People say that the most scenic landscapes are best enjoyed on foot. And it’s true to an extent. That’s precisely why hiking is such a hit among many people. The beautiful sceneries, rocky terrains, waterlogged streams, and the lush greens during the monsoon are bound to make your heart flutter with excitement. Add in the health benefits of walking, and you have got a win-win on your hands.
Therefore, in the excitement of an upcoming hiking trip, you can almost be forgiven for not paying attention to your hiking gear, especially the boot, which we consider to be the most important gear. And rightly so. And for the very same reason, you need to have the ‘best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019’. A good fitting, comfortable boot with solid ankle and arch support is paramount for a great hiking experience. Their longevity and quality can determine your capability to hike long distances without discomfort and injury. Neglect it, and you run the risk of developing pain and blisters on your foot, which in turn will make your hiking trip a walking hell.
So, whether you are an experienced hiker looking to replace your battle-weary, worn-out boots or a newbie just planning his first trip, worry ye not!! We at gears4men.com have written an extensive buyer guide along with the reviews of some of the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019 available in the market, to help you find the perfect boot to make your hiking experience a memorable one.
- 1 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2019
- 1.1 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2018 Comparison
- 1.2 Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boot
- 1.3 Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- 1.4 Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Hiking Boot
- 1.5 Keen Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot
- 1.6 Salomon Men’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Multifunctional Hiking Boot
- 1.7 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2018 Comparison-2
- 1.8 Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot
- 1.9 The Under Armour SpeedFit Hike Leather Boot
- 1.10 Rax Men’s Wild Wolf Mid Venture Waterproof Lightweight Hiking Boots
- 1.11 Dunham Cloud Contrail-Mid Hiking Boots
- 1.12 Columbia Men’s North Plains Waterproof Trail Boots
- 1.13 Buyer’s Guide
- 1.14 Types of Hiking Boots
- 1.15 THE RIGHT FIT
- 1.16 Types Of Hiking Boot Material
- 1.17 Keeping Safety In Mind
- 1.18 PRESERVATION BOOTS THAT GO THE DISTANCE
- 1.19 HOW TO TREAT BLISTERS AND OTHER BOOT PROBLEMS
- 2 Final Words
Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2019
Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2018 Comparison
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(Editor’s Choice: Best Buy, Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2019)
The Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boots are as the name suggests, 100% waterproof. The premium waterproof leather uppers (including the tongue) keep the feet warm, dry, and comfortable.
The thick ankle padding is overlaid with perforated fabric to let the air flow inside the boot, thereby keeping them dry. The super soft padded tongue ensures that the blood flow does not stop to your feet, even if you tie your laces as tight as possible. Hard to wreck D-metal rings attaches the lace closure to the leather uppers.
The dual-density EVA midsoles provide the Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boots with added comfort. They are perforated and easily removable. This, in turn, boosts air circulation.
These boots feature B.S.F.P. ™ motion efficiency system rubber lug soles that provide better grip and foothold on uneven and slippery surfaces.
This men’s hiking boot from Timberland is pretty lightweight. It weighs only 1lb and 3oz even though it’s a full leather boot.
The Timberland White Ledge Men’s Waterproof Boots are an instant favorite among people who love hiking as well as have jobs where they need protection for their feet and so we consider the Timberland White Ledge to be the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019. Thick bumpers protect both the toes and heels.
The minimalist design of these boots will be very appealing if it’s your style. These hiking boots come in 7 color variants.
As usual, Timberland has created a boot that is comfortable while being pleasing and easy on the eye.
What Customers Say:
The Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof provides great comfort, support, and traction while walking and is relatively wear-resistant given that it’s a lightweight boot.
This boot will fit you extremely well, even if you have thin heels and a wide foot. The lacing is confined in its adjustability with only the last eyelet being an open hook. But, since this boot fits so comfortably, you won’t really have the need to adjust much. The comfort that Merrel Moab Mid provides makes us include this boot in our list of the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019.
The gusseted tongue does a fine work of keeping out junk and debris, while the tongue padding does not irritate your feet even with tight lacing.
The soles provide good traction and do not wear out easily.
