Hiking boots have undergone quite a transformation since brands such as La Sportiva started making customised mountain-going footwear at the turn of the 19th century. These days, dozens of manufacturers combine the best of their knowledge, materials, expertise and cutting-edge technologies in a bid to ensure optimal performance in all conditions and on all terrains. Nevertheless, finding the right boot for you isn’t as simple as swiping the most agreeable-looking item from the shelves, with numerous factors contributing to overall comfort, convenience and appropriateness in terms of desired use and application.
In this article we’re going to analyse the most important of these factors before delving into details of the best hiking boots for men currently on the market.
- The 8 best hiking boots for men in 2021
- Parts of a hiking boot, explained (image)
- What to look for in the best hiking boots for men
Summary of the best hiking boots for men in 2021
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This quick overview of the best hiking boots for men gives you a basic idea of which boots are leading the way in the trekking and hiking world, with more detailed info on each boot later in the article. And if you want to understand what to look for in a great pair of hiking boots then skip to the bottom section.
|Product||Best for||Weight (per pair)||Upper||Cost|
|Vivobarefoot Magna Trail||Barefoot-style hiking on moderate terrain||670g||Recycled nylon||$$|
|Scarpa R-Evolution GTX||Stability, summer hiking||1316g||Suede + Gore-Tex||$$|
|Salomon Quest 4D II GTX||Comfort, 3 season hiking||1270g||Nubuck + Gore-Tex||$$|
|Asolo Jumla GV||Lightweight, scrambling and summer hiking||930g||Suede + Gore-Tex||$$|
|Mammut T Advanced GTX||Comfort, summer hiking||1310g||Velours leather + Gore-Tex||$|
|Versatility, 3 season hiking||1204g||Synthetic and suede + Outdry||$$|
|La Sportiva Trango S EVO||Everything! 3-4 season all rounder||1250g||Mixed fabric + Gore-Tex||$$$|
|Lowa Renegade GTX||Durable, 2-3 season trail hiking||1110g||Nubuck + Gore-Tex||$$|
The 8 best hiking boots for men in 2021
For hikers who like to connect with the ground beneath their feet, the super lightweight Vivobarefoot Magna Trail is a durable, comfortable, and eco-friendly minimalist hiking boot. This model features a recycled microfibre heel lining and has 50% recycled PET in the webbing and laces.
Designed to be worn in moderate conditions, the Magna Trails also come with removable thermal insoles to make hiking in cold conditions more comfortable. 3mm lugs and a grippy sole provide sufficient traction on rocky trails, loose gravel and light mud. The main part of the boots is made from a highly breathable ECO Neoprene which hugs the foot like a sock. This provides barefoot-like comfort and flexibility whilst keeping dirt and stones out of the shoe. These are an ideal option for those wanting to move towards a more natural way of walking. And though they don’t provide the ankle support of more traditional hiking boots, they certainly promote the strengthening and development of muscles in your legs and feet.
For more information, read our full review of the Vivobarefoot Magna Trail boots.
- Suitable for use on mixed-terrain
- Comfortable fit
- Very lightweight and flexible
- Wide-toe box
- Can be tricky to put on due to the sock-like fit
- Not enough foot support for some hikers
- High price
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A high-performing summer boot which incorporates many ultra-modern features such as the EVA midsole, E Fagus Lite sole and comfort-enhancing ‘Sock Fit’ technology with a classic suede upper and Gore-Tex lining. Weighing in at 1316g per pair, the R-Evolution is a touch heavier than other boots in its price and performance range but offers slightly more stability and a memory-foam heel that molds to the shape of the users foot, while the ‘Sock Fit’ tongue design adds to the overall snugness of the fit. Similar to the Salomon Quest 4D II and Mammut T Advanced GTX (see below) performance-wise, this boot is only a fraction heavier and slightly less comfortable but offers more in terms of overall stability.
- Memory Foam heel
- Stability – feels like a lightweight alpine boot
- Excellent grip in wet and dry conditions
- Similar to Salomon Quest 4D 2 but offers more stability and only a fraction heavier
- Stretchy Sock Fit design gives snug and comfortable fit
- Lifetime warranty
- Heavier than competitors
- Cheap and flat insole
An extremely comfortable, lightweight, durable boot which excels in summer, spring and autumn conditions, the Quest 4D 2 has received rave user reviews since it was first launched in 2016. At only 1270g per pair and boasting all the ‘mod-cons’ you’d expect from Salomon – Gore Tex and Nubuck lining, Ortholite footbed, EVA midsole and super-grippy Contagrip soles – this is an incredibly comfortable, high-performing boot that sets the bar high for its competitors. It is maybe the best on the market for those hiking under the snowline and not concerned about an articulated toe or a stiffer sole for scrambling. Comparable in performance to the Mammut T Advanced GTX, this boot just edges it in terms of value for money, comfort and three-season performance.
