When it comes to short hikes, fast hikes, and summer hillwalking, some lightweight hiking boots or shoes might serve your purposes better than your heavier hiking boots.
It's worth stressing from the outset that lightweight walking boots have a different set of strengths to heavier three-season ones and they both exist for a reason. Boots (often leather boots) are generally better for longer treks because their construction is more supportive and they are more durable. Meanwhile, lightweight hiking boots and shoes are much more breathable and don't sap stamina.
Some tougher and more supportive trail running shoes can also be used as lightweight hiking shoes. But mid-height, low-weight boots can offer a good balance between weight and support.
Lightweight hiking and fastpacking have boomed in popularity over the last five to 10 years. As a consequence, the corresponding footwear category has boomed with it. To trim down your vast array of candidates, we’ve been field testing many lightweight hiking boots and shoes to find the best currently available.
Inov-8 Roclite G345 GTX V2 – Best in Test
Columbia Facet 75 Mid – Best Value
Hoka Anacapa Breeze Mid – Best for comfort
La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX – Best lightweight 3-season boot
Danner Trailcomber – Best lightweight hiking shoe
Arc'teryx Aerios GTX Shoe – Best waterproof lightweight hiking shoe
Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX – Best for fastpacking and trail running
Keen NXIS EVO Waterproof Boot – Best lightweight boot for wide feet
Vivobarefoot Tracker Decon FG2 – Best minimalist walking boots
Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GTX – Highly recommended
The best lightweight hiking boots and shoes
1. Inov-8 Roclite G345 GTX V2
Best in Test
You rightly assume with walking boots you get durability or lightness. This boot shows we no
- Deceptively tough
- Very lightweight
- No stiffened toe cap
2. Columbia Facet 75 Mid
In terms of fit, the Facet 75 Mid feels quite similar to the Inov-8 Roclite G345 GTX V2. And
- Nicely cushioned
- Good grip for trails
- Good value
- Could be more sustainable
- Not especially thick midsole
3. Hoka Anacapa Breeze Mid
Best for comfort
The main aim of Hoka’s Anacapa Mid is to be as lightweight and breathable as possible, and the
- Lightweight and breathable
- Super comfy
- Handy quick-lace system
- Won’t keep water out
- Pretty aesthetic gets grubby quickly
4. La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX
Best lightweight 3-season boot
La Sportiva has managed to keep footwear ingenuity constantly flowing from the northern Italian
- Best ankle support on test
- Best soft ground grip on test
- Uses plenty of recycled material
- Others are even better for agility
5. Danner Trailcomber
Best lightweight hiking shoe
When the name of the game is breathability, Trailcomber takes the win. At less than 270g per shoe,
- Fantastically breathable
- Lightest footwear on test
- Good grip on firm ground
- Not much support
6. Arc'teryx Aerios GTX Shoe
Best waterproof lightweight hiking shoe
You could be forgiven for thinking upon first glance that the Aerios GTX is a trail running shoe.
- Good midsole for longer walks
- Recycled upper
- Excellent Vibram outsole
- Mids and boots offer better ankle support
7. Saucony Peregrine 13 GTX
Best for fastpacking and trail running
Named after the fastest bird on Earth, the Peregrine is a tried and tested trail running
- Suitable for trail running too
- Waterproof and non-waterproof versions
- 4mm drop may not suit everyone
8. Keen NXIS EVO Waterproof Boot
Best lightweight boot for wide feet
Those with wider feet are often drawn to Keen footwear. The [NXIS
- Exceptionally comfortable
- Well priced
- Anti-odour treatment
- Only suitable for marked trails and easy off-path terrain
9. Vivobarefoot Tracker Decon FG2
Best minimalist walking boots
Outdoor footwear makers normally spend a lot of time and effort on foot protection. Vivobarefoot
- Durable construction
- Aid balance
- Great for speed
- Sole struggles on wet rock
10. Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GTX
It's been a very tough choice between the Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GTX and Inov-8 Roclite G345 GTX
- Superb traction
- Fast Quicklace system
- Good midsole
- Could do with better ankle support
What to look for in lightweight walking boots
Outsole: Lightweight hiking footwear generally have lug patterns that favour hard-packed terrain. They're less suitable for mud and boggy ground and mountains.
Midsole: The midsole provides cushioning and stability. It is usually comprised of a stiff shank embedded in either EVA or PU, two different types of foam rubber. EVA offers lightweight cushioning but compresses over time. PU is heavier but more durable, resulting in a stiffer boot with a firmer feel underfoot.
Uppers: Lightweight walking boots and hiking shoes typically employ a mix of suede or nubuck and fabric, mesh or other synthetic materials. Some also eliminate stitching in favour of a welded construction to further reduce weight. A waterproof lining is often desirable, but not essential if you're after the best breathability.
Toe bumper: A toe bumper provides additional durability and protection for the front of the foot, particularly on rocky ground.
Toe box: A broad toe box gives more space for the toes to splay when walking, and more room if you're wearing thicker socks. A narrow toe box allows for more precise footwork when moving fast on technical terrain.
Heel counter: This is the stiffened cup that encloses the heel, providing protection and support. A firm heel counter helps to lock the foot in place and offers additional stability.
Tongue: A padded tongue is essential for comfort, but also look for a gusseted or bellows tongue. This prevents water and debris from entering the boot or shoe.
Ankle cuff: A mid boot has a lower ankle cuff than a standard boot, which saves weight and gives a more flexible feel while still offering some support and protection. Trail shoes are cut like trainers for maximum freedom of movement.
Volume: Wide feet or high arches need more room. Check there’s adequate space around the forefoot. Too little causes pinching, too much allows the boot to roll around your foot on uneven ground.
The relationship between hiker and gear is of a reciprocal nature. Or at least it should be if the hiker expects longevity and performance from their gear. Footwear needs to be cared for properly if it is to last and continue to perform as intended.
Footwear care is easy, whether for synthetic fabric or leather. Use water-based and PFC-free footwear cleaners and proofers from Grangers or Nikwax: