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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Budget Hiking Boots (2021 Update)

Image of Martina Grossi hiking in a forest

In this guide to the best budget hiking boots, you’ll find a selection of affordable footwear for men and women to take along on all your outdoor adventures! I’ll be covering the most recommended hiking boots for day and multi-day hikes, the pros, cons, features, and benefits of each.

(Disclosure: Hiya superstar! Certain links to products and/or services are affiliate links, and I may earn a commission for any purchases that you make. This will not be at any cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases)

I’ll also share with you tips from my personal experiences and the process of picking your next favorite piece of gear. If you have extra wide feet follow along as I’ve chosen footwear for you too! 

Having the best hiking boots or shoes you can afford can totally change your hiking adventures! In this guide, you will find quality on a tight budget.

Jump to the Roundup of the Best Hiking Boots on a Budget!

Table of Contents:

Intro to Buying the Best Budget Hiking Boots Guide

Hiking in nature is such a rewarding experience. From a day hike around a lake to remote historic sights -like a little-known section of the Great Wall of China– to multi-day hikes, it’s an activity that requires proper gear.

Having good hiking boots can totally change your experience in nature! It can lead to the best of times or a terrible struggle.

Once we had to head back from an amazing hike halfway because my partner’s boots seriously injured his feet. So the benefits of getting the best hiking boots your budget allows should be top of mind!

As I don’t hike in extreme conditions, my need for gear and hiking attire doesn’t require the absolute best quality, so I choose to focus on a mix of affordability and reliability.

As you’ll see in this guide, there’s plenty to choose from! 

It wasn’t until I moved to New Zealand 7 years ago that my hiking endeavors took off. I’ve always been an outdoor enthusiast but living in a huge city like Buenos Aires didn’t help my inner weekend adventurer! So in the past few years, I’ve had many opportunities to explore and experience nature in New Zealand, hence hiking became one of my favorite activities. 

As my budget is on the tight side, my mission is to get the best bang for a buck, hence I set on a mission to unveil the best hiking boots on a budget.

The goal of this guide is to shed some clarity over such an essential item any hiker or hiker-to-be absolutely needs!

Jump to the Roundup of the Best Hiking Boots on a Budget!

The Best Cheap Hiking Boots at a Glance

Work out which type of hiking boot will suit your needs either if you are just starting out or if you are more advanced. There are plenty of cool options on the market providing great quality for the price. I’ve selected the items you’ll find on this guide considering a balance of price, quality, extensive review research, and features.

Before we dive in, I’ve prepared a quick guide so you understand the ins and outs of choosing the right gear!

Types of Boots and Materials: The Basics

Let’s quickly go through the basics of how boots are usually categorized by cut, purpose, and materials. Hiking shoes are the everyday version of hiking boots. They are very light and flexible but, in general, offer little ankle support.

On the other hand, hiking boots -which are the main focus of this guide- can have mid or high cut offering better ankle support and sturdier soles. Although many people use them for long hikes -I do!- if you want to do serious hiking carrying a heavy backpack -over 12kgs- then you may want backpacking boots

When it comes to materials, most boots would be made of leather, mesh, polyester, or a bit of everything.

Every material has its own pros and cons, so in the end, your choice will depend on what you can afford and your preferences.

How to Choose the Best Budget Hiking Boots for You?

Here are some quick questions to help you figure out which type of boot would be best for you! To be clear, all these recommendations come from my own hiking experience -but are also backed up by the pros.

How often and for which occasions are you planning to use them?

I loved my hiking boots so much that I started wearing them every day -even if I was just taking a stroll around the park. I bought them 4 years ago when we were backpacking Europe. So, they became my go-to footwear for both hiking and traveling -especially as I carry a 12kg backpack.

However, as I used them on asphalt, the soles went completely smooth and lost all grip.

So ask yourself if you’ll be just using them to go on a hike from time to time or if you’ll wear them in any given situation.

If the latter is your answer, then you must focus on durability and breathability -some boots stink after a while -yak!

I’ve got now a really nice pair of mid-budget hiking boots that I really like but, just like anything, they also have pros and cons.

For example, they are really flexible and provide great grip and ankle support, but lack breathability and water resistance. My solution? I invested in high-quality hiking socks, and always bring my gaiters along.

Are you going on day hikes or multi-day hikes? And, what’s the terrain like?

Multi-day hikes require much more gear; hence you’ll be carrying a heavier backpack. Plus, as you walk, your feet will begin to swell. That said, here in New Zealand, we’ve done short but very intense hikes.

If short but intense -like, you gain altitude or walk on uneven or loose surfaces- focus on traction, ankle protection, and weight.

