Best 3-season walking boots for 2024: multi-season hikers

Whether you favour traditional all-leather pairs or ultra-light modern footwear, 3-season boots will provide the support, traction and protection you need for all your non-snowy hillwalking exploits.

Three photos of 3-season walking boots being worn

by Matt Jones & Ellie Clewlow |
Updated on

Finding your ideal walking boot can be tough, so we've tested and reviewed the best options for use throughout most of the year – these are often referred to as '3-season walking boots'.

Promising all-day comfort and sure-footed traction in wet or dry weather, as well as support and stability on broken or uneven ground, 3-season walking boots offer both value and versatility across a range of different conditions and seasons.

Hiker wearing La Sportiva Trango Tech Leather GTX
©Live For The Outdoors

Our shortlist:

Best in Test: Scarpa Rush Trk Pro GTX View Snow And Rock

Best Value: Vasque Breeze View on Trekinn

Best lightweight 3-season boot: Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX V2 View on Inov-8

Naturally, some hillwalkers prioritise certain boot attributes over others. Those who like to go 'fast and light' might consider low weight the most important quality. Others might want cushioning, stability, or long-term durability above all else. But really, the ideal 3-season walking boot should be a consummate all-rounder. That's why we've picked out those that strike the best balance overall.

The best 3-season hiking boots in detail:

Best in Test

Scarpa Rush Trk Pro GTXLFTO

Ellie loved the new women's Rush Trk Pro straight out of the box. Men's and women's versions are built on different lasts, but both are slimmer in the mid foot and heel with a roomier forefoot. It gives more room for toes to wriggle and for thicker socks when needed. The fit won't suit everybody, however. But as they only come in one width, the Scarpa Rush will either work for you or it won't.

Ankle padding is generous thanks to Scarpa's supple 3D Autofit collar, as is underfoot cushioning courtesy of a chunky EVA midsole. Traction from Scarpa's own Presa Supergum outsole is also excellent.

Up top, you get oiled nubuck leather for decent abrasion resistance, and the lacing system uses metal hardware for robustness. This adds a little weight but improves durability. The result is a sturdy boot protective enough for genuine 3-season use in all conditions whilst retaining a light and agile feel.

Check out the women's version here

Read our full Scarpa Rush Trk Pro GTX review here

Pros

  • Impressive performance for a relatively lightweight boot
  • Can be re-soled
  • Good cushioning
  • Excellent grip

Cons

  • Boot last won't suit everyone

Best Value

Vasque BreezeLive for the Outdoors

The Vasque Breeze is a well-proven design that's been part of this US bootmaker's range for the past two decades. However, it's been completely reworked for 2023 with more sustainable materials. This includes fully recycled content in the collar lining and webbing, plus partly recycled materials in the heel counter, the upper mesh sections and the waterproof liner. The rest of the uppers are made from nubuck leather.

Underfoot, the EVA foam midsole also contains 20% recycled sugarcane. It feels like a quality boot and offers excellent value for money. On the foot, the boot is supple, well padded and extremely comfortable. It needed no breaking in and felt nicely cushioned, even on long hill days. The fit is relatively slim from heel through to toe. They do, however, come in a wide version too. This means they're fairly generous in length – you might even want to drop a half size, but as ever with boots, try before you buy.

On test, they proved to be competent and versatile performers. Though the cleat-style tread pattern isn't the deepest or the most aggressive, traction was good on a range of surfaces. We found the nubuck leather uppers soak up a lot of water, but feet still stay dry. The flexible midsole makes for easy walking but offers less assurance on more technical terrain.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Good value
  • Uses recycled material
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile outsole

Cons

  • Midsole too flexy for technical terrain

Best lightweight 3-season boot

Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400 GTX V2Live for the Outdoors

Perhaps too similar to the original boot to be called 'new', but 'improved' they very much are, and
where it really matters too.

This 'Version 2' Roclite offers significant improvements on the original. The upper's tighter weave is 40% stronger and offers more protection to the Gore-Tex membrane. An extended toe bumper and a flexible underfoot rockplate protect from sharp objects.

Comfort has been boosted by the wrap-around heel lock system, and the new POWERFLOW midsole improves cushioning and delivers energy return. The graphene-infused rubber outsole features 6mm lugs for grip and promises greater longevity than non-graphene alternatives.

Despite the durability improvements, this is still a flexy mid-height boot. Therefore, if you want very good stability for technical terrain, something like the Scarpa Rush Trk Pro GTX would be better.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Very durable for a lightweight boot
  • Ideal for fast-paced walking
  • Impressively versatile...

Cons

  • However, you might want something stiffer or sturdier for technical terrain
  • No wide fit

Best budget 3-season walking boot

Keen Circadia Waterproof BootLFTO

Rrp: $134.95

Price: $86.49
Alternative retailers
Backcountry$72.48View offer

Being one of the most durable picks on this list, Keen's Circadia Waterproof boot makes up for its lack of technical features by providing unmatched foot protection. Ideal for any new hiker who doesn't want to break the bank. It's big and chunky with a broad, high-volume fit that will best suit those with wider feet. The high collar gives a big boost to stability, though this boot can feel somewhat cumbersome at times.

