Best Lightweight Hiking Boots for Men and Women

What are the best lightweight hiking boots? We share our top ten picks to help you out on the trail. When spending time in the great outdoors, your first line of defense is an excellent pair of hiking boots. Whether you are a thru-hiker, weekend warrior, or a day-hike hobbyist, the perfect hiking boots should be one of your first considerations before hitting the trails.

They will protect you against rugged terrain, give you support through miles of trekking, keep you dry and warm in unforgiving climates, and most importantly, keep you going mile after mile. 

These days, there are lighter options than the clunky old boots of yesteryear. Any pair of boots under three pounds is lightweight, but that doesn’t mean all lightweight hiking boots are created equal. 

Here, we will be breaking down some of the most important aspects to look for before you buy and showcasing some of the top contenders currently in the lightweight hiking boot category for both men and women. 


The Best Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots
With my Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Best Hiking Boot Salomon GTX III
  • Price: $165
  • Weight: 1 lb. 15.6 oz.
  • Material: Leather, Goretex,
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Feel Like Running Shoes
  • Good Value
  • Excellent Fit
  • Performance

Cons

  • Lightweight Nature Sacrifices Stability
  • Underfoot Protection

Salomon has been at the top of the hiking boot game for a long time. With exceptional quality, outstanding durability, and solid overall construction, it’s easy to see why. Now they have entered their contender in the lightweight hiking boots fight, and we couldn’t be happier.

Weighing in at just under 1lb, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid hiking boots will have you walking longer and faster without even noticing. The mid-ankle design gives you great support, and the improved lugs provide excellent grip and robust toe protection. Overall, these lightweight hiking boots for both men and women are a fantastic option for hikers of all levels. 

It’s a good boot for anyone looking to have a lightweight boot without sacrificing performance. If you’re seeking a boot to move fast and run downhill with some ankle protection, this is a great hiking boot.

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Merrell Mid Waterproof Moab II

Best Hiking Boots - Merrel Moabs
  • Price: $135
  • Weight: 2 lb. 4 oz.
  • Material: Leather, Goretex,
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Fit
  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Great Value
  • No Break In Period

Cons

  • Feels Little Too Soft
  • Lacks Performance

Merrel is one of our favorite boot brands, and they deliver some of the best value on the market. They make entry-level boots that are super comfortable for long distances and with weight on your back. Merrell has managed to keep these boots affordable as they haven’t updated the design in years, and it’s proven to be a reliable boot. It’s not broken; don’t fix it.

The boots are a blend of leather, textile, and synthetic. They are waterproof, comfortable, and have rubber soles and high ankles. On the outsole is rugged Vibram soles that provide good cushion and traction on slick surfaces. The major downside of the boot is its lack of support.

The Moab 2 operates more as an easy trail boot than something designed for scrambling or traversing craggy trails. If you spend a lot of time in the Mountains with lots of scree and rough rocks, you may want a more robust hiking boot. However, if you spend more time out in warm environments, these boots are great. As a bonus, they come in a non-waterproof vented version to keep your feet cool.

Shop  For Merrell Moab II


Hoka One One Kaha

Best Hiking Boots Hoka One One Kaha
  • Price: $220
  • Weight: 2 lb. 3.8 oz.
  • Material: Leather
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Excellent Comfort
  • Stability
  • Good Arch Support
  • Traction
  • Rockered Sole

Cons

  • Feels Unreliable in Scrambles or Off-Trail

If you love to hike, but your body and feet are sensitive to rough terrain, the Hoka One One Kaha hiking boots have your back. With extra plush soles and rocker bottoms, these boots will make you feel like you are walking on clouds as you glide along the trail.

While this maximalist approach may not be perfect for every hiker (the added padding can feel a little strange at first), they can give those with injuries or sensitivities the ability to get back out doing what they love most. However, that doesn’t mean that they skimp on the features. These boots feature the Vibram MegaGrip sole, eVent waterproof sock liner, and leather uppers that will keep you stylish, comfortable, and upright. The barely-there 1b 2oz overall weight doesn’t hurt either. 

