The Best Hiking Boots for Every Type of Terrain

a hiking boot on a mountain

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Maybe you’ve decided to go for hiking’s famous triple crown, starting this year. Perhaps you just can’t wait to get out in the sun and enjoy your favorite warm-weather hobbies. If you don’t want your feet to fail you, be good to them. Celebrate spring by treating them to a pair of one of the new best hiking boots. 

The perfect pair for you is the right fit for your feet. It should comfortably support your arches and leave enough toe room for comfort without leaving too much space for slipping and sliding. You should be able to wear them for several miles without pinching or blisters. 

You also have to consider your typical environment when selecting outdoor shoes. For example, those braving certain parts of the Pacific Coast Trail might find it a bit sloppier than usual this year. That’s okay — we’ve got you covered. Here are the best hiking boots for every type of terrain. 

For Deep Mud and Snow 

The best hiking boots for deep mud and snow feature a snug fit that won’t get sucked off your soles when it gets mucky. They should also feature waterproof styling to keep you dry, especially if the stuff under foot is white, not brown. 

1. B Bellevue Arm Your Feet Burma 901 V2 Lightweight Jungle/Tropical Boot 

Wait — why does the first item on this list of boots for mud and snow have “jungle” in the name? That’s because this shoe’s styling was inspired by Vietnam vets who know a thing or two about keeping your feet dry in the muck. They also understand the importance of healthy toes, and these puppies are so comfortable you won’t have to break them in like typical leather boots. They’re perfect for tackling this year’s uniquely sloppy PCT. 

2. Keen Targhee 2 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots 

The Keen Targhee offers multiple colors in both mid and low-rise styles for men and women. Their waterproof design keeps your toes dry even in snowy conditions. The external support shank on the mid-cut version offers superior ankle support over rocky terrain, and the rubber sole provides plenty of grip on slick surfaces. 

3. Saloman X Ultra 3 Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots 

Here’s another manufacturer who produces their boots in both low and mid-rise styles to let you select the best support level. If you love the ankle support of the mid-design for rugged terrain, order a second pair of low-riders for everyday use. 

Their waterproof design keeps you dry, especially if you combine them with a pair of waterproof socks. They’re so comfortable that they don’t feel like a hiking shoe — but you’ll appreciate their descent-control technology that keeps you from sliding on slippery services. 

For Rocky Desert Regions 

Rocks are sharp. So is nearly every plant in desert areas. You want a sturdy pair that protects your feet from accidental cuts. They also require adequate cushioning to help you go the distance without getting fatigued or inflaming existing plantar fasciitis as you scramble over uneven surfaces. 

1. Mountain Warehouse Adventurer Waterproof Hiking Boots

The 100% synthetic upper on these best hiking boots will keep jumping cholla from making a needle-y leap right into your foot. The mesh lining improves breathability, a must when the desert heats up. The EVA cushioning provides extra support over rocks. 

2. Rocky Men’s Prohunter Hiking Boot 

This is a great boot for guys who prefer classic leather styling. The upper reaches all the way to your calves to protect you while bushwhacking in thorny regions. The rubber sole provides superior traction over rocks. Plus, these look amazing paired with jeans — if you prefer a rugged aesthetic. 

3. Merrill Men’s Moab 2 Mid GTX Hiking Boot 

These mid-rise boots come in handy on rocky scrambles. The combination of synthetic leather and mesh on the uppers provide necessary stability and breathability, and the protective rubber toe cap prevents injuries from unseen trail hazards. 

best hiking boots

For Easy Forest Trails 

Sometimes, a walk in the woods is what you need. There’s no need to challenge yourself. Simply lose yourself in nature. The shoes on this part of the list feature a lightweight design that takes you from your favorite trails to running errands without skipping a beat. They’re also engineered for superior comfort and durability. 

1. Hoko Kaha 2 GTX Hiking Boots

These sleek shoes come in five impressive shades, from blue coral to cappuccino. They’re waterproof and won’t take on stains from inclement weather. A simple wipe with a damp rag is all you need to clean them. They also come in a wide range of sizes, from 7 to 15, with some half sizes. They will mold to your feet like a dream. 

2. Altra Lone Peak All Wthr Mid 2 Hiking Boots 

Here’s another modern-looking hiking boot available in black and clay. It comes in sizes from 7 to 16 and features a water-resistant bootie construction and an upgraded TPU kick plate. The oversized toe box lets your feet relax and spread out naturally without cramping your big toe. 

For Trail Running 

Trail running also requires additional stability. You must also prepare for uneven terrain, which can test the toughest ankles. These shoes can help you enjoy rugged outdoor runs in your favorite natural location with less risk of injury. 

1. Nike Pegasus Turbo Men’s Trail Running Shoes

Nike has long been synonymous with running. The Pegasus Turbo features stretchy, high-strength fibers that keep you stable on rocky trails while letting sweaty feet breathe. The ZoomX foam helps you increase your tempo while providing superior comfort. 

2. Brooks Catamount 2 Men’s Trail Running Shoes

If it’s grippy traction you seek in a trail running shoe, the Brooks Catamount is your design. These shoes also feature a propulsion plate to help you power up steep hills without running out of steam. The mudguard protects the colorful uppers from accidental splatter, protecting the bright cobalt blue or rooibos red shades. 

3. Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3

Are you looking for the ultimate lightweight trail shoe that still offers enough cushioning to keep rocks from ruining your run? The mesh upper recycles three plastic bottles per pair, letting you feel good about your shoe choice. Although you probably won’t be able to wait to wear these on the trail, the colorful styling makes these appropriate for casual Fridays at the office — at least until they get too dusty. 

Best Hiking Boots for Every Terrain Type 

Now that the warm weather has returned, it’s time to tackle your favorite outdoor adventures. Start the season right by rewarding yourself with a pair of these best hiking boots. 

From keeping you stable on slippery surfaces to helping you scramble over thorny rocks, the best hiking boots above have you covered regardless of your favorite activity. Invest in several pairs, and you’ll be ready to tackle any terrain you encounter on your adventures. 

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