of the foot and ankle.” Andrew Heder, Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Wide Feet

KEEN Targhee III Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

4.4
KEEN Targhee 3 Waterproof Hiking Boot

Amazon

Pros
  • Sustainably and ethically made

  • Good traction

  • Flexible

Cons
  • Not cushioned enough for long hikes

For hikers who need more space in their footbeds, we recommend Keen’s Targhee III, a spacious and supportive boot with room for feet to spread out for optimal comfort. With the comfort of an everyday shoe, the construction of the midsole, outer, and upper materials make this boot both flexible and sturdy. Lots of ankle cushioning gently supports, while the lacing system includes a strap that wraps around the heel for a customized fit. 

The trade-off to such collar comfort and flexibility, however, is that this boot lacks the padding that hikers with heavy packs often need. Scoring this boot a 4 out of 5 for cushioning and support, our tester found this boot better for everyday hikes.

Still, we think this pair has enough durability for many day hikes to come, thanks to the 4-millimeter lugged traction, toe and mudguards, and leather upper. And odor control technology will keep your feet fresh and dry, even in warm weather.

Price at time of publication: $175

Upper: Oiled nubuck leather, mesh | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 2.5 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Keen Targhee III Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

Best for Narrow Feet

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Boots

4.5
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Boots

REI

Pros
  • Good traction

  • Waterproof

  • Minimal break-in period

Cons
  • Not as supportive

  • Expensive

For narrow feet, we recommend La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II boot. Lightweight and flexible, this boot offers ample protection for backpacking diverse terrain. This pair was comfortable and sturdy on test hikes, with molded, cushioned midsoles that earned a 4 out of 5 for comfort and a 4.5 out of 5 for stability. The Ultra Raptor also has ankle mudguards to keep debris out, although it’s a flexible shoe that isn’t as supportive as others on our list. 

We do love how the grippy, rubber outsoles of these boots offer good traction on slick, uneven terrain. During tests, our hiker also mentioned that the midsole and heel felt well-bolstered, with good shock absorption on a variety of surfaces. The ankle collar has a built-in gaiter with a convenient pull tab for slipping the boots on and off.

When it came to waterproofing, our tester found that the lining and mesh upper let air in while keeping moisture out—keeping his feet dry on his hike through fresh streams, mud, and a waterfall. “Running water completely immersed the shoes three-quarters of the way up the heel,” he said. “I experienced no soaking or moisture for the remainder of the hike.” 

Some hikers note that this boot runs small and narrow, making the Ultra Raptor II an ideal option for those with narrow feet. 

Price at time of publication: $199

Upper: Synthetic | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 2.1 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“Compared to competitors, I felt that the soles, grip, traction, and materials are of high quality and are particularly useful for me. My wife and I take many trips to National Parks and encounter terrain from dry desert sand and rocks to Colorado mountaintops and snow-covered peaks and everything in between. I feel that the shoe shines in terms of its versatility.” —Tyler Murtaugh, PED and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Summer

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot

4.8
Merrel Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot

Zappos

Pros
  • Breathable

  • Budget-friendly

  • Good cushioning and ankle support

Cons
  • Water-resistant, not waterproof

  • Heel may be too high for some

When temperatures rise, stay cool and dry in this well-ventilated boot by Merrell. The Moab 2 Vent’s mesh lining breathes and evaporates sweat quickly to stifle bad odors. Our tester noticed that his feet felt less tired due to this shoe’s firm midsole, stable, contoured arch, and impact-absorbing air pocket underneath the heel. 

The ankle is amply cushioned—however, the supportive heel may feel too high for some hikers. This shoe is super grippy, thanks to its 5-millimeter lug sole. It performed perfectly for our hiker, who called the sole a “total beast,” scoring it a 5 out of 5 for traction. 

Lightweight and comfortable out of the box, we love the Moab 2 Vent boot for its value and performance. Just note that while water-resistant, it’s not completely waterproof. 

Price at time of publication: $120

Upper: Suede, mesh | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: No | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 2.2 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“The entire shoe really draws functionality from the sole. Initially, when I walked in them, I wasn’t crazy about how rigid and thick the sole was—but it was sneakily more flexible than I first thought. I felt very comfortable and firm walking at a fast pace downhill, which is typically where I would feel instability.” —Andrew Heder, Verywell Fit product tester

Best All-Terrain

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Boot

4.9
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Boot

REI

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Great ankle support

  • Hugs the foot for custom, stable fit

Cons
  • Not for heavy packs

  • Less breathable

If you’re looking for lightweight trail boots that can carry you from a casual tour to long-haul journeys, we recommend these Salomon boots. The X Ultra 4 is stable and grippy, with multidirectional lugs that are perfect for taking on steep inclines. It’s also GORE-TEX lined for waterproof protection.

Tongue gussets keep annoying debris out, while mudguards and rubber toe caps protect against obstacles like rocks and tree roots. The drawback to iron-clad water protection? It didn’t breathe as well as other options and created some hot spots, scoring a 4 out of 5 in blister protection during test hikes.

