16 Best Hiking Boots for Men Worth Breaking In

Hiking boots are essential for those long excursions when comfort and performance on the trail are crucial. The trend is toward lightweight models that also provide substantial support, allowing the carry of heavy loads.

However, that does not mean that they have to be stiff. You don’t want them to weigh you down and make you exhausted. We’ve done the research and reviewed the 16 best hiking boots for men worth breaking in-2021 for you to check out below.

So far, the most popular mens hiking boots are those offering waterproof protection. In this buying guide, you can find our picks for the best waterproof hiking boots for men, as well as lightweight boots, mid-weight options, and heavyweight hikers for rocky terrains. 

We also offer tips on choosing your new pair.

HIKING BOOTPRICEWEIGHTCATEGORYUPPERARCHWATERPROOF
Zamberlan Vioz GTX

Zamberlan - 1996 VIOZ lux GTX rr - Leather Backcountry Boots - Waxed Black - 8
$349.95
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3 lb. 2.4 oz.HeavyweightFull-grain leatherHighYes (Gore-Tex)
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
SCARPA Men's Zodiac Plus GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Boots for Backpacking and Hiking - Shark/Orange -...
Price not available
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2 lb. 6.4 oz.MidweightSuede leatherHighYes (B-Dry)
Asolo Fugitive GTX
Asolo Men's Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots, Wool/Black, 7 2E US
$275.00
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3 lb. 0.7 oz.HeavyweightSuede leatherHighYes (Gore-Tex)
Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid
Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX Hiking Boot - Men's Charcoal/Papavero 10
$249.95
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2 lb. 15 oz.MidweightSuede leatherHighYes (Gore-Tex)
Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX
Arc'teryx Acrux TR GTX Men's | Trekking boot for technical trails. | Black/Neptune, 7
Price not available
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2 lb. 6.8 oz.MidweightSyntheticNeutralYes (Gore-Tex)
Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX
Vasque Men's M Breeze at Mid GTX Goretex Backpacking Boot, Brown Olive/Bossa Nova, 7.5
$189.95
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2 lb. 11 oz.MidweightNubuck leather
& mesh
HighYes (Gore-Tex)
La Sportiva Pyramid GTX
La Sportiva Pyramid GTX Hiking Shoe, Mocha/Forest, 44.5
$189.00
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2 lb. 1.6 oz.LightweightNubuck leather
& mesh
LowYes (Gore-Tex)
Oboz Bridger Mid BDry
Oboz Bridger Mid B-DRY Hiking Boot - Men's Sudan 7
$180.00
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2 lb. 6 oz.MidweightNubuck leatherNeutralYes (B-Dry)
Danner Mountain 600 Mid
Danner Men's Mountain 600 4.5' Hiking Boot, Brown/Red-Suede, 7 D US
Price not available
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2 lb. 5 oz.LightweightSuede leatherNeutralYes (Danner Dry)
La Sportiva TXS GTX
La Sportiva TXS GTX Carbon Chili 41 (US Men's 8.5) D (M)
$179.00
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2 lb. 3.6 oz.MidweightMeshHighYes (Gore-Tex)
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1 lb. 14.2 oz.LightweightMeshLowYes (Gore-Tex)
Oboz Sypes Mid
Oboz Sypes Mid Leather B-Dry Hiking Shoe - Men's Gunmetal 8
$164.99
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2 lbs. 1.2 oz.LightweightNubuck LeatherLowYes (B-Dry)
Keen Targhee III Mid Height
KEEN Men's Targhee III Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boot, Canteen/Mulch, 7 D (Medium) US
$144.97
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2 lb. 2.8 oz.LightweightNubuck leather
& textile
NeuralYes (Keen.Dry)
Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Earth, 7 M US
$134.95
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2 lb. 4 oz.LightweightLeather / meshLowYes (M-Select)
Altra Lone Peak 4 Mid Mesh
ALTRA Men's Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM Waterproof Trail Running Shoe
Price not available
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1 lb. 9 oz.UltralightMeshLowNo
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II
Columbia mens Newton Ridge Plus Ii Waterproof Hiking Boot, Black/Black, 7 US
$89.95
Amazon
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2 lb. 0 oz.LightweightLeather / meshLowYes (Omni-Tech)

