The best hiking shoes and hiking boots in the test

Secure hold – even on the wrong way

06. 03. 2020, 17: 11 | from

content from our partner Wirecutter , A New York Times Company

Die besten Wanderschuhe im Test

What do you do if you 13 pair of men's and 13 Want to test a pair of women's boots? You leave 28 Hikers over 1. 500 Kilometers uphill and downhill. The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX performed best. The boots are ideal for day hikes and backpacking trips: light, breathable, waterproof and with a wide toe box, the shoes fit every foot like a glove.

The test comes from , you are reading the German translation. We removed products that were not available in Germany at the time of translation.

Update 06. 03. 2020: We have updated the prices, the product recommendations are still current.

Our top recommendation for hiking boots: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boot (available as Men's – and women's model ) may seem a little too massive for a day hike. In our opinion, this boot was the best in the test – we tested it for backpacking trips as well as for day hikes in any terrain. It is lighter than most of the other boots in our test group, but still offers all kinds of amenities. This includes a fully functional toe and heel protection, a tongue bag, a wide toe box and a well-designed lacing system. The design of the Quest 4D 3 GTX is breathable and waterproof.

Price: from approx. 135 Euro (women) or 135 Euro ( Men's)

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

  • Source: Amazon

    Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX (men)

    The The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boot was the best boot in the test – we have it for both Backpack tours as well as day hikes tested in every terrain.

  • Source: Amazon

    Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX (women)

    The The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boot was the best boot in the test – we tested it for both backpacking and day hikes in any terrain.

The test winner among hiking boots is suitable for almost any shape of foot, any weather and any terrain. Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

The second placed hiking boots: La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

The Trango TRK GTX boots from La Sportiva ( as Gentlemen – and women's model ) are immediately ready for use and require almost no warm-up time. If our top recommendation is sold out, we think this pair is a good backup option. The Trango boots are breathable and waterproof, which makes them ideal for hikes with a stream in the summer months. They are also crampon compatible, so you can hike in them at any time of the year. They also have a fully sewn tongue.

Price: from approx. 170 Euro (women) or approx. 175 Euro (men)

La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

  • Source: Amazon

    La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX (unisex)

    The Trango TRK GTX boots from La Sportiva are immediately ready for use and require almost no warm-up time.

  • Source: Amazon

    La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX (women)

    The Trango TRK GTX boots from La Sportiva are immediately ready for use require almost no warm-up time.

The Trango TRK GTX Wandersteifel is also an excellent choice for most hikes. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

Cheap alternative choice for hiking boots: Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof hiking boots that it as men – and Women's model are a no-frills option for people who don't want to hike too often. Although she almost 75 cost less than our first choice in this test, they did well in all of our evaluation criteria : They were waterproof (even if not for a longer period of time), they offered strong ankle support for moderate hikes of 5 to 8 kilometers, they had an easy-to-use lacing system and they were sufficiently breathable in summer and autumn.

Price: from approx. 85 Euro (ladies) or approx. 75 Euro (men)

Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

  • Source: Amazon

    Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof (men)

    The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof hiking boots are a no-frills option for people who don't want to hike too often.

  • Source: Amazon

    Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof (women)

    The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof hiking boots are a no-frills option for people who don't want to hike too often.

The Moab “Mother of all boots” represents a cheap and high quality alternative for hiking shoes. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

Why you can trust this test

For this guide I have 25 hours spent on outdoor gear sites – both editorial and retail – like OutdoorGearLab , Switchback Travel , Outside Online , , Backpacker and SectionHiker to search. I've read hundreds of reviews for dozens of pairs of boots. I visited popular outdoor retailers and talked to several sellers about how to choose the right shoes for different types of walks and different foot shapes. I also tried on a dozen pairs of boots in these stores.

Then I talked to so many hikers, Backpackers, outdoor enthusiasts and industry experts as possible. The following experts were there:

Beth Henkes: As sales manager for shoes at REI in Alderwood, Washington, Beth Henkes heads a “Hiking Boot Fit Camp”.

Mike Armstrong: At the time of our correspondence, Mike Armstrong was working with the outdoor Education program Outward Bound together where he 23 for years, and with which he spent more than 2. 500 Hiked days in California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany and Indonesia. He helped equip hundreds of students with the right hiking and backpacking gear for multi-day hikes. Now Armstrong runs his own outdoor guide and consulting company.

Mike Armstrong at the end of the Bugaboo Spire climb in the Purcell Mountains, British Columbia. Photo: Wirecutter / Matt Hyman

Mark San Buenaventura: Mark San Buenaventura , Graduate of the Pensole Footwear Design Academy in Portland, Oregon, taught shoe design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He currently works as a shoe designer at The North Face. He has already designed hiking boots and shoes as well as youth, lifestyle and trail running shoes.

Jim McDannald: Is currently Jim McDannald Head coach for long-distance and cross-country runs at the Université du Québec à Montréal and media coordinator at Athletics Canada. Before that, he was a surgical podiatrist at a large orthopedic surgery clinic. For Wirecutter he already has GPS running clocks and running equipment .

