One of the essential pieces of kit you need to pack with you for any backpacking trip is your boots. Nothing is going to slow you down more or spoil your fun than nasty blisters from boots that are rubbing in all the wrong places. Or painful feet and heavy, tired legs from a day spent trekking in shoes that are too small. You need to be agile and stable on your feet and preferably invest in a pair of hiking boots that will keep you dry no matter what how wet and wild the weather gets. Excellent traction is another must-have feature along with durability and comfort. These have to rate as essential properties to look out for in the best backpacking boots. Let’s see which selection of boots we feel are made for walking in our comprehensive backpacking boots guide.
The Best Backpacking Boot
These sturdy and reliable St.Elias boots from Vasque feature an exclusive Vibram frontier rubber outsole for a lightweight and comfortable feel but with maximum traction and protection. With cushioned EVA pods in both the heel and forefoot the sensation is less boot and more running shoe. They’re constructed with a high quality 100% Nubuck leather upper that’s been specially oiled to give it superior waterproof properties. Inside the boot also benefits for a GORE-TEX waterproof membrane ensure your feet remain comfortable and dry. A rubber toe cap further protects the foot and adds to be durable construction of these Vasque men’s backpacking boots.
Exclusive Vibram Frontier rubber outsole for traction
Oiled Nubuck leather upper for waterproofing
Cushioned EVA pod technology for superior comfort
GORE-TEX waterproof membrane for dry feet
- ModelSt. Elias GTX-M
- Weight 4.28 pounds
These durable and sturdily constructed boots from NORTIV feature waterproof protection alongside a microfiber heat-reflective lining to keep feet dry and comfortable all day long. With a specially designed rubber outsole and unique lug patterning, NORTIV 8 Men’s Waterproof Backpacking Boots deliver plenty of traction and support over varied surfaces. Internally they feature a cushioned EVA footbed for flexible and fluid foot movement. The premium upper is treated with an oil and slip-resistant finish, and overall, these are a practical and versatile hiking boot that is as easy on your wallet as they are your feet. Feel free to also wear them as snow boots.
Durable rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs
Oil and slip-resistant waterproof upper
Cushioned and supportive EVA footbed
Heat reflective microfiber waterproof lining
- BrandNORTIV 8
Available in an extensive range of colors, this GTX mid style hiking boot from Lowa is a premium choice and has been constructed to last. It’s a durable, dependable and functional looking boot with Derby cut lacing for a comfortable fit. With a Vibram sole supporting this shoe you can remain confidently sure-footed no matter what tricky terrain you’re tackling. They further feature a bi-injection middle for an enhanced and stable ride. With a moisture-wicking footbed, water-repellent Nubuck leather upper and a GORE-TEX lining, they offer the ultimate in climate control and weatherproof protection for your feet. Ideal for day hikes and weekend trips, this is a lightweight backpacking Gore-tex boot offering plenty of versatility, comfort, support, and just the right level of shock absorption.
Climate control footbed wicks away moisture
Stabilizing shanks and derby style lacing for comfort and support
Rugged Vibram outsole for all-terrain support
Breathable boot with GORE-TEX waterproofing
- BrandLOWA Boots
- ModelRenegade GTX Mid-M
- Weight2 pounds
A sensational looking boot constructed from high quality 100% Hydrobloc full-grain leather to keep feet dry and looking stylish no matter what the conditions. Fitted with a uniquely engineered sole built for the brand by Vibram, this dependable boot is all about stability and excellent traction. It’s lightweight to wear yet offers exceptional levels of performance. This boot is Italian comfort and design at its most outstanding and is the perfect boot for hiking, general outdoor use, and big adventures! With a waterproof breathable lining and a moisture-wicking contoured footbed, these Zamberlan boots provide ventilation and keep feet warm and dry. If your feet do get wet after all, be sure to always have a boot dryer handy.
