Finding the perfect pair of boots is essential for any trekking adventure. The search to find the best lightweight hiking boots can be a huge challenge as you need to strike the right balance between durability, support, and weight.
With years of experience hiking and backpacking as well as testing different hiking boots, I have curated a list of the ten best lightweight hiking boots for 2023, along with a detailed buying guide to help you make an informed purchase.
Whether a beginner or a seasoned hiker, these boots will provide you with the comfort, stability, and protection you need to conquer any trail.
Our Top Recommended Lightweight Hiking Boots
1. Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid
The Salomon X Ultra MID are versatile GTX hiking boots that weigh only 1.85 pounds per pair (for a men’s size 9), making it one of the lighter options in its category.
However, this lightweight design doesn’t sacrifice support or traction, as the shoe still provides excellent stability and grip on even the most uneven terrain.
These are the most comfortable hiking boots I have tried and up there with some of the best lightweight hiking boots on the market, so I’d recommend them to anyone searching for a durable and versatile hiking shoe.
- These boots’ lightweight design suits long-distance hikes or backpacking trips.
- These ultralight hiking boots are made of high-quality materials that withstand tough terrain, uneven trails, and nasty weather conditions.
- The design of these hiking boots is optimized for trail comfort. They have enough cushioning to keep your feet and toes comfortable even after hours of trekking.
- The boots have great traction on surfaces, including muddy, wet or snowy trails.
- These boots are competitively priced, making them an excellent choice for thrifty hikers and backpackers.
- The low collar can let in trail debris and water easily.
2. KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid
The KEEN Targhee III Waterproof hiking boots are great for outdoor enthusiasts looking for versatile and durable footwear. Its waterproof membrane keeps you dry in wet conditions, and reinforced toe caps and heels keep you safe on rocky terrain.
I’ve found the shoes dependable on rough terrain when hiking with other trail runners, providing excellent traction and support for long hikes.
Although they are slightly heavier than other hiking shoes, weighing around 2.5 pounds, they do not feel significantly heavier when worn which is a plus.
- The boots offer excellent waterproofing capabilities, ideal for rainy or wet conditions and ensuring your feet stay dry and cosy.
- The boots are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, making them perfect for longer hikes or treks.
- Thanks to the use of nubuck leather in their construction, hiking boots provide good ankle support and cushioning, especially for those with weaker ankles.
- The boots are durable and long-lasting, meaning they’re a worthwhile investment that isn’t easily replaceable (great for those on a budget).
- Some hikers have reported that the sizing runs large, so it may be best to try before you buy.
3. Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Waterproof
The Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Waterproof is a great hiking shoe for trail comfort and durability. The shoes are lightweight at 2.2 pounds for the pair, yet still, provide excellent support and traction.
The waterproofing is effective, keeping feet dry on rainy hikes. I personally used these shoes on a muddy and rocky hike in the Pacific Northwest and thought these were some of the best waterproof hiking boots I’ve ever used.
- The waterproof boots effectively protect against rain and snow with their membrane and leather upper.
- The leather hiking boots give a secure fit, good support, and solid protection on rough terrain.
- The shoe feels secure and snug fit.
- The shoe features high-quality construction that is durable and long-lasting.
- The shoe feels heavy and clunky on the trail, so may not be a great choice if you’re looking for a lightweight hiking boot.
- Not very breathable despite mesh paneling.
4. Merrell Moab 2 Mid Gtx
The Merrell Moab 2 Mid is a durable and comfortable shoe for hiking and backpacking trips. The hiking shoes are designed with Vibram soles, which I noticed provide tremendous grip on wet rocks during rainy hikes.
The hiking shoes also feature a waterproof membrane that keeps your toes dry and comfortable whatever the weather. The pair weighs only 2 pounds, making it lightweight enough if you enjoy longer hikes, yet they still feel like a pair of solid boots.
They also make a version with a wide toe box for those who need hiking boots for wide feet.
- The hiking boot is durable and long-lasting, designed for off-trail hiking.
- Excellent traction on various terrains, including wet and slippery surfaces.
- The membrane keeps feet dry and comfortable, making them a great choice for rainy conditions.
- Lightweight design makes them less cumbersome for long distances.
- Some hikers have reported that the hiking boot feels tight around the mid-foot area.
5. Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof
The Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof is a dependable and comfortable hiking boot that provides excellent foot support and protection on any trail.