Jim McDannald in a brief moment of calm. Photo: Wirecutter / Mike McDannald

Eron Osterhaus and Matt Hurayt: Eron Osterhaus is Senior Global Footwear Product Manager at Columbia Sportswear and Matt Hurayt is Senior Global Footwear Designer there. I talked to them about the ideal boot cut.

As for me: I am an editor based in Vancouver in the Wirecutter outdoor team. I have given advice on hiking shoes and in the past six months hiking socks worked. I now know more of what goes into the design, customization and choice of good hiking shoes than I ever expected.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is aimed at beginners who are starting their hikes Want to buy pair of hiking shoes. However, we think that it is also useful for experienced hikers who want to upgrade their current boots. While the boots here are mainly intended for people who are planning longer day trips or light backpacking trips, we also think that you will benefit from this guide if you are looking for an all-round boot that you can use in your everyday life rainy day or in snow.

Hiking boots are designed to keep your foot and ankle stable while hiking across many types of terrain. Most hiking boots look like this:

Illustration: Wirecutter / Ryan Hines

Hiking shoes can be divided into different categories: shoes for hiking on hiking trails, for cross-country hiking , for backpacking and mountaineering. We chose boots that were suitable for backpacking and hiking. The boots in this guide should be able to support a hiker who has a light backpack of up to 11 Kilos and provides enough support that your feet don't get tired after six to eight hours of hiking. On longer trekking tours with a higher backpack weight, many of our selected models are still suitable – but that was not the scenario we had in mind when we selected the best boots for the majority of people. Most of our selections are also easy, which means that you can take them on a nice day hike without feeling that they're too stressful for you.

Should you buy hiking boots, hiking shoes or trail running shoes?

There is a lot of talk in the hiking world about whether you should use hiking boots, hiking shoes or trail runners for hiking. “The trend is towards lighter shoes, but they really don't work for everyone,” says Beth Henkes, shoe sales manager at the REI store in Alderwood, Washington.

Trail running shoes have their own advantages, but we do not recommend them for hiking. Photo: Wirecutter / Kyle Fitzgerald

In general, hiking boots are at least like this high that they cover the ankle, while hiking boots usually end in front of the ankle. trail running shoes are extra-padded sports shoes for runners who use them on rocky and dirty terrain. If you plan to walk with weight on your back or go on a longer hike, you should wear hiking boots.

“If you're traveling in really muddy, wet, bushy, gritty [Terrain mit] sharp rocks … a boot will be your friend because you have extra ankle coverage. It's literally a protection for your skin,” says Henkes.

Hiking shoes and trail runners also do not offer ankle or sole support, which means balance when worn heavy backpacks is important. In addition, your feet will feel tired and exhausted after a long day of hiking without adequate stability. Former outward-bound guide Mike Armstrong told me a daunting story about walking shoes: “I remember the first time I was wearing low-top walking shoes on a 22 Joshua Tree backpacking course, my ankles and feet held up for the first two weeks, but then, due to lack of sole protection and firm protection, they started to tire when the course continued on rough, varied terrain and carried a heavy backpack, knic at the end of this trip I knocked over and slightly injured my ankles several times [weil] I just didn't have the ankle and foot support I needed. In our Oregon program, we have a new policy that requires employees and students to wear boots that provide ankle protection for this very reason. “

Some long-distance backpackers travel light and prefer walking in trail runners (read our guide to these here ), but most hikers will be with the lack of support be dissatisfied with trail running shoes. “A trail shoe that is intended for light trails, to wear on these heavier paths with rocks will lead to bruised feet,” says Henkes , may prefer hiking shoes.

Are men's feet different from women's feet?

Studies show some anatomical differences between male and female feet. Men's feet are usually longer and wider, while women's feet have a wider toe region and instep compared to men's feet. Most hiking shoes do not reflect these differences.

“Most women's boots are just a different color and size than the men's version,” says Beth Henkes of REI. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

“There are [ein paar] Boots that are specially designed for women, “says Henkes. “If you look at these shoes from behind, you will see that the seams are offset to adjust the ankle joints, because the Achilles tendon is usually built differently in women than in men.”

In our research on this guide, we found only a few models that were specially developed for the female foot. After restricting our test list to boots with high ratings, we came up with 26 pair of boots: men's and women's versions of 11 Models ( the gender-specific versions of the individual boot models were identical except for the size) and four models that were only available in men's or women's versions. To our surprise, men and women tended to give similar feedback about their boots during our research and testing, so it turned out that our final gender choices were identical.

Detailed review: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Solomon's Quest 4D 3 GTX hiking shoes (as Men's– and Women's model available) are the best shoes for most people who like to hike during the day or want to take short backpacking trips on different terrains. It is a versatile, comfortable pair of boots suitable for many different types of feet. They're lighter than most of the other boots we've tested, but they still offer essential features like foot protection, a stitched tongue with gussets, and a nice lacing system. We also like that these Salomon boots are both breathable and waterproof.

Five people tested the previous version this boot, the Quest 4D 2 GTX model, with an additional weight of up to 7 kg on all possible routes from the city to mountain trails; one of these testers then compared the updated version with the original pair that we had kept for long-term testing. Our testers crossed glaciers, braved hard paths and climbed rocky terrain; a tester even took his boots on a bike tour. Whether you're climbing, wading through streams, or walking down a cobbled sidewalk, we're sure these boots can handle it.

