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The Seven Best Hiking Boots for Summer 2021 Reviewed

From week-long treks to day hikes, these boots will keep you comfortable and safe from whatever the trail throws at you

To have a good day out hiking requires good hydration, fitness and maps, but the most important gear that you’ll invest in are your hiking boots. Below are our top seven for this summer. For avalanche tips for hikers visit here.

Scarpa Kailash GTX

Uppers: Gore-Tex, nylon, suede
Outsoles: Vibram Biometric Trek with ACTIV Impact
Weight: 1.22 kg
Price: $300

Scarpa has been around for a long time and it shows in the quality, fit and details of the Kailash. For a lighter boot, the Kailash gives a fair amount of ankle support and sole stiffness. When you walk, you don’t notice the firmness of the mid-sole as much because the Vibram Biometrik Trek outsole is shaped to facilitate foot roll and the midsole gave a soft rebound.

On the foot, the Kailash feels supportive and close to your foot without spare space in the toe box. Instep is not especially wide either. Getting them on is speedy with steel and nylon lace hooks. As a side note, replacing a lace would be simple on these boots. The tongue, while comfortable, sometimes got pulled over the lace hooks while tightening the boot, forcing the laces off the hooks.

We loved the Vibram Biometric Trek soles. They gave lots of grip even in mucky trail sections, but the lugs cleared out quickly. technology for cushy rebound. The protective toe cap is also nice when scrambling in loose scree or any other settings where toe protection is essential. A Gore-tex insert also makes these boots waterproof.

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Tecnica Forge S GTX

Uppers: High abrasion resistance stretch fabric with TPU lamination
Outsole: Vibram sole with Megagrip compound
Weight: 1.19 kg
Price: $330

Tecnica offers a new design with the Forge S GTX, a light boot with the stability of a flexible, but solid sole, high abrasion resistance stretch fabric uppers and an insole that eliminates the break-in period.

The quest to eliminate hotspots includes the use of an ankle collar rather than a traditional tongue, and lace locks that allow the user to further customize fit by varying the lace tension on the upper and lower boot.

The Vibram Megagrip sole was also a revelation, as it struck a compromise between friction on smooth surfaces and traction in the mud. A foam layer between the sole and mid-sole softened out some rocks and other bumps. In all, these boots provided protection and comfort on the toughest terrain.

The Forge will appeal to climbers and serious backpackers who need the protection of a full-on boot and do not want to compromise on fit and comfort. A high-end trekking boot for demanding users.

The North Face Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight

Uppers: Cordura ripstop nylon with waterproof breathable membrane
Outsoles: Surface Control Rubber with 4 mm lugs
Weight: 832 g
Price: $230

The North Face has released a new line of Ventris footwear, ranging from light trail shows through to the Vectiv Exploris Futurelight, the lightest boot in this review. The two main features of the Vectiv program are the midsole plate, made of TPU in the Futurelight, and the rocker in the sole, which is somewhat more pronounced than in most boots, as well as a thick EVA foam midsole.

All of these technologies were developed for the Vectiv line of trail running shoes. The Futurelight is ankle height, but it feels as light on your foot as a trail running shoe. The ankle height, and the waterproof breathable membrane extend its performance and comfort into terrain and conditions where a running shoe would not offer as much protection. The boot laces up through tabs that keep the profile low and allow you to adjust the fit easily, but like a running shoe, don’t extend down to the toe.

The four-millimetre lugs on the soles give lots of traction for anyone moving quickly without a heavy pack, or covering shorter distances, like canoe trippers who need good footwear for portages.

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Arc’teryx Acrux GTX

Materials: Superfabric, Gore-Tex, Vibram Mega-Grip
Outsoles: Vibram Mega-Grip
Weight: 1.10 kg
Price: $340

The Acrux is a stylish, all black boot that has a clean, innovative look associated with Arc’teryx gear. The boot fits pretty narrowly and has a low volume toe. Add a stiffer sole than most hiking boots, a sticky toe cap and protective rand, and you have a very protective boot firm enough to edge on rock holds but, partly because of the rocker in the outsole, flexible enough for comfortable walking.

