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9 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots in 2023 (Based on Our Tests)

As the hiking season begins to change and weather patterns make certain paths more or less accessible, we need to start thinking about the best lightweight hiking boots to carry with us on our travels.

If you have wide feet, like me, finding comfortable lightweight hiking footwear is challenging, especially when the hiking boot you’re looking for needs to have specific features.

Fortunately, I’ve put together a list of the nine best lightweight hiking boots to wear on backpacking trips.

Let’s read on to see what each of these lightweight boots does well and which of them is our top pick.


Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

  • All Terrain Contagrip
  • EVA Foam Anti-Shock
  • Gore-Tex Waterproof


Merrell Moab 2 Mid

Merrell Moab 2 Mid

  • Protective toe cap
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • M-Select Waterproof


KEEN Targhee III Mid

KEEN Targhee III Mid

  • KEEN.DRY Waterproof
  • Removable footbed
  • Next level stability

The Best Lightweight Hiking Boots of 2023

1) Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid is a mid-height lightweight hiking boot designed to navigate well-maintained trails and manage light pack loads.

  • All Terrain Contagrip
  • EVA Foam Shock Attenuation 
  • Gore-Tex Waterproof Lining
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

From my hiking experience, this Gore-Tex boot’s comfort level is similar to that of a trail running shoe, having flexible uppers and a contouring Ortholite footbed.

A backpackers’ favorite hiking boot, at 1 lb. 14.4 oz. and $175, this model has enough padding to adequately cushion the foot without losing its nimbleness, while ensuring you can hike for many miles with consistent support.

Overall, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is known for its products’ high build quality and based on our testing procedures, the best ultralight hiking boots on the market.


  • Has a comfort level surpassing some hiking shoes
  • ActiveSupport bands secure the foot for more stability
  • Offered in a wide version to accommodate large volumes and wide feet
  • Good ankle support despite collar height
  • Grippy traction allows for navigation of muddy, slippery and wet conditions


  • Outsole doesn’t provide as much foot protection as other lightweight boots

2) Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Boots

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid waterproof hiking boots are perfect for new and casual hikers who enjoy day hiking and simple trails.

  • Protective toe cap
  •  Keeps out debris
  • Breathable mesh lining
Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Not only do they have the build of a traditional hiking boot, but the M-Select Dry membrane, Vibram sole, and performance suede leather upper make these some of the best women’s hiking boots I’ve ever worn.

Improving on the previous model, the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof boasts added stability, comfort, and increased arch support. These 2lbs. 4oz. lightweight hiking boots cost $145, making them slightly heavier than some other Merrell boots, but very affordable.

They performed admirably during our testing protocols, and we included them in our list of the best waterproof hiking boots for 2023.


  • Versatile and solid boots designed for everyday wear
  • Entry-level build is ideal for beginner and intermediate-level hikers
  • Snug fit around the ankle without stiffness or a break in period
  • MSelect Fit.Eco+ blended-EVA midsole supports moderate hikes up to 15+ miles


  • Flexible performance suede leather/mesh upper isn’t suited for rough terrain

3) KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid

This lightweight hiking boot, at 2 lbs. 2.8 oz., has a durable nubuck leather upper, a wide toe box, and an EVA foam midsole.

  • Next Level Stability
  • KEEN.DRY Waterproof
  • Removable footbed
KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid

We reviewed KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid and found these light hiking boots are popular choices for moderate hiking. Straight out of the box, these are very comfortable boots that I can throw on almost everywhere.

For a value of $150, the comfort that Targhee III Waterproof Mid gives is similar to a trail runner, making it a solid choice for on-the-go hikes and trips where you need to move on a moment’s notice. However, clear-cut trails are where these boots perform best.


  • KEEN.DRY ventilation is comparable to Gore-Tex membrane in warm weather
  • Pricing makes it one of the best hiking boots for affordability
  • Out-the-box comfort makes it ideal for casual day hikes
  • Has the lightness of a hiking shoe and the durability of a heavier backpacking boot


  • KEEN All-Terrain rubber outsole lacks traction on rough trails

4) Oboz Sawtooth II Mid B-Dry Waterproof

The Oboz Sawtooth II Waterproof boot is a light-midweight hiking boot designed to handle difficult hikes.  

