Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Backpacking Boots

Salomon Quest 4D II

92

2016

Salomon Quest 4D II

The Salomon Quest 4D II is a great mid weight backpacking boot that provides plenty of stability while being very comfortable at the same time.

La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

89

2016

La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

The La Sportiva Trango TRK is a lightweight, synthetic boot that is comfortable for all day treks across technical terrain.

Lowa Lady Light

87

2016

Lowa Lady Light

The Lowa Lady Light is a leather backpacking boot that provides great support and stability with the feel of a lightweight day hiking shoe.

Scarpa R-Evolution GTX

83

2016

Scarpa R-Evolution GTX

The Scarpa R-Evolution GTX is a waterproof backpacking boot that is both comfortable enough for long trips and supportive enough to cover more technical terrain.

Vasque Skywalk GTX

81

2016

Vasque Skywalk GTX

The Vasque Skywalk is a full leather boot that uses an old popular design but fails to provide the comfort that modern boots have.

MUCK Peak Hardcore

86

2015

MUCK Peak Hardcore

The MUCK Peak Hardcore is a high top waterproof insulated outdoor winter boot designed for use down to -40 degrees F/C. It targets serious winter recreation enthusiasts including winter camping, hiking, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and the like.

Merrell Capra Mid Sport GORE-TEX

72

2015

Merrell Capra Mid Sport GORE-TEX

The Merrell Capra Mid Sport is a lightweight, waterproof, mid-height, synthetic hiking boot designed primarily for people who want to go fast and light.

Chaco Holbuck Waterproof Hiking Boot

74

2015

Chaco Holbuck Waterproof Hiking Boot

The Chaco Holbuck is a waterproof, mid-height hiking boot designed primarily for day hikes and light off trail use. These boots have a super comfortable insole and great arch support but the upper part is difficult to lace snugly for sufficient ankle support.

Lowa Hudson GTX Mid

87

2015

Lowa Hudson GTX Mid

The Hudson GTX Mid is a lightweight, waterproof, mid-height, hand-crafted, full leather backpacking boot designed primarily for people carrying loads up to 40 pounds.

Helly Hansen Rapide Low and Mid HTXP Leather

84

2014

Helly Hansen Rapide Low and Mid HTXP Leather

The Rapides are first rate hiking footwear and very versatile, taking on rugged terrain with assurance and cruising comfortably on easy trails.

Oboz Traverse Mid BDRY

80

2014

Oboz Traverse Mid BDRY

The Oboz Traverse Mid BDRY is a very comfortable light hiker that holds the foot securely in place, but it isn’t a burly boot for heavy loads or craggy country.

Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX

75

2014

Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX

The Breeze 2.0 GTX are fine for tough day hikes and moderate backpacking, but there isn’t much exciting—or disappointing—about them

Lowa Camino LL Flex

90

2014

Lowa Camino LL Flex

The Camino is a very well made and sturdy trekking and backpacking boot with a number of nice features. The price is quite high, but these boots deliver.

Vasque Breeze 2.0

92

2013

Vasque Breeze 2.0

The Breeze 2.0 was one of the most impressive boots in our Spring 2013 test. It feels like a backpacking boot with a light hiker upper—the tall cuff, substantial midsole, stability plate, and Gore-Tex liner behave like a backpacking boot, but the overall comfort and responsiveness makes the boot feel like an athletic shoe on mellow hikes.

La Sportiva FC Eco 3.2

92

2013

La Sportiva FC Eco 3.2

The FC Eco 3.2 is a versatile light hiker that can withstand the most demanding terrain, but is still comfortable enough to feel at home on moderate day hikes. I thought this was an outstanding boot for any terrain.

Lowa Bora GTX

93

2013

Lowa Bora GTX

The Bora is a super stable shoe that is at home on aggressive, sporty terrain. It’s stiff enough to handle high mileage hikes and supportive enough to get you through the nastiest talus field. The Bora proved to be one of the most exciting boots in the test.

Helly Hansen Rapide Leather Mid HTXP

89

2013

Helly Hansen Rapide Leather Mid HTXP

This is one of the most versatile boots in the test: i.e. it’s at ease on everyday cruiser hikes but has enough muscle to handle rough terrain or longer treks. It’s super supportive on steep downhills, has great control, and is very stable on rocks.

Patagonia Drifter WP

85

2013

Patagonia Drifter WP

The Drifter WP is a carryover style that is truly an all-purpose light hiker. This mid-height boot is versatile enough for anything ranging from mellow day hikes to longer treks on variable terrain in wet or dry conditions. It’s a great all around trekking shoe that can handle light pack weight.

Teva Sky Lake Mid

82

2013

Teva Sky Lake Mid

The Teva Sky Lake Mid is an average light hiker with enough support to perform well during short hikes on variable terrain, but doesn’t have the guts to protect your feet on long, grueling treks. For $120, however, this is a great value.

