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Backpacking Boots

Top Picks

How we choose: The best backpacking boots highlighted here were selected based on 2,497 reviews of 535 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Danner Mountain Light

user rating: 5 of 5 (9 reviews)

I got these boots 4 years ago. I've been nothing but pleased with them since. They were comfortable right out of the box (I have very tough feet, though, so there may actually be some break-in period reqd.) and have held up quite well.They are a bit more flexible than I expected, but still very solid. The stitched sole makes resoling a snap (I just did this for the first time---replaced those shallow lugs with deep lug Vibrams). Good for hiking and backpacking with moderate to heavy loads (the most I've carried with them is around 65 lbs.). I'm not sure if they make this exact model anymore. The current model is the Mt.Light II, which is exactly the same except for the color,so far as I can tell.

Read more: Danner Mountain Light reviews (9)

L.L.Bean Gore-Tex Cresta Hikers, Leather

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (47 reviews)

These boots offer excellent support and protection. They took a couple weeks to break in, but after that period, I don't really even notice them. Just awesome, and L.L. Bean's support is icing on the cake.

Reasons to Buy

  • Supportive
  • Sturdy
  • Comfortable
  • Grippy
  • Waterproof
  • Well-made

Reasons to Avoid

  • Long(ish) break in time
  • Leather scratches easily
  • Insole is a cheap sockliner

As far as fit goes, these are amazing (after breaking them in). During break in, the tongue would put pressure right on the top of my foot, just above/in front of my ankle. After that leather wore in there, it was all good. Also, during break in it seemed hard to find the right tightness for the shoe. But again, after break in, I just slip them on and go. I have pretty weak ankles and I weigh 185, so I can't go with a lightweight low-cut hiker. I need support, and these give it to me. I can tell you that they've kept me from turning my ankle quite a few times.

Read more: L.L.Bean Gore-Tex Cresta Hikers, Leather reviews (47)

Asolo Power Matic 200 GV

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (19 reviews)

Amazing, heavy duty, functional design. Great grip, stability, support, durability, and waterproofing. Suitable for 3+ season use. Best boots I've used yet.

Reasons to Buy

  • Amazing grip, support and shock absorption
  • Flawless waterproofing
  • Very comfortable with no break-in needed
  • No blisters, hot spots, foot abrasion w them
  • Best lacing system yet
  • Highly durable on rough terrain
  • Amazing attention to detail in design and construction
  • Design has definitely helped keep me safe on the trail
  • Feel like Batman wearing them!

Reasons to Avoid

  • Wish had rubber toe cap so don't scuff toes
  • Warm if hiking in hot climates
  • Only come in one color ... and I like it!
  • Look like Batman wearing them ... just kidding, I like the look

One can just 'get by'.  Why invest in protective footwear? Besides appreciating the gear, what also drives my sharing about the importance of safe boots is an experience three years ago. On a short 1.5 mile Mora Beach, Wash., approach hike we came across a ~50 yr old lady laying on the ground with son-in-law hovering over her to comfort. Her foot was BROKEN OFF INTERNALLY the end of her ankle and was laying to the side at an odd angle! (I didn't know that this was even possible!). There was no skin breakage or blood, just the horrible realization that she was in shock and badly hurt.

Read more: Asolo Power Matic 200 GV reviews (19)

Danner Recurve

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

An out-of-the-box comfortable 7” hiking/hunting boot made of a full-grain leather and suede upper. I tested the insulated version (non-insulated also available), which is waterproof and suitable for winter hiking, hunting, and most definitely playing with kids in the snow.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Great for long days of hiking in cold weather
  • Perfect for pulling kids in a sled through the snow!

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lacing can be a little tricky
  • No women's version

Conditions:I’ve worn the 400g insulated Danner Recurves in the mountains and valleys of Central Pennsylvania during the fall and winter season while hiking, hunting, and playing in the snow with my kids. All told, I’ve worn the boots regularly for 3 months, logging several all-day scouting/hunting trips (15+ miles per day), numerous day hikes, and even some early-season sledding adventures with the kiddos.  Fresh out of the box.  Fit and Options:I wear a men’s US 13 (EUR 48) and have slightly narrow feet.

Read more: Danner Recurve review (1)

Red Wing Irish Setter

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (8 reviews)

I have used Irish Setter boots for most of my 53-year life as an avid big game hunter. I learned of Irish Setter in my early years from my Dad and Grandpa who strongly recommended them. In all those years we had only one problem. I contacted the company and they were exactly as my dad said.... a company you can rely on...Problem solved. When you have to trust in your pair of boots ... you should never have to think about them.

Reasons to Buy

  • Unbelievably comfortable for long hunts
  • Strength of construction for side hill walking
  • Easy on and off
  • Last forever...seriously
  • Company is truly behind their product
  • I love them more than my dog.....Sorry, Rex.

Reasons to Avoid

  • They only could improve if they were free :)
  • My wife will only allow one pair every 3 years.

