From day hiking to backpacking, check out Campmor’s top ten hiking boots.
- TPS 535 by Asolo – The TPS 535 is offered in sizes for both women and men. It features full grain, smooth leather construction with an aggressive Vibram® outsole, thus providing solid traction. Though designed for backpacking, the 535 is not excessively stiff and breaks in nicely when worn on several day-hikes. Therefore, they will be ready to go for your next backpacking trip. Make sure to apply a waterproofing agent to the boots with a spray or applicator, since they have no Gore-Tex® waterproof liner.
- Wilderness Original by Merrell – In a climate where practically every form of gear now designed, from backpacks to tents, from sleeping bags to boots, is ultra-light, the Wilderness is a blast from the past. A traditional backpacking boot with Norwegian welt stitching, it features full grain, smooth leather on the outside and leather lining on the inside. While heavy, the distinguishing trait is its ability to mold precisely to the shape of your foot. By doing so, believe it or not, over time you will feel like you are gliding along the trail. So, if heading to the Alps is in your future plans, the Merrell Wilderness is the perfect fit. Because the Wilderness does not have a waterproof Gore-Tex® liner, these boots will need to be treated periodically with a waterproofing product.
- Sundowner by Vasque – No backpacking boot discussion would be complete without mentioning the all-time favorite by Vasque, the classic Sundowner. Long a staple of the Vasque boot line, the Sundowner was once the most popular footwear on the Appalachian Trail. All leather, with a Gore-Tex® waterproof lining, its dense midsole provides plenty of support. While shock absorption is minimal, hikers still rave how comfortable the Sundowner actually is. To accommodate most hikers’ feet, multiple widths, from medium to wide, are available.
- Clarion by Vasque – Like the Sundowner, the Clarion is also a staple of the Vasque line and is thankfully, one of those boots that simply won’t go away. It features a combination upper of nubuck leather with Cordura® nylon, thereby offering flexibility without compromising support. The Clarion can be easily categorized as a light backpacking boot, but does not require a lengthy break-in period. The Gore-Tex® waterproof lining ensures reliable waterproofing, but it’s still a good idea to treat the surface materials of your boots, for waterproofing. It can run at least a half-size long, so choose your size wisely.
- The Renegade II Mid GTX – Not convinced about wearing heavy duty backpacking boots? Ok, if lightweight is what you’re after, then you must consider Lowa’s Renegade series. Lowa has proven that boots do not necessarily have to be stiff and unbendable in order to be supportive. Designed with a solid midsole that maximizes stability and torsional support, they also provide sufficient shock-absorption. The Renegade will feel great, right out of the box and is ideal for backpacking adventures or weekend jaunts.
- The Vasque Breeze –The Breeze is a two-in-one boot of sorts, as it is probably the best example of a lightweight boot performing like a backpacking boot. The bottom half is structurally firm, with a rugged outsole, but the upper part is pliant enough, due to its lighter weight materials. It’s like getting the best of both worlds when it comes to hiking. They are offered in various widths and in a model with a Gore-Tex® waterproof insert.
- Moab Ventilator by Merrell – The Moab Ventilator by Merrell is the best place to start. It is offered in several versions, such as high and low tops, waterproof and non-waterproof. Like the Breeze, the Moab ventilates extremely well. Mesh panels throughout the shoe afford maximum breathability and yes, there’s plenty of cushion. Whether hiking, rock scrambling, or even for casual wear in the office, the Moab is perfect for all-around wear.
- Altitude IV for Men and Altitude Glide for Women by Hi-Tec – While leather boots may be perceived as too heavy and rugged, think again! The Altitude is the right choice for those still looking for an old fashioned leather boot. Lightweight, with sufficient shock absorption and cushion-oh, how the feet love the sound of that-the Altitude just feels great. And, better yet, as is typical with most of Hi-Tec’s footwear, the price point is unmatched and can’t be beat.
- Targhee by Keen – Want a sneaker-type shoe that performs like a hiking boot? Then the Keen Targhee is for you. Light, supple but yet stable, it is ideal for those seeking to spend the entire day hiking on a popular and challenging trail, i.e., the Devil’s Path in the Catskill Mountains. Keen’s proprietary outer sole offers reliable traction on both dry and slick terrain.
- Flash III XCR by Garmont – Last but not least is the Garmont Flash III XCR. Unlike most boots in this category, the Flash features a denser midsole, which means more torsional support, but still has plenty of cushion and comfort. The XCR shell is more breathable than the traditional Gore-Tex®. The Flash is also versatile as it will function perfectly for day or multi-day trips, or even walking and sightseeing around the city. For a comparable women’s model, consider Timberland’s White Ledge. While it has a softer midsole, the White Ledge can still take you in multiple directions with confidence.
As with most consumer items, hiking boots need to be cared for and treated periodically to maintain the health of the leather and synthetic materials. Please view the link below for various care products:
Campmor footwear maintenance and accessory products