Time to hit the trails — these hiking boots are guaranteed to keep your feet protected through rain or shine.

By Madeline Diamond and Madison Alcedo
Updated June 03, 2020
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Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or completely new to the trails, any hiker knows that the type of footwear you lace up before a hike is key to enjoying the journey it takes to see the end result, which is often a gorgeous overlook that’s totally worth the trek. Take it from someone who hiked Mount Washington — New England’s tallest peak — in one day. I was a beginner, and if I didn't wear the proper hiking boots, I could have severely injured myself during the nine-hour hike through various slick terrains (which included climbing over huge boulders).

With hundreds of different brands to browse through with each promising a new level of comfort, it can be hard to shop for the most comfortable hiking boots when you need to upgrade your hiking gear for an upcoming trip. And while you could opt for hiking shoes instead, hiking boots offer extra support around the ankle, a more durable construction, and often have more stable soles, making them the ideal choice for long hikes or multi-day trips.

Related: More camping and hiking gear

It’s best to consult a thorough hiking shoe guide before embarking on any new trail (especially if you’re a beginner), but if you don’t want to worry about buying more than one pair for different uses or trail types, the smartest choice is to invest in hiking boots first. While you may assume that hiking boots will feel heavier on your feet than typical trail running or hiking shoes, well-made pairs are actually more lightweight than you would imagine, weighing in at just two to three pounds. And if you know you’ll be carrying a heavy pack with supplies during your hike (a pack that exceeds 30 pounds), you’ll definitely want to wear hiking boots so your feet have more support as they compensate for the extra weight.

Don’t underestimate your shoes — they’re one of the most essential pieces of hiking gear, and having the right pair is essential for your safety and comfort throughout a hike. To help you make the best choice, we’ve browsed thousands of reviews from real hikers and rounded up the 12 most comfortable hiking boots to wear on the trail this year. From insulated and waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry in the harshest conditions to breathable and slip-resistant options, there’s a perfect pair for every type of hiker on this list — for experts and beginners alike.

1. Most Comfortable Hiking Boots Overall: Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

Courtesy of Merrell

Merrell’s Moab hiking boot collection has been nicknamed the “Mother of All Boots” since it’s gained a cult-following in the hiking community (and for good reason). Avid hikers swear by Moabs not only because they don’t take long to break in, but once you do, you’ll love their ability to keep your feet dry and well-ventilated through any conditions. And thanks to the contoured footbeds with extra arch and heel support, these are go-to boots for hikes any longer than a few miles. The Vibram sole with 5mm lugs is an added bonus as it helps cling to rough and rocky surfaces for extra traction. Loyal Moab-wears are so obsessed with these boots that many say they’ll wear them until they have to replace them.

To buy: merrell.com, $108 (originally $135)

2. Most Comfortable Waterproof Hiking Boots: Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot

Courtesy of Amazon

When you’re planning a long hike that may have rain in the forecast, grab this trusty pair of Columbia waterproof hiking boots. Not only do these boots have a ton of positive reviews (many of which rave over how comfortable they are), but they’re also our go-to option for a waterproof boot because of the waterproof leather material and advanced rubber sole that guarantees a slip-free step on slick, rough ground.

To buy: zappos.com, $80

3. Most Comfortable Option With Shock Absorption: Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid Leather Waterproof Hiking Boots

Courtesy of Zappos

For a more rugged look, this hiking boot is a great mid-ankle option that you can trust to stand up to any trail conditions. With a full leather construction, you’ll likely have to spend some time breaking in this pair — but once you do, they’ll comfortably conform to your feet and you can take advantage of their shock-absorbing cushioning and lug outsoles for extra traction.

To buy: zappos.com, $87 (originally $115)

4. Most Comfortable Hiking Boots With Extra Breathability: Keen Voyageur Mid Hiking Boots

Courtesy of Amazon

These rugged hiking boots are made from water-resistant leather and mesh inserts, which provide plenty of comfortable ventilation. Given the mesh details, we vote this pair as the most breathable among hiking boots. You can hike for miles, and your feet will still stay cool and comfortable.

To buy: amazon.com, $130

5. Most Comfortable Stylish Option: Forsake Patch Hiking Boots

Courtesy of Zappos

If hiking boots can be chic, we’re declaring this Forsake hiking boot as the most fashionable. These boots are available in six colors, including this stylish black and tan combination. But apart from style, these boots also provide plenty of durability, comfort, and traction. Plus, the HydroGuard seam-sealed internal membrane will be sure to keep your feet dry in any weather conditions.

To buy: zappos.com, amazon.com, $113 (originally $150)

6. Most Comfortable Hiking Boots for Wet Conditions: Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Courtesy of Zappos

When you run into rain or wet conditions on a hike, the right boots won't slow you down. These boots from Salomon are made from water-resistant mesh and coated leather, providing a breathable yet waterproof construction that will be sure to keep your feet comfortable and dry. There's also a mud guard and the tongue is designed to keep debris out.

To buy: zappos.com, $165

7. Most Comfortable Hiking Boots With Rock Plates: L.L. Bean Alpine Hiking Boots

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a pair of hiking shoes or boots with an added rock plate, and this pair is no different. These L.L. Bean boots boast additional rock plates that help protect your feet from jagged rocks or roots during each step you take, and after trying them, chances are you’ll never want to wear hiking boots without them again. Made to be 25 percent lighter than L.L. Bean’s classic Cresta hiking boot, this pair is guaranteed to be trail-ready straight from the box — no break-in time required.

To buy: llbean.com, $139

8. Most Comfortable Leather Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

While this pair of hiking boots might require a brief break-in period because of the leather material, once they've conformed to your feet, you’ll never want to take them off. These boots are favorites of many experienced hikers because of their multi-directional lug soles that Keen has dubbed the “four-wheel drive for your feet.” With a flexible EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate, a porous material similar to rubber) midsole and footbed, they’re made for comfort yet still provide plenty of support.

To buy: dickssportinggoods.com, $135

9. Most Comfortable Slip-Resistant Hiking Boots: Alpine Design Passare Waterproof Hiking Boots

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Forget worrying about fair-weather hikes. With this pair of hiking boots, you’ll be ready to face any weather thanks to the shoe’s slip-resistant lugs that provide the ultimate support in rainy conditions. Not only is there extra lug support on the exterior of the shoe, but the boots are padded inside with an Ortholite foam insole that basically feels like you’re walking on a cloud (instead of a rocky trail). And while you may enjoy the subtle pop of color that the laces give, this pair comes with an extra set of more neutral-colored laces.

To buy: dickssportinggoods.com, $70 (originally $90)

10. Most Comfortable Hiking Boots With Insulation: XPETI Women's Thermator Mid High-top Waterproof Hiking Boots

Courtesy of Amazon

For cold weather hikes where you might run into snow and ice, a pair of boots with insulation is a must. These hiking boots have a waterproof mesh upper that will keep your feet dry, while Thinsulate insulation keeps feet warm.

To buy: amazon.com, from $60

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