A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
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Last updated: July 16, 2021
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If you genuinely love to explore the outdoors, you have probably encountered some wet and muddy terrain as you walk along. As such, water can seep into your shoes and ruin the overall hiking experience. This can even be detrimental to the health of your feet. Luckily you can solve this problem by purchasing the best waterproof hiking boots you can find.
Out of the forty products we reviewed, the consensus on our team is that the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Men’s Backpacking Boots is the top pick for men. On the other hand, the Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot ranks just as high for women. Both these products perform very well in guiding feet to ensure maximum comfort on any terrain. They are as well durable and comfortable. However, these two are just the starting point of many benefits these shoes have to offer. Additionally, you have 12 other options with varying benefits and features in case the two mentioned above are not up to your requirements.
Anybody who has used waterproof boots before will know what to look for in this type of shoes. It might include the size, outsole, upper materials, type of waterproof membrane, shaft height, and a few other features. All these will affect how well the boot is adapted to different terrain, how good it feels, and even the level of protection from moisture. We have followed the same blueprint in the review of these products and come up with two comprehensive tables below. One features the best waterproof hiking boots for men while the other features a similar list for women. We as well have provided a buying guide so you can organize your thoughts as you look to the different purchase options available. Additionally, there are in-depth reviews of all 14 products on our list.
Starting us off on our best men’s waterproof hiking boots list are the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Men’s Backpacking Boots. Most people would pass them up to be just like any other shoe in the market. However, once you’ve seen the features of the boots, you will likely become a fan.
Top on that list of features is the 4D advanced chassis. Just by adding this in the design of the shoes, you get two main benefits. This includes less fatigue on your feet since the boots will guide them accordingly. Also, there is more forefoot flexion. You thus should be more comfortable as you move from step to step.
There is also the rubber outsole that has been optimally designed. The result is a firmer grip on all surfaces, whether wet or otherwise. On the top of the shoe, you have Nubuck leather in addition to GORE-Tex fabric. The latter helps to keep moisture as far away from your feet as possible.
In addition, there are a few other comfort features such as SensiFit and breathable lining. The former cradles your foot for optimal placing. Also, EVA foam is included in the product to reduce shock and impact to your feet.
All these features make these boots a design marvel and one that most people would want to purchase for hiking purposes.
What are its best features?
Features enhanced outsole grip on most surfaces
Comfortable to wear
The foot guide feature helps reduce fatigue for the user
Comes with a two-year warranty
What could be improved?
Some of the buyers seem to think the boot is too narrow
Some users also report the rubber toe cap detaching from the front of the shoe
Our second favorite pick in the men’s waterproof insulated hiking boots collection is the Danner Men’s Mountain Light II Hiking Boot. By being our premium pick, it is one of the more expensive items on the list. Nevertheless, the pricing does come with a lot of value.
An area where this pair of boots one-up their predecessor is the number of size options available. The editor’s choice offered sizes 7 to fourteen. This product, on the other hand, comes with two extra size options. It will, as a result, be accessible to more people.
Vibram Kletterlift, which is the material used to make the soles of these boots, also has some advantages. It is lightweight, offers shock absorption, and the icing on the cake is that it provides superior traction. This is whether you are on wet or dry hiking surfaces.
You also cannot forget to mention the full leather upper body. The manufacturer got a little creative by ensuring that the whole upper part is a single piece of leather. Due to this, water has trouble finding any spaces that will allow it to seep into the shoes.
A GORE-TEX liner is added as a backup just in case the leather fails. However, your feet will still be able to breathe while you wear these boots. The manufacturer also offers re-crafting services such as leather care and re-stitching. Add that to the 365-day warranty, and you have more reasons to make this purchase.
Why did it make our list?
You get the option of paid after-sale services
Durable and comfortable
What is not ideal about it?