Waterproof lining and fully moisture-wicking contoured footbed
Deep lug rubber sole thanks to a partnership with Vibram
Perfect for four-season hiking
Stylish Italian design crafted from 100% full grain Hydrobloc leather
- Model996 Vioz GT WNS
- Weight3.63 pounds
This high top style hiking boot from AIRIKE features protective rubber caps as well as rugged lacing hardware suitable for snow and wet weather conditions. Combining a leather upper with a high-quality TPR rubber sole, these high tops have a non-slip design and plenty of grip. With both a convenient side zipper as well as lace-up closure it’s casual and fashionable to look at and lightweight and liberating to wear. Internally this AIRIKE boot is fitted with a breathable membrane for comfort as well as offer excellent wet weather protection.
Anti-fatigue removable footbed
Side zipper design for easy slip on and off
Breathable membrane for wet weather protection
Protective toe cap prevents injury
These very stylish and casual looking shorter style ankle boots are an excellent choice. Combining a passion for Climbing with Sports, Clorts the brand was born to fuse fashion and function. The result is a technologically advanced hiking boot with plenty of support, cushioning, traction, and stylish good looks. With exceptional grip and waterproof protection, you can trek for miles through puddles and streams while remaining comfortable and dry. Built to be tough on the outside but lightweight to wear, they’re an excellent choice for daylong trekking, climbing ad backpacking adventures. A softly padded collar and tongue add to the comfortable feel of these Clorts Waterproof boots and minimize foot fatigue. For more extra durable footwear like this, check out our guide to the best snake boots.
Built-in EVA compression midsole
Waterproof and breathable membrane
High abrasion rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs
Safe and lightweight yet sturdy ad sticky on wet surfaces
This classic looking men’s waterproof backpacking boot is designed with a premium Nubuck upper and a chunky and highly grippy rubber sole. With traditional lace-up closure and a pull loop on the tongue, they’re easy to pull on and off and to fasten securely for a long days hike. The addition of a padded tongue and collar ensure a good level of comfort. The aggressive style outsole delivers sure-footed confidence over varied terrain, and the mid-cut height provides ankle support for additional stability. KEEN Men’s Gypsum II Mid Waterproof Backpacking Boots are like four-wheel drive for your feet! Our guide to the best wading boots features more waterproof and comfortable footwear like this.
Proprietary waterproof and breathable Hydrophonic mesh membrane
Anatomically engineered footbed design
Waterproof Nubuck leather upper
Dual-density compression-molded EVA comfort insole
As you’d expect from the Italian brand leader of technical footwear designed for the outdoors, these GORE-TEX lined boots from their collection can certainly go the distance. Ideal for hiking, Asolo Men’s TPS 520 GV Evo Backpacking Boots are innovatively designed combining a waterproof upper with a shock-absorbing outsole for superior performance. With Asoflex torsional support to keep your ankles and feet stable and a self-cleaning Vibram outsole, we could go on! There’s plenty to rave about and once you invest in a pair and try them out you will appreciate what all the fuss is about. Yes, they’re expensive, but then they are premium boot capable of supporting you on the trail and beyond. If you are a fan of winter sports, you will sure like some of the best snowboard boots from our list, so take a moment to check them out.
Asoflex thermoplastic torsional stability and control
GORE-TEX waterproof and ventilated lining
Unique outsole technology for shock absorption and pressure relief
Self-cleaning Vibram outsoles
- Weight2.06 pounds
If you’re not the kind of person to let a bit of rain get in the way of a hike, then you will appreciate these leather suede upper boots from Salewa. They certainly look impressive, and they perform incredibly well too. Besides benefiting from an abrasion-resistant, smart-looking upper with a 360-degree rubber rand, they’re also fully breathable. They feature a waterproof GORE-TEX membrane to keep feet comfortable and dry. Fitted with a Vibram wrap thread combi sole, Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GORE-TEX Boots are lightweight to wear and comfortable over technically demanding terrain. You may also like some of the best steel toe cap boots from our list, so be sure to check them out.