That's down to an oversized toe bumper and a thick heel counter with robust double-stitched leather uppers sourced from an LWG-certified tannery. So, they score high for durability and sustainability too, particularly since these boots also have a PFC-free finish. 

The leather uppers add support and stability, aided by Keen's heel capture system to pull everything in tight. The ankle cuff is very well padded, with an Achilles cutaway, but it is stiffer than most other mid boots, which can be a pro or con depending on your style. A dual-density 'LuftCore' EVA-based midsole provides good cushioning. The sole is still very flexible though. 

Traction comes from a tread pattern of 5mm multi-directional lugs. The boot's chunky design also puts plenty of rubber in contact with the ground. Waterproofing comes from Keen's own membrane rather than a branded Gore-Tex liner, but it did its job on test.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Protective
  • Durable
  • Accommodating fit
  • Sustainable

Cons

  • Wide fit not for everyone
  • Relatively heavy

Best 3-season mid boot

Oboz Sawtooth X Mid WaterproofLive for the Outdoors

Oboz is another US footwear brand, and the Sawtooth Mid is one of its most popular models. It's a genuine mid-cut boot with good mobility, though with a lower flood height and less ankle protection than the other boots here.

They aren't the most nimble or agile mid-boot around because they aren't as light as they look, being comparable in weight to everything else we tested except for the all-leather Altberg Tethera. But the Sawtooths are reasonably robust, with sturdy and durable oiled nubuck uppers.

Inset Cordura mesh panels also feel fairly tough and help with breathability, although on hot days, these boots still end up feeling quite warm. Ellie found they required a little breaking in too. Though, it didn't take long for them to become comfy, proving a snug fit with no heel slip or excess 'sliding' room inside.

Part of that is down to the insole – unlike the flimsy footbeds of most boots, Oboz supplies a quality insole with a snug heel cup and a structured instep. Meanwhile, the front of the boot is quite roomy, with a broad, flattened toe box.

Underfoot, the EVA midsole provides good cushioning, and chunky, angled lugs offer dependable traction on mixed surfaces. The lower volume uppers probably won't suit those with high arches, but the wide fit may help.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Excellent insole
  • Robust
  • Good midsole cushioning
  • Dependable lugs

Cons

  • Require some breaking-in

Best 3-season boot for hillwalking

Lowa Renegade GTX MidLive for the Outdoors

This is a perennially popular model from the German bootmaker that has serious hiking heritage. It's been around in one form or another for 25 years and counting. In fact, we've been testing the 25th Anniversary Edition.

The Renegade GTX is constructed with durable double-stitched nubuck leather uppers and a Gore-Tex lining. There's a lot of stitching, and we couldn't help but wonder about potential failure points, especially where the boot flexes.

Despite being described as a 'mid', it's a full-height boot that gives good ankle support plus added reassurance when splashing through puddles, bogs and streams. You also get a well-padded tongue and collar for comfort.

Underfoot, the PU midsole is slightly stiffened for stability but less cushioned than some rivals. Traction comes from a Vibram Evo sole unit, which has deep, sharply angled lugs that give good grip across a range of different surfaces. The rubber compound is softer than some for added impact absorption and rebound, as well as better contact grip on slippery rock.

The Renegade has formfitting uppers but a broad, rounded toe box that gives plenty of space for toes to splay – ideal for long hill days – while the rear section hugs the heel nicely. The boot comes in narrow, standard or wide fits.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Very good outsole
  • Time tested design
  • 3 widths available

Cons

  • Others have better midsole cushioning
  • Stitching around flex points a possible issue

Best for comfort

Merrell Rogue Hiker MidLive for the Outdoors

From the off, these Merrell boots won us over with their comfort thanks to a wonderful fit and cushy midsole.

For years, the hiking staple from Merrell was its Moab boots, but the Rogue Hiker is our new favourite. Being a proper boot, rather than mid-height (despite being called 'mid'), it instantly feels secure and stable. Around the cuff is excellent padding as well, so we could wear shorter and less padded socks with it if we wanted to.

The fully synthetic upper is lined with Gore-Tex. Although the upper is protected from abrasive assaults with a TPU around the lower part of the upper and the toe, the Rogue Hiker did feel like it could suffer flex point blowouts with prolonged use, as is so often the case with synthetic boots.

But underneath, the sole is derived from some of Merrell's top trail running shoes. It soaks up impacts nicely but wears well. And the Vibram Megagrip outsole is tremendous, excelling on both soft and hard terrain, with the exception of supper muddy ground.

It's made from a significant portion of recycled material and features an anti-odour treatment, which is a feature that pays dividends on long treks.

Pros

  • Superb comfort
  • Grippy and stable
  • Reasonably lightweight
  • Great for short and long hikes

Cons

  • No women's version (yet)
  • Not as durable as leather

Best 'classic' 3-season boot

Altberg TetheraLive for the Outdoors

A classic 3-season boot with sturdy uppers and a firm midsole, the Tethera seems custom-built for UK hillwalking. Available in five widths, from extra narrow to extra wide, you should be able to get a great fit.

