Best waterproof hiking boots? Sure thing. But as you already know by now, we’re not just gonna give you names without keeping you informed first. If you want to find the best waterproof hiking boots, you first need to understand what makes a good hiking boot. What are the styles? In which situations are they reliable? Can they cause foot problems? Let’s cover that first and then we’ll give you some of the best waterproof hiking boots we found online.
Where exactly will you hike?
If you want to find the best matchup, you first need to know as much as you can about the terrain you’ll be facing. Oh, and also on how much you’ll carry with you. As a rule of thumb: it’s important to buy the lightest pair of boots you possibly can. This will take some pressure off your feet, especially if you’ll be carrying a heavier backpack.
#1: Trails. Low-cut or mid-cut boots are the best choice for people that travel lightly. If you’re not carrying too much in your backpack and you’re hiking on a well-kept trail, this is the right choice for you. This type of boots is generally made from a combination of fabric and leather. Some models will come with a waterproof liner inside, but if they don’t, you should consider using Gore-Tex socks or waterproofing the boots yourself. Their soles are stiffer compared to normal boots, which provides extra stability and better traction. However, they are rather unstable if you walk on rocky terrain.
#2: Off-trails. Should the road get a bit bumpy, you will need to consider a pair of boots made of full-grain leather and above-ankle support. The sole needs to be more rigid and that exactly what off-trail boots have to offer. They protect your feet, while still being flexible enough for your foot to feel comfortable. They are ideal for heavy-backpack hikers. Off-trail boots are generally waterproof and very durable because they are made entirely out of leather and with minimal seams. Even if they are super-rugged, most off-trail boots are lightweight, because of the new methods used in sole construction. Several models come with a lip on the welt of the sole, making it easy to integrate crampons in case you’re passionate about glacier travel.
#3: Rough trails. To beat rough-trails, a pair of ankle-high boots is the best choice. They are made from a combination of fabric and leather. You should find a pair that also comes with waterproof liners, but there are some models out there that come with an interesting porous and properly-ventilated design. Plastic midsoles are generally included and they are strong enough to provide you with the necessary comfort and stability even if you’re hiking a rocky trail.
#4: Mountain hikes. There is a very specific type of boots that you should buy if you want to go mountaineering. They come with full-grain leather uppers, minimal seams and provide excellent traction. Even if not all models have this feature, you should search for a pair with good insulation, because the weather on top could be a bit harsh, even if you’re hiking in the summer. A good pair of mountain-climbing boots should always cover your ankles, have full-length shanks and very rigid soles. They are not comfortable for full-stride hiking, but they will do a great job with mountain hiking. A word of advice: take these babies out for a spin (or several of them) before actually climbing a mountain, because you’ll most likely end up with blisters on your first hike.
Will they fit?
There is not a person in the world who likes ending up with blisters or sprained arches and finding the right fit is going to help you prevent that… and much more. Contrary to what some people may think, finding the right fit actually starts with the right pair of socks. Toe seams and sock thickness can help alleviate pressure problems. Hiking socks come with several degrees of thickness, which is eventually gonna alter the fit of your boot. The ideal scenario would be to purchase the socks you want and then start looking for the right pair of boots.
It is not an uncommon practice for hikers to buy boots one size larger than what they normally wear. Pay close attention to the toe box. It’s important that it doesn’t cramp your toes.
Now, I have to introduce you to the “last” concept. A last is a mechanical form that has a shape similar to that of a human foot. It is used by shoemakers and cordwainers in the manufacture and repair of shoes. Lasts typically come in pairs and have been made from various materials, including hardwoods, cast iron, and high-density plastics. It’s important for you to know this because a last has to match the shape of your foot in order for the boots to be a good fit. If the last doesn’t match, it doesn’t matter if the boots are made from the finest material: they won’t feel comfortable on your feet.
Another very important factor is the footbed. The footbed has to support the sole in a neutral position, thus preventing your foot from contorting inside the boot. If the footbeds are poorly matched, you will start feeling some tender points on the ball and heel of your foot. You might even experience pain in the arch and constant heep slip. If you are a person with high arches, you will need a footbed that’s heavy on arch supports.
More things to look out for
Even if you’ve found your perfect fit and it seems like a match made in Heaven, here are some other things that need to be in place:
- Tongue padding needs to be ample, but it also has to be stiff. Otherwise, you are going to feel “cuts” due to tight laces. If you have a stiffer sole, you need to make sure the tongue is really padded so it can counteract the torque of a rigid sole.
- Internal ankle padding is also important and it can make or break the deal. Your ankle has no fatty skin layers, which means that the padding has to compensate in order for you to feel comfortable even after long hours of hiking. A good hiking boot will make sure the padding is tight around the ankle, so your feet won’t move around in the boot too much. Padding on both side is recommended.
- Even if you’ve bought the best waterproof hiking boots on the market, preserving them can still go a long way in helping you enjoy them for years to come. You can re-proof your boots with silicone treatment.
Treating problems as they appear
I’d love to be able to say that even the best waterproof hiking boots won’t ever cause any sore feet or blisters or problems like that. However, the sad reality is that, at least once in your life as hiker, you are bound to experience some problems with your feet. Let’s go through some of those issue and determine the best and fastest remedy.
#1: Numbness. Your feet could start to feel numb if they are too narrow to fit properly into the boot. To compensate, people tend to tie their shoelaces really tight, causing pressure and, therefore, numbness. To prevent that, you can buy adhesive backed felt pads and place them inside the boot tongue. The extra-cushioning will make your feet feel more comfortable.