These boots might make your feet feel a bit warm because of breathability issues. Also, it is difficult to clean these boots because of the leather and mesh ‘patching’ of the uppers. This might not affect functionality, but may be one of the reasons that contribute to the loss of ‘waterproofness’ after some time.
The M Select Dry Technology that Merrell uses to keep this boot waterproof works extremely well to keep your feet dry, but seems to lose its effectiveness after six months or so even after taking good care of the boots. At best, you can classify these boots as ‘water-resistant’.
What Customers Say:
The Merrell Moab Mid Waterproof is a very comfortable boot that you can use for hiking in good weather and for work, but best not rely on them to keep your feet ventilated and dry over a multi-day trip.
The Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Hiking Boot is among the best you will find. They have all the traits you need in a good hiking boot. They are waterproof, have EVA midsoles for a softer step, and have rubber soles.
Durable Boot with Lightweight Construction
The Newton Ridge Plus II Boot is a great combination of lightweight construction and durability. The classic hiking design with minimal adornments makes it a really great boot. Heck, you can even wear it to work!
You can even use these boots for your winter activities, as it will keep your feet warm. Columbia’s Newton Ridge Plus II is a hot favorite of many users helping us decide it to be among the top best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019.
Waterproof Leather & Suede, Seam Sealed Construction
The Newton Ridge Plus II features PU coated suede and leather and waterproof mesh uppers with seam-sealed construction. This helps keep your feet dry and well supported at all times.
A rubber cap protects the rear part of the boot while the front part features crucial toe protection. Even if the laces are tied as tight as possible, the soft padded tongue ensures that the upper part of your feet are burden free and do not feel pressure or pain when you walk.
This hiking boot provides good support, comfort, and shock absorption because of the full-length Techlite midsoles they use. The outsoles are made of Omni-Grip non-marking, high traction rubber compound and have excellent treads underneath to provide you with a safe step and powerful grip when walking on any terrain, be it uneven, rough, rocky, snowy or even wet surfaces.
Thick EVA Foam
The Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II Hiking Boots features a 1 inch thick and spongy EVA foam. This provides great cushioning and comfort while walking.
What Customers Say:
All in all, Newton Ridge Plus II is a great choice from a really excellent brand.
(Top Picks: Best Buy, Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2019)
The Keen Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot is easily among the best hiking boots we have reviewed on this site. This men’s hiking boot blends awesome comfort, lightweight, and ample traction all at an affordable cost.
The Targhee II Mid has developed a well-earned and devoted following which is in part of its excellent design. This lightweight men’s hiking boots make fewer compromises when compared to its competition. Straight out of the box, you can trudge along miles after miles without any discomfort.
This waterproof men’s hiking boot offers optimal performance for your feet. The leather and textile construction along with the Keen Dry breathable membrane helps keep your feet comfortable and dry, while the aggressive rubber outsoles with 4mm lugs grips into the terrain to provide better stability. The grip and the breathable skin provided by Keen Targhee II is the reason we have to add the boot to our list of the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019.
The Targhee II Mid provides all-day comfort. It features a contoured heel lock for better stability while walking. The mid-cut height provides support for the ankles on any surface and dual density compression molded EVA midsole adds more cushioning for a comfortable feel.
When purchasing this boot, we would advise you to order half a size larger than your usual size as this boot is running a half size small.
What Customers Say:
(Top Picks: Best Buy, Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2019)
The Salomon Men’s Ultra Mid 2 GTX Multifunctional Hiking Boot features leather uppers with a breathable polyester mesh which makes these boots comfortable and flexible. The polyester linings keep the feet dry and sweat free as they are waterproof.
A hard toe bumper firmly secures the front part of these men’s hiking boots and protects your toes from harm on any surface. Rear protection is also hard and strong, yet pretty comfortable. Due to the padded insides, you won’t have any complaints while walking, like blisters on the ankles or heels.
This hiking boot for men also features lacing closure. The links on the sides of the boots end in metal D-rings. The smartly constructed gusseted tongue keeps junk and dust from entering the boots. So, after you tie the laces, hardly anything can enter inside.
