One important thing I’ve learned in my outdoor adventures is that finding good waterproof hiking boots is more important than I initially thought. If you hit the trails with the wrong hiking footwear, it can make a beautiful day turn miserable.
Once, during a hike, I wasn’t adequately prepared and had to trek over a small river. On the other side, I ended up with wet feet that quickly turned to cold feet as well.
Now, I always purchase waterproof shoes because I never know where my next adventure will take me or when I’ll face an unexpected rainstorm out on the trail.
If you’re considering purchasing some waterproof boots, keep reading. I’ve reviewed many of the options on the market, and here are my recommendations for the 10 best waterproof hiking boots.
Our Top Recommended Waterproof Hiking Boots And Shoes
1) Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
The gore-tex liner in them stops water in its tracks and, with the help of the gusseted tongue, keeps your feet dry in all weather conditions.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid boots make our list of best waterproof hiking boots because they really do excel in all areas for wet weather hiking.
It also has a moisture-wicking footbed that helps with their breathability and keeps your feet from getting sweaty, even in warmer weather.
These boots are also extremely nice on the feet. I walked a full day in them right out of the box and didn’t experience any pain or pressure points. I also felt like they supported my weak ankles in a way that helped me stay safe.
2) KEEN Targhee 2 Mid-Hiking Boots
I like the rubber toe cap on these boots because I don’t have to worry about slipping and not having toe protection in wet conditions.
These hiking boots make a great waterproof option for people on a budget. They’re not only affordable but well-made and made by a company that really knows how to design a good pair of outdoor shoes.
The enhanced torsion stability on this pair of boots makes sure you stay secure on various terrains and keeps your foot well-protected. Combined with the aggressive traction on the outsole, you’ll not experience any slippage on wet rocks or mountains.
We’ve also found this footwear to be a very effective hiking boot for flat feet.
3) Salomon Quest 4 GORE-TEX
The way these boots lace up ensures that your ankle is constantly supported, and you’ll easily be able to traverse over technical or rocky terrain without risk of injury.
If you’re looking for waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support, you’ll find them here.
Salomon always seems to make my list of best boots for all different types of adventures, and this gore-tex option is no exception. Salomon Quest 4 GTX are one of the best waterproof-lightweight hiking boots you can find.
I personally like the high ankle cuffs of these boots. When I tested them walking through a somewhat deep stream, the water didn’t seep through the top of the boot at all.
4) Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Boots
The high-performance Vibram outsole gives you confidence in wet terrain, enabling you to navigate the path ahead effortlessly without the risk of slips and falls.
A solid option if you’re looking for waterproof outdoor boots that are comfortable and versatile, you need to consider the Merrell Moab 2 Mid.
The ankle support is quite good and not so rigid that it takes strength away from your ankle area.
I find that these are one of the most breathable options that are on the market because of their combined leather and mesh uppers. They truly are a three-season hiking boot.
5) Vasque Breeze Lt Low GTX Waterproof Breathable Hiking Shoe
They kept my feet nice and warm and did a good job of keeping the wet snow out with the gore-tex membrane.
I don’t really have anything negative to say about this footwear. They’re very lightweight and make a great option for backpacking boots, as you want a lightweight boot when you’re carrying a heavy pack.
In fact, I think they’re some of the best lightweight hiking shoes you’ll find.
I tried these out on a snowy day and often see myself using them for my winter hikes.
They’re also very stylish hiking boots, which is not typical of many waterproof options that can look bulky or rugged. They appeal to many hikers who are looking for stylish and functional hiking boots.
6) Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof
I tested these out standing in shallow water for several minutes, and the waterproofing didn’t let anything in at all. They kept my feet dry and comfortable.
Another option on the list that works well if you want a good hiking boot on a budget is the Columbia Newton Ridge. These boots provide excellent waterproof protection, even at their affordable price.
The lugs on these hiking boots will help you grip surfaces well and provide just the right amount of traction in wet weather. As an added bonus, they’re lightweight and instantly comfortable. You won’t need to break them in before hitting the trails.
7) Salomon Outline Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots
The sticky outsole will keep you safely on track and help you traverse wet terrain without worry.
The second pair of Salomon boots on our list of best waterproof hiking boots is this sneaker-like option that provides excellent all-around performance.
Users mentioned that they liked the mudguard around the shoe’s base, which protects the sides from getting too dirty, and I agree. I’m always disappointed when synthetic material boots get too muddy and are challenging to clean. This feature helps with maintenance and keeps them looking great.
These hiking boots are also just about as waterproof as you can get. Even under pressure, water is not getting through the uppers.
8) Merrell Ontario Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
If you’re a casual hiker, this strong contender from Merrell will check all of your boxes.
Since it’s a full-grain leather boot, it will require some break in time, but after that initial period, these boots will provide you with much comfort.
I have narrower feet, so the roomy toe box in these boots was a bit too wide for my liking, but it would work great for someone with wide feet and provide the right amount of room.
Other users also said they had great arch support, making it a good option for someone looking for a more traditional hiking boot.
9) Timberland White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
I tested these out on a multi-day hike and found they did cause me a bit of pressure in certain areas of my foot, which is why I wouldn’t recommend them for backpacking or thru-hiking.
