A heavy-duty pair of boots is undoubtedly your friend in need when you’re out backpacking for days at a stretch. Whether you are exploring the countryside, participating in the weekend local trails, or taking a tour of the Appalachian Trail, you’re only as happy as your feet are. And that is exactly why most backpackers and hikers believe that boots are the most essential kind of gear you can possibly buy for your outdoor ventures.
Ideally, the type of boot you choose should strike the right balance between comfort and weight, and come with additional features like an extra ankle support, waterproof make and even an insert. Sturdy and burly boots are designed for rocky scrambles, while the lighter ones are apt for trudging on rolling terrain. If you’re planning to hike amid dry conditions, you should consider boots that have a breathable upper rather than a full-fledged waterproof covering. Most expert backpackers swear by running shoes as they offer better traction, while few others advise picking boots based on their weight-to-load ratio. In other words, this means that the more robust models end up making you slower.
If the lure of sun-drenched summer days is too much to resist, it’s time you fasten your backpacking boots and make a beeline for the woods! But before that you need to make sure you have the right protection for your feet. Men’s backpacking boots are larger and heavier than the lady counterparts. Also, they are wider near the feet area and have a larger last. High-cut boots designed specifically for backpacking are your best bet. They are warmer, more comfy and offer considerable ankle support. Alternatively, you can opt for lower-cut hiking shoes as they are cooler and easier to wear around even terrain. And when it comes to fit, just make sure there is plenty of room to move your toes and twist your heels without feeling any tightness. Pair it up with proper hiking socks, in order to ensure a blister-free experience on multi-day treks and tours.
1. Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot
Salomon Men’s Quest Hiking Boots features a collection of well put high-quality materials designed to provide you with the best performance to ensure you have a fulfilling experience on your backpacking journeys.
Every aspect of these boot is designed to provide you with a superior level of protection and stability. The boots incorporate a high-quality leather and textile that is not only durable but rigid enough to protect you from obstacles faced in hiking terrains. The synthetic sole ensures both comfort and flexibility to allow you to stay in them for long durations without resulting in high levels of fatigue.
The high hiker boots feature rugged lacing hardware along with a protective rubber toe cap to soften any impact your feet comes across, preventing you from different forms of injury. The Salomon 4D Chassis technology in these boots is specially designed to provide you with super stability and protection.
The Salomon backpacking boots feature an updated Salomon contra grip outsole designed to deliver you with the level of shock resistance required during long hours of hiking, actually reducing energy consumption. The Salomon hiking boots also feature a molded EVA Ortholite removable footbed that can be maintained for proper comfort.
As if this was not all enough, the boots further feature GORE-TEX waterproof technology to allow you to comfortably venture into wet places without fearing damage being done to your boots.
2. Vasque Men’s Breeze 2.0 Gore-Tex Waterproof Hiking Boot
Vasque men’s waterproof boots provide us with the means to not only properly enjoy a hiking trip but be well protected. You can freely venture into multiple terrains with no worrying thought in your head.
The intricate design of the Vasque boots lays particular emphasis on achieving the very high level of breathability. Breathability is one the most crucial factors that will aid you on your hiking conquests. Breathability ensures comfort and a very healthy environment for the inner segment of your boots. The air mesh panels included in the construct ensure that a high level of abrasion resistance is witnessed. Aside from breathability, the boots also consist of GORE-TEX technology that provides superior waterproof protection, allowing you fortification even in wet and marshy terrains.
The Vasque backpacking boots make use of the highest quality of leather materials along with a synthetic sole. The molded rubber toe cap is designed to provide you with ultimate protection in your journeys, leaving you prone to minor injuries. Vasque’s boots also feature reflective piping, and exclusive Vibram Contact outsole comes with the proficient XS-Trek compound.
The dual density EVA footbed is designed to last for an extended amount of time to ensure that the quality of your hiking boots remains as it once was. The thermoplastic urethane plate present further adds support and stability to your feet.
3. Merrell Men’s Phaserbound Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell waterproof hiking boots feature a design that focuses on providing you with the necessary aid and assistance in your backpacking adventure. These boots contain a very classy vibrant look while still outputting every desirable deliverable with high-quality.
The boots contain a combination of both high-end leather and fabric. The leather used will provide you with the superior level of protection required for edgy and adventurous hikes. The Vibram sole used in the design ensures that you are protected even under.