At first glance we thought that these boots could be too robust, overbuilt or difficult for a day hike. But when we took her on the trail, we found her to be an amazingly versatile boot option, suitable for both a day hike and a backpacking trip. Despite their appearance, these boots were surprisingly light on our feet; with about a kilo weight (men's size 41) they are lighter than many of the other boots we've tested.

The Quest 4D 3 GTX has all the features we were looking for on a well-made, comfortable hiking boot: Sufficient protection around the toes and the heel (I often bumped my toe when testing these boots and felt nothing), a stitched tongue that fits snugly against the top of the foot and keeps dirt out, and the best lacing system of any boot we've tried (with a lock that holds the laces firmly in place). These boots keep your feet stable, but are not rigid. They also have a nice traction that helps you not to slide on flat, sloping or steep terrain with loose rocks.

The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX convinced in all of our categories. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

The midsoles of these Salomon boots consist of a layer of EVA foam for padding, a shaft under the arch for additional stability with another EVA foam covering for additional comfort. While Vibram was by far the most common outsole material in the hiking shoes we tested, Salomon made its outsoles from Contagrip rubber, which we found particularly robust on the track. Wirecutter author Hannah Weinberger tested the women's model of these boots and said: “I was skeptical of the tabs … but I only lost my grip on very dry, loose soil when I tried to walk.”

Wirecutter senior editor Dan Frakes tested the men's version of the Quest 4D with similarly positive results. “I ran on streams in wet rocks and the traction was pretty good,” he said. “I also walked on glacial ice and snow, and the grip seems to be as good as with my usual snow boots. They had a good grip in the mud and also on loose dirt and gravel.” The profile of the newer version looks more traditional than the “waves” of the old Quest 4D 2 model; we will report on the relative grip in winter.

All five of our testers who tried these boots , they found comfortable for their respective feet. This is probably due to the spacious toe box, which allowed us to wiggle our toes, but still felt snug and comfortable.

Hannah has very narrow feet, but she said the toe box still feels comfortable to her. “The pillow for the ankle also did a good job of supporting my joints,” she said. “I sprained myself a year and a half ago, and it remains a problem for me. I felt the padding was just thick enough to absorb shocks without being so thick that it would blister.”

“I have plantar fasciitis,” Dan said, “and I was able to wear these boots comfortably with minimal PF pain without having to use the custom insoles that I normally wear. “

We also noticed that this Solomon- Pair is slightly wider across the length of your feet than most of the other boots we've tested, which makes it more comfortable for more foot types. (However, if you have a very wide foot, we recommend our cheap alternative choice, the Merrell Moab 2 ).

While we have already checked most of our important features for these boots, they have particularly distinguished themselves by their breathability. Salomon's designers have developed a leather and synthetic upper that is both breathable and waterproof – a combination that is difficult to achieve. When we hiked at peak summer temperatures, these Salomon boots didn't let our feet overheat. Due to the large toe area, most of our testers found that the boots are also suitable for a thicker hiking sock for cooler climates. The Quest 4D GTX not only keeps our feet fresh and dry from sweat, but also passed our water tests without any problems: water dripped off the boot instead of being absorbed. After we went through a stream, the boots hardly looked wet and our feet were dry.

Additionally these boots are easy to clean and durable after a hike: dirt and mud can be wiped off easily, and neither Dan nor Hannah noticed much, if any, wear after about 48 kilometers, which indicates an excellent durability.

Small flaws but no deal breakers

We searched intensively for a long time, but found only a few small ones. If you are planning a longer day hike or would like to go on a backpacking tour, the Quest 4D 3 GTX Boots are the right choice. If you're looking for good ankle and foot support, this pair is also a good choice. However, if you want to take a gentle day hike on groomed trails, you may find these boots too structured and heavy, and in this case you will probably want a hiking shoe. These boots also don't have special crampon attachments (which is our second place), but you can still use most crampons with this Salomon pair on winter hikes, so we don't see this lack as a big problem either.

Detailed test report: La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

La Sportiva's Trango TRK GTX hiking boots (which it as Men's– and Women's versions are there) are a good backup option if ours First choice is not in stock. These boots are synthetic, breathable and waterproof, useful for all seasons and elegantly designed. From all of the boots we tested, our testers found that they were the most supportive and most comfortable right out of the box. They are also ideal for all seasons.

The Trango pair is completely synthetic, which makes it one good choice for vegans or people who prefer boots without leather. The design offers sophisticated functions such as a fully stitched tongue, rubber edges and crampon compatibility. Like our first choice, these boots prove that breathability doesn't have to compromise on waterproofness – we didn't get sweaty feet when wearing it in the summer months, but they are crampon-ready so you can use them in winter. While hiking in the snow, tester Ben Leslie said he found the traction “very good on the more slippery trails”. Even when he went through wet mud, his feet stayed dry.