The boots are pricey
It seems that the tongue sometimes dig into the fit of the user making it painful to wear these boots
If you are looking for some bright color options for your summer waterproof hiking boots, the Asolo Fugitive GTX Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boot fits the bill. Most people who complained of the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Men’s Backpacking Boots being too narrow should purchase this product. This is because there is a wide foot option.
Some aspects of these boots are unique, while others are not. The rubber outsole, for instance, can also be seen in the editor’s choice product. On the other hand, a suede upper part of the show doesn’t feature in most of our other men’s options.
Aside from that, Cordura fabric is also added to the top of the shoe alongside GORE-TEX. This gives the boots breathability properties, all the while adding to its waterproof nature.
Another positive to associate with this tool is the Asoflex thermoplastic support and midsole. As a result of this feature, you won’t have to contend with bruising on your feet, no matter how rough the terrain is.
Also, the heel and toe caps are essential in ensuring maximum protection to your feet.
What makes it stand out?
A wide-fit option is available
Offers exceptional traction on most terrains
Comfortable and breathable
Asoflex features prevent bruising on the user
There are a few colors available for different users
Here you have some relatively inexpensive boots that can as well be crucial to your hiking experience. These are available in sizes 7-17, which makes them available for people with extra-large feet.
Also, it features some EVA components, such as the footbed and midsole. As such, this pair should be a little more comfortable than most. Added onto these design decisions is a contoured heel lock. This will give you a bit of added stability as you move around in these boots.
Let us not forget that the upper part of the shoe is made of leather with a bit of meshing. Consequently, once you get off the hiking trail, you can add to the longevity of the shoes by using leather cleaner and conditioner.
The non-marking rubber sole is as well quite impressive. You get 4mm lugs, and these provide all the traction you need for a slippery slope. As well there is the eco anti-odor component of these boots that has helped reduce chemicals and pesticides in the construction of these shoes and the environment.
You can also not go wrong with a purchase of the Columbia Men’s North Plains II Waterproof Mid Hiking Boot. These shoes have an Omni-Grip non-marking rubber outsole. This is significant because you will need stability in the various terrains that you encounter, and this feature helps give you that.
As to the upper part of these shoes, you have three major components. The first is 100% pure leather, while the other two are textile and webbing components. An impressive midsole is as well added into the mix that is this product.
Consequently, you get a shoe that you can take with you on various wet and dry terrains. The toe cap is also responsible for a bit of the value you get from this purchase.
Why is it special?
Superior levels of waterproofing
The boots are comfortable to wear and snug-fitting for most users
Timberland also adds to their repertoire by having one of their boots on our list. In this case, the White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot satisfies the requirements of being waterproof.
In addition to that, the boots have metal eyelets for their laces, which as well happen to be rust-proof. Also, apart from the sole, the shoes are made from 100% leather. The manufacturer even makes sure all the seams are sealed. This, of course, leaves no spaces for moisture to pass through and wet your feet.
You as well get a rubber outsole. If timberland’s reputation is anything to go by, these boots should last you quite a while. Another benefit of this pair of boots is the removable dual-density footbed.
The fact that it is made of EVA foam should be quite reassuring for anybody looking for a comfortable hiking shoe. If this isn’t the case, you can always remove and wear the boots without it.
What are its best features?
Metal components are also rust-proof to improve the longevity of the shoes
The boots are lightweight
What could be improved?
The shoes are not breathable, and your feet are likely to sweat
Potential hikers can also decide to purchase the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot. These shoes as well are known for providing their users with a few top-notch benefits.
Among this product’s highlights is the EVA contoured footbed. Of course, this gives users a comfortable sensation as they put their weight on the boots. Aside from that, there is the Merrell air cushion that serves acts as a shock absorber for your feet. This component also enhances your stability as you walk.
You as well have M Select™ DRY, which is the feature used by the manufacturer to keep some of their clothes as well as shoes waterproof. As such, you have nothing to fear with regards to water getting into your shoes. The closed-cell foam tongue as well helps keep water out.
