The best hiking boots reviewed (2022)

Hiking boots provide you with a solid foundation for enjoying trails, hill walks and treks. We've rounded up our favourite to help you find the right pair for you.

Hiking boots about to step into a puddle

by William Lobley |

A pair of excellent hiking boots is one of the key pieces of hardware for enjoying your time walking and hiking. Your ankles will thank you for the extra protection, your endurance upped, and your grip enhanced, which means that you can spend more time embracing the great outdoors.

As with all outdoor equipment, there are many different makes and models of hiking boots. This can make picking the right pair a bit of a daunting task. To help you find the pair of boots that works for you, we’ve rounded up our favourite options below. We’ve also included a short guide to some of the most important features of walking boots to help you make the right purchasing decision.

Don't forget that it's not only walking boots that are important. Be sure to pick the best waterproof jacket, backpack and tent, too!

Hiking boot categories

If you go into a footwear store or an outdoor retailer, hiking boots and shoes don’t tend to be split into categories beyond shoes, lightweight hiking boots, and heavier hiking boots. So when you hear phrases like ‘3-season boots’ and ‘mountain boots’, it can be tricky what fits where and ultimately, what’s best for you.

Broadly speaking, we tend to group hiking footwear depending on its seasonality:

Winter or mountain boots are stiff, crampon-compatible boots designed for ice and alpine treks.

Three-four season boots are toned down winter boots. They’re stiff enough to be compatible with C1 crampons but can still be comfortable when worn below the snowline.

Three-season boots are the popular category. These aren’t compatible with crampons, but instead provide comfort and support when treading up and over hills, through mud, scree, streams – basically any terrain below the snowline. Where winter and three-four season boots tend to be all leather, the three-season boot category consists of the toughest synthetic boots, in addition to classic leather options.

Lightweight summer boots (and shoes) is a category dominated by synthetic fabrics. They’re designed to be very light, breathable and ideal for short, fast hikes in warmer weather. The soles on these types of boots are adept at trails and gravel, rather than mud and technical terrain.

The best hiking boots

Below is a roundup of winners from each of the above categories. In addition, because they’re very popular, we’ve also included the best budget and best leather hiking boots. These boots have all won their respective group tests, so this article is like a dinner party of Olympic gold medallists.

Scarpa Manta Tech GTX

Best winter and mountain boot

Verdict: A robust B2 mountaineering boot with a legion of loyal fans – it’s a classic.

Scarpa Manta Tech GTX
©Photo: Live For The Outdoors

Men's sizes EU 40-50 | Women’s sizes EU 36-42 | Weight per boot 919g (men’s EU 43)

If you’re looking for a safe bet when purchasing a big, tough mountaineering boot, this is the one for you. The iconic Scarpa Manta has been around for decades and is a perennial Trail ‘Best in Test’ winner and for good reason.

It’s strong, durable, waterproof, fully-featured and beautifully engineered. This latest iteration, the Manta Tech, features an upgraded upper with less stitching, a warmer Gore-Tex liner and a more modern look.

But ultimately Scarpa has stuck to its proven formula: classic B2 stiffness, a heel welt for integration with C2 crampons, beefed-up Vibram Mulaz S outsole with a front climbing zone, Perwanger suede upper, and 360° wraparound rubber rand. The result is a stiff, bulky boot well-suited to kicking steps and negotiating ice, but with just enough flex and underfoot cushioning for comfy hiking on the approach. A broad, spacious fit leaves enough space for thick winter socks.

At 919g per boot, these are rather heavy and can feel cumbersome compared to other pairs – precision and accuracy in foot placement isn’t a forte of the Manta Techs. The broader, high-volume fit may feel too roomy for those with narrower feet. Quite pricey too

The best winter walking boots reviewed

Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX

Best 3-4 season boot

Verdict: A great mountain walking and backpacking boot for rough terrain and easier snow slopes, but others are slightly better on more technical ground.

Men's sizes EU 37-49 | Women’s sizes N/A | Weight per boot 870g (men’s EU 42)

Designed with a wide last, so it should fit those with wider feet better than some other designs. The boot features a very robust Hydrobloc waxed full grain leather upper, which offers plenty of durability and weather protection. You also get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a wide rubber rand for even more protection.

The outsole is a Vibram unit with very deep and widely-spaced lugs that are great for biting into soft ground. Lateral stiffness of the sole is good, making this great for scrambles, scree and edging on snow. But you also get a little more softness during forward flexing, which will suit those looking for more comfort below the snowline.

