The 6 Best Hiking Boots And Shoes For Big Guys

The 6 Best Hiking Boots And Shoes For Big Guys

When you're a big guy, only the best hiking boots will do. Photo: musguy/flickr

Is it time for a new pair of boots or shoes?

Well, if you are anything like us, you would much rather be on a trail than in a mall.

The thing is...

Finding the right boots can be a challenge, especially if you're a big fella.

Fortunately, we've done the research for you. So get ready, because in this guide you're going to discover the best hiking boots for big guys.

The Best Hiking Boots for Big Guys - Quick Picks

If you're in a hurry, here is our favorite pair of boots, and pair of shoes, for bigger men:

Buyers Guide for Big Guy Footwear

Comparing the Footwear

Brand/Model

Material

Our Rating

Details

Merrell Moab Mid

Leather/Mesh

KEEN Targhee II 

Leather/Textile

Lowa Renegade GTX

Leather/Synthetic

Oboz Firebrand II

Waterproof membrane

Merrell Moab Ventilator

Leather/Synthetic

Vasque Mantra 2.0

Leather/Textile

What Are the Best Types of Hiking Boots and Shoes for Heavy Men?

One thing to keep in mind is that your feet are responsible for carrying the full weight of your body when walking or standing. They also absorb the impact each time your foot hits the ground.

Anytime you are carrying extra weight, whether on your body or in a backpack, your feet will have to work harder to support the weight and they will experience more stress. Additional strain will also occur on your knees, ankles and hips. Walking and even just standing can be painful.

When you're a big guy, the right footwear is critical to comfort

When you're a big guy, the right footwear is critical to comfort. Photo: Wally626v/flickr

The best types of hiking boots and shoes for heavy men will be those that provide significant support and shock absorption, alleviating some of the stress on your foot.

Also important for reducing stress on your foot is a boot that will keep your foot stable. As additional weight may cause your arches to flatten, a shoe or boot with good arch support is important to minimize the stress on your foot and avoid future problems.

Often a wide shoe will provide the best fit for a large man as additional weight may cause your foot to expand.

What Type of Hiking Boots Should I Buy?

Key in a pair of boots or shoes for hiking is good shock absorption. The midsole is the part of the shoe responsible for this function; in addition to cushioning your foot, the midsole will absorb the shock of each step as well as play a large role in the stiffness of the boot.

Most common midsoles in hiking boots are EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and polyurethane. EVA midsoles tend to offer more cushioning, are lighter and more affordable. Different densities can be used to provide more support in the places where it is needed. Polyurethane is typically more firm and is more often seen in backpacking and mountaineering boots.

Arch support is another key component in your new boots or shoes. A removable insole is a plus because if the shoe does not provide the support that you need, you can replace the insole with a custom orthotic or aftermarket insole in order to achieve the comfort and support your feet require.

Wondering whether to choose a shoe or a boot? Keep in mind that the shoes will be lighter, however the boots will be more supportive. Which is the best option for you will depend on a number of things like the type of hikes you plan to take, whether you are considering backpacking, your weight, and how much weight you plan to carry.

What Brands Are Good For Large Men?

Boot shopping can be challenging no matter your size; if you have big feet, you have likely found that not all brands offer the size you need, making your search more difficult. In our research we found that Keen, Lowa and Merrel all offer larger sizes in some of their boots, in both regular and wide.

How to Fit Walking Boots

Big or small, you never know who, or what, you'll meet on the trail

Big or small, you never know who, or what, you'll meet on the trail. Photo: Vicky Somma/flickr

When trying on walking boots, choose a pair that fit snugly everywhere, however are not tight. The proper fitting boots will have room to wiggle your toes.

If you take the insole out of the boot and stand on them, you should have space that is the width of your thumb from your longest toe to the end of the insole. While you should be able to wiggle your toes, they should be secure in the boot, as should your heel.

It is best to try the boots on at the end of the day so that you will know how they fit once your feet swell. Also try them on with the socks that you would wear during your activity.