These boots are built to withstand tough terrain and wet conditions, with a sturdy Vibram sole and a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane to keep your feet comfortable and dry. They are also breathable, which aids in the prevention of sweaty feet.
The EVA foam insole and cushioned collar provide a comfortable fit, which I really appreciate about these boots. Another advantage is that they have removable insoles that can be replaced with your own hiking insoles.
Furthermore, at slightly more than 2 pounds for a pair, they may not be the best lightweight hiking boots if weight is your concern, but they are still light enough for longer hikes without sacrificing that much-needed durability or support.
- Highly durable boots built to last and made with recycled materials too.
- Fantastic value for the price considering the quality of materials used.
- Heavy duty boots offer a lot of ankle support and heel and toe protection.
- An extremely comfortable boot with plenty of padding and flexibility.
- Weighing more than 2 pounds means they’re not the lightest hiking boots.
- They’re stiff boots with a leather upper so they’re not particularly breathable boots or suitable for warmer weather.
6. HOKA Anacapa Mid GTX
The HOKA Anacapa Mid GTX is a fantastic option for anyone seeking a durable and versatile hiking boot. Its waterproof Gore-Tex membrane is perfect for tackling wet and muddy trails.
The mid-height design provides ample ankle support while allowing freedom of movement. The standout feature of these boots for me is their lightweight construction, with a pair weighing in at just 1.9 pounds.
This made them comfortable for extended periods out on the trails without sacrificing protection or stability.
- A lightweight hiking boot with great ankle support and plenty of space in the toe box
- Very competitively priced when compared to other boots.
- Impressive traction thanks to its rubber outsole.
- They are not particularly good waterproof hiking boots. Though they do have a waterproof coating to the nubuck leather upper, the waterproofing only goes partway up to the heel.
- The waterproof GTX model means they aren’t the best hiking boots during the summer months because of the lack of breathability.
7. Columbia Newton Ridge™ Plus II
The Men’s Columbia Newton Ridge™ Plus II (Columbia Newton Ridge™ Plus for women) is a great hiking boot offering excellent support and durability.
These boots feature a waterproof, full-grain leather upper and a durable outsole, that provides great traction on various terrains. The midsole is lightweight and provides enough cushioning for comfort all day, and the lace-up closure allows for a secure and customizable fit.
Weighing in at 2.4 pounds, they are not the best lightweight hiking boots, on the market, nevertheless, I particularly like their thick cushioning which made them a perfect hiking boot for longer hikes.
- Waterproof, full-grain upper means they’re an effective waterproof boot and keep feet dry in wet conditions.
- Techlite™ midsole provides ample cushioning and energy return, reducing fatigue during long hikes.
- Durable rubber outsole provides excellent traction on various terrains, making them great for different types of hiking adventures.
- Weighing in at 2.4 pounds means they are much heavier than most hiking boots from this list and may not offer breathability compared to other boots.
- The boots may run slightly narrow, which could cause discomfort for some hikers.
8. Vasque Breeze at-mid GTX Goretex
The Vasque Breeze AT-Mid GTX Gore-Tex is a sturdy and reliable hiking boot perfect for long treks and outdoor adventures.
Made with high-quality materials, these boots offer excellent traction on various terrains, keeping you safe and secure every step of the way. One feature I am a big fan of is their Gore-Tex lining, which helped keep my feet dry and comfortable in even the wettest conditions.
With a weight of just over 2 pounds per pair, these boots balance durability and comfort, making them an excellent choice for hikers of all levels.
- These boots are designed to provide excellent foot and ankle support and cushioning, reducing fatigue and keeping your feet comfortable throughout long hikes.
- The Gore-Tex lining keeps your feet dry in wet conditions, preventing blisters and other foot issues.
- These boots have high-quality materials and construction, meaning they’ll likely make a great long-term investment.
- Less suitable for speed-hiking or other activities where agility is critical.
- Grip is a bit of an issue in dirty and muddy conditions due to the wide lugs.
9. Columbia Firecamp Boot
The Columbia Firecamp Boot is a great choice if comfort and durability are high up on your list With a waterproof construction and a lightweight design, this waterproof boot will keep your hiking socks dry and comfortable on even the most challenging hikes.
They feature a tough outsole that provides excellent traction on various surfaces, making them suitable for wet and dry terrain.
One standout feature of these boots is their weight – they weigh only 1.5 pounds per pair, making them one of the best lightweight hiking boots on the market.
This lightweight design felt like I was walking on air and allowed me to move around more freely and easily.
