Best Lightweight Hiking Boots of 2018

May 29, 2018 | Best Of, Gear Reviews | 6 comments

There are plenty of ‘best lightweight hiking boots’ reviews out there and I often find that most of them are quite different. The weight range varies so much that the top end of the scale tends to not be ‘lightweight boots’ at all.

In this review, I make sure every pair of boots I list weighs LESS than 2 lbs and 8 oz. That’s 1.134 kg or 1134 grams. The heaviest I list are probably officially classified as a ‘midweight’ boot but they are certainly lightweight in nature when taking into account what they’re used for. They are more suited to rugged terrains and those who enjoy long-haul hikes while carrying heavier loads.

The best lightweight hiking boots

The extremely lightweight ones in this list are more suited to defined tracks and lighter day hikes. I’ll break this down with each of the boots so you know what to expect from each pair!

You should also know that each pair is 100% waterproof (according to the brand). Waterproofness deserves an article all to itself so I won’t talk much more about it here. Just be aware that defects in waterproofing membranes/materials do exist but, in theory, 100% waterproof boots should keep your feet 100% dry! In general, the more durable the boot and material, the longer its waterproof capabilities will last.

Also, note that these are hiking boots. I’ll review the best lightweight hiking shoes in another post.

I’ll break each review down into 5 main components. These are comfort, traction, support, protection & durability and fit.

Let’s get straight to it!

Contents


Lowa Renegade GTX


Brand: Lowa

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 1.1 kg (2lbs 7oz)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Extremely comfortable, excellent ankle support, wide fit.

The not so good: Not ideal for tough winter hikes, maybe not the best lacing system.

Woman’s Boot: Available

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Comfort

Comfortable straight out the box, this is one of the Renegade’s top qualities. Lowa does a great job of giving the boot that ‘shoe-like’ feeling while maintaining the high standards of a robust hiking boot. This adds to the comfort and makes them ideal for showing off around the town, not just in the wilderness.

Traction

A tough Vibram outsole rarely disappoints and this is definitely the case here. The lugs are well spread out giving the boots great traction over varied terrain. The grips are denser at the toe and heel giving the Renegades an edge on more rugged ascents/descents.

Support

A high collar offers great ankle support which is reinforced with all-around comfortable padding and a nylon mesh. While not the stiffest boot on the market, a thick outsole offers users a sufficient layer of stability for any day hike. A trusty Monowrap construction frame on the lower part of the boot keeps the feet secure and locked in place. This helps reduce weight on the boots while maintaining stability. For a long day hike, the Renegade will more than aptly deal with a heavy load over rough terrain.

Protection & Durability

A nubuck leather upper layer gives the feet that initial layer of protection. Polyurethane midsoles provide good shock absorption and less impact on those heavy descents.

Fit

Perhaps one of the main pitfalls is a slightly annoying lacing system which may require a bit more time to get the right tightness. This aside, the boot is fairly wide fitting and provides ample toe space.

Verdict

The Lowa Renegade GTX is an impressively sleek design ideal for the avid day hiker. While probably not suitable for long-term backpacking trips, you can certainly test them out and you may be surprised at how well they cope. What I really like is that it’s a pair of boots you can wear in a social setting as well as out in the hills. They have the comfort and won’t feel like a pair of clunky hiking boots.

Lowa Innox GTX Mid


Brand: Lowa

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 0.9 kg (2 lbs)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Very light and dynamic, sufficient support for a small boot.

The not so good: Toe protection not the best, fit maybe slightly narrow.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

Again, Lowa hits the spot by making another top pair of comfortable hiking boots which feel more like shoes. The Innox GTX boasts a padded internal ‘sock-fit’ system maintaining comfort throughout use. This extends up to the ankle and ensures comfort straight out of the box with little to no break-in time.

Traction

The outsoles have excellent traction suitable for all terrains from muddy tracks to rocky slopes. While the lugs may be slightly softer and less pronounced than a chunkier boot, this attributes to it being so lightweight. They still do the job for day hiking through a variety of terrains.

Support

Ankle support is good with the same comfortable nylon mesh as the Lowa Renegade. For being such a nimble and ‘trainer-like’ boot you wouldn’t be blamed for questioning its support qualities. The PU Monowrap construction on the soles ensures support and stability. While not that stiff, support is more than adequate for rapid trail hiking and even occasionally venturing into more rugged territories.

Protection & Durability

The main downside of the Lowa Innox GTX Mid is the lack of foot protection. This again comes down to what makes the boot such a lightweight piece of gear. If you spend most of your time on pronounced paths then it’s ideal but if most of your hiking is on rocky or pathless terrains then this probably isn’t the boot for you.