The Salomon Men’s Ultra Mid 2 GTX Multifunctional Hiking Boot also features the proprietary SensifitTM system – a seamless layer that provides a secure and precise fit. The precise fit and the well constructed gusseted tongue helps the Salomon Men’s Ultra Mid 2 GTX one of the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019.
These Salomon hiking boots feature Gore-Tex liners that are waterproof to help let your feet breathe. The waterproof liner also helps protect your feet from getting wet. Even if you hike in the woods after a rain, your feet should remain completely dry.
The EVA midsole provides an added cushion for comfort during long hikes, while the thermoplastic urethane inserts serve to provide you with the necessary stability and support. The thick Contragrip rubber outsoles are great and provide a firm grip on any terrain. It seems Salomon made these hiking boots to endure even extreme hiking.
These Salomon hiking boots come in seven modern color combinations.
What Customers Say:
Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men in 2018 Comparison-2
The Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot’s design is very appealing, but the feature that will take away your breath literally is its outsoles. Just one look at the outsoles and you will realize how good and powerful these outsoles are.
There is hardly any chance of slipping while wearing these hiking boots, because of the presence of thick comb-like lugs on the outsoles. A reputed Italian company, Vibram, provides the Multi-SportTM outsole for this boot and is powered up with Trek and SuperTrek rubber that provides consistent grip in both dry and wet conditions. These hiking boots for men are a safe bet even in conditions that are pretty tricky for walking.
The Vibram rubber outsoles continue to extend over the toes and heel. Toe bumpers made of rubber provides protection and resistance against friction. You will have tough time hurting your toe wearing the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot. The outstretched strong rubber outsoles make this powerful beast one of the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019.
As the name of this hiking boot suggests, it has ample breathability due to the combination of nylon ventilator and mid-height dura leather that is overlaid on the uppers.
To guard your feet against the pressure of lace, a mesh padded tongue is present below the uppers and it does not affect the boot breathability at all.
In hot conditions, the nylon mesh lining prevents sweat and moisture, thereby keeping the feet dry. On the other hand, in wet conditions, the dura leather and nylon prevents water from entering the boots.
These men’s hiking boots have about 4.5 mm thick anatomically shaped removable footbeds for comfort during walking. It also has additional support and cushioning in the form of compression molded full-length EVA midsoles. The only drawback is the short life of EVA midsoles that tend to flatten after a while. But, as the midsoles are removable, you can always purchase replacements.
The presence of Air Cushion heel pockets usually found only in running boots, is like the icing on the cake. It increases the ability to absorb shock under the heels while also stabilizing foothold.
All in all, the powerful outsoles, ventilated uppers, air cushion heel pockets, the padded waterproof tongue along with the great design, makes for quality footwear that you can’t resist buying.
What Customers Say:
The Under Armour Men’s Speedfit Hike Leather Boot combines style with performance and is recommended for camping and hiking. It is lightweight and weighs around 2.1 lbs.
The UA SpeedFit Hike Leather Boot features an anatomically molded full grain leather upper. This provides optimal comfort, flexibility, and durability. It also features a modeled tongue that shows off the ClutchFit look. This men’s hiking boot also boasts of an external heel counter.
A molded anti-microbial and anti-odor Ortholite sock liner featuring PU base and memory foam top provide interior comfort during the hike while keeping the funk away. It also has a lace closure and a TPU toe cap.
The internal stability plate along with the lightweight EVA midsoles offer cushioning and protection on rocky and uneven terrains.
During wet conditions, you can count on the high-traction rubber lugs to provide a perfect grip even on slick surfaces. Under Armour’s SpeedFit Hike Leather boot has got your back in all conditions making it one of the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019.
This men’s hiking boot is available in Hearthstone/Desert Sand and Black/Desert Sand color combinations.
In addition, Under Armour also throws in a limited lifetime warranty for this men’s hiking boot.
What Customers Say:
Rax is a subsidiary of the brand Taiya and concentrates on providing comfortable and lightweight mountain climbing boots.