This trail running shoe provides great support and cushioning which makes them a good choice for any trail runner.
These boots are made of high-quality materials meant to withstand the challenges of hiking and are certainly built to last.
These shoes are some of the lightest hiking boots on the market meaning they are great for speed-hikes and easy to travel with.
- May not be true in size and have a narrow forefoot. This may be frustrating if you typically buy your lightweight hiking boots online so it’s recommended you try them on first.
- Limited in color options.
10. ALTRA Lone Peak All Weather Mid
The ALTRA Lone Peak All Weather Mid is an exceptional running shoe perfect for all types of weather. Weighing in at just 1.1 pounds per pair, these boots are incredibly lightweight and comfortable for extended periods.
The waterproof upper and breathable membrane keep your feet and hiking socks dry, and the 4-point gaiter trap prevents debris from getting inside.
The zero-drop design allows for a natural foot position and I felt an instant improvement in my balance and stability when trying them on. The TrailClaw outsole also provides superior traction on any terrain.
- The boots’ lightweight and breathable design results in remarkable comfort even during prolonged use, perfect for those longer hikes.
- The boots’ waterproof upper and breathable membrane, made from synthetic materials, ensures feet remain protected in wetter hiking conditions at all times.
- These lightweight hiking shoes are a good choice for hiking across the different ground, thanks to their TrailClaw outsole that provides consistent traction on any surface.
- Though the running shoes’ airy design is advantageous for comfort, it hinders their durability, with some buyers reporting the toe cap separating from the upper material.
- The running shoes’ flexible collar can hinder achieving a secure and locked-in feel, which may not be suitable for those who prefer more stability from their shoes.
Lightweight Hiking Boots Buyer’s Guide
As a seasoned hiker, I understand the significance of ensuring you put your money in the right place when looking for the best lightweight hiking boots.
However, with so many choices in the market, it can take time to find the perfect pair. To simplify your search, we’ve created a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you quickly navigate the world of lightweight hiking boots.
When out hiking, having a solid grip is critical when trekking across rough and muddy terrain.
Choosing boots with a deep, aggressive tread design that offers reliable traction on wet and dry surfaces is highly recommended.
With the correct tread pattern, you can minimize the risk of slipping or falling, ensuring stability while navigating different trails.
Investing in a quality pair of boots may require spending a significant amount of money, but ensuring your comfort and safety while trekking is worthwhile.
While it is true that boots can be expensive, there are affordable options available in the market that provide excellent performance and durability.
It is crucial to remember that the benefits of owning a pair of high-quality hiking boots will outweigh the cost in the long run.
Comfortable boots are a must when out hiking. You’ll spend long hours on the trail, so you want boots that fit well and provide ample support.
Look for boots with cushioned midsoles, padded collars, and tongues to prevent rubbing and nasty blisters.
It’s also essential to find a lightweight boot that fits correctly, with enough room for your toes to wiggle but not so much that your foot slides all over the place.
Proper support and cushioning can help prevent foot fatigue and discomfort, allowing you to enjoy longer and tougher hikes.
Hiking boots come in different styles, each with strengths and weaknesses. If you plan on tackling rocky terrain or carrying a heavy pack, you’ll want supportive boots with extra ankle support and a stiffer sole.
If you plan on hiking in hot weather, look for boots with breathable uppers and good ventilation. Understanding the different styles of hiking boots and their intended use can help you make the right choice for your specific needs.
The material of your hiking boots will affect their durability, weight, and water resistance. Leather boots are sturdy and durable but can be heavy and take longer to break in.
Synthetic materials, like mesh and nylon, are lightweight and breathable but may need to be more durable.
Most lightweight hiking boots will have Gore-Tex, providing excellent water resistance while still allowing your toes and feet to breathe.
Finding the right material for your light hiking boots can help make sure they are best suited for your intended use and climate.
If you’re hiking in hot weather or engaging in high-intensity activities such as speed hiking, you’ll want a lightweight boot with good ventilation.
Look for a lightweight model with breathable uppers made of mesh or other breathable materials in boots.
To keep your feet cool and dry, a good hiking boot includes built-in ventilation systems such as perforated soles or mesh panels.
Proper ventilation can keep foot odor and discomfort at bay, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
Many hikers prefer lightweight hiking boots because they are comfortable and don’t weigh you down during the hike. Keep in mind, however, that the lighter the boot, the less durable it may be. A leather boot is heavier whilst synthetic boots are much lighter.