However, that softer forward flex means you have to work a little harder on scrambles or snow slopes than slightly stiffer and more supportive boots. Also the forefoot and toe don't feel quite as precise as some other models, so while good for easier scrambles, others are nicer when the holds need a little more careful foot placement.

It is slightly heavier than some boots that are stiffer, and when this is added to the other drawbacks it just feels slightly less precise. There is no women's version either.

The best 3-4 season hiking boots reviewed

La Sportiva Trango Tech Leather GTX

Best 3-season boot

Verdict: A fully featured, durable leather boot that’s ideal for big mountain days. As far as an all-round hiking boot goes, you’ll struggle to find anything better.

La Sportiva Trango Tech on test
©Photo: Live For The Outdoors/Tom Bailey

Men’s sizes 38-48 | Women’s sizes 36-42 | Weight per boot 650g (men’s size 8)

This is one of the best mountain boots we’ve tested in many years, and the Trango Tech Leather GTX won an accolade in our Gear of the Year awards for 2022. It's protective and supportive, yet surprisingly comfortable. It features a single-piece nubuck leather upper with minimal stitching, high-ankled cut, soft tongue, and rubber protection at the heel and toe. Waterproofing is via a Gore-Tex lining and a rubber Vibram outsole provides slip-free traction with a front climbing zone for edging.

On foot they feel reassuringly protective and supportive, yet surprisingly comfortable – for long mileage days they didn’t cause blisters or pinch points as you might expect with a sturdier boot. The clean, modern design features a nubuck leather upper – made from a high quality, single piece of leather with minimal stitching – and rubber protection at the heel and toe. The high-ankled cut ensures a high flood level and the soft, stretchy tongue has a sock-like snugness. Waterproofing is via a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining, and La Sportiva’s 3D Flex System enables the ankle good freedom of movement.

For some, they might prove a tad too heavy and stiff with an unforgiving fit. Underfoot cushioning and rebound could be better, and the penultimate lace loop, which is made of cord, is fiddly and awkward to use.

The best 3-season walking boots reviewed

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX

Best lightweight summer boot

Verdict: A lightweight boot that still provides enough structure and support to be reassuringly capable on technical terrain.

La Sportiva  Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX
©Photo: La Sportiva

Men's sizes EU 36-47.5 | Women’s sizes 36-43 | Weight per boot 500g (men’s EU 42)

La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor shoe is a legend in the mountain running world, much loved for its near-optimal balance of cushioning, support, protection and traction. When it first appeared, it was also impressively light, but as other brands have caught up it has moved towards the back of the pack in weight terms. It’s still no clodhopper though, and even this mid-height boot version, which has a waterproof Gore‑Tex liner, tips the scales at under a kilo per pair.

On test we found the fit to be slightly narrow, so it’s worth noting that the Ultra Raptors also come in a wide fit, which might be worth trying even if you normally take a regular size. It’s pretty much the only thing we didn’t get on with though. In all other respects, this is a superb boot.

It has a higher ankle cuff than most, with plenty of padding plus an elasticated rear panel that reduces pressure on the Achilles. The uppers are lightweight yet durable, with a chunky toecap and heel counter. The boot feels structured and supportive, inspiring confidence when moving fast on technical terrain, and the Frixion rubber outsole grips brilliantly. It’s the same stuff La Sportiva uses for its climbing shoes, although this is also its drawback, in that it is so soft and tacky that it tends to wear quickly.

The best summer walking boots and shoes reviewed

Berghaus Supalite II

Best budget boot

Verdict: Classic lightweight hillwalking boot. A leather boot that balances weight, reliability and comfort – but some may find the leather too soft and supple.

Berghaus Supalite II GTX on test
©Live For The Outdoors

Men’s sizes 7-12 | Women’s sizes 4-8 | Weight per boot 535g (men’s size 9)

The problem with traditional leather boots is they can be heavy, clunky and uncomfortable; and the problem with modern lightweight boots is they’re sometimes flimsy, leaky and not that durable. Cue the Berghaus Supalite II GTX – the boot that aims to solve both of these problems in one clever design.

