The 10 Best Hiking Boot Brands

Published on 03/14/2023 · 8 min readCamping & Hiking Expert Elizabeth H. gives you her top hiking boot brands that you should consider, whether you're looking your first pair or your next pair.
Elizabeth H., Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Elizabeth H.

Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup

Today, there are an overwhelming number of hiking boot brands on the market; so deciding which brand to pick—let alone which model—can be dizzying. But luckily, I’ve hiked just about everywhere in the US—from the Alaskan Tundra to the Carriage Trails of Acadia National Park—so my goal is to help you find the perfect pair of boots to take you where you want to go.

In this guide, we’ll break down the top 10 hiking boot brands to help narrow down your options. And if you’d like another hand in that process, reach out to a Curated Camping & Hiking Expert for free, personalized recommendations for anything you’ll need from a single day on the trail to a week-long backpacking trip.

Altra

Altra was founded by Brian Beckstead and Golden Harper in 2009; their signature design is the Zero Drop, which features no height difference between the toe and the heel of the shoes. Altras boast a wide lacing style and an extra wide toe box that follows the shape of the foot.

The Zero Drop and wide-lace design are very popular with trail runners, though more recent additions to their footwear collection include lifestyle and taller hiking boots. Altra is best known for their Lone Peak Trail Runner Series.

Recommended: Men’s Lone Peak All-Weather Low

Danner

In 1932, in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Charles Danner set out to make durable, affordable work boots for loggers in the region. Though the brand now focuses on creating footwear with purpose and integrity for those who choose the road less traveled. Danner is well known for their rugged boots that are built to last thanks to high-quality craftsmanship and top-of-the-line materials.

Danner has expanded their line from their original work boots to include a wide range of footwear for outdoor pursuits, military use, and lifestyle. Their hiking collection begins with the Trail 2650—a lightweight mesh shoe with a Vibram outsole—moves into waterproof options like the Trail 2650 GTX, and finishes with higher ankle-height options like the classic Mountain Light—first introduced in 1979.

Recommended: Women’s Mountain 600

Hoka

Hoka is an athletic shoe company founded in 2009 in Annecy, France. They first gained notoriety by creating running shoes with oversized outsoles to provide extra cushioning. This was starkly in contrast to the low-profile, minimalist style of shoe that was popular at the time.

Hoka produces both low-profile and maximum-cushion shoes for road running, trail running, and all-terrain use. They are known for their low weight-to-cushion ratio, and carefully designed geometry that promotes stability and efficiency while running.

The original Hoka—initially embraced by ultramarathoners—was designed to increase speed while running downhill. While a majority of their athletes are still ultra runners, their shoe collection has expanded to include hiking, racing, and lifestyle shoes.

Hoka uses Vibram soles in many of their models, as these lugs provide a high level of traction in wet conditions. Their shoes run true to size and are also available in wide widths.

Recommended: Women’s Trail Code GTX

Keen

In 1999, Martin Keen invented the now-ubiquitous Newport Sandal. And in 2003, the company manufactured their first shoes to feature their signature black toe bumper. Keen shoes are known for their out-of-the-box-comfort and proper arch support.

While Keen’s original niche was in sailing and other water-related activities, they rapidly expanded operations to encompass other outdoor activities, as well as lifestyle shoes. Their footwear department now includes even cold-weather winter boots and work footwear. In 2010, a few years after moving their headquarters from California to Portland, Oregon, they began manufacturing their shoes in a local factory just minutes away. These footwear models make up their American-Built collection.

The Targhee II Hiking Boot is their best-selling high-volume hiker and common backpacking boot, which can easily handle the stress of a heavy pack. Further, Keen is committed to ethically sourcing and recycling materials to manufacture their durable footwear.

Recommended: Women’s Targhee II Waterproof Mid

La Sportiva

La Sportiva is an Italian footwear brand founded in 1928 by Narciso Delladio. Originally manufacturing clogs and boots for farmers and lumberjacks, he transitioned to making mountaineering boots for soldiers during World War II.

In the 1950s, the La Sportiva brand name became tied irrevocably to their ski boots. They are well known for their mountaineering, climbing, and ski footwear, as well as footwear for other outdoor sports, such as hiking, trail running, and climbing.

All La Sportiva shoes are made in their own state-of-the-art factory in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy. They are best known for their technical footwear that supports the pursuits of mountaineering athletes.

In fact, Alex Honnold wore La Sportiva climbing shoes during his record-breaking free-solo ascent of El Capitan, at Yosemite National Park. So, the average hiker can confidently trust their quality and grip. But keep in mind, La Sportiva shoes are European sized, and tend to run a bit small for American standards.

