If you’re a backpacker, hiker, or outdoor-adventurer, you know that footwear is one of the most essential items you use. Because of that, it is fundamental to have the proper footwear or boots. Not only are the best backpacking boots critical to your comfort and performance, but they can offer a wide array of other benefits to enhance your experience. Not all backpacking boots are created equal, however.
What are the different types of backpacking boots?
Backpacking boots have come a long way, and there isn’t a one-type-fits-all-boot. Backpacking boots can be made for many different activities and have a lot of different features. You can find types designed for trail, rough-trail, off-trail, mountaineering, technical, and more. The first step in finding the right backpacking boots is determining what you need them for. Once you know what you need them for, you’ll have to decide what other qualities are most important to you.
What should you look for in a pair of backpacking boots?
There are many important factors that go into deciding on the best pair of backpacking boots. Some of these factors to consider include:
Fit: The wrong fit can cause discomfort, injury, and a poorly-experienced adventure. Be sure to choose boots that allow for sock-thickness and pay attention to the boots’ narrowness/wideness. Boots can be designed to fit at various lengths, such as below the ankle, above the ankle, and calf-length.
Material: Backpacking boots can be made of many different materials, like leather or synthetics. Depending on what you use your boots for, you’ll want to pay attention to the material’s breathability and durability.
Waterproofing: Some of the best backpacking boots are built to be waterproof or water-resistant. This may not be important to some hikers, but waterproofing can be essential to the activities or even survival of some avid backpackers.
Other features: Depending on your needs, you should consider other features of the backpacking boots, like their internal support, insoles, outsoles, lacing-systems, camouflaging-capabilities, and more.
The Top Ten Best Backpacking Boots Reviews
With so many backpacking-boot options out there, how do you know which to choose? We’ve completed most of the hard work for you, by compiling a list of the ten best backpacking boots available. No matter how new or serious of a backpacker you are, you’ll find the perfect pair of boots for all your adventuring.
These hiking boots might just look like your average sneaker, but they can handle most outdoor activities. You can find them in black, grey, or khaki colors, with various-colored accents. You can also purchase them in two different lengths: one that sits at the ankle, and one that sits above. This allows you to pick an option that is most comfortable for you. Each pair features lace-up closure, a bellow tongue (that helps block debris), and a protective toe-cap that can be worn by both men and women. Sizes range from 4-13, with no half-size options.
HIFEOS designed these suede backpacking boots with waterproof uppers, membranes, and toe-caps, so you’ll never have to worry about your feet getting wet. They can be used for backpacking, hiking, camping, and most other outdoor activities. They contain supportive midsoles, multi-directional traction outsoles, and are completely anti-slip and resistant to abrasions. The soles are extremely durable, without being too bulky. These backpacking boots also contain Actifresh-technology insoles that ensure your feet are comfortable in even the harshest of conditions.
Since these are only available in a few sizes, you’ll want to snatch them up quickly. Designed for women’s feet, these GTX hiking boots are made of 70% leather and 30% mesh. In order to find the perfect fit, you’ll want to keep in mind that these boots run a little small. They are a camel-brown in color, with grey, dark-brown, and black accents. They are designed to fit snugly just above the angle, with secure, lace-up closure. Not only are these NuBuck backpacking boots functional, but they are stylish enough for any woman, with fun design accents and colors.
These backpacking boots feature a one-piece tongue that helps keep away debris and a waterproof membrane. They aren’t completely waterproof, so they are best-used for keeping away small amounts of water. Additional features include breathable mesh, an EVA midsole for impact cushioning, and a rubber outsole. The outsole if skid-proof, abrasion-resistant, and anti-twist. They are durable, yet lightweight. They support the ankle firmly; providing the proper support for most outdoor activities. While they are good-enough for accidental water, they shouldn’t be worn purposely for water activities.
The Kameng hiking boots are extremely sharp-looking, available in 3 main colors: sunset orange, moss green, and grey. Each pair features modern, black accents and the company’s logo, which is both fashionable and fierce. They can be worn by both men and women; available in sizes 6-10.5 for women and 8.5-13.5 for men. The fit sits right over the ankle to offer you optimal support for backpacking. Made of durable leather, suede, and cordura, the company boasts that these backpacking boots are 100% waterproof. The exterior is quick-drying, with air-permeable membranes to keep your feet dry and cool.
These backpacking boots have a thick, mega-grip sole that is made of a high-quality rubber. It offers great traction, especially on wet surfaces or rocks; ideal for backpackers in all environments. They may not offer a super-large variety in sizing, but the fit makes up for it with an Ortholite foot-bed, an abrasion-resistant heel cap, and rubber toe-protection. The outsole features an engraved shank for stability and a high-profile cupsole for the best foot protection.
The options for colors may be lacking, but the quality sure is not with these backpacking boots by Merrell. The mid-ankle boots offer stability and support, and they are available in two color-combinations: bracken/purple and taupe. What they lack in variety, Merrell makes up for in fit-options. It is so easy to find the perfect fit for you, since you can find these backpacking boots in women’s sizes 5-11 (including half-sizes), in two different width-options. They feature durable, lace-up closures, and a breathable, mesh lining that is designed to ventilate your feet all day.
These women’s backpacking boots are not considered water-resistant or waterproof, so they are best-suited for dry, day-hikes. The synthetic sole offers traction and stability, so you can climb most surfaces with ease. They also feature supportive foot-beds, protective toe-caps, and closed-cell, foam tongues that help keep both moisture and debris away. Merrell really checked all the boxes in the comfort category, with additional, zonal, arch- and heel-support. The Moab backpacking boots are designed to keep your feet comfortable no matter how long you’re hiking.