The Ultra 4 impressed our tester with its comfort and support, even on long-distance hikes. A lace strap chassis secures the foot with a custom fit, further improving the stability of this trail-runner boot hybrid. We like the spacious toe box and heel stabilization, which make this boot feel like it can take on a demanding day out. However, it may not have enough support for hikers with very heavy packs. 

Price at time of publication: $200

Upper: Textile, synthetic | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 1.87 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

Best for Plantar Fasciitis

Oboz Men's Bridger Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot

4.7
Oboz Bridger Bdry Hiking Boot

REI

Pros
  • Good arch support

  • Soft cushioning

  • Great traction

Cons
  • May run small

Long hikes can be excruciating if you are prone to plantar fasciitis pain, so it is crucial to choose footwear that offers firm support in the heel counter and midsoles, like these boots by Oboz. The supportive arch, comfortable foam cushioning, and snug heel counter in the Oboz Bridger boot help keep your foot stable to limit pain and irritation. 

Our hiker put this boot to the test by traversing rocks, underbrush, and branches. He felt fully protected, scoring the Bridger a 5 out of 5 for support, cushioning, and blister protection. He also observed less fatigue than after wearing other hiking boots, even when he upped his mileage and terrain difficulty. 

Equipped with 4-millimeter multidirectional lugs on the outsole and protective footplates, this pair is sturdy enough for slick and rugged routes. Our tester noted that the water-repellant leather locked out moisture while the inner mesh lining remained breathable. You may want to order up a half size since these otherwise comfortable boots may run small. 

Price at time of publication: $190

Upper: Nubuck leather | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 2.4 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What Our Testers Say

“Over sharp rocks, through streams, and undergrowth, the traction remained excellent. The insoles and laces maintained a firm grip on the foot without discomfort, preventing blisters.” —Josh Murtaugh, Verywell Fit product tester

Best Investment

Hanwag Banks GTX Boot

4.5
Hanwag Banks GTX Boot

Moosejaw

Pros
  • No break-in period

  • Stylish design

  • Great traction

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Expensive

Hanwag Banks' GTX Boot is our recommendation for an expensive shoe that’s worth the investment. With a slightly larger forefoot and a foam wedge in the midsole for a smooth roll and shock absorbency, the Banks offers both stability and a comfortable fit. Our tester also appreciated the stylish design of the boots, which isn’t as sporty as others on our list. 

These boots are breathable and feature a GORE-TEX lining, earning a 4.5 out of 5 for waterproofing. On a hike, our tester rated the outsole’s cleat-like grip a 5 out of 5 for traction but noted that the midsole could use more support and cushioning. All of these additional features also add up—this pair is one of the heaviest we tested.

Other wearers also noticed that this pair is comfortable right out of the box. While we don't recommend these boots for rocky mountain hikes or heavy pack loads, the Banks will still last you for miles and miles. 

Price at time of publication: $295

Upper: Nubuck leather | Height: Hits above ankle | Waterproof: Yes | Insulated: No | Weight (Pair): 2.8 pounds | Closure: Speed hook laces

Hanwag Banks GTX Boot

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

How We Rated the Best Men's Hiking Boots

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best men's hiking boots we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These men's hiking boots are excellent; they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great men's hiking boots, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These men's hiking boots are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend men's hiking boots with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Selected and Tested the Best Hiking Boots for Men

To make our list of the best men's hiking boots, our expert—a certified personal trainer—spoke with trail trip guide Josh Rasmussen and podiatrist Dr. Bruce Pinker, DPM, to gather insights about which features every pair of hiking boots should have. We then researched dozens of boots from the top, trusted brands on the market.

Our team of experienced recreational hikers tested the top hiking boots to see how each boot performed in key areas, including size and fit, comfort, support, stability, traction, durability, and value. They tested each shoe at various intensities, from short and easy outings on a groomed trail to longer, more challenging treks on rougher, more technical terrain at higher elevations. Each hike ranged from 2 to 5 miles. They noted each boot’s performance in key areas, giving the shoes a score between 1 and 5 in each category. 

Each boot also went through a “wet test” for waterproofing. To be selected as our top pick in each category, each pair had to perform according to high standards of technical specifications and expert insight.

Hiking boots in an outdoor setting

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

What to Look For in Hiking Boots for Men

Comfort

Hiking in your new boots shouldn’t be a pain. For the most comfortable fit, aim for a pair that provides enough cushioning. Your boots should also feel great after they’ve been laced up, without any tight pressure points or rubbing at the ankle collar. 

The heel box should hold the back of the foot so that your foot doesn’t slip around inside the boot. The upper and midsole should be comfortable yet supportive based on what your foot and arch need. There should also be enough room in the toe box for your foot to spread out comfortably as you hike.

Support and Stability

While navigating rolling hills and rocky terrain, you’ll need enough support and stability to keep you grounded. First, consider the weight of your boots. The type of terrain and your pack size will help you decide how heavy your shoes will need to be. Then, look at ankle support, which comes from the height of the boot. “As a general rule of thumb, the harder the trail and heavier the pack, the more ankle support your footwear should provide," Rasmussen says. 

