Hiking Boots: Ratings of Sources
Total of 41 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
Editor's Choice 2011
by Editors of Backpacker magazine
Our AssessmentThis backpacking magazine evaluates more hiking boots than any other publication we've found, putting dozens of models through rigorous field testing over thousands of miles with testers carrying packs as heavy as 70 pounds. Individual reports include some information about how the boots were assessed, along with occasional quotes from the tester and commentary about which features work, and which don't, for any given boot. The "Editor's Choice" designation marks those models that the editors believe are worth the most attention.
Time-Tested Gear: Boots
by Alex Geller and Kristin Hostetter
Our AssessmentThis review deserves a separate listing because it looks at a series of previously recommended boots in the context of time, highlighting those that still stand out, even years after the initial pick. There are only occasional details about how these boots were tested, but clear explanations about why each pick stands out from the pack.
by Berne Broudy
Our AssessmentThis review recommends five budget-priced hiking shoes, based on tests of more than 80 pairs. Each shoe gets separate ratings for support/protection, fit, traction and durability. The top-ranked La Sportiva Exum Pro has been discontinued, but runner-up Oboz Sawtooth is still available.
Five All-Purpose Light Hikers
by Annette McGivney
Our AssessmentGrand Canyon rangers and guides test these light hiking shoes and boots on what the author terms "the worst boot-chewing terrain." The short reviews include quotes from testers and comments about how well the footwear performs. Although five standout models are cited for excellence in factors like support and scrambling, just one takes the best all-around prize.
Buyer's Guide, Summer 2010: Trail Shoes
by Jason Stevenson
Our AssessmentBased on five months of testing 70 pairs of light hiking shoes and boots, Outside magazine recommends seven models, with separate ratings for support and comfort. Some are also reviewed in videos. The Patagonia Drifter A/C low-cut hiking shoe earns top ranking, excelling on both counts. Editors favor light, low hiking shoes for most day hikes, but recommend the now-discontinued Timberland Washington Summit F/L GTX Mid for backpacking loads of 25 to 45 pounds. Many of the recommended models are still in production.
Which? Reveals the Best Walking Boots
by Editors of Which? magazine
Our AssessmentThis U.K. organization put 11 models of hiking boots to a series of laboratory tests, including dunking in water tanks, ripping soles off and flexing the boot on a revolving belt. Each model is also subjected to at least 36 miles of travel by a team of hiking experts. Of the four Best Buys chosen, only the Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX is widely available in the United States. This shoe performs admirably in the lab tests, although the hiking experts "were less impressed."
GHRI-Tested Hiking Boots
by Editors of Good Housekeeping
Our AssessmentEight lightweight women's hiking boots and shoes are ranked here, based on tests by both seasoned hikers and beginners. Each boot is also run through objective lab tests for water resistance and mud resistance, and linings are evaluated for breathability and wicking. Appearance and on-off ease are also rated. There are some necessary trade-offs if your feet sweat a lot: The two top hiking shoes don't breathe all that well, and not surprisingly, the coolest and most breathable shoe isn't waterproof. Although a few of the highest-rated models are discontinued, those still in production are familiar favorites from other reviews.
2011 Gear of the Year: Hiking Boots
by Aaron Gulley, Jason Stevenson, Kate Siber
Our AssessmentOutside makes it easy to reference its favorite hiking boot and shoe picks for 2011; click on the image of any boot to see a brief review. While there's little information about how boots are tested, each "Gear of the Year" review is assigned separate out-of-5 ratings for support and comfort. Two standouts receive at least 4.5 out of 5 in each category, and their more detailed reviews included a rundown of which components worked best, and notes from reviewers about break-in and comfort. Reviews from 2012 don't include the out-of-5 ratings which, paired with the scant details about testing, makes direct comparisons between boots impossible.
The Top 6 Winter Boots of 2012
by Berne Broudy
Our AssessmentThese top-rated winter boots run the gamut from trail runners to double plastic boots designed for mountaineering, plus a couple of models suitable for year-round hiking. There are just a few short notes about how testing was conducted, and no direct comparison between models.
