Best Hiking Boots & Shoes 2014 – Top 10 Comparison!

Selecting the best hiking boots is very important and not something you should skimp on. Why? Because if you are going hiking then that means walking thousands of steps, and if you don’t have the right shoes then those steps could be very uncomfortable. This could take away all the enjoyment, and ruin your fun.

The only problem is there are so many options out there that you really are spoiled for choice. That is where we are here to help, we have done the research so you don’t have to. By reading our reviews and guides you can confident that when you make a purchase it is going to be a good one.

Top 5 Hiking Boots for Men

Shoe
Material
Sole
Waterproof?
Rating
Price
Salomon Men’s Quest 4D GTX Polyester Mesh Thermoplastic urethane yes 5 stars
Timberland Men’s White Ledge Boot Leather and synthetic Rubber yes 4.5 stars
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Multisport Shoe Leather Vibram no 4.5 stars
Timberland Mens Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Leather Rubber yes 4.5 stars
Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude IV Leather and Textile Rubber yes 4.5 stars

Top 5 Hiking Boots for Women

Name
Material
Sole
Waterproof?
Rating
Price
Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid Leather Vibram yes 4.5 stars
Ahnu Women’s Montara Boot Leather-and-textile Rubber yes 4.5 stars
KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Leather Rubber yes 4.5 stars
Merrell Women’s Moab Ventilator Leather and textile Synthetic no 4.5 stars
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Leather Rubber yes 4.5 stars

Factors to Consider when Buying

In order to make the right choice, you need to consider your budget and how serious you are about hiking. If you are a casual hiker and only go once or twice per year then maybe you could get away with some cheaper boots but if want to be hiking regularly then you need something which will last. Remember, you really get what you pay for but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some real bargains out there to be had!

Materials Used

When deciding which material is needed you have to consider your budget, preferences and needs.

Leather
Leather is normally stronger and quite waterproof but it is fairly heavy and more costly. It is best used for longer hikes where you have to carry a heavy load.

Synthetic
Synthetic is lighter and tends to be cheaper than leather but also wears quicker and is less likely to last a long time.

Waterproof
There are waterproof materials used by some shoes such as Timberland’s Gore-Tex version. They tend to be added to the inside in order to stop water leaking in. 

Boot Cut

Depending on what kind of hiking you will be doing you should consider which boot cut to go for:

Low Cut
These are good for smooth, mostly level ground and short hikes. This is because there is less ankle support with these ones. On these hikes you would tend to carry just a small day pack with perhaps a couple of bottles of water.

Mid Cut
This type of boots have more ankle support and are best used for longer hikes which may span a couple of days. They are also quite useful for more challenging inclines and provide more stability of potentially slippery muddy trails. You would tend to carry a light backpack with these shoes.

High Cut
High cut are normally the most rugged and durable type, they are best used for intense multiple day hikes for the serious hiker. They are especially good if you are carrying lots of gear in a heavy backpack. Suited to the most demanding terrain, they are even used in the snow with the addition of crampons.

Appearance

Although most of the time when purchasing footwear you are likely to care a great deal about how good they look, this isn’t something you should worry about with hiking shoes.

You aren’t buying these shoes to show off or for their style, you are buying them for a functional purpose so aesthetics should be bottom of the list of considerations. That being said, perhaps if you are torn between two different boots you could come to a decision by choosing the ones that you prefer the looks of. That is the only time we would recommend using this as a criteria when carrying out your shopping.

Other things to Consider

Comfort
Buying online is great but it may be a useful to visit a shop first to try some on and make sure they feel right for you. After trying them on you can go back home and on the internet to take advantage of normally cheaper prices. One advantage of purchasing from Amazon however is their fantastic return policy, chances are you will be happy with the boots you buy but it is a pretty swift and painless process to return them.

You should also consider the material here when making a decision, this is because some of the most comfortable boots tend to use the lightweight material such as Gore-Tex. They are also better to use in the early days as they take less time to wear in than traditional leather boots.

Time of Year
If you are going hiking during the summer and the weather is going to be pretty warm then lightweight boots with plenty of air will be far more comfortable. On the other hand in the winter then it is a good idea to use some waterproof shoes to avoid any leaking inside which can be very uncomfortable.

Size of Shoe
It is normally recommended to buy hiking boots in a size or two higher than your normal size. This is because when hiking your feet can swell due to the physical activity and/or because of the warm climate. Therefore it is better to be safe than sorry and leave some room to account for this. You can always start wearing two pairs of socks and remove one pair if necessary.

Budget
As mentioned earlier in this article it is well worth investing some money into these boots, even the casual hiker can benefit from a high quality pair. They don’t have to cost the earth either, on this site you will find many pairs reviewed that will cost under $100 whilst the higher quality ones will set you back $200+.

