Hiking and backpacking boots are one of the most important choices that you will make when picking out gear. This decision will actually determine the quality and comfort of your time when out on a trail. This is almost like a matchmaking process where you have to select hiking boots that suit your backpacking style and the terrain of the locations you intend to cover.
So careful thought and consideration have to be taken into consideration when selecting the best hiking boots for men for your outdoor adventures.
Some of the main considerations to put into account when purchasing a hiking boot would be:
- Terrain: hiking across flatlands doesn’t require as much protection for the feet as hiking over rocky hills and inclines.
- Weather: waterproof boots are key so that your feet can stay dry.
- Personal style and preference: many hiking boots are quite stylish, so you may want to consider getting boots that you can wear just about anywhere, not only when you’re hiking.
Comfort is a very important factor to consider when selecting a hiking boot. You can’t walk all those miles on the trail if you’re not comfortable in your shoes. With the current trend of making hiking boots lighter and lighter, many of the boots we see nowadays are very comfortable to wear.
A lot of the lightweight boots are easily the most comfortable and the heavier ones might require some time for your feet to get used to them, but they do eventually offer as much comfort. The best hiking shoes for men will surely have all the features necessary to provide comfort.
Hiking boots will generally fall under any one of the following categories:
- Ultra-light hiking boots: the ultra light weight hiking boots are designed for the hiker who is looking to cut down on overall weight. As a result of this trade off however, this category of boots might be lacking in some certain features. Most of them for instance are not water proof but they provide for more comfort and they are going to keep your feet dry as they breathe a lot faster.
A lot of backpackers who are into lightweight backpacking quite often forget to factor in the weight of their hiking shoe. It is believed that one pound on your feet equals 5 pounds on your back. For the ultra-light hiker, the ultra-light shoe is the only way to go. These shoes will provide a little bit more ankle support than the mid cut equivalents ad they often come with features such as gator clips that you can use in addition to aggressive threads on the bottom.
The choice between a low-cut boot and a mid-cut boot is mainly down to preference. Some hikers prefer to not have ankle support while some people do. People with ankle injuries don’t like to have the high top boots because it rubs on scars and scar tissue, so they often go for a lower cut equally aggressive and equally rugged shoe.
- Heavier backpacking hiking boots: for the heavyweight backpacker carrying weights of up to 30 to 50 pounds, you might want to go for an all-round backpacking boot. Most of them are all leather and water proof and most of them have vibrum soles so they provide a little bit more traction and more stability with its wider base compared to the traditional hiking shoe. Overall this category provides more stability and more support on your feet and ankle when carrying all that weight.
- Mountaineering and winter hiking boots: the last category is the water or mountaineering boots. These boots are often a lot more stiffly in nature than the other ones. Some of them have a steel shank in them and them just kind of an all-round boot than the rest. Gator clips, backings and warm insulations make them very suitable as snow shoes. These boots are a little more versatile.
The majority of hiking boots contain rubber on the outsoles, as well as a few other additives such as carbon in order to make them tougher. This will not only lead to your boots lasting longer, but they’ll keep working to keep you on your feet as well by providing you with enough traction.
Traction is the amount of grip your hiking boots will have when overcoming tough terrain. You don’t want a boot that is going to slip easily against any surface, as that can lead to serious injuries. Inspect the soles of your boots to ensure the traction is high enough.
Other things to look for on the underside of your hiking boots are lug patterns and heel brakes. Lug patterns are the bumps on the outsole that provide you with the grip you need. The deeper and thicker the lug patterns are, the better grip you’ll have. Heel brakes provide traction for your heels, which can be very useful when you’re going down hills.
Is price an indicator of quality when it comes to these boots?
Oftentimes it is an indicator of quality. The more expensive boots are typically a lot stronger and durable because higher end materials are used, resulting in better qualitty. So with more expensive boots, it is more of a long term savings over the short term.
Top Brands to Choose From
The rest of this article will review some of the best hiking boots for men and they will all fall under some of the different categories that we have mentioned above.
