Best budget hiking boots (2024)

Chris Townsend rounds up a selection of budget hiking boots – perfect for anyone working within a certain price range, or looking for their first pair of hiking boots.

The best hiking boots can cost well over $200/£200, with many of them being extremely pricey. However, there is no need to spend a fortune because there are plenty of low-cost hiking boot options that are appropriate for hillwalking and backpacking. With the exception of steep snow and ice, there are numerous budget hiking boots that cost £150/$150 or less and are appropriate for use in all conditions.

These boots vary in weight and stiffness. The important area for flex is the forefoot. Boots that bend with your foot here allow you to walk naturally and are less tiring to wear. Toe to heel stiffness is different and can provide more support when traversing steep slopes and on rough terrain.The weight of footwear is significant because you lift and swing it with every step. Over a day that adds up. It’s most significant on high mileage days and multi-day walks.

Fit is crucial. People’s feet are not the same. Boots that fit one person well may be torture for someone with different-shaped feet. Remember that when reading reviews and descriptions. Find out how to choose a pair of walking boots with our guide, and remember taking the time to have boots fitted correctly by a trained boot fitter is always worthwhile.

This goes alongside having your feet measured, you should be able to try the boots on an incline board to see how they feel on a slope and on a rock board to see what they feel like on stony ground. Fit can be modified a little by ditching the footbeds that come with the boots – these are often flimsy and pretty useless even in expensive boots – and replacing them with more supportive or thicker or thinner ones.

Want to know how to make your new pair of hiking boots last longer? Check out our guide: can walking boots be resoled or repaired?

Our picks of the best budget hiking boots

  • Keen Circadia | RRP: $145 | £115 (Buy now from Amazon)
  • Berghaus Expeditor Trek 2.0 | RRP: £120 | International shipping available (Buy now from berghaus.com)
  • Columbia Peakfreak™ II Mid OutDry™ | RRP: $130 | £125 (Buy now from alpinetrek.co.uk)
  • Haglofs Skuta Mid Proof Eco Boots | RRP: £135 (Buy now from alpinetrek.co.uk)
  • Merrell MQM 3 Mid Gore-Tex | RRP: $160 | £145 (Buy now from merrell.com)
  • The North Face Vectiv Fastpack FutureLight | RRP: $149 | £145 (Buy now from blacks.co.uk)

* All buy now links are affiliate links.

The best budget hiking boots

Here are some of the best budget hiking boots for hillwalking. These are Chris Townsend’s top picks if you’re looking for an entry level option or working to a tight budget.

Keen Circadia boot

Best budget hiking boots (1)

  • Price: $140 | £115
  • Weight: 585g

First up on our list of the best budget hiking boots is the Keen Circadia. Described as designed for ‘beginner outdoor adventurists’ these boots are made from leather and mesh and have Keen’s own waterproof and breathable membrane inside for dry feet. The midsole is cushioned and there’s a removable PU insole with arch support. The rubber outsole has multi-directional lugs for traction. A big solid bumper protects your toes. The boots are PFC-free and have an Eco Anti-Odour treatment. The leather is from a Leather Working Group (LWG) certified tannery that reduces chemical use. The fit is roomy, making these a good choice for people with wide feet.

Website: www.keenfootwear.de/en-gb

Berghaus Expeditor Trek 2.0

Best budget hiking boots (2)

  • Price: £120
  • Weight: 1010g

The lightweight Expeditor Trek boots are made from split suede leather with mesh fabric panels. Inside there’s Berghaus’s AQ waterproof/breathable lining to keep your feet dry. For cushioning there’s an EVA midsole plus a removable OrthoLite footbed. An Opti-Stud outsole gives grip on the roughest terrain and a small hard bumper protects your toes.

Website: www.berghaus.com

Columbia Peakfreak II Mid OutDry Walking Boot

Best budget hiking boots (3)

  • Price: $130 | £125
  • Weight: 490g

These lightweight low-cut boots feature Columbia’s OutDry waterproof, breathable construction to keep your feet dry. The uppers are made from polyester mesh with solid reinforcements to maintain the shape. The Navic Fit System lacing locks the midfoot down to keep it in place. The toe has a solid bumper for protection. For cushioning there’s a single density foam midsole plus a removable PU footbed. The AdaptTrax outsole provides grip on any terrain.