The premium suede leather uppers with breathable lycra and an adjustable lace vamp provide a wonderful and expensive feel to this comfortable and waterproof men’s mountain climbing boot.
The Multi-SportTM Plus sole of this mid hiking boot provides great traction and support even on demanding surfaces. Wolf claw-like antiskid multi-directional rubber outsoles featuring rugged grips designed to lose dirt and junk provides you with a further steady grip.
The V-tex nanofiber membrane keeps the boot waterproof and your feet dry, all the while providing enough breathability for all-day comfort and use. Water resistance and breathability with high comfort level are the key features why you must go for the Rax Men’s Wild Wolf hiking Boot. It is truly amongst the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019.
For a more comfortable walking experience, the Rax Men’s Wild Wolf Mid Venture Waterproof Lightweight Hiking Boots features a compression molded, full-length EVA midsoles that provide an additional cushion along with shock absorption.
A one-piece high foam boot tongue prevents dust, debris, and sand from entering the boots, all the while providing good ventilation.
A 1.8 mm leather+TPU anti-collision double piece toe protection is used to protect your fragile toe boot.
The Rax-Relieve fatigue magnetic sheet protects your feet from discomfort even on demanding terrains.
What Customers Say:
The Dunham Cloud Contrail-Mid Hiking Boot is part of Dunham’s Cloud luxury boot series and is fairly lightweight and comfortable with little or no break-in time. These men’s hiking boot provides excellent traction and stability. Extended width and sizes are also available.
So, how close does the Dunham Cloud Contrail-Mid Boot come to luxury comfort? Pretty close it seems. The sizing and fit are good and accurate, while the adequately padded tongue and color provide all-day comfort.
The moderately firm urethane midsole of the Contrail-Mid provides optimal stability and walking comfort for off-trail hiking. A sturdy rubber toe bumper offers toe protection, but the pointed toe area may squeeze your toe a bit.
You can easily tighten the laces across the instep for hiking downhill. Conversely, you can loosen it for hiking uphill.
The outsole is Dunham’s proprietary Tru-Trak. While it may not be as deep as the Vibram treads, it still provides great traction on any terrain, be it wet or dry.
Although Dunham claims the Contrail-Mid to be waterproof, the proprietary Dryworks waterproof membrane can be best classified as just water-resistant. Long exposure in wet conditions will get your feet wet.
These hiking boots are of average durability. This boot has a lot of seams which are prone to coming apart. We recommend coating the seams with McNett SeamGrip liquid urethane or something similar for longevity.
What Customers Say
In conclusion, this is a comfortable, mid-height, and lightweight men’s hiking boot that provides good support, traction, and protection during hikes. Except for the waterproof feature, all their claims are accurate.
The Columbia Men’s North Plains Waterproof Trail Boots is a good lightweight hiking shoe for daily use and offers great grip in any condition, be it rocky, rough, or muddy.
This hiking boot for men is constructed using suede leather and textile, along with a rubber sole that offers good traction. The Tech-lite midsole, along with the advanced reflective lining and Omni-heat insulation help in keeping your feet dry and comfortable. Its dimensions are 12”x8”x4” and it weighs 13.8 oz. It is available in cordovan/gypsy color and ship only within the US and to APO/FPO addresses.
What Customers Say:
These men’s hiking shoes are made by a well-respected company who are renowned for making top-notch products. These waterproof hiking boots for men are comfortable and affordable. It makes for a great hiking shoe as well as a sneaker for everyday use.
People who prefer short hikes or just walking around town will really love this shoe. But if long treks are your thing, then you might want to look into some other boots as these may not provide the best experience and support for long trips.
Types of Hiking Boots
Boots should be selected on the basis of the load you will be carrying on your back and the terrain you will be hiking on. If possible, opt for the lightest boots you can get away with. Because at the end of the day, the added weight on your back is really going to take a toll on your feet when it comes to energy. For example, a backpacker who only goes on weekend trips with a light backpack and does mostly trails shouldn’t opt for a pair of off-trail boots as it would be complete overkill for him.
Below Is An Introduction To Selecting Styles.
