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The Best Hiking Boots and Shoes for Men

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The Vasque Clarion ’88 GTX hiking boots are available in men’s sizes in the navy and gray combo seen here, as well as a monochrome gray.

Courtesy of Vasque

The Vasque Clarion ’88 GTX hiking boots are available in men’s sizes in the navy and gray combo seen here, as well as a monochrome gray.

Whether you’re looking for lightweight trail runners or sturdy over-the-ankle boots, we’ve found the right footwear for your next hike.

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Just because summer is over doesn’t mean your outdoor explorations have to end. There’s still plenty of time to lace up a new pair of hiking boots and find a trail near you—though you’ll likely need different footwear depending on the type of adventure you’re seeking. Endless summer in Arizona? Peak fall foliage in Vermont? A cozy winter glamping spot in Montana? There is, funny enough, a shoe for that.

Follow AFAR’s guide to the best men’s hiking shoes and boots to find the right gear for your next outdoor adventure.

What to look for in a hiking shoe or boot

Before you buy a new pair of hiking boots or shoes, you’ll want to consider the type of hike you’ll do most often (multiday treks or day trips) and the weather you’ll be hiking in (wet and cold, or hot and dry). While you’re shopping, you’ll also want to keep the following features in mind:

  • Style meets function. Serious backpackers should opt for classic hiking boots, but if you’re only attempting well-worn trails or shorter distances, a low-cut pair of hiking shoes or trail runners will take up less space in your luggage.
  • Weight. Lightweight trail runners and hiking shoes are easier to pack, but heavier boots keep your feet and ankles protected on longer and more demanding terrain.
  • Material. Full leather shoes are not only durable but also look good in any situation—on the trail or in the city. However, they tend to be heavier and less breathable than synthetic materials like polyester and nylon. 
  • Cut. The cut of your hiking shoe—low, mid, or high—determines the amount of ankle support you’ll get on your outdoor adventures. If you’re sticking to well-maintained trails, a low- or mid-cut shoe should be sufficient, but if you’re venturing into the backcountry for multiple days, you’ll want a high-cut boot.
  • Additional features. Heading to a damp climate or plan on crossing streams? Make sure you look for waterproof shoes made with Gore-Tex. Other important design elements to look for include Vibram soles for maximum traction, and compression EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) midsoles to absorb shock.

1. Vasque Clarion ’88 GTX

  • Buy now: $160, vasque.com
  • Style: Hiking boot
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 12 oz.
  • Features: Gore-Tex membrane, Vibram outsole

The Clarion ’88 GTX boots (pictured above) are an updated version of a classic Vasque style from the 1980s. With features like a waterproof suede-and-mesh upper and nonslip soles, these boots are functional on the trail, but the vintage-inspired design makes them stylish enough to wear around town on rainy days.

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator comes in “Walnut” (seen here) as well as a variety of other neutral shades.

2. Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator

  • Buy now: $110, rei.com; backcountry.com
  • Style: Hiking boot
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Features: Vibram outsole, breathable mesh lining

The Moab collection of hiking boots and shoes are one of the most popular options out there for both men and women—Merrell says they’ve been worn on the feet of nearly 20 million people since they were launched in 2007.

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When AFAR digital features editor Katherine LaGrave and her husband were packing for their most recent trip to Iceland, they agreed: To save space, they would only take one pair of shoes, each. LaGrave’s husband chose his Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator boots, which he praises for their comfort. “They have a really solid footbed that provides excellent support and traction,” he says. “They’re also good trail-to-dinner shoes: dirt brushes easily off the suede, and they’re dark and unobtrusive enough that you don’t feel weird wearing them to a nicer restaurant, in a pinch.”

AFAR executive sales director Barry Brown is also a Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator loyalist—he prefers the low-cut version ($100, rei.com) that has all the same features, but weighs about three ounces less than the boot. Have a wider foot or looking for a waterproof boot? Both the mid- and low-cut styles of the Merrell Moab 2 are available with wide-width and nonventilated Gore-Tex options.

