The 10 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots

Published on 05/27/2023 · 11 min readLooking for a supportive, comfortable hiking boot that won't weigh you down on the trails? You're in the right place! Read on for 10 lightweight hiking boot options!
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

Photo by Ali Kazal

Hiking is a remarkable way to reconnect with nature, challenge yourself, and discover breathtaking landscapes. As you gear up for your next expedition, one essential piece of equipment demands your attention: hiking boots. However, not all boots are created equal, and in the world of hiking footwear, weight matters. That's why we're here to shed light on the best lightweight hiking boots that will keep you nimble, comfortable, and ready to conquer any trail.

Unlike heavier boots, lightweight hiking boots provide a liberating sense of agility and flexibility. They allow you to move with ease, enabling you to tackle long distances and challenging terrains without feeling burdened by your footwear. By shedding unnecessary weight, these boots empower you to go further and faster with reduced fatigue. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just starting to explore the great outdoors, investing in a pair of lightweight hiking boots is a decision that will enhance your overall experience.

In this guide, we'll dive into the key features you should consider when selecting the perfect pair of lightweight hiking boots, and list some of our top Expert recommended suggestions for lightweight hiking boots.

Key Features to Consider

Photo by Clay Banks

First, let’s talk briefly about some of the key factors to consider when shopping for hiking boots.

Weight

When it comes to hiking boots, every gram counts. Weight is a crucial factor to consider, especially for those embarking on long-distance hikes or tackling steep inclines. Lightweight hiking boots offer a myriad of benefits, allowing you to move more swiftly and efficiently on the trail.

Modern advancements in materials and construction techniques have revolutionized the concept of lightweight hiking boots. By utilizing lightweight yet durable materials such as synthetic fabrics, mesh panels, and advanced polymers, boot manufacturers have been able to shed excess weight without compromising on performance or durability!

When selecting lightweight boots, it's important to find that balance between weight reduction and still maintaining necessary features such as adequate support, protection, and stability. Consider the type of hiking you'll be doing and the level of ankle support you require. Opt for boots that strike the perfect balance between weight reduction and functionality.

Comfort

Happy feet = happy hikers! Comfort is king when it comes to hiking boots and lightweight options are no exception. The last thing you want on a grueling hike is discomfort or painful blisters caused by ill-fitting or poorly cushioned boots. Lightweight hiking boots should provide ample cushioning, arch support, and a snug fit to keep your feet happy mile after mile.

Look for boots with quality midsoles that offer excellent shock absorption, reducing the impact on your joints and minimizing fatigue. Additionally, a well-cushioned footbed and a supportive arch will help maintain your foot's natural alignment and prevent discomfort during long hikes.

Proper fit is of utmost importance in ensuring comfort. Lightweight hiking boots should have a snug fit without being too tight or restrictive. Ensure that the boots have a roomy toe box to allow for natural toe movement and prevent discomfort and blisters. Take the time to try on different brands and models, considering factors such as width, volume, and arch support to find the perfect fit for your feet.

Expert Tip: Make sure when trying on boots that you are trying them on with the same socks you plan to hike in!

Durability

While lightweight boots are designed to be light on your feet, they should never compromise on durability. You want something with low weight but still sturdy. Hiking can be demanding; exposing your boots to rugged terrains, sharp rocks, and unpredictable weather. Therefore, it's essential to choose boots constructed with durable materials and solid stitching that can withstand the rough elements of the trail.

Look for boots with reinforced toe caps and heel counters to provide added protection and durability in high-impact areas. High-quality synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester, are often utilized to ensure lightweight boots can endure the wear and tear of hiking.

Traction

When you're venturing into the wilderness, reliable traction is important. Lightweight hiking boots should feature an outsole design that provides excellent grip on various terrains, including slippery rocks, muddy paths, and loose gravel.

Check for boots with lugged outsoles made of durable rubber compounds that offer superior traction. Look for multidirectional lugs that provide stability and prevent slipping. Deeper and more aggressive lugs tend to offer better grip on challenging terrains, but consider the trade-off in weight.

Some lightweight hiking boots incorporate specialized technologies like Vibram or Contagrip, which enhance the outsole's grip and durability. These technologies are worth considering if you plan on tackling demanding or technical trails!

Ok, now that we have covered the basics, let’s get into our list of the best lightweight hiking boots!

1. Altra Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM

This is my personal favorite, the Altra Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM. For hikers who prioritize a feather light and zero-drop design, this is it. These boots feature a breathable mesh upper with reinforced overlays, offering lightweight breathability and durability. The integrated Rain Snow Mud (RSM) gaiter traps out debris and provides weather protection and water resistance. The Altra EGO midsole offers cushioning and energy return, while the MaxTrac outsole delivers reliable traction on various surfaces. With their wide toe box and zero-drop platform, the Altra Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM is perfect for hikers who prefer a more natural foot position and seek a lightweight option for trail running, fastpacking, and thru-hiking. Essentially a trail runner made into a hiking boot!

2. Arc'teryx Acrux TR GTX

More of a technical option, the Arc'teryx Acrux TR GTX is both light and agile. They have a seamless one-piece upper constructed with TPU-coated nylon yarns, providing durability and abrasion resistance. The Gore-Tex liner offers reliable waterproofing while maintaining breathability to avoid moisture buildup inside the boot. The Vibram outsole with Megagrip technology ensures excellent traction and grip on both dry and wet surfaces. With their precision fit and advanced technical features, the Arc'teryx Acrux TR GTX is ideal for hikers tackling rugged and technical trails, including scrambling and climbing over loose rock, or backpackers carrying a heavy pack long distances.

3. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof

The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof is a lightweight and waterproof hiking boot that excels in providing comfort and protection. They feature a combination of full-grain leather and mesh materials, offering durability and breathability. The waterproof construction keeps your feet dry during wet weather or stream crossings. The Omni-Grip rubber outsole ensures excellent traction on different surfaces, allowing you to confidently tackle various terrains. With their comfortable cushioning and lightweight design, this boot is a great option for day hikes, light backpacking, and general outdoor activities.

4. Hoka One One Sky Kaha 2 GTX

If you're searching for a light hiking boot that offers exceptional cushioning and comfort, look no further than the Hoka One One Sky Kaha 2 GTX. These boots feature a combination of full-grain leather and synthetic upper, delivering durability and protection. They have a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane to keep water out if you happen to be hiking in a wet or muddy area, while the plush EVA midsole provides superior cushioning and shock absorption. The Vibram Megagrip outsole ensures reliable traction, allowing you to tackle various terrains with confidence. Ideal for hikers seeking maximum cushioning and support, the Hoka One One Sky Kaha 2 GTX is perfect for long-distance treks and backpacking adventures. Due to their higher sole height, they might not be the best option for those looking primarily for ankle stability, but for hikers looking for a boot that is easy on the knees and hips, that extra cushioning that contributes to the higher sole height is going to be key to having a pain free experience on the trail!

5. Keen Targhee III Mid WP

The Keen Targhee III Mid WP keeps weight low, without skimping on comfort. They feature a combination of leather and mesh materials, providing durability and breathability. The KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane ensures reliable protection against wet conditions, while still allowing for breathability. The all-terrain rubber outsole with multidirectional lugs offers excellent traction on varied surfaces, making them suitable for diverse hiking environments. With their roomy toe box and comfortable fit, the Keen Targhee III Mid WP is an especially good option for hikers with wider feet or those who prefer extra toe room.

6. La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX

For hikers seeking a lightweight boot that doesn't compromise on durability or technical performance, the La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX is an excellent choice. The thick leather upper on these boots is abrasion resistant, ensuring they are durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of rigorous outdoor use for years to come. The Gore-Tex lining ensures any moisture you encounter stays out, yet is breathable enough that your feet won’t get too hot and sweaty! The Vibram outsole with Impact Brake System offers exceptional traction and stability, making them perfect for rough terrain and steep ascents. With their precise fit and superior ankle support, the La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX is a favorite among experienced hikers and those tackling demanding trails.

7. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a lightweight hiking boot that combines comfort and stability for long-lasting performance. The nubuck leather upper offers both durability and support, while the Gore-Tex membrane offers waterproofing and breathability. The Vibram outsole provides reliable traction, while the Monowrap frame enhances stability and reduces fatigue during extended hikes. With their excellent arch support and cushioning, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid is a great option for hikers seeking a versatile boot for a wide range of terrains and trail conditions.

8. Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

Designed to handle a range of hiking conditions, the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof offers impressive lightweight comfort. The Moab 3’s utilize a blend of suede leather and mesh upper for durability and breathability. The waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry, while the breathable lining ensures ventilation on warmer hikes. The Vibram sole delivers excellent traction, providing stability and grip on various terrains. The Moab 3 Mid is a versatile option, suitable for day hikes, weekend getaways, and multi-day treks. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned hiker, these boots offer a comfortable fit and reliable performance.

9. Salomon Quest 4 GTX

The Salomon Quest 4 GTX is a rugged hiking boot designed for challenging trails. The upper part of these boots use a combination of synthetic materials and nubuck leather for durability and protection, with a Gore-Tex membrane inside to offer some waterproofing. The High Traction Contagrip outsole offers excellent grip on both wet and dry surfaces, ensuring stability on uneven terrain. With its supportive fit and ankle protection, the Salomon Quest 4 GTX is well-suited for backpacking adventures and long-distance hikes, where durability, stability, and weather protection are paramount.

10. Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Step into the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX and experience lightweight agility combined with exceptional protection. These boots feature a robust yet lightweight construction, blending synthetic materials with mesh panels for breathability and support. The Gore-Tex membrane keeps your feet dry, allowing you to tackle wet terrains with confidence. The Contagrip outsole delivers reliable traction on various surfaces, making them ideal for hikers who love exploring diverse landscapes. With their comfortable fit and versatile performance, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is suitable for day hikes, backpacking trips, and even fast-paced adventures on rugged trails. These have been a long time top pick for those looking for lightweight hiking boots!

Final Thoughts

Photo by Ali Kazal

Choosing the best lightweight hiking boots is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your hiking experience. Each boot in this list offers its own unique features and advantages, catering to different preferences and hiking styles.

Whether you're embarking on a day hike, tackling challenging terrains, or planning a multi-day backpacking adventure, there's a lightweight hiking boot out there that will meet your needs.

Remember that finding the perfect hiking boots is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's crucial to try on different boots and consider your specific foot shape and hiking requirements.

Hopefully, one of the boots mentioned in this article has caught your attention. But if not, don't hesitate to reach out to a Camping and Hiking Expert here on Curated, who can guide you toward finding the perfect pair for your exact needs!

Remember, the right lightweight hiking boots can make a world of difference in your enjoyment of the great outdoors. Happy hiking!

Curated experts can help

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 III Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots
$175.00
La Sportiva Men's TX Hike Mid GTX Shoes
$189.00

Browse more Camping & Hiking

Salomon Men's Quest 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots
$229.95
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Boots
$255.00
Merrell - Moab 3 Mid WP - 09.0 Regular Earth
$144.95
Salomon - X Ultra 4 Mid GTX - 11.5 Black Magnet Pearl Blue
$175.00
Danner Women's Panorama Mid Hiking Boots
$159.95
Danner Men's Panorama Mid Hiking Boots
$159.95

Browse more Camping & Hiking

Read next

New and Noteworthy