Another unique aspect of this pair of boots is the Vibram TC5+ sole. Of course, with the lugs present here, you are unlikely to find a more versatile pair of hiking boots for different terrains.
Why did it make our list?
Don’t take long to break in
The shoes offer high arch support
What is not ideal about it?
The shoes can get very hot if the temperature outside is similarly high
Women as well have their list when it comes to the Best Hiking Boots for Flat Feet. Top on that list, according to our review, are the Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boots. These are availed in sizes 5-10 since women generally tend to have smaller feet.
Everything about this pair of boots is meant to improve your overall hiking experience. One example of how this plays out is that the boots center your feet in addition to guiding them as you go along. The result is, of course, balanced and more efficient strides. The components of the shoe that make this possible are the dual-density EVA and TPU stability heel clip on the inside.
Additionally, you get extra comfort from the cushy padded collar. It is worth noting the components that make up the shoes as well. Up top, you have a mix of mesh, leather, and suede. Also, you have a gusseted tongue as part of the reason why the boots can keep water and debris out.
On the bottom part, you have Vibram rubber outsoles. These have self-cleaning lugs, which make maintenance more manageable when you take off these shoes. Nonetheless, not many people can argue against the value for money you get with this purchase.
Why is it special?
Snug and comfortable
The shoes provide excellent traction
Made of high-quality materials
What are the flaws?
The boots require a bit of break in time
Fitting can be an issue although a few users suggest purchasing a ½ size up as a remedy
The Danner Women’s Adrika Hiker Waterproof Hiking Boot is an attractive prospect even in the number of color options available. You still get the same range of size options as well of between five and ten.
However, some women may not look forward to the purchase, mainly because of the price. Nonetheless, due to the sizing options, these shoes do come in a lot cheaper than most of the men’s options.
Value for money as well can still be considered to be quite high. One reason for this could be the Danner® Dry liner. This, of course, allows moisture and sweat from your feet to escape. This liner, however, does not allow the same level of permeability for water, and hence your feet remain dry even when walking through wet grass.
Another possible benefit of this purchase is the OrthoLite footbed. It is no secret that this component adds a bit of cushioning and support to your feet. As well, the open-cell construction of this component ensures the dissipation of heat and even increases air circulation.
A review of these boots would also be incomplete without the mention of the Danner® Adrika outsole. The lug pattern on these is multi-directional and will help add traction on slippery terrain.
Moreover, these shoes come with a 365-day warranty similar to the Danner Men’s Mountain Light II Hiking Boot by the same manufacturer.
What makes it special?
Provides adequate traction for most surfaces
Comfortable to wear and offer sufficient support
What cons did we find?
These boots need some adjustment time for breaking in
Some of you may not like the Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot Waterproof Hiking Boot because of the lack of color options. If that is the case for you, the Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot might be among your favorite picks.
As it stands, there are more than ten color schemes for the product on Amazon. This makes it possible for you to match the shoes with your different hiking outfits. Of course, the color options available are made possible by the upper makeup of the shoes, which includes suede, leather, and mesh components.
The mesh only makes up the tongue of the boots and is placed there to enhance breathability. Also, these shoes are offered even in size 12, which is not a common theme on this list.
Another probable benefit of this pair of shoes is the midsole designed with the specific purpose of providing comfort to the user. You as well will appreciate the adjustable lace-up feature if you are looking for a snug fit.
Additionally, the winter tread pattern is tasked with providing traction and stability in each step that the user takes.
What stands out?
The boots are available in a larger variety of sizes
Comfortable to wear
Available in multiple colors and styles
Also available in standard and wide feet variations
What cons did we manage to find?
Require time to break in during which you might experience discomfort in your toes
A budget-friendly option to your hiking needs could be the XPETI Women’s Dimo Mid Waterproof Hiking Outdoor Boot. The price, however, has little to no bearing on the quality of the shoes as they are still relatively high-end.
