The dream as an outdoor enthusiast: taking advantage of opportunities to get outside and away from modern society.
Reality: Spending loads of money on all of the outdoor kit, hiking boots, and equipment to keep you safe on your travels.
If you have ever walked into an outdoors shop and felt your eyes burn looking around at the price tags, we have good news for you.
We have developed a list of superb choices for hiking boots to carry you through any future trails, whether you are a daytripper or among the backpackers.
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boot: Best Overall Budget Hiking Boot
- Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boot: Best Budget Hiking Boot Runner-Up
- Salomon Outline GTX Hiking Shoe: Best Overall Hiking Shoe
- Columbia Redmond V2 Waterproof Hiking Boot: Best Budget Hiking Boot Runner-Up
- Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Hiking Boot: Best Rugged Terrain Hiking Boot
- La Sportiva Wildcat Trail Running Shoe: Best Budget Trail Runner
- Adidas Terrex Swift Hiking Shoe: Best Trail Running Shoe Runner-Up
- NORTIV Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boots: Best Budget Hiking Boots for Snow
Best Hiking Boots Under $150: Product Reviews
1. Best Overall Budget Hiking Boot: Merrell Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boot
- Material: Suede leather and mesh upper, Vibram outsole
- Cut: Mid
- Weight (Pair): 15.3 oz (433.7 g)
Merrell has long been known for its quality as an outdoor brand. The company works explicitly to produce outdoor and casual footwear for the avid adventurer. For many years now, their slogan has been “Let’s get outside.”
Getting outside with these boots is not a problem. They are cohesively created with suede leather upper and mesh to give the shoes some breathability. The sole is made with Vibram rubber, a material produced by an Italian company specifically for durable outsoles on footwear.
The lug depth reaches 5mm, and the arch shank has been created from resilient molded nylon. The formation of the closed-cell foam tongue and the bellows mesh together well to keep moisture out. Finally, the contoured EVA footbed has a zonal arch designed with vital heel support using the Merrell air cushion technology.
2. Best Budget Hiking Boot Runner-Up: Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boot
- Material: Suede full-grain leather, Vibram outsole
- Cut: Mid
- Weight (Pair): 2.7 lbs (1.2 kgs)
Danner Mountain hiking boots offer you complete waterproof protection whether you are on a day hike or a longer trek. They are affordable hiking boots that can easily get you over some rough terrain. The Vibram Fuga outsole offers increased gripping technology with its Megagrip design that works on wet and dry surfaces.
The boot’s interior features a cushioned open-cell OrthoLite footbed to protect target spots on the sole and ankle. The Vibram SPE midsole allows you to gain a maximum amount of rebound to keep the impact low on your joints.
If you have weak ankles, you don’t need to worry about these boots since the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel frame gives you the support and stability you need.
3. Best Budget Hiking Shoe: Salomon Outline GTX Hiking Shoe
- Material: Gore-Tex, rubber sole
- Cut: Low
- Weight (Pair): 2.3 lbs (1.0 kgs)
These hiking shoes from Salomon might look like simple sneakers to the untrained eye. However, just because a hiking boot doesn’t come past the ankle doesn’t mean that it doesn’t equip you for a rough day hike.
Salomon uses one of the most waterproof materials, Gore-Tex fabric. The seam-free outer material keeps the toe box and midsection of the shoe entirely waterproof and gives it a glove-like fit. The Contagrip outsole is a Salomon-specific technology to keep you stable on both wet and dry surfaces.
One of the most significant benefits to a hiking shoe instead of a hiking boot is the additional flexibility and the lower weight they typically are. Although these shoes are a bit heavier than expected, they retain that sought after flexibility.
4. Best Budget Hiking Shoe Runner-Up: Columbia Redmond V2 Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Material: Nubuck leather, textile mesh, rubber
- Cut: Low
- Weight (Pair): 12.35 oz (350 g)
These hiking shoes from Columbia have earned a position as number two for the best hiking shoe. Columbia has a reputation for producing quality footwear, so you know they are from a company you can trust.
Columbia Redmond’s are made for extended use. The company supports you for the length of your trip by reinforcing both the toe and heel barriers on the shoes. There is an extended outsole on the toe, which partially overwraps the toe box to protect the shoe’s primary wear points.
These shoes are entirely waterproof as well, featuring the company’s Omni-TECH seam-sealed membrane with an interior bootie to keep your feet dry yet remain breathable. The Omni tech is the Omni-Grip traction rubber outsole that is non-marking and allows you to get maximum grip across your terrain.