The lacing system on the forefoot, with its flush webbing lace-points won’t get caught on sticks and rocks. Grommets and hooks in the ankle area make it easy to get this boot on or off. Gore-Tex makes the boot waterproof, a bonus in snow as well as on wet trails.

These boots are light, but serious footwear for rugged terrain, and would be a great choice for anyone carrying heavy loads for multi-day trekking in the mountains, or technical scrambling.

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Salewa Alp Trainer 2 Mid, GTX

Uppers: Suede, Nylon, Gore-tex
Outsoles: Vibram Alpine Hiking
Weight: 1.65 kg
Price: $300

Austria’s Salewa brand has been producing high quality climbing equipment since the 1930s. They also make some innovative camping gear and footwear, and the Alp Trainer 2 Mid is an example of their devotion to high quality design and materials. The boots feel light and roomy on the feet. The laces in the forefoot come close to the toe and the uppers are soft enough to actually tighten them all the way down. The lacing system comprises webbing and leather tunnels and a unique round grommet that cinches a wire tight around the ankle for more stability in that area.

The boot, especially in the forefoot and toe box, feels roomy.  A unique added feature is the MFF footbed system, with which you can add a layer to the insole to tweak your fit.

The Vibram Alpine Hiking outsoles offer good grip and a rocker that makes the boot’s extra rigidity hardly even noticeable. The toe-cap offers welcome protection on loose rock or kicking steps in snow.  These are great boots for anyone venturing into rugged terrain, technical scrambling or multi-day backpacking.

Keen Ridge Waterproof Boot

Uppers: Waterproof leather, synthetic mesh, Keen Bellows Flex inserts
Outsole: Keen all-terrain rubber
Weight: 1.190 kg
Price: $220

Spring and winter trails are usually snowy, wet or muddy and require serious footwear to keep you dry and on the trail. Keen’s Ridge Flex boots can meet these requirements and their waterproof breathable insert and aggressive, non-directional lug soles for stability, even on muddy uphill trails.

They also include new technologies to improve comfort. Ever felt pinched by your boot at the flex point of your foot? Keen tries to fix it with bellow-flex inserts on the upper and on the heel in the Achilles zone. The bellows have been tested and last for more than a million strides. The extra comfort was discernible from the first time we put the Ridge on.

Keen are also leaders in environmentally friendly technologies, like pfc-free durable water-repellant and environmentally preferred leather providers who reduce the use of chemicals in the tanning process. We felt that the Ridge was snug around the mid-foot, but roomy in the toe box, which should help to decrease blistering.

These are great all-weather hiking boots recommended for any backcountry mission.

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Boreal Drom Mid

Uppers: Split Leather and Sympatex Waterproof breathable lining
Outsole: Vibram Pepe
Weight: 1.05 kg
Price: $240

The Boreal Drom Mid boot provides excellent grip on loose ground, mud, soggy grass and even on more polished, wet surfaces. That wide traction range comes from the compound used on Vibram Pepe outsole with its well-placed lugs. The board-lasted construction – with the upper pulled over the lasting board, and then bonded – makes for stiff, strong support beneath your feet. You get some cushioning from the ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole. That material also helps to shave some weight.

We found the Drom Mid snug, even with the lacing that runs almost to the toes. The only real quibble with this boot was the narrow lacing hooks: you need to be precise, not speedy, when placing your laces.

The upper is made from split leather. On the inside, the breathable and waterproof Sympatex Moisture-Tech lining does an excellent job of keeping your foot dry, but also makes the boot fairly warm.  Boosting dryness and durability on the outside is a strong toe cap and rand.

The Boreal Drom Mid is tough and comfortable, especially in cooler temperatures. Slip it on before heading on a long, technical approach or a hike in the shoulder seasons. Slip it on before heading on a long, technical approach or a hike in the shoulder seasons.