Poking around the internet for some new lightweight hiking boots?
Well, fellas, you’ve come to the right corner because we’ve tested and reviewed the 6 best hiking boots on the market.
But that isn’t everything. We aren’t just going to link you straight to the best boot out there with no explanation, oh no!
We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about selecting the right fit, with the perfect amount of traction, and strongest materials for your rough and tough adventure.
There are a handful of great choices, so let's go over some of the basic info that you need to know for your research, and then we'll reveal our picks.
Read on to discover the best lightweight men's hiking boots in 2018...
Men's Light Hiking Boot Buyers Guide for 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 The Breathability Factor
- 2 Weight and Weather Resistance
- 3 Fitting Your Lightweight Boots
- 4 Breaking In Your Footwear
- 5 Comparison Guide
- 6 Review of the Top Men's Light Hiking Boots in 2018
- 7 WINNER of the Best Men's Lightweight Hiking Boots Review
The Breathability Factor
Combinations of breathable synthetic materials like mesh, nylon, and polyester will make these light boots the perfect tool for keeping your feet cool on sweltering hikes.
Obviously, full grain leather and watertight construction offers more durability and support, but the flip side is that they will seal in more heat than super breezy hiking shoes. So make sure to keep the season, weather and temps of your trekking destination in mind before you click that buy button.
Weight and Weather Resistance
As we all know, nothing spoils a good adventure like soggy shoes. The downside to intense waterproofing is that the effective water-repelling membrane is almost too effective and will kinda shut out air, reducing the boots ability to breathe.
So if you can swing it, and the forecast for your hike is sunny, opt for a light mesh boot that won't weigh you down while you are conquering the trails. Also, don't forget that most waterproof boots, especially the light ones, are merely water resistant. Meaning that if you quickly get splashed as you hop across a creek, you'll be fine and dry, but any heavy rain or standing in rivers will surely soak your boots down to the seams.
Fitting Your Lightweight Boots
When your footwear arrives, try it on as soon as possible. Your boots simply fitting your feet is only half of the requirement.
So when you first lace up, make sure there is ample space in the front of the shoe, because a roomy toe box prevents your feet from bumping into the front of the boot when hiking downhill. Besides room for your toes to spread out, you'll ideally want a snug fit through the ankle, heel, and forefoot.
After you check the fit of the toe box, you should slide your foot forward in the shoe. If the shoe fits there should be an index finger's width between your heel and the back of the shoe.
Also, save shoe shopping for the afternoon or evenings since all feet swell in the evening and even more so after you exercise.
Also, to achieve an accurate fit you should try on the boots while wearing your moisture wicking hiking socks because all that bulky material can even bump you up a foot size. Lastly, if you wear orthotics make sure to wear those during the try on and break in process since they also impact the fit of your boot.
Breaking In Your Footwear
So you've bought the boots but now comes the chore of breaking them in, which is unfortunately necessary no matter what boot manufacturer claims. Even though some boots are made with soft fabric, you are going to still want to wear them enough so they adapt to your unique feet before you climb up a 14'er in them.
Wear them around the house, beat them up, get these boots to adapt to your feet pronto because blisters of any shape or size are going to make you miserable. After you have tromped around your house in your semi-new boots, go on small walks and hikes. If everything continues to feel good, gradually increase the weight of your pack and length of your walks.
Equally important is making sure that your boots are laced properly, here's a quick rundown of some important techniques you should learn:
Phew! You’ve survived your crash course in boot mechanics! Now you’re ready to discover the best men's lightweight hiking boots.
Review of the Top Men's Light Hiking Boots in 2018
1) Columbia Men's Redmond Mid
The Columbia Men's Redmond Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is a light (but waterproof!) durable hiker that is perfectly suited for beach picnics, tramping through the woods in the height of summer, or scampering up a mountain peak in the morning mist.
Its upper is a combination suede leather, mesh, and webbing, so water and debris can’t slip into your shoes. The Redmond is also equipped with a waterproof, breathable Omni-Tech membrane and bootie construction, meaning your foot is going to stay dry, and also feel a whole lot less sweaty.
Additionally, it has a Techlite lightweight midsole for long lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return so your feet feel energized instead of beaten to a pulp at the end of a long day of adventuring.
The outsole is made with Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber that’ll keep your feet glued to trail and will help you cut down on the surprise tumbles and dreaded ankle twists.