These men’s backpacking boots have a traditional, yet cool look to them that is made mostly of a dark-brown color. The black, vibram sole accents the chrome-colored buckles that ascend the boots. After you wear them, you won’t even care that there is only one color-option. They are available in men’s sizes 7.5-15, so there is truly a fit for everyone. They are made of a durable leather and Gore-TEX lining that is completely waterproof. The exterior may not be waterproof, but the interior of your boots will always stay dry and the exterior is designed to be quick-drying.
The micro-pulley lacing-system is both easy-to-adjust and secure, so you never have to worry about lace-safety while you are hiking. The tongue and collar have a tremendous amount of cushion, as does the dual-density midsole. They are designed to fit snugly above your ankle, with a waterproof leather that will keep water and debris from entering your boots. The outsole is designed for multi-surface traction; offering stability on every type of surface. There is also a toe-cap protection feature that may not be as thick as some others on the list, so you’ll want to be careful during rock-climbing.
If you like simple, but modern-looking boots, look no further. These backpacking boots are available in chestnut brown or black, with matching shoelaces that also work as accents. They fit above the ankle for both stability and comfort, and have a shiny, luxurious appearance. The TPS boots by Asolo can be worn on job sites or out on adventures, with size-availability ranging from men’s 5.5-15. You can also find a complete selection of half-size options and width-options. These sharp boots feature a cool, pulley, lacing-system that can be adjusted with just one pull.
When comparing the soles to others on this list, the Asolo backpacking boots could be considered lacking. It is made of heavy-duty material and offer great stability and support. The soles do not feature the same traction depth, however. They are best-suited for average hikes and not rock-climbing or “serious” hikes. And while you may not be able to wear them to hike Mount Everest, they are completely waterproof and have 3 shock-absorbers that improve comfort. The TPS backpacking boots are durable and should keep your feet comfortable and performing well for years.
Who says women’s boots can’t be as fierce as men’s? The Vioz GT hiking boots are made out of a solid, dark-brown, full-grain leather that features hydrobloc technology. This means the exterior of the boot Is not only beautiful and traditional, but also waterproof and durable. They fit above the ankle for the best stability, comfort, and agility. You can only find these hiking boots in the one color, but the lack of color-choice shouldn’t deter you. You can purchase these in women’s sizes 6-11, with half-size options. There is a durable, easy-to-adjust lacing system that makes getting ready to go a breeze.
The lining of the Vioz GT is breathable and its foot-bed is made from contoured material that is also moisture-wicking. These backpacking boots are strong enough for a day of hard labor or a day out on the rocks. The one-piece, deep-lug, rubber sole offers great traction, but also stability with every movement of your foot. There are no wide size-options and the top-cap is not as rounded as some others on the list, so women needing an extra-wide fit should be wary.
These backpacking boots by Asolo have a retro, geometric-like design to them that offers both function and high-quality style. You can find these men’s boots in graphite and gunmetal, or brown and cendre. They are made of a synthetic material that is water-resistant, but not entirely waterproof. These will be adequate if you get stuck in a mild-rain, but not if you have plans of being soaked. They have a durable, pulley, lacing-system that goes all the way up to just above your ankle. The top of the boots is designed to fit around your entire foot, to offer you optimal support and comfort.
The lining of the boots is made of performance-comfort material that keeps your feet warm, but dry. You can only find these boots in one width-option, in sizes 7-14. There are only a few half-size options as well. The sole on the Drifter GV boots feature deep, traction spots that let you move around most types of surfaces with ease. They are meant to fit snug to offer the best support while you’re backpacking, so those with wide feet/ankles may want to consider other options.
Available in men’s sizes 7.5-14, with half-size options, these boots are another great find by Asolo. They can be found in two color options: a lighter, brown option with tan and black accents, and a darker, grey color with yellow and black accents. Each option fits snug above the ankle for stability and support and features a one-piece tongue that adds comfort and helps keep away debris. The lacing-system can be easily adjusted with just a tug or two, making them easy to adjust to the perfect fit.
There is no designated toe-protection like others on the list, and the exterior suede-material is only water-resistant (not waterproof). While it can certainly take on some moisture, you shouldn’t wear these if you have plans on getting wet. The sole is made of EVA-rubber and has lug-traction spots that make it easy to find stability in rocky areas. The interior lining is not only comfortable, but effective at keeping moisture away and your feet from getting too hot.
These backpacking boots have a more traditional, wide, round toe that is heavy-duty, scuff-proof, and adds protection during your adventures. They are only available in one color-choice, but the dark-tan/black combination is masculine and matches everything. There is a heavy-duty, lacing-system that makes getting them on and quickly adjusting them a breeze, and they are available in men’s sizes 7-14. You can even find a wide variety of width-options to ensure to find the perfect fit.
These high-top boots stand 5.5-inches tall, so they sit above your ankle slightly. This allows your backpacking boots to give you support, but also the casual feel of a sneaker. They are made of leather that is resistant to scuffs/abrasions and is also lightweight. The rubber sole is durable and offers a unique traction-system that is ideal for downhill breaking or side-hill traction. Comfortable, stable, and made for keeping you safe on any surface, the GTX boots by Danner are a classic pick for any guy.