When it comes to hiking boots, we don't go by looks alone (as much as we really, really want to). These performance-grade kicks need to hold up to a host of elements — rain, snow, sleet, mud, and more than a little sweat — while supporting our feet and ankles over oftentimes unpredictable terrain. So, when shopping for a pair, there are lots of boxes to check off: are they waterproof? Lightweight? Deeply treaded? Equipped with enough cushioning for a day’s worth of comfy hoofing? And, finally, are they at least kinda cute?!
Given the sky-high standards required of this workhorse outdoor footwear, there are enough reviews to fill an encyclopedia of online feedback — and we combed them all in order to hunt down the hiking boots with enough bells and whistles to satisfy five-star requirements. In perusing the wares of brands like Merrell, Columbia, Keen, Hoka, and Teva, we looked out for the highest praise and enough R29-approved style points to help them stand out from the pack.
Ahead, 17 such boots that are supportive AND stylish enough to satisfy the internet’s most exacting shoppers (and hikers).
Welcome to Hype Machine, our hit-list of the top reviewed products across the web — according to a crowd of die-hard shoppers. Call this your 4-star & up only club, with entry granted by our devoted-to-the-goods shop editors
Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex
Salomon is one of the biggest names in the hiking space — Footwear News reported that they were in the top five best-selling brands of 2020. While there are a lot of great things to be said about this shoe (including improved stability and advanced grippy treads), the one thing customers are really freaking out over are the shoe’s lighter-than-air properties.
The Hype: 5 out of 5 stars; 14 reviews on Salomon.com
What They’re Saying: “Love these boots. They are so light that when they arrived I thought I was going to find the box empty!
Good traction and genius lacing system. Very comfortable from box to trail with no issues. Worth the price tag!” — MandyB, Salomon.com reviewer
Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex, $, available at Salomon
On Cloudrock Waterproof Boot
The Most Miraculous
There are more proprietary names on this super-engineered speed-hiking shoe than we can count, from MissionGrip (a super-traction-y rubber used for the outsole) to FlexLock (easy-tying laces) to Zero-Gravity CloudTec (cushy, comfy insoles). The mesh upper is waterproof and simultaneously breathable, and the whole shebang is up to 35% lighter than comparable styles — meaning that it can traverse almost any terrain with comfort and ease. Essentially, Cloudrock is a miracle. If you don’t believe us, read what the reviewers have to say.
The Hype: 5 out of 5 stars; 33 reviews on OnRunning
What They’re Saying: “On deserves much reverence and notoriety. Only can imagine the engineering and knowledge of human biomechanics that had to go in this…to have such an end result. I honestly feel lucky to have stumbled upon such an amazing hiking boot. Side note I’m from Florida. Afraid of injury I knew I really needed something next level, especially because I was not used to the kind of rough terrain in Tetons. I feel for an ‘amateur hiker’ these boots alone are going to add miles to my trip for me. I can go on and on but I’ll save you on that. Read the literature. Watch the ads. Everything they say about this boot and their products is absolutely true. The technology is really something you have to feel to believe. The most progressive I’ve seen in awhile truly groundbreaking and innovative. I not only have been completely sold and will only use the Cloudrocks for hiking trips I am completely sold and cannot wait to order my first pair of On Running shoes. I honestly won’t use any other brand from here on out that requires shoes for rigorous activity. OR is my official brand for my feet from here on out. I can’t believe I’ve lived life this long without any of their products. Unreal. I’m beyond impressed.” — Rachel, OnRunning.com reviewer
On Running Cloudrock Waterproof Boot, $, available at On Running
L.L. Bean Vista Mid Hikers
Best Vintage Sneaker Style (With Modern Engineering)
Looking for a sneaker-styled boot with all of the advantages of modern hiking footwear technology? Look no further than L.L. Bean’s Vista Mid Hikers. It boasts a waterproof construction and cushy EVA midsole for a supportive fit, while a suede upper gives it that vintage-inspired je ne sais quois.
The Hype: 4.6 out of 5 stars; 4 reviews on Zappos.com
What They’re Saying: “Definitely recommended. These shoes are great! Plenty comfy. Plenty warm (just walked 3 miles in a mix of snow and dirt). Feet are dry. Plus I personally think they are stylish. Good go to kicks for winter when you don’t want to wear a sluggish winter boot. I usually wear a 9.5 in running shoes and a 9 in dress shoes. I ended up with a 9.” — Anonymous, Zappos.com reviewer
L.L. Bean Vista Mid Hikers, $, available at Zappos
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