Hiking Boot Categories

Lightweight

Lightweight boots are extra flexible and tough enough for day hikes or short trips. Usually, these shoes have waterproof liners but do not sport quality ones like Gore-Tex. Also, their materials are mostly mesh-and-nylon-related. In this way, the cost stays low. However, lightweight boots are as durable as full-leather choices, and due to being so light, they lack a bit of support. 

Mid-weight

Mid-weight boots have enough support to help hikers carry a heavy load, but they’re also light enough to allow rapid trekking. This is a rapidly growing category, as day hikers demand a light but an equally capable option.

They have good support underfoot and might feel a bit stiffer than other lightweight boots, for example. And they also have a high starting cost due to the material used in their construction. 

Heavyweight

Tough and bold, heavyweight boots are undeniably reliable. They’re stiff and boast a full-leather design for extra protection and support. In addition, heavyweight boots are perfect for rocky trails and backpacking trips with heavy packs. The upper materials are thick and waterproof and make for superb performance in rain, snow, or even sand.

Furthermore, their dynamic structure helps keep the heel from dropping into cliffs and offers a solid grip when climbing or descending peaks. Finally, they are super durable. Give them a chance, and they will become your inseparable partner.

Weight

Hiking boots weights vary. Just take a look at our comparison table. There are over-the-ankle boots from 1 to over 3 pounds. And behind that difference in weight, there’s a clear impact on performance.

Generally, though, there isn’t perfection. Lighter boots offer less protection while heavier ones boost support and durability. Going over rough terrains, therefore, a heavy boot might be all that you need, whereas thru-hikers will find a lightweight boot a suitable choice.

As a final note, do try to keep the weight of your shoe to a bare minimum. At the same time aim, for the best possible comfort and grip.  The best hiking boots for men won’t be the lightest but also not the heaviest.

Waterproofing

All the best waterproof hiking boots for men are on our list except for one. Waterproofing is essential in hiking as you do not want to be caught in surprise during a sudden rainfall or snowstorm.

To make their boots waterproof, most manufacturers use a waterproof and breathable membrane inserted inside the outer fabric. You can also add additional waterproofing protection follow these steps .

The most popular one is the Gore-Tex liners. Some manufacturers, however, use their own in-house lining to provide waterproof protection. Except for the membrane, there is also a water-repellent coating on the boots for additional security. 

best waterproof hiking boots
Staying dry walking through streams require waterproof hiking boots

There’s nothing to argue against waterproofing. I mean, who wants to feel wet when crossing a stream? No one. On the rare occasion that you are on an excursion in a warm climate and your feet start feeling hot and sweaty, remove your boots, take a break, and start walking again.

It’s not wise to trade-off the waterproofing capabilities. Unless you are just a simple day hiker. Some argue that no matter what you do, you will always get wet. To counter this, backpackers carry with them gaiters for extra weather protection.

The gaiters allow the boots to dry quickly and efficiently. And they keep debris and even snow from entering inside the boot. 


Hiking Boot Upper Materials

The upper materials are the materials used on the exterior of a shoe. It’s the fabric that connects to the rubber outsole related to durability, water-resistance, and breathability.

Usually, boots are produced with a mix of mesh, leather, or nylon upper. Some exceptions do exist, though, but are found in high-end models. These are 100% leather.  The best hiking boots for men will be a balance of both materials.

Nylon and Mesh

These are low-entry or mid-level boot materials and increase breathability. They lack durability, however, but they do make boots feel lightweight. The fabric also is moisture-absorbent.  