- Mid-cut hiking boot with mesh webbing underlay features bungee lacing and a cushy tongue that’ll make lacing up a cinch. All this mesh also means you can practically wear these boots from the box to the trail without a tough break-in period
- An Omni-Tech waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed membrane keeps your boots from getting soggy while you hike through light mist and rain, but it also transports sweat from your foot to the outside of the boot
- Omni-Grip traction outsole with multi-directional lugs gives you the sure footing and non slip grip that’ll keep you safe and confident while hiking
- These boots run small and also are on the narrow side. So really make sure these boots accommodate the size of your foot at the get-go
- Since these boots are very light they deteriorate at a faster pace then sturdier leather boots. So they definitely won’t last you a few years if you use them regularly
2) Hi-Tec Men's Altitude Lite I WP
The Hi-Tec Men's Altitude Lite I WP Hiking Boot combines waterproof suede and nylon mesh construction in a durable, breathable and comfortable upper.
It is strong enough for the toughest day hike with its Dri-Tec waterproof, breathable membrane that’ll keep feet dry from inside and outside the boot. Its moulded impact-absorbing EVA midsole ensures long lasting cushioning and comfort so your feet feel fresh and comfy even after 8 hours of hiking.
The shaft measures approximately 5" from the arch and the heel measures at 1.5”, meaning this boot will help you avoid unwanted twists and rotations in your ankle.
Also, it is constructed with a nylon shank that provides stellar support for uneven terrain and a gusseted tongue keeps wild debris out so you don’t end up carrying some unwanted bark and pebbles in your shoes all day.
The i-shield technology repels dirt and water, and an OrthoLite sockliner delivers superior cushioning and has anti-odour and anti-microbial properties. Lastly, a ghillie lacing system snugs down stays snug from the trail's beginning to end.
- This option is also available in a wide fitting, so if you have always found boots a tad too narrow Hi-Tec can accommodate your feet!
- Integrated i-Shield hydrophobic technology adds an extra layer of water-repelling protection that makes this boot perfect if you want something that can fend off a little bit of rain
- A compression molded EVA midsole helps absorb impact shock, reducing strain on your overworked feet
- Then, its Multi-Directional Traction rubber outsole offers a reliable grip that will keep you upright while you hop, skip, jump and ascend tricky mountain paths
- The standard insole is completely flat and provides no arch support, which might be a major deal breaker for those who needs some good ol’ foot support
- The boots' lowest lugs are crimped in order to lock laces in place. But this crimping can cause laces to fray and break. And if you replace the laces with thinner ones, the crimping at that lug will no longer work
3) Oboz Men's Traverse Mid BDry
The Oboz Men's Traverse Mid BDryis a nimble boot packed with hardcore features. First off, the Oboz BDry waterproof, breathable membrane wicks moisture from the inside and blocks moisture from the outside.
The welded, stitchless, synthetic micro-suede cage offers a secure, supportive, and comfortable fit. The BFit lacing system with metal lace hardware secures sets your heel in place without causing instep pressure, meaning that your laces won’t budge or pinch your feet.
A nylon shank provides torsional rigidity on uneven terrain and allows forefoot flexibility and the TPU chassis stabilizes, protects, and reduces foot fatigue without inhibiting forward flex, so your feet bend and move in only the directions you want them to.
A non-marking Granite Peak carbon rubber outsole with strategically placed 4 mm lugs allows you to stay upright even when dusty, slippery trails want to trip you up.
The Traverse also includes a synthetic leather and highly abrasion-resistant textile upper for durability, flexibility, breathability, and support. A TPU heel counter increases stability and helps lock the heel in place. What's more, this boot even includes a toe bumper and mudguard for protection on tough trails.
- The deeply lugged sole hangs on well, and the rounded heel provides a very natural and efficient stride. Meaning this option is pretty dang light for being very grippy
- Its retentive lacing system means that you won’t have to make those dreaded repetitive pit stops to re tie your shoes
- These boots are equipped with a good footbed, so you won’t have to upgrade or tinker with them to achieve a comfy fit
- A BFit Deluxe EVA footbed with shaped heel pocket will keep your foot centered; and there is foam under the heel and forefoot which adds ample cushioning and is outfitted with perforations to allow air flow and breathability
- The super soft uppers lack support for more demanding treks when you are carrying heavy packs on your back
- The lacing system can make it difficult to get in and out for people with high insteps, meaning it might throw a wrench in your hike flow
4) KEEN Men's Oakridge Mid Wp-m
The KEEN Men's Oakridge is a perfect transitional boot for hiking that is engineered to be your summer-to-fall favorite.
It is made with lightweight mesh and leather, it has a moisture-repelling lining and a stability shank for support that lasts you from the trailhead to mountain peak.
This boot comes with two layers of EVA for the right amount of cushion, and you can you can even remove one of the layers if all that cushiness is a bit overkill for you. This shoe also has an integrated TPU shank for total stability, a non-marking rubber sole for grip you can count on, and multi-directional lugs for traction on slippery and challenging terrain.
