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10 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots & Shoes (2023 Buying Guide)

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 in a lighter boot without waterproofing. 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 investing in a new waterproof boot, keep reading. I’ve reviewed many of the options on the market, and here are my recommendations for the 10 best waterproof hiking boots. 


Lowa Renegade GTX

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

  • Gore-Tex Waterproof
  • Wicks away moisture
  • Vibram Evo outsole


KEEN Targhee 2

KEEN Targhee 2 Mid Height

  • KEEN.DRY waterproof
  • High traction grip
  • Excellent arch support 


Salomon Quest 4

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-TEX Hiking Boots

  • Gore-Tex waterproof
  • Light and cushioned
  • High traction grip

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.

  • Breathable Climate Control footbed
  • Full-length nylon stabilizing shank
  • Padded tongue and collar
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

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 versatile boots also feel extremely nice if you have wide 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 offered good ankle protection for my weak ankles in a way that helped me stay safe.

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz.
  • Midsole: Polyurethane
  • Upper Material: Nubuck leather
  • Outsole: Vibram rubber


  • Many different color options are available to best suit your style 
  • A great option for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis 
  • Very durable and should last for many years even if used on rugged terrain
  • Good balance of ruggedness and lightness 
  • Light hiking boot with good cushioning


  • More expensive than other boots 

2) KEEN Targhee 2 Mid-Hiking Boots

I like the rubber toe cap on these supportive boots because I don’t have to worry about slipping and not having toe protection in wet conditions. 

  • Dual-density EVA midsole
  • Torsional stability 
  • 100% Fabric
KEEN Targhee II Mid-Hiking Boots

One of the most comfortable hiking boots you can buy today, the Targhee 2 makes 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 climbing shoes. 

The enhanced torsion stability on this pair of mountaineering 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.

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 2 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Upper Material: Nubuck leather/nylon mesh/webbing
  • Outsole: Carbon rubber


  • Wide toe box leaves room for thicker socks and prevents toes from rubbing together 
  • Breathable enough to wear all seasons 
  • Considered by some the best hiking boot for all-day comfort 
  • Able to accommodate custom insoles 


  • Sizing can be inconsistent across the brand 

3) Salomon Quest 4

The way these comfortable 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. 

  • Light and cushioned
  • Made in USA
  •  Grippy and supportive
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-TEX Hiking Boots

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 some 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. 

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 2 lbs. 14.4 oz.
  • Midsole: EVA Foam
  • Upper Material: Leather/Textile
  • Outsole: Contagrip TD rubber


  • Very sturdy boots without being extra heavy
  • Great for backpacking trips without causing muscle fatigue 
  • Wearable out of the box, don’t require a long break-in period 
  • Maximum traction on slippery surfaces 
  • The insole molds perfectly to your foot while providing extra support 


  • Doesn’t breathe as well as desired in hot and dry climates 

4) Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof took me by surprise, not just with its remarkable waterproofing ability but also with how comfortable it was. 

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

Included on our list of the best hiking boots for wide feet, we found that Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP integrates M Select DRY technology, effortlessly keeping water out while letting moisture escape, and the air cushion heel absorbs shock while adding stability.

What struck me most, though, was the newly improved, removable footbed, which not only enhanced comfort but also helped control moisture and odor, something the previous version could have done better.

On the downside, the stiffness during the initial wear might turn off some users, but it was a minor quibble for me, given that these leather hiking boots felt more comfortable after a short break-in period.

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 2 lb. 0.9 oz. (women’s 8), 2 lbs. 2.6 oz. (men’s 9)
  • Midsole: Super Rebound Compound
  • Upper Material: Pigskin leather/mesh
  • Outsole: Vibram TC5+ rubber


  • Excellent waterproofing due to M Select DRY technology
  • Durable Vibram outsoles provide exceptional traction
  • Good ankle support for stability on various terrains
  • Versatile for both hiking and casual use 


  • Initial stiffness might require a brief break-in period
  • Can get warm during high-intensity hikes

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. 

  • Blocks Moisture
  • Superb traction
  • Increased breathability
Vasque Men's Breeze Lt Low GTX

I don’t really have anything negative to say about these Vasque Breeze boots. They’re very lightweight, have a short break-in period, and make a great option for backpacking boots, as you want a lightweight hiking boot when you’re carrying a heavy pack.

In fact, I think they’re some of the best lightweight hiking boots you’ll find. 

I tried these out on a snowy day and often see myself using them for my winter day 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 for their backpacking trips.

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 1 lb. 9.2 oz
  • Midsole: Dual-density compression-molded Enduralast EVA
  • Upper Material: Recycled mesh/1.2 mm suede leather/TPU yarn mesh
  • Outsole: Vibram Ground Control LiteBase with Megagrip compound


  • Fit like a glove and mold to  your foot shape 
  • The Vibram sole provides extra grip 
  • Can be used with snow shoes 
  • A more lightweight hiking boot compared to other boots 


  • Not as much ankle support as expected 
  • Run a bit narrow 

6) Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II 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. 

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

Another option on the list that works well if you want a good hiking boot on a budget is the Columbia Newton Ridge. These durable boots provide excellent waterproof protection, even at their affordable price. 