Demanding hikes with heavy packs usually require heavier boots with firm, thick soles and ample cushioning. A thinner sole is ideal for day hikes on less challenging terrain and also saves you speed, energy, and potential strain on knees and hip flexors.

Durability and Protection

Materials matter for keeping you warm or cool, and always dry. Whether you’re dealing with a rock hop trickling stream or a foot-drenching ford, it’s important to keep your feet protected. Waterproof boots will keep your feet dry, warm, and blister-free and usually feature GORE-TEX linings, membranes, or similar technology. Water-resistant likely means an exterior material treatment to repel but not always lock out moisture. Keep in mind that waterproof boots can sometimes be heavier, not as breathable, and even more expensive than other boots. 

Consider additional protective features to aid your adventure, like insulation for cold temperatures or special lacing systems like quick-lace hooks or drawstring lock laces, which are helpful if you're trying to lace boots up while wearing gloves. Some boots also offer sole or toe protection, such as footplates, lighter stiff nylon shanks, and steel or reinforced rubber toes to keep your feet safe.

Traction

Hiking footwear with the right traction is essential for gripping loose, muddy, slick, or steep terrain. It’s important to consider what terrain you will be tackling regularly to select the right tread for your needs. Usually, hiking boot outsoles are made with durable, grippy rubber that has 4-millimeter or deeper lugs—cleat-like traction that can be seen on many athletic shoes. 

A harder rubber can be better for softer surfaces like mud or snow, while a softer rubber sticks better to smoother surfaces like wet rock but can wear faster over time. A medium-sticky rubber, as used in Vibram soles, tends to be the most versatile. Sometimes your boot may also have an extended back heel, or a heel brake, for added control downhill.

The bottom of hiking boots in an outdoor setting

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are hiking boots necessary?

    Superior to street or athletic shoes for off-road excursions, hiking boots provide ankle support to prevent sprains and midsole support to guard against foot injury. “For those hiking on relatively flat ground with rivers or streams, hiking sandals can also be appropriate,” Dr. Bruce Pinker, DPM, a podiatrist based in New York, says. “But boots provide necessary cushion, traction, and protection against environmental elements that sneakers or sandals don’t.”

  • How should hiking boots fit?

    For a pain-free experience while on your nature walk, it’s good to ensure your boots fit you properly. “Hiking boots should fit snugly in width but not tight,” Dr. Pinker says. “For length, there should be 3/8 inches from the tip of the longest toe to the end of the shoe.” Around the ankles, he advises selecting a pair that fits snugly, securely, and stays tight for the best support.

  • How do I break in hiking boots?

    While many boots have a short break-in period, thanks to synthetic or softer materials, it may take a minute to get them feeling like a second skin. Dr. Pinker advises walking in your new boots several times casually before embarking on your first hike in them. “It may take three to six usages to adequately break them in so they are comfortable while hiking,” he says. “And the type of material may determine the amount of breaking in that is necessary.”

    As a hiker and guide, one of Rasmussen’s tricks is to fasten hiking boots up as you would on the trail and wear them around the house, then move on to outside, and finally on the trail with your pack. “You’ll be gradually increasing time in boots and terrain difficulty as they feel better and become more broken in,” he says.

  • How long do hiking boots last?

    If well-cared for, hiking boots can last a long time. Much like running shoes, lighter boots can carry you for 300 to 500 miles, depending on how often you hike. “At that point, the midsole begins to weaken, and support and cushioning may be diminished,” Dr. Pinker says. In such light-use cases, boots should be changed once a year to ensure adequate support, cushioning, and injury prevention.

    Sturdier boots last more miles, but there are other signs of wear and tear to keep in mind. “Frayed shoelaces are a good tip-off that you may need to start thinking about replacing your boots, or at the very least your laces,” says Rasmussen. “Second, any cracks in the soles, outers, or anywhere else are a giveaway. If the tread is worn down, this is not only dangerous but also a sign that new boots are needed."

    If your boots have started to give you blisters or cause pain in your feet, joints, or back, then it’s likely time to retire them.

A man with hiking boots walking on a log

Verywell Fit / Jessica Murtaugh

Why Trust Verywell Fit

A certified personal trainer, trail-runner, and avid camper, Jessica Murtaugh, NASM-CPT, researches and reviews fitness gear for Verywell Fit. She also owns multiple pairs of hiking shoes and boots herself. One of her go-to pairs for hiking is Lowa’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot, which she loves for its stability, traction, waterproofing, and protection.

3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Jones, B.; Toner, M; Daniels, W.; Knapik, J., The energy cost and heart-rate response of trained and untrained subjects walking and running in shoes and boots. US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Massachusetts, USA. Publicerad i Ergonomics, vol. 27, No.8, 805-902.

  2. Sanders, DPM, J. Understanding The Impact Of Shoe Insoles And Midsoles. Podiatry Today.

  3. Thomas, Anthony T., Effects of Pack Weight on Endurance of Long-distance Hikers. Ph.D. Dissertations and Master's Theses. 140.