The one most important issue to take with you about the hiking trail is a great pair of hiking boots. We had 28 hikers log 900 miles in 13 pairs of men’s hiking boots along with 13 pairs of women’s boots. Once they finished nearly 2 million steps in each climate and terrain possible, we arrived to the conclusion that the Salomon Quest 4D two GTX boots (men’s and women) are the best hiking boots for most people who plan to go day hiking and backpacking. They’re lightweight, breathable, and waterproof, and they have a wide toe box, which means they are very likely to fit almost any sort of foot.
The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX boot (that comes from men’s and women’s versions) might seem too tough for a day hike, but we found that these boots would be the best of any we analyzed for the two backpacking and day hiking on almost any terrain. They are lighter than almost all of the other boots at our test set, but they still offer all of the essential features you will need, such as ample toe and heel protection, a gusseted tongue, plus a wide toe box, and a well-thought-out lacing system. The Quest 4D 2 GTX design can also be breathable and waterproof.
La Sportiva’s Trango TRK GTX boots (which come in men’s and women’s models) are trail-ready right out of the box, requiring almost no break-in time. If our best pick is sold out, we believe this set is a nice backup option. The Trango boots are both breathable and waterproof, which makes them great for creek-laden lifts throughout the summer months. They’re crampon compatible, also, so it’s possible to hike in them through each season. In addition they have a fully gusseted tongue.
The Merrell Moab two Mid Waterproof hiking boots, which come in men’s and women’s versions are a no-frills solution for people that do not plan to go trekking often. Despite their being nearly $100 less than our best pick at this writing, we found them to be great enough across all of our metrics: They had been watertight (but not for a protracted period of time), they provided strong ankle support throughout moderate increases of 3 to 5 kilometers, they provided an easy-to-use lacing system, and they had been pretty flexible during summer and fall weather.