No matter what kind of hiking you do, a good pair of hiking boots will protect your feet and stabilize your ankles.
Having trekked over 1,200 miles in 43 pairs of hiking boots across all types of terrain over the course of three years, we have selected Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex Hiking Boots (men’s) as the best hiking boots for men because of their solid traction, support, breathable and waterproof materials, and a combination of features that make hiking comfortable for miles possible, including a wide toe box, sturdy heel protection, and gusseted tongue.
How we tested
- Miles and miles
Our testers hiked 1,200 miles and walked over 2 million steps for this guide.
- Many terrains
These boots were worn in New Zealand, Iceland, Canada, and 13 states in the United States.
- No leaks
While hiking in snow and rain, along creeks, lakes, and waterfalls, we selected picks that kept our feet dry.
- Many feet
We had 26 testers help us select boots in a variety of fits so we could find the right hiking boot for you.
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex Hiking Boots (men’s sizes)
This is the best hiking boot for men
The popular Salomon Quest boots were recently updated from 3D to 4 (available for men and women). The Quest 4 Gore-Tex boots still have many of the features we loved in the previous edition, including ample toe and heel protection, solid traction and support, breathable and waterproof materials, as well as a gusseted tongue.
We appreciated the two minor improvements over the old model: increased ankle and heel support for those carrying heavy loads, and a more flexible midfoot plate that makes flexing your foot easier.
It took some time for the new Quests to break in, but they also had the widest toe box of the boots we tested, which means they should fit most foot shapes right away.
However, the Quests are quite bulky, so they are best suited to people carrying heavy backpacks or kids. The shoes are surprisingly comfortable, too, despite their chunkiness.
Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots (men’s sizes)
A no-frills men’s hiking boot
For hikers on a budget, the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots (which come in men’s and women’s sizes) are a no-frills, trustworthy choice. Even though they are less expensive than our other picks, we found them to be a good fit in every way: They were waterproof (though not for an extended period of time), they provided decent ankle support on moderate-length hikes, they had an easy-to-use lacing system, and they were fairly breathable.
However, their traction is lacking compared to our other picks, so we don’t think they’re a good choice for longer hikes on rocky, steep, and wet terrain. Moab 2 boots come in both regular and wide widths, which may be of interest to you if you have wide feet.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX (men’s sizes)
Flexible and lightweight
We recommend the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX for both men and women, replacing our former top pick, the La Sportiva Saber, which offered the same lightweight, flexible setup, but with extra toe protection and a slightly longer break-in period. As a hiker who prefers trail running shoes, but needs ankle support (for carrying a heavy pack or child, for example), the Ultra Raptor is built on a trail running shoe’s mid and outsole.
Because of this, it’s easier to flex your foot (making driving and walking a breeze, compared to our other picks), and you’ll also notice that it’s easier to put the boots on and take them off. The Raptor’s excellent waterproofing, excellent underfoot support, and ideal traction on wet trails impressed us. However, the Raptors are smaller than the Sabers, so you will need to size up a half or full size.
In addition to narrow boots, La Sportiva’s Raptors come in medium and wide widths to accommodate a broader range of foot shapes.
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX
Best Waterproof Protection
Our favorite boot for surviving water crossings is the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX. After splashing through streams, the boot dried quickly thanks to the Gore-Tex Surround lining and nubuck leather upper, while the gusseted tongue kept our feet dry. Among the lightest pairs in this category, these definitely saved our feet after a long hike. In downhills, the heel has some rock to it that makes it easier to brake and brace. There are pleasantly grippy lugs on the Vibram sole.
While the upper has additional cushioning on both the inside and outside of the ankle, it still gives way under torsion. Its lace hooks were also confusing and frustrating to use despite having extra cushioning around the ankle. It means that the laces stay really secure, but we’ve never really experienced issues with lace hooks on other models, so we’re not sure why La Sportiva went with the hard-to-use redesign here. Regardless, for those who will stomp through puddles and cross streams, brooks, and shallow rivers, this model is the best.
HOKA Sky Kaha GORE-TEX Hiking Boots – Men’s
Best chunky sole hiking boot
With their chunky cushioned soles, Hokas are known for providing a bounce when walking. In addition to being great shoes when you’ve injured your foot and need something with extra cushion, they’re also good shoes when you don’t have the miles on your legs but want to do a long hike. It’s like walking on a little mattress – very forgiving, very cushy. It’s perfect for a sudden increase in mileage without physical preparation.
Here’s how we chose
While hiking boots may look similar, there is a lot that distinguishes a truly great one from the rest. It is important to mention that we considered nearly 125 pairs of boots, spoke to experts about the characteristics to look for when choosing boots, and read hundreds of boot reviews on Amazon, REI’s website, as well as other publications like GearLab and Outside. Based on the criteria we used to narrow down our list, we were able to narrow it down to 41 boots (26 pairs in 2018, an additional ten in 2020, and another five in 2021) for testing:
Every other feature of a boot is meaningless if it is not comfortable. Reviews are read with a focus on comfort, looking for boots with wide-toe boxes and good cushioning. As well as boot weight, we considered how comfortable a slightly heavier but more streamlined boot might be compared to a lightweight but clunky one.
A boot that doesn’t fit properly won’t support your feet, so be sure to read our fit guide before you buy.
The ankle and foot support of a hiking boot is just as important as comfort in a boot. A good hiking boot keeps your foot locked down and secured in the heel area; again, this is a function of fit. A good boot also has a well-thought-out lacing system that supports your foot.
If you are hiking in muddy, wet, or icy conditions, you shouldn’t slip around. A good pair of hiking boots provides solid traction on the slopes. Due to the fact that most hikers will encounter tree roots, loose rocks, slippery boulders, and other obstacles at some point, we looked for reviews that mentioned good traction.
A good hiking boot must have reinforcements at the toe, ankle, and underfoot to prevent your feet from getting injured on the trail. If the boots are designed for rocky terrain, they should include a rock shield in the sole as well.
When hiking, you may cross creeks, trek over snow, or get caught in a rainstorm. Good hiking boots should be able to handle moderate amounts of water.