Look for boots made of lightweight materials, such as mesh and synthetic material, but keep the intended use of the boots and the level of durability in mind.
Proper fit is crucial for hiking boots. Most lightweight hiking boots should fit snugly around your foot and ankle, with enough room for your toes to wiggle.
Make sure to try on boots with the socks you plan on wearing on the trail and walk around the store to get a feel for the fit.
Be bold and try on multiple sizes or styles until you find the perfect pair.
A well-fitted boot can help prevent blisters and foot fatigue, keeping you comfortable on the trail.
Our top 10 best lightweight hiking boots consider all the above elements.
Each product has been thoroughly tested and selected based on its performance, durability, and value.
No matter what kind of hiking you plan on doing, there’s a boot on our list that’s perfect for you.
Benefits of Using Lightweight Hiking Boots
Here are some of the benefits of wearing lightweight hiking boots:
- Improved Comfort: Hiking with heavy boots can be challenging, especially if you plan on going on long hikes or in rugged terrain. Lightweight hiking boots provide greater comfort, allowing you to move more freely and take longer strides without feeling weighed down.
- Increased Agility: Lightweight hiking boots provide greater agility. Lighter boots allow you to navigate rugged terrains like steep inclines, rocky paths, and tight spaces.
- Less Fatigue: Heavy boots can cause foot fatigue, impairing overall hiking performance. Lightweight hiking boots relieve strain on your feet, allowing you to hike for more extended periods without fatigue.
- Better Breathability: Another benefit of lightweight hiking boots is that they are more breathable, which keeps your feet dry and cool. Breathability is vital when hiking in wet conditions or hot and humid days.
Are There Any Downsides of Using Lightweight Hiking Boots?
There are some downsides to using lightweight hiking boots. One common trade-off is durability. Lightweight materials may not be as rugged as traditional hiking boots, making them more prone to wear and tear.
Additionally, some hikers may find lightweight boots needing more support and cushioning as they lack ankle protection for longer, more strenuous hikes.
Lastly, lightweight boots may provide less protection against harsh weather conditions than heavier, more insulated hiking boots.
You must carefully consider your individual needs and preferences when you choose a hiking boot and prioritize finding the right balance of weight, durability, and performance that suits the terrain and conditions you hike.
When Is It Better to Use Lightweight Hiking Boots?
It is better to use a lightweight hiking boot if you value agility, comfort, and speed on the trail. Here are some examples of when you should use them:
Day hikes: If you plan a short walk that won’t take more than a few hours, lightweight hiking boots will provide the necessary support without weighing you down.
Trail running: Trail runners will appreciate the lightness and flexibility of lightweight boots, which can help them move quickly and easily over varied terrain.
Hot and dry conditions: Boots with breathable synthetic uppers will keep your feet cool and dry if you’re hiking in relatively hot and dry weather conditions.
Easy trails: If the route is well-maintained and not too tricky, lightweight hiking boots can offer enough support and traction without adding unnecessary weight.
How Much Do Lightweight Hiking Boots Usually Weigh?
The weight can vary for lightweight boots depending on the brand and model. Generally speaking, lightweight hiking boots usually weigh between 1 to 2.5 pounds per pair.
Manufacturers achieve this weight range by using lighter materials in the construction of the shoes, such as synthetic fabrics or mesh.
While the weight of your hiking boots might not seem like a big deal at first, it can make a significant difference during a long hike. With a lighter boot, your feet will feel less tired, allowing you to hike longer and further with less strain on your body.
However, it’s important to remember that the weight of your boots shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when making a purchase. Comfort, durability, and support are crucial when selecting the best hiking boots.
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Our Top Choice
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid is our top hiking footwear for its combination of durability, comfort, and lightweight construction.
Its SensiFit design and EVA midsole provide cushioning and support, while its Gore-Tex membrane keeps feet dry. The Contagrip sole offers superior traction.
Though slightly more expensive, its durability and performance make it worth it—positive reviews from other hikers back up its quality. Overall, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid is the best hiking boot on our list of the best lightweight hiking boots for 2023.
Should hiking boots be lightweight?
Hiking boots should be lightweight depending on the terrain and weather conditions during your hike. Lightweight boots are better suited to warm and dry weather conditions.
What is considered a lightweight hiking boot?
Lightweight hiking boots typically weigh around 1-2.5 pounds per pair, thanks to lightweight materials like synthetic fabrics and mesh. These materials not only reduce the overall weight of the boots but also maintain their durability and support.
Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API