The Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men and Women

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Waterproof hiking boots
Photo: RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

Outdoor enthusiasts know that it's always best to prep for rain, especially when you're heading to the trails. And when you're squishing down swampy terrain, the last thing you want is to keep that feeling going in your boots for the rest of the hike. A good waterproof hiking boot means you won't let the swamp in to begin with, but if you aren't careful, you may end up cultivating one of your own.

Most waterproof hiking boots win that designation by including an internal membrane layer of Gore-Tex — that's what the "GTX" means in so many boot names — or another proprietary waterproofing element. Think of it as a thinner bootie inside the outer boot structure. And while it was once a harbinger of sweaty soles to come, waterproofing technology continues to evolve and improve on both durability and breathability.

Fit is paramount in any hiking boot and should be the first thing you look for when choosing your pair; most brands will have a similar fit across their boot line. Once you find a style of boot that works with your feet, make sure they have a full waterproof interior, not just a membrane glued to the sole.

Related: The Best Camping and Hiking Gear You Can Find on Amazon

You may also want to consider purchasing a pair of gaiters, which acts as a protective layer between your pants and boots to make sure no water sneaks through, along with a secondary waterproofing treatment. Since a waterproof membrane is internal, a secondary treatment prevents moisture from getting into the layers of your boot between the membrane and the outside world. (Some boots come pre-treated, but they'll still likely need it to be refreshed over the course of their lifespan.)

Related: The Best Waterproof Backpacks for Your Next Adventure

The main trade-off you face in this category is that the boots will most likely be less breathable than a non-waterproof pair since they're carrying that second internal bootie rather than a mesh layer. If water gets inside the boot — or if you're prone to sweaty feet — you're stuck with it. If you regularly take hikes with high splash risk or through warmer climates, you may want something that's designed for maximum breathability instead.

Here are some of the boots that our research indicates are worth taking out for a test trek — not just for their waterproof capabilities, but for their performance as overall hiking boots as well. Included below are styles that have earned glowing reviews from shoppers and experts.

01 of 10

Best Overall: Lowa Renegade GTX Boots

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid in Beige
Courtesy of Zappos

Travel and outdoors writer Lisa Maloney shared that the Lowa Renegade GTX boots were her top recommendations in her testing career. According to the brand, these boots are best suited for casual hiking. Leather upper and Gore-Tex liners enhance their durability and waterproof capabilities, while a Cordura ankle band and PU midsole offer support and stability. A Vibram outsole absorbs shock to minimize strain and fatigue, no matter what your hike trail looks like.

"These boots are working great for me," a Zappos shopper wrote. "I broke them in a few times on short climbs (less than 1,000 vertical feet) then wore them on an 11-hour climb up Mt. Katahdin in Maine. No blisters, no pain [in] the ball of my foot, just general soreness after 11 hard hours of hiking, which I think is to be expected on a rough climb like that. They grip rock well and seem to be truly waterproof."

To buy: (men's) zappos.com, $240; (women's) zappos.com or backcountry.com, $240

02 of 10

Best for Rough Terrain: Salomon Quest 4D GTX Boots

Salomon QUEST 4 GORE-TEX
Courtesy of Salomon

Another recommendation from Maloney, these lightweight Gore-Tex boots excel in grip, stability, and protection so that you can power through long backpacking expeditions. They encourage the natural movement of your foot with their OrthoLite arch-supporting liner, promoting a smooth transition from heel to toe. They also have optimal heel cushioning and support to reduce fatigue, leather uppers that boost durability, and rubber heel and toe caps for extra waterproof defense and protection from unseen rocks. Finally, a Contragrip rubber outsole is made to grip onto slick terrains.

"I love the height these offer, there is absolutely no break-in time which means no blisters," a Backcountry customer said. "Super sturdy and durable, and extra waterproof." Another shared, "These boots protected my ankles when the inevitable fatigue of an ongoing ascent over jagged rock, in 100+ degree temperatures caused some sloppy foot planting… Despite the heat and the terrain, I came away with no blisters, hot spots, or bruised toenails."

To buy: (men's) salomon.com, $230; (women's) salomon.com or backcountry.com, $230

03 of 10

Best-fitting: Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Boots

Scarpa hiking boots
Courtesy of Zappos

The Zodiac is a top choice for rock and snow travel thanks to its pro-traction Vibram sole and waterproof Gore-Tex technology. The boots reduce the bulk of traditional hiking shoes with their Sock-Fit construction, which feels lightweight but still fits securely. Asymmetric extended lacing enhances that fit, and it prevents snow from creeping in, too. Their Perwanger leather upper resists moisture, and a rubber band across the toe and heel prevents injuries from protruding rocks. Inside, a tri-density midsole cushions and supports your foot.

"My first impression of the Zodiaks [sic] is that they are more firm and stiff than other boots I've owned — especially in the toe — which I loved," said one Backcountry reviewer. "I felt very secure in these. The first test that I put them through was an early autumn jaunt up one of my favorite trails, that features a ton of scrambling up wet rocks that streams pass over. I had tons of grip and felt sturdy the whole time."

To buy: (men's) zappos.com, $269; (women's) backcountry.com, $269

04 of 10

Best Budget: Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX Boots

Merrell hiking boots
Courtesy of Amazon

Merrell's Moab wins kudos for both its budget friendliness and lightweight construction. The affordable pick is made from a durable and breathable leather-mesh combination and features a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane. The boots have closed-cell foam tongues that act as a protective barrier to keep moisture and trail debris out, rubber toe caps to defend against hidden rocks, and Vibram TC5+ soles to ensure traction.

