The Best Hiking Boots and Shoes of 2022

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Tecnica Magma S Mid GTX ($190)

(Photo: Courtesy Tecnica)

Most Versatile

Most of Tecnica’s Magma line takes its DNA from trail-running shoes, and the new S Mid model is no exception. It has “backpacking boot” written all over it yet does not abandon its speed-focused roots. The S Mid is certainly light, and its snug last encourages nimbleness. Still, the 24-millimeter (in the heel) EVA midsole prevented sore feet both on Rocky Mountain trail runs and while carrying a 35-pound pack in Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. An airy, synthetic-mesh upper and a Vibram Megagrip LiteBase sole keep weight at just over 1.5 pounds for a pair, and an oversize heel counter adds stability on descents whether you’re running or hiking. “As someone who appreciates the dexterity of trail-running shoes but the support of midcut boots, the Magma S Mid struck the perfect balance,” said one tester. A Gore-Tex lining kept out precip and handled sweat well while she hiked in Colorado’s Golden Gate State Park on a day “hot enough to fry an egg.” 1.6 lbs (men’s) / 1.4 lbs (women’s)

Men’s Women’s

Salewa Wildfire 2 ($140)

Salewa Wildfire 2
(Photo: Courtesy Salewa)

Best Approach Shoe

Few approach shoes are actually comfortable for hiking. The new Wildfire 2 is the exception. It feels more like a light hiker, without losing its chops on technical rock. “This shoe was a joy to wear on rolling dirt trails below treeline but still gave me plenty of confidence once I hit the rock,” one Alaska-based tester said after wearing the Wildfire 2 for three days of hiking and ridge scrambling in the Chugach. A relatively beefy EVA midsole absorbs shock, and the outsole’s four- to five-millimeter lugs grab dirt (a capability you also don’t see a lot of in this category). The most unique feature is Salewa’s adjustment mechanism. While other Salewa shoes have a static cable that wraps the heel to link the laces to the heel cup, the Wildfire uses a dynamic nylon cord. Leave the cord uncinched for a nimble, flexible fit on the hike in; when it’s time to climb, tighten the lacing to simultaneously cinch the heel cord, lower the volume, and increase precision. The shoe’s nonwaterproof, mesh-and-TPU upper breathed well into the seventies. This shoe isn’t made for carrying large loads, but it kept our feet comfy under a 35-pound climbing pack. Bonus: an included multipart insole lets you customize the shoe to the volume and width of your foot. 1.3 lbs (women’s) / 1.6 lbs (men’s)

Women’s Men’s

Asolo Eldo Mid LTH GV ($195)

Asolo Eldo Mid LTH GV
(Photo: Courtesy Asolo)

Best for Protection

Is shoulder season your favorite time of the year? The Eldo Mid can slosh through water and mud with the best of ’em. This light hiker pairs a Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable membrane with a nigh-impenetrable (1.5- to 1.7-millimeter-thick) suede upper to keep your feet dry. “My feet were only a little damp—rather than drenched—after three hours of hiking through wet vegetation,” said one tester after navigating flooded trails, soaking brush, and deep mud while hunting for blueberries in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains—an impressive accomplishment for shoes in this category. All that waterproofing takes a toll on breathability, though: our tester was sweating big-time in temps over 60 degrees. The polypropylene lasting board and midheight cuff were enough to support a multi-day pack while we hiked around Ship Lake Pass. Our tester was also impressed with the minimal break-in time, especially for a mostly leather boot (credit the supple suede). 1.6 lbs (women’s) / 1.8 lbs (men’s)

Women’s Men’s

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Darn Tough Light Hikers ($17-22)

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Vasque Torre AT GTX ($200)

Vasque Torre AT GTX
(Photo: Courtesy Vasque)

Best for Big Loads

Boots designed for carrying heavy packs are typically, well, heavy. The Torre AT turns that paradigm on its head with lightweight materials that provide surprising responsiveness under big loads. A thin (but still durable) suede and mesh upper and Vibram’s ultraslim LiteBase outsole both shave ounces, helping keep the Torre AT nimble as you stride. A proprietary EVA compound midsole provides enough cushion and rebound for you to comfortably shoulder a 45-pound pack, though, and a seven-inch ankle cuff adds support. The boot’s Gore-Tex membrane kept water out during stream crossings in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and breathability was impressive: “Even while I climbed switchbacks in Bear Canyon outside Boulder, Colorado, in 70-degree temps, my feet got only mildly sweaty,” one tester said. Note: some found that the boot required a break-in period similar to other burly models, and that the first few hikes prompted a few blisters. 2.4 lbs (men’s) / 2 lbs (women’s)