Recommended: Men’s TX4

Lowa

Founded in 1923 by a Bavarian cobbler named Lorenz Wagner, Lowa has kept to its roots while continuing to innovate. Their reputation is that of premium-quality footwear with a snug fit and innovative design.

In 1970, they had a breakthrough in their manufacturing processes by including polyurethane injection molding and vulcanized rubber soles. Their first lightweight hiking boots were launched in 1995, and the best-selling Lowa Renegade GTX Mid came only a few years later, in 1997.

Lowa is best known for their hiking, trekking, and mountaineering boots, but they also sell a wide range of footwear for everyday use, cold-weather adventures, and hunting. Lowa boots run true to size and are available in narrow, medium, and wide widths.

Recommended: Men’s Renegade GTX Mid

Merrell

Founded as a hiking boot company in 1981, Merrell’s goal has always been to produce a high-performance hiking boot at an affordable price point. Their footwear line is multifaceted, and includes hiking shoes, boots, trail runners, and casual footwear.

Merrell shoes are notoriously comfortable for those with wider feet. And through their special partnership with Unlikely Hikers, they’ve created more inclusive size offerings in limited-edition models.

The Merrell Moab is one of the best-selling boots on the market, available in a variety of width options as well as low and mid heights for varying levels of ankle support. These boots utilize Vibram outsoles, which are highly durable and offer heightened traction levels. Plus, Merrell also uses GORE-TEX membranes to amplify waterproofness.

Recommended: Men’s Moab 3 WP

Salomon

François Salomon founded his company in Annecy, France in 1947. At the time, he was making beveled ski edges with his wife and son, and was inspired by the newly installed ski lifts in his neighboring villages. His son Georges was the driving force behind Salomon’s expansion as a brand and turned his father’s ski brand into a multi-sport globally known brand.

Today, Salomon has grown into a global outdoor sports brand that manufactures skis, shoes, snowboards, and more. Recently, the brand has been gaining more attention for its commitment to sustainability in each stage of production.

Salomon’s footwear includes everything from leather hiking boots to lightweight trail runners. Many of their models feature a GORE-TEX membrane which provides both waterproofing and breathability. While Salomon shoes run true to size in length, they tend to be narrow in width.

Recommended: Men’s X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Scarpa

Scarpa was founded between the cities of Asolo and Montebelluna in the Italian Dolomites in 1928. The company’s name, an acronym, stands for Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima—which roughly translates to the “associated shoe manufacturing company of the Asolo region”.

Scarpa was one of the first brands to recognize the unique needs of northern Italy‘s mountaineering and climbing culture, and focused many of their footwear innovations on supporting these pursuits. Today, Scarpa boots have been used by many top climbers and explorers on trips to the Himalayas and Antarctica.

Scarpa is a company of many firsts, including the creation of the first hiking boots that included GORE-TEX, the first plastic telemark skiing boot, and the first ski boot that was both telemark and alpine-terrain compatible.

Their current footwear line spans from ski and mountaineering boots, climbing shoes, trail runners, hiking boots, and all-around lifestyle boots. Scarpa shoes fit true to size, but are also known for being narrow.

Recommended: Women’s Maverick Mid GTX

Vasque

In 1964, after seeing the hiking craze that was sweeping the European continent at the time, William Sweasy was inspired to bring purposefully built trail boots to America. His company, Vasque, focuses on the purpose of their products, and uses their footwear to build community and celebrate the power of nature.

Vasque’s products include high-top full-grain leather hiking boots, lightweight GORE-TEX trail runners, casual shoes, and insulated winter boots. Their boots fit true to size and are known to comfortably fit those with wider feet.

Recommended: Men’s St. Elias Full-Grain GTX

Connect With a Real Expert

Curated Camping & Hiking Experts, like me, can provide free advice on hiking trails, and offer personalized gear recommendations to get you into the best pair of boots for your needs. Reach out to us to get going on your spring hiking plans!

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Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Camping & Hiking on Curated

KEEN Women's Targhee II Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots
$165.00
La Sportiva Men's TX4 Approach Shoes
$159.00

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DANNER - MOUNTAIN 600 W - 7.5 - REGULAR - Java/Bossa Nova
$189.95
Hoka - Trail Code GTX - 7.5 Regular Black / Castlerock
$184.95
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Boots
$255.00
Merrell - Mens Moab 3 WP - 9 Regular Granite
$134.95
Salomon - X Ultra 4 Mid GTX - 11.5 Black Magnet Pearl Blue
$175.00
Scarpa Women's Maverick Mid GTX Shoes
$199.00
Vasque Men's St Elias FG GTX Hiking Boots
$220.00

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