Lowa may argue that the tough Cordura fabric body gives adequate protection for all environments but you can definitely get some boots with better protection for the same price.

Fit

If you get the right size then they should feel like putting on a new pair of socks. While maybe not suited to the wide-footed out there, they’re a snug fit which will require minimal break-in time.

Verdict

An excellent, lightweight, comfortable addition to the Lowa brand and another great option for day hiking. The boots are so light they may feel like shoes, the beauty being they work the same way as a boot and can handle plenty of diverse terrains. The main downside of the Lowa Innox GTX Mid is the lack of foot protection but if your intention is trail hiking or general walking then they provide an excellent option.

Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX


Brand: Salomon

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 1.06 kg (2 lbs 5 oz)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Shoe like shape but gives support of hiking boot.

The not so good: Sole can twist very slightly on uneven or rough descents.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

Soft padding and properties of a lightweight boot enhance comfort. Very little to no break in required and the boot should keep your feet well looked after for the duration of a short/long day hike.

Traction

Thick lugs on the outsole ensure excellent traction in all conditions. The Contagrip tread has great depth making the boots ideal for rocky scrambles.

Support

The midsole has an extra layer to provide more support and comfort out on the trails, this is especially the case on the heel with an added TPU insert for more stability. The upper boot has added flexibility and support with a PU coated leather and textile combination.

Protection & Durability

A reinforced rubber toe box and heel give added protection to the boot. While nowhere near as stiff as other boots on the market, the added features here certainly make the Salomon Ultra Mid 2 a great option for lightweight day hiking.

Fit

One hooked eyelet allows you to get a nice and snug fit with the laces. There’s plenty of space in the toe box with a narrowing heel promising a secure fit. The wide ankle cuff makes it easy to slip on and off and helps breathability.

Verdict

While these boots are more suited to day hiking on marked trails, this shouldn’t put you off taking them out into the sticks. They are designed to capably deal with all types of terrain. It’s another boot aimed a lightweight backpackers or day hikers.

You may encounter problems if you decide to use these boots on an extended backpacking trip carrying a heavy load – this is down to lack of stiffness. Salomon does a great job with these sleek hiking boots giving them a relatively simple and unimposing design.

Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX


Brand: Salomon

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 1.06 kg (2 lbs 5 oz)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Lightweight, nimble, comfortable and extremely durable.

The not so good: Not for long distance backpacking trips.

Woman’s Boot: Available

I’m sure you’ve realised this is the update from the previous boot in this guide. It’s obviously a very similar boot with a few small enhancements. I’ve included both because if you want to save yourself a bit of money but still get an excellent pair of Salomons then go for the Ultra Mid 2. If you can afford to splash out a little more then this upgraded pair may be for you.

Comfort

Comfort is very much unchanged from the previous model! Little to no break-in time required, comfort with this type of boot is generally a given.

Traction

The main upgrade from the Ultra Mid 2 to 3 is the new outsole. While the lugs are the same, Salomon has added a ‘Descent Control’ feature to the heel. This improves the boot’s already aggressive grip making it ideal for rugged and tough terrains.

Support

I mentioned in the previous boot that descending uneven and rough terrains can be an issue. Salomon has sorted out the problem with this updated version’s Descent Control offering much more rigidity.

Protection & Durability

Again, just as good as its predecessor. For day hiking and well-marked trails, the boot keeps your feet well protected and can take a fair battering.

Fit

Ample toe space with a well-supported heel box gives that satisfying snug fit.

Verdict

The upper layer is generally unchanged but Salomon has made the Ultra Mid 3 sleeker and stronger. Another great choice for day hiking or doing some light backpacking. As already mentioned, if you’re a bit strapped for cash then the Ultra 2 is ideal. If not, then it’s worth forking out a bit more.

Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX


Brand: Scarpa

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 1.08 kg (2lbs 6oz)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Comfort, durability and stability rolled into one. Very little time to break in.

The not so good: Lacing system not the best.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

Out of the box comfort is common among Scarpa boots and this is no different. This is further enhanced by the Scarpa’s own Sockfit technology coupling the tongue with the boot’s upper structure and enhancing overall comfort.

Traction

The Vibram outsole is designed for heavy load hiking through any terrain. Traction is another of the Zodiac’s outstanding qualities and you won’t be left disappointed. Adequate space is left between the thick lugs preventing the build-up of mud and dirt.

Support

A carefully designed midsole has been engineered to save weight and provide the best possible support. It’s split into 4 parts: the midsole heel insert, midsole heel, midfoot and midsole toe. This optimises underfoot cushioning while carrying a heavy load.