If our winner is not available, we recommend the Trango TRK GTX hiking boots from La Sportiva. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

Each of our testers mentioned that these boots were comfortable at the beginning, which we found unusual compared to the other models we tested. “The foot fit exactly when I took it out of the box,” said Wirecutter senior editor Eve O'Neill. Ben Leslie wore the trangos on a 22 – Kilometers walk, directly after unpacking, with 6 kilos on the back; he reported no pressure points, no hot spots, no blisters and a good fit.

Eve wore the trango- Couple while they are six of the Colorado four-thousanders climbed. It crossed everything, from sidewalks to groomed paths, grassy meadows, rocky paths, boulders, rubble and snow – basically the whole range of terrains on which everyone could hike. She liked these boots on every terrain and also wore them after the 48 – kilometer mark. “The sides were very comfortable, thicker than any other boot I've had, and this padding wrapped my foot in a pleasant way. I think it contributed to the immediate out-of-the-box fit,” said Eve. “In addition, the way the inside of this boot was padded contributed to the protective cushion between my foot and the outside world, which I definitely noticed when I was climbing in cold, open, and stony terrain.”

The design of the Trango has a plastic-like outer membrane and Vibram soles. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

We found these boots are among the most stable we've tested. However, they're closer to the toe box than our first choice, so you should wear medium-weight or light socks and order a range of sizes to try on when shopping online.

“I once smuggled a couple [dieser Stiefel] for a friend of mine to Argentina,” said Eva. “It was the only thing he wanted from the United States when I came to visit, and he put them up high on a special occasion shelf to make sure he didn't wear them out prematurely. I understand that now. “

In online reviews the main complaint regarding these boots has to do with that the seal doesn't hold, but in our tests we haven't found that to be a problem. We will continue to test them and update this guide if we find any problems. We also found that these boots were generally too tight to allow for thicker, padded socks to be worn. Finally, the mounts hold the shoelaces in place nicely, but since the hooks are made of plastic, we wonder how long they will last in our long-term tests.

Detailed review: Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof model (available as Men – and women's model ) has been 2006 available. It is a popular choice for day hikers, a shoe that backpackers and hikers alike appreciate for its versatility, low price, and good grip. The Moab (a name that Merrell stands for “Mother of All Boots”) was redesigned this year – and after reading hundreds of reviews of this revised version, we think nothing will get lost in the new design that we tested. The Moab 2 pair costs just under 75 Euros less than our first choice at the time of writing this article, but it is always still sturdy and waterproof designed to offer good grip and adequate protection, fairly breathable and more than capable of handling an 8-kilometer day hike.

For our testers, the Moab 2 boots were light and comfortable and offered relatively good grip on different terrain. “This was the first pair of boots I've ever worn that didn't need to be broken in at all,” said Wirecutter editor Tracy Vence, who 48 kilometers with the Moab 2 pair in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

Although the Moab-2 design is waterproof, we found that our feet did stayed dry, but the boots themselves were soaked. On the smooth leather upper, the water is beaded off the boot, but on the suede parts, the water has penetrated the fabric. My feet stayed dry on relatively dry hikes and after short stream crossings – and our testers also reported no wet feet – but in rainy, wet climates we doubt that these boots can keep the water out for a long time.

During our test, the suede parts of this Steifel absorbed the water. You should be careful about wearing them in wet climates. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

These boots offered the best breathability that we have in a couple under 175 Euros, but they weren't quite as well ventilated as our first choice. The Moab 2 boots weren't as supportive as our first or second option either, so they may not be as good for longer hikes or people hiking with heavier backpacks. One of our male testers, Marcus Ulrich, noticed that his feet after 20 – Kilometers walking hurt and wished “a little more toe protection “. Tester Tracy Vence observed that the hold could have been better – she didn't feel completely safe in areas with loose rocks. Finally, I noticed that stones tended to get into the top of my Merrell pair because the edge of the boot was a little loose around the ankle.

The Moab 2 boots are a good choice for people with wide feet as they are available in medium and wide sizes (our other boots are not available in different widths.

The right fit

Finding the best shoe for the majority of people , is a difficult task. Foot shape and gait are unique from person to person, so a shoe that fits one person may not fit another. Therefore, this guide is a little different from our usual guides as we chose our best choices based on the hiking shoes that most closely fit the feet of a large part of people. Our selected models offer certain functions that are comfortable for you, regardless of whether your foot is wide or narrow, such as professionally developed lacing systems (with which you can customize your shoe for your foot) and wider toe pads.

Ours Recommendations will likely suit you, whether you're pronating (walking on the inside of your feet) or supinating (walking on the outside of your feet), and all pairs should also fit for high or falling arches. However, we found that many of the boots that didn't make it into our top selection (see Competitors section ), reliable, durable and also very supportive were. We recommend that you read this entire guide, taking into account your foot shape and your site plans. A competing boot that is not part of our top selection may actually be the best fit for you, even if it is not the best shoe for a large number of people.