Website: www.columbiasportswear.co.uk

Haglofs Skuta Mid Proof Eco Boots

Best budget hiking boots (4)

  • Price: £135
  • Weight: 950g

The mid-cut Skuta has a wide forefoot for comfort so it’s good for those with wide feet. The uppers are made from premium leather from an LWG certified tannery plus synthetic mesh and have a fluorocarbon free DWR treatment to help repel water and dirt. The toe and heel are reinforced with suede for extra protection and durability. Inside there’s a waterproof and breathable fluorocarbon free Proof Eco membrane to keep rain out. For cushioning there’s a moulded EVA midsole plus silicone gel under the heel. The rubber outsole has a deep tread for good grip plus ASICS High Abrasion Resistance Rubber on the heel for durability.

Website: www.haglofs.com

Merrell MQM 3 Mid Gore-Tex | Buy now: $160 | £145 Best budget hiking boots (5)

  • Price: $160 | £145
  • Weight: 640g

The MQM (it stands for Moving Quickly in the Mountains) boot has a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, which is unusual in this price range and which provides as good breathability as you’ll find. This is a synthetic boot with a mesh upper with TPU reinforcements. Inside there’s a recycled mesh lining. The lacing and webbing are recycled too as is the top sheet on the removable EVA foam insole. The cushioned midsole has a Merrell Air Cushion and Super Rebound Compound in the heel for durable shock absorption and stability. The Vibram outsole is designed for a balance of grip, traction, durability, and flexibility.

Website:www.merrell.com

The North Face Vectiv Fastpack FutureLight

Best budget hiking boots (6)

  • Price: $149 | £145
  • Weight: 592g

The Vectiv is a very light (592 grams a pair) synthetic boot with an abrasion-resistant mesh upper with a reinforced ankle and a protective moulded-TPU toe cap. Inside there’s a proprietary seam sealed FutureLight waterproof and breathable membrane. The sole unit consists of a removable sweat-wicking antimicrobial OrthoLite footbed, a high-rebound single-density EVA midsole with a 3D TPU plate under the forefoot for stability, and a bio-based rubber outsole with 4mm lugs for traction. The midsole has a rocker design for forward propulsion.

Website: www.thenorthface.co.uk

What to look for in budget hiking boots

Fit

Fit comes first, second, third and fourth. If boots don’t fit properly it doesn’t matter how well-designed or how much they cost they are they will hurt your feet. Take time fitting boots, preferably in a shop with a trained fitter.

Weight

Lighter boots are less tiring to wear.

Materials

Leather lasts longest, especially if there are few seams, and is more water-resistant. Boots made from fabric or leather/fabric often weigh less though.

Waterproof Membranes

Whilst waterproof/breathable membranes do make boots waterproof they also increase the warmth and reduce breathability, which can make boots hot and sweaty in warm weather. So membranes are best suited to cooler conditions or those who suffer from cold feet. When wet boots with membranes are also slower drying than ones without membranes. And membranes often start to leak long before the rest of the boots wears out.

Cushioning

All boots have cushioning material in the sole. This makes walking more comfortable, especially on rocky terrain and hard surfaces. The thicker the cushioning is the more protection for your feet but also the less ‘feel’ you’ll have for the terrain.

Toe Protection

Hard toe caps or bumpers protect your toes against rocks. All boots should have these.

Heel Counter

To hold your feet in place boots need firm heel counters, usually rigid material hidden inside but sometimes external.

Sole

The deeper the tread on the sole the longer it will last. Very shallow treads may not grip well on all surfaces even when new.

Sole Stiffness

Sole flexibility is a compromise between comfort and support. Very flexible soles, especially at the forefoot, are the most comfortable and less tiring to walk in but may feel unsupportive on steep rough terrain

Best budget hiking boots (2024)

FAQs

How much should hiking boots cost? ›

Instead, most hikers will probably find it necessary to spend $100 to $200 on a good pair of boots. You can definitely get a very high-quality pair of boots in that price range, and – as you've no doubt noticed by now – you can get a pretty darn good pair for less than $100.

Is it better to have loose or tight hiking boots? ›

Your boot or shoe should feel comfortably snug and supportive, but not tight. Be sure there's enough room in the toe box for you to wiggle your toes, but not so much that your foot slides or shifts around. Adjust the lacing to get just the right snugness—numb or tingly feet can mean your laces are too tight.