  • Dual-Density EVA
  • B-DRY Waterproof 
  • Nubuck Leather
Oboz Sawtooth II Mid B-Dry Waterproof

Oboz is known for the toughness of its products, as I’ve experienced rocky trails and conquered many underfoot hazards with them. While these are stiff boots, which don’t do well with flexibility, they do excel in durability, stability, ankle support, and weatherproofing.

Since they’re built like heavy duty boots, even though they weigh 2 lbs. 6 oz., I would only recommend these for more seasoned backpackers who are more likely to need the bulk.


  • Mid-height collar provides excellent ankle support and grip without rubbing or blistering
  • Highly durable Nubuck leather can manage difficult hikes without scuffs or abrasions
  • Closure design and the lacing system allow for a secure and true-to-size fit
  • B-Dry waterproof membrane has great insulation in cool weather


  • Clunky and stiff boat design can be a hindrance for the weight tier it’s designed for

5) Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

One of the lightest boot models on the market, the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof boot weighs 16.36oz per shoe, and is designed to be a versatile and comfortable hiking boot for day hikers.

  • Protective toe cap
  •  Kinetic Fit removable insole
  • Breathable mesh lining
Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

For $145, these provide a quality fit, supportive midsoles, and improved protection, which I’ve tested on many hikes. As a result, this backpacking boot feels a bit heavier and lacks some of the traction usually associated with a Vibram outsole.

However, the Merrell Moab 3 is still considered by many the best hiking boot for its price and overall performance and Merrell is known for producing beginner-friendly hiking shoes and boots that can easily fit wide feet.

Here is a full review of Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof hiking boots where we analyzed and tested different components.


  • Mesh lining is incredibly sturdy despite being made with recycled materials
  • Lacing system can be customized for a personalized fit
  • Budget-friendly and classic design makes it a good boot for novices
  • Protects against heel slippage and has good toe protection


  • Collar height is a bit shorter than other mid-cut boots
  • Not designed for carrying heavy loads despite high-quality cushioning

6) Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof 

The Columbia Newton Ridge ™ Plus II is a durable lightweight boot best suited for ultralight outdoor hobbies.

  • Waterproof full-grain leather 
  • Durable midsole
  • Solid footing on ice and snow
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof

Weighing 15.9 oz, these boots’ uppers are made with a PU-coated leather, suede, and mesh. There’s a very short break-in period and the outsole has fair traction.

I’ve tried these leather hiking boots out on many day hikes, but they perform better in situations where they’re not frequently exposed to harsh elements.

The patented Omni-Tech waterproof liner and Techlite midsole are comfortable and hold up well in simple conditions, but these boots are more designed for low-impact activities.

For more information about these shoes, see our Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof review.


  • Comfortable design that can be worn outside of day hiking and backpacking trips
  • Has the feel of an athletic sneaker but a build comparable to some ultralight hiking boots
  • Omni-Grip™ outsole is grippy and responsive on varied terrain in light conditions


  • Build quality is too fragile to be used for frequent trail hikes

7) Vasque Breeze AT-Mid GTX

The Vasque Breeze AT-Mid GTX hiking boots are made with an All-Terrain Compound midsole and TPU shank designed to manage technical terrain.

  • Dual-density EVA
  • Gore-Tex Waterproof
  • Vibram Contact Grip
Vasque Breeze AT-Mid GTX

These 2 lbs. 11 oz. lightweight hiking boots are good for both on and off-trail hiking. During my time wearing them, the ankle support from the padded collar and the underfoot cushioning from the dual-density EVA footbed were the standout features.

At a price of $190, these Nubuck leather boots come equipped with a Vasque-exclusive Vibram Contact Grip outsole and Gore-Tex liner. With their utility, the Vasque Breeze AT-Mid GTX hiking boots are comparable to some mountaineering boots.


  • Non-full leather boots that have the feel, sturdiness, and stiffness of a mountaineering boot
  • Can handle rugged terrain even when hauling a heavier load
  • Has more stability than most hiking footwear in the midweight tier


  • Heavier than some other lightweight hiking boots that have the same features

8) Columbia Firecamp Boot

The Columbia Firecamp lightweight hiking boots, which are 14.8 oz., are boots made to tackle snow and cold weather.

  • TechLite lightweight midsole 
  • Omni-Tech Waterproof
  • Omni-Grip outsole
Columbia Firecamp Boot

After trying out these light hiking boots for backpacking, we observed that the upper material is designed with a Cordura textile, making the boot tear-proof and highly resistant to extreme conditions.