The full-grain leather upper also includes a metal hook along with webbing loops intended to facilitate the lacing up process. The 5 mm lug depth in the design ensures that your boot’s efficiency is not minimized in any way. Merrel’s backpacking boots also include an external instep with an extra heel stability arm all designed to provide you with the security and protection needed.
A waterproof technology of the highest caliber is used in this creation to ensure that you can freely venture into different types of wet terrain. All of this can be done without ruining the quality of your boots. This is a crucial factor since hiking trips will never run out of wet places for you to stumble upon eventually. The high-quality waterproof construct will provide you with the necessary level of fortification against water.
4. Timberland Men’s Chocorua Trail Gore-Tex Mid Hiking Boot
The premium full-grain leather incorporated in these high-quality hiking boots provide them with the level of rigidity that will serve to protect you thoroughly. Hiking is an activity that leaves you prone to many types of injuries, but the rigid construct of these boots eliminates that.
Apart from durability, the rigid construct also accounts for the abrasion resistance in these boots that provide longevity while maintaining high quality. Additionally, the GORE-TEX membrane in the boots gives you the level of protection needed against water and wet terrains in general.
These backpacking boots feature a padded collar and tongue for extra comfort. Support goes hand in hand with reduced fatigue and reduced energy consumption, allowing you to be in your boots for a longer duration.
The removable dual-density EVA footbed provides a fantastic level of cushioning designed to relax your feet no matter how long you choose to wear your boots. The footbed is also perforated to promote air circulation. The rubber lug outsole present ensures that an excellent level of traction is achieved even on rough and uneven surfaces.
5. Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude OX I Waterproof-M Hiking Boot
Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude boots provide a surprising number of features designed to fulfill your backpacking experience. These boots are easily one of the best in the market based on both appearance and performance.
Hi-Tec backpacking boots make use of high-grade full-grain leather in its make. The Michelin rubber outsole present in the boots is designed to provide both protection and comfort in the face of many obstacles present in hiking terrains.
The boots further feature the I-Shield water repellent technology along with stain repelling aspects that are designed to prolong the quality of your hiking boots. You will be able to venture in wet surfaces without deteriorating the quality of your boots.
Every aspect of these boots is designed to prioritize that energy is conserved with every step that you take. In doing so, the engineers increased the level of comfort and relaxation felt when wearing these boots.
The Michelin rubber outsole works hand in hand with the Ortholite impressions insole to create a superior sense of enhanced comfort designed to reassure you throughout your journey. The multi-surface traction-Michelin rubber provides security, stability and comfort. The compression molded EVA midsole guarantees both a long lasting and efficient level of comfort to your feet.
6. Scarpa Men’s Kinesis Pro GTX Hiking Boots
Scarpa has once again proved to us the worth of their unusual brand name with their Kinesis Pro GTX hiking boots. These boots are designed to protect you against every calamity and bestow you with the necessary means to venture into backpacking journeys with ease.
All-Terrain Excelling Performance
The complex ideas behind the intelligent design of the Scarpa boots make them excel in all types of terrains. The full rubber rand in the design ensures this while the Vibram traction outsole assists in doing the same. The overall design is very rugged to allow for protection and durability in hiking terrains. These boots also feature a Micro-pulley hardware lacing for both speed and ease.
Aside from protection, your comfort is also catered to with the dual-density PU midsole and cushioned collar and tongue components.
Superior Water Resistance
Scarpa’s Kinesis backpacking boots provide excelling levels of water resistance ability due to the GORE-TEX lining. This feature enhances the water repellent properties of your hiking boots so that you can venture into wetlands with no drawbacks whatsoever. The GORE-TEX legendary performing technology will ensure that your feet will be kept dry throughout your journey.
7. Oboz Men’s Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot
Oboz Men’s Hiking Boots will provide you with the fulfillment of every requirement you face when hiking. Your backpacking travels will not be accompanied with just the right resources to ensure you enjoy every part of it. The BDry waterproof membrane is an exceptional breakthrough feature included in these boots to protect you from any wet form of contact.
Oboz men’s boots are constructed from a high-class leather material built to provide you with a durable form of protection. Oboz Men’s hiking boots include a nylon stability shank in the design to provide you with the level of security you need.