Finally, the Oakridge's Cleansport NXT delivers a natural odor control to help fight off the funky foot odor that would stink up your other pair of hiking kicks.
- The double and removable EVA molded footbed provides excellent cushioned support and is pretty much as comfy as it gets, unless you opt to hike in your pajama slippers
- Its odor-resistant technology will keep these shoes smelling as fresh as the day you bought them
- Multi-directional lugs will keep you from eating it while you ascend those tricky, muddy trails
- KEEN’s dry membrane is pretty dang water resistant, but not so watertight that they overheat your feet
- Some of our reviewers felt the fit a tad odd, especially in the toe box area. So properly vette them and make sure to really test and feel how they fit before you hit the trails
- The plastic used as a shoe lace hook might irritate some people’s ankles
5) Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Vent Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
The Merrell Men's All Out Blaze is a smart, lightweight boot that’ll meet all your low-key hiking needs. It is outfitted with a waterproof leather and mesh upper with a bellows tongue that’ll keep rocks and twigs out of your shoe and on the trail where they belong.
Its molded TPU external heel counter adds some major stability to every step and a Uni-fly shock absorption system, soft E-Foam midsole, 6mm drop, 15mm heel cushion, and 9mm forefoot cushion means this shoe is comfortable above all else.
But despite its cushiness, it is equipped with a Vibram® TC5+ outsole with 5mm hollows lug that are as light as they are grippy.
- These easy lace-up hiking shoe feature a waterproof upper with a bellows tongue that will keep your feet supported and guarantee no debris will fall into your shoe
- A Uni-Fly impact absorption system provides a soft landing and disperses impact so hard trails aren’t hard on your feet
- Its lug patterns offer stability in all conditions, but there aren’t any lugs under your arches which allows for more flexibility without sacrificing that much needed grip and support
- The cloth lace loop has a history of wearing and tearing very quickly, meaning that you’ll have to lace these hiking kicks a little bit more carefully to extend their life
- It is also important to note that the sole has a history of separating from the shoe with heavy use. So if you are hard on boots, you might want to opt for a more structurally sound pair
6) Salomon Men's X Ultra Mid Aero Hiking Boot
The Salomon Men's X Ultra Mid Aero Hiking Boot fits like a running shoe but packs in the tech and benefits of larger, hefty choices. It has a mid-cut profile for additional ankle support and protection that doesn’t feel bulky in the slightest.
Its tongue has a material bridge that connects the tongue to the upper to make sure nothing can fall into your shoe (twigs, pebbles, all that annoying stuff). Then the Sensifit cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system, providing a secure, snug fit that also happens to be super customizable.
The protective heel cap provides rear foot stability and protection and the abrasion resistant textile lining allows for top notch breathability and quick drying in case you accidentally dunk your feet into a creek while hiking.
Salomon's lightweight advanced chassis, placed between the outsole and midsole, maximizes motion control, energy management and push through protection for an efficient and stable hike that’ll support your feet far better than those stuffy oxfords you have to wear to work.
- It also has an Eva shaped footbed, which provides excellent cushioning and anatomically designed support so breaking in in your boots is only a small task and not a part time job
- It has a mud guard around the outsole so your lightweight boot can’t soak up water and unexpectedly gain a few pounds while you’re hiking
- The Ortholite foam creates a more breezy sole that is cooler, drier, and won’t break down over time. So you can expect these boots to be foamy and wonderful whether it's your first hike, or your 100th
- The toe box is a tad narrow, so there is the off chance that these boots will rub your toes the wrong way
- They aren’t offered in wide sizes so the shape you get is the one you’ll have to make your peace with
WINNER of the Best Men's Lightweight Hiking Boots Review
Salomon Men's X Ultra Mid Aero Hiking Boot
For this round it was tough to pick a winner, but Salomon’s lightweight option really is a cut above the rest.
The first reason it won is because of its Sensifit system which allows you to customize the fit, feel and movement of the boot so your boot can work for you instead of the other way around. The EVA footbed and Ortholite foam makes these the comfiest boots on this list.
The Aero basically fits and feels awesome right out of the box, which means you’ll spend less time breaking these boots in at the grocery store and more time tearing across a trail. Additionally, they have ample ventilation that’ll keep you cool but enough foam insulation to keep your feet warm when you want them to be.
Lastly, the mud guard will keep these light boots light, and will help you avoid soaking up an extra pound of water and mud if the weather changes quick on your adventure (as it does).
So there you have it! Our professional opinion is to add these boots to your shopping cart, click the buy button and never look back, because these boots are going to elevate your adventure to new heights.