Trail Hiking Boots
Low-cut or mid-cut boots are the best choices when the trail is well kept and your backpack is light. These shoes feature multiple seams of a split-leather or fabric/leather combination. So, you will probably need to wear Gore-Tex socks or apply to waterproof, unless there’s a breathable/waterproof liner already present inside.
When compared with typical walking or running shoes, trail shoes provide better traction and stability and have stiffer soles. But, on rocky and slippery terrain with a big load on your back, these shoes may prove to be too unstable. You can also use low-cut gaiters for the ankle to keep out trail junk and dust.
Rough-Trail Hiking Boots
If aggressive day-hiking or light backpacking tickles your fancy, then the best bet is ankle high boots. It is constructed using split grain leather or a fabric/leather combination. Waterproof or breathable liners are present in some, while others are highly vented and porous for use in hot conditions. To protect your feet against stony and rough trails, these boots are augmented with plastic midsoles that are tapered or shanks that are half-length to provide a good amount of sole rigidity, all the while allowing good flexibility at the balls of the feet.
Off-Trail Hiking Boots
These boots provide rigid sole stability and above-the-ankles support. These are made from full grain leather. These features are very handy when all you can find is a goat path trail through talus and alder tangles. For long backpack treks with a heavy payload, this boot is your best bet. It provides a lot of protection for your feet, all the while flexing enough at the balls of your feet on tough terrains.
Off-trail boots are pummeled into astonishing softness eventually by high mileage trekkers. But, the sole and the heel cup soften only after a lengthy break in period. Due to minimal seams and all leather construction, off-trail boots are more durable and provide better waterproofing. The newer midsole/sole construction springs a surprise by making many of these off-trail boots lightweight. Some newer models also come with a welt lip or snowshoe bindings, so as to take on a certain type of crampons for traveling on glaciers.
Mountaineering Hiking Boots
These boots provide impressive traction with a bit of insulation. Minimal seams along with full grain leather uppers are these boots main characteristics. It accepts crampons and comes up well above the ankle. Due to midsoles made of stiff nylon and full-length shanks, these boots are not a good option when it comes to full-stride hiking because of its rigidness. But your stride will be shorter anyway on steep terrain with a weighty backpack. To avoid blisters, make sure to provide ample break-in time before extended use. Look out for rubber rands and rockered soles for better waterproofing and durability.
Technical Scrambling Hiking Boots
These are particularly mid-height, low-cut hybrids with anti-abrasive toe rands, sticky rubber soles, and a snug fit. It is perfect for light treks and scrambling if the trail condition is good and the backpack is not heavy. For serious trail travel, you will want to pair it with gaiters to get rid of trail junk.
THE RIGHT FIT
Bone spurs, blisters, plantar fasciitis, sprained arches, and blackened toenails are few of the problems you may face if you are not wearing right fit shoes. Continue reading to know more.
The first detail you should look into is socks. Minor details like overall thickness or toe seams can provide relief or cause pressure problems for you. Socks are a very important part of your hiking experience as they keep you comfortable at foot level. So, you must always take them into consideration while buying new shoes.
Try to wear the same socks while buying new boots that you use while hiking. Better yet, buy socks and boots at the same time to avoid any discomfort. There are many new generations of hiking socks that have differing thickness. This can alter the boot fit to a huge extent causing discomfort if not chosen wisely.
The second thing to keep in mind is to be a bit flexible about your size. Ignore the particular boot size and concentrate more on buying a boot that fits you the best. This can mean that you may end up buying one size larger boots than what your actual number is. It is preferable to measure your arch length, width, and foot’s length before even considering buying new boots. Also, keep in mind the foot volume to avoid any fitting problems.
Here is a good tip to buy the best fit for you. After finalizing a boot, it is always better to remove the insole and wear the shoes again. Stand after you wear the boots and check if there is at least a thumb width gap between your longest toe and the end of the insole. If you find an appropriate gap, then go ahead and buy the boots.
Restrain yourself from buying boots with narrow toe box if it cramps your toes. It is difficult to even minutely remold toe boxes and the difficulty increases particularly in beefier shoes.
