Whether you’re trekking over mud, grass, gravel or rock, a pair of robust hiking boots is essential. MF tests six of the best hiking boots for men.

Hiking is having a moment, with celebrities from Matthew McConaughey to Zac Efron and Colin Farrell papped exploring the great outdoors in the kind of muddy boots you’ll never see near a red carpet. There’s also a growing sub-culture for fast-and-light hiking adventures, which is attracting casual Instagram hikers and serious hybrid athlete-adventurers alike. But the allure of hiking is timeless, offering you the chance to explore nature and to feel the unique joy of using human-powered motion to discover dramatic, remote or beautiful places.

Whether you plan to conquer a technical mountain trail or a flat forest track, enjoy a sunny summer trek or battle mounds of snow in far-flung locations, you need some sturdy, reliable footwear. So we’re kick-starting your next adventure with reviews of the most versatile, robust and high-tech hiking boots available.

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These are the best hiking boots for men

Fast and light hikers will appreciate the blend of sleek, lightweight design and supple, athletic feel that the Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX brings to the trail. That GTX stands for GORE-TEX, so you know you’re getting reliable waterproofing. They’re more robust than a 350g hiking boot has a right to be, and the 4.5mm lugs provide plenty of traction on every surface we encountered.

Hiking boot alternatives

Best for waterproofingIt’s not unlike The North Face to go full military-spec on its adventure gear, and that’s exactly what it’s done on the Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight. We’ve waded through streams in these without so much as a drop getting through.
Best for longevityThe brawny Jack Wolfskin Terraquest Texapore Mid is a seriously sturdy boot. Its uppers are made from nubuck leather with reinforcements made from the material used in body armour. If there’s such a thing as a boot for life, this is it.
Best for gripIf your outdoor adventures involve a lot of sketchy surfaces, you couldn’t choose a much better shoe than the Merrell Moab Speed 2 GORE-TEX. This light, nimble shoe has bi-directional lugs that give sandpaper-like traction and grip.

1. Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX

Men’s Fitness verdict

A beautifully light and sleek hybrid boot offering precision, protection and propulsion over a wide range of terrain.
  • Luxurious slimline design
  • GORE-TEX waterproofing
  • Waterproofing doesn’t cover ankle
  • Hard to get on and off

Better known for its running shoes, Saucony has started to delve into the hiking shoe market. And that’s something the company should definitely continue with, if the Ultra Ridge GTX is anything to go by. The brand’s inaugural hiking boot is clearly inspired by its trail-rinning shoes, offering a light and luxuriously springy ride.

This hybrid hiker-athlete boot still has the GORE-TEX waterproof protection you’d want in a decent hiking boot, and plenty of protection to boot. But the trick Saucony pulls here is combining a propulsive midsole and grippy outsole for tackling technical terrain at a decent lick.

Product shot of North Face boots

2. The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight

Men’s Fitness verdict

An incredibly robust, warm and stable high-top hiking boot for extreme weather adventures in any terrain.
  • Outstanding protection from snow and rain
  • 200g of quality synthetic insulation
  • Inevitably heavier than a mid-top
  • Insulation means it’s not a summer boot

It’s no surprise The North Face is behind this stomping, all-conditions, all-terrain boot that will walk all over the worst Mother Nature can throw at you. Waterproof, snowproof and packed with 200g of insulation, it’s a top-notch multi-season boot that gives you outstanding protection from the trail and the elements.

We’ve ploughed through rain, rivers, ice and snow without worrying about getting our feet wet in these. They offer a reassuringly stable stride, too, with plenty of ankle stability and traction galore from its allow-shaped lugs.

3. Jack Wolfskin Terraquest Texapore Mid

Men’s Fitness verdict

A burly boot which overcomes its beefy weight to deliver a reliably strong, stable and element-proof ride.
  • Lush nubuck leather upper
  • Eco-friendly Vibram Ecostep outsole
  • A pair of size 8 boots weigh a beefy 1.14kg / 2.5lb
  • Some initial stiffness around the ankle

The Terraquest Texapore Mid boot combines excellent outdoor performance with robust enough styling that you don’t feel the need to kick them off as soon as your walk is done. Packing in abrasion-resistant fabrics and waterproof liner, Jack Wolfskin’s boot will handle all the knocks and splashes the trail can throw at it.