Tecnica Tornado Mid GTX

79

2013

Tecnica Tornado Mid GTX

This is a cushy cruiser best suited for on-trail hikes or moderate off-trail adventures—it lacks the support and structure for more than that. It’s also best for women with a wider foot.

Hi Tec Sienna WP

79

2013

Hi Tec Sienna WP

Best for extended, mildly rugged on-trail hikes with light or no pack weight. This was the only low-cut light hiker in the test, but even given some lost stability in the ankle area, this shoe can hold its own on super long, mildly rugged trail hikes.

Keen Verdi Mid WP

77

2013

Keen Verdi Mid WP

This shoe has the body of a hiker but the soul of a running shoe. I found that it performed well on mellow, short trails but fell apart on rocky, steep, or very long hikes. This boot is designed for speedy, playful excursions and this is precisely where it shined.

Chaco Tedinho Waterproof Boot

76

2013

Chaco Tedinho Waterproof Boot

This boot performs at its best on light, mellow, on-trail walks in damp or cool weather. It also makes for a great all-purpose travel shoe due to its elegant look and ability to handle modest terrain in varying weather conditions.

Columbia Yama Mid OutDry

75

2013

Columbia Yama Mid OutDry

The Yama Mid is a true multi-sport shoe—it has the comfort of an athletic shoe but had a difficult time competing with true light hikers. This shoe is best relegated to short, on-trail day hikes with light or no pack weight.

Wolverine Gauge Boot

78

2013

Wolverine Gauge Boot

Given the high cut and overall soft flex, the Gauge probably wouldn’t be your first choice for a winter backpacking or scrambling boot, but it works very well for things like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or working and standing around in frigid weather.

Vasque Snow Junkie Ultradry Boots

79

2013

Vasque Snow Junkie Ultradry Boots

Built like a running shoe with mid-height uppers, the Snow Junkie Ultradry works well when you’re moving on snow, but it gets a little cold when things slow down.

Lowa Focus GTX Mid

87

2012

Lowa Focus GTX Mid

Lowa’s Focus GTX is a waterproof/breathable nubuck and mesh, medium-low volume hiking and backpacking boot for ambitious day hikes or backpacking with moderate loads.

Vasque Taku GTX

77

2012

Vasque Taku GTX

Vasque’s Taku is a medium-high volume waterproof/breathable nubuck light hiking boot.

Hi Tec Sierra Lite WP

69

2012

Hi Tec Sierra Lite WP

Hi Tec’s Sierra Lite WP is a medium-high volume, nylon-mesh and nubuck, waterproof/breathable mid-height boot for light hiking.

Keen Targhee II Mid

86

2012

Keen Targhee II Mid

A waterproof mid-cut light-hiker with a 3/4-length shank and EVA foam midsole, designed for more aggressive treks and day hikes

Vasque Talus UltraDry

90

2012

Vasque Talus UltraDry

A lightweight, midcut nubuck leather boot built for light hikes with mild loads. It features full waterproofing, a polyurethane midsole, and moderate-depth lug pattern.

Garmont Amica Mid Gore-Tex

84

2012

Garmont Amica Mid Gore-Tex

A sturdy, waterproof all-weather light hiker designed for moderately technical terrain and heavier loads (up to 175 lbs, including your body weight)

Scarpa Moraine Mid GTX

74

2012

Scarpa Moraine Mid GTX

A mid-cut, flexible, waterproof light hiker built for moderate ankle support but a cushy, hiking shoe comfort.

Oboz Mystic Mid BDry

77

2012

Oboz Mystic Mid BDry

A mid-cut, all-weather light hiking shoe with a women’s specific last and built for mild, on-trail adventures.

Lowa Focus GTX QC WS

86

2012

Lowa Focus GTX QC WS

A boot that can handle the basic and the burly.

Ahnu Montara Boot

69

2012

Ahnu Montara Boot

This mid-height boot claims to handle a 40-pound load—but that's not what we found in testing. 

Keen Revel

90

2011

Keen Revel

Light, comfortable, warm and supportive, the Revels are exceptional winter hiking boots.

Vasque Bitterroot GTX

91

2011

Vasque Bitterroot GTX

Vasque hits a home run with a mix of old school leather and new high-tech features in the Bitterroot GTX, one of the best new boots our shoe gurus have had the pleasure of putting on their feet.

Salomon 4D Quest GTX

90

2011

Salomon 4D Quest GTX

A surprisingly tough stable boot—with running shoe DNA

Lowa Baltoro

83

2011

Lowa Baltoro

A premium hiking boot with good A/C—but not super stable under heavy loads.

Big Boot, Big Comfort

90

2011

Big Boot, Big Comfort

A burly, midweight backpacking boot for heavy loads. (And it's more comfortable than you'd think.)