Best Hiking Boots
Best Hiking Boots Brands USA/Europe
Meindl (EU), Asolo, Lowa, La Sportiva, Raichle (EU),Vasque, Scarpa
1. Asolo FSN 85 Hiking Boots - none GTX version - editor's choice #1
3-season Hiking and Backpacking
Awersome Quality, Fit, Breathability
2 lb. 14 oz. pr.
Ultra-durable and water-resistant FSN 85 hiking boots from Asolo can handle almost any trail on your topo map. Experience why Asolo's FSN collection received Backpacker's magazine "Best Backpacking Boot" award.
Asolo FSN 85 Boot Review
"A nice sturdy light weight boot. It weighs 2lbs. 14oz. for the pair. They are water resistant but not water proof. I hiked in these for roughly 3 miles with a 5 – 6 pound pack. The fit was great no issues with rubbing or unwanted movement inside the boot. I have been a fan of Asolo for years and these boots live up to their great quality and standards. I did notice that the stock insole was a little thin and I recommend putting in your own after market insole."
"These boots would be great for pretty much any type of terrain and for any kind of trip. I would not recommend using these to hike through lots of water unless you don’t mind getting your feet wet. One thing I did read while researching the boot was that people really liked using these boots in dry hot areas because of their weight and ability to breathe unlike some of the waterproof boots."
- Cordura®, suede and synthetic uppers
- Breathable interior for dry, blister-free comfort
- Rubbermac outsole grips rocks and roots with ease
- Padded collar and gusseted tongue keep debris out
- Protective toe rand
- Height: 5-½"
- Weight: 2 lb. 14 oz. pr.
- Made in Romania.
2. Asolo Men's FSN 95 GTX— Lightweigth boots for hiking, backpacking and all around
3-season Hiking and Backpacking
Decent Durability, Lightweight, Good support, Soles provide good grip in most conditions, P/Q ratio
Metal tag can pull out, leaving hole, Gore-Tex lining prevents fast drying
2 lbs. 13 oz (1.28 kilograms) per pair
"Since receiving the boots in May 2005, I have worn them approximately 25 days. They are comfortable, provide good stability and traction, and keep my feet dry, even on a recent fishing trip where I was caught in a major cloudburst and my clothes were soaked. Thus far, I have not noticed any loose stitching, fraying of material, or pilling of the interior lining. Tread wear appears to be normal. Unfortunately, I do not believe you can resole these boots. I believe the Asolo FSN 95 GTX to be an excellent choice for lightweight, medium height, waterproof hiking and backpacking boots. Furthermore, I recently learned that Backpacker magazine likes them too—having selected them as an Editor’s Choice in 2001. " "It's been 3 years since we awarded this boot an Editors' Choice Award (under the name Fusion 95 GTX), and it's still one of the great values out there. Testers love the easy break-in uppers, which proved plenty supportive even during treacherous tidewater cobble hiking on California's Lost Coast. The light, stiff soles edge and grip well. Fit is good for a wide range of feet, thanks to a forgiving last." For light to moderate backpacking as well as hiking, Asolo's FSN 95 GTX boots hiking are versatile, waterproof, and breathable. Recognized for its great fit, this supportive design features Gore-Tex protection and all-terrain traction. Suede and Cordura nylon upper offers a perfect blend of support and breathability. Waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining. Polyurethane midsole provides durable support and shock absorption. Antibacterial footbed. AsoFlex shank gives great lateral stability to the outsole. Asolo rubber outsole for all-terrain traction.
Asolo Men's FSN 95 GTX customers reviews:
Great pair of boots Great pair of boots. I have hiked all over Southern Peru with them and never had a blister. Very durable and lightweight.
I have had these boots for five years I have had these boots for five years and have hiked in them for more than 1,200 miles ( 1,931 km), mostly in Rocky Mountain National Park between 8,000 ft (2,750 m) and 11,000 ft (3,350 m). I have also traveled up some trails in the Cache La Poudre River Canyon between 9,000 ft (2,740 m) and 10,000 ft (3,000 m). On-trail and off-trail hiking, rocky terrain, steep terrain, slippery ice. The boots have been used on short day hikes and long, multiple-day backpacking trips. I have also used these boots with my snowshoes in the winter.
