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Hiking Boots & Shoes for Men: Top 5 Lightweight Picks & Reviews

Updated on November 28, 2014
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Five Best Hiking Boots for Men: Lightweight, Waterproof, Comfortable

When I try to get people organized for a hike, the excuse I usually hear is "I don't have hiking boots!" My response to that? Well get some!

I will admit that footwear can make or break a good hike. I'd much rather be thinking about the beautiful vistas and clean air than about my aching feet. That's why I wanted to put together a list of the best hiking boots for men, so I can easily refer my male friends to some quality footwear.

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A good pair of hiking boots for men should consist of a few things: they should be durable, able to withstand the rigours of the trail. They should be comfortable, easy to wear all day and (if possible) well ventilated. Ideally, they should be waterproof too.

So what are the best hiking boots for men? That depends on your personal criteria! This article will review several men's hiking boots, offering some thoughts and suggestions as to what each pair is best suited for.

Curious? I hope so! Read on.

Tracking Down some Top Quality Men's Hiking Boots

Before you pull out your credit card, it's worth being cautious. A pair of boots is an investment, and you want something that will last a while. I'd encourage you to make a checklist (I'm all about the checklists!)

Where Will I Be Hiking?

Determining your locations will help you select the right footwear. If you'll be doing lots of hiking on gravel, for example, a durable pair with excellent tread would be ideal. In swampy or muddy areas, a tough pair of waterproof men's hiking boots would be a good choice.

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WHAT SEASON WILL I HIKE?

The season that you hike in should factor here. If you are a summer hiker, a pair of lightweight, cool men's hiking shoes would be the best choice. If you are a winter or all-season adventurer, you'll want insulated and waterproof hiking boots instead.

WHAT'S MY PACE?

The pace at which you travel is an important distinction to make. If you travel fast, the best pair of hiking boots for you might be lightweight shoes or ones with tons of ventilation. If you have a slower pace, weight isn't such a big issue.

Moab: Among the best lightweight men's hiking boots today

You're probably familiar with Merrell. They've produced an excellent pair of lightweight men's hiking boots that I'm very excited to recommend.

If you're looking for a surprisingly light hiking boot for men, with excellent reviews, this is a great pair to consider.

Let's start with the traction. With a Vibram rubber sole, the tread pattern is unique, and they'll be comfortable on a mixture of terrains. It's not the most heavily treaded shoe, but it has versatility, and the heel has tons of bite for added traction.

Like most Vibram soles, the shoe has quite a bit of flex to it, making it very comfortable, and the cushioned air heel absorbs impact and lessens wear on your joints.

This is one of the best waterproof men's hiking boots too, with a Gore-Tex liner that keeps your feet nice and dry in wet weather, while still allowing air to circulate. I should mention: the outer part of the shoe will still absorb moisture. The liner will prevent your feet from becoming damp.

The shoe has a durable upper portion made from leather and synthetic mesh, and it rises to a comfortable height on your ankle, helping to prevent rolls and discomfort.

Comfort in these shoes is incredible! I find that they have decent arch support, along with lots of cushioning. A harsh trail will feel very soft and manageable in them.

All told, the Moab is a good hiking boot for men, lightweight and very versatile.

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Terrex: A stylish, lightweight pair of men's hiking boots, by Adidas

I think these are hands down the best looking hiking boots for men, and I love their futuristic and sleek aesthetic. Beyond pure good looks, these shoes have a lot going for them! If you're interested in a modern boot with lots of comfort and style, look no further.

Traction on these boots is excellent, with an asymmetrical but organic looking tread pattern and a hefty heel shelf to bite into the terrain. The outsole is made from a material they call Traxion, which uses Continental rubber (yes, the same found in car tires).

The grip of the heels allows the actual tread to be less intense, and lowers the weight of the shoe as a whole. Weighing in at a mere 15.5 ounces (on average), they are among the most lightweight men's hiking boots you'll run across.

The upper is very breathable, with multiple synthetic overlays to add structure without creating excess weight. The Adiprene forefoot really gives the shoe a 'spring', reminiscent of a running shoe.

If you're concerned about wet weather, fear not. A Gore-Tex inner lining provides breathable water protection, and you should arrive home with socks and feet dry.

Slip resistant, comfortable and fast, these are among the best hiking boots for guys who like to run on their hikes.

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Summit Walker: A cushioned men's hiking boot, awesome reviews

The Summit Walker, by Propet, is a rugged and sturdy boot with fantastic traction and stability. Yet it manages it all without sacrificing one important thing: comfort.