The Columbia Firecamp also has an Omni-Tech waterproof liner with up to 200gs of insulation, sealing out water and keeping warm air inside.

I’ve had an opportunity to test these boots out in really cold conditions, and am surprised to say that even in negative temperatures, my feet were completely sealed off from the outside.


  • Inexpensively priced at $110 despite their increased durability
  • Snow and waterproof footwear that can manage various winter activities
  • Cordura textile is built to last for many years


  • Insulated design limits it to cold environments

9) NORTIV 8 Ankle High

The NORTIV 8 Ankle Highs is a pair of 1 lb. lightweight hiking boots designed with features like cushioned insoles, adjustable lacing systems, and slip-resistant outsoles.

  • Flexible EVA midsoles
  •  Slip-proof
  • Superior cushioning
NORTIV 8 Ankle High

What makes this hiking boot so unique is that it’s not designed with popular brand name waterproof liners and outsoles. Everything is made in-house to cut costs, pricing these at $60 tops, and making them the best lightweight hiking boots for affordability on this list.

These have gotten me through many moderate hikes and treks and felt light like a running shoe, so their quality is noteworthy.


  • Lack of Gore-Tex liners and Vibram soles makes these more affordable than most boots
  • NORTIV 8 has a similar build quality to some well-known brands at a cheaper price
  • The collar provides good ankle support without being too rigid


  • Half-size increments stop after size 10
  • Low ventilation is apparent on hot days

Lightweight Hiking Boots Buyer’s Guide

a pair of salomon x ultra 4 mid, known as the best lightweight hiking boots

We measured the effectiveness of the boots against the eight elements below. All the hiking boots on this list were chosen over other hiking boots based on how well they performed in these categories.

1. Weight

Hiking boots can be classed as lightweight hiking boots, midweight hiking boots, or heavyweight hiking boots.

A lighter boot usually offers less in terms of ankle support and protection, in exchange for increased comfort and flexibility, making it challenging to use on rough terrain or for carrying heavy loads.

However, there is some lightweight footwear that manages to circumvent this problem, blending elements of the other two weight classes together.

Your boots should always be at the minimum weight for the trails you plan to travel, offering a running shoe feel if possible but without a decrease to your overall performance.

2. Fit

Hiking boots should always accommodate the volume of your feet and fit securely around your ankles. The toe box should accommodate wider feet and the ankle support should be adequate to prevent blisters and slippage.

If this is what you need, here are the results for the best wide-foot hiking boots in 2023 based on our testing procedures.

Laces are also an important factor when considering the fit of a hiking boot. A hiking boot with a poor lacing system will be prone to unraveling and could possibly cause your ankle to rub against the collar.

However, some boots have unique lacing systems, such as Salomon’s single-pull system, or even customizable laces to control the way the boot feels around your foot [1].

3. Tread

pair of keen taghee hiking boots showing the tread and traction

When looking for good hiking footwear, your traction is dependent on how adhesive your sole is, its durability, and how well it can dig into tricky terrain.

I personally consider the tread to be one of the most important factors to look at when I buy & test hiking boots.

Currently, the two top competitors in the market for outsoles are Salomon’s Contagrip and Vibram [2].

Some hiking boots have outsoles with deeper lug depths than others and aggressive tread patterns.

In most cases though, outsoles are made to perform better in certain conditions.

When looking for the best lightweight hiking boot, you wouldn’t buy a boot with an outsole made for snow and ice and then use it in a dry desert.

4. Cost

A good pair of boots sometimes comes at an extra cost, depending on the quality of the material it’s made with.

For example, a boot with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and a Contagrip or Vibram outsole is likely to cost at least $150, due to the quality of those products.

However, you don’t need to break the bank for popular brand names. Many lesser-known brands produce all their materials in-house, giving buyers the option to buy some of the best budget hiking boot models without sacrificing quality

We recommend choosing boots that fit your needs, since some features may not be worth the high prices.

5. Ventilation

merrell maob 2 vent

Some of the best lightweight hiking boots are also waterproof boots that manage to maintain high breathability. Usually, a hiking boot is sold in Gore-Tex waterproof and non-waterproof versions.

Due to the Gore-Tex waterproof membranes, boots with liners tend to overheat, prioritizing dry feet over possible weather exposure.

Non-waterproof options, however, have more space to allow airflow.

Breathable boots are important for preventing sweating and other uncomfortable conditions, especially in the hot summers.