Salomon Men’s Quest 40 GTX Backpacking Boot
- Shaft measures approximately 6.5 inches from arch
- Heel measures 1.5 inches
- Overall dimensions of 9.2 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
- Weighs 3 pounds
Description: Salomon Men’s Quest 40 GTX Backpacking Boot is a very durable boot designed by Salomon with control flex and stability that reduces ankle strain. Salomon’s commitment to innovative design and a deep rooted love for mountain sports is very evident in this design. His designs are suitable for hiking, adventure racing, mountaineering and trail running.
This class of boots is a top pick for fast packing and it manifests the latest designs in hiking boots. This is a mid-weight hiking boot that stays true to the comfort and function of a trail runner with adequate support and ankle stability which hikers and backpackers have come to expect from these boots
It is made out of leather with a synthetic sole, rubber heel and toe rand. This is in addition to its non-marking contagrip outsole which gives you an overall excellent comfort level and support to your feet and ankles.
It also has waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex performance and this gives you the confidence to conquer any terrain and weather.
The most attractive features of this boot are overall comfort, excellent grip and traction with its gusseted tongue which locks out debris. It also has excellent water proof qualities. They are a very good fit and can take you anywhere in any weather.
The major concern here is that the boot might hold up too much heat and may not be suitable for hiking in a very hot terrain like a desert but users who have taken it out into the desert have reported a little sweating but a generally manageable experience.
Tera Men’s Kimtah Mid WP Mesh Hiking Boots
- 52 percent leather, 35 percent textile and 13 percent synthetic
- Shaft measures approximately 5.5 inches from arch
- Overall dimensions of 13.8 x 9.2 x 4.6 inches
- Weighs 3.6 pounds
Description: The Kimtah mid WP was designed for best grip, support, protection in any terrain. It features an aggressive lug design which gives the best grip on loose terrain. Also in addition, it sports a Spider 365 sole for more grip. The T.I.D.E seal waterproof membrane is perfect for keeping your feet dry as you transverse through water.
It is also built with your comfort in mind with its leather and mesh with full grain lining. Also the soft shoe PadTM in the heel provides excellent shock absorption.
This boot is excellent for your long trips with its excellent grip, traction and comfort features. The design makes it an excellent choice for everyday hiking in most situations. They also breathe nicely so you won’t have issues with overheating.
Timberland White Ledg Men’s Waterproof Boot
- Overall dimensions of 12 x 9 x 6 inches
- Weighs 2 pounds
- Made of leather and textile material
- Shaft measures approximately 4.75 inches from arch
- Available in 5 different colours
Description: A lot of thought was put into this design and they pretty much covered all angles. It is made from full grain waterproof leather with semi seals for total protection from water. With its breathable foot bed and multidirectional rubber lugs, you can maneuver any terrain, break, accelerate and climb with relative ease. It also has built in padded collars for ankle support.
Overall Timberland White Ledg Men’s Waterproof Boot is a very durable boot that is guaranteed to serve you for the years to come.
Very comfortable and water resistant and designed to give you all the protection and warmth you need. Perhaps the stand out quality of this boot is the B.S.F.P brake, support, flex and propel system that gives you the best traction and flexibility.
There have been concerns about the boot’s waterproof qualities because it seems like they aren’t as top notch as you would expect.
Vasque Men’s Talus Ultradry Hiking Boot
- Overall dimensions 14 x 11 x 5 inches
- Heel measures approximately 1.5 inches
- Shaft measures approximately 5 inches from arch
- Weighs 2 pounds
Description: Vasque Men’s Talus Ultradry Hiking Boot is created at Vasque and the designers are committed to incorporating and developing new and innovative concepts into their boots. This is all too evident in the Vasque ultra dry waterproofing system built into the Talus hiking boot.
This boot is classically styled and with its lightweight lower profile, rugged and flexible comfort, it inspires you to get outdoors and embark on an adventure. It is made out of leather with a synthetic sole and sticky vibram outsole.
Your feet and ankles will experience a lot of comfort with this brand of boots and it will make for a more pleasurable backpacking adventure and you can still cruise along in comfort on a day hike.
If you must have just one pair of boots, perhaps this is the one to go for. Vasque has designed and manufactured a boot that is lightweight and super comfortable enough to support moderate loads.