Suede Leather and Nubuck

Nubuck leather is common in mid-level boots. It’s made to imitate full-grain leather and has a brushed finish that feels like suede. They’re also extensively used in high-end running shoes. Nubuck gives more light and flexible boots in comparison to full-leather ones, which are mostly heavy.

However, the thinner construction is not so durable but definitely firmer than nylon, giving a touch of additional toughness. Nubuck leather also is more breathable than full-grain leather. 

Full-grain Leather 

This upper type is found on heavyweight boots and high-range models. They do not offer the same level of breathability or lightness as other materials, but they make it for unparalleled durability and water resistance. Boots made of full-grain leather are made to last. 


Midsoles

During long and exhausting trips, you have to carry a heavy load. That puts lots of stress on the feet. For this reason, hiking boots implement cushioning in their midsoles, which act as shock absorbers from impacts, providing an extra layer of protection against debris.

Midsoles vary from thin to stiff. EVA, TPU, or a combination of both are the standard choices in modern hiker’s construction. 

EVA

Foam EVA midsoles are the most common cushioning material on both hiking and running footwear. It makes shoes very lightweight, as it absorbs any pain from your heel and mid-foot impacts. Furthermore, nearly all shoes use a type of EVA, but that does not mean that all EVA cushioning is of the same quality and type.

Some are super soft, while others are somehow stiff. As always, if you intend to go hiking on tougher terrain, choose a supportive midsole, even if it feels stiff. In every case, stay clear from too soft midsoles, as they break due to overuse. 

TPU

TPC is an acronym of thermoplastic polyurethane, a durable plastic found in light hikers. TPU is not as soft as EVA and tends to last longer. It evens handles better a heavier load-out. Hiking boots that use TPU underfoot also maintain their shape longer and might not compress as fast as shoes using EVA cushioning.

Keep in mind that manufacturers typically use a TPU frame for stability and add an EVA underfoot for added comfort. 


Outsoles & Traction

Hiking boots offer improved traction over common cross-trainers. In fact, they offer much better traction than casual footwear can only dream of matching. Hiking footwear grips perfectly on slippery, steep, or rocky terrain.

Boot manufacturers produce different outsoles. Some have better gripping in mud, while others prioritize sticky rubber for not slipping over rocks. Choose, therefore, the one that fits your situation. Look at the lug depth and compound type and check out what outsole will work best for you. 


Best Hiking Boots- Zamberlan Vioz GTX

Zamberlan - 1996 VIOZ lux GTX rr - Leather Backcountry Boots - Waxed Black - 8
  • Best for: Hiking
  • Category: Heavyweight
  • Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Type of waterproofing: Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper: Full-grain leather
  • Lining: Nylon
  • Midsole: Polyurethane
  • Support: Thermoplastic urethane shank
  • Outsole: Rubber

Zamberlan Vioz GTX might be one of the most expensive hikers available on the market, but it’s of the utmost quality. In fact, the Vioz GTX is among the best hiking books ever created. With an Italian-made leather construction, this shoe is extremely durable apart from attractive and sports a soft interior that provides endless comfort and reliable support during rough hikes.

Whether you are out on a long excursion with a heavy load or light hiking, the Vioz GTX is a superb option and one of the best hiking boots for men.

The only downside, which, to be honest, comes down to personal preference, might be that the Vioz GTX is a heavyweight shoe. Heavy boots do not allow quick treading and may hold some hikers behind.

The Vioz GTX is the heavier model on our list. So, if you are in for a more casual hiking experience, perhaps you are better off choosing another pair.

If you’re a traditionalist who desire a boot that will last for years and accompany you in reaching the highest peaks, the Vioz GTX could be the ultimate option. It’s the shoe that we suggest when looking for superior comfort and support. 