Robust suede leather and fabric upper
Waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX protection
Fitted with dual-density Bilight technology
Patented, flexible 3F system for blister-free fit
- Weight1 pound
Designed for stability and comfort and lightweight and cushioned enough to be worn for day-long backpacking adventures, these Salomon Quest boots have plenty going for them. Adapted from running shoe technology, they feature high traction contagrip, an advanced chassis as well as GORE-TEX performance. There’s little wonder this is such a popular backpacking boot. Your feet can comfortably breathe through all four seasons wearing these boots, and no matter how wet the surfaces get, the underneath grip will give you sure-footed confidence. Fitted with Ortholite technology, heel foam, a gusseted tongue, and a protective rubber toe cap, Salomon has thought of everything when manufacturing their Quest 4D 3 GTX boot. If you are also into biking on different terrains, don’t forget to check out our guide to the best dirt bike boots.
GORE-TEX waterproof and breathable protection
Advanced chassis design for comfort, cushioning and stability
Contagrip sole for wet weather traction and grip
Running shoe adapted technology reduces foot fatigue
- ModelL40155800-US 13.0/UK 12.5
- Weight4.08 pounds
Backpacking Boot Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection Of Backpacking Boots
With hundreds of well-respected brands in the category of best backpacking boots, narrowing down our top recommendations was always going to be a challenge. To bring you our favorites we scoured the internet, read as many reviews as humanly possible, and looked at a cross-section of brands from Salomon to Asolo, Keen to Clorts. The best backpacking boots we’ve handpicked for you today represent a comprehensive range of price points to suit all budgets. So whether you have $50 to spend or $300, there is something for everyone on our list.
Features To Look For In Backpacking Boots
Below are just some of the top features we recommend you consider before investing in a new pair of backpacking boots.
Quality - No boot is guaranteed to last forever but generally speaking, the better quality you can afford to buy, the more robust and durable it will be over time. Synthetic fibers, for example, may fray and quickly begin to wick moisture. It’s not unheard of for hikers to have been wearing the same old faithful boots for decades! Invest wisely in a pair of quality boots, and you will be able to enjoy adventures together for many years to come.
Stability & Support - Ankle stability, in particular, is one of the key reasons why hikers go for a boot as opposed to a low-cut shoe or trail runner. If you want extra torsional stability and reduce the risk of missteps and twisted ankles, then foot stability is worth considering. Look for mid-height or full cut boots designs to be sure of adequate support.
Traction - The support and traction your backpacking boots deliver are absolutely vital, especially if you intend trekking different terrains and in various adverse weather conditions. When you put your foot down, no matter what the surface, you want to feel a sense of grip. From maneuvering across a mountain ledge to climbing a muddy mountain path or walking over washed out sections of trail. One slip of the foot could be deadly. Excellent traction and support is an absolute pre-requisite in the best backpacking boots. Look for deep lugs and unique patterned treads.
Weight - When it comes to backpacking boots, this is essential. The heavier the shoes, the more they will sap your energy. The more agile you are on your feet, the faster and less fatigued you will be at the end of the day so think wisely about how much extra weight you really need to be carrying around with you. Heavy backpacking boots may lead to knee and hip flexor problems over time. If stability is your priority, then more substantial style boots will provide this plus they’re likely to be more robust and durable in the long run.
Waterproofing - If you’re hiking in wet, wild, and windy conditions, especially in the winter, chances are your feet will get a little bit damp no matter how reliable your boots are. It’s not just about submerging your feet in water. If there’s any moisture in the air, it will somehow find its way down your ankle and into your boot! Trust us. We’ve been there. Even waterproof boots will develop small holes over time that eventually let in water. So it’s an excellent idea to invest in Goretex boot and to purchase the very best that your budget will allow. Make sure that they’re also breathable to avoid the build-up of moisture, condensation, and sweat inside your boot.
Breathability - Your feet are going to sweat a lot, especially if you are hiking for the whole day and you're exerting lots of energy. Moisture needs to escape somehow, but the more breathable a shoe is, the less waterproof it’s likely to be. It could end up being a bit of a trade-off. However, remember that the more breathable a boot is, the quicker it’s likely to dry out so if you are prone to blisters, you might be better off choosing breathability above waterproofing.
Comfort and Fit - It’s critical that you purchase a pair of backpacking boots that fit you correctly. We all have different anatomical needs, and if your shoes don’t fit, your feet won’t be happy. Some of us require a narrow fitting, others more arch support. Wear an ill-fitting and uncomfortable pair of boots, and you will regret it every step of the way.