The features as well speak for themselves, with one of the top headliners being the Hydroshield Membrane. Most people wearing these shoes will be glad to have this feature since it allows them to walk through wet areas without a care in the world.
On the inside of the shoe, you have moisture-wicking mesh lining. As a result, you also won’t have to worry about sweating as you wear these shoes. It is worth mentioning that you have fabric and synthetic components in between the moisture-wicking mesh lining and the Hydro-shield membrane.
Additionally, you have molded TPU ankle support and a molded rubber toe cap. An EVA midsole is as well included to add just a bit more comfort for the user. As such, it should be relatively easy to wear these shoes for long durations. Also, the different colors available may be eye-catching.
What makes it stand out?
Available in multiple colors
Offers ankle support
Features a hydro-shield membrane to keep water out
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
These boots get a little too warm in warm weather
Fitting for these boots seems to be an issue for a lot of people
The Timberland brand also features on the women’s waterproof boots for hiking list. Waterproof leather is one of the components of this pair of shoes making up the upper part. It is complemented by textile components as well.
On the bottom part of the shoe, you have even more incentive to buy the boots in the form of recycled rubber outsoles. You end up saving the environment while looking good and having shoes that make slight work of most terrains.
The waterproof membrane, as well, is a vital part of these shoes. This even works in conjunction with the gusseted tongue. As such, this pair of shoes does well with regards to its primary function of keeping water from your feet.
This, however, does not mean it performs dismally in other areas as it is quite comfortable to wear. The midsole is one of the reasons for this as it absorbs some of the shocks you encounter as well as provides cushioning.
Back to the recycled outsole and we forgot to mention that it has well-shaped lugs. Of course, if you are going up a wet hill, you might start to appreciate them due to the added traction. Nonetheless, this pair of boots might not be everybody’s cup of tea due to the limited color options.
What stands out?
The boots provide ankle support
Comfortable to wear
What cons did we manage to find?
Limited color options
Might need a small breaking in period
User’s feet may sweat a lot due to a lack of breathability
The manufacturer describes the outsole on this shoe as aggressive, and that is precisely what you want for a meaner grip on different terrain. As such, this purchase may be worth looking into.
Another highlight of these boots is the Eco anti-odor feature. One benefit of this is that your foot won’t stink after wearing the shoes due to the inclusion of probiotic technology. Also, the process of breaking down the odor does not involve any chemicals which makes these shoes better for the environment.
The dual-density EVA midsole is also worthy of mention. Of course, if you feel like it is uncomfortable in any way, you have the option to remove it. Our advice is that you try the shoes with and without the midsole to see which one you prefer.
Why did it make our list?
The shoes are effective at keeping water and debris out
The Hi-Tec Women’s Skamania Mid-Rise Waterproof Hiking Boot also deserve their place on this list. Two of the reasons for this are the EVA footbed and EVA midsole. You should thus find it hard to complain about discomfort with these shoes once you have broken them in. Also, the footbed is removable.
A Dri-tech waterproof membrane inclusion is also something to be proud of on the manufacturer’s end. This is the primary reason why the product makes it onto the list. You know it is going to be a dependable asset in wet terrain.
You as well have an impressive lacing system. Even with all the metal components, it is still rust-proof, and that adds to the overall longevity of the boots.
Also, multi-directional traction is another benefit offered by these boots. Whether you are going uphill or downhill on wet grass, you should feel confident in the boot’s ability to keep you upright.
Why is it special?
You get great traction
Rust-proof metal components
What are the flaws?
The short and wide design is not everybody’s cup of tea
Things to Consider
With a buying guide like the one below, you will be able to make the right choice when making your first purchase. This will save you some money, time, and effort during the whole buying exercise. If you are used to getting purchases that you have to return you might also benefit from this guide as well.
Hiking boots vs. hiking shoes
While the two lists above are for hiking boots, one might be tempted to argue against them and get hiking shoes instead. This wouldn’t be wrong as they have their benefits as well. You will also often find that they work in different situations.