Take the time to walk around in the boots on flat surfaces and inclines. This will give you an idea of how your feet will do in them over the course of an outing. Your toes should not hit the end of the boot when you are on an incline; if they do than the boots are too small.

Part of obtaining the right fit in a hiking boot is lacing them properly. Check out the video below to learn more about how to lace your boots for a better fit.

Keep reading for reviews of our top choices of hiking boots and shoes for big men.

Reviewing the Top Hiking Boots for Big Guys

1) Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking boot - Stylish and functional

Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking boot

The Merrell Moab Mid-Gore-Tex Hiking boot (MOAB stands for “mother of all boots”) is available in sizes up to 16 and offers an EVA midsole as well as an air cushion in the heel; these work together to absorb shock and provide stability and comfort during your outdoor adventures. A molded nylon arch shank will protect your foot and offer the stiffness and support that you need as a big guy.

The boots include a contoured footbed with a zonal arch and heel support added in, which will be particularly helpful should your arches have flattened. These waterproof boots by Merrell have a GORE-TEX waterproof membrane and mesh lining, which allow them to breathe well; your feet won’t remain sweaty, or stay wet all day after splashing through a creek.

Pros

  • A Vibram outsole with 5 mm lugs will provide you the traction you need for slippery slopes, which in addition to helping you remain upright, will minimize stress on your feet
  • With the EVA midsole and air cushioned heel, these boots have shock absorption in mind and will limit stress on your feet during long hikes

Cons

  • These boots tend to run small; for those with a wide foot, the availability of sizes in a “wide” varies

2) KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid Wide Hiking Shoe - Best shoes for wide feet

KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid Wide Hiking Shoe

The KEEN Men’s Targhee II offers sizes up to 17 in both regular and wide, making this a good boot to consider for those with a larger than average sized foot.

Offering a dual density, compression molded ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole, these boots by KEEN will provide the shock absorption and support that a big guy needs when tromping through the forest.

The foot bed is removable, so if the arch support is not what you need it is easy to replace it with a custom orthotic or aftermarket insole. A shaft that measures about 5 inches from the arch of the foot will support your ankle and help stabilize your foot. The KEEN Dry waterproof breathable membrane will help your feet remain dry in wet conditions.

Pros

  • With 4mm multi directional lugs on the rubber outsole, these boots by KEEN offer excellent traction for hikes in more difficult terrain. This is key because when carrying additional weight, instability will cause even more stress on your feet

Cons

  • These boots tend to run about a half size small; it is important to keep in mind that KEEN boots run wide in general, which means that the regular size may be roomy enough to accommodate a wider foot

3) Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot - Best shoes if you're overweight

Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

The Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot is available through a size 15 in both regular and wide. A polyurethane Monowrap Frame midsole will provide both shock absorption as well as the stiffness needed to support extra weight.

A full length nylon shank (a semi-rigid insert fitting in the boot’s midsole) will protect your foot from sharp objects as well as offer stiffness and support during long outdoor adventures. The insoles are removable and can be replaced should these boots by Lowa not offer the arch support you need.

Like the Targhee II by KEEN, these boots have a shaft that is about 5 inches from the arch, which will add support and stability. The water repellent leather and waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX liners will keep your feet dry despite snow or rain.

Pros

  • The derby-cut lacing allows the boot to be customized to fit a variety of foot sizes
  • Vibram Evo rubber outsoles provide traction so that you remain upright while working your way downhill on slippery trails and don’t put additional stress on your feet

Cons

  • These boots tend to run about a half size small
  • Some have found the toe box to be narrow, with those sized “w” being too narrow for those with a wide foot

Reviewing the Top Hiking Shoes for Big Guys

1) Oboz Firebrand II BDry Hiking Shoe - Good boots for flat feet

Oboz Firebrand II BDry Hiking Shoe

The Oboz Firebrand II BDry Hiking Shoe (available in regular and wide through size 14) offers a dual density EVA midsole, which along with the nylon shank, provides shock absorption and stability to reduce the stress your feet experience on the trails. The O Fit Insole in these shoes is made specifically for Oboz and is meant to be very supportive, stabilizing arches and offering protection to the parts of your foot that receive the most impact from your adventures.