The lugs on these versatile hiking boots will help you grip surfaces well and provide just the right amount of traction in wet weather. As a bonus, they’re lightweight like a pair of trail runners, and instantly comfortable. You won’t need to break them in before hitting the trails. 

To see exactly how it performed during our tests, check the full Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof review.

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Midsole: Techlite
  • Upper Material: Polyurethane-coated leather/suede leather/mesh with metal hardware
  • Outsole: Omni-Grip non-marking rubber (20% Regrind rubber flecks)


  • A very affordable option 
  • Lightweight boots that offer extra comfort  
  • Grips well on various surfaces 


  • Not as durable as more expensive light hiking boots 
  • I wish it would have more ankle support 

7) Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Testing the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX hiking boots was quite an experience. Their Gore-Tex technology worked wonders under wet conditions, while the ADV-C Chassis enhanced stability and control. 

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

Despite an initially snug feeling, Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX adapted perfectly to my foot shape after a few uses. I appreciated how comfortably they cradled my feet while providing the necessary rigidity on the trail. 

Moreover, the Contagrip® outsoles performed well on mud, gravel, and damp grass, offering the right level of traction to keep me confident with each stride. 

Unfortunately, the shoes seemed less breathable than their predecessor, making my feet feel a bit hotter than usual during long runs on particularly warm days.

Product Specifications:

  • Weight: 1 lb. 10.1 oz. (women’s), 1 lb. 11.5 oz. (men’s 9)
  • Midsole: EnergyCell
  • Upper Material: PU-coated leather, textile
  • Outsole: All Terrain Contagrip®


  • Excellent waterproof lining that managed to keep water away
  • Good ankle support on descent
  • Great traction on both wet and dry surfaces


  • Slightly less breathable compared to the previous version
  • Takes a few walks to break in

8) Merrell Ontario Mid

If you’re a casual hiker, this strong contender from Merrell will check all of your boxes.

  • Keeps debris out
  •  Impermeable membrane 
  • Removable contoured footbed
Merrell Ontario Mid Wp Hiking Boot

Since it’s a full-grain leather boot, it will require some break in time, but after that initial period, these lighter boots will provide you with much comfort. 

I have narrower feet, so the roomy toe box in these breathable 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. 

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 1 lb. 15 oz.
  • Midsole: EVA Foam
  • Upper Material: Full-grain leather
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip rubber


  •  Extra room in the toe box makes these a good choice for wide feet 
  • The lacing system hardware is strong and secure 
  • Ability to add aftermarket insoles to customize comfort 


  • The sole seems a bit thin and might not hold up long term 
  • Limited amount of color options 

9) Timberland White Ledge Mid

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. 

  • Fully gusseted tongue
  • Solid rubber outsole 
  • Waterproof Leather
Timberland White Ledge Mid

We added these Timberland boots to our list of best hiking boots because they have a classic look and provide another fully waterproof leather upper option.

These are some of the lightest hiking boots out there and 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 with an excellent lacing system, so a good winter hiking boot

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 1 lb 14 oz
  • Midsole: EVA Foam
  • Upper Material: Leather
  • Outsole: Rubber lug


  • A good option to protect feet in snow and rain 
  • Affordable price point 
  • Adaptable enough to wear daily as well as on rocky trails 


  • Not as durable as expected for the Timberland name 
  • Rigid ankle support due to the poorly padded ankle cuff

10) La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX 

When I wore this hiking shoe, I felt like my foot was snug and properly supported. 

  • Vibram rubber toe cap
  • Excellent support and traction
  • Foot protection and stability
La Sportiva Mens TX4 Mid GTX

If you want hiking shoes that will hold up to rough terrain, La Sportiva TX4 Mid Gtx hiking footwear makes a great pick.

Although this is a pair of heavier boots, 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 even when carrying heavy loads.

Product Specifications

  • Weight: 2 lbs. 6.4 oz.
  • Midsole: Synthetic
  • Upper Material: Leather
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip rubber compound


  • Performs well when scrambling over rocks 
  • Excellent arch and ankle support and solid traction
  • Grips varied terrain exceptionally well 


  • The leather upper feels a bit stiffer than expected 

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. 

Hiking Sandals 

KEEN Newport H2 Sandals

  • Machine washable
  • Rear pull-on loop
  • Bungee lacing system
KEEN Newport H2 Sandals

To keep your feet cool and dry, try this KEEN footwear. Keen Newport H2 sandals are perfect for your warm weather hikes and even for wearing on the beach or around town. Additionally, we’ve added them to our best hiking sandals guide, where we review and compare the best sandals.


  • Closed-toe design protects your toes from hazards on the trails
  • Hold up well in water and dry quickly  
  • Great durability, holds up well with use 


  • Sizing can be difficult, they can fit a bit small 

Water Shoes 

Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe

  • Wet grip outsole
  • Open mesh & synthetic upper
  • Air-flow & water drainable
Columbia Women's Drainmaker Iv Breathable Shoe Water

If you want a water shoe with a bit more coverage than a sandal, this trail 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. 

We’ve tested this product and included it in our best water shoes for hiking in 2023.


