Get the Best Footwear for Your Feet: Hiking Boots Review

Nowadays, there are so many brands and types of hiking boots available on the market that it is quite a challenge to buy hiking boots. Therefore, I am giving you here some tips and insights with my hiking boots review to help you find the footwear that is right for you.
Hiking Boots Review Hikers

One thing to consider is that some hiking boots may require a break-in period. So, don’t buy your hiking boots with the intent of wearing them for the first time during your vacation! This is a big no-no and a painful mistake! The last thing you want during your holiday is to take care of painful blisters, the size of a tea saucer! This can ruin your vacation!

First off, it is always better to be safe than sorry! So, if you have no idea of the type of terrain that you might encounter during your trip, I highly recommend that you buy a pair of hiking boots rather than hiking shoes!

Before getting into the thick of things with my review of the top 3 pairs of hiking boots available online, I decided to give you some pointers. These tips will help you choose the hiking boots that are best suited for your feet.

Without any further ado, here we go:

What’s the Purpose?


Before you even start researching online, you first need to ask yourself: why do I need hiking boots? It is crucial to figure out what you intend to do with these boots because you must choose the footwear that best fit your hiking ambitions!

Types of Hiking Boots


Hiking boots come in different size and shape and can be divided into three categories:

  • Lightweight: Ideal for a one-day hike with light loads on trails. The lightweight hiking boots are mid-cut and cover the ankles. However, they do not provide much support and protection for the ankles.
  • Midweight: Perfect for hikes lasting from 1 to 4 days while carrying medium to heavy loads. These hiking boots are well-suited for mountainous terrain and for going off trails.
  • Heavyweight or Mountaineering: These hiking boots are for the experienced hikers undertaking technical treks or trekking on rough terrain while carrying heavy loads. The heavyweight hiking boots offer the maximum support for the ankles. They are massive, sturdy, but pricey. However, they are worth the investment since they will outlast all the other types of hiking boots!

Hiking Boots Deconstructed!


A hiking boot can be broken down into three sections: the upper, the midsole, and the outsole. Keep in mind that the quality of the materials has a direct impact on the sturdiness, the performance, and also on the price of the footwear.

Upper

This part of the boot is made of different fabrics and materials conferring the sturdiness as well as the sleek look of the hiking boots.

  • Full-grain leather: it gives abrasion resistance. One drawback is that it requires a break-in period. The use of leather makes the boots less breathable. So expect sweaty feet in scorching temperatures!
  • Split-grain leather: Mixture of nylon mesh and leather. The boots are more breathable and lighter.
  • Nubuck leather: Full-grain leather that looks like suede. Waterproof and resistant to abrasion.
  • Synthetics: Made of polyester and nylon. The boots made with synthetic fabrics are lighter and required no break-in time. However, the downside is that they are less durable than the hiking boots made up with leather.
  • Waterproof:  The Gore-Tex breathable membrane is the liner of choice for waterproofing hiking boots.

Midsole

The midsole absorbs the shocks and provides cushioning for your feet. It is also responsible for the boot stiffness.

There are two types of materials used to make the midsole:

  • EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) is commonly used in lightweight hiking boots.
  • Polyurethane is the material of choice for midweight and heavy-duty boots. It is more lasting and confers more stiffness and support.

Also, shanks and plates are usually inserted between the midsole and the outsole. They add stiffness as well as protection while you are walking on rough terrain.

Outsole

The rubber is the material used for the three categories of hiking boots. However, the hardness of the outsole is what set them apart. For instance, the outsole for the midweight and the heavy duty hiking boots is thicker and stiffer. This increases the durability of those types of hiking boots compared to the lightweight boots where the outsole is thinner and more flexible.

Ankle Support


The biggest difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots is the ankle support.

Hiking shoes are low-cut. Therefore, your ankles are not covered, resulting in no ankle support.

As for the hiking boots, which are usually mid-cut or high-cut, the coverage stretches above your ankles. However, the degree of support and protection differs and depends on the type of hiking boots. So to sum it up, the lightweight hiking boots offer only a minimum support and protection for the ankles, whereas the heavyweight boots provide the most.

At the top of the list of injuries most encountered while trekking on rugged terrains, you have sprained ankles. Therefore, a good ankle support is essential to avoid any injuries.

Know Your Size!


To be comfortable in your hiking boots, they have to fit your feet perfectly. If the boots are too tight or too loose, this will bring discomfort and a greater risk of injuries.

First off, know your size! To figure out your boot size, just follow a few simple steps outlined here.

Another option is to pick a footwear brand that you have worn in the past. So you will have no problem figuring out the boot size that you need!

 

Now, the time has come, here are the top 3 pairs of hiking boots on the market:

The North Face Ultra FP Mid GTX Hiking Boots


The North Face Ultra FP Mid GTX is a lightweight hiking boot since a pair only weighs about 1 lbs 12 Oz (800 g) (men’s size: 9).