- Comfort, stability, support
- Raised heel design feels like a spring!
- Great traction on rock and in wet conditions
- Not the highest performer in terms of breathability
- Weak lacing eyelets
- Short on insulation for early or late-season hiking
The Asolo Jumla is a lightweight, technical approach mid-boot ideal for scramblers and those wanting a bit more dexterity and versatility in their hiking footwear. Although essentially an approach shoe, the Jumla offers most of what you’d expect to find in a 2/3 season hiking boot – a Gore-Tex lining, water-resistant suede upper, Vibram sole – but offers far more performance-wise owing to the articulated toe area and lace-to-toe design, both of which assist in more nimble footwork. At 930g per pair, these are the lightest boots in our selection. While a touch on the pricey side, this boot compensates for the expense with high performance and added versatility for those likely to throw in a spot of high-grade scrambling or moderate climbing. N.B. The Jumla fits a touch smaller than most boots – buy half a size bigger!
- Ideal for scrambling and even moderate climbing
- Combines the qualities of an approach shoe and hiking boot
- Highly versatile
- Substantial rand for toe protection
- Super-sticky Vibram sole with adequate stiffness for edging on steeper rock
- Slightly expensive
- A summer-conditions-only boot
A great all-rounder for summer walking on mixed terrain and good for anything below the snowline. High on comfort and cushioning, the T Advanced GTX is a serious rival to the Salomon Quest 4D 2. Boasting Memory Foam padding around the heel, a velour leather and hybrid-shell upper, a protective toe bumper and rand, EVA cushioning and Vibram sole, with this classy-looking number Mammut have ticked all the boxes with regard to materials and specs. As with the Quest 4D 2, if your primary concern is comfort and you’re not too bothered about performance on more challenging scrambles, this boot is an absolute winner. At 1310g per pair, the T Advanced GTX is a touch heavier and bulkier than some competitors and is essentially a very slightly overweight version of the Quest 4D 2 in terms of performance – something a few users might consider a bonus or a small price to pay for the its reassuring robustness.
- Memory Foam heel
- A touch heavier and bulkier than other options
- Lacks sole stiffness for more challenging scrambles
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A sturdy yet lightweight solution for hiking, long-distance trekking and scrambling, the Marmolada Pro is a highly versatile boot suitable for both summer and early or late-season hikes. With a breathable and waterproof Outdry lining, quick-drying Cocona 37.5 inner and Vibram Mulaz sole, this boot incorporates many of the features from Scarpa’s more technical mountain boots in a more lightweight (1204g per pair) and streamlined package. While there are lighter and cheaper 2/3-season boots on the market, this boot offers more performance-wise if you anticipate doing any scrambling, via ferrata or simply prefer a little more ankle support. As with all Scarpas, this boot fits a little tight around the toe and runs ever so slightly smaller than other competitors. Comparable to the Scarpa R Evolution GTX (above), this boot edges it weight-wise but sacrifices a little in terms of ‘bonus features’ such as the Memory Foam heel and Sock Fit tongue/upper.
- Toe protection from durable and substantial rand
- More support than other 2/3-season options
- Very grippy and slightly stiffer sole for scrambling
- A touch short on insulation to be considered a bona fide 3/4-season boot
- No toe or heel welt for crampon use
- Slightly more expensive than competitors
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A tried and tested all-rounder that has found favour with hikers, scramblers and mountaineers alike since first introduced in 2003, the Trango S EVO is an aesthetically-fetching B2 boot whose most recent incarnation is both lighter and an upgrade performance-wise on earlier models. With all of the features from La Sportiva’s more technical mountain boots – including water repellent uppers, Gore-Tex/nylon lining, Cordura shell and a slightly stiffer Vibram outsole – the Trango S EVO is essentially a very lightweight (1250g per pair) mountaineering, hiking, scrambling and via ferrata hybrid. As such, this boot can do it all and could potentially save you the expense of buying a separate pair for winter or more extreme use…bargain! N.B. The S Evo’s are a tad narrower around the toe and fit slightly smaller than most other boots.
- Ultra-lightweight for a 3/4 season boot
- Lifetime manufacturer warranty
- Highly breathable
- Good for year-round use, if a little on the under-insulated side for colder winter hikes
- Hybrid crampon compatibility
- Slightly stiffer than B1 options (a ‘pro’ for some users)
- Questionable durability around the toe area, which tends to fray given frequent use
A classy-looking, no-frills workhorse with ample support and a high comfort rating, the Renegade GTXoffers serious competition to the Salomon Quest 4 D 2, Scarpa R-Evolution and Mammut T Advanced GTX for the title of best out-and-out 2/3 season trekking boot. At only 1110g per pair and boasting a Gore-Tex lining, Climate Control footbed, Vibram Evo sole, the Renegade GTX comprises all the essential, high-performing materials of a modern, synthetic boot whilst maintaining a stylish, traditional leather finish with the nubuck upper. If you plan on spending most of your time on trails as opposed to rock, you can’t get much better for your buck (or Pound/Euro/Yen) than these.