Many people probably buy the Terraquest boot for its military-utilitarian styling alone. But they’re missing a trick. This boot is made to be used and abused in the wild and its construction from the same material as body armour ensures it will stand the test of time.

Product shot of Salomon boot

4. Salomon X Ultra 360 GORE-TEX

Men’s Fitness verdict

French brand Salomon rarely disappoints and this light-and-fast hiker is an robust and sprightly shoe.
  • Easily adjustable cable lace system
  • Cleverly designed chevron traction
  • Low-cut means the odd stone shake-out
  • Robust protection guards look plasticky

Another shoe that looks indestructible, the Salomon X Ultra 360 GORE-TEX is encased in reinforced panels to protect its breathable upper. Toe and heel buffers give extra protect fore and aft too, much more than you’d usually see on a low-cut shoes. It doesn’t feel weighed down by this armour, though, with an EVA foam midsole making it feel quite an athletic shoe.

The Quicklace cable system is ideal for dialling in a precise fit, while chevron-shaped Contagrip lugs ensure you’ll adhere to all but the slipperiest of surfaces. Made from 50% recycled materials, the X Ultra 360 certainly does Salomon’s green credentials no harm either.

Product shot of Merrell Moab boot

5. Merrell Moab Speed 2 GORE-TEX

Men’s Fitness verdict

A fast, grippy and nimble low-top hiking shoe for everyday outdoor adventures, with the bonus of GORE-TEX protection.
  • Immediate comfort
  • Sandpaper-like grip
  • Low-cut design may invite water ingress
  • Mesh fabric may suffer abrasion

If Merrell’s classic Moab boot and its Speed shoe had a love child, we think it’d look something like the Moab Speed 2 Gore-Tex. Rather than a series of compromises, it’s actually the best of both worlds, combining the grip and protection of the Moab with the fast, nimble feel of the Speed.

Perhaps the highlight of this shoe is its grip. Its ridiculous just how confidence-inspiring its sandpaper-like sticky quality is. We tries and failed to find surfaces the Moab Speed 2 wouldn’t stick to. FlexPlate technology and FloatPro foam create a tactile sensation on technical trails rather than being sealed off from them, which is a rarity in most hiking boots.

Product shot of Columbia boot

6. Columbia Facet 75 Mid Outdry

Men’s Fitness verdict

A light, relaxed and versatile mid-top which blends running shoe comfort with the waterproofing of a decent hiking boot.
  • Running shoe comfort
  • Strong and chunky
  • Mesh upper may suffer scrapes
  • Wide toe box causes some internal foot slide

Looking more high-top sneaker than hiking boot, it’s no surprise the Columbia Facet 75 boasts running shoe levels of comfort. It’s a strong and chunky mid-top with waterproof protection, and will keep your feet cosy and cushioned even on day-long hikes.

It might not be the hiking boot for demanding technical trails, but for most hikes that comfort will win out over any loss of grip or traction. There’s a reinforced toe box if you do encounter rocks but its lightweight construction is ideal for those who prefer a supple, lithe shoe rather than an armour-plated one.

How we test the best hiking boots

We tested a selection of hiking shoes, including low-, mid- and high-top models, to cover the full spectrum of hiking functionality, from fast-and-light summer day hikes to mountainous winter adventures. Experienced product tester Mark Bailey tested these shoes and boots in the UK between October and April, over a particularly wet autumn, winter and spring, in temperatures ranging from -2°C to 19°C. The bulk of the hiking involved 2-5 hour treks on the muddy tracks, undulating trails and forests of the Midlands. But models were also tested on tougher full-day hikes on the jagged slopes of the Peak District and on the short, steep hills of the Cotswolds.

The shoes were also used for regular daily walks to gauge everyday comfort. But they had to handle plenty of hostile conditions, from frosty mornings to rain-sodden terrain, so Mark paid particular attention to waterproofing and build quality. So, however and wherever you hike, you’ll find your next pair of hiking kicks right here.