Hiking Boot Reviews by Rating
Our AssessmentIt's not entirely clear how these boots were tested, or by how many people, but reviewers assign each model one of four rankings (excellent, good, fair or poor) in twelve categories, including toe protection, lacing, waterproofing and ankle support. Boots also receive an overall ranking from 1 to a high of 10, making it relatively easy to compare models to each other. The standouts get an overall ranking of at least 9, or "excellent."
Backpacking Boot Reviews by Rating
by "John "
Our AssessmentEach of these boot reviews includes a short summary, list of pros and cons, and rankings assigned in each of 12 categories, including toe protection, lacing, waterproofing, and ankle support. (This category of reviews uses the same criteria for backpacking boots as for lighter backpacking boots; see source 10.) Each boot also receives an overall rating of between 1 and 10; just two models stand out with an "excellent" overall score of at least 9.
Kick the Heavyweight Habit with These Hiking Shoes
by Dan A. Nelson
Our AssessmentThe Seattle Times caters to Pacific Northwest trail enthusiasts with periodic reviews of hiking boots and shoes, penned by a regular contributor to Backpacker magazine, which we consider the best source for such reviews. Several models are worn by both male and female testers, who hike well-maintained trails to trackless routes carrying 20- to 60-pound weighted packs. Only the top picks are listed, and descriptions include details on fit, comfort, breathability, support and grip on slick rocks.
Mud Stompers: Boots Built for Autumn Hiking
by Dan A. Nelson
Our AssessmentThe writer, a regular contributor to Backpacker magazine, gives brief notes about several boot models that are suitable for muddy autumn hikes, including how each handles various conditions. There's no mention of how many models were tested, although it's implied that at least a few didn't make the cut. In some cases Nelson's wife tests women's versions of the boots.
Lightweight Boots for Muddy Spring Hikes
by Dan A. Nelson
Our AssessmentThe Seattle Times prints periodic reviews of hiking boots and shoes, penned by a regular contributor to Backpacker magazine, which we consider the best source for such reviews. In this write-up, both male and female reviewers test several models while hiking on slippery terrain. Only the top picks are listed, so we don't know how many models were tested. Descriptions include details on fit, comfort, breathability, support and grip on slick rocks.
Top Rated Gear
by Contributors to REI.com
Our AssessmentThis retail site makes it easy to find the top-rated hiking boots by displaying an average user rating and number of reviews for each item. Review snapshots give a summary of owners' pros and cons above detailed reviews. Most models accumulate at least a handful of reviews, but those with 4.5 stars or better and 40 or 50 reviews stand out from the pack. In less-reviewed categories like hiking shoes and women's heavy-duty hiking boots, 20 or more ratings for an average of 4.5 stars is noteworthy. Note: Some low-cut hiking shoes are listed here as cross-training shoes, others as trail-running shoes.
Shoes, Boots and Socks: Day Hiking Boots and Shoes
by Contributors to Mountain Equipment Co-Op
Our AssessmentCustomers of this Canadian retailer write fairly lengthy reviews; most offer at least a full paragraph, sometimes several. Comments include ratings for effectiveness and value, rudimentary information about the reviewers, and an overall score. Standout models score at least 4.5 stars (out of 5) from 15 or more reviews; a few models collect several dozen comments and most have at least one or two, making this a decent stop for quick customer impressions.
by Contributors to Eastern Mountain Sports
Our AssessmentUser reviews from this online retailer include lists of pros and cons, how well the shoes or boots fit in terms of length and width, along with star ratings out of 5 possible and comments from individual reviewers that range from brief to rather lengthy. Standout models have at least 25 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 or higher; one model receives a nearly perfect score from more than 80 reviewers.
by Contributors to Moosejaw.com
Our AssessmentThis retail site allows visitors to filter hiking boots and shoes by type and gender, then sort the list by average customer rating and number of reviews. Quite a few hiking boots accumulate enough reviews for the ratings to be significant, with those that field more than 30 reviews and an average ranking of at least 4.5 (out of 5 possible) qualifying as standouts.