Review Asolo FSN 95 GTX In my experience with trying different boots, the durability of these boots is by far the best feature. The boots have provided me dry feet for miles upon miles of backpacking. When backpacking with others, I am one of the few that does not receive blisters from footwear. Double-knotting the laces will also allow for less stops to re-tie. The boots, if tied correctly, can provide hours upon hours of uninterrupted hiking.
Review Asolo FSN 95 GTX Great pair of boots. I have hiked all over Southern Peru with them and never had a blister. Very durable and lightweight. Outstanding Boots! These boots fit me perfectly,right out of the box, and required little break-in time. I had a pair of Asolos in Regular width that were a bit too tight. My son is now wearing those as his hiking boots or knock around college campus foot wear! The Wide model gave me the extra room that I needed. No problems at all with traction on rock, grass, or mixed terrain. I even wore them in the mud on my property while cutting firewood. They kept me dry for several days of constant use, never leaking even as I stood in rain and a couple of inches of water. They cleaned up with just soap and water in the sink. I haven't even treated them yet with any aftermarket waterproofing. I recommend these boots for anyone looking for a rugged and waterproof boot with great traction and a comfortable fit.
3. Vasque Breeze GTX —Super Lightweight boots for hiking
3-season Hiking and Backpacking
Ventilation ,Lightweight, Sticky sole, Flexibility
2lb 9oz (1.162 kg) per pair
"It's been raining for the last three days of your backpacking trip, but your feet are still dry and comfortable thanks to the Vasque Men's Breeze XCR Hiking Shoes. Their mid-height tops support your ankles as you hike with your 40-pound pack, and the Vibram Contact soles provide excellent traction on the wettest, slickest trails. A plastic Flexframe 1 Plate separates the Breeze XCR's midsole from outsole. The frame has an excellent forward flex, but limits twisting to keep your ankles stable. Most importantly, the Breeze XCR Hiking Shoes' Gore-Tex XCR linings keep your feet bone dry even when you're slogging through four inches of standing water on the trail."
Vasque Breeze GTX customers reviews:
I've got the Vasque Breeze GTX XCR (narrow) and found it to be a very reliable boot. Narrow is pretty snug at first, but eventually stretches to a more comfortable fit. I hike in some very wet areas in Western Massachusetts and unless I am actually standing in a puddle that covers the boot or exposed for an extended time to wet areas, the boot keeps my feet dry.
Great for all season comfort. I go through a pair/year. I don't know if it's the norm with hiking boots like this model, but I tend to get a lot of pebbles kicked up into the boot at the heel. Laces that come with the boot break quickly due to the friction of loops/hooks when lacing. Have experienced a small section of the toe starting to come unglued, but this is after almost 1 year of daily, year round use.
Once the sole wears out, they begin to make a chirping/squeaking sound when walking. For me, the innersole is completely worn out at the 1 year mark. Can almost stick my finger through it. I highly recommend periodic conditioning product be applied to the exterior or else the leather will dry out and fray, especially at the toe. My Vasques take a beating and do a very good job standing up to the abuse.
I have had these boots for five years I bought these boots for a 15 day backpacking trip in Capital Reef National Park and the San Rafael Swell and they were perfect. Did some slot canyon hiking in water and they stayed quite dry until I submerged them completely; after that they dried out super quick in the sun. I use superfeet insoles (green) in them and they are nice and comfy. I've had them for about a year and have hiked all over the South Cascades with them. No complaints, great boots.
LOVE these boots. Super comfortable and lightweight. After little break-in they performed fantastically on a 12 and then a 13 mile hike. Also did a light overnight trip using these and they were very comfortable and supportive.
My feet have never felt so good after such long hikes.
Fantastic Boots... If you love you feet these are the boots for you....
Great fit, quick to break in, dry like a sauna... I bought these boots for year round hiking. I figured I'd go for something with a goretex liner since I live in the wet coast of Canada, also known as Vancouver. I've used them a few times since and have to say they are fantastic. I've even worn them snowshoeing twice and never had a single complaint or blister. In fact the breaking in of the boots took place on a short (1-2hrs) but particularly wet hike up one of the local mountain. Last weekend I went to one of the local mountain and went for a snowshoe up the hill. It snowed 4-5 inches while we were out snowshoeing and most of the trails ha not been travelled yet this year so we were setting the trails and sinking 6-8 inches into the powder with ever step. After 2.5 hours we went back to the truck and my feet were both warm and dry, which is more than I can say for many other parts of my body. I give them a definite must buy... As I said in the title, "If you love you feet and want them to return the affection you should treat your feet with these boots."