Another toe box can accommodate many different types of feet. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

All the boots in this guide were carried by at least four people in our tests, and in most cases likes and dislikes were unanimous. However, if possible, we recommend that you go to an outdoor gear shop to try on boots before buying a pair. If you choose to do this, head coach and wirecutter author Jim McDannald recommends trying on hiking boots at the end of the day: “Feet can swell and change in size, so it's important to try the boots when our feet are the largest. “

When you buy your boots online, we recommend that you include several different boots or several sizes of a boot to order from a retailer who offers free shipping on return. And when you order online, you always order boots in their size or half a size larger – but never half a size smaller. “I don't recommend taking a smaller boot size,” said REI's Henkes. “In general, I tend to assign everyone a half size larger. That's the beginning, because every half size is only 1.6mm … For example, if I measure someone and he is exactly on a 41, I will him in most boots first 41, give 5 and at least start there. “

Does the boot fit

Henkes told us that there was always a thumb's width between Toe and boot end should be clear. “As you walk, your feet will swell and they will bump into the front,” she explained. “The other reason is that when you go downhill you don't end up blocking your toes. That way you lose your toenails and they take about a year to grow again!” You should be able to spread your toes and wiggle them in well-fitting boots. If the boots feel tight at a standstill, they will feel even closer on the way.

They will may also find that you experience foot movements in a pair of new boots. Pay attention to the “wiper effect”: if your foot slips from side to side while walking, it usually means that the shoe is too wide for you. On the other hand, it is normal – even healthy – that The heel in the boot moves a little. Henkes explained that a little movement is important to protect your Achilles tendon and prevent blisters, but that your heel should not rise more than half a centimeter.

You should do the following things at home to test if your new boots fit you well

Illustration: Wirecutter / Ryan Hines

There is another nifty little component of the fit: the volume. “[Das ist] the depth of the foot compared to the depth of the boot,” said Henkes. “This is probably one of the most important parts of the fit, no matter what you wear. Because if [ein Stiefel] is not deep enough for your foot, your foot will fall asleep. And if it is too deep for your foot, you'll slip under your shoelaces and hit the end no matter what size this boot is. ” To assess this aspect of the fit, pay attention to where the boot meets your ankle bone. If you feel uncomfortable, you may want to try a model that is more or less flat.

How to lace your boots

When it comes to lace-up boots, you can find dozens of methods that can help improve the fit of your boots . The right lacing technique can relieve hot spots, prevent blisters and adjust your boots to your feet. To help you get started, here is a video we created using some basic lacing techniques:

You should try a few different lacing techniques before you start with a new pair of boots on the way. For more advanced lacing techniques you can also visit this website .

How to choose the right hiking socks

Try out your new boots with the socks you want to wear along the way to make sure they go well together. Good hiking socks help your foot breathe, wick away sweat, cushion and dry quickly. You should wear wool or synthetic socks along the way. Avoid cotton socks when hiking, as cotton absorbs water, does not dry quickly and can cause blisters and hot spots.

In addition to the right shoes, it is also important to choose suitable hiking socks. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

Thin to medium weight socks are ideal for most hikers. Thick socks often leave no space for the feet to breathe, which causes sweating and can make the feet even colder. In thick socks, they also run the risk of interrupting the blood flow to your feet. You can find more information in our guide to the best hiking socks .

How to break in your boots

Both Armstrong and McDannald emphasized in our interviews, that it is important to break in your boots before embarking on a hike, no matter how good they feel at first. Many companies do not accept returning used boots, so carrying them around the house to break them in can be a good idea.

“Before I put on a backpack, I recommend people to put their boots in everyday use for a week or a few weeks,” says McDannald. “There is no need to go on a long hike with a backpack right away; just focus on activity generally to make sure the fit and comfort of the boots are good. For some people who have never had hiking boots or haven't for a while it may take a while to get used to the high-top feeling and the ankle support. “
Armstrong reaffirmed this advice: “People need to get their boots off at least a couple of full days before the.”)

Carry a trip into the wild to ensure they are comfortable all day long and do not cause hot spots.

How we chose the best hiking boots

After we almost 100 pair of boots, we have our list on 50 Options reduced. After talking to experts and concentrating on our specific criteria, we narrowed our list again.

In the end we had a total of 26 pair of boots to test. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

We have boots from our starting list deleted by asking our experts this question: What should we look for in a good, versatile hiking shoe? This resulted in the following evaluation criteria.

Comfort: Without comfort, every other boot property is insignificant. We read reviews focusing on comfort, looking for boots with wide toe boxes and adequate cushioning. We also looked at the weight of the boots, being aware that a light but bulky boot may not be as comfortable to wear as a slightly heavier but better shaped one.

Support: In addition to comfort is the ankle and footrest of a hiking shoe are crucial. A good hiking shoe keeps the foot closed and secured in the heel area. It should have a well thought-out lacing system that also supports the foot.

Traction: A good pair of hiking shoes ensures one solid traction on all terrain. You shouldn't slide around in muddy, wet, or icy conditions. We searched for reviews that mentioned good traction as most hikers will eventually hike over tree roots, loose rocks, slippery boulders and other obstacles.

Protection: Toe, ankle and underfoot reinforcements are essential for good hiking shoes as they protect your feet from obstacles on the way. If a pair of boots is intended for rocky terrain, the design should also have a rock sign in the sole.

Waterproof: When you hike, you will likely run through streams, hike in the snow, or get stuck in a rainstorm at some point. Good hiking shoes should be able to withstand a moderate amount of water.

