- When you’re miles away from civilization, you rely on your gear, and no gear matters more than the boots on your feet.
- The Asolo TPS 520 GV hiking boots give you the support, water-resistance, and comfort you need to conquer any trail or mountain.
Choosing the right hiking boots means first considering the environment in which you will primarily use them. Some boots are designed for use in snow and ice and are ideal when paired with crampons or spikes. Others are light and breathable and will keep your feet cool even in the heat of the desert. Some boots are ideal for jungle travel, repelling water while wicking sweat. The fact is that no one hiking boot is perfect for all conditions, so you should choose a boot that’s best suited to the environments you frequent.
Pay attention to material, tread pattern, weight, and design elements like the height of the rise and the lacing system. Every aspect of a boot either contributes to or detracts from its suitability for a given environment or activity, and only through a thoughtful assessment of planned uses and a close study of the boot itself can you be sure to find a proper pair.
For the record, if you’re a serious hiker, climber, or camper, you’re going to want to own a few pairs of boots. This is especially true if the seasons vary greatly in your area or if you travel for your treks.
Here are the best men’s hiking boots you can buy:
- Best overall: Asolo TPS 520 GV Hiking Boots
- Best for winter: Columbia Daska Pass III Titanium Outdry Extreme Hiking Boots
- Best for any conditions: Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boots
- Best budget boots: Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots
- Best classic boots: Danner Mountain Pass Hiking Boots
Updated on 10/30/2019 by Owen Burke: Updated pricing, formatting, links, and text.
The best hiking boots overall
The Asolo TPS 520 GV hiking boots are comfortable the first time you slip them on, no break-in period required, and they hold up even after thousands of miles of trekking in all conditions.
If you’re a committed hiker, camper, or mountaineer, you know that at the end of the day, your hiking boots are your most important pieces of gear, so you should be ready to pay a decent chunk for them. You could leave your tent, pack, sleeping pad, stove, and all the rest of it behind, but you need a solid pair of boots on your feet if you want to trek your way back out of the wilderness safely. If you want hiking boots that will be comfortable the first time you lace them up and that stay that way after tens of thousands of steps, slip your feet into the Asolo TPS 520 GVs.
With a rugged full-grain leather exterior and a waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex interior, the TPS 520s are ready for the elements, whether those elements include rain, rock, snow, mud, and more. The solid Vibram sole is treaded for ideal grip in a myriad of conditions and keeps your foot supported whether you’re scrambling through a boulder field, kicking steps into a snowpack with crampons attached, or just strolling through a grassy field. The boots’ sturdy uppers protect your ankles against injury even when you roll a foot over a loose rock or catch a toe on a pesky root.
Backpacker highlights the Asolo 520’s durability and longevity, making it clear that these boots are worth their slightly elevated price tag. The review team also noted that nearly non-existent break-in time. Trailspace recommends these boots especially for use during winter treks thanks to their warmth and insulation.
I recommend them because even after trying out six or seven other brands over the past fifteen years, I always choose my Asolos for any serious hike. They’ve carried me up and down Mt. Whitney, Mt. Rainier, the Grand Teton, and through the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in Colombia, just to name a few of their many outings.
But don’t take it from me (or do, actually – I’ve logged thousands of miles in hiking boots!) when you can also read dozens of glowing reviews on Amazon, most of which are accompanied by 5-star ratings. Overall, the Asolo TPS 520 GVs have a 4.5-star status, with most buyers celebrating the fact that their Asolos last for years and years even with regular use in all sorts of conditions.
Pros: Instant comfort without break-in wearing, stellar water-resistance, great ankle and arch support, wicks moisture away from foot, easy and secure lacing system
Cons: Heavier and bulkier than many other hiking boot options, rather expensive
The best hiking boots for winter
Unless you plunge them into water that’s deeper than their rise, the Columbia Daska Pass III Titanium Outdry Extreme boots simply won’t let your feet get wet.
When the Columbia Sportswear Company released began to release gear and apparel stamped with its OutDry Extreme certification a few years back, it changed the game for outdoor clothing. Simply put, if you see the OutDry label on a piece of apparel, you can count on that item to be 100% waterproof.
