Hiking footwear is shifting away from heavy boots toward lighter shoes, like trail runners, which are quicker and more comfortable. When you wear a heavy pack or traverse rocky trails, you lose some ankle support. But the feathery and weight savings feel are worth it for many. For those who wish for stable and safe trail footwear, the Best High Top Hiking Shoes offer you a great combination of weight, water resistance, comfort, blister prevention, durability, and traction.
Before buying, you should review the following resources, which will help you better understand high top hiking shoes.
Comfort and Fit
When it comes to hiking boots, this is the most crucial factor to remember. People need various features in their shoes, so determining what keeps your feet happy is essential.
The movement to lightweight designs is the most significant development in modern hiking shoe technology. The weight is much more noticeable when you're on your feet. A lightweight shoe is a much safer companion for day hikes, peak bagging, and minimalist overnighters.
Hiking shoes have a perfect combination of durability, weight, and comfort, which is one of their most significant advantages. A hiking shoe is an excellent choice if you prefer reliability to weight.
Stability and Support
Hiking shoes are moving away from the conventional rigid construction of a hiking boot in favor of versatility and an elegant feel, reflecting the push for lightweight gear in all areas. Due to built-in shanks or internal supports, all hiking footwear retains a degree of stiffness. These characteristics distinguish a hiking shoe from a super-flexible cross trainer or a road-running shoe.
Waterproofing is a good security blanket in principle if you're going camping in the mountains. The extra protection provided by a waterproof and breathable layer incorporated into the shoe is ideal for stream crossings, unexpected rain, or hitting snow on an early-season hike.
The reality is that waterproof liners don't breathe well like a waterproof coat won't breathe as well as a non-waterproof edition.
A lot of mesh and thinner fabrics in footwear will improve moisture transfer and ventilation. This will keep feet less sweaty and dry soggy socks much faster.
Laces are often ignored but play a crucial role in fit and comfort. On the trail, if a shoe's lacing mechanism is susceptible to loosening, you'll find yourself constantly readjusting it.
Midsole and Outsole
You need to look at sole construction next as we get a little further into the shoe's construction. Its significance lies in cushioning your feet, acting as a shock absorber from collisions, and adding an extra layer of protection against sharp rocks.
It’s best if you’re willing to pay a little more for high-quality footwear because we feel that having happy, safe feet is essential to our adventures' success. In our opinion, comfort and fit generally take precedence over price.From ultralight styles for fast and light hikes to more comfortable versions for carrying a full pack, we've listed the ten best high top hiking shoes for 2021.
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX
Contagrip rubber sole
Two years warranty
Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP
Performance suede leather
M Select Dry membranes
Merrell Air Cushion
Salomon Quest 4 GTX
Inspired by trail-running shoes
Contagrip TD rubber outsoles
Asolo Falcon GV
Waterproof breathable Gore-Tex
Dual-density EVA midsoles
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
La Sportiva Pyramid GTX
The narrow fit and lack of wide sizes
Gore-Tex Surround 3-layer
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
Keen Targhee III Mid
Removable, dual-density cushion
Cleansport NXT treatment
Oboz Bridger Mid BDry
Waterproof nubuck leather uppers
Nylon mesh linings
1. Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid is our favorite all-around hiking boot for 2021. It is built like a trail running shoe with more ankle support and security.
The new iteration of the boot, which was updated this spring with a sleeker upper and redesigned chassis, offers an impressive combination of comfort and low weight while maintaining strong toe safety, stability, and well-rounded traction. You also get Salomon to build quality, known for withstanding more trail abuse than other boots in this weight and price range. The X Ultra 4 Mid is ideal for fast-paced day hikers, lightweight backpackers, and even thru-hikers.
2. Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP
The Merrell Moab 2 is our best value choice for day hikers and light backpackers who mostly stick to well-maintained trails. The lightweight and comfortable feel of this boot at such a low price is what makes it so popular.
You get decent cushioning underfoot, dependable Vibram outsoles, and a waterproof membrane for $135. The Moab was upgraded to the "2" a few years ago, but the proven concept was left untouched. A new insole with a higher arch, better cushioning under the foot, and a more waterproof and sturdy suede upper were among the notable improvements. An updated version with Gore-Tex technology is available for $155.