A good pair of hiking boots should keep your feet dry in any climate. Video: Wirecutter / Daniela Gorny

Longevity: According to us Shoe designers surveyed should have a good pair of walking shoes between 480 and 800 Hold kilometers (depending on the type of hiking, the weather conditions, the gait of the hiker and the pack weight) before the damping becomes ineffective. It will take three to five years for many hikers to reach this mileage. We tested boots that have a reputation for being solid and durable, with good warranty programs and good customer service ratings. Worn seams and soles, broken eyelets and torn or frayed shoelaces are warning signs of a non-durable boot, so we looked out for these signs during the test.

Breathability: A good all-round boot offers crucial properties such as foot protection and waterproofing, but should also be breathable during summer hikes so that your feet stay cool. Each brand has its own “breathable technology”, but not all of them are the same. During our research, we looked for ventilation comments. During our tests, we paid attention to sweaty and swollen feet and noted wet socks (assuming we hadn't just walked through a stream) as an indicator that the boots were not breathing well.

Construction: We compared models to determine which boots were designed with the greatest care. Most hiking boots have the letters “V”, “GV” or “GTX” to inform you about their materials: A boot with “V” in the name has Vibram outsoles. Boots with “GV” contain Gore-Tex lining with a Vibram outsole. And “GTX” shows a Gore-Tex lining. When reading the information on hiking shops, we also looked at the tongue of each individual shoe, paying attention to tongues that could prevent dirt, water and sand from getting into the shoe.

We also looked at the outer material of the boots. Photo Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

We looked at the edges (the rubber parts on the toe, side and heel), the type and the structure of the soles, we also looked at how well the collars (the part of the boot top that wraps around the back of the foot) were padded and shaped to fit the foot, and how the insoles were constructed.

How we tested

To our 26 To test a pair of hiking shoes, we first had to break them in accordingly. The break-in period depends on many factors, including the material of the boot (leather uppers take longer to break in than a softer, fully textile shaft), the purpose of the boot (backpack boots take longer to break in than lighter hiking shoes) and the person who wears the boot. Most of our experts found that in most cases, a shoe after 16 kilometers and definitely after 32 kilometers should have run in.

According to this rule of thumb we gave 26 testers, men and women, each a pair of boots and asked them, at least 48 kilometers to hike. During the hike, they recorded their steps and distances with a fitness tracker. They also wrote down information about the hike and weight of their backpack, and made notes about the terrain and climate. In the end, our testers almost hiked together 1125 kilometers and took about 1.5 million steps. However, some pairs of boots did not make it to theirs 48 – Kilometers goals due to comfort problems.

Tester Natasha Ruether in the Zodiac Plus GTX boots from Scarpa. Photo: Wirecutter / Natasha Ruether

While our testers in the boots my partner Steve and I also hiked. We each wore a pair of each set of boots our testers wore, brought together a little more than 320 Kilometers behind us (we hiked 11 to 13 kilometers in each pair) and made more than 400. 000 Steps. This process allowed us to compare the boots first hand. We chose hikes with a similar terrain and level of difficulty. We tested all boots during the summer months in Vancouver, British Columbia, when the temperatures were relatively constant (between 20 and 25 Centigrade). Each route gave us the opportunity to get our feet wet (a stream, river or lake where we could wade). We carried the boots on rocks, loose gravel, groomed paths and in the undergrowth. We dragged ourselves through mud, ran through water, climbed steep slopes and even carried our boots in the city.

Steve carried a daypack with an average of 2.5 to 5 kilos for each hike. I wore these boots when hiking in my fifth, sixth, and seventh months of pregnancy. Comfort and stability were definitely on my radar, and every boot that didn't fail my legs and lower back got extra credit. Most of the time my companions on the way gave me support and high fives – although I also got occasional questioning glances from people who were probably wondering why I wasn't home. (For the record, my doctor approved all the hikes and even encouraged me!)

Wirecutter author Ebony Roberts heavily pregnant testing hiking boots. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

We took notes on every hike to document the performance of each individual boot. When we found something that we really liked, we wrote it down. If something really angered us or made us uncomfortable, we wrote it down. We kept all of our notes on a scoreboard in my office, which we used to track the performance of each model in each category.

Where we tested

We wore these boots throughout the United States and Canada. Our testers migrated to 13 states and three provinces (a tester even wore the boots in Iceland! ) and so came over 1500 kilometers together.

The hiking shoes were tested in a wide variety of conditions. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

Our test locations included among others :


Trail Canyon , Descanso Gardens , Armstrong Redwoods , Mishe Mokwa ( Echo Cliffs and Sandstone Peak ), Wind Wolves Preserve , Cooper Canyon Falls , San Gabriel Mountains , Eaton Canyon , Millard Canyon , Big Bear Lake , Los Liones Trail , Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Wilson Canyon , Mount Washington, Los Angeles


Mount Bierstadt , Decalibron , Longs Peak , Quandary Peak , Mount Sherman , Mount Evans


Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area


Wachusett Mountain , Mount Greylock , Blue Hills Reserve , Middlesex Fells


Highline Trail in Glacier National Park

New Jersey

Mount Tammany

New Hampshire


New York

Van Cortlandt Park , Blue Mountain Reservation , Copperas Pond, Hook Mountain State Park, Appalachian Trail and Timp-Torne Trail in Bear Mountain State Park , High Tor State Park

