Looking for hiking boot recommendations

Are beefy hiking boots worth the extra weight or are trail running shoes good enough? Which do you prefer?

  • Definitely varies by person. People will wear Chacos sandals when I am wearing my Lowas mid height full on hiking boots, which I need for stability on almost any kind of trail and support of my foot.
  • Yes. Merrel is the best. Rei has them. Don't skimp on price if possible. You get what you pay for.
  • Hiked in many boots. Lowa's Renegade boot is my choice for serious hiking. They run about $235.00.
  • Me too, though I've had good luck with Vasque too. Not so much with Merrell in recent years. Note that the Renegade may run a bit wide but they also come in a narrow width, both men's & women's. You may have to order the narrow ones online.

    There seems to be some variation in the shape of the footbed between brands. Try several of the better brands.
  • If you have not previously worn hiking boots, suggest that you check with your local outdoor store, REI online, or similar and talk to someone who is an experienced boot fitter. Not all stores, even sporting goods stores, have sales folks who know how to fit hiking and outdoor shoes. Happy trails/sidewalks/etc.
  • I hiked the Alps in low cut Oboz and LOVED them. I never had a blister. They are neither heavy nor are they trail running shoes. I would suggest getting real hiking shoes or boots, not running shoes. Make sure you get them with enough room for your toes and tie them tight. You don't want your feet slamming against the front of the shoe when hiking downhill. Quality socks are a must also.
  • More important than the brand is a good fit. If you are going to do a lot of hiking, I suggest going to an outdoor specialist to be fitted. Then, especially if you have leather boots, break them in before you go. (Some light weight models don't require as much break in.) Finally, as others have said, good socks are essential. Sweat leads to blisters and blisters lead to misery on the trail. Good luck.
  • I learned years ago to get a half size longer. Really helps going downhill.
  • I have several outdoor outfitter and manufacturers here in Portland, OR. That said, I haven't purchased a expensive pair of boots in several years. At a RS birding program in Puerto Rico, the local guide said expensive boots fell apart in their climate and an inexpensive pair held up. I have wide feet and selection is limited. I purchased a pair of Hi-Tec hiking boots at one of the local chain stores. They are comfortable, light weight, water proof, and wear well. I purchased a second pair, different style on a road trip after realizing I forgot to pack my boots and was over 100 miles down the road. Hiking boots give extra ankle protection. I find myself getting distracted and not always look down at hazards tripping or slipping.
  • I bought strong leather WOLVERINE padded, ankle support boots for an archaeology tour to Egypt. They served me well as we trekked into the hills in the Valley of the Kings and at Aswan- also for field work. Wolverine has women's boots, but expect to pay $100 or more and be sure to break in any boots you buy. Walk in them for at least two weeks before your trip.
  • Yes, hiking boots are worth their weight in gold! I bought a pair of Merrills last year and they are worth the money you pay for them! Go to a good outdoor store & try some on - everyone likes different things about all the brands. I'm now hooked on Merrill, but they may not be right for you. Also, if the store has some 'rock-climbing/hiking' areas (usually very small), try the boots out on those surfaces.
  • I ditto the Keenes. Love them.
  • I've been hiking for years, and if you're hiking on anything but flat terrain, I definitely recommend boots with ankle support. (The one time I wore running shoes, I ruptured my Achilles tendon!) They make lots of light-weight boots these days. The brand is very personal -- different boots fit different feet differently, so you'll have to go to a good outdoor gear store and try them on. (Or, to possibly save some money, order them online with the intention of returning them if the fit isn't good. But don't just go for cheap boots -- you'll regret it when your little piggies start to squeal on the trail!)
  • I prefer trail shoes - but for long down hill days I like a higher shoe that keeps my foot from creeping forward with each downhill step. I also buy hiking shoes 1/2 size larger than usual to prevent toe chafing. Any extra space in the heel etc can be padded.