The upper consists of a breathable synthetic mesh with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining.

The midsole contains Pebax shanks and plates conferring an extra protection for your feet. So you can go off the beaten path and walk over hilly terrains! No need to fret about bruising your feet!

The outsole is made of Vibram rubber which provides an excellent traction on wet and uneven surfaces.

The North Face Ultra FP Mid GTX hiking boots offer a good ankle support. They do not require any break-in period. So the North Face hiking boots are very comfortable to wear right out the box!

These hiking boots are perfect for the casual hiker or everyday use. Therefore, if your safari vacation involves little walking on rugged terrain and solely consists of game drives, then the North Face Mid GTX is the ideal hiking boots to pack in your duffel bag!

Women’s size:  5.5-11
Men’s size:  7-14
Where to buy: Amazon

 

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots


The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boots are light. Their sleek design will not go unnoticed on the hiking trails!

The upper of these hiking boots is made of Nubuck leather giving it a suede finish look. Also, there is a Gore-Tex lining for a full waterproof protection. So, not only they are pretty comfortable, sleek, but they will keep your feet dry!

A short break-in period is required. So, before setting out on a long trek, go on a few short hikes to loosen the fabrics and outsole.

These hiking boots offer excellent support and protection for your ankles.

The outsole is made with the Vibram-Evo rubber. The use of this type of rubber provides the ultimate protection for your feet against bruising. Perfect for going off trails and walking over rocks, because your feet will not feel a thing!

The grip of the Lowa Renegade GTX is beyond any reproach in all conditions (wet, dry, mud) and over a wide range of terrain!

On the downside, the Lowa Renegade GTX durability does not meet the expectations. The outsole wears out faster than expected. Usually, the outsole of midweight boots should last for a minimum of 1,000 miles of hiking. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the Lowa Renegade.

The Lowa Renegade GTX hiking boots are comfortable, waterproof and provide full protection for your feet against injuries. Therefore, these boots are perfect for the hiker enthusiasts as well as for everyone who is planning to go on a walking safari excursion! Finally, the Lowa Renegade boots are designed for walking on rugged terrain and withstand abuse!

Now if you are ready to hike with style, click here to get the Lowa Renegade GTX hiking boots.

Women’s size: 5.5-11
Men’s size: 7.5-15
Where to buy: Amazon

 

Asolo TPS 520 GV Hiking Boots


Usually, the hiking boots included in the category of “heavyweight” tend to be stiff and uncomfortable. However, it is not the case with Asolo TPS 520 GV hiking boots! Even though these hiking boots weigh more than 3.5 pounds (1.6 Kg), they are very cozy to wear for extended periods of time.

The lacing system adds to the comfort. It allows you to lace the lower portion of the boot tighter and the ankle collar more loosely. Therefore, you get a snug fit, which prevents any movement of your foot inside the boot.

The Asolo TPS 520 hiking boots require a break-in period before they can be used for long treks.

The upper of the boot is beyond any reproach. The Asolo TPS 520 hiking boots are made of a water-resistant full-grain leather with a Gore-Tex lining that provides a full-proof waterproofing.

As for the outsole, it consists of what the company called the “Triple Power Structure Asolo/Vibram Rubber.” The outsole has three shock absorbers zones providing exceptional protection and support for your feet over any terrain.

The traction on dry surfaces is outstanding. However, on wet rocks and grounds, the Asolo TPS hiking boots are slippery.

As far as the durability is concerned, some users have reported that the boots’ soles start to fall apart after only 100 miles of backpacking.

The Asolo TPS 520 hiking boots are ideal for long distance hike. It is the preferred footwear of experienced hikers for trekking mountainous terrains and for very technical climbs.

Women’s size: 5.5-11
Men’s size: 7-15
Where to buy: Amazon

 

Conclusion


I listed in this review, 3 of the best hiking boots available on the market. However, always keep in mind, that the best pair of hiking boots is the one that snugs perfectly to your feet and protects them from injuries!

The bottom line is that you need to choose a pair of hiking boots that are tailored to your hiking ambitions and based on your personal preferences!

So if you are looking for hiking boots that are lightweight with no break-in period, and that can even replace your current sneakers for everyday use, then you should buy the North Face Mid GTX hiking boots.

However, if hiking is a way of life for you and you spend all your free time on backpacking excursions, you need something sturdy, comfortable, and designed for technical climbs on mountainous terrain! Therefore, I highly recommend that you buy the heavyweight Asolo TPS 520 GV hiking boots by clicking here. It’s a sound investment for your feet!

 

If you have any questions about hiking boots or would like to share your own review, please leave a comment below. I will get back to you ASAP.