Great pair of boots: I have hiked all over Southern Peru with them and never had a blister. Very durable and lightweight.
Outstanding Boots! These boots fit me perfectly,right out of the box, and required little break-in time. I had a pair of Asolos in Regular width that were a bit too tight. My son is now wearing those as his hiking boots or knock around college campus foot wear! The Wide model gave me the extra room that I needed. No problems at all with traction on rock, grass, or mixed terrain. I even wore them in the mud on my property while cutting firewood. They kept me dry for several days of constant use, never leaking even as I stood in rain and a couple of inches of water. They cleaned up with just soap and water in the sink. I haven't even treated them yet with any aftermarket waterproofing. I recommend these boots for anyone looking for a rugged and waterproof boot with great traction and a comfortable fit.
Hiking Boots materials - leather typesLeather
Leather is still the principal material used to make boots. It is available in 3 main types - full grain, nubuck and suede/split. Depending on the combination of the thickness and the tanning process the suppleness, support, durability and water resistance of the uppers will all vary. Lightweight boots utilise softer leather to give instant comfort and performance. In conjunction with the uppers the foam, stiffeners and lining fabrics in a boot will all vary according to end use.
Full grain leather is used in footwear for its durability, support and water resistance. It is generally used in boots designed for lengthy trips, tough terrain and when support and protection are paramount. Full grain leather boots are heavier than those made with fabric or split leather and are therefore more durable and suited to regular use. They will tend to need some breaking in.Fabric/Split leather
Boots made with split leather, suede, nubuck and/or nylon tend to be softer, lighter and easier on your feet than full grain leather boots. They are therefore more suited to day trips and shorter overnight trips. They generally come with a waterproof membrane such as Gore-Tex or Sympatex and are therefore guaranteed waterproof.
Hiking Boots care basic
All leather boots need to be maintained periodically with proofing such as Sno Seal or Grangers G-Wax to ensure that they remain supple and water repellant. It should not be necessary to do this after every outing – sometimes a good clean (inside and out) will suffice. Before wearing your leather boots outdoors for the first time, we recommend that you go over all the stitching with one of the above products. A new boot should not need any other dressing at this stage.Fabric boots
This type of boot is generally made using suede and nylon with an additional waterproof membrane such as Gore-Tex or Sympatex. Boots with a waterproof membrane still need to be treated to protect the uppers and stop them from absorbing water. It is recommended that after each walk the footbeds are removed to clear out grit, stones and other debris as these can puncture the waterproof membrane if left in.
Hiking Boots Tips - based on hikers opinion.
- › During summer I wear low hiking shoes with PU midsole and vibram outsole (if I am carrying a 20lb+ pack). but, its not a rule, its just my personal preference.
- › Features I like in warmer weather : Non Gore-tex or non event, Mesh upper, PU Midsole, Vibram or equivalent outsole.
- › For wet and cool weather : leather or leather+mesh upper with minimum stitching, PU midsole, Toe and heel rand, Vibram or equivalent outsole. Good lacing system. etc. I do not like boots with lots of stitching on the upper. Stitching usually creates weak spots (leaking) and also causes pressure points and eventually blisters.
- › For extreme cold or wet weather: one piece thick leather upper. Full boots with aggressive vibram outsole, PU midsole. quality lacing system (also, lacing system that goes all the way down to the toes). This helps adjusting fitting when necessary.
- › One piece leather boots are also heavier. So, if the types of trips you are taking do not require them, its not very practical to go with a heavy pair of boots. Instead, a lighter weight mid weight boots would probably serve the purpose.
- › Common rule for hiking boots get the boots a half-size than your normal size, depending on your socks.
- › Smooth leather vs Nubuk. Smooth leather perfectly repels water, beautifully shines and is resistant against damages. Nubuck repels water worse. Nevertheless, it is very resistant against damages, it retains good appearance for a long time, and does not have requirements to special care. Relatively bad water resistance can be compensated by impregnations. Actually, in cases of hiking/backpacking I would advise nubuck , rather than smooth leather. It is not by chance that major manufacturing lines of footwear for outdoors are presented by models out of nubuck. Nubuck is far more resistant to unfavorable weather conditions: constant wetting, drying, and temperature changes as compared to smooth leather, and it cracks considerably less. This is one of the main reasons for its use when manufacturing outdoor footwear.