Fortunately, there are some brands that manage to find a balance between allowing airflow without letting water penetrate the membrane, and the best example is Keen, which combines the resistance of traditional leather boots with breathable mesh inserts

6. Comfort

Most light hiking boots have noticeable features like good ankle support, a cushy midsole, a wider toe box, and support for flat or high arches.

Usually, lightweight hiking shoes tend to be the most favored for comfort, especially since they tend to not weigh as much as boots do.

However, many brands have implemented their own ankle support and stability technologies, such as chassis systems, contouring footbeds, and extra cushioning, making almost all the boots comparable to some quality trail running shoes.

A comfortable boot will pad your feet and make long distances easier to hike by preventing foot fatigue, so it depends on what type of traveling you want to do.

7. Material

Hiking boot uppers should have a high-quality build when making a purchase. Ideally, it should be durable enough to be tear and scratch-resistant, and flexible enough to handle gripping on technical and uneven terrain.

Durable boots are made from synthetic materials, but some other brands use more recycled materials for sustainability.

In most cases though, a high-quality boot will be made with either suede, nubuck, or full-grain leather. A leather boot is usually the most expensive because it’s made to be long-lasting, but you can always opt for a cheaper and comparably tougher alternative.

8. Performance

The performance of a hiking boot includes all the ways its features work together to shape your overall hiking experience. Are these boots suitable for the hikes I go on?

How do they feel on certain paths? Do I need heavier boots or lighter boots? The only way you can judge the performance of a boot is by trying it out yourself.

To gauge performance, you need to measure how well a hiking boot does on your travels compared to other boots. If you can make it through an entire hike of your skill level with little-to-no complaints, then you’ve found a high-performance boot.

Comparison Table

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid$175 REI»
$170 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Gore-Tex1 lb. 14.4 oz.
Merrell Moab 2 Mid WPCheck on Amazon» Yes2 lbs. 2.6 oz.
Keen Targhee III Mid
$165 REI»
$131 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Keen.Dry
2 lbs. 2.8 oz.
Oboz Sawtooth II Mid BDryCheck on Amazon» Yes, BDry
1 lb. 15 oz.
Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP$150 REI»
$150 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes2 lbs. 4 oz.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus$99 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes1.75 lbs.
Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX$109 REI»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Gore-Tex2 lbs. 11 oz.
Columbia Firecamp BootCheck on Amazon» Yes, Omni-Tech
NORTIV 8 Ankle HighCheck on Amazon» Yes, Gore-Tex

3 Benefits of Using Lightweight Hiking Boots

columbia fireboot camp tread

1. Protection

For rugged trails, a lightweight boot provides more protection than a hiking shoe with minimal ankle support. Most hiking boots have better ankle protection, Gore-Tex insulation against harsh trail conditions, and excellent cushioning.

Hiking shoes are made for speed and nimbleness on well-tended paths, but the thickness of a lightweight boot is safer for your feet.

2. Utility

Light backpacking boots have more utility compared to trail runners or other boots. Unlike trail running shoes, a backpacking boot is more equipped to handle varying terrain.

Additionally, some of the best hiking boots are designed to mimic the feeling of trail runners, taking on more of an all-in-one role.

3. Support

A light trail boot is designed to have more support than something like a trail shoe. As opposed to trail runner options, trail boots are designed with extra heel support, forefoot cushioning, and side padding.

This allows you to carry heavy pack loads and travel longer distances without putting stress on your pressure points.

When to Use Lightweight Hiking Boots?

two examples of hiking trails where lightweight hiking boots are useful

Terrain & Weather

If your hike takes you through a muddy trail, rocky terrain, or stream crossings, you need a good hiking boot that can handle those conditions. Outsoles with good traction, Gore-Tex waterproof liners, and durable uppers are all things to consider when using lightweight boots.

Weather conditions are also important to keep in mind. You’d want to use an insulated boot in cold weather, ideally trapping heat to keep your feet warm. However, you’d probably want something less padded and less waterproof in hot weather.

While water-resistant liners can wick sweat, they can also be the cause of it if not enough heat is released. However, Gore-Tex water-resistant boots are a good choice in light rain conditions.


Light boots should be used when your hike is longer than a few miles. However, distance isn’t the only factor that should be taken into account when deciding when to use a light boot.

Elevation, terrain, and hourly weather patterns should also be known, because those can make even a 5-mile hike seem longer if you’re unprepared.