If you are only now getting into hiking, it pays to consider both these options so you can see which of these works for you. The benefits of owning hiking shoes include the fact that they are light, comfortable, easy to pack, and don’t often need breaking in. Also, they dry relatively quickly.
However, they also have their downsides. Among them, less durability, little to no ankle support, and they don’t offer as much protection to your legs as boots do.
Similarly, the boots have their list of pros and cons. Some of them have been mentioned above in relation to their hiking shoe counterparts. On the pros side, the list includes durability, ankle support, more traction, and the fact that boots are more protective.
On the cons side, you have the fact that they are harder to pack. Additionally, they take longer to dry, are quite heavy, and, as is seen in the list above, need some breaking in time. Ideally, you would purchase both options and see which one you prefer over time. However, the pros and cons information given above should give you more of a basis on which one to pick.
Features to consider when choosing waterproof hiking boots
As evidenced by the list above, the boots are made with different designs by their manufacturers. As such, it is only natural that they will come with varying features. The benefits are also likely to vary as a result. This being the case, it necessitates that you pay particular attention to the features and their implied benefits, as we have gotten into in detail in the section below.
Lightweight vs. Midweight vs. Heavyweight
These three categories of hiking boots are, of course, made to cater to different types of trails. As such, if you are an avid adventurer, you may find that you need all three types. However, we do have to get into their distinctive qualities, so you don’t end up purchasing two of the same.
Lightweight hiking boots, for instance, are for less complicated terrains. They are made from a variety of leather and synthetic fabrics and tend to be quite breathable. Another defining factor is conservative soles and lug designs. As such, these provide the least traction out of the three options mentioned.
Also, they offer the least support for carrying backpacks. Their ideal use scenario is in pre-defined trails and gently sloping hills. Moving up, you find midweight hiking boots. These are more durable than the lightweight option and provide more support for carrying larger backpacks. Their ideal use scenario is relatively steep hills and inclines as well as uneven terrain.
Breaking them in should take a little longer. They also offer more cushioning since the trails you take on will likely be longer and more difficult if you have these on your feet. Heavyweight options, on the other hand, will take on even the steepest hills. They have lugs that give you the most traction and ankle support that allows you to carry heavier backpacks.
Hiking is generally a tiresome exercise despite being fun. You will also need to carry various supplies as you take on the trails. If your boots are heavy, you will no doubt find it harder to maneuver the terrain. As such, being aware of how much weight you can handle and looking for similar statistics in your purchase will make it easier for you to hike.
Stiffness and stability
The stiffness of the boots as well should be on your radar as you make your purchase. Of course, the stiffer they are, the more stability they offer. For steep terrain, this is an added advantage and one that will even add to your comfort as you climb.
If your shoes are not breathable, your feet will get hot and sweat, which means they will be uncomfortable to wear. This will negatively affect your ability to hike in them. As such, boots like the Asolo Fugitive GTX Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boot will be more popular and easier to use than some of their less breathable counterparts.
The lacing system also affects how snug your shoots will fit, and this will have its bearing on comfort and stability. Also, the materials used to make up the lacing system matter. If, for example, the eyelet components are made of metal, they should be rust-proof for them to last longer.
Upper materials as well affect a lot of the things about the shoe. Among them how you clean and maintain the shoes, the colors available, how efficient the boots are at keeping water out, and even how long they will last. As such, you would do well to check for the highest quality upper materials you can find.
The outsoles of the boots are generally subject to lots of impacts as you are hiking. This could lead to bruising and discomfort for the user while hiking. As a result, it pays to have a high-quality midsole, such as the one provided by the KEEN Men’s Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot.
If you couple these with comfortable insoles as well, you will have a better hiking experience.
However, this is not one of the main things you look out for. Most people check for durability and, of course, traction. If you log on to Amazon using any of the links we have provided above, you will get access to more images of the products. This is including the underside of the boots. You will thus see the lug designs and get a feel for how much traction the shoe provides.
