This guide to the best hiking boots of 2018 provides information on ten hiking boots and eight hiking shoes, and offers tips and advice to know before you buy.
Hiking is an activity with a low barrier to entry; all one really needs to head out for a day in the woods is a pair of sturdy shoes and a mindset for walking. Both are equally important, but one is far easier to come by. And while it may be tempting to head out for a summit bid in a pair of well-worn running shoes, it’s best advised to shod yourself the appropriate footwear. Unlike concrete sidewalks and gravel paths, the trail calls for hardened and supportive footwear to combat dirt, mud, jagged rocks and streams. The answer is hiking boots and hiking shoes, and these are the best available.
The Best Hiking Boots of 2018
Editor’s Pick: Tecnica Forge
The Forge is the first hiking boot from ski boot manufacturer Tecnica, and it’s also the first hiking boot that’s fully customizable. Every piece of the Forge is designed for customization, most notably so the upper, which is available in both synthetic ripstop and nubuck leather. In addition to that, Tecnica equipped the Forge with all the indications of a solid hiking boot, including a Gore-Tex liner and Vibram rubber sole.
Because the Forge is a full-custom boot, buying options are limited to the brick-and-mortar stores that keep it and its boot-fitting robot in stock. The typical fit process that involves trying on multiple pairs of boots and walking up and down a ramp covered fake rock doesn’t apply here because the boot feels remarkably different before and after molding. That process takes about 20 to 30 minutes and involves two rounds of heating and molding, one for the Forge’s insoles and another for the uppers.
The result of that is about as good a fit as a hiking boot can achieve, and it doesn’t come with a rigorous break-in period either. That alone should make the Forge an attractive choice for many, and it’s not the only feature that makes it a great hiking boot. The Vibram sole is appropriately rugged, the wrap-around cuff is comfortable and supportive, and the upper is waterproof but breathable. For its first foray into a new category, Tecnica hit the mark.