What We Like:

  • Extremely durable
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Reliable support

What We Don’t Like:

  • Heavy
  • Uninspiring design

Best Backpacking Boots For Tough Situations- Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX

SCARPA Men's Zodiac Plus GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Boots for Backpacking and Hiking - Shark/Orange -...
  • Best for: Backpacking
  • Category: Mid-weight
  • Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 6.4 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Type of waterproofing: Waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper: Suede leather
  • Lining: Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
  • Midsole: Polyurethane/EVA
  • Support: Vibram Drumlin rubber
  • Outsole: Rubber

Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is an expensive pair of hikers. Remember, however, that you get what you pay. And with the Zodiac Plus, you get a boot that perfectly combines shoe-like traction on sharp rocks with the stability and robustness of a lightweight hiking book.

The Zodiac Plus is impressive as it is also fantastic when shouldering a heavy load. The almost stiff build, durable construction, and superb protection offer confidence on rough climbs. 

The Scarpa is so comfortable and flexible, allowing hikers to gain lost ground. At the same time, it provides solid protection. Fully supportive yet exceptionally lightweight, it is ideal for handling long excursions and heavy load-outs.

For this reason, this pair of hikers is considered one of the best hiking shoes. The only downfall could be the EVA midsole, which may wear out faster than expected. In every case, though, the Zodiac Plus gets the job done no matter the environment. 

What We Like:

  • Super supportive, yet featherweight
  • Top-notch stability
  • Robust and durable

What We Dislike:

  • EVA midsole wears out quickly

Best Budget Hiking Boot- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Earth, 7 M US
  • Best for: Hiking
  • Category: Lightweight
  • Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 4 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Type of waterproofing: Waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper: Suede leather/mesh
  • Lining: Mesh
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Support: Nylon arch shank
  • Outsole: Vibram TC5+ rubber

If you are passionate about hiking but do not want to try climbing the roughest mountains, then the Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP might be for you. This boot is perfect for maintained trails. It is super comfy and lightweight, offered at a reasonable price for its quality. It also has solid cushioning, robust Vibram outsoles, and a waterproof membrane.

Generally, this waterproof hiking boot has few to no downsides. That is why it is among our top picks. What it lacks is support compared to the high-end models, which is understandable. It may be harder to use the Merrell Moab 2 when traversing over sharp stones.

Another concern is its durability. It is a well-constructed boot, indeed, but it does not feel premium. Sooner rather than later, you will have to replace them.

That said, this boot is available at an affordable price, unlike other boots on this list, and has a good balance between comfort, support, and performance. It’s therefore, perfect for day hikers and lighthearted excursions.

What We Like:

  • Great fit
  • Super comfortable
  • Budget-friendly

What We Dislike:

  • Support could have been better

Best Waterproof Boot-Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX

Vasque Men's M Breeze at Mid GTX Goretex Backpacking Boot, Brown Olive/Bossa Nova, 7.5
  • Best for: Hiking
  • Category: Mid-weight
  • Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Type of waterproofing: Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper: Nubuck leather/air mesh
  • Midsole: All-terrain compound/EVA
  • Support: Thermoplastic polyurethane shank
  • Outsole: Vibram Contact Grip Megagrip rubber

Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX is a great option for consumers on the lookout for a supportive, protective, and durable hiking boot. For a premium price, hikers get a shoe with a Gore-Tex liner and Vibram outsole and a smooth nubuck leather upper.

These reasons can make these hiking boots feel a bit stiffer and heavier than most shoes. The fit, though, is nice and provides comfort for those long miles. It makes you snugly in the heel, but it also wide enough in the toe box to avoid feeling crumple and sweaty.

The Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX might be the best waterproof hiking boots for men on the market. We tested it, and we couldn’t find a way to soak it with water. It is that good.

Some negatives consumers may find with the Breeze AT relate to its old-fashioned feel and not-so-quality materials. Also, the high ankle height may be a bit of an issue for hikers looking for a trail running shoe.

Consequently, the Breeze AT might not have the most modern feel, but it does manage to accomplish the same performance as truly-high end models. It will last you long enough until you need to replace it.

To sum up, the Breeze AT is a step up in trail capabilities compared to most hiking boots and satisfactory as it also sports some of the best waterproof protection of every hiker.