The TPU Flex chassis aims to prevent all types of bruises, rendering you well protected as you hike. The BFit arch-supporting EVA insole incorporated is designed to further your comfort and stability as well.
Every component present in the Oboz backpacking boots ensures a high-performing pair of boots that will last for a long time. The uppers, midsoles, shanks and outsoles all work hand in hand in delivering this level of output.
The outsole featured in these boots is specially designed to be sticky so that several types of terrains prove to be less of an obstacle when backpacking.
8. Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX Trekking Boot
When Lowa decided to put all their efforts into the construction of a life-saving pair of boots, all efforts came through. The Tibet GTX Trekking boots are a complete bundle of goodies with almost no drawbacks, leaving you at just the right place to be when embarking on a hiking trip.
The Lowa boots feature a leather construct of the highest quality material, along with a synthetic sole along with D-ring eyelets. These are all designed to provide you with maximum solidarity. This makes these boots the perfect choice when faced with rough and rugged types of terrains as you will be protected with this pair of solid, durable boots.
The shaft measures approximately 7 inches from the arch to make sure most of your feet are well protected. As an extra feature, the seamless Gore-Tex lining provides waterproof functionality to protect in various terrains.
Comfort is the main priority behind the design of these boots. These men’s backpacking boots do a great job of doing just this. The boots contain a climate control perforated lining that manages moisture and heat. The padded tongue and collar additionally add to the comfort of your feet as well.
As if that was not enough, the FlexFlit natural ankle flex and heel fit included in the design maximum your fatigue reduction aspects as your spend long hours in these boots. Comfort and fatigue are inversely proportional. As a result, you will be able to enjoy your hiking journeys even better as you experience less fatigue.
9. Danner Men’s Crater Rim 6″ GTX Hiking Boot
Danner Men’s Crater Rim hiking boots were extensively tested in their design phase to ensure that they perform well in all types of terrains. This makes them one the best options when going on backpacking travels.
The Danner men’s backpacking boot features a very sturdy design to deal with rough terrains when backpacking. The quality of leather used in these boots is exceptional. They feature an abrasion resistant rand. The deep multi-directional lug patterns assist in traversing long distances off-road without consuming much energy from you.
Additionally, the boots also contain waterproof capabilities due to the breathable GORE-TEX membrane. This feature allows you come in contact with wet surfaces without deteriorating your level of quality.
The Danner boots are additionally designed to provide you with the level of comfort required. You will experience relaxation due to the fiberglass support shank. Additionally, the Vibram Bifida rugged traction outsole gives you shock absorption to conserve energy and reduce fatigue. The design of the outsole allows for maximum traction that will serve as an advantage when you require to spend extended amounts of time in your hiking boots, which is typically just the case.
10. KEEN Men’s Durand Mid WP Hiking Boot
KEEN has never disappointed at amazing us with their exceptional quality and high-performing sets of boots. The Men’s Durand hiking boots were designed to showcase just how much uniqueness and value can be brought by the careful construction of a pair of boots.
KEEN’s backpacking boots deliver us with durable hiking boots featuring a mesh with leather overlays designed for maximum efficiency. The leather used is of the best quality to ensure that both durability and rigidity are achieved. This way you will be able to guarantee yourself protection on your hiking journeys.
The outsole provides you with the right amount of protection needed even when venturing in rough and rugged terrains, allowing you to breeze through them with all ease. The dry waterproof membrane additionally provides you with water repellent properties that will also serve to enhance the overall durability.
Security is a by-product of comfort, which the KEEN backpacking boots excel at delivering. The direct-attach PU Midsole increases your comfort and guarantees that you remain relaxed. The KEEN boots also feature an integrated PU heel cushion and TPU stability shank. All of these components will work hand-in-hand to provide you with the comfort you deserve and need in the long hours you spend outside backpacking.
Picking a pair of backpacking boots for women can be a complicated task in itself. For starters, many manufacturers don’t quite realize the difference between men’s and women’s backpacking boots. Plus, they often tend to miss out on important features in the design. Indeed, the ideal backpacking boots designed specifically for woman is pretty hard to find, but if you know what to look for, you can get it right in the first go. First things first, these boots are supposed to be narrower, lighter and have a smaller last than those made for men.