5. Best Rugged Terrain Hiking Boot: Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Hiking Boot
- Material: Nubuck leather, mesh, EVA polymer, nylon
- Cut: Mid
- Weight (Pair): 1.0 lbs (453.6 g)
Some of us know how hard we are on our hiking boots. Buying an affordable option can seem like a waste since we need the most durable material. Yet, a quality boot that can handle rugged terrain still doesn’t have to break the bank. This Oboz boot proves that.
Oboz is proud of its overall make and takes the brand a step farther with its patented technology. This design involves the O-fit insole, made to put on your foot when in a neutral position so it can sculpt to your arch and cup your heel. High-density EVA makes it up and provides you with maximal stability, absorbing shocks and providing you with underfoot support.
The midsole on this shoe has a sawtooth design to give precise torsional stability and keeps it lightweight. That combines with the sawtooth outsole, a proven backpackers cult favorite, to provide you with a versatile and flexible grip. There is a map of the Sawtooth mountain range in Idaho etched into the bottom of this design.
The upper fabric is breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, and waterproof, although the entire shoe isn’t very waterproof. Altogether, the design gives you an extremely durable boot.
6. Best Budget Trail Runner: La Sportiva Wildcat Trail Running Shoe
Our Rating: 4.7 out of 5
- Material: Nylon, mesh, rubber
- Cut: Low
- Weight (Pair): 8 oz (226.8 g)
Not all of you are suiting and booting up these mountain trails. Instead, you are trying to pack light and stretching out your strides as a trail runner. It is just as, if not more, important for trail runners to have high-quality shoes. These trail running shoes from La Sportiva do more than allow a minimalistic, lightweight feel on your feet. They protect them.
The Wildcat Trail Running Shoe has a rubber sole with a high-cushioned midsole to provide a maximum amount of comfort during your hikes, runs, marathons, and more. The transfer shank is a molded nylon to keep it flexible with a layer of LaSpEVA to give you ultra shock absorption.
The outside layer of the shoe is made with a vented AirMesh typical of La Sportiva shoes. Another patented technology by the company is their Impact Brake System, put together with a grippy FriXion AT sole to provide you with safer traction on uneven terrain.
7. Best Trail Running Shoe Runner-Up: Adidas Terrex Swift Hiking Shoe
Our Rating: 4.7 out of 5
- Material: Rubber, textile, nylon
- Cut: Low
- Weight (Pair): 12.96 oz (367.4 g)
The Adidas Terrex Swift is another hiking shoe with a versatile use as a lightweight trail runner and as a low-rise hiking shoe with its durable sole. Adidas is a more commonly known brand among the fitness community than the outdoor community, and some of that show in the design.
Instead of having thick and durable shoelaces, this shoe has a thin elastic material in its stead. However, the primary build of the shoe is quality. The outsole gives you increased traction, even in wet conditions. The shoe’s midsole has two parts, an adiPRENE insert that gives you that extra shock absorption and comfort and an EVA cushion that gives it a durable edge up.
The sock line of these hiking shoes is molded nylon to enhance the shoe for long-term comfort. Although these shoes are not waterproof, their significant positive feature is the cushioning and shock absorption.
8. Best Budget Hiking Boots for Snow: NORTIV Insulated Waterproof Winter Snow Boots
Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5
- Material: Rubber, Thinsulate
- Cut: High
- Weight (Pair): 4 lbs (1.8 kgs)
These boots are not made for long-term hiking but instead are more versatile. They are meant to protect your feet, ankles, and lower shins from freezing temperatures and snow. They are heavily insulated, making them quite a bit heavier than a typical pair of hiking boots.
Although when they were initially designed, they were not meant for hiking specifically, they are plenty capable of carrying you through wintery day hikes. The 200g 3M Thinsulate material keeps your feet warm down to -25°F or -31.7°C. There are higher Thinsulate ratings in the market like 400g and 800g that are available and worth checking too.
These boots are not only warm, but they are waterproof. From the top of their synthetic toe cap to the bottom of their rubber sole, they keep out both moisture and wind. The rubber outsole is slip and abrasion-resistant and flexible.
What Type of Hiking Boots Should You Buy?
Buying a pair of hiking boots doesn’t only come down to the budget that you have set out for them. Once you take their price into account, here are some other things to consider before making your final decision.
How to Choose Quality Hiking Boots
If you want a long-term investment, purchasing durable hiking boots will be one of the most critical factors. Their intrinsic durability primarily depends on the material and the technology the producer used when creating.