 


27 Comments

  1. jschicanha

    Am glad to read your article as it gave me an idea on how to protect my feet with the best footwear. I usually foot through my farm, and there are stones which often damaged my feet now I got the right information from your article.

    I wish you to continue with your great work.

    Cheers

    Jose

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Jose,

      I am glad that you found value in my post. Foot injuries can be debilitating, so it is paramount to know how to choose the right footwear and follow some guidelines, and not opt for the trial and error approach!

      Thanks,

      Sonia.

      Reply
  2. Daveking71

    Hi Sonia

    I have recently started hiking with my 2 Patterdales and came across your fab site. I always struggle being 6ft 4″ getting a large shoe but still lightweight. I love the look of the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots and they seem to be very waterproof too…something I need in the Northumbrian moors with our weather!

    Great site and very informative..off to Amazon now!

    Dave

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Dave,

      Indeed, the Lowa Renegade hiking boots because of the Gore-Tex lining offer a full waterproof protection. So, they are perfect for hiking excursion with your 2 Patterdales in the Northumbrian moors, which is located in the northern area of England if I am not mistaken?

      Reply
  3. Hannah

    This hiking boots review is very informative. Wearing the right footwear is so important when walking long distances. The three hiking boots that you reviewed here looks flawless. I can see how comfortable and sturdy they are at the same time.

    To be honest, I had no idea there were so many different types of hiking boots available on the market. I understand why now, though. I suppose that when selecting a pair of hiking boots, it mostly comes down to personal preferences.

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Hannah,

      The selection of a pair of hiking boot lies heavily on your personal preferences.

      Besides the fact that you want something stylish, cool colors and within your budget, above all, you need to pick a hiking boot that offers good ankle support and fit perfectly to your feet to avoid any injuries.

      Thanks,

      Sonia

      Reply
  4. Ben

    Hi

    I like the look of these hiking boots shown in your review. It has been for longest time, one of my goals to get into hiking and I think it’s time to take the plunge.

    This post really breaks down all the facts I need, mainly because I have no idea where to start and need all the information I can get.

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Ben,

      Which pair of hiking boots are you particularly interested in buying?

      If you are planning to go on short hikes and to do it every once in a while, then you should get a pair of lightweight hiking boots such as the North Face. However, if you are serious about taking on hiking and planning to go hiking on a regular basis, then you should consider buying the Lowa Renegade hiking boots. They are more durable than the North Face. Feel free to drop me a line if you need more help with finding the pair of hiking boots that snugs your feet! :).

      Thanks,

      Sonia

      Reply
  5. Chris

    This is a very informative review!

    I bought a pair of cheap hiking shoes a long time ago while I was stationed in Guam. I’ve since lost them when I moved to WA state a few months ago; it’s probably for the best after reading this. That being said, there are a lot of hiking trails in this state and I want to get a pair of decent boots for when I start going again. It sounds like a mid-weight pair is the way to go.

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll be sure to break in my boots when they come in.

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Chris,

      Yes, the break in period is quite necessary for most footwear. I long time ago I bought hiking boots, and I didn’t follow my own advice and I wore them right out of the box for a long excursion. I ended up with painful blisters that preventing me from wearing shoes for a week! So now I have learned my lesson!

      Thanks,

      Sonia

      Reply
  6. Ido Barnoam

    Hi Sonia,

    I trek as a hobby, and I must say that your explanation regarding the way trekking shoes are designed, was really simple and straightforward to understand.

    I agree completely with what you said. The most important thing is that the shoe will feel comfortable on your feet when you walk. Otherwise, the shoes just defeat its purpose for making the trek more comfortable and enjoyable.

    I use Gaspo as my choice of footwear. I started using them a few years back, and they fit me perfectly. I’ve been throughout South America with them, and they are comfortable as can support a lot of weight, without losing their shape or sole traction.

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Ido,

      The Gaspo are also good hiking boots. There are lots of good brands of hiking boots on the market. The most important thing when it comes to hiking boots is to pick the one that will snug your feet perfectly!

      Thanks,

      Sonia

      Reply
  7. Cohen

    Hi, Sonia!

    The Lowa Renegade GTX look particularly interesting to me, specifically due to my massive foot size (I am a living, breathing giant!).

    Unfortunately, when I went to look at Amazon, it seemed they did not have them in size 15 – Can you recommend any other hiking boots that would be good for people with larger (Okay, giant!) feet? Price is not a huge concern for me, and I’m mostly interested in comfort and durability. I have a lot of mountain trails near our vacation home, and I tend to hike a lot!

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Cohen

      Wow size 15, you must really have a hard time finding sleek footwear!

      I am assuming that you are looking for men’s footwear, and you are looking for a mid-weight hiking boot, and you like the Lowa Renegade. Therefore, I have two suggestions for you that I found on Amazon (USA).