The mid-cut design gives firm ankle support and sufficient padding for comfort.

Protection & Durability

Rubber rand around the toe box protects the boot from scuffs and bumps on the trail. The sturdy suede leather covering the Gore-Tex membrane protects the uppers and gives the boot a neat finish.

Fit

The toe box is relatively wide giving the boot a good fit and plenty of room. It’s a boot designed with a snug fit but not overly snug so that it’s restricting movement. The laces are well designed making it simple to reduce or increase tightness on the upper or lower parts of the boot.

Verdict

Scarpa has done an excellent job of making a stiff boot adequate for long-distance backpacking with heavy packs, but also with enough space to allow your feet to breathe and have a little extra space. The boot is robust guaranteeing foot protection from the outsole all the way to upper boot. It’s definitely fit for 4 seasons and one of the first of its kind in terms of both weight and ruggedness.

Keen Oakridge Mid High Rise


Brand: Keen

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 942 grams (2lbs 2 oz)

Waterproof Lining: Keen Dry technology

The good: Very comfortable, very little break in required.

The not so good: Not the best ankle support, traction could maybe be slightly better.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

Keen specialises in comfortable boots and the Oakridge Mid High Rise certainly don’t disappoint. These are one of the most comfortable hiking boots out there and break-in time is minimal.

Traction

Traction on this boot is suitable for moderate terrains but if you’re a regular hill bagger who frequents battered ground then you may want sturdier grips. The 4mm treads are sufficient for lower level hiking but you’ll want thicker traction if you are more of a hill/mountain hiker as opposed to trail hiker.

Support

The boot’s interior has a hydrophobic mesh layer giving plenty of support. The mid-cut supports the ankle and can be tightened/loosened by making use of the brilliant lacing system. An EVA Midsole provides extra shock absorption sitting on top of a sleek rubber outsole. Again, support is sufficient for lower level and less punishing terrain.

Protection & Durability

The rubber protective rand on the toe box keeps your toes well guarded against rocks and stones. The boot is made from a lightweight mesh and with a synthetic/leather upper layer you do have a degree of protection but it never compares to a much more rigid model.  The EVA midsole and the outsole add to that decent level of durability.

Fit

The lacing system gives the boot an extra snug fit and allows easy tightening/loosening. It’s a boot also ideal for those who have wider feet with a very spacious toe box. Due to little break-in time, you’ll know whether or not this boot is for you very soon after trying it on.

Verdict

An excellent boot for the casual hiker whose main priority is comfort on the trail. It has all the qualities to be more than adequate for day to day hikes and can even be used as a more casual shoe. Keen specialises in comfort and fit. I will say if you’re a Munro bagger or something similar then you’ll want a much sturdier and stiffer hiking boot.

Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX Boot


Brand: Merrell.

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 940 grams (2lbs 1oz)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Great value for money, lightweight and comfortable. Durable.

The not so good: Traction could be better. Not for heavy load carrying hikes.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

The cushioned interior of this boot makes it comfortable right out the box. This quality, along with flexibility and ankle support, mean it’s suitable to take straight out onto the trail. Merrell is another brand that specialises in comfort and these boots will remain friendly to your feet after several miles out in the wilderness.

Traction

The traction is sufficient for moderate to difficult terrain but seasoned peak baggers will want something sturdier than the Vibram outsole on these boots which works better on mud and dirt than slippery rocks. The 5mm lugs give the boot a firm grip over rocky terrain while preventing the excess buildup of dirt underneath your foot.

Support

Moab engineered this boot with a leather upper to act as a protective shell over the mesh. The boot’s heel lock system prevents torsional movement during descents and provides apt support around the ankle. For a mid-height boot, support is above average while offering a mix of flexibility and rigidity.

Protection & Durability

The previously mentioned heel lock system also acts as a type of brake for steeper descents on rocky terrain. This support protects your feet in different environments. The EVA midsole is top-notch for shock absorption and the inner manmade material was specially designed to avoid rubbing and prevent blisters or hotspots. A solid rubber toe box offers plenty of space for the front of your feet but simultaneously ensures rigidity.

Fit

The Moab 2 really excels with its comfortable fit and wide toe box. There is plenty of room for the bulk of the foot while the heel is cupped in position by the supportive insole.

Verdict

This is another ideal boot for lightweight backpacking over shorter distances. I’d say it’s even better suited to those out hiking on defined trails, as opposed to traipsing over mossy moorland. Value for money is one of the big plus points with the Merrell Moab 2 boots.