- › You should have extra pair - you’ll have what to put on during stopping and lasting halts. Usually it’s light sandals (with foam rubber or foam polyethylene soles and straps on velcro); in the last resort sneakers or fivefingers are also good.
- › Buy a brand that is well known. Though its expensive, you can be sure of the quality. There are many manufacturers that make quality boots. Many experienced hikers prefer boots made in Europe: Scarpa, Lowa, Tecnica, Asolo, Meindl, Raichle and Zamberlan.
Narrow vs. Wide Feet - sizing
An easy way to determine your foot width is by identifying your foot shape. Below is a narrow foot shape, followed by a wide foot shape.
At least daily, I’m asked how to tell the difference. Here’s a simple way I have created to visually differentiate the two. A narrow foot is shaped like a rectangle, where a wide foot is shaped like an inverted triangle.
Width alone is not enough to achieve the best fit (for that you’ve got to take into account depth), but at least it gives you a place to start. With very little effort, you’ll be able to match your foot width to your shoe outsole in no time.
Boots leather treatment
Leather treatment, regardless of it's type, consists of two stages:
First: Hot deep penetration
Second: Sparging with spray preventing water penetration.
First: Is usually realized with help of wax-based preparations preparations. The only goal is to recover leather properties (generally, its flexibility). Without it leather begins to dry, shrink and finally begins to tear seams. While animal is wearing its leather, animal’s organism is giving "lubricant" recovering leather properties and providing protection from drying, mechanical damages etc. When leather is apart of its “owner animal “ it does not receive lubricant so in travelling conditions leather boots are made of suffers much more than leather worn by animal in the same period of time. It’s due not only to mechanical damages but generally to that fact that leather is losing certain elements that are impossible to recover as leather is apart from the animal. Of course, First also partially increases water resistance but it is not the most important point. The most important is to recover leather properties. Unfortunately, full recovery is impossible, to be more precise – recovery of leather flexibility for preventing its crispiness and shrinking.
Heating of leather is realized using of hair drier at high heat level (it is necessary to open leather pores). Without heating or at low heating the preparation stays on leather surface so the action renders senseless. Therefore, it would be right to heat a small area of leather with hair drier at low heat level and treat the same place with preparation.
The scheme is as following: a boot is pressed between one’s legs, hair drier in one hand and tube with penetration in another one. Frequency of procedure First. As the aim First is to recover flexibility lost at washing useful elements out of leather, First certainly after backpackings where there was a lot of water. If there was no water influence during backpacking (hard to imagine but it is possible) there is no acute need to do it. In general, it is often recommended to do it First regularly. Leather type is of no importance. Only nubuk changes its color (gets darker), penetration does not affect its other properties (in case of big desire you can "fluff wool" with a brush). By the way, as compared with smooth leather, nubuk is less resistible to water and mud than leather is.
Second: It is clear that just before backpacking sparging of boots at 20 cm distance is needed. They will be dry within not less than 24 hours. It is often recommended sparging onto wet surface (by the way, the best distribution on the surface could be done just after washing). - It is impossible to spoil Gore-Tex by penetration if you always act following the guide. The only known means to spoil Gore-Tex boots when treating the footwear is to chock pores up trying to wash the inner side with washing powder. The membrane itself does not require any care. If there is no membrane, that is backing is also made of leather, it is worth to smear it regularly with usual cream for hand clam. Salt from feet dries the inner side rendering it hard, then crispy. - Certainly, treating boots it is important to dry them (after washing as well as after penetration) only at room temperature. No way, do not dry them on the sun, steam heating or above stove. Everybody is supposed to know it. Otherwise, leather crispiness, shrinking and tearing seams are expected. As to lard, oil, fats, etc, for example, Lova announced: “Yes, fat and oil render footwear almost water proof. But at that, the boot looses its robustness and its pores get chocked up. As a result of this the boot “stops breathing” and we have gumboot effect”. Let’s start with footwear. Usually, boots and some other footwear are kept in backpacking (usually we take light sandals). Boots for tour should be comfortable, water resistant and have a good bottom. In boots for mountaineering, backpacking and extremal tourism most of manufacturers use Vibram bottoms. These bottoms are made of high-duty, wear-resistance gum which does not loose its properties at very low as well as at significantly high temperature, high humidity, and having high “sticking property” to almost any kind of surface.