      My first pick for you is the Lowa Renegade GTX hiking boots and my second one is the Keen Targhee II High Rise Hiking Boots. And yes they both have size 15! However, as for the width, it depends on the colors that you choose. Hopefully, you will find that one that matches all the criteria (size, width, and color that you want). Both models are comfortable as well as sturdy hiking boots that don’t require a long break in period.

      Furthermore, I have another suggestion for you. Since you mentioned that you are doing a lot of hiking, you should consider buying a heavy-duty hiking boot, such as the Asolo TPS 520 GV hiking boots. This is an excellent hiking boot that will last you for a very long time.

      Hope that its helps,

      Best of luck to you in finding the right footwear 🙂

      Sonia

      Reply
  8. Samantha

    This is a great breakdown of what to look for in hiking boots. Thank you! I have a pair of midweight hiking boots that have good ankle support, but I’ve been thinking of getting another pair for lighter hikes, because sometimes I think the hiking boots I have are a little too much.

    I don’t have terribly sturdy ankles to begin with – do you think I should look for a lightweight hiking boot for easier hikes, or should I stay on the safe side and stick with the boots I have now with ankle support?

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Samantha, I think that if you’re going on non-technical hikes and as you say easier hikes, you should definitely buy a pair of lightweight hiking boots such as the North Face Ultra Fastpack Mid GTX Hiking Boots. These hiking boots offer a great ankle support.

      Hope it helps,

      Sonia

      Reply
      1. Samantha

        Thank you for the advice! I will investigate those hiking boots.

        Reply
  9. Steve

    Hi Sonia,

    Great review on hiking boots. I didn’t know there was that much difference in them. I know what you mean about breaking in boots. I don’t wear hiking boots but I have to wear steel toe boots at work. Anyway, you provide a lot of good information, enough that someone can make an educated decision when buying a pair of hiking boots.

    Steve

    Reply
    1. Sonia

      Hi Steve,

      Most footwears need a break-in period, otherwise you run the risk of injuries such as blisters and sore feet.

      Nowadays, there are a lot of choices when it comes to buying a pair of hiking boots, therefore, you have a better chance of finding the one that will snug perfectly to your feet!

      Reply
  10. Yishan

    Hi Sonia,
    This article is very informative. I never thought that choosing a pair of hiking boots was such a technical process. I thought sneakers are fine for hiking. I always complain that the boots are too heavy. Now, I know the reasons.

    Thanks for the detailed review and thanks for the recommendation.
    Please post more reviews about shoes! I would love to follow.

    Reply
    1. Sonia

      Hi Yishan,

      Well, technology is everywhere… Even in hiking boots! Keep in mind, that not all the hiking boots on the market today are heavy, it depends on of the type of hiking boots you choose.

      For instance, the North Face Ultra Fastpack II are lightweight and offer great support. And some people even use these hiking boots as their everyday shoes, instead of sneakers, since they are very comfortable and lightweight!

      Reply
  11. Shawn

    I am glad I ran into your site!
    When I am out hiking the bluffs here in Minnesota I want a pair of boots I do not have to think about because they fit perfectly and offer the best support possible.
    I really like the looks of the TPS 520’s.
    A pair of rugged boots that are comfortable? Now that is appealing!
    How long would you say would be a good break in period?

    Shawn>>

    Reply
    1. Sonia

      Hi Shawn,

      I also like the look of the Asolo TPS 520 GV hiking boots, I think that it’s a sleek pair of boots!

      Well, the Asolo TPS 520 GV will indeed require a break-in period. And in order to break-in your new pair of hiking boots, you should wear the boots for a few hours (2-3 hours) at the time, and go on short distance hikes to loosen the fabrics and also get used to your boots. You need to repeat this exercise at least 2-3 times and NOT on consecutive days! Some people might need more time, so keep on doing short hikes, until you feel comfortable in your hiking boots!

      But, one thing to avoid at all cost is to go a long distance hiking expedition without having done the break-in period first! It could quite a painful experience!

      Hope it helps!

      Sonia

      Reply
  12. Allan

    Hi Sonia,
    I just wanted to drop by and give you kudos for a well-written review. A lot of people that are new to hiking don’t know just how important a good pair of boots is! I actually own the North Face GTX boots, and I would like to give a vote for them right now! They are a very durable and comfortable boot!

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Allan,
      I liked the North Face GTX hiking boots as well. I find them to be very versatile and light. They can even be used as your everyday footwear if you want!

      Reply
  13. Liz

    I have been looking for some hiking boots that help with ankle support. I am outside taking pictures in every kind of weather and terrain. Waterproof is a must. I will take a closer look at what you have suggested. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Sonia (Post author)

      Hi Liz,
      All 3 brands of hiking boots are waterproof and offer ankle support. It all comes down to your own personal preferences.

      Reply

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