Whether you’re going on a short, long or an off-trail hike, your footwear will be the most critical gear regardless of the season. With the right pair, you can glide down a steep mountain with a smile. However, poor-quality hiking shoes can have you gnashing your teeth with each footfall.
On the same note, the variety of backpacking shoes and hiking boots has exploded in the recent past following many specialized designs, brands, color finishes and tons of features. True, this has resulted in a large selection for you; however, the more the choices the harder is your decision-making process.
How do you handle this breathtaking variety? Well, most people prefer sticking to their favorite shoe model for years. But suppose your go-to boot or shoe has been discontinued? Or your favorite brand’s quality is deteriorating with time? What about that curiosity?
You definitely want to know about the new and quality boots out there, don’t you? Whatever the case, don’t be overwhelmed; we have researched 7 of the best Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes brands in the market, showcasing a brand from each other to help you find at least one that best meet your needs.
What is the ‘Best’ Description?
It goes without saying that your hiking boot should be in sync with where and how you hike. Therefore, as you select your boot; forget about looks, flashy features, numerical sizes and your friend’s recommendation, unless you both have identical feet. But rather take the following into consideration.
Your activities while on trail
Will you be walking, running, day hiking, light backpacking, off-trail hiking or mountaineering? All these activities are different and most probably on different terrains. Moreover, the loads carried for each activity vary and so should the boot type.
For example, a mid or low-cut boot with split-leather and multiple seams can work perfectly for a light pack and a well-kept trail. All is needed are Gore-Tex socks or a water repellent coat to boost their waterproof properties if need be.
However, you can’t