Look for hiking boots with a strong full-grain leather for a durable upper and a thick bottom sole. The inclusion of toe bumpers and seamless stitching, exemplified on the Salomon Outline GTX Hiking Shoe, gives a boot or shoe better durability.
Not only should the materials make a boot more durable, they determine how waterproof and windproof the boot is. Treated leather and layers of nylon mean a boot will be relatively waterproof. Synthetic material doesn’t stand up to abrasion as well as leather does either.
The amount of ankle support and protection that you receive depends on the cut of the boot. Typically, trail runners are low-cut shoes to give you greater mobility when running. Most hiking boots have a mid-cut since it increases protection without dramatically decreasing your mobility. There are plenty of high-cut boots out there as well, but they are only necessary when traversing dangerous terrain.
Comfort and Pressure Points
We assume that you will spend a lot of time on your feet in these boots. Keep your feet blister-free and comfortable by purchasing a pair of boots whose soles both cradle and support your feet. They should have cushions to them as well so that your arch and all of the pressure points on your foot absorb less shock.
When looking into the materials and the technology behind the design, pay attention to any claims that the boots use moisture-wicking fabric or mesh ventilation. It is still possible to have a waterproof boot that doesn’t simultaneously stifle your feet.
The Pitfall to Watch Out For
Improper sizing is the most significant downfall to any hiker and their boots. First, it is always essential to try your boots before purchasing, even if they are from the same company. Bring socks that you would typically use on a hike or layer them up. You need enough room in the toe box to allow your toes to wiggle and not touch the front of the boot. At the back, the heel should fit tightly, and there shouldn’t be any friction between it and the boot, or you will develop blisters.
Where to Buy Hiking Boots
You can buy hiking boots online or at any outdoor retail store and sometimes in general superstores with shoe departments. Most online retailers offer free return policies so you can test out the fit of your boots to ensure you’ve selected the right size.
The boot that stood out the most to carry both you and your budget, in the end, was the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boot.
This boot’s versatility and durability matched up to put it one step ahead of the rest. However, if you want to consider a couple of options, take the Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boot into account with its mega-grip technology and suede leather exterior.
Supporting your feet through mountains and valleys doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. We hope that we have made finding an affordable option easier so you can spend less time searching and more time exploring.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big should hiking boots be?
The size of your hiking boot is relatively subjective, larger than you would typically wear, or the same as your average shoe size.
Many people prefer a hiking boot that is half to a full size larger than they typically wear. The reasoning behind this is that the boot can then accommodate thicker socks or a double pair on cold treks. They will also fit better as you hike since many people’s feet swell with significant amounts of walking.
Don’t get anything more significant than one size up since a boot that is too large won’t adequately protect your heel. They are also much more likely to cause blistering.
Don’t get hiking boots that are smaller than your standard shoe size. Otherwise, opt for boots that are the same size that you typically wear.
Are leather boots good for hiking?
Leather boots are an excellent choice for committed hikers. To new hikers, it might seem strange that many high-quality hiking boots are made with leather. However, quality leather on your boots’ outside and upper material make them altogether tougher and ready to take on rugged terrain.
Leather is a natural fiber that is meant to stand up to all kinds of harsh conditions on an animal. When it is treated and prepared correctly, it can easily face the challenge of tough abrasions and continue to be resilient in the face of rugged terrain.
An example of good leather is full-grain leather. It contains the entire grain layer and hasn’t experienced any removal of its surface, something typical for suede leather.
How much toe room in hiking boots?
The toe room in a hiking boot is where the size of the boot comes largely into play. A boot that fits properly should keep your heel locked in place. Any rubbing or friction between your heel and the boot will cause blisters at the back of your foot.
Moving to the front of the boot, in the toe box, your toes shouldn’t hit the front of the boot even if you are going downhill. If they do, it is likely to cause pain and some ugly, blackened toenails. You should have a small amount of room for your toes to wiggle, but there shouldn’t be much more extra space there.
If you try hiking boots before you buy, ensure the perfect fit by bringing a pair of thick hiking socks or an extra pair to emulate what they feel like during typical wear.
Can you wear running shoes on a hike?
Yes, you can wear running shoes on a hike. Shoes designed to be road runners will not perform very well used as trail runners. They can still work, but you put yourself at a higher risk for injury and destroy the shoes in one use.
In short, trail running shoes are best if you wear the shoes on a hike, whether you run or not.