Additionally, they should incorporate sufficient arch support around the mid-sole area for greater comfort. Another important design detail is the insert, which is typically molded into the sole to allow better traction on bumpy terrain and still remain flexible enough for a balanced stride. Understanding the features that specifically characterize a woman’s backpacking boot should definitely help you make an informed decision, but that doesn’t mean you have to pick up any boot from the store. Many times wearing a unisex pair of boots is the way to go.
1. KEEN Women’s Gypsum II Mid Wp- W Boot
KEEN’s fabulous designs even reflect in their women’s footwear as well. The Women’s Gypsum boot aimed to be the perfect fit for a woman’s feet, delivering them with the maximum comfort, efficiency and protection needed on backpacking trips. You will never have to suffer on your backpacking trips anymore.
KEEN’s gypsum boots consist of high-quality leather with an entirely constructed rubber sole built for maximum effectiveness. The boots provide the ultimate level of comfort needed on backpacking trips.
Internal components of the boots include a removable metatomical dual-density EVA footbed designed to give you both stability and fatigue reduction. The heel support structure seen in the gypsum boots reflects ultimate balance, providing you with the necessary tools to venture on a long journey without discomfort.
To assist you on your outskirts that may land you in wet and marshy places, the boots are designed to resistant to water. You will be able to protect yourself from water due to the waterproof Nubuck and mesh upper layers.
The KEEN Dry waterproof membrane will not only repel water but also provide you with a breathable membrane to guarantee both comfort and breathability. You can embark on your hiking trips without worrying about impeding the quality of your boots by stepping in a puddle of water that reveals itself after you have already stepped on it.
2. Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot
Ahnu never ceases to amaze the footwear industry with their innovative and well-serving designs. The Ahnu Women’s hiking boots are not an exception to this rule as they are intended to provide you with every feature that you require on a long backpacking adventure.
Protection and Comfort
To start off, the Sugarpine boots are made of both high-grade leather and textile, making them not only durable but fortified to prevent you from getting minor injuries due to carelessness. The rubber sole embedded at the bottom provides maximum shock absorption which allows you to experience more comfort and peace as your energy is conserved.
The rubber toe protector serves to prevent mishaps from causing severe damage to your toes. Furthermore, the tongue is gusseted and padded to provide you with more comfort in your boots. The dual-density EVA footbed and the cushy padded collar increase the comfort to an even newer level, making you feel perfectly at peace.
The intelligent design of the Ahnu backpacking boots not only prioritize comfort but also security. Stability is what aims to make your journeys fruitful as you as able to experience high performance and control with every step that you take.
Numentum technology is used in the Sugarpine Hiking boots to guarantee you an efficient and stable stride. Additionally, the TPU stability heel clip works to increase both your security and stability as well, allowing you to enjoy every bit of your backpacking trip.
3. Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Lowa Women’s hiking boots provide you with the level of protection required to breeze through backpacking trips with nothing but overwhelming joy. The smart designs and constructs emphasize both efficiency and high performance, allowing you to make the best out of every trip you choose to embark on.
Every aspect of the Renegade women’s hiking boots reflects high performance. The Vibram sole that is embedded is designed to allow for maximum traction, making every step of your journey consume less energy and result in less fatigue. The high-quality leather used in the boots lead to durability and quality protection from any obstacles you can encounter while backpacking. The leather is simply the best at doing so.
The Lowa Renegade boots further feature a full-length stabilizing nylon shank designed to provide you with the superior stability and comfort required on long trips. The lightweight midsole makes it a perfect choice for women as it reduces the overall weight of the boots.
Backpacking journeys tend to last for long durations of hours, and one of the crucial factors that need to be present in your hiking boots is breathability. The Lowa women boots contain a climate control breathable footbed that wicks away moisture with great ease.
Breathability is achieved to the maximum as you feel the pleasant environment around your feet inside your hiking boots. Additionally, the boots are also waterproof as a result of the Gore-Tex technology, ensuring that your feet will always be dry.
4. Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot
Columbia women’s hiking boots is a direct representation of the specialization of this company at producing highly optimized footwear. These are the perfect accessory for any backpacking trip. The high-quality construct is a result of using the best materials along with extensive testing procedures to ensure that high performance is achieved.