If you're used to traditional leather boots, they'll feel reassuringly familiar. Otherwise, expect a gentle break-in period. They're fairly stiff, although a rocker sole helps to promote a more natural gait. Some might love their stability and protection, while others might bemoan the lack of feel and precision underfoot. But they are extremely comfortable around the ankle, with excellent padding.

A fully gusseted tongue and waterproof lining means that you are extremely unlikely to get wet feet. It's quite warm, which is ideal if you get cold feet, though not so well-suited if you like a more breathable boot. They're the heaviest boots in our test, but the one-piece leather upper with minimal stitching and a full rubber rand delivers excellent durability.

In terms of traction, the Vibram Masai outsole is better in the dry than in the wet. It's not terribly reliable on slippery rock, but on the plus side, the self-cleaning lugs don't tend to clog with mud or grass. An undercut heel breast improves downhill braking, and a front toe ledge helps on scrambly sections.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Robust
  • Can be re-soled
  • Available in 5 widths
  • Fully gusseted tongue

Cons

  • Outsole not great on wet rock
  • Heaviest boots on test

Best for technical terrain

AKU Trekker Lite III GTXLive for the Outdoors

This is a well-made hillwalking boot that is better equipped to tackle tougher and more technical terrain than most. The upper is made from suede leather and AKU's highly breathable Air 8000 material, which makes this a good boot for warmer days (or sweaty feet). But a Gore-Tex liner still ensures reliable waterproofing.

It also has a robust toe and heel counter and a plush tongue and ankle cuff. The rear collar lacks an Achilles cutaway but is soft enough not to put pressure on this area, even when descending. A dual-density EVA midsole provides some cushioning but not too much. The emphasis is definitely on solidity and stability.

Of all the boots on test, this was our favourite for rocky scrambles, thanks to its neat toe and stiffer midsole. But we wish they had a rubber rand or at least a toe bumper to fend off rocks and scree.

Traction comes from a Vibram Curcuma outsole, which has deep, widely spaced lugs that clear out mud well. An undercut heel breast gives good downhill control, while the front section has a small toe ledge for precise placements.

Overall fit is a typical Alpine last – quite slim in terms of width, with medium volume overall. Don't dismiss it if you have broad feet though because a wide fit is also available, which gives considerably more room for the toes and forefoot. According to AKU, this wide fit tends to suit a lot of British walkers.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Stiffer midsole great for mountains
  • Still relatively lightweight
  • Versatile lug pattern
  • Good breathability

Cons

  • No rand or toe bumper
  • Not much midsole cushioning

How to buy the best 3-season walking boots:

Fit: Everyone's feet are shaped differently. Your best bet is to try for size in a shop. Aim for a secure, comfy fit at the heel and space in the toe box for your toes to splay.

Upper: Traditional leather uppers have minimal stitching and are renowned for being long-lasting and bombproof. Synthetic uppers have no break-in time, are lighter with enhanced flex and breathability, and can be vegan-friendly.

Waterproofing: A waterproof-breathable membrane liner will help keep your feet dry. This is often Gore-Tex or a brand's proprietary technology.

Tongue: A padded tongue provides improved comfort. And a gusseted tongue fully attached to the uppers offers better protection from water and debris.

Lacing: A good lacing system runs smoothly and enables precise, bespoke adjustment to your foot shape.

Ankle cuff: A higher cuff helps fend off water and debris from entering the boot and provides ankle support. But it may feel heavy and restrictive. Lower cuffs make boots lighter with a more flexible feel.

Toe bumper and rand: A strong toe bumper will protect your toes from rocky ground, while a rand offers additional protection and durability.

Heel counter: This stiffened cup at the heel helps lock the foot in place and offers additional stability and support.

Insole: Bootmakers usually skimp on insoles. Getting a specialist insole is a great way to enhance comfort and stability.

Midsole: The midsole provides cushioning and stability. Boots can vary a lot when it comes to these two aspects. Winter boots are stiffer for climbing. Lighter boots are more cushioned and have more flex for speed.

Outsole: The outsole provides traction via a tread pattern of rubber cleats and lugs. Deep and widely spaced lugs provide won't get clogged with mud. A deep heel breast aids braking power in descents.

Hiking boot care

If you expect your 3-season walking boots to take care of you, you have to take care of them in return. This is vital for boot performance and longevity. Some of our favourite gear care products come from Granger's. Its products are both effective and Bluesign-approved.

For cleaning any fabric, including leather and suede, use Granger's Footwear + Gear Cleaner. The best option for maintaining water repellency is Granger's Footwear Repel Plus. However, if you've got full-grain leather boots, its G-Wax is best for conditioning and waterproofing. An alternative is Nikwax's footwear cleaner and all-fabric proofer.

How we tested these 3-season hiking boots

To find the best 3-season walking boots, we gathered together a range of contenders and put them to work in Snowdonia. Our testing involved everything you'd expect a 3-season walking boot to do, including general hillwalking, tramping through wet and muddy patches, and a bit of scrambling.

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Matt Jones and Ellie Clewlow are freelance gear testers for Live For The Outdoors and Trail Magazine. They have walked several long-distance backpacking trails in New Zealand, the USA and throughout the UK.

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