We have also provided some information on the same in the write-up. If this information is insufficient, you can check customer reviews as well. Nonetheless, most options are made of rubber, so there shouldn’t be much of a difference in the materials.
The rubber toe cap on the XPETI Women’s Dimo Mid Waterproof Hiking Outdoor Boot could be an important asset. This especially applies if you are hiking difficult terrain and end up kicking something. This cap, of course, will cushion you from the impact. As such, toe protection is going to be an added benefit in any shoe you pick.
Insoles as well help keep the shoes comfortable as you walk. It also helps if they have moisture-wicking and aeration properties. This way, your feet remain cool and are less likely to stink due to a build-up of sweat when you remove the boots.
You might as well encounter some extra features in the waterproof hiking boots that you encounter. One example is the fully gusseted tongue provided for by the Timberland Women’s Norwood Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot. As this example shows, these extra features usually tend to lead to more benefits and hence are worth looking into when considering potential purchases.
How to clean hiking boots
Once you have decided on owning a pair of waterproof boots for hiking, you should make it a point also to know how to clean them. After all, they require regular maintenance if you want them to last you long. You will find detailed information on how to tackle cleaning them in the sections below.
Nevertheless, before you even get into that, you need some materials that will help you clean your boots. This includes a boot brush or a toothbrush. Other items to add to this list include boot cleaner or saddle soap. If neither of these is available, create a mild mixture of dishwashing soap and water.
The first step is, of course, to remove the laces before you get to clean the boots. After that, you can use your brushes to dislodge dirt and dust stuck on your boot. While this is effective, it is unlikely that it will remove all the dust and dirt on your shoes. As such, for more thorough cleaning, add running water into the mix.
Remember to keep scrubbing even as the water runs through your boots. The boot cleaner should also be helpful as you wash. It is worth noting that you should avoid using bar soap and detergents at any cost. If you use them, you run the risk of degrading the waterproof membranes included as well as any leather on your shoes.
Outsoles as well need a thorough cleaning after use. Again, a brush is one of the main tools here. However, you will soon realize that some of the mud that is on the outsole is much harder to remove. In this case, you can soak the outsoles in water. After a while, you can then use a high-pressure hose to dislodge the mud. Doing this guarantees you maximum traction each time you step out on a trail. Also, it pays to rinse the whole boot thoroughly after you’ve washed away the dirt and mud.
Drying and storage
Unfortunately, air drying is the only way to go for waterproof hiking boots. You cannot use heat from a drier, fire, or a heater to dry your boots; otherwise, you risk damaging them. However, a fan does provide you with a suitable alternative to these methods. Remember to remove insoles as you want these to dry separately from the rest of the boot.
If you only have one pair of boots and need to speed up the drying process, you can use newspapers. You put them in the shoe, let them soak up the water then replace them with dry ones. Once dry, store your boots in well-aerated areas.
Waterproof boots will keep most of the water out. However, there is always the chance that water can get in through space at the top of the shoe. Also, if your boots get creased or have holes, water can get in through these as well.
You should expect these Gore-Tex layers to remain waterproof for between 1-2 years. This is because they crease and will experience wear and tear, just like the rest of the shoe. As such, their effectiveness is likely to wane.
On the men’s side, the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Men’s Backpacking Boots stands atop the rest. The 4D advanced chassis, GORE-TEX membrane, and the 2-year warranty all make this pair of boots a steal for the price. You as well have a Danner product standing in as the second-best for the men’s section.
This is the Danner Men’s Mountain Light II Hiking Boot. This boot performs well due to a lack of spaces for water to seep through. The leather on the upper is as well impressive. If this is not enough, you have an excellent outsole and a 365-day warranty as well.
We may have also accounted for the fact that our top two picks for each gender may not appeal to everyone. As such, the other products listed have all been provided for your convenience. After all, they do give you quite a variety to choose from.