You can experience long lasting comfort due to the combination of leather and synthetic components used in these boots. The upper segment features a full-grain leather and suede. Additionally, the boots consist of scratch rubber heels, a mesh tongue and mountain hardware, all designed to provide you with the extensive features required while backpacking.
The Techlite lightweight midsole provides you ultimate comfort that soothes you throughout your hiking journey. The Columbia women’s backpacking boots further feature specific constructs that cater to superior cushioning and high energy return, causing you less fatigue over time.
The Newton Ridge women’s boots consist of a seam-sealed membrane. OMNI-tech technology is used to provide superior resistance to water, allowing you to venture into different types of wet terrains without any significant consequences to the quality of your hiking boots. These hiking boots focus on being very breathable so that moisture can be quickly wicked out to provide you with the comfort and security that you need. Stepping into puddles will no longer be a safety concern to you.
5. Vasque Women’s Talus Trek UltraDry Hiking Boot
Vasque women’s hiking boots put together some of the most crucial features required in backpacking trips. These boots maintain an aesthetic look while not comprising on quality in any way possible. These boots provide long-lasting protection, comfort and stability with minimal deterioration regarding quality over time.
Superior Comfort and Fortification
The Vasque backpacking boots draw their strengths from having a combination of leather and synthetic materials. This results in an excellent level of both comfort and protection, leaving you with the necessary tools and requirements on a backpacking trip. The leather is very durable and will serve to protect you from minor injuries that you can face as your traverse through the land.
The Vibram traction outsole is designed to provide you with maximum traction and shock absorption so that your energy is conserved and comfort is increased substantially. The dual-density EVA foam footbed makes it compulsory for your feet to feel complete comfort even when you sport your boots for a longer period of time. Additionally, the molded polyurethane midsole works hand-in-hand with the other components that are also designed to enhance comfort.
These mid-cut hikers feature a thick waterproof nubuck leather that repels water with excellent efficiency. The UltraDry waterproofing system guarantees that your feet will remain dry throughout your journey. The breathable mesh underlays will further assist you in wicking away the moisture so that your comfort is guaranteed. Water will no longer be a threat to you as you go backpacking.
6. Timberland Women’s White Ledge Hiking Boot
Timberland is very exceptional when it comes to footwear products. The Timberland Women’s White Ledge Hiking Boots allow you to achieve great levels of comfort and performs well under a variety of terrains, making them the perfect choice for backpacking trips.
Timberland’s hiking boots make use of some of the highest quality leather materials. This provides you with a secure form of protection and security. The Timberland women ledge boots are very durable and will serve to prevent you from having minor injuries as you go backpacking. The leather boots are ankle high and additionally feature waterproof technology designed to repel water efficiently.
This will greatly assist in preserving the quality of your hiking boots as water will ruin the quality of your leather. Timberland’s backpacking boots also feature a moisture transfer lining designed to ensure that your feet remain dry. The speed hook lacing feature present will also assist you to readily sport your shoes and embark on your journey in minimal time.
The padded tongue and collar will serve to provide you with the lasting comfort you require on backpacking adventures. This technology is emphasized on when it comes to women boots as support becomes the number one priority. Women will need to be in comfortable boots if they are to stay in them for an extended amount of time, which is typically the case when backpacking.
The timberland boots further feature a flexible midsole designed to provide you with the flexibility you need to conserve energy and reduce fatigue over extended durations of time.
7. Hi-Tec Women’s Sierra Tarma I Waterproof-W Hiking Boot
Hi-Tec’s women’s hiking boots live up to every expectation of a female hiker. They provide you with the lightweight and comfort aspects that you require on your backpacking trips. The level of efficiency witnessed by the wearers of this product needs not to be exaggerated as it is already extraordinary.
Apart from the ultimate level of protection and durability seen in these boots due to the high-grade leather used, they also focus on providing you with energy saving constructs. This is to ensure that you can keep these hiking boots on your feet for an extended amount of time without experiencing fatigue or discomfort. The Ortholite Impressions cushion insole and Multi-directional Torsion rugged rubber outsole are designed to be perfect companions in pursuit of your comfort. These components aid you in conserving your energy with every step as you experience maximum relaxation.
