Don’t worry; the Gear Guy knows the deal with hiking boots. You need cool-looking boots that are comfortable and sturdy enough to tackle long days on tough trails. And your feet are growing fast, so your parents probably don’t want to keep spending a big wad of cash for boots you’ll soon outgrow. With that in mind, we did the shopping for you to find eight great boots that won’t break the bank.
Cabela’s Backcountry Hikers
These waterproof boots have leather uppers with nylon side panels and plenty of padding in the ankle and tongue for extra support. At $60, they’re also the most affordable waterproof boots in our roundup, and we even saw them on sale online for $40! Approx. 3 lbs. per pair.
Hi-Tec Mokala Mid
With a combo of suede leather and breathable mesh and a steel shank in the sole, the Mokalas provide good support, especially for a mid-ankle cut boot. While not waterproof, this boot has a moisture-wicking lining to pull sweat away and keep your feet dry. Approx. 2 lbs. 8 oz. per pair.
L.L. Bean Waterproof Trail Model Hikers
Though these boots are considered mid-cut hikers, they are cut quite high and offer enough ankle support for a multiday trip carrying a moderate load. They are made with a combo of nylon and suede leather and feature a waterproof, breathable membrane. If wet feet aren’t a concern, check out the nonwaterproof version of this same boot for just $59. Approx. 2 lbs. 12 oz. per pair.
Merrell Moab Ventilator
By far the lightest-weight true boots in our roundup, these mid-top Ventilators feel like a pair of comfy running shoes. The breathable mesh uppers have leather strapping that provides extra support without making the boots too heavy. They have nice Vibram-brand soles and are a good choice for summer hiking. Approx. 1 lb. 15 oz. per pair.
Columbia Coremic Ridge 2
The Coremic Ridge 2’s uppers are breathable mesh with suede leather overlays to give your foot more support. Though they aren’t waterproof, these boots are treated with Columbia’s Omni-Shield for water and stain resistance. We found them cheaper online and in stores, for around $50. Approx. 2 lbs. 10.5 oz. per pair.
Vasque Ranger GTX
An entry-level boot from well-respected boot maker Vasque, the mesh and suede leather Ranger has features, like waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex and a durable rubber rand around the toe, you usually find only on higher-priced boots. We saw the Ranger GTX discounted on Amazon.com for just 89 bucks. Approx. 2 lbs. 14 oz. per pair.
Timberland White Ledge Hiker
These waterproof boots have an almost entirely full-grain leather upper with fewer seams for greater durability. A mid-cut, well-padded nylon ankle provides support while a moisture-wicking interior does its best to keep your feet from getting wet with sweat on hot days. Approx.
2 lbs. 5 oz. per pair.
Helly Hansen Trackfinder
Low-cut hikers like these are a great option for those times when you’re not carrying a backpack and don’t need extra ankle support. They are comfortable like a sneaker but still provide enough shock absorption for rocky, rugged trails. Approx. 1 lb. 11.5 oz. per pair.
SHOP SMART … with these five smart boot-buying tips.
Try before you buy. Put them on and hike around the store for at least 10 minutes to check proper fit.
Bring socks. Always bring a pair of your own hiking socks to the store for trying on boots.
Lace ’em up. Make sure the boots are laced up correctly and snug for best fit.
Shop late. Your feet are largest in the afternoon, so shop then.
Fit right. Yes, your feet are still growing, but buy boots that fit right now; never buy them large so you’ll grow into them. Loose-fitting boots can be dangerous and uncomfortable on the trail.