#2: Tender soles. This is a very common problem, caused by hikers carrying around too much weight. The solution doesn’t have to be a lighter backpack, but rather better sole padding. Specifically, the cause of sore feet is a combination of long hikes and insufficient sole padding. This will cause a high level of discomfort, similar to burning feet. If your hiking boots are causing you such trouble, consider purchasing replacement insoles. They are available in a wide range of materials and several levels of thickness.
#3: Black/blue toenails. Sounds nasty, I know, but it’s not uncommon for people to end up with black or blue toenails after days of continuous hiking. This problem is generally caused by sweating and swollen feet, which ends up cramming your toes into a very uncomfortable position. The discomfort is truly noticeable when you descend downhill, as your feet will slide to the front of the boot, causing even more pressure on your toes. You need to make sure that your booth are cinched properly, so that the feet are locked in to the rear of the heel cup.
#4: Blisters. These are probably our worst enemy, even if some of us are not into hiking all that much. There is not a hiker in the world who hasn’t had to deal with blisters at least once. Blisters can appear in several parts of your foot, which can help you determine what’s causing them. If the heel of the cup is too wide, your heel will end up with blisters. If the blisters are located on the top of your toes, it’s because your boots are too long, thus causing the boot to flex in front of your foot’s natural flex point. The first solution that comes to mind is finding the right pair of socks, one that can reduce friction and thus prevent blisters from appearing in the first place. Having the right footbed will also prevent blisters from appearing, because it can support your foot in a natural position
Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot
On our quest to search for the best waterproof hiking boots, we came across the Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot. We’ve chosen to show you these boots because Timberland is, by far, one of our favorite outdoor clothing manufacturer. For three generations, Timberland has built a reputation for making rugged outdoor gear. In 1973, Timberland introduced their first waterproof leather boot, setting new standards for craftsmanship, durability, and protection for the outdoors.
The Timberland White Ledge Boots feature a seam-sealed full-grain leather upper that keep your feet dry and protected while hiking in wet or muddy conditions. The collar and tongue are padded for comfort, making sure your feet are safe from blisters and your feet won’t get sore even after hours of hiking. The boot’s removable, dual density EVA footbed is perforated, allowing air to circulate and wick away moisture to keep feet cool and dry. The padded tongue is ideal for relieving the pressure of the boots laces, so you won’t get that horrible cutting feeling in your feet. The rubber sole comes with lugs, so your soles won’t feel every single rock when you’re out hiking and mountain climbing.
The dark brown color makes it difficult for mud and dirt to be visible, thus making cleaning even easier. Even if they are waterproof, they are not recommended for using in snow, so for glacial paths, you’ll have to go with a different pair.
Clorts Women’s Hiker Leather GTX Waterproof Hiking Boot
For a pair of waterproof hiking boots, this model is rather stylish.Made 70% out of leather and 30% out of mesh, the Clorts hiking boots will draw the attention of every female passionate about climbing. The brand name Clorts is the combination of “Climbing” and “Sports”, which concentrates on the innovation and exploration of Outdoor shoes. Clorts was established formally in 2006 as an all-weather outdoor shoe company and is striving to create the suitable shoes for the outdoor enthusiasts. Right now, Clorts integrates top international designers from Italy and Korea and R&D team to form a set of shoe design, research and development, quality control, production and sales in one of international middle-end outdoor shoe brand.
The first thing that we have to mention is that this particular model runs a bit small, so you should order half a size or a full size up from your regular one, especially if you have wide feet or if you wear hiking socks (which, as we established at the beginning of this article, is the best choice).
These are mid-height hiking boots, equipped with a waterproof membrane, to make sure your feet are safe from humidity. They also have a protective toe cap, which is going to make sure your toes won’t feel sore or get blisters by sliding in the front of the boot. The rubber outsole features multi-directional traction and they are abrasion-resistant, so you can wear these boots for as many hiking trips as possible. The superior cushioning is going to make sure your feet stay comfortable even if you’ve been hiking for hours. The EVA molded midsole was designed to absorb impact, which add extra-comfort to the boot’s user.
Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus
Columbia is another brand that generally needs no introduction. In brief, Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Columbia Sportswear Company has been making gear so that Pacific Northwesterners can enjoy the outdoors for more than 70 years. They have easily spread to a worldwide level and are extremely well-known for producing and selling some of the best outdoor clothing and shoes that money can buy.
The first thing you should know about the Columbia Newtons is that people who’ve bought their first pair have never chosen another boot model ever since. Some of the features of these waterproof hiking boots are:
- PU coated leather, suede, mesh and metal hardware
- Waterproof seam-sealed construction
- A durable and lightweight hiking boot designed for a variety of outdoor activities
- Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber
- Techlite lightweight midsole for long lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return
Suitable for easy to medium hiking trails, these waterproof boots for men are the ideal choice for those looking for both comfort and a good price.
Should you decide to look for the best waterproof hiking boots on Amazon, we do have a warning: some of the models that are advertised as being waterproof, are actually doing only half their job. We’ve come across many models that are not equipped with breathable fabric, so once your feet start to sweat, the dampness will not be absorbed. This will leave your feet feeling very uncomfortable, prone to wrinkling and blisters.
Women, please take note, the Clorts Women’s Hiker Leather GTX are the best waterproof hiking boots money can buy at this time. They provide the best combination between price and durability, while keeping your feet dry and protected from any pain.