Water and Stain Repellant
The Hi-Tech Waterproof backpacking boots use the specially designed I-Shield water and stain repellant technology to keep the quality of your boots safe even when contact with anything wet is made. Apart from the standard waterproof features, these boots even offer you stain repellent technology so that the quality of the materials on your boots is not affected at all. The waterproof membranes are also breathable, so they ensure that your feet remain dry throughout your journey, giving you the perfect conditions for your feet as you go backpacking.
8. Danner Women’s Mountain 600 4.5″ Hiking Boot
Danner’s women’s mountain hiking boots provide every female hiker with the chance of fulfilling her dream. The extensive features provided by these boots cannot be undermined. The high-quality design will give you the fulfilling experience you require as you go on a backpacking adventure.
Every component witnessed in the Danner waterproof backpacking boot is designed to ensure that the lightweight aspect is preserved. Women benefit the most from lightweight boots as they excel in both comfort and energy saving. The lightweight performance is also affected by the inner segments of the boots like the open-cell polyurethane Orthoclase footbed and the flexible midsole.
Even the VibramFuga outsole featuring self-adaptive lugs directly adds to the lightweight aspect of the boots and additionally provides maximum traction. The MegaGrip compound enhances the superior grip highlighted by the boots allowing you to quickly traverse through both wet and dry surfaces with minimal energy exertion.
Waterproof properties are some of the most crucial elements that need to exist in hiking boots. Danner’boots do not slack on their waterproof capabilities. The upper suede is a durable and waterproof component that protects you from any contact with water. Apart from being waterproof they even feature abrasion-resistant qualities designed to enhance the overall performance of your hiking boots on various terrains.
9. Salomon Women’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boots
Salomon’s hiking shoes are a direct display of how human beings can achieve miracles. Every aspect seen in these hiking shoes reflects superiority and complexity that is designed to provide you with all the features you require. Your backpacking trips will never be the same with these boots.
The Salomon backpacking boots feature a combination of synthetic and mesh designed to provide you with the lightweight feel throughout your journey. Every step you take will conserve your energy and result in less fatigue. The Salomon hiking boots further feature the SensiFit system which cradles your foot for precise and secure fitting, allowing for maximum comfort and peace.
The Contra-grip traction outsole is designed to ensure that you experience minimal fatigue as the number of steps you take increases. The gusseted tongue provides additional comfort with great protection from debris.
The intelligent design behind the Salomon boots gives you excellent security and stability. The components work hand-in-hand to assist you on your backpacking journeys as you experience comfort and protection.
The advanced chassis allows you maximum foot control. These tough hiking boots feature an EVA midsole for flexibility and less fatigue. The TPU chassis additionally supports the stability of your feet.
10. Merrell Women’s Siren Sport Q2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell’s footwear products excel in both aesthetics and performance. The high-quality materials used in their components earns them their brand image as the performance exhibited is quite exceptional. These are easy one of the best accessories to have on a backpacking trip.
Merrell’s siren hiking boots are light, supportive and comfortable. The traction induced from the rubber outsole ensures that energy is conserved so that you can venture for extended amounts of time without feeling fatigue. The EVA midsole is both flexible and lightweight which guarantees you with a feeling of weightlessness throughout your adventure. This is especially important for women who need to feel light in their hiking boots.
The textile upper is designed to provide with protection while still leaving the boots to be as light as possible. The insoles are removable whenever you please to. It is safe to say that as long as your feet are inside of the Merrell’s backpacking boots, then you will stay comfortable for longer.
The quality of shanks used within the hiking boots is one of the best, bestowing you the desirable level of security required on a hiking trip. You will be able to quickly move on rough and rugged terrains when backpacking without experience discomfort or fatigue. Additionally, the boots also feature waterproof technology designed to repel water and protect the quality of your boots from deterioration.
Must Have Features To Look For in Backpacking Boots
A good pair of backpacking boots is a crucial part of any hiker’s equipment. Depending on your choices before you leave the house, your shoes can make or break an outdoor adventure. This is why smart hikers are required to know all the basics of their hiking boots before taking a single step outside. You have to know how much weight you’ll be packing, what kind of terrain you’ll be negotiating, how long you’ll be out there and if your solo pair of backpacking boots can actually handle it. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard yards and dug up the top, must-have features for all hiking and backpacking boots. Have a look.
