Last updated: 17/10/2022

How we pick our products

4Products analysed

45Hours spent

13Evaluated articles

215User reviews

A good pair of category A/B hiking boots is essential for your hiking tours in the low mountain ranges and foothills of the Alps. The high shaft protects your joint from twisting and gives you stability and support. With the right material and type of sole, you are ready for your hiking tours, even in bad weather.

With our hiking boot test 2022 we would like to help you find the right and comfortable hiking boot for you and your outdoor activities.

We have compared the various features and criteria of a hiking boot for you. Based on these criteria and answered questions, you can decide which hiking boot is the best for you. We want to make your purchase decision easier.




Summary

  • With the right hiking boot, you reduce the risk of twisting your ankle and protect your joint. Using different lacing techniques, you can tie your hiking boots in the way that suits you best, so that no pressure points or blisters occur.
  • Depending on the material, the shoe has different properties. A hiking boot made of Gore-Tex material, for example, is suitable for hiking tours that may take place in bad weather.
  • It is important that you take enough time when buying your hiking boots and get detailed advice. It’s a good idea to go to a shop in the afternoon and compare several models.

The Best Hiking Boots: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for hiking boots

In the following section, we will draw your attention to various buying and evaluation criteria. These should help you in your decision to buy a hiking boot. The criteria that will help you compare hiking boots with each other include:

We will now explain these features individually so that you can choose the right hiking boot for your purchase.

Category

In principle, all outdoor shoes are divided into categories according to their area of application, namely category A, A/B, B, B/C, C and D. This is a classification by the manufacturer Meindl or the Meindl system that is used to determine the right hiking boot for you.

This is a classification by the manufacturer Meindl or the Meindl system, which was developed in the 1970s. We have listed and described the six categories for you:

Category Shoe Area of use Terrain
A Leisure and hiking boots Everyday, walking, leisure Good trails
A/B Hiking boots (high hiking boots) Easy hikes, low mountain ranges, foothills of the Alps, lowlands Good and less good trails, forest trails, hut trails
B Trekking boots Demanding hikes, low mountain ranges, easy trekking tours Poor trails, climbs
B/C Firm trekking boot Demanding trekking tours, high mountains, light crampons (conditionally crampon resistant) Poor paths and trails, via ferrata, scree
C Mountain boot High mountains, hard trekking tours, conditionally crampon resistant Poor trails and trackless, glaciers, via ferratas, scree
D Mountain and expedition boots High alpine, absolutely crampon resistant Trackless, extreme ice tours, glaciers, ice climbing

The system is often supplemented by individual manufacturers. Between category B/C and C, for example, there may also be light mountain boots. Outdoor shoes in categories A, A/B and B are all not crampon-compatible. Crampons cannot therefore be attached to these shoes, including hiking boots.

Hiking boots are basically hiking shoes with a high shaft that protect the joint through their stability.

Hiking boots belong to category A/B and are suitable for easy hikes in the low mountain ranges and sometimes also in the foothills of the Alps on good trails.

Sole

A correct sole on a hiking boot is very important to ensure surefootedness. The sole of a hiking boot is made of different types of material:

  • Double-stitched and triple-stitched boots: Hiking boots of this type are characterised by their double or triple stitching between the upper leather and the sole. This cobbler’s craft makes the shoe very functional, of high quality and very resistant to twisting.
  • Injected soles (direct moulding): These are made of polyurethane (PU) and are injected onto the corresponding upper of the hiking boot. This is a cost-effective variant, as the gluing steps in the process are omitted. They are also relatively soft, which means that the sole wears out quickly. These hiking boots cannot be resoled or repaired.
  • Gussetted construction: With this high-quality sole construction, nails are clearly visible in the inner shoe. This means that these hiking boots can be easily resoled.
  • Stitched construction: The soles are attached to the shoe by a mixture of gluing and sewing. However, the sole strength is reduced. This type is used on most hiking boots.

High-quality hiking boots usually have a strobelled or pinched sole. These will therefore last you a long time. There are also different types of soles:

  • Midsole: The midsole provides cushioning in the shoe. They are made of either polyurethane (PU) or ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). The cushioning for hiking boots is generally made of polyurethane. However, the added plasticisers disappear over time and the sole becomes brittle and can break. This can be prevented by wearing the hiking boots regularly.
  • Outsole: The outsole of a hiking boot is produced from a combination of rubber and carbon. The more rubber included, the more slip-resistant the sole. The more carbon used, the more slippery and abrasion-resistant it is. In addition, low temperatures make the sole hard and heat leads to soft soles. Hiking boots usually have self-cleaning soles so that surefootedness is guaranteed.
  • Insole: The heart of the hiking boot connects the upper and the bottom of the boot. This gives the hiking boot stability and comfort.

There is also a footbed inside the hiking boot, which is important for the fit.

Material

Hiking boots are made of different materials. Each material has different properties and we will list them here.

Material Property
Suede This is often used for the heel and toe area. It is hard-wearing and can be oiled and dyed well.
Nubuck leather This material looks very velvety and fine. This leather can also be oiled well.
Yak leather This leather is highly durable, very robust and still relatively supple.
Lining leather Thicknesses between 1 and 1.5mm are needed for this supple leather. It is important that they are not dyed and remain open-pored so that they can optimally absorb foot sweat.
Gore-Tex This material is used for its waterproof properties, between the upper material and the inner lining of the hiking boot. In principle, it is a waterproof membrane. However, category A/B hiking boots or hiking boots may leak due to friction.

Full-grain leather is only used for shoes in categories B/C and D and not for hiking boots. In addition to leather materials, there are also synthetic variants that are less heavy and also less expensive. These include:

  • 3D mesh: Permeable fabric
  • Cordura: Lightweight polyamide fabric
  • Kevlar & Hypalon: Against abrasion and for reinforcement

Synthetic materials are usually processed in combination with other materials.