You can trust me on this: I have worn various pieces of OutDry gear in downpours in the middle of a South American rainforest, in knee deep snow in the northeast of the United States (these exact boots!), and in many places in between. Also note the word Titanium in there: That’s the top-of-the-line stuff this world-renowned apparel brand makes. If you need to rely on a pair of boots to keep your feet dry and supported in wet or wintry weather, these are a safe bet.
The Daska Pass III boots are impressively lightweight for footwear that offers such superlative waterproofing, not to mention impressive insulation. Paired with the right socks, these boots will keep your feet warm even in conditions well below the freezing point. And their tall, sturdy uppers keep your ankles safe from a sprain (or worse) even when you’re trekking across unstable terrain, like a shell of ice frozen over looser snow, for example.
The boots have an outsole made from durable Vibram rubber and a poured polyurethane midsole that offers you some extra bounce in your step, almost like you might get from a running shoe. It’s not quite the same level of rebound, but better than nothing!
Columbia’s Daska Pass III boots are at a decent price point, especially considering their durability. While in many conditions, the aforementioned insulation is a great asset, it’s also the main drawback of these boots. They are just too warm for use in some places and seasons. If you wear these boots on a low elevation summer trek, your feet are going to sweat so much the waterproofing won’t matter.
If you browse the web in search of user comments about and ratings of the Columbia Daska Pass III Titanium Outdry Extreme Hiking Boots, you’ll hardly ever find anything but glowing reviews and four- or five-star ratings. One reviewer stated: ” I am a guide in Alaska. These are the only boots I own. They have been great for every activity I engage in.” Another summed up his sentiments saying: ” If you live in a relatively moderate and wet climate, this boot is probably your best [bet].”
If you prefer to hear from the professionals, a Backpacker reviewer praised the Daska Pass III’s ability to “shed water like a duck,” calling them a superlative waterproof boot.
Pros: Amazing waterproof rating, cannot be inundated even by standing in water, great insulation, ideal for use in cold weather
Cons: Too warm for use in hot climates and/or seasons
The best hiking boots for any conditions
If you need one pair of hiking boots that will perform adroitly in the winter snow, the springtime mud, the summer’s heat, or the frost of fall, then you should slip on a pair of versatile Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX hiking boots.
As I said earlier and will repeat emphatically whenever it wouldn’t be awkward to do so, no one hiking boot is ever going to be ideal for use in all types of conditions. But if you need to find the best possible compromise boot, whether for budgetary concerns or because you need to travel through various types of weather and terrain in a single expedition, the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX hiking boots are a fine choice.
The exterior of the boots features a blend of leather and textile, with Gore-Tex waterproofing underlying both materials. The six-inch shaft rises more than high enough to protect an ankle against a roll, while the thick rubber toecap protects your toes against a falling rock or a hard stub against a stone, log, step, or anything else.
Now here are the compromises: The tread pattern is not aggressive; it’s more akin to a trail shoe than a rugged boot suitable for the loose scree of a mountain pass. But you will often be on graded trails. The exterior is water-resistant, yes, but it will eventually soak through if you stand in puddles or streams. So … don’t do that. And while they might not be as warm as some boots, they are suitable for all seasons when paired with the right socks, as they let your foot breathe and stay cool when you wear thinner socks.
Amazon reviews for these boots number well over 1,600 at the time of this writing, with most people assigning five stars (80%) and with a chunk of four-star reviews as well (11%, and you can do the rest of the math). The current top review is from a hiker who wore these boots along hundreds of miles of the Appalachian Trail and sang their praises when the trek was done.
As for an expert opinion, a Backcountry Edge video review calls them perfect for the “stability and support” you need in a boot that won’t “weigh you down.” The Switchback Travel review also praises the light weight of the boot, noting the protection offered by its tall upper, a rarity for boots that are so light.
Pros: Versatile enough for use in many conditions, lightweight with flexible sole, breathable materials keep feet cool
Cons: Thin underfoot padding leads to foot fatigue, tread pattern not ideal for some conditions
The best hiking boots on a budget
These Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots might cost half as much as many other options, but they’re fine boots at a fantastic price.