At just 535g per boot, these give you the best of both worlds: the lightweight agility, nimbleness and speed you’d only expect from modern, trainer-inspired boots, and the faultless waterproofing – courtesy of a one-piece leather construction with minimal stitching and Gore-Tex liner – you’d normally only be guaranteed with heavy, bombproof leather boots.

The Supalite II is very comfortable, thanks to the soft, supple leather and the ankle cuff’s memory foam padding. Underfoot you get EVA cushioning and a Vibram sole unit with deep, well-spaced lugs, while the toe box and heel cup are nicely stiffened too. This ensures good support and protection, despite the light weight.

Heavier-duty leather boots will provide improved stiffness, protection and support. The fit is slightly narrower and closer than some other boots, which won’t suit all foot shapes, and the leather is so soft and supple ankle support is minimal.

The best budget hiking boots reviewed

Asolo Greenwood GV

Best leather boot

Verdict: A durable boot with a precise fit that is ideal for walking over a wide range of terrain, including negotiating more uneven, rocky terrain and scrambling over rock.

Men's sizes 6-13.5 | Women’s sizes 3.5-9 | Weight per boot 670g (size 8)

The Greenwood is designed for trekking with heavier packs when more support, protection and comfort is needed for rougher terrain.

The upper is made from quality leather, with a rubber rand at the toe for extra protection. Lacing extends to the toe, and the toe box itself is a neater fit and shape. It almost felt like a sock around my foot, while other boots are more spacious. I also like how effective the locking eyelet is to really pull the boot into my instep

Underfoot, the Vibram sole unit has widely spaced, deep lugs and a huge cliff of a heel breast. The toe area allows more precise placement of my foot onto small rock ledges, which other boots did not allow me to do so easily.

While walking on the paths and when scrambling over the rock, this was a really comfortable boot, so it managed to do everything I needed it to, rather than just be good for walking on paths or grass alone.

The colour did not immediately appeal, but if I’m honest, after just a day or two of use I have grown to quite like it and now actually prefer it to a standard brown leather boot.

Looks aside, what’s not to like? Well, the benefits of this boot over others need to be valued to justify the extra cash, as if I was not heading over rockier ground, then a lower-priced option would still be perfectly adequate. On really rocky ground, if I was using this boot day-in, day-out, I am sure a boot with a full rubber rand would be even more durable in the long term. Also, all that lacing, eyelets and stitching in the toe box is surely going to be less durable over time compared to boots with less clutter in this area. The drawbacks really come down to whether or not you want a boot for rockier ground, rather than a boot for easier ground.

The best leather hiking boots reviewed

Hiking boots care and cleaning

Crucial to the longevity and performance of hiking footwear is caring for and cleaning them properly. Head to our dedicated guide to hiking footwear care to learn the best way to keep your hiking footwear performing at its best for as long as possible.

Hiking boot glossary

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

Ankle cuff

The ankle cuff is the section of the boot that sits around your ankle. Higher cuffs offer additional ankle support, which helps you traverse uneven ground while also reducing the risk of sprains. The height of the ankle cuff can also help fend off water, mud and debris from entering the boot - which is always a nuisance. Some boots have a lower cuff. While this makes the boot lighter, it reduces the above benefits.

Often, the height of an ankle cuff is referenced in the title of a boot. For example: low, mid and high.

Upper

The upper of a hiking boot is the exterior material of a hiking boot - effectively all the area that isn’t the sole. Hiking boots are manufactured with different upper materials, and each has its pros and cons. Traditional leather uppers are constructed with minimal stitching and are renowned for lasting years (if well cared for). Synthetic and composite uppers typically offer some form of technical advantages - such as cooling, airflow and lower weight - but aren’t as durable as leather due to increased stitching and material strength.

Midsole flex

Midsole flex is a way of looking at the flexibility of a boot and the rigidity of its sole. This is important to note, as a flexible sole is preferred for even ground, while a rigid sole offers superior performance on inclines, scrambles and rough ground. You can test the longitudinal midsole flex by bending the boot from toe to ankle, and twist the sole to check lateral flex.

Toe box

A toe box protects your toes from the peril of stary rocks and heavy items. The harder the toe box, the more protection offered.

Rand

Rand is a rubber layer that can wrap around the toe, sole or whole boot. It can sit between the sole and upper, and it offers additional protection and improved durability.

Outsole

Well-spaced deep lugs can bite into the soft ground without clogging. A deep heel breast – the step between the heel and midfoot area of the sole unit – is vital for providing braking power in descents.

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