  • Quick draining and drying after getting wet 
  • Provide good traction on wet surfaces 
  • Great for hiking 


  • Not the best water shoes for wearing in the pool 
  • The lace design isn’t very adjustable

Waterproof Hiking Boots Buyer’s Guide 

crossing a river while hiking
Courtesy of Alan Grinberg

As we put together the full list of the best hiking boots with water protection, we considered certain characteristics that determine whether or not a hiking boot will perform well in wet environments. 

Waterproofing Mechanism 

Not all waterproofing materials provide the same protection against water seeping inside. Look for good 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 technical terrain and a tread pattern that won’t slip when it gets wet. Vibram soles are popular options that provide ultimate traction, even when they get wet [1]. 


Always try to look for fast and lightweight hiking boots that feel more like a trail runner, as they’ll prevent muscle fatigue and help you go further. Some can feel bulky, especially full-leather boots.

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. All the boots that have 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. 

Comparison Table

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid$255 REI»
$255 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Gore-Tex
2 lbs. 7 oz.
KEEN Targhee II Mid$155 REI»
$106 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Keen.Dry

1 lb. 14 oz.
Salomon Quest 4$230 REI»
$230 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Gore-Tex2 lbs. 14.4 oz.
Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP$150 REI»
$150 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes2 lbs. 4 oz.
Vasque Breeze Lt GTX MidCheck on Amazon» Yes, Gore-Tex 1 lb. 10 oz.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus$99 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes1.75 lbs.
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid$175 REI»
$170 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Gore-Tex1 lb. 14.4 oz.
Merrell Ontario Mid WPCheck on Amazon» Yes, M Select Dry
1 lb. 11 oz.
Timberland White Ledge Mid$89 REI»
Check on Amazon»
Yes2 lbs. 4 oz.
La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX $209 REI»
$209 Backcountry»
Check on Amazon»
Yes, Gore-Tex2 lbs. 6.4 oz.

When I Should Wear Waterproof Hiking Shoes?

Wear watertight hiking boots when you 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

  • The waterproof version protects the inside of the boot and foot from water in the forms of puddles, rain, streams, and sweat
  • Increased insulation from the water-resistant liner helps the feet stay dry and warm in colder weather
  • Prevents unforeseen hiking conditions from slowing you down
  • Additional padding from the waterproof membrane provides another layer of superficial protection and cushioning

Waterproof Boots CONS

  • Adding a water-resistant lining also increases the overall weight by a few ounces so these are not the most lightweight hiking boots
  • Adding a waterproof feature increases the overall price of the boot
  • Waterproof membranes can run hot in warmer weather due to a compromise between water resistance and ventilation that’s why they are mostly found in winter boot versions
  • Can still overflow if water manages to seep over the collar of the hiking boot

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 this type of hiking boots, but rather a good pair of lightweight boots or shoes.

During summer, waterproof sandals or waterproof trail running shoes are recommended if you are not hiking on difficult terrain.

Non-Waterproof Boots PROS

  • Lack of waterproof lining makes the hiking boot more lightweight due to the lack of padding
  • The inside of the hiking boot has increased airflow to prevent overheating and sweaty feet
  • Water that builds inside the hiking boot can be expelled more easily and decrease the drying time
  • Water-resistant liners from some brands can significantly increase the price

Non-Waterproof Boots CONS

  • Water can more easily enter the shoe, leading to uncomfortable hiking conditions and possible bacteria build-up
  • Lack of water protection usually makes the boot less durable and more prone to premature wear and tear in wet conditions
  • Less versatile in common hiking conditions you could encounter on a muddy trail
  • Longer day hikes could be riskier due to unpredictable weather patterns and unforeseen challenges on a rugged trail

Will My Boots Stay Waterproof Forever?

waterproofing hiking boots

The waterproofing on most hiking 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 person stepping in water


The best hiking boots with waterproofing have 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.

Most hikers prefer GTX hiking boots for their high-quality lining.


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. 

The best lightweight hiking boots are usually water-resistant and not waterproof, as they give up extras (like a waterproof lining) to preserve their lightness.

Our Number #1 Pick 

Our top pick from the boots on our list is the Lowa Renegade GTX hiking boots. I also found them to excel better than other hiking boots in terms of comfort, which was a big advantage. 

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot 

This relatively lightweight hiking 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.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot


How Can You Tell if Hiking Boots Are Waterproof?

Look to see if your hiking boot has a thick, sticky rubber sole and a waterproof membrane. You can also see if they have the Gore-Tex badge, which would indicate that they are waterproof.  

Can Waterproof Hiking Boots Be Submerged in Water?

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. 

Is Gore-Tex Waterproof Forever?

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. 

Is Gore-Tex the Best Waterproof?

Gore-Tex lining 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 for their lightweight boot models, like the eVent option from Altra. 

Are Hiking Boots Better Waterproof Than Trail Running Shoes?

Over the years we found that hiking boots are generally better waterproofed than trail runners due to their design, which includes waterproof materials and higher ankle support. This makes them more suitable for wet and rugged terrain, providing better protection against moisture and enhancing overall comfort during hikes in wet conditions.

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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