The rubber outsole provides phenomenal traction, and you'll understand why when you look at the tread pattern. It's a thick piece of rubber with diagonal slits across the length, giving it a surprising amount of bite for the weight.

The outsole also happens to be quite flexible, and you won't feel clumsy when trekking up a steep trail.

For comfort, the outsole is among the most cushioned you'll find, and they offer great arch support too. If you have fallen arches, I'd say this is a nice shoe to contemplate.

With a suede and nylon upper portion, the shoe has great looks and good breathability. The side zip and the velcro latch make getting in and out easy, without the need to unlace every time. I like that.

It does have a removable insole, but these shoes tend to run a bit large, so keep that in mind.

They are not waterproof, so if you're planning to hike in the wet fairly often, be sure to opt for a different pair. That said, these are among the least expensive shoes in this list, so if you're hoping for a cheap pair of good men's hiking boots, it might be a good place to start!

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Zenith: Super supportive, versatile hiking boots for guys, by Garmont

If support is a major concern of yours, and if you want a men's hiking shoe that not only offers great grip but versatile performance, it might be worth your while to check out the Zenith Mid GTX, by Garmont.

It is a water-resistant hiking boot that is fairly lightweight and quite comfortable. The sole is made by Vibram, and it offers a lot of flexibility during your stride, without sacrificing grip. They're stable even on slick rock.

The footbed and the midsole of this shoe have superior shock absorption, so you'll feet much more comfortable with each stride. The flex provided by the outsole helps too, and it's a fairly good shoe for anyone suffering from arch support issues.

The upper portion is made from a mixture of synthetic mesh and nubuck, which are both water resistant. If that's not enough, these boots feature a Gore-Tex liner which should keep your feet dry even on rainy hikes.

The support is the main selling factor for these boots. They have a heel lock system which prevents your heel from sliding around inside the shoe. For that reason, they are very easy to break in. They are a mid rise shoe with excellent structure, and you'll have a lot of protection from a turned ankle.

Despite all that support, the mesh and Gore-Tex allows air to circulate, so your feet won't get too hot.

Reasonably priced, durable and supportive, the Zenith is a good hiking boot for men with a lot going for it.

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Cliff Walker, by Propet, a full leather, waterproof men's hiking boot with upside

If you're hunting around for a fully waterproof shoe for hiking, it's hard to go wrong with full leather. Leather is naturally water resistant and durable. In the case of the Cliff Walker series, you get a strong pair of waterproof hiking boots for guys that stands up to the rigours of the climb.

The outsole is made from rubber, and it has a good deal of traction and grip. It's a sturdy sole, but it's flexible with a 'self-cleaning' design. That means you won't be picking debris from in between the tread.

You're unlikely to find a more waterproof boot than this. It has a full leather upper portion with a nylon liner. It has no need for Gore-Tex, since the outer portion of the shoe is what will repel moisture.

Since it is full leather, I'd recommend using a treatment on it occasionally. You'll love the abrasion resistance and good looks if you care for them well. Full leather is also heavier than the synthetics, but it tends to last longer too.

Because it's made of leather, there will be a more pronounced break-in period, during which time the boot will feel a bit stiff. Stick with it, you'll be rewarded!

On the whole, the Cliff Walker is a super waterproof hiking boot for men. It's also a diabetic shoe, rated A5500 (I don't know much about diabetic shoes, but there it is).

*The Cliff Walker runs wide, so it's a fantastic choice for anyone with wider feet!

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A Poll To Hike By

What's your top priority in a hiking boot?

See results

A Note on Classifications

A common complaint I hear is that a shoe doesn't live up to people's expectations. For example, I'll hear that a waterproof shoe doesn't keep the feet totally dry, or that a lightweight boot isn't light enough.

On water resistance:

I have yet to find a shoe (other than full on fishing waders) that keeps the feet utterly dry in all conditions. Here's why: the boot opening (at your ankle) is impossible to seal perfectly, and water can seep in.

What's more, many shoes operate using a liner rather than a waterproof outer, so the shoe itself gets soaked. Your feet should stay mostly dry, though they may feel damp.

It's important to manage your expectations, and know that your waterproof shoes won't keep your tootsies dry if you trek through a waist-high bog!

On weight:

A light shoe is fine and good, but weight and durability are usually correlated. That means that the lighter a boot is, the less durable it's likely to be. Price is also a factor.

Boots will always be heavier than shoes, there's just more material there. You're not trying to win a race! With hiking (for me, at least), the goal is to appreciate nature, take in some sights, breathe some fresh air and get some exercise.

Your boots may not weigh as little as your minimalist runners, but it's not like they're blocks of concrete! Don't fret over an ounce or two, go for something that will keep you safe and comfortable.

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