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus 2


Brand: Columbia

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: (900 grams) 2lbs

Waterproof Lining: Omni-shield treatment

The good: Easy to clean. Tough, stiff and rugged. Absolute bargain. Quick lacing.

The not so good: Waterproofness can be questionable above the laces. May feel soft on tougher terrains.

Woman’s Boot: Available

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Comfort

The Techlite midsole goes a long way to ensuring long-lasting cushioning and comfort while out on the trails. Columbia has added a thick EVA foam for additional comfort over long hikes.

Traction

Omni-grip technology makes this a proper trail boot suitable for rugged terrains. The non-marking rubber will grip anything from wet rocks to loose gravel. Bear in mind they may struggle over some more unforgiving and boggy terrains – these boots are meant for light hiking.

Support

While the boot is actually quite soft, the leather and suede combination give it quite a bit of support. As well as being comfortable, the Techlite midsole supports the foot and provides shock absorption on harder ground and all round energy efficiency.

Protection & Durability

Perhaps one of the pitfalls of this boot is the relatively soft sole meaning you’ve got a greater tendency of feeling rocks underfoot. For day hikes in the hills they’re fine and you should get several hundred miles out of them.

Fit

Maybe not ideal for the very wide footed but general fit is snug with plenty of internal padding. The boots will probably take a couple of hikes to break in but not as long as other models.

Verdict

A stylish hiking boot built for moderate to strenuous day hiking in the hills. It’s a durable enough boot and will keep you comfortable for a bargain price. The only slight hiccup is that it may not be entirely waterproof above the laces but for me personally, it’s very rare that I’m in water up to almost my ankles!

Oboz Bridger Mid BDry


Brand: Oboz

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 1.08 kg (2 lbs 6 oz)

Waterproof Lining: BDry Waterproofing System

The good: Outstanding support, ideal for backpacking long distances over rough terrain.

The not so good: Possibly not so good for steep descents. Dodgy laces.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

Out of the box comfort which will take very little breaking in and the interior lining keep your feet well padded.

Traction

The Granite Peak outsole has a thick, rugged tread with 4mm lugs. The area is engineered to give the boot extra strength while maintaining that flexibility.

Support

Support is one of Oboz’s big selling points and the rigid Nubuck leather outer layer helps to ensure this. The flexible sole provides enough support while not being too flexible enabling the boots to more than capably handle longer hikes. Above this is a nylon shank with a dual density midsole for extra support.

The only real downside in terms of protection is the lack of a flat heel which may pose the odd problem with both support and protection going downhill.

Protection & Durability

Specially moulded toe box adds extra protection to the front of the foot. Coupled with this is a rubber reinforcement protecting the heel and giving extra stability.

Fit

After a day or so of breaking them in, these boots will feel as comfortable as they will sturdy. The reasonably snug fit keeps your feet well supported and comfortable.

Verdict

These boots are the real deal and won’t disappoint if you’re planning on doing some long distance day hiking with a heavy load. They’ll also be fine if you’re doing a couple of days out in the hills. The only real flaw is that braking on descent is maybe not as good as other models, but this is minor. Not only great hiking boots, they have a nice look to them.

La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX


Brand: La Sportiva

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 953 grams (2 lbs 1.6 oz)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Durable, good braking system technology.

The not so good: The nano-cell doesn’t seem to drastically increase breathability, slightly narrow fit.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

The boot is comfortable with the almost to-be-expected internal padding and meshed ankle support.

Traction

The rubber outsole is from Vibram with thick and flexible lugs. Vibram impact brake system gives the heel extra grip.  Deep lugs and braking technology give the boot excellent traction on all sorts of terrain.

Support

Padded ankle for support and comfort. The midsole is compression moulded with special inserts for enhanced stability.

Protection & Durability

The La Sportive Nucleo High GTX separates itself from the rest with a unique nano-cell technology combined with an overlay of Nubuck leather. This is essentially Gore-Tex breathability not only on the top of the boot but also on the sides and bottom.

It’s worth taking this claim with a pinch of salt bearing in mind GTX boots can’t get ‘more breathable’ when they’re wet on the outside. The Nubuck upper, however, is great for durability and protection against general wear and tear.

Fit

The braking system and heel give the boot a locking system while the laces can be easily adjusted to suit the user. The boot has a mid-range flexibility meaning it has a shorter break-in time. I’d still always recommend you wear a boot like this around the house a while before taking it out on the trail!

Verdict

This durable, unique hiking boot is a reliable purchase for all the avid day hikers out there. While not the stiffest boot in the world, I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of taking it out on the trail for days in a row.