Men's Hiking Shoes
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com remains one of the best websites for reading customer reviews about hiking shoes and boots. Many models have at least a dozen reviews, and a couple accumulate more than a hundred. Standout picks have an average rating of at least 4.5, and a minimum of 50 reviews for men's shoes or 40 reviews for women's footwear.
by Contributors to Backcountry.com
Our AssessmentThis retail site shows the average rating for each hiking boot that's accumulated at least one owner review. You can sort the list to put top-rated models first, and sorting by brand makes it easy to compare different boots and shoes within the same line. All of the picks chosen here have about 20 (or more) reviews and at least a 4.5-star rating.
by Contributors to LLBean.com
Our AssessmentAlthough most of the boots on this website have only one or two dozen user reviews -- and you must click through to see how many -- a few have accumulated hundreds. One model stands out with more than 300 reviews total between the men's and women's models, and has an impressively high rating. Note: This website has known compatibility issues with the Chrome browser, so if you want to research user reviews, it's best to use another browser.
by Contributors to Cabelas.com
Our AssessmentThis retail site can filter reviews of hiking boots by type, but if you're a man whose feet best fit women's boots, or vice versa, you might struggle with the mandatory gender-sorted searching. A few boots accumulate hundreds of positive ratings, but site viewers must click through to individual product pages to find ratings and review numbers. The only standout women's heavy-use boot, the Cabela's Women's Teton II, has been discontinued.
by Contributors to Walmart.com
Our AssessmentWalmart.com's footwear selection tends toward the budget range, and consumers will find a few low-priced models that aren't typically available elsewhere. A handful stand out with at least 10 reviews and a 4-star or better rating; many of the most popular models have been discontinued, and their replacements haven't yet garnered much feedback.
Hiking - Men's Shoes
by Contributors to SportsAuthority.com
Our AssessmentMost of the men's and some of the women's hiking boots here garner at least a handful of reviews. Along with user comments, the reviews list how true-to-fit the boots run, lists of pros and cons, and how many respondents would recommend the same product to a friend. Just one model stands out from the rest with about three dozen positive reviews.
Boots 'n All: Hiking Boot Reviews
by Chris Ord
Our AssessmentThe single reviewer personally tests each of the five boot models listed here, but doesn't go into detail about how he evaluated them. Each boot receives a rating out of 10 (although criteria are not identified) and a short review touching on high and low points, with a focus on fit and comfort. The top-rated Asolo Fugitive receives a 9/10 rating.
2011 Editors' Choice: Our Favorite Gear of the Year
by Stuart Bourdon
Our AssessmentThe Lowa Renegade is the only hiking boot -- and the Renegade II Lo the only hiking shoe -- in this roundup of favorite hiking gear from the editors of Woodall's Camping Life Magazine. They don't go into detail about how they test this boot, but do explain which features caught their attention and call these boots some of the most comfortable they've ever worn.
Gear: Comparing Four Hiking Boots
by Roy Wallack
Our AssessmentThe author reviews four lightweight hiking boots. He lists what he likes and dislikes about each (only the Garmont TXT Tactical CrossTrainer receives any dislikes) and briefly comments on how the boots fit, feel and perform. However, he doesn't mention why these particular models were chosen for testing or if others were tested but not published. Neither does he compare the boots, so although this review contains useful information, it doesn't yield a clear pick.
The Best Women's Hiking Shoes
by Marissa Stephenson
Our AssessmentAs part of the "Ultimate Hiking Guide" published in Shape magazine, this list presents the three best women's hiking shoes and the terrain they're best for. Although there's a short list of favorite features from each shoe, there's no discussion about how or whether they were tested, and no discussion about negatives. The recommended Columbia Switchback Omni-Tech model has been discontinued.
Top 7 Trail Shoes
by Wendy Bumgardner
Our AssessmentMost of the trail shoes recommended here are trail-running shoes, but the Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo hiker is named, too. Wendy Bumgardner, the About.com guide to walking, gives this shoe a perfect 5-star rating and discusses it in great detail based on her personal testing. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
by Contributors to FitnessTravelGear.com
Our AssessmentThis site's tone is casual, and the reviewers are all freelance writers with extensive experience in the outdoors. There's no real comparison between models, but each reviewer offers a candid, first-person opinion and details about their personal experience with the boots, including features they liked, fit, feel and a quick "Bottom Line" summary. Many of our Best Reviewed and Runner-Up models receive positive comments. Note: You won't find the newest models reviewed here; the most recent entries date from 2010.