You really are doing yourself an injustice and potentially taking the enjoyment out of your adventures if you settle for a cheap, uncomfortable pair of shoes which will soon fall apart anyway. If you invest a reasonable sum of money now you will probably find the boots will last many years and potentially save you money by having to purchase new boots more regularly.

Top 5 Hiking Shoes for Men Reviews

Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTXSalomon Men’s Quest 4D GTX
These boots are firmly in the premium end of the market but they are very popular and have some rave reviews. There are in fact more expensive hiking boots than these but they don’t offer such high end quality at an accessible price. They are made from an innovate lightweight material which is waterproof thanks to sealed Gore-Tex membranes and other design features. If you’re serious about hiking and want some shoes that will tackle the harshest of conditions and last many years then look no further.

Timberland Men’s White Ledge BootTimberland Men's White Ledge
This is a typical high quality boot from well known brand Timberland, what’s more it won’t cost you the earth either. It’s made of high quality leather and synthetic material which means it won’t fall apart any time soon and comes with a strong rubber sole. Along with that it is waterproof so it can handle those damper days without making your feet wet. Overall if you want a pair of hiking shoes that offers great value for money then Timberland’s White Ledge Boot will do that.

Merrell-Men's-Moab-VentilatorMerrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Multisport Shoe
Another mid-range but still highly rated shoe is the Moab Ventilator from Merrell. It is made from a pretty tough leather material and a special vibram sole. Among other features it also has AEGIS odor control to stop your shoes from becoming so smelly you don’t want to put them on your feet. Of course it is waterproof too with a breathable upper mesh. To see how it fares, check out our full review.

Timberland-Mens-Chocorua-Trail-Gore-TexTimberland Mens Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid
Another great pair of boots from Timberland and a worthy contender for your money. Not only do they look the part but they also act the part too. Made with high quality leather material and a rubber sole along with Timberland’s great waterproof design, you can’t really go wrong. Not only that but they also claim to offer special anti-fatigue comfort technology. Check out our review to find out more.

Hi-Tec-Men's-Altitude-IVHi-Tec Men’s Altitude IV
These are some of the lowest price hiking boots from traditionally budget manufacturer Hi-Tec. Don’t let the price fool you though, these boots pack some punch. Made from a combination of leather and textile material with a rubber sole and a waterproof design these boots are well loved. OK, if you are a serious hiker then these may not quite be up to the job but for those who are just getting started with hiking they can make a great first pair.

Top 5 Hiking Shoes for Women Reviews

Lowa-Women's-Renegade-GTXLowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid
Very highly rated and premium priced, these are the boots to have for serious female hikers. Made from high quality leather and with a special vibram sole they are very well made and will last many years. As you would expect for the price, they use Gore-Tex technology for waterproofing whilst still being breathable. If you want to invest in some great hiking shoes then look no further than these.

Ahnu-Women's-Montara-BootAhnu Women’s Montara Boot
Another pair of women’s hiking shoes with great reviews from Ahnu Footwear. They use a combination of leather and textile material to create a great comprise between reliability and mobility. As far as hiking shoes go these ones also look pretty cool which may be a concern for some women, though once covered in mud all boots look pretty similar. They come in many choices of colors, for more details have a look at our full review.

KEEN-Women's-Targhee-II

KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof
This is a mid-range offering from popular footwear manufacturer Keen. They are made from very high quality materials and come with a fairly high price tag but are still very affordable for somebody that wants to invest in their hiking. Nice features are the Keen Dry waterproof membrane and their patented toe protection to avoid injury from sharp rocks.

Merrell-Women's-Moab-VentilatorMerrell Women’s Moab Ventilator
This offering from Merrell is just like the men’s version and equally highly rated and attractively priced. With the same great build quality and combination of leather and textile materials it is a shoe which is great for the less serious hiker. They are not particularly heavy duty but could be great for those just getting started with hiking or do not have to endure the toughest terrain.

Columbia-Women's-Newton-Ridge-PlusColumbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus
Yet another very reasonably priced hiking shoe for women, yet they are still pretty tough. They have full leather materials along with a rubber sole and a waterproof design. Columbia are a well known outdoor company with a reputation for providing innovative  products that are not only high quality but great value. The Newton Ridge Plus definitely lives up to that, see our full review for more details.

Decision Time

Now it is up to you, it’s time to take the next step towards a great hike by purchasing the best hiking boots. You have seen the comparison chart and read through the reviews so there is no excuse not to find the best hiking shoes. If you are still unsure and need further help then be sure to check out our individual in depth reviews and guides for even more help.

If you have any further queries, feedback or suggestions then feel free to contact us using our contact page. We would love to hear from you!