We added these Timberland boots to our list of best waterproof hiking boots because they have a classic look and provide another fully waterproof leather upper option. These are another great choice for day hikers or the hiker who hits the trail casually.
They are fully waterproof and look great, so many users rate them high in those areas. Timberland White Ledge is also pretty warm, so a good winter hiking boot.
10) La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX
When I wore this hiking shoe, I felt like my foot was snug and properly supported.
If you want hiking boots that will hold up to rough terrain, La Sportiva TX4 Mid Gtx makes a great pick. They have great torsional rigidity that gives you the stability you need for steep descents and approaches, especially technical ones.
Of all the options on our list, these are definitely the best option for summer hiking, as the breathability is excellent, and your feet will stay cool.
Waterproof Hiking Shoe Alternatives
Some hikers find waterproof hiking boots too bulky and might not have enough breathability for certain situations. For example, many of these boots can cause your feet to sweat or feel hot in the summertime.
Two alternatives that will also work well in water include hiking sandals and water shoes.
KEEN Newport H2 Sandals
To keep your feet cool and dry, try these KEEN sandals. They’re perfect for your warm weather hikes and even for wearing on the beach or around town.
Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe
If you want a water shoe with a bit more coverage than a sandal, this running shoe style provides additional protection while still allowing you to walk or run through water. These water shoes are so lightweight you’ll hardly feel like you’ve got them on at all.
Waterproof Hiking Boots Buyer’s Guide
As we put together the full list of the best waterproof hiking boots, we considered certain characteristics that determine whether or not a boot will perform well in wet environments.
Not all waterproofing materials provide the same protection against water seeping inside. Look for hiking boots that have gore-tex or another type of waterproof membrane.
As far as the outside material, nubuck leather can be waterproofed well, but there are also synthetic materials that do a great job. In general, a mesh upper will be the least waterproof.
You need an outsole that will keep you secure on various terrain and a tread pattern that won’t slip when it gets wet. Vibram is a popular option that provides ultimate traction, even when it gets wet .
Always try to look for fast and light boots, as they’ll prevent muscle fatigue and help you go further. Some waterproof boots can feel bulky, especially leather ones. Make sure you consider what other hikers say about how light they feel on the feet, even when wet.
Excellent traction means you won’t have to worry about falling on a slippery rock or when ascending or descending in the mud. Deep lugs will help your foot hold onto these surfaces better. The best hiking boots will also hold their grip on soft surfaces and loose dirt.
When I Should Wear Waterproof Hiking Shoes?
Wear waterproof hiking boots when you’ll encounter conditions that could get your feet wet. For example, you will want to wear a waterproof boot if you know you’ll hike in rainy conditions, through mud, in the snow, or need to cross over streams or rivers.
Waterproof Boots PROS
Waterproof Boots CONS
When Is Better To Avoid Waterproof Hiking Shoes?
You don’t need a waterproof hiking boot if you’re hiking in very arid, dry, or summer conditions. For example, a hike in the desert would not require waterproof hiking boots.
During summer, waterproof sandals or trail running shoes are recommended if you are not hiking on difficult terrain.
Non-Waterproof Boots PROS
Non-Waterproof Boots CONS
Will My Boots Stay Waterproof Forever?
The waterproofing on most boots will not last forever. In general, you should apply new waterproofing to your boots every few uses, especially if you have gotten them wet. This process is easy to do at home, using specialized waterproofing products.
Check our guide on how to waterproof your hiking boots in order to avoid wet feet after a few uses.
What Is the Difference Between Waterproof, Water-Repellent, and Water-Resistant Boots?
A boot with waterproofing has a special membrane that keeps water completely out of the inside of the boot.
These types of boots can handle pressurized water without getting your feet wet.
If a boot has a water-repellent coating, it means that the material will not easily absorb water. Instead, it will bead up on the outside.
It will hold up well to small amounts of water. However, heavily pressurized water (like a rushing stream or torrential rain) will cause the inside to get wet.
The lowest level of water protection is water-resistant. It generally means that water takes a bit of time to seep through the material, so your feet won’t get wet immediately.
However, you cannot stand in water, or you will definitely get wet. At most, water-resistant boots will handle a bit of light rain.
Our Number #1 Pick
Our top pick from the boots on our list is the Lowa Renegade GTX. I also found them to excel better than others in terms of comfort, which was a big advantage.
This boot has excellent waterproofing, great performance, and maximum traction. The high ankle collar also helps to keep water out, and it has a great membrane.
Look to see if your hiking boot has a thick rubber sole and a waterproof membrane. You can also see if they have the gore-tex badge, which would indicate that they are waterproof.
Hiking boots that are truly waterproof can be submerged in water without getting your feet wet, as long as the depth of the water doesn’t reach over the top of the shoe and seep in from the calf. Wearing gaiters decreases this possibility.
Gore-tex products are guaranteed waterproof, windproof, and breathable. However, it does not last forever. The average lifespan of this material is 3 to 5 years.
Gore-tex is the best option for a membrane that’s waterproof and it is also the most well-known waterproofing material. However, some brands are exploring other membrane options, like the eVent option from Altra.