Non-Waterproof vs. Waterproof Lightweight Hiking Boots

merrell moab 3 mid vs merrell moab 3 mid waterproof

Non-waterproof lightweight hiking boots do not come designed with a water-resistant membrane [3].

Instead, they’re made with synthetic mesh layers, which are more ventilated and flexible than something like a Gore-Tex layer.

However, in exchange for increased ventilation, the lack of water-resistance not only allows fresh air inside, but also moisture. This also includes any sweat that otherwise would’ve been wicked away from the foot.

Non-water repellant boots are usually worn in conditions where moisture and heat won’t be an issue.

Alternatively, waterproof lightweight hiking boots are designed with water-resistant layers. Usually, these supportive boots are made with various upper styles to compensate for the decreased ventilation.

They seal the feet off from all forms of water, while also absorbing sweat, but reducing airflow. Water-resistant boots are usually worn in conditions where you’ll anticipate a lot of wetness.

Related Article: Best Hiking Boots for Plantar Fasciitis

What Else Do We Consider When Choosing the Best Ultralight Hiking Boots?

What we at Outdooradept.com consider when choosing the best shoes for hiking


A pair of boots may feel different for each person, so we always consider the opinions of others when putting together a list like this, even if we’ve personally tried the product ourselves.

We verify how consistent the reviews are between each buyer to accurately gauge how well or poorly a product has performed.


A product’s shipping should always be affordable and have reasonable delivery times. The longer your boots are in transit, the more likely it is that something could go wrong with your delivery.

You should also choose a shipping option with a reputable courier that has guarantees in case your boots are lost or damaged.


We like to consider warranty deals when choosing a boot from certain brands. Even if a product is made with the best material, it can still be prone to sudden quality issues, such as sole tearing and seam detachment.

Manufacturers that offer replacement boots up to a certain timeframe after your purchase are usually customer-friendly.

Brand Popularity

The appeal of a brand is the last factor we consider. The more popular a manufacturer is, the more credible they are. When a brand has a large customer base, they have a responsibility to produce well-made products, so they’re less likely to have quality issues.

Since popular brands also have the most business, it’s easier to see what people are saying about them, either good or bad.

Our Nr. #1 Pick

As the most current product in the X Ultra product line, the X Ultra 4 comes with ActiveSupport straps, an improved chassis system, and increased stability in off-path environments, performing even better than the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid.

For a day trip, multi-day backpacking trip, and even some thru-hikes, the X Ultra 4 has shown consistent performance, earning the title of the best lightweight hiking boot on our list and possibly the best hiking boot on the market.

The X Ultra 4 is favored by many hikers as a highly versatile boot and praised by the community as perhaps Salomon’s best lightweight hiking boot.

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Out of all the hiking gear on this list, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid boots are our top pick.

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX


Should Hiking Boots Be Lightweight?

Hiking boots should be lightweight if you’re planning to hike simple, well-kept, or moderate paths. A light boot limits the amount of padding that could slow you down on easy paths.

Which Hiking Boots Are the Lightest?

The NORTIV 8 Ankle Highs are the lightest hiking boots on this list. Weighing 1 lb. per pair, some buyers have claimed the boots feel like they’re even less than that.

Are Heavier Hiking Boots Better?

Heavier hiking boots are better depending on the type of path you’re hiking. If you need more protection or stability, then a heavier boot would be ideal for advanced paths.

What Is a Good Weight for Hiking Boots?

A good weight for hiking boots varies depending on the type and intended use, but generally ranges between 2-3 pounds per pair, with lightweight boots weighing less than 2 pounds, midweight boots weighing between 2-3 pounds, and heavyweight boots weighing over 3 pounds.

Is It Worth Getting Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Boots?

Lightweight waterproof hiking boots are worth getting if you plan on hiking in unpredictable or wet weather. Rain, streams, and river crossings are common enough to make water-resistance necessary.

How Much Does a Light Hiking Boot Weigh?

A light hiking boot weighs roughly 2 lbs. or less. Materials such as the upper, midsole, outsole, and presence of a water-resistant lining all have an influence on the weight.

Christina Utz

Christina Utz

Christina Utz is a professional writer, mountain addict, and hiking enthusiast. She successfully finished a rock climbing class and a wilderness survival course, and by the age of 24, she hiked more than 1800 miles and finished over 260 different trails! Her expertise in hiking and outdoors helped numerous people to fulfill their adventurous spirit!

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