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La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX

La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX Best Hiking Boots
  • Price: $199
  • Weight: 2 lb. 1.6 oz.
  • Material: Nubuck Leather, Goretex,
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Fit
  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Great Value
  • Durability
  • Light

Cons

  • Ventilation
  • Fit

La Sportiva’s Nucleo High GTX hiking boots have excellent breathability throughout. A Gor-Tex Surround liner allows airflow through the top of the boot and the sides and bottom of the footbed. It also boasts Nano-Cell Technology, which is a web-like mesh found on the sides of the boot.

Weighing in at 2lbs 1.6oz, it is hard to believe they were able to get away with the large swathes of leather throughout that give these hiking boots outstanding foot protection against some of the most rugged terrain. The only downside would be the narrowness of the footbed. These boots will not work well for men or women that generally wear wider styles. 

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Vivo Tracker Esc

  • Price: $220
  • Weight: 2 lb. 1.6 oz.
  • Material: Natural Materials
  • Waterproof: Weather Resistant

Pros

  • Earth Friendly
  • Comfortable
  • Unique Hiking Shoe
  • Wide
  • Foot Health

Cons

  • Price
  • No Sole Not For Everyone

Many of the foot and joint issues that plague modern-day humans are from overdesigned shoes that you can now get just about any way. Most shoes cause our feet to move in unnatural manners, actually making our feet weather! VivoBarefoot is a fantastic company that is fighting foot pain. They have some innovative shoes in their line, but our favorites are their hiking boots.

We’ve been trying out the new Tracker Forest ESC on our hikes, and they impressed us with the performance of the barefoot boot. The new boots are naturally water-resistant. Most interesting is the non-slip sole combined with an exceptional arch grip for gripping and sticking to surfaces. Inside the boot is an air mesh lining that allows for proper airflow. They are broad, thin, and flexible to promote the foot’s natural movement.

(Use code “AJBARE10” for 10% off)

Shop Vivobarefoot Tracker Esc


Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX

Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Best Hiking Boot
  • Price: $269
  • Weight: 2 lb. 6.4 oz.
  • Material: Leather
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great Support
  • Comfort
  • Stiff Footplate For Protection

Cons

  • Price
  • Narrow Fit
  • Break In Period
  • Overkill For Easy Trails

The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX brings heavyweight hiking boot quality to the lightweight category. These supportive, durable, light hiking boots are for heavy loads on multiple days of backpacking, without the added strain of bulky boots wearing you down. The mid-ankle height gives you excellent stability, while the PU and EVA midsole blend combines the phenomenal shock absorption of the PU with the restful quality of EVA.

There are not many other hiking boots that offer this blended option. Also, their choice of a suede upper rather than leather gives these boots a boost in the breathability department – surprisingly, without sacrificing the waterproof abilities. It’s a great boot for those more skewed towards mountaineering and scrambling.

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Salomon Quest 4 GTX

Salomon Quest 4 GTX
  • Price: $230
  • Weight: 2 lb. 13.2 oz.
  • Material: Leather, Textile, Goretex
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Overkill For Easy Trails

While the Salomon Quest 4 GTX hiking boots toe the line between midweight and lightweight at 2lbs 13.8oz, they make up for it in aggressive quality. These boots are the whole package, with an exceptionally rugged outsole that can help you glide through any environment, a flexible platform for improved comfort, and top of a line performance fit.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX boots can take you from your day-hike to your next big backwoods adventure with ease, making them great for every style and experience level.

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Lowa Renegade GTX 

  • Price: $240
  • Weight: 2 lb. 7 oz.
  • Material: Nubuck Leather / Cordura nylon
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Light
  • Comfortable
  • Stability

Cons

  • Durability

Like the Vasque Breeze, the Lowa Renegade hiking boots are incredibly comfortable straight out of the box, with no break-in period needed. The Lowas also has one of the highest ankle collars of any of the boots on this list, giving you exceptional ankle support for uneven terrain.

They have a solid construction that can stand up against the best brands and a full leather upper that adds to their overall durability. Lowa Renegade hiking boots have more stability, durability, and waterproofing than many lightweight brands but fall slightly behind the endurance of many midweight boots. 

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adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 Mid GTX

  • Price: $230
  • Weight: 1 lb. 15.6 oz.
  • Material: Nubuck Leather / Cordura nylon
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Traction
  • Comfort
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Weak Support

Being a top footwear brand for years, it was only a matter of time before Adidas crossed over into the hiking genre, and we can’t say that we are disappointed. The Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 is the perfect combination of a hiking boot and a trail runner.