3. Salomon Quest 4 GTX
Salomon's Quest 4 GTX is the complete package if you're looking for a rugged boot for serious day hiking and backpacking. The fourth generation of the line has an excellent performance fit, a bold stance, and one of our favorite lacing systems.
Furthermore, the updated 2021 model features a modernized but extremely robust upper arch. The cushioning and safety of the underfoot amazed us on rugged trails while carrying a heavy load and on long days. The Quest is a big boot that performs extravagantly in the backcountry when worn together.
4. Asolo Falcon GV
When we think of Asolo, we think of the classic Fugitive GTX, which weighs over 3 pounds and has remained virtually unchanged for nearly a decade. The Falcon GV, on the other hand, is a more streamlined and modern take on hiking boots, with a little less weight and support than a standard hiking boot but serious technical chops.
Throughout a rough trek in Patagonia, we tested the Falcon on and off-trail and were blown away. It's well-made, incredibly comfortable, and capable of handling almost any task you throw at it.
5. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
The Lowa Renegade is a lightweight hiking boot with the look and feel of a typical hiking boot. In contrast to the more violent and modern Search above, the leather Renegade provides better ground isolation and feels more planted and robust.
It gives up some of the Quest's fun factors and performance suit. But for those who carry a heavy pack or need more underfoot safety from rocky trails, it’s worth it.
Lowa held the weight down by delegating some duties to an external polyurethane frame, which proved very successful. With a weight of less than 2.5 pounds, the Renegade performs like a proper backpacking boot.
6. La Sportiva Pyramid GTX
Over the last few years, La Sportiva has been a pioneer in the new hiking boot trend, and this Pyramid GTX is a shining example of that. This hiker feels light but surprisingly capable, thanks to the Gore-Tex Surround, both breathable and waterproof.
The Pyramid's footbed and midsole are built to release air as well. With La Sportiva's signature traction and durability, you get a lightweight summer hiking and scrambling boot that weighs just 2 pounds 1.6 ounces.
Our main gripe with the Pyramid GTX is that it runs narrow and does not come in large sizes. People with big feet would have to look elsewhere.
7. Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
We chose Scarpa's Zodiac Plus for a trek through Peru's Cordillera Huayhuash's rugged terrain. This boot combines the traction of an approach shoe on rock and boulders with the toughness and durability of the lightweight mountaineering boot, which is an unusual combination.
The Zodiac impressed me over a 10-day hike on and off-trail while carrying a heavy pack: the semi-stiff build, high-quality construction, and strong safety gave me a lot of confidence on steep climbs and sketchy descents.
One of the most durable and sturdy hiking boots available is the Zodiac Plus. The stiffer construction and 360-degree rand made of rubber provide even more alpine protection. The Zodiac is much more comfortable to wear, weighs about 9 ounces less, and is slightly more flexible for quickly covering the ground.
8. Keen Targhee III Mid
The Keen Targhee line is an everyday boot for day hiking and easy to moderate backpacking trips due to its low price and excellent out-of-the-box comfort. The Targhee III, which was launched in the fall of 2017, costs $15 more than the previous iteration but excels in comfort.
This boot is well-known for its oversized fit, and the new edition has a slightly narrower toe box, which we prefer.
This boot is surprisingly durable for its low price, with a leather upper and a toe cap, and it sits just right on the ankle to provide adequate protection. While the Targhee III lacks the stability and ankle protection, it provides sufficient grip and stability for most adventures in subalpine regions.
9.Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry
Oboz, based in Bozeman, Montana, is known for producing rugged, comfortable footwear. This Bridger Mid is essentially an improved version of the Keen Targhee III indicated above, is our favorite over-the-ankle style from their 2021 lineup. It has a nylon shank and TPU reinforcements for added protection and cushioning underfoot, but it lacks the versatility and lightness of many modern options.
The boot's upside is that it's stable and supportive—the leather upper can take a beating, and the midsole reinforcements give it a planted feel. The Bridger Mid B-Dry is a comfortable option for anything from weekend backpacking trips to winter snowshoeing.
When hiking in rugged terrain where help is necessary, we prefer to wear hiking boots. Hiking shoes have improved so much in recent years that many people opt for low-cut styles that are lighter, more comfortable, and provide almost the same stability as their higher-cut counterparts.
Hope this article could help you to find out the best high top hiking shoes for yourself.
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