For the outdoor enthusiast who goes for day hikes, weekend camping trips, or the occasional multi-day trek but who doesn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of hiking boots, the Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid hiking boots are a great choice. These boots are reasonably lightweight, comfortable and supportive, and have a tread pattern, water resistance, and breathability that make them suitable for use in most moderate conditions.
Are these the right boots to wear as you trek up and over the glaciers of Mt. Rainier? No, they’re not. Having done that, I can speak with confidence. But are they a fine option for traversing miles and miles of graded trail or for wearing as you blaze your own path through a pine forest or rolling meadow? Absolutely.
The Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilators feature a shock-absorbing air cushion under the heel and a flexible sole with no lugs under the arch. Those elements mean you could wear these boots for trail running if you really wanted, though they are a bit heavy for a long jaunt at speed.
While the Moab Ventilator boot is excellent at wicking moisture away from your foot to keep you dry, it’s not all that water-resistant, so in heavy rains or the event you step in a steam, your foot is going to get wet.
The reviews are in on Amazon and of the hundreds of people who posted like their Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator boots enough to create an overall 4.5-star rating. In fact, the top review, from February of 2017, states: “I liked them that much [that] this is my second pair.”
A reviewer with Best Walking Shoe Reviews noted the Moab Ventilator’s excellent breathability and their solid traction, while a Cool Hiking Gear critic singled out that air cushioning in the heel as a great relief from the pain of harsh foot strikes.
Pros: Very affordable option, air-cushioned heel reduces impact effects, soles offer reliable grip
Cons: Limited water resistance, soles wear out rather quickly
The best stylish hiking boots
Danner’s hiking boots are some of the most stylish boots you can buy and they’re extremely well made.
Danner has been making some of the most popular boots for outdoor enthusiasts for nearly a century. If you’re looking for a pair of hiking boots that are somewhat less obtuse than the busy, flashy, high-tech boots that are so terribly a la mode these days, these are the boots for you.
Back in 1932, Charles Danner founded Danner Shoe Mfg. Company in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where he sold his handcrafted work boots for four dollars a pair to the local loggers. He learned that, out west, loggers were paying upwards of $10 for a pair of calked logging boots – a small fortune back then – and moved the family and business out to Oregon to take full advantage of a lacking market.
Danner has come up with a lot of boots since those days, and the most popular of all has been the Danner Light Boots, which came out thanks to the then-new invention of Gore-Tex.
Despite rugged soles, Gore-Tex lining, and heavy-duty leather, Danner hasn’t gone without its fair share of critics. Several esteemed publications have claimed that in the process of testing Danner boots, they found that the leather uppers and the seams at the miss let some water in. While I haven’t personally experienced any seepage as of yet, one reporter at Insider Picks did notice the Danner Lights absorbing some water.
But, before you dismiss Danner boots entirely, consider this: These are still extremely sturdy, well-constructed boots using high-quality, full-grain leather. The soles are nearly indestructible, and if you do manage to damage them, they’re built to be replaced.
The Danner Mountain Passes are a middle-of-the-road boot. They’re not the most rugged, but they also don’t feel like cinder blocks on your feet. The single-piece, full-grain uppers on this model will keep you good and dry unless you’re trudging through absolute muck (in which case, just grab your wellies).
All in all, this is not your built-for-hell boot to take trudging through the mud or a mountain stream. If you want that kind of boot from Danner, rest assured that they make it. This, on the other hand, is more along the lines of a fair-weather hiking or hunting boot, though it’s wonderfully suited for relatively dry terrain.
Hiking boots are always going to come with tradeoffs, and like many other things in this life, you’ll really need about three or four of them to handle every kind of outing. If you find yourself in an urban setting more often than, say, trudging through a cranberry bog or a low country swamp, these stylish boots will keep you warm, dry, and of course, styling. – Owen Burke
Pros: Classic, timeless design, real leather construction, well made, can be resoled, fun collaborations with other brands
Cons: May not be perfectly waterproof, which won’t serve in a torrent or muddy terrain