North Carolina

Nantahala National Forest , Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Columbia River Gorge , Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop, Salmon River Trail , Smith Rock

South Dakota

Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park , Spearfish Canyon and Devil's Bathtub in Black Hills National Forest




Tiger Mountain , Poo Poo Point , Mount Si , Annette Lake


Cave and Basin National Historic Site , Johnston Canyon in the Banff National Park , Columbia Icefield , Jasper National Park

British Columbia:

Buntzen Lake Trail in the Indian Arm Provincial Park , Lynn Canyon ,> Baden Powell Trail, Quarry Rock Trail , Pacific Spirit Regional Park , Elfin Lakes and Panoram a Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park , Brohm Lake , Grouse Mountain , Miller Lake , Mount Revelstoke National Park , Wilson Creek Falls , Gimli Ridge (on the edge of the Valhalla Provincial Park ) , Idaho Peak , Lyle Lakes, Tricouni


Tallow Rock Bay Loop and Quiddity Trail in Charleston Lake Provincial Park , Rock Dunder , McCrae Lake


Þingvellir National Park in Reykjavik, Iceland

Tester Ben Leslie on Lake Champlain. Photo: Wirecutter / Sean Elgin

Other hiking shoes in the test

Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX (for men and women ): These hiking shoes have all the gimmicks that boots can have, including an excellent lacing system; securely locking toe hooks; Protection that runs along the toe, sides and heel of the boot; a neoprene cap on the back of the boot to prevent dirt and water from running down; double insoles that you can wear together or separately for a more personalized fit; a 3F ankle stabilizer; and highly technical Michelin brand soles this Salewa pair offers good support on rocky and uneven terrain and you can make safe descents thanks to the excellent grip.

We have made these boots almost our number one because of all these features, but several testers have friction experienced the heel. A tester told me that despite wearing suitable hiking socks, her feet were so sweaty and wet in these boots that she developed blisters. The bladder problem was probably caused by the slightly narrower fit of the boot (which is only suitable for certain feet) and the lack of integrated ventilation. The same tester reported that the fabric on the back of the heels was already after her 48 kilometers showed signs of wear.

Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX (for Men and women ) : We only have the model tested for women. Although it was well received by our testers, it narrowly missed our rating as a top recommendation because the design is more towards mountaineering. These boots are a great choice for hikers who are more likely to be on more demanding terrain. For most people, however, their extra stability and special foot protection are not necessary. In addition, the fit of the boot is not suitable for every foot type. I also found that the stiffer sole doesn't bend easily with the foot. A tester even had foot pain after a descent from the mountain due to the lack of padding.

We also tested the Scarpa Zodiac Tech GTX , a bored out version of the Zodiac Plus GTX. This boot is for ambitious hikers and climbers, offers cool features such as an ankle cuff that prevents the ingress of water and debris and all-round protection against stone chips, and is compatible with crampons. For most hikers this is just too much. A tester also had constant foot pain while hiking and had to change the insoles that broke.

Asolo Thyrus GV (for Men and women ): Immediately after unpacking, these boots were the most comfortable of all we wore, given the stiffness Appearance of the one-piece full leather upper was surprising. The padded foam that surrounds the ankle is dimensionally stable, so the boot hugs your ankle and prevents dirt and grass from entering. They don't have much more than a rubber rim around the toes, but we found that when we were trekking over roots and boulders, our feet were still well protected. Water rolls off these boots. Despite the firm upper material, our feet also felt at approx. 30 degrees Celsius not hot. The Asolo pair adapts to the size and we found it to be versatile, both for groomed hikes and for mountain tours. However, we discovered a problem: All of our testers noticed that these boots were already after 16 kilometers on the way slight signs of wear showed on the leather segments. These boots also lacked some of the additional features our top spots offer.

Keen Targhee EXP Waterproof Mid (for Men and women ): The Targhee EXP is an update of the classic Targhee, which looks less like a traditional hiking boot and more like a mixture of boots and running shoes. It's similar to the Merrell Moab 2, our budget pick, but maybe a little more stylish. Of the boots we tested, the Targhee EXP offered the largest space in the toe box, so you might want to try this boot if you have wide feet. Even the standard width should accommodate most wider feet, although these boots are also available in a larger size. The rubber toe cap also offers good protection.

However, we found a big disadvantage: No matter how much we tried to tie these boots tight at the ankle, we couldn't keep them tight. Dirt and leaves easily got into the tip of the boot through the space between the ankle and boots, and when we took these boots off, our socks were visibly dirty (but dry because the seal worked well). This bug put this Keen model right behind the Merrell pair in our budget pick list, but it's certainly not a bad pair of boots.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid (for Men's and women ): These boots had excellent traction, even on loose rocks. The lacing system also locked our heels and the tongue came up high enough to keep dirt out. Several testers reported that the Lowa pair were slightly stiff and required a lot of break-in, but others said they loved that it provided good ankle support for carrying heavy backpacks. In the end, these Lowa boots were left behind in the ventilation: Our feet were too warm in hot summer weather, because of the upper and insulating inserts made of full leather. These boots are definitely better suited for people who live and hike in cooler climates.