Sometimes multi-day hikes are just long but not that hard -like when I hiked the Queen Charlotte Track– meaning you’ll want to focus on comfort and durability as again, you’ll be carrying a heavier backpack.

In any case, I’d recommend always getting waterproof boots with a great grip!

Alternatively, you can also get a pair of water hiking shoes you can use for walking on wet rocks or under really moist conditions.

In which type of weather are you hiking?

Again, water resistance is essential to me as pretty much every single hike in New Zealand comes with a fair share of river crossings. But if you are going to hike on the Atacama Desert, then there’s not much use to waterproofing. 

So consider this when choosing the best budget hiking boots for your adventures!

Is it going to be hot or snowy? For example, if you are walking on snow on a well-prepared hike you might just do well with your hiking boots. On the other hand, going on a hike with proper alpine conditions in a different game. So cease the adventure!

I’ve hiked on snow with my all-rounder boots, and it was just fine because the track, even though it was steep, wasn’t dangerous.

Also, consider that for proper alpine you’ll need snow hiking boots with stiff shanks that can support the use of crampons. That being said, some hikers that also do mountaineering choose a mix between both worlds where they can have “simple” hiking boots ready for crampons -I’m yet to find these on a budget tho!

Have you had ankle injuries? Do you sweat much? Do you get blisters?

Sore feet are the enemy of any enjoyable adventure!

As I told you before, once we had to head back because Diego’s shoes were hurting so badly. He ended the hike trying to walk pretty much barefoot, it was really painful!

So bear this in mind as these factors can change your decision. I have bunions, so extra-wide boots are my salvation. On the contrary, walking with narrow footwear can be torturous!

How Should Your Hiking Boots Fit?

Overall, your boots should make your feet feel protected and contained without feeling compressed.

You should have enough room to move your toes up and down, but the boots shouldn’t feel loose, otherwise, the rubbing of the fabric when walking will become a blister in a heartbeat.

Blisters also happen when the sole is too stiff and doesn’t bend as you move.

Consider the type of sock you’ll use -my previous boots were half a size bigger than my feet. If you know you’ll walk downhill try to get boots with good arch support and/or insoles to help keep your foot in place -I’ll spare you the pic of my black toenail after hiking Roys Peak lol.

Some boots have “break-in” periods, so when planning your next hike, make sure to get your boots ahead of time and wear them as much as you can!

Finding the Best Budget Hiking Boots

Are you ready now? Let’s dive into this curated selection!


Oboz – Women’s Sawtooth Low BDry Hiking Shoe

Best for Multi-day moderate hikes. It’s quite a sturdy and durable shoe that goes well in many different types of terrain -as long as the hike is not too technical!

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (423 reviews)

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Low-cut

Weight: 1.83 lbs

Main Material: Mesh and leather

Waterproof:  Yes (B-DRY Waterproof)

Pros: 

  • Comfortable -O-Fit insole keeps the foot in a neutral position for improved stability and support

  • Thick outsoles -great for grip

  • Great durability

  • Low cut but still offering good ankle support

Cons: Can feel a bit heavy

Other considerations: 

A bit narrower than the previous model.

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Clorts Women’s Mid Hiking Waterproof Lightweight Boots

Best for:  The Clorts’ are ranked nr 3 for women’s hiking boots on Amazon. They seem to be great all-rounders as can be used for backpacking -again, the midsoles absorb the impact from different types of terrain including asphalt -, day hikes and multi-day hikes.

Amazon Rating:  4.4 (1618 reviews)

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Mid-cut

Weight: 1.9

Main Material:  70 % leather – 30 % mesh

Waterproof: Yes (Uneetex and eVent technologies)

Pros: 

  • These boots really stand out for providing a great slip-free grip -hence can be used in many different types of terrain.

  • Known for being super-comfy thanks to great breathability -no damp.

  • Padded collar and tongue

  • Good arch support

  • The EVA mid-soles provide better stability and cushioning, especially needed on longer hikes where you’d be carrying a heavier backpack.

Cons: 

  • Narrow fit

  • Not ideal for people with wider feet -reviewers recommend getting 0.5 or 1 size bigger -I know this is quite a staple advice, but many reviews emphasize this! 

Other considerations: 

I think it’s great the Clorts’ come with removable memory foam insoles for better arch support, as this is something I’ve always struggled with!

You must consider that if the shoe fit is not the right one for you, you can end up with sore muscles -and adopting bad postures just to keep going.


Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GORE-TEX Men’s Wide Hiking Boots

Best for: Day and overnight hikes that require more technique. Something better than the standard hiking shoe but lighter and more flexible than an off-trail backpacking boot.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (1491 reviews)

Category: Midweight

Cut: Mid-cut

Weight: 2.28 lbs (per pair)

Main Material:  100 % Synthetic

Waterproof:  Yes (Gore-Tex)

Pros: 

  • A great performing boot worthy of being one of the best budget hiking boots! Many consider the Salomon X Ultra to provide some of the perks of hiking boots with much more comfort -and a gentler price tag.

  • Designed to really nail steep trails, these come with outsoles designed to support downhill traction -Contragip outsoles.

  • These also come with EVA Mid-soles that cushion the impact hiking has on the joints.

  • Great fit

  • Great ankle support

  • Sensifit lacing system.

A note on the Sensifit lacing system: Although it can be great if you prefer the practicality of a speed lacing system -when you don’t need to tighten up your shoes but just pull the laces to adjust the fit- I agree that you’d need to stop to adjust the laces from time to time. On the other hand, you don’t risk having to stop to tie your shoes and maybe even tripping because of this.

Cons: 

  • Experts recommend the non-waterproof version of the Salomon’s if planning to walk in warm weather as the Gore-Tex membrane lacks optimal breathability. 

Other considerations: The Salomons Ultra offers a great mix of trail running shoes and “proper” hiking boots. Although these are a bit more expensive than the other examples in this guide, I wanted to include them as they still represent great value and quality for their cost. 


Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boots

Best for: Easy, short hikes -and other outdoor activities such as gardening and heavy-duty work. Top selling best budget hiking boots!

Amazon Rating: 4.5 (36090 reviews)

Category: Midweight

Cut: Mid-cut

Weight: 1.2

Main Material: Leather

Waterproof: After carefully going through a wealth of reviews and testing results, I’d conclude that although the boots are waterproof -the leather keeps the water out when stepping on puddles and wet grass- they are not the best for river crossing or getting soaking wet.

Pros: 

  • Keep feet dry and warm on cold -and even snowy- weather

  • They are also light and comfy and offer affordable quality!

Cons: 

  • Ankle support is not great

  • They need some break-in time.

  • As it’s a shoe fully made of leather hence it requires more care.

Other considerations: These boots are quite multi-functional. People that own a pair of these use them for working outside as a protective shoe -when there’s no need for steel cap boots-, going on short hikes, gardening, etc.

The White Ledge Mids are Amazon’s nr 1 bestselling hiking shoe for men, but again, it’s important to notice this is a staple shoe for more than hiking.


Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot

Best for:  Entry-level hikers going on easy to intermediate hikes -many reviewers state they used the boots through different types of terrain, weather, and harsh hikes, and they held up perfectly well. Still, not a boot for off-trail or long-distance hikers. Top selling best budget hiking boots!

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (16211 reviews)

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Mid-cut

Weight: 1.75 lbs (per pair)

Main Material: Leather

Waterproof:  Yes (seam-sealed waterproof construction that works really well)

Pros: 

  • Great waterproofing

  • Light

  • Super comfortable

  • One of the most affordable best hiking boots on a budget

  • No break-in time.

  • Good for people with wide feet

  • Cons: 

  • Lacks breathability

  • Not enough support and traction for loose terrain or off-trail hiking

  • A common critique from reviewers is that the top of the shoe pinches the top of the toes

  • The lacing system is not the best -I guess you can expect some weaknesses on such a budget hiking boot.

Other considerations: Nr 1 best-selling women’s hiking boots in Amazon. Columbia’s Omni-Grip traction rubber outsole works well in well-maintained trails but is not recommended for off-trail hiking. 


KEEN Women’s Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot

Best for:  People with wide feet looking for a comfortable shoe to go on day hikes in terrains that are not particularly moist or wet.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (1236 reviews) 

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Low-cut

Weight: 1.7 lbs (per pair)

Main Material: Mesh and leather

Waterproof:  No (they are water-resistant)

Pros: 

  • Dual-density EVA footbed absorbs impact

  • Foot-bed also provides great arch support

  • Good traction allows some off-trail technical hiking

  • The rubber on the toes gives extra durability.

Cons:

  • These are not really waterproof but do have great breathability.

  • Although sturdy, the sole is not extremely durable. 

Other considerations: This is a great option for people with wide feet in need of a wide toe box, but folks with narrow forefoot and ankles may not make the most of these hiking shoes. They are a bit pricier than the other products I selected, but I included them in this roundup of the best budget hiking boots because they are especially wide.


KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot    

Best for:  Great for recreational adventurers but also for those keen to hit tougher trails and make the most of the boots’ great traction and ankle support. Also recommended for folks with wide feet.