Now, we will talk about the most important feature of any finely constructed boot. It is one that that you will never see but the overall comfort of the boot depends on it. That feature is the ‘last’. Last is the wooden foot carved to make and shape boots. If you choose a boot made using the right ‘last’ as your foot, then you will experience immense satisfaction in using the boot while visiting the woods or going hiking. But if you chose even the best boot in the shop with mismatched ‘last’, then believe me you have bought nothing but an expensive torture device for your feet.
You can consult boot fitters before buying a boot to make sure that you are not buying a pair of shoes that you will not be able to cherish and enjoy. A boot fitter can correct slight problems resulting in isolated pressure points. However, if the ‘last’ mismatch is gross than not even the most experienced boot fitter can help you correct it.
If you have got your desired size and a comfortable ‘last’ but still experience foot slips, then the problem might be with the footbed. A footbed is that part of your boot that does not allow your foot to contort inside the boot by supporting the sole to be in a neutral position.
There are few other symptoms such as painful arch, tender points on ball and heel, and regular heel slips that indicate wrongly matched footbeds. It is commonly seen that people with high arches face footbed problems more as the typical manufacturers do not provide arch supporting footbeds in the boots. To avoid any issues with footbeds, you should buy customized footbeds that will ease your walk. You can also buy over the counter footbeds to ease your walk for$10 to $40.
If you are facing persistent problems, then you might need to opt for customized molded orthotics. Take help from a podiatrist to fit these rigid ($100-$150+) yet expensive footbeds. Check your older boot’s soles for wear pattern to get a hint if you need orthotics or not. If you detect extreme wears on the outer side or the inner side of the soles then your arches and ankles most probably need the support of orthotics.
Give some time to your boots before forming any conclusion. Wear them and walk around. Go to a store or for a long walk. Walk up and down the stairs. Try them on each and every surface that you would normally walk on. Make sure that the boots and shoes comfortably fit you without any uneasiness and trouble.
List issues to discuss with your footwear specialist: Make a list of all the problems you are facing while walking in your shoes. You do not want to feel uncomfortable while walking on a different surface than the one you usually walk on, nor you would like your toes hitting the end of your shoes when you are walking on an inclined surface. List all the minute details to share with your footwear specialist so that he/she can make sure that you get the best shoes/boots you are looking for with a high level of comfort.
While lacing the boots firmly, pay attention if you find any space above the top of your foot. If this happens, then most probably the boot’s volume is wrong and the boot is not for you. If you tend to buy online, it is logical to buy from the same brand that you regularly use. Most of the branded boot companies tend to keep their mold consistent over time so that the customers get the right fit every time they make a purchase.
Materials Impact a Boot’s Weight, Breathability, Durability And Water Resistance.
It’s about time that you also know about the materials used to make your shoes. With complete knowledge about the materials used to build the boot, you will be able to decide which materials are the most suitable for your foot.
Types Of Hiking Boot Material
Full-grain leather is highly durable and abrasion resistant. It is also very good at water resistance. Full-grain leather boots are usually beneficial for long backpacking trips. You can use the boots to walk on rugged and heavy loads terrain. One thing not so good about full-grain leather is that it is non-breathable and isn’t light in weight as well. Make sure to have an ample break time before you start an extended trip.
Split-grain leather is used to make lightweight boots by pairing the leather with nylon or nylon mesh. The boots made out of split-grain leather offer very good breathability and are very light on the foot. To make boots out of this leather, the inner rough part is split away from the smooth exterior. Although the boots are superb in breathability and light on your foot, the downside is that the boots are not durable against abrasion and water. The boots can give you protection against water only if waterproof liners are used in the split-grain leather boots.
Boots made out of Nuback leather are the combination of good qualities from both full-grain leather and split-grain leather. The leather is actually full-grain leather buffed to resemble suede. It is flexible, water-resistant, durable, abrasion resistant, and quite light in weight. However, it too requires ample break time before you can use it for hiking or any such rough terrain trips.