Waterproofness

Waterproof hiking boots with Gore-Tex are the right outdoor footwear for all types of use. The waterproof version of hiking boots is suitable for long hiking tours in bad weather for a better grip.

You can walk with these hiking boots on wet ground without any problems and the inside of the shoe will not get wet.

Waterproof boots are highly recommended for walking in the rain to prevent soggy feet.

Waterproof hiking boots also dry relatively quickly if they get wet again.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about hiking boots answered in detail

You certainly have some questions about your decision to buy hiking boots. In the following guide, we will answer the most important and most frequently asked questions. These questions should help you to find a suitable hiking boot for you and your sporting activities.

What is special about hiking boots and what advantages do they offer?

Hiking boots are basically hiking shoes with a high shaft, which makes them special in contrast to classic hiking boots. This shaft goes over the ankle and thus protects against twisting. Hiking boots are therefore good for your joints, which is a big advantage for you.

Wanderstiefel-1

Hiking boots protect your joints from twisting and give you stability during your hiking tour. (Image source: Toomas Tartes / unsplash)

The hiking boot belongs to category A/B and is therefore recommended if you are looking for an outdoor shoe for easy hikes in low mountain ranges or flat country. Depending on the characteristics and material of the hiking boot, the shoe has many advantages.

A hiking boot can be made of Gore-Tex material and thus be as good as waterproof, or it can be equipped with a special sole for better grip.

Who is a hiking boot suitable for?

High hiking shoes or hiking boots are suitable for you if you want to go on easy hikes in low mountain ranges. Such hiking boots are available for men, women and also for children.

Wanderstiefel-2

Hiking boots are suitable for the whole family who like to go on light hikes. (Image source: Greg Rosenke / unsplash)

Hiking boots are highly recommended if you have weak joints or tend to twist and turn quickly. With the high shaft, your joints have optimal support and hold. Such hiking boots are more suitable for you than normal leisure shoes, which should really only be worn in everyday life. Sneakers don’t give you the support and stability you need for a hiking tour.

How do I find the right size when buying a hiking boot?

When buying your new or even first hiking boot, you should take your time. It is very important that you buy a boot that fits you, that is not too big and not too tight.

Take your time when buying a hiking boot.

It is advisable to decide on the purchase and try on the hiking boots in the afternoon. It is best to get some exercise beforehand so that your feet swell up. During the day, your feet swell up a lot, which they will also do when you are hiking.

That is why it is important to try on a shoe when it is swollen. Furthermore, you should take enough time in the shop itself to have various manufacturers and models shown and tried on. You should also walk a few laps in the shop. Depending on the manufacturer, a model is different and the wearing comfort is not the same for all of them.

It is best to bring your hiking socks and any insoles with you so that you can test and compare the exact fit. In most sports shops, the sales staff will measure your feet and determine which size will fit you best.

How much do hiking boots cost?

There are several manufacturers of high hiking boots and they all cost different amounts. We have compared various hiking boots and listed the prices so that you can get an idea of the costs.

Type Price range
Hiking boots men approx. 190 – 330 €
Hiking boots women approx. 140 – 300 €
Hiking boots children approx. 50 – 130 €

You can find a hiking boot for men from €190 and you can buy a pair for women from €140. This means that men’s hiking boots are more expensive than women’s. Depending on the design and special features of the hiking boot, the price also varies accordingly.

How do I tie a hiking boot correctly?

The lacing of hiking boots is basically individual, but there are some guidelines that will help you to tie your boots correctly. If your toes start to tingle during your hike, you should definitely lace your hiking boots more loosely.

When walking up a mountain, it is advisable to tie the laces more loosely in order to have more room to move, especially in the shaft. However, you should not tie your shoes too loosely so as not to lose grip.

Downhill you should tie your hiking boots tighter, especially the shaft area. Otherwise your foot will slide forward and you will get blisters or even blue toenails. Your heels must therefore sit firmly and stay in position.

It is advisable to lace up your shoes 20 minutes after the start of the trek. Here are a few techniques for tying your hiking boots:

  • Pulley technique: With the pulley technique you avoid blisters on your heel. Less play in this area means no heel slip.
  • Parallel lacing: With this lacing you prevent the unpleasant pressure of crossing the laces by tying them asymmetrically.
  • Two-zone lacing: With this technique you can divide your lacing into two zones using the deep draw hook and tie them independently strong or weak. This is especially useful for differentiating between downhill and uphill running.
  • Omit the crossing: To give your shoe a little width, you can simply leave out a shoelace crossing and the pressure will ease.

Try out the various lacing techniques and find the right way to tie your hiking boots.

How do I break in a hiking boot?

After you have bought your new hiking boots, you should break them in a little to prevent blisters and to find pressure points. Wear your hiking boots in everyday life, but also on steeper trails to test them properly. If you find pressure points, you can tie your laces differently or wear different socks.

How do I clean and care for hiking boots?

We recommend that you clean your hiking boots regularly and thoroughly. It’s best to clean your boots after every hike with cold water and a hard brush to remove the coarse dirt.

For optimal protection, you should regularly waterproof your hiking boots.

If your hiking boots are made of leather and they feel dry after the tour, you should always apply leather wax. You can also clean the inside of the boot with lukewarm water and detergent.

What alternatives are there to hiking boots?

As mentioned above, there are other types of hiking boots. Hiking boots are only one of several types of outdoor footwear, in the A/B category. Depending on the sporting activity you want to do, you can choose an alternative to a hiking boot.

A category B shoe or trekking boot is suitable if you want to do more than just light hiking and also want to tackle more demanding hiking trails.

Image source: Fälchle/ 123rf.com

Reviews