- Durable, waterproof, breathable
- Classy look
- The availability of wider sizes mean this might be the best mid-weight hiking boot for wide feet out there
- Not ideal for scrambling or use above the snow line
Parts of a hiking boot, explained
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What to look for in the best hiking boots for men
When and where you intend on going will ultimately decide the best hiking boot for you. Know thy enemy (or terrain) and thou shalt know thy shoe! While there is still plenty of room for debate and dialogue on what makes the perfect hiking boot for any occasion, there are a few essential considerations applicable to any would-be buyer or user that can help you decide. Let’s start by taking a look at these…
B0 – Lightweight and flexible but lacking in ankle support. Good for gentle coastal, forest or hill walks but not for load-bearing or travelling in uneven, rocky or muddy terrain.
B1 – If you’re unlikely to be using crampons (or only strap-on crampons) and don’t mind being a tad short on ankle support or having a bit of flex in the sole, a lightweight B1 will do the trick. Ideal for 3-season hiking and low-grade scrambling but usually lacking the insulation and stiffness of most B2 boots.
B2 – A good, all-round, one-boot-does-it-all option for hikers heading into higher ground. While B2s vary in terms of ideal use or application, they generally offer a rigid sole, toe-articulation for scrambling, good insulation and articulated crampon compatibility. Choosing a B2 boot is a good option for those who want one boot to use year-round on different terrain, though some stiffer and heavier models will prove to be overly so for simple summertime trail hiking. Those in warmer climates might find the insulation excessive.
B3 – For those of you liable to be spending a lot of time winter hiking or on technical ascents, a B3 boot should be considered. They provide an ultra-stiff sole, extra insulation and compatibility with fully-automatic (step-in) crampons. Not so much a hiking boot as a mountaineering boot, B3-rated boots are designed for high altitude and/or extremes of weather and terrain.
Again, your choice will depend largely on your hiking ambitions and interests. A process of elimination is the best way to go about it. Are you likely to be using hiking in especially cold environments, using crampons frequently and looking for one boot to do you year-round? If so, then a 3/4 season boot like the La Sportiva Trango S EVO would be a good option. If not, a 2 or 3-season boot like the Lowa Renegade will be as much as you’re likely to need. If you are only planning on a few spring or summer walks on well-established trails, without any sustained scrambling or climbing, a 2-season boot like the Asolo Jumla GV will do the job nicely and cut down on weight.
Material and sole
Breathability, durability, ankle support and performance are all key factors contributing to the overall comfort of your boot and the avoidance of such common unpleasantries as blisters, heel spurs, sprains, strains and, of course, the more frequent complaint and blight of knockout odours and puddle-forming sweat. Most manufacturers nowadays use one of a range of optimal materials for soles, but the slightly stickier rubber required for scrambling (such as Vibram and 5.10 or Contagrip) will wear down quickly on tarmac or paved trails, while the harder, more durable soles used on many thru-trekking and backpacking boots might prove a bit slick on rocky scrambles. Another key consideration is the ‘lug’ (tread) pattern. More aggressive lug patterns provide better traction on muddy terrain but tend to be heavier and might be overkill for hiking on well-worn paths.
While seeming like a no-brainer, not all boots (or feet!), sadly, are created equal. Although this problem is easily overcome by trying them on before buying, if purchasing online be sure to read the user reviews and specs prior to hitting the checkout. Some boots – like Scarpa, for example – are notorious for being a bit ‘pinchy’ around the toe-box and a size 10 from one manufacturer might not equate width and length-wise to a size ten from another.
A long day on the trail or hillside can take its toll on your legs, all the more so if you’ve attached to the bottom of them something far heavier than is necessary for the task at hand. Leather options tend to be on the hefty side – reassuring for some – while Goretex or Microfibre options offer something a bit more nimble. The same is true of B2 or 3/4-season rated boots. These heavier options are ideal for colder environments or if your hike is likely to take you to over high, snow-bound passes or peaks, but an unnecessary burden for your leg muscles on less demanding excursions.
We have, indeed, come a long way since the northern Italians started turning out custom-made hiking boots some 120 years ago. We can only imagine how the earliest pioneers of adventure in high places might have got on if they’d had the above range of hiking boots at their disposal…and count our blessings for having them at ours!
We hope this review has been useful and helps you choose the best hiking boots for your upcoming adventures…happy hiking!
Want to get your gal some new hiking boots too? Check out our review of the best hiking boots for women this year.