Why are Zamberlan boots so expensive? ›

A lot of craftsmanship goes into each pair of boots produced by Zamberlan. Instead of producing cheaply somewhere overseas, they keep their entire production process on Italian ground and in the hand of highly values workers.

Is it better to go half a size up with hiking boots? ›

Also, note that heavier socks can fit tighter in a shoe and cause blisters from too much friction. If you buy hiking footwear for the winter (more later), go a half-size up to allow for thicker socks.

Is it OK to wear hiking boots for walking? ›

Hiking shoes can be quite versatile. While they are primarily designed for hiking, they can also be used for other outdoor activities like walking, trekking, or light trail running. This makes them a practical choice if you enjoy engaging in various outdoor pursuits.

How much should you spend on a good pair of boots? ›

According to Smith, while a cheaper pair under $100 probably won't last long (and will eventually force you to go out and buy another pair), paying between $100 to $300 will likely get you a quality boot. He recommends brands such as Rieker, Clarks and Rockport, which, in his experienced eye, balance price and quality.

Should hiking boots be heavy or light? ›

It all comes down to where you're headed most of the time and keeping it as light as possible without compromising support and durability. Lighter hiking boots are good to go right out of the box. Heavy hiking boots, on the other hand, may need some break-in time before a long hiking trip.

Should your toes touch the end of your hiking boots? ›

Push your foot forward until your toes touch the front of the boot, and measure the space between the back of the shoe and your heel. You should allow two fingers – your index finger and your middle finger – to comfortably fit between the end of the shoe and your heel.

What type of socks are best for hiking? ›

Wool: Wool is the most popular hiking sock material and the one that our footwear specialists recommend above all others. It regulates temperature well to keep your feet from getting sweaty and it provides cushioning.

Why are Danner shoes so expensive? ›

Both of which mean that we buy and carry less because we can wear these boots more. And the high price tag comes from the fact that Danner design and make their boots in the US, not shipping it off to be manufactured in some dubious factory-cum-sweat-shop. We're realising that fashion always has a cost, cheap or not.

Why are deck boots so popular? ›

Deck boots have become a fashion accessory in the outdoor world but they're also practical. Boaters, anglers, moms, dads, brewers, and weekend warriors all appreciate the convenience and utility of a rubber boot that looks and feels good. They keep feet relatively warm and dry and they're generally reasonably priced.

What are Scarpa boots like? ›

The Scarpa Rush Trek GORE-TEX Walking Boot is the new benchmark for all-day hiking. Made in the name of comfort with technologies that reduce foot fatigue during the hike, it represents a culmination of soft comfort and cushioning, solid stability and a lightweight feel.

How long should hiking boots last? ›

Generally speaking, the average shelf life of a quality hiking boot ranges from 600 to 1,000 miles (for heavier mountaineering models). In other terms, if the average hiker scales roughly 8 miles a day, her boots will last her a little over 4 months, provided the trail and terrain remain the same.

How much extra space should you have in hiking boots? ›

Double-check length later by pulling the insoles out of the boots and standing on them; you should have a thumb's width of space between your longest toe and the end of the insole. Try on boots at the end of the day. Your feet normally swell a bit during the day's activities and will be at their largest then.

Is it OK to wear hiking boots that are too big? ›

While it may be tempting to wear hiking boots that are a bit too large, especially if they were a gift or an irresistible sale find, it's not recommended. Oversized boots can lead to a lack of support and stability, increased friction, and subsequently, painful blisters.

Is hiking an expensive hobby? ›

Hiking is a great hobby for those looking to stay on a budget. Walking outside is completely free! At most, you'll need to buy the right footwear and maybe pay for parking at some national parks.

How do I know if my hiking boots are good? ›

The best hiking boots will fit your feet perfectly, holding your foot securely without constriction or hot spots. Also consider the flex of the boots, breathability, outsole tread, and weight. For great support in your hiking boots or shoes, we recommend Pace insoles.

Do hiking boots make a difference? ›

If you're going to be hiking and cold climates than a hiking shoe would be hiking boots also provide the best ankle and underfoot support, but they're going to feel weighty and clunky compared to the other options. The more rocks and debris you hike on, the more you're going to appreciate wearing a hiking boot.

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