by Contributors to GearReview.com
Our AssessmentA stable of outdoor-savvy writers pen these reviews. Although there's no flat-out comparative feedback, a separate roundup of long-term reviews ("These Boots are Made for Walking") addresses how five heavyweight hiking boots lasted after a year of use. Of particular note, individual reviews include break-in time and both positive and negative issues with the boots, plus details on how they were tested--which sometimes goes as far as mountaineering ascents.
by Contributors to BackpackGearTest.org
Our AssessmentThese owner-written comments are much more detailed and comprehensive than at most user-review sites. Reviewers must be active hikers or campers, meet certain qualifications, and state their experience. Feedback is organized by type and model, but not consolidated in any way, so it isn't easy to compare or rank hiking boots. Yet since each reviewer provides details about his or her feet and specific field tests, this is an excellent site to check for reviews after you narrow your choice to two or three models.
by Contributors to BackpackingLight.com
Our AssessmentThis site maintains a massive library of both free and premium content, including lengthy informational articles and gear reviews. Every year, editors call out notable developments (including footwear) in a series of posts from the Outdoor Retailer Markets, along with yearly editors' picks. As the name suggests, this site is dedicated to packing light, so you won't find any heavy-duty hiking boots here. However, this is a font of information if you're shopping for ideas, with plenty of individual boot and shoe reviews, plus the latest market information.
Sports Sandals and Light Hikers Buying Guide
by Mark Anders
Our AssessmentA professional kayaker recommends five lightweight hiking shoes (plus five pairs of sport sandals), with brief discussions that highlight each shoe's advantages. Two of the hiking shoes also come in waterproof options. Discussions focus on support, protection and traction, but no testing is documented.
Hiking Boot Buying Guide
by Mark Anders
Our AssessmentThis magazine's "Gear Guy" presents eight hiking boots that are "comfortable and sturdy enough to tackle long days on tough trails." It's not clear how these models were tested, or which models may not have made the grade. All of the models cost less than $150, a nod to parents that might not want to shell out big bucks to outfit still-growing feet.
by Andy Lewicky
Our AssessmentThis backcountry skier, writer and photographer reviews several footwear options for summer hiking. He's candid about everything from how the boots or shoes look right out of the box to how they fit his feet personally, and gives a few details about testing. There are no comparative reviews here, but his clear favorite is the Vasque Breeze XCR.
Men's Hiking Backpacking Boots
by Contributors to OutdoorReview.com
Our AssessmentThis review site collects user feedback for a variety of outdoor gear, with footwear separated into sections for men's and women's boots. Although most brands have only one or two reviews, if any, one product stands out with a rating of at least 4.5 out of 5, and more than 40 reviews. Clicking through to individual product pages provides overall and comfort ratings, and comments from each reviewer.
Women's Hiking Backpacking Boots
by Contributors to OutdoorReview.com
Our AssessmentOutdoorReview.com collects user reviews for many types of outdoor gear, with the footwear category separated by gender. The women's section has fewer reviews than the men's section, but two models still stand out with about a 4.5-star or better average rating, based on more than 10 reviews.
by Contributors to TrailSpace.com
Our AssessmentOwners post reviews and ratings of various kinds of hiking footwear here, tending toward heavy-duty boots. You can filter the reviews by a number of factors including brand, category, availability and rating. Though most hiking boots and shoes have only one or two reviews, a few stand out with 10 or more reviews and a 4.5-star or better average rating.
Hiking Boot Reviews
by Editors and Contributors to Buzzillions.com
Our AssessmentThe reviews here are consolidated from several sites, including REI.com, Moosejaw.com and Zappos.com. Although some of these opinions are repeats of those on other sites, it makes for a quick, easy read on public opinion regarding specific boot models; some accumulate hundreds of reviews. Editors also highlight prominent user comments for or against particular models. The number of reviews is given a lot of weight here, so browse the list to find the top-rated models -- even when the list is sorted by average rating.
Article Archive for Trail Shoes and Boots
by Contributors to FreshAirJunkie.com
Our AssessmentSome of the reviews here are helpful, giving personal details about fit and performance, plus details on how the boots and shoes were tested. Other reviews veer off on tangents, and there's no head-to-head comparison or universal rating system allowing the comparison of one boot review to another or the ability to discern clear favorites.