Stand out qualities of this boot is its ultra-light profile and excellent waterproofing technology. It also has a very tough material build and sole structure for excellent grip. However some minor concerns have been raised on the leather of the shoe as it has been reported to go darker on exposure to water and in very rare cases even fall apart with excessive exposure to water.
Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
- Overall dimensions of 12 x 14 x 5 inches
- Shaft measures approximately 5 inches from arch
- Heel measures approximately 1.75 inches
- Platform measures approximately 1 inch
- Available in many colours
- Leather and synthetic material
Description: Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot is another boot that was built to conquer any terrain and weather. It features a water repellent leather and a climate control foot bed with comfort perforations to improve its breathing.
It has a seamless waterproof Gore-Tex lining which helps reduce hotspots. All of these qualities make it ideal for every day hikes and short haul trips as they can support lightweight packs up to 25 pounds.
The standout qualities of this boot are its lightweight midsole and vibram outsole for securely holding the foot in place, the climate control foot bed wicks and waterproof Gore-Tex and derby style lacing. This shoe is designed to give you maximum comfort, traction, grip and protection.
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventillator Mid Hiking Boot
- Overall dimensions 12 x 8 x 4 inches
- Weighs 2 pounds
- Leather and textile material
Description: This boot is very suitable for trail, biking and hiking. Its leather and mesh upper bellows help keep debris out and the breathable mesh lining keeps the foot comfortable during your hike. Some important features of this boot include;
- Aegis antimicrobial solution ortholite anatomical foot bed.
- Moulded nylon shank compression
- Air cushions in the heel
- Sole lug depth vibram multi-sport sole
With theMerrell Men’s boot, you are guaranteed more comfort and more stability.
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilation Hiking Shoe
- Overall dimensions of 14 x 10 x 6 inches
- Weighs 3 pounds
- Compression moulded EVA foot frame
- Air cushion midsole
Description: Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilation Hiking Shoe is somewhat similar to the boot equivalent save for some little variations in dimensions and build. It is suitable for hiking and also equipped with a breathable feature and lightweight property that helps you stay comfortable on your trails.
Designed with a lattice like overlay of Dura leather strapping, it supports your feet and enhances open window venting. This shoe provides you with enough comfort for your feet and helps you get through a long day of hiking.
Standout quality of this shoe is its comfort. It is probably going to be the most comfortable shoe you’ve ever worn and you can spend hours hiking without feeling the strain on your feet as you would with other shoes. They are also very durable and guaranteed to last long. One area of concern however is the sole as they seem to be a little hard and as such cannot support much running.
Keen Men’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot
- Overall dimensions of 12 x 8 x 4 inches
- Weighs 3 pounds
- Leather and textile material
- 4mm multi directional lugs
- Collar height of 6 inches
- Non marking rubber outsole
Description: The manufacturers of this boot say it gives you a four wheel drive performance as it is designed to be both waterproof and breathable and also equipped with an aggressive outsole that bites into the terrain. It is also equipped for ankle support.
With its big toe cap and comfy fit, the Keen Targhee is hard to beat for anyone seeking comfort and value. Trading off a little durability for comfort, this boot is recommended for those who prioritize light weight and comfort. It is available in three different colours and Keen produces this boot up to a whooping size 17.
This boot is designed to fit very well around your feet and give you stability around your ankles. It gives your feet all the protection and comfort it needs. The lacing system is very elaborate with lower, middle and upper locking eyelets.
This lacing structure is a game changing innovation for customizing fit of the boot. As for the water proof qualities, it is water proof but moisture level tends to build up after long periods of immersion in water.
Understanding a little more about the details that make for a better fit of hiking boots and getting to know what to expect in terms of uppers, lowers, midsoles and outsoles and various other parts and features of the boots will help you make a better informed decision considering the vast array of choices to select from be it the ultra-lightweight trail shoes or the heavy duty mountaineering boots.
All of the boots and/or shoes that have been reviewed here are excellent choices. Some of them offer more protection, comfort and/or waterproofing than their counterparts but they all do very well. Making a choice will primarily be down to your preference in style, colour and of course pricing. Regardless of which you eventually choose, be rest assured that you will get value for your money.