Made of a waterproof Nubuck leather, these shoes by Oboz have a BDry membrane that will block water from getting into the shoes while also wicking away sweat, keeping your feet dry and comfortable.

Pros

  • This stiff nylon shank will keep your feet stable regardless of the terrain that you encounter. The Sawtooth outsole is meant to ensure that you are stable on a variety of surfaces
  • The O Fit insole offers excellent arch support, helping to reduce the overall stress on your feet

Cons

  • As a hiking shoe, these shoes do not offer the support and protection that you will get from a hiking boot

2) Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe - Most comfortable boots for walking

Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe

The Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe includes an Air Cushion midsole and compression molded EVA foot frame that will provide cushioning, stability and shock absorption, all important when planning to walk long distances on uneven terrain. As with the Moab Gore-Tex boots, these shoes by Merrell have an air cushion heel that provides additional shock absorption and stability. The Vibram Multi-Sport TC5+ rubber outsole includes TC5+ rubber compound for grip and durability.

These lightweight hiking shoes by Merrell include a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining, ensuring your feet remain dry. Additional support is offered in this leather and mesh upper through Dura leather strapping, which will protect your feet. The insole is removable; should it not provide the arch support you seek it can be replaced with a custom orthotic or aftermarket insole.

Pros

  • Lighter weight than hiking boots, these hiking shoes offered by Merrell provide the support and protection necessary to minimize stress on your feet
  • Lug patterns deliver stability whether hiking on wet or dry surfaces. There are no lugs under the arch which will allow your foot to flex naturally

Cons

  • Some of those who have purchased these shoes noted that even the wide sizes are narrow at the toes
  • The arch support may be lacking, so for those who are seeking good arch support in a shoe, prepare to replace the insole to get what you need

3) Vasque Men's Mantra 2.0 Gore-Tex Hiking Boot

Vasque Men's Mantra 2.0 Gore-Tex Hiking Boot

The Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 Gore-Tex Hiking Boot is actually a low-cut hiking shoe that is built to offer the stability and grip that you would see in a backpacking boot. Available through size 14, these boots by Vasque offer a wider toe box that allows for your foot to expand during long periods of time on your feet. A tailored instep and lower-volume heel will keep your foot in place, providing the stability you need to minimize stress on your foot.

Shock absorption is key and these shoes by Vasque include polyurethane midsoles that provide cushioning and stability as well as minimize stress from repeated contact with the ground. A thermoplastic urethane shank ensures support and its rigidity keeps your feet stable, no matter the terrain you encounter. The Vibram Nuassi outsole provides the traction you seek in order to keep upright in slippery conditions.

Pros

  • These shoes by Vasque are made of Nubuck leather and include GORE-TEX with Extended Comfort Technology, making them breathable and waterproof
  • A dual density EVA footbed can be removed and replaced should it not provide the arch support your feet need

Cons

  • The outsole of these shoes by Vasque do not always perform well in wet, rocky conditions
  • Some found these boots to run narrow, particularly in the toe area

WINNER of the Best Hiking Boots for Big Guys Review 

The KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid Wide Hiking Shoe

KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid Wide Hiking Shoe

These boots by KEEN offer sizes up to 17 in both regular and wide widths. Known to run wide, particularly in the toe box, these boots are a great option for big guys when it comes to size. However, it is not just the availability of larger sizes that makes these boots our top choice.

To start, we like the fact that the shaft of these boots measures 5 inches from the arch; this will provide additional support that you won't get from hiking shoes. For big guys, this support is important for your feet and ankles, particularly when carrying additional weight in a backpack.

The dual density, compression molded ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole will absorb the ongoing shock experienced on your hikes, leading to less stress being put on your feet and legs. The 4mm multi directional lugs on the rubber outsole provide traction and stability for challenging terrain.

The removable footbed allows you to customize these boots by KEEN to best support your feet; another reason why the KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid Wide Hiking Shoe is our top pick when it comes to hiking boots for big guys.