Amazon Rating: 4.5 (4489 reviews)

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Mid-cut

Weight: 2.3 lbs (per pair)

Main Material: Leather

Waterproof:  Yes (KEEN.DRY membrane)

Pros: 

  • Another of the best hiking boots on a budget offering quality at a great price point.

  • Traction is quite aggressive, thanks to its lug soles showcasing an amazing grip for nearly every type of terrain.

  • Great snug and comfort.

  • The Keens’ also have rubber wrapping the front of the boot and thick soles for extra protection and comfort.

Cons: 

  • The most common issue among the reviewers is that the rubber sole separates from the bottom of the boot. (This happened to me with my boots, so I glued the soles as it was getting extremely annoying!)

  • Also, the lace eyelets are made of fabric. Hence, they may be less durable than hooks.

Other considerations: These are great for wearing all day long while doing yard work or different outdoor activities. Reviewers mention wearing the boots from 10 to 12 hours a day, every day, without compromising comfort.


Timberland Women’s Chocorua Trail Boot

Best for:  Day hikes and multi-day hikes as their thick rubber lugged sole can take or heavier loads -without being a “proper” backpacking boot. Worth noting that they may not be the best for especially rugged terrain. Great padding helps keep the feet comfy after long days.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (1206 reviews)

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Mid-cut

Weight: 3.25 lbs (per pair)

Main Material: Leather and textile

Waterproof:  Yes (Gore-Tex)

Pros: 

  • Good quality at great value considering they come with Gore-Tex

  • Can take on heavy backpacking loads

  • Great grip for most types of terrain thanks to robust rubber soles

  • Classic-looking leather boots

  • Good all-rounder boots

  • Great padding and ankle support provide comfort even after long hikes

Cons: 

  • Feet may lean inward as the under arch support doesn’t neutralize the posture and position of the feet.

  • This can become a problem for people with flat feet -me!- as the arch starts feeling tight, which can lead to ankle and knee pain. However, these boots come with removable dual-density EVA footbeds, so this should help!

Other considerations: Although they are heavier than other boots, the general comment is that they feel quite light. Reviewers mention using the boots in cold, snowy weather and staying warm and dry. 


Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Best for:  Great for intermediate day or overnight hikes that don’t require heavy loads -nor are too technical.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (8121 reviews)

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Mid-cut

Weight: 2 lbs (per pair)

Main Material:  Leather and Mesh

Waterproof:  Yes

Pros: 

  • 5 mm lugged Vibram provides great grip and traction.

  • The heel air cushion provides extra comfort and increases impact absorption.

  • No break-in time, most reviewers and experts make a point on out-of-the-box comfort thanks to the air cushioning and soft padding.

  • Great flexibility.

Cons:

  • For shorter hikes, the boots’ flexibility is a pro. But, they don’t seem to be designed for longer hikes with heavy backpacks as that much flexibility can turn into a lack of support.

Other considerations:  Folks with wide feet can order the wide version. 


Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Hiking Boot

Best for: Recreational adventurers occasionally going on easy hikes. Also, these boots are loved by folks working outside and in need of a good comfy boot.

Amazon Rating: 4.6 (18971 reviews) 

Category: Lightweight

Cut: Mid-Low cut

Weight: 2 lbs (per pair)

Main Material:  Leather and mesh

Waterproof:  Yes 

Pros: 

  • Great quality considering it’s amongst the cheapest hiking boots on the market.

  • Good traction, waterproofing, and comfort.

Cons: 

  • It has the cons you could expect for a low-price boot.

  • Soles are thin hence not recommended for rocky terrain.

  • Wears fast -not constructed to last if used often.

Other considerations:  Even though these are one of the best budget hiking boots in the market, they are not constructed to last too long as soles and metal hooks wear fast.

 

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Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Budget Hiking Boots

I hope enjoyed this guide! As I mentioned at the beginning if you want to care for your boots and have them ready to go on your next hike, avoid wearing them on asphalt as it will wear the sole quick.

For an extra layer of waterproofing, you can consider spraying them with a product designed for your boots’ specific material. I must say I’ve never done this. I just bring my gaiters for the ride and can say they work wonders. They not only keep water away but also mud, little rocks, spikes, etc.

As you become more experienced, you’ll start noticing the need for higher quality gear, and that’s okay. However, buying your first hiking boots is 100% a step in the right direction! Also, in this list, I’ve included some options you can use for all your activities too. They look stylish, cute, comfy, and sturdy, all in one.

Happy trails!

Want More Outdoor Gear Guides?

Check out more hiking and camping gear guides from The Global Curious:

Go back to the Roundup of the Best Hiking Boots on a Budget!

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