What We Like:

  • Supportive
  • Durable
  • All-around protection

What We Dislike:

  • Mediocre materials
  • Old-fashioned design

Hiking Boots Runners-Up- Hoka One One Sky Toa GTX

  • Best for: Hiking
  • Category: Lightweight
  • Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Weight: 1 lb. 14.2 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Type of waterproofing: Gore-Tex waterproof
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Lining: No
  • Midsole: Rubberized foam
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip rubber

Hoka is a brand known for its featherweight and comfortable hiking boots, and, as such, Hoka One One Sky Toa GTX is not an exception to the rule. The Sky Toa has the traditional Hoka springy midsole, a Gore-Text waterproof upper that even over the ankles, and a flexible built that guarantees long days on the trail. In other words, the Sky Toa might be the top choice when it comes to lightweight hikers. 

However, backpackers carrying heavy loads over rough terrain may be disappointed with this model. The Sky Toa offers adequate support and protection, but it is a boot focused on running on paths with little to zero debris and sharp edges. It is, though, a well-designed shoe with fantastic cushioning, comfort, and durability.

Overall, it satisfies and, honestly, we consider it one of the best hiking shoes for men of 2021. 

What We Like:

  • Unbelievably comfortable
  • Flexible

What We Dislike:

  • Not enough support when carrying heavy loads

Oboz Bridger Mid BDry

Vasque Men's M Breeze at Mid GTX Goretex Backpacking Boot, Brown Olive/Bossa Nova, 7.5
  • Best for: Hiking
  • Category: Mid-weight
  • Footwear Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Footwear Closure: Lace-up
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 6 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Type of waterproofing: BDry waterproof breathable
  • Upper: Waterproof nubuck leather
  • Lining: Nylon mesh
  • Midsole: Dual-density EVA

With an over-the-ankle design and a nicely cushioned and protective underfoot, Oboz Bridger Mid BDry is a superb boot. Oboz has, after all, a reputation for producing comfort-first footwear. The TPU support and the nylon shank are appreciated. But, to be fair, they take away from the flexibility of other modern boot choices.

That said, the Oboz Bridger is supportive and firm and will provide enough support for hikers with heavy loads on their backs. I mean, the leather upper is solid and will last after extensive use, while the midsole reinforcements offer a powerful grip. 

One minor issue with the Oboz Bridger is that during trail running, it feels heavy and slow. On top of that, the B-Dry waterproof membrane makes the boot feel warm. So, for those hiking in hot environments, like a dessert, or in regions with Mediterranean or tropical climates, the Oboz Bridger might not be the best option.

If you’re headed out for short weekend backpacking excursions or trips to the Alps, this boot is fantastic. 

What We Like:

  • Sturdy 
  • Good support
  • Powerful grip

What We Dislike:

  • Not very flexible

Conclusion

Even though most of the boots on our list are fantastic and can satisfy every hiking enthusiast, Zamberlan Vioz GTX is possibly the best overall choice. The reason behind this rationale is that the Vioz GTX feels premium right out the box. The Italian-made leather construction is durable and you won’t need to replace your boots for a long time.

Th Vioz GTX has the ultra-soft padding and superb support, which is ideal for those physically challenging hikes. On top of that, the Gore-Tex waterproof membrane is also breathable and ensures perfect protection against water. This hiking boot is superb for day hiking or thru-hiking, and consequently, it might also be the best waterproof boot available.

In addition to the Zamberlan Vioz GTX, there are other boots on the list, equally great. The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX  or the Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX might be of interest to consumers who need a very lightweight boot or one offering solid all-around protection.

Likewise, the  Asolo Fugitive GTX or La Sportiva Pyramid GTX are additionally great choices to choose from. In the end, though, everything boils down to personal preference. And to us, the Vioz GTX is the clear winner. 

Finally, if you’re spending your hard earned cash on a quality pair, you’ll need to care for boots properly too.

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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