With these boots I am extremely familiar. I have purchased dozens over the years of many makes and models for myself and my three boys as well as the multitude from my Dad and Granpa. My son says there are many newer companies around that have very good boots and that I should check them out...AND I HAVE, WHENEVER I AM IN THE HUNTING STORE... BE AWARE.... Before any one buys a pair of hunting boots I  would strongly advise them to try on a pair of Irish Setter and you will feel the difference.

Read more: Red Wing Irish Setter reviews (8)

Lowa Tibet GTX

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (10 reviews)

I bought these boots as a semi-rigid boot for general alpine use. After a week walking around town, I took them for an easy 2-hour hike. That was enough to break them in sufficiently for a 9-hour T4 hike on mixed rocky ground including VF in the range A-C and some grade I climbing. The boots felt good, comfortable and though the temperature was more than 30°C, and we were approaching the peak from the SE with the blazing sun being mercilessly bright, my feet never felt too hot. I always felt quite comfortable with respect to balance and grip on both the rock and the metal studs and ladders.

Read more: Lowa Tibet GTX reviews (10)

AKU Superalp GTX

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Proper trekking boots handmade in Italy, suitable for long multiday treks with a heavy pack and in all terrains. Inspired by mountaineering boots, these boots do possess some technical abilities.

Reasons to Buy

  • Stability
  • Traction
  • Shock absorption
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Narrow toe box

After a great disappointment with my previous boots, the Meindl Softline due to durability issues, I opted for the Italian shoemakers thanks to their reputation and advice I got. Aku wasn’t a brand I knew before, and the name didn’t give away the location of the manufacturer, but they caught my eye during my research. It turns out it’s a well establish shoemaker, in business for several decades, and the Superalp is one of their best models. I have these boots for almost three years, and though I haven’t taken them through the wringer, I did test them on multiday treks with a pack load of 16-18 kg on many different terrains like granite rocks, forest floors, slippery mud, scrambles, boulders, etc.

Read more: AKU Superalp GTX review (1)

Danner Mountain Light II

user rating: 4 of 5 (29 reviews)

Rugged, supportive with classic styling. No frills, bells, or whistles, just quality boot.

Reasons to Buy

  • Support
  • Quality construction
  • Classic styling
  • Quality material

Reasons to Avoid

  • Long break-in period
  • Slightly heavier than "modern" hiking boots

Let me start by saying that I began researching quality hiking boots after becoming very disappointed with the quality and durability of mass production boots from companies like Timberland.  I wanted a pair of boots that didn't start deconstructing after 4 or 5 months of mild wear.  After a considerable amount of research into brands and styles, I decided that the Danner Mountain Light series would fit my needs. For starters, I was interested in the Danner company, an Oregon-based made-in-America shop and the classic style of the Mountain Light series, a boot that was originally designed in the mid 1970s that, while updated for current technology (GoreTex liner and Vibram outsole), has maintained a classic look.  While I loved the company...

Read more: Danner Mountain Light II reviews (29)

Salomon Quest 4 GTX

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

A well-made heavy-ish hiking boot for backpacking and hiking. Excellent support and foot protection and comfortable. Works equally well for wider and narrower feet, and has a nice, grippy sole. On the heavy and pricy side for day hikers, and they run warm in the summer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Support
  • Sole grip
  • Comfort
  • Waterproof
  • Durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Heavy
  • Warm for summer
  • Price

INTRO/BASICS   I picked up the Quest 4s last May to replace a pair of Salomon mid boots, and because my younger brother raved about how they worked for him on a trek in Europe. The brand fits me well, and I was looking for a little more support and durability. My size 11.5 pair weighs slightly less than 3 pounds. The Quest 4 does not come in wide sizes but is a roomy boot. They’re available in men's sizes 7-14 and in a female-specific model sizes 5-11.   HOW THEY FIT AND FEEL The Quest 4 is a substantial boot.

Read more: Salomon Quest 4 GTX reviews (2)

Vasque St. Elias GTX

user rating: 4 of 5 (7 reviews)

A solid, well made, very comfortable backpacking boot that doubles as a day hiker on rough terrain.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy break-in
  • Comfortable
  • Durable upper
  • Waterproof
  • Excellent lacing system

Reasons to Avoid

  • Terrible laces
  • Virbram sole wears quickly depending on terrain

After reading some stellar reviews on the Vasque St. Elias GTX, including its winning Editors Choice as "Best Hiking Boot" from Outdoor Gear Lab, I dove in and grabbed my first pair of all leather pair of boots.  Most of my trail time is spent backpacking but I still get out on a lot of day/night hikes. I wanted a boot that would perform well with both light and heavier loads and the St. Elias has definitely served that purpose. Despite their 3 lb+ weight, I don't know if I've ever had that feeling where you can't wait to take your boots off at the end of the day.

Read more: Vasque St. Elias GTX reviews (7)

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