- Water Resistance
Waterproof hiking boots are an absolute necessity for anyone who works, plays or generally frequents the outdoors. If your job even takes you remotely anywhere near the wetlands, then waterproof uppers should be your primary concern. Similarly, hikers who venture out on subpar weather or wet terrain where you might accidentally run into a puddle will be thankful for waterproof features. Apart from saving you hours of disgusting discomfort, there are health benefits of keeping your feet dry.
A good pair of backpacking boots come with a water resistant lining that keeps water at bay by preventing your boots from being waterlogged. If there are no weaknesses in your boot, then it should be able to submerge or at least step in a shallow puddle without soaking in liters of water. Walking with wet shoes all day puts your feet at risk of bacteria, odors, fungi, infections and in more severe cases, amputation. So make sure those boots are plenty waterproof. However, be careful when choosing footwear since going overboard with water resistant linings could mean reduced breathability – another crucial feature for hiking boots and also my cue to slide right on to the next must have feature.
Ask any outdoorsman out there and they’ll tell you that there’s nothing worse than walking around with sweaty feet. While your waterproof linings will protect you from moisture from outside, they sure as hell won’t do anything for the moisture coming from within. If you don’t know what a bad day looks like, picture walking around in a stew of your own sweaty feet for days. It’s outside; you’re in the wild, it’s bound to get hot and uncomfortable. This is precisely why you can’t overlook the importance of breathability in hiking footwear.
If you’re planning on having an adventure, then you have to insist to features that will actually help circulate some air through your feet. Typically, most modern backpacking boots are built with special materials that let air in while keeping water out. This way, your feet won’t sweat as much, and if they do, there’s plenty of air to help you remain fresh and cool. As an added feature, you might also want to look into boots that have antimicrobial linings that prevent bacteria which breeds in dark, sweaty and confined places such as boots. With this double whammy, you get to wick excess sweat off and keep all foul odors at bay.
- Hiking Boot Uppers
As always, a boot’s final weight, flexibility, durability and even breathability will all be affected by the choice of materials. Here’s a collection of the most popular materials for hiking boots and how they perform.
- Full Grain Leather
Full grain leather uppers are hands down the toughest, roughest and most durable uppers that any backpacking, hiking maniac could ask for. Not only are they 100 percent waterproof, but full grain leather makes for abrasion resistant surfaces. This type of upper is highly popular in backpacker’s circles for hikers who often carry heavy loads over rugged terrain. On the downside, these uppers are not as breathable as one would like and they need plenty of break in time.
- Nubuck Leather
Simply put, nubuck leather full grain leather that has been buffed so that it is similar to suede. It’s also highly durable and resists water to a certain degree. However, it also requires a lengthy break in period.
Typically, you can expect to find nylon, polyester and synthetic leathers in today’s range of hiking boots. Not only are synthetic uppers lighter than leather, but they also dry faster, cost less and break in more quickly. Still, these tend to wear out faster.
Another factor that almost every single profession on the planet cannot afford to ignore is traction. Without it, you might as well be wearing rollerblades to the wilderness. When it comes to harsh terrain, nothing beats what Mother Nature can achieve. From steep, hilly inclines to flat, wet ground and icy trails, literally every single thing you step on is a fall waiting to happen. When your hiking, all these factors come together to make a trap you don’t want to fall into. For backpackers, it’s even worse since they have a lot more weight dragging them down the whole way.
This is why you need to inspect the sole of your potential boots and determine just how much grip you’ll get. Fortunately, manufacturer ingenuity and technology advancements have allowed for all sorts of lugs, patterns, and designs for the outsoles; all with the aim of helping you stay on your feet. So whether you’ll be treading on snow, water, sand, wood, rocks, swamps or any type of terrain, there’s bound to be just the right outsole for the job. Generally, the softer the sole, the better the grip it has to offer. However, softer soles will require frequent replacement that firmer outsoles.
- Backpacking Boots Vs Hiking Boots
In hiking, a hike can be just a short walk in the woods without any substantial gear. Some hikers just need a bottle of water and they’re good to go. However, backpacking’s backpacking; there’s no way you’re going to go backpacking without an actual bag and all the gear and equipment you need. With this in mind, it’s easier to see that while hiking shoes need to be light and extremely breathable to keep a faster pace while backpacking boots should be as durable and as firm as possible to keep up with the excess weight. But ultimately, it’s all about determining what kind of environment you will be traversing and matching the features you need to get the most appropriate footwear.