Weighing in at 1lb 15.6oz, they are light and flexible without skimping on the Gor-Tex waterproofing or impressive Continental outsole grip. While they don’t have quite the ankle support of other mid-ankle hiking boots, they have exceptional foot and toe protection. Not to mention, they are just as stylish as you would expect an Adidas product. 

adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 Mid GTX

Women

Men


What to Consider Before You Buy Hiking Boots

Many factors go into making the best hiking boots, some of which are more important than others. So, to simplify your purchasing experience, here are the essential things to look at before you splash your cash. 


Fit

The fit of your hiking boots is by far the most crucial aspect to consider before you invest in a new pair. Too tight, and you run the risk of restricting your blood flow, your toes squishing up against the rough outer layer of the boot, and swelling. Too loose, you can develop blisters, slip on rocks, or even lose your boots on an uphill climb. 

To know you have the right fit, try on the boots at the end of the day with the socks you intend to use. This is when your feet are the most swollen, so it gives you room to grow. The boots should fit snugly everywhere, be loose nowhere, yet still allow you to wiggle your toes. 


Uppers

With my Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX

This refers to the type of material used mainly over the exterior of the boot. These generally come in split-grain leather, full-grain leather, nubuck leather, or synthetic. Specifically for lightweight hiking boots, you should be looking for nubuck leather or artificial, as they are lighter in weight and much more breathable. 


Midsole

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The midsole is the material that cushions your stride and absorbs the shock as you trek through the countryside. These are generally made from two types of materials – EVA and PU (polyurethane). PU midsoles are usually firmer and more durable, making them better for long-distance backcountry backpacking. EVA midsoles tend to give more cushioning but don’t last as long, so these are most recommended for day-hikers. 


Lug Pattern

The lug pattern refers to the plastic grips on the outsole of your boots. Tighter lug patterns give you more grip, while lugs that are more spaced out give you excellent traction and are easier to clean mud out from. 


Weight

Even in the lightweight category, you still need to evaluate the weight of your boots. That’s because anything below 3.3lbs is considered lightweight. The ideal weight for hiking boots is around 2lbs. This generally means they have the higher durability of a midweight boot without sacrificing ankle support and foot protection. Plus, removing the weight from your feet will make you more agile and increase your overall comfort in the long run. 


Features in Hiking Boots 

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Outside of hiking boots’ basic construction, the features they have can make or break the pair. Here are a few things to keep a close eye on to avoid buyer’s remorse.


Eyelets

Personally, this is a pet peeve of mine. There is nothing worse than finding that perfect pair of boots, lacing up and hitting the trail, to see that the eyelets are too small and your laces keep coming undone! Look for eyelets with strong brackets around the ankles that can handle you tugging your laces through them regularly without bending or breaking. 


Waterproofing

If you have ever ended up with soggy feet miles away from your final stop, you already know the importance of waterproofing. Outside of keeping you comfortable, this critical feature will also help better regulate your body temperature and prevent blisters in wet environments. The two best and most common types of waterproofing are Gor-Tex and eVent. Trust me. If the boots you are looking at don’t have one of these types, you should continue the search. 


Mesh Inlays

While it may seem counterproductive to have mesh inlays in the upper part of the boots, it’s more beneficial than you think. They give your hiking boots a considerable boost in breathability to prevent you from sweating through your socks and slipping and sliding inside your boots. 


Padding

Extra padding is not always the top choice in the midsole, as it can initially make you feel wobbly until you get used to it; however, it is a great way to increase your shock absorption and save your knees on those strenuous days in the woods. Also, look for added padding around the ankle support to prevent chafing. 


What To Wear Hiking

Smutwood Peak

The most basic principle of what to wear hiking is layering. Anyone who has spent time in the wilderness or mountains can say that your temperature can fluctuate a lot on a hike.

So the goal of clothing is to help regulate your body temperature, element protection, and moisture management. Temperature management is done through a layering system. If you want to learn more about what to pack for a day hike or wear on a hike, you can see our posts below. 

About Cameron

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past six years. During this time he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Ireland, Scotland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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