Men’s Women’s

Astral Rambler ($110)

Astral Rambler
(Photo: Courtesy Astral )

Best for Trail-to-Town

The Adirondack High Peaks are known for unforgiving trails, so if a casual-looking shoe can handle them, it’s tough. On a hike up New York’s Porter Mountain, where the path morphs from rubble and roots to steep slabs, the Rambler’s responsiveness and grip impressed. Its sticky rubber outsole performed well on scrambles (though the widely spaced lugs struggled in loose dirt). A beefy tongue and broad laces held our tester’s feet in place for the descent, and when the hike was over, she wore the Rambler for a celebratory beer in Lake Placid. The hemp-and-polyester upper is surprisingly durable and—bonus—looks swanky in town. A soft EVA midsole lacks the support for anything heavier than a light overnight pack, but it can handle any day hike you throw at it. Ventilation holes help the nonwaterproof Rambler dry quickly on wet outings. 1.2 lbs (women’s) / 1.3 lbs (men’s)

Women’s Men’s

Danner Panorama Mid ($140)

Danner Panorama Mid
(Photo: Courtesy Danner)

Best for Durability

Navigating New England’s rocks and steep trails is a tall task, but the Panorama took one of our testers through a full season of Northeast hiking without a hitch. That’s thanks to a tough, 1.6-millimeter-thick suede upper and a beefy leather rand, as well as a wraparound rubber outsole. “I haven’t noticed a single stitch that’s come loose,” our tester said after traversing craggy, salt-washed terrain in Maine’s Acadia National Park and boulder-strewn paths in the Whites. A pliable upper and cuff meant the boot maxed out around 30 pounds. The outsole provided proficient traction on slabby summits: “I typically hike with my trekking poles but felt very secure without having to use them at all,” one tester said. The suede’s water-resistant treatment failed to impress and absorbed a little water, but a waterproof membrane kept our feet dry. 2.3 lbs (men’s) / 1.8 lbs (women’s)

Men’s Women’s

Keen NXIS EVO Mid WP ($190)

(Photo: Courtesy Keen)

Best All-Arounder

The Nxis Evo Mid may not stand out in any one category, but this boot does everything well. It’s supportive, breathable, comfortable straight out of the box, and provides adequate traction for most trails. The 15.5-millimeter-thick EVA midsole helped us wield a 40-pound pack for four days of hiking in Montana’s Beartooth Mountains. Another helpful feature is a metal cable that wraps around the heel for a snug fit when you tighten the laces up front. A waterproof-breathable membrane, bolstered by an airy-yet-durable synthetic mesh upper, was impressively breathable even at the height of summer. After four months of testing, the Nxis looks brand-new save for a couple nicks on the sole. Note: if you’re wary of Keen’s typical aesthetic, this boot has a clean, updated look (though it still rocks the signature rubber toe). 1.5 lbs (women’s) / 1.8 lbs (men’s)

Women’s Men’s

Merrell Moab 3 Mid ($120)

Merrell Moab 3 Mid

Best Value

The Moab is one of the most popular hiking shoes on the planet for a reason. Not only is it affordable, it’s also capable enough for day hikes and overnnights alike. This updated third iteration improves support and comfort to handle larger loads than before. A redone EVA midsole with more rebound and longevity (thanks to an added polymer) amps up the support of this lightweight boot: one tester remained comfortable even carrying 45 pounds of water and gear in Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. That’s bolstered by a new, more cushioned footbed. Meanwhile, the Vibram outsole held tight to loose dirt. The Moab 3’s mesh-and-leather upper grants breathability on hot days (the boot we tested isn’t waterproof, but a waterproof version is available for $25 more). 1.8 lbs (women’s) / 2.1 lbs (men’s)

Women’s Men’s

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The Best Hiking Boots and Shoes of 2022

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