Asolo Falcon GV


Brand: Asolo

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 992 grams (2 lbs 3 oz)

Waterproof Lining: Gore-Tex

The good: Very lightweight and comfortable.

The not so good: Not really a winter boot. Doesn’t have the same support as similar models. Expensive.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

Are you noticing a trend that all these boots are relatively comfortable? The Asolo Falcon GV is no different. This is undoubtedly one of the first things manufacturers aim for because the reality is if a boot isn’t comfortable nobody is going to want to wear it! This is actually one of the most comfortable technical hiking boots with straight out the box comfort.

Traction

Wider spacing between lugs on the outer sole ensures you’ll get no trapped mud underneath the boot and keeps traction at the highest possible level over long treks. The lugs themselves aren’t as deep as other models so this could lead to an outsole wear issue over time.

Asolo uses a Vibram Red Star sole mega grip compound ensuring quality traction over every terrain.

Support

Support is sufficient for a day out in the hills but not what I’d be looking for if I were doing several days camping and backpacking over rough terrain. Then again, many hikers would opt for such a boot and it would serve them well. I just like the added insurance of extra support. To maximise support, make use of the 4 eyelets to get a snug fit around the ankle area.

Protection & Durability

The boot has the standard rubber toe cap for protection as well as a fabric upper layer with a suede leather finish. The EVA midsole means the Asolo has adequate shock-absorbing qualities and gives the boot a real flex. While the upper part of the boot isn’t as well protected as the lower, it’s still sufficient for technical off-trail hikes.

Fit

Asolo tends to make narrower boots but the Falcon GV is fit for moderately wide feet. They boast being one of the few technical hiking boots that need minimal breaking in.

Verdict

While not a serious mountaineering boot, this is a flexible piece of kit great for some mid to low level summer hiking. It won’t let you down on long day hikes and is an ideal option for those who enjoy a bit of ‘off the trail’ scrambling in super comfortable footwear. I also think they look pretty cool, too.

Keen Targhee III Mid


Brand: Keen

Price: Latest Price on Amazon.

Weight: 992 grams (2 lbs 3 oz)

Waterproof Lining: Keen-Dry

The good: Very lightweight and comfortable. No breaking in required.

The not so good: Not very stable. Waterproofness can be dodgy. Only for the casual hiker.

Woman’s Boot: Available

Comfort

Comfort is one of Keen Targhee III’s outstanding qualities  It’s a very comfortable boot right out the box with little to no breaking in time.

Traction

A full rubber outsole and EVA midsole give the boot the expected traction qualities. For lightweight trail hiking, traction is excellent in these boots. Keen themselves make the rubber outsole and the traction is better than that of the Targhee II. The lugs are designed to stop the clog up of mud and dirt meaning you get the full gripping effect.

Support

As previously mentioned, these boots are for defined trails on lightweight hikes. Support and stability are more than adequate for this but you’ll be struggling on more rugged, off-trail hikes. If you’ll be carrying a heavy pack then the support is not ideal.

Protection & Durability

The big rubber toe cap offers significant protection. This is coupled with a Nubuck leather finish which keeps your feet well-guarded from bumps and rocks. This adds to its durability and you should get several seasons of light hiking out of these.

Fit

It’s a very comfortable boot right out the box with little to no breaking in time. The wide toe-box make it tailored to those with wider feet so if you’re very narrow then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

Verdict

The notable upgrade from the Keen Targhee II is the application of Nubuck leather to the outer layer. This gives a well-built hiking boot perfect for lightweight hiking over lower level terrains. Keen-Dry technology doesn’t meet the standards of Gore-Tex but this shouldn’t be an issue considering the terrain this boot is designed for.

All in all a great option for the casual day hiker, it also comes at an affordable price.

To Conclude


You’ll probably notice a similar pattern with the boots in this list. While this is a review for the best lightweight hiking boots, boots in general now lean towards sacrificing certain robustness qualities in favour of saving weight and increasing breathability.

The reality is that you cannot have it all with a hiking boot. It depends on you and what sort of terrain you like to tackle.

If you’re looking for a lightweight option to take to the Himalayas in winter then this review definitely isn’t for you. Almost this entire list is suited to day trekking and not much more. Longer treks require sturdier and stiffer boots which are in turn heavier, that’s just the way it is.

feet with grand canyon

And finally, remember that boots fit different people in different ways. You’ll never really know whether or not the boot is for you until you’ve worn it around the house for a few days to get a proper feel for it.

As always, thanks a lot for reading and I hope this list points you in the right direction in your quest for finding a new pair of lightweight boots!

If you have anything to add or any questions then please leave a comment in the box below! 🙂

 

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