Synthetics are one of the most durable options for people looking for cheap shoes. Nylon, polyester, and synthetic leather fall under this category. This material dries faster than leather, is light in weight, and break in more rapidly. However, the boots made of synthetics is not durable or abrasion resistant. Also, boots made of synthetics wear more quickly due to heavy stitching.
If you see a shoe tagged as ‘waterproof’, then be sure that the upper layer of that shoe is constructed using waterproof/breathable membrane. Materials such as Gore-Tex or eVent are among the list of waterproof membranes. This material helps the shoes to be dry in wet conditions and maintain the breathability. However, when compared to the breathability of non-waterproof shoes that has ventilating mesh, waterproof shoes are less breathable. These waterproof boots can even encourage sweating of feet during the summer.
Boots with vegan tag do not include animal ingredients or byproducts.
Insulation is present in hiking shoes to keep the feet warm while you hike on snow, mountain, or glaciers.
The cushioning is provided by the midsole, which greatly determines the stiffness of the boot and protects the feet from shock. Stiff boots may sound like as if it is something bad for your feet, but they can translate to more stability and comfort when hiking on uneven, rocky terrain and won’t even wear out your feet. The most commonly used midsole materials are EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and polyurethane.
EVA is softer, lighter, and affordable. Midsoles are made of diverse amounts of EVA to ensure firmer support where required.
On the other hand, polyurethane is more sturdy, durable, and firmer. Hence, it is generally present in mountaineering and extended backpacking boots.
Shanks are 3-5mm thick inserts placed between the boot’s outsole and midsole. These provide the midsole with load bearing stiffness. They are of varying length, with some covering the entire midsole, while others cover only half.
These inserts are placed below the shank, between the outsole and the midsole, and are usually very thin and semi-flexible. They aid in protecting the feet from bruising by uneven rocks and roots.
Rubber is present in outsoles of all hiking boots. Carbon is sometimes added as an additive to boost the firmness of mountaineering and backpacking boots. Hard outsoles make the boots more durable but if you go off the trail it can start to feel slick.
Lugs are the traction providing small bumps present on the outsoles. To improve the grip of mountaineering and backpacking boots, deeper and thicker lugs are used. Wide spaced lugs lose mud more easily and provide better traction.
Hell brake is the prominently distinct heel zone that is different from the arch and forefoot. It aids in times of steep descent by reducing your chances of sliding.
Keeping Safety In Mind
As far as safety is concerned, having crampons and compatible boots is necessary if you are planning on taking a winter backpacking trip or doing mountaineering. Always narrow your search by crampon compatibility, when you shop for mountaineering boots.
PRESERVATION BOOTS THAT GO THE DISTANCE
Follow the tips below to keep your boots in tip-top condition for many more years of hiking and trail traveling.
- If you want to make your boots more comfortable and a bit more stretchable, you can make the leather softer by treating your boots to frequent waterproofing with silicone or wax.
- Take waterproofing treatments along with you on long backpacking trips. Your boots will feel much softer and supportive after treatment.
- Make use of boot trees and recondition your boots often.
- Crossing streams and rain aids in confirming the boots to your feet. But, be careful as water can degrade the leather and lead to shrinkage.
HOW TO TREAT BLISTERS AND OTHER BOOT PROBLEMS
The sad truth about hiking is that at one point or another you are going to feel some degree of discomfort in your feet, even after you have found boots of a perfect fit. But fear not, below we have listed common problems along with their remedies, so you treat it as soon as you start experiencing some discomfort.
1) Problem: Numbness
Boots that have a good deal of interior volume for feet that are narrow, but are a good fit when it comes to length, often makes up by snapping laces as tight as a saddle on a bronco. This can lead to numbness on the instep due to the pain and pressure.
You can purchase adhesive backed felt pads from most of the quality shoe stores, and place it on the inside of the boot tongue. This helps your feet feel more comfortable and provides a layer of cushion for your instep. If the preceding remedy doesn’t work, you might need to consult a podiatrist. To relieve the inflammation, he might prescribe cortisone injections.
2) Problem: Toe Chop
Heavy duty leather boots during the break-in period, when the sole starts to flex causes the firm leather uppers to the crease, and hacks into the toes like a knife.