The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX comes in four colorways including the “Castor Gray,” “Beluga,” and “Green Sulphur” combination seen here.

3. Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

  • Buy now: $150, salomon.com; backcountry.com; rei.com
  • Style: Hiking shoe
  • Weight: 1 lb. 10.8 oz.
  • Features: Gore-Tex membrane, nonmarking ContaGrip soles, Quicklace single-pull closure

AFAR cofounder Greg Sullivan prefers low-cut hiking shoes because they’re smaller and more practical to pack than full-size boots. The key, he says, is finding ones with Gore-Tex so they can withstand wet conditions. The pair of Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX hiking shoes he recently wore on a gorilla trekking trip to Rwanda are lightweight but sturdy enough to handle tough trails—“assuming I’m not carrying a big pack.”

The Salomon Speedcross 5 comes in more than half a dozen colors, including the monochrome black seen here, plus brighter shades of red and blue.

4. Salomon Speedcross 5

  • Buy now: $130, salomon.com; rei.com
  • Style: Trailer runner
  • Weight: 1 lb. 7.2 oz.
  • Features: Nonmarking ContaGrip soles, Quicklace single-pull closure

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AFAR’s other cofounder, Joe Diaz, prefers the even lighter Salomon Speedcross 5 trail runners, but “more for day hikes than long multiday treks.” He says he just took them to Acadia National Park and they did the trick. For rainy days or wet hikes, they’re also sold in a waterproof version that comes with a Gore-Tex membrane ($150, salomon.com).

The Forsake Davos High comes in “Toffee” (seen here) as well as “Mocha,” a darker brown.

5. Forsake Davos High

  • Buy now: $170, forsake.com
  • Style: Hiking boot
  • Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.
  • Features: Waterproof, Peak-to-Pavement outsole, compression EVA midsole, full-grain leather

Built with a breathable waterproof membrane and Forsake’s proprietary Peak-to-Pavement tread, the Davos High can take on most trails. But this lightweight sneaker boot also looks just as good on city streets and features a memory foam footbed for comfort and an elastic collar so you can take them on and off with ease.

The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid comes in “Sepia” (seen here) as well as more than half a dozen other shades of brown, black, and gray.

6. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

  • Buy now: $240, rei.com; backcountry.com
  • Style: Hiking boot
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz.
  • Features: Gore-Tex membrane, Vibram outsole, nubuck leather upper

When AFAR senior editor Tim Chester was preparing to go on a heli-hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies in 2019, he was able to wear his Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boots around the house only a few times, much to his guide’s consternation. “But this pair fit perfectly and didn’t give me any grief,” he says. “They were very comfortable, even before they’d been fully broken in, and offered excellent support on all kinds of terrain in Canada’s high-altitude wilderness. They helped me keep up with the group across slippery scree slopes, damp boggy territory, and huge boulders alike.”

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The Veja Venturi comes in roughly a dozen different colorways including the black and brown suede seen here.

7. Veja Venturi

The Venturi shoe from the ecofriendly French sneaker brand Veja won’t look out of place in day-to-day life but is functional enough to use on shorter day hikes. Water-repellent suede uppers will keep your feet dry and thick treads made with wild rubber sourced sustainably from the Amazonian forest will provide traction whether you’re walking on pavement or dirt.

The Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2 comes in the bright highlighter version seen here, plus more muted shades of teal and a dark blue-gray.

8. Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2

  • Buy now: $160, arcteryx.com
  • Style: Trail runner
  • Weight: 1 lb. 2.4 oz.
  • Features: Vibram outsole, breathable upper

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The Arc’teryx Norvan LD 2 may look like any other running shoe, but it’s constructed with a Vibram Megagrip outsole to provide excellent traction on rocky trails. This lighter, breathable version is ideal for warmer climates, but there’s also a waterproof Gore-Tex version ($195, arcteryx.com) for damper destinations.

Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.

>> Next: The 9 Best Hiking Boots and Shoes for Women

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