"These might be the most comfortable hikers right out of the box that I've ever bought. I put them on when they arrived to try them out and I didn't take them off until I went to bed," one Amazon shopper wrote, adding, "The toe bed is roomy and comfortable yet the lace-up supports the top of the arch and anchors the boots so that the foot doesn't slide and toes don't compress, even when going down significant slopes. Arch support is strong and the overall support is firm."

​​To buy: (men's) amazon.com, from $95; (women's) amazon.com, from $110

05 of 10

Best for Wide Feet: Keen Targhee III Mid WP Boots

KEEN Targhee III Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot - Women's in Magnet/Atlantic Blue
Courtesy of Backcountry

The Targhee boots are renowned for their wide toe box. Their waterproof membrane and water-repellent leather exterior keep you dry as the all-terrain rubber outsole delivers exceptional traction, even on muddy terrains. The boots are further enhanced with a stabilizing Torsion External Support Shank, which helps you confidently navigate uneven surfaces. Deep, multi-directional lugs and TPU heel-capture system also ensure a sturdy, grippy stride.

"I started shopping brands with excellent arch support and a wide footbed. Found them!," an Amazon shopper exclaimed. "Keen fits me perfectly: no hot spots or blisters. Awesome arch support, like walking on air. I seriously love these hikers."

To buy: (men's) amazon.com or zappos.com, from $118; (women's) amazon.com, zappos.com, or backcountry.com, from $120

06 of 10

Best Grip: Asolo Falcon GV Boots

Asolo hiking boots
Courtesy of Zappos

Power through wet trail conditions with Asolo's advanced grip system, which features an Asolo-Vibram rubber outsole and heel cleats for unwavering traction. The boots also have an anti-skid breaking system to keep you balanced and prevent overpronation. Gore-Tex technology offers waterproof protection, and the durable suede leather uppers are water-resistant. For comfort, the molded EVA midsole and underfoot insole cushion every step. These boots also have firm nylon panels for breathability, making them great for warm-weather treks.

"Okay, so these have to be one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes or boots I've ever owned," a Zappos customer wrote. "We've trekked through forest, mountains, and beaches over the past week and they handled all the different environments with ease. No break-in required."

To buy: (men's) zappos.com or backcountry.com, $240; (women's) zappos.com or backcountry.com, $240

07 of 10

Most Stylish: North Face Ballard II Lace Boots

The North Face Women’s Ballard III Lace Hiking Boots
Courtesy of The North Face

Luxury travel advisor Julie Michaels has worn her Ballard boots through safaris, gorilla treks, and hikes in Bhutan. "While there are sportier and more teched-out styles, they are simple and stylish enough that you won't feel out of place wearing them in cities or on the plane, so you're not sacrificing luggage space with bulky boots," she says. "They are 'water-resistant' and work well in the rain, but I would suggest adding additional waterproofing for more extreme conditions."

Reviewers also love the stylish boots, which have a secure seamless knit collar, comfortable OrthoLite sock liner, and rubber lugs for traction. One wrote on thenorthface.com, "No break-in period needed. I wore them during a weeklong trip to Ireland in early December. They kept my feet warm and dry in 30- to 40-degree Fahrenheit wet weather. In the city, I wore them with leggings and a dress, and in the country, I wore them with jeans. So versatile! I hiked muddy trails with uneven footing and they held up beautifully."

To buy: (women's) thenorthface.com or zappos.com, $139

08 of 10

Most Versatile: Blundstone Original 500 Boots

Blundstones
Courtesy of Zappos

If you've landed on this list looking for something a little different and want one pair of boots to pack for both backwoods hiking and city strolls, with more striding through puddles than fording rivers, Blundstones are the option for you. They'll hold up well and look right at home in either circumstance, and the leather is oil-treated for maximum water resistance.

"These are the real deal," one shopper said. "Everyday comfort, weather-proof, and styling to boot. What more could you want?"

To buy: (men's) backcountry.com; (women's) backcountry.com, $200; (unisex) zappos.com or nordstrom.com, $200

09 of 10

Best Insulated: Sorel Caribou Boot

Sorel MEN'S CARIBOU BOOT in Velvet Tan
Courtesy of Sorel

If your travels bring you to snowy terrains, you'll want an insulated and all-around supportive boot in your suitcase. Sorel's Caribou Boot has a seam-sealed construction for unmatched waterproof protection, as well as a water-resistant nubuck leather upper. Its tall shaft offers ankle support and keeps snow, slush, and rain away from your ankles and feet. And the boots' removable felt liners ensure that you stay warm, even when the weather is particularly frightful.

"Very happy with this purchase," one Sorel customer shared in their review. "Boots are very comfortable and warm. Excellent traction in the snow."

To buy: (men's) sorel.com or zappos.com, $170; (women's) amazon.com, sorel.com, or zappos.com, from $160

10 of 10

Best With Ankle Support: Manfen Hiking Boots

Manfen Men's Thermator Mid-Rise Waterproof Hiking Boots Trekking in Black
Courtesy of Amazon

The Manfen Hiking Boots support your feet from the midsole to the shaft with their cushioned mid-rise design. These waterproof boots have EVA footbeds for comfort and molded TPU backstay that keeps your ankle stabilized and supported. Mesh detailing means breathability, and rubber outsoles guarantee anti-slip traction. In fact, one reviewer joked that the shoes have a Spider-Man-level grip.

"Wow! [They] feel and work like much more expensive shoes," another Amazon shopper wrote. "Hiked in Zion, Moab, and Durango with them about 200 miles. Great grip, very comfortable, and great hold on your feet and ankles."

To buy: (men's) amazon.com, from $57; (women's) amazon.com, $46

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