Oboz Bridger BDry (for Men and women ): This Oboz model is a robust looking hiking boot with heavy outsoles that offer excellent grip. All of our testers reported that they felt stable in this pair even in the most slippery conditions. However, each of our testers also found that these boots were too hot for midsummer hikes (probably due to the full leather upper). I also had difficulty tying the laces in, even though I used a few different lacing techniques. In terms of size, we found these boots are small (most of our testers took them half a size bigger), but since Oboz build their V-shaped models, the toe box is wider than the heel. This design is suitable for most foot shapes.

Danner Explorer 650 (For men and women ) : These old school leather boots get many style points (You may have already seen them on Instagram), but their functionality is rather simple. The Danner model offers no additional protection for the toes or the heels, and its lacing system is similar to that of normal high-top sneakers. The boots are quite high and nestle close to the ankles, which should prevent stones from getting into the shoe, but was also felt uncomfortable by our testers and caused some blisters on the foot. Our testers also confirmed that the Danner boots kept their feet dry in wet conditions. In our water test, however, some water seeped into the shoe instead of beading it up.

Vasque Breeze III Mid GTX ( For men and women ): online Reviews rave about the 2.0 version of these boots, but we didn't find the 3.0 version impressive. The fit was a bit small, and a tester complained about blisters after 11 kilometers of hiking with a stroller. The design has changed slightly from the previous version, and it looks like Vasque has reduced the toe cap and limited durability in favor of a lighter and more breathable boot (this design has additional mesh valves). Another of our testers, however, complained that these boots were too hot for day hikes in California. This pair is available in both medium and large sizes (as well as narrow for women). For significantly less money, our cheap alternative is also suitable for easier hikes and available in different widths.

Teva Arrowood Riva Mid waterproof : These were the only men's hiking boots that passed our water test have failed. After only a few minutes of wading through a stream, water entered around the toe and on the side of the boot (where the shaft meets the sole). After almost 24 hours the inside was still damp. We also found that these boots are built over a groomed path for an easy day hike and are built under with a backpack weight for a longer day tour.

Care and Maintenance

After hiking, the boots should be cleaned thoroughly. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

REI's Beth Henkes gave a few Tips to extend the life of your hiking shoes:

• Always clean your mud as quickly as possible Boots and use a water-based cleaning formula. “Some people use dish soap or a mild soap, and that tends to attract more dirt,” says Henkes. “Nikwax shoe cleaner is a water-based cleaner … and it will help repel dirt.”

• Preserve Do not leave your boots in the trunk of your car and do not leave them in a cold garage. Instead, you should keep your boots in a room at room temperature, such as your closet. “If you buy [Stiefel] at the end of the season, do three hikes and then put them in the garage for the winter, you have the potential to lose the sole of your boot,” says Henkes. “This is because you heated the glue and then didn't do anything with it. All the small cracks that form in the glue when you started are dried out and your sole can peel off.”

• Put on your boots for a walk every month. “You have to walk your dog in them once a month, or something like that to keep them flexible and supple and to let them know that you are still using them,” says Henkes.

• If you have a full leather boot, look after it once or twice a year to keep the leather soft and supple .

• Make sure that the boots are treated with waterproof membranes two to four times a year. “As soon as the water stops rolling from the top, you should treat them. This is the first line of defense,” said Henkes.

Prevention and treatment of blisters

Blisters can form on the feet during long hikes. Photo: Wirecutter / Steve Redmond

Jim McDannald, podiatrist, treadmill and wirecutter author, had some advice on preventing and treating blisters:

• You can prevent blisters before they occur by breaking in your shoes and keeping your feet dry along the way. As an additional prevention method, use ENGO Blister Prevention Patches, which you can apply to known problem areas within the shoes to reduce the friction between the foot and the shoe and to prevent blistering.

• If you get a blister, wash your hands first. Then puncture the bladder in several places along its edge (use a sterilized needle) to drain the fluid. You should do this in the first 24 Repeat hours every six to eight hours, making sure that the roof of the bladder remains intact as it will be removed the roof of the bladder can cause more pain and susceptibility to infection.

• Treat blisters with benzoin tincture after using them have emptied. Along with its antiseptic properties that help reduce the likelihood of infection, the tincture of benzoin is an adhesive. It will burn when you use it, but the substance connects the roof to the skin underneath, helping to reduce the backflow of fluid.

• If you're not stuck on a multi-day hike, use a combination of Spenco's 2nd Skin and Moleskin, which is an effective way to cover a blister. It is important to remove this combination every day and release the blister air while sleeping.


The contribution “The best hiking shoes and hiking boots in the test” is the German translation of the article “ The Best Hiking Boots ” of . The test was conducted in the United States and was first published in English on the Wirecutter website. The translation is based on the version from 24. 5. 2019. The CHIP test center was not involved in the investigation . We removed products that were not available in Germany at the time of the translation. These are the hiking boot models: Arc'teryx Bora2 Mid GTX and Ahnu by Teva Montara Waterproof.

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