New mid and heavy duty boots, often during the break-in period causes ‘toe chop’, as the leather is crimping but does not flex much. One way you can counteract the problem is by wearing the boots on many short strolls and hikes before you go on a long trip. Get your boot mechanically flexed into your foot friendly shape by a shoe cobbler in case the preceding remedy doesn’t work and you will be good to go.
3) Problem: Tender Soles
If you travel a lot of miles while carrying a lot of weight on your back, your soles are sure to experience soreness, particularly the balls of your feet. It can happen because of inadequate insole padding in the boot and also due to the pressure placed on your feet while walking thousands of steps a day on rough and hard terrain. This can become severe if you develop Morton’s neuroma. It is a condition in which the nerve which runs near the center of the sole dilates. This causes a burning and/or tingling sensation in the toes.
Boots, particularly new ones, does not contain adequate padding in the sole. But you can find a plethora of replacement insoles of varying materials, thickness, and sport specific uses. When trying on your boot, to ensure there is more than enough room inside, it is good to have your newly purchased insoles on hand.
If there is a problem of toe pinching, a professional boot fitter can thin the sole padding with the help of a belt sander. If you prefer a do-it-yourself solution, you can trim the insoles with scissors in small 1/8 inch increments until the boot fits perfectly in your feet. You can also take the aid of orthotics. Finally, if nothing seems to work, you can have the pinched nerve removed using surgery.
4) Problem: Toenail troubles
Toenails become blue and black after week-long hiking.
The pressure and strain of a long hike can cause the feet to puff up and stretch. This may cause your toes to pound the front of the boots. You may face this problem due to combined effects from ill-fitting heel cups or long toenails, particularly on long downhill treks when your feet are more likely to slip forward in your boots. Keeping your toenails short and tidy is one of the simplest solutions.
Ensure that your feet fit perfectly in the rear of the heel cup by cinching your boots snugly. Also, ensure that your toes have an extra room by stringing the toe box eyelets in a loose manner. Then twist the laces thrice and pull them closely over the instep. You can also make use of a tongue pad to make sure your foot fits snugly into the heel cup.
If the preceding remedies don’t work, you may be able to elongate the length and width of the boot by taking it to a boot specialty shop. Alternatively, you might need to purchase a new boot altogether that’s up to a size larger.
5) Problem: Blisters
Blisters can affect even the most experienced and strongest of trekkers. This usually happens in wet conditions when your feet are soft. In reality, blisters are the natural reaction of your body to friction. Blisters on the heel are a result of the heel cup being too wide. When your boots are too big, and your boot flexes beyond the natural flex point of your foot at the ball, you are most likely to develop blisters on top of your toes.
First of all, to avoid toe blisters, you need to make sure your boots flex in the same place as your feet. To ensure you find the perfect boot size, you need to determine your flex point by measuring your foot heel to the ball on the boot store’s Brannock sizing device.
If the blisters prevail even after the break-in period and you have taken all the precautions when it comes to socks, that is you wear socks whose toe seams aren’t bulky, whose weaves aren’t coarse, and the overall fit isn’t too tight or too lose, all the while taking care to reduce sweat and friction by wearing thin polypropylene liners under your socks, then it is probably time to replace the original insole of the boot with a footbed. A footbed will hold your foot in such a way that is doesn’t distort inside your boot.
Superfeet is an off the shelf footbed brand that comes highly recommended. It is widely available in a high arch as well as a regular version. The regular version can generally stabilize most feet, whereas a good boot fitter can help you with a customized fit. Zip Fit is another good brand.
Custom made rigid orthotics can be a boon if you suffer from chronic blisters. You can buy these only after a podiatrist prescribes them.
Finally, we have reached the end of this topic. Above, we have mentioned almost all the tips you need to keep in mind before buying the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019 for yourself. Also, we have reviewed the best and top-most waterproof and other types of hiking boots for you to select from. We have written these reviews to help you and eventually aid in the purchase of the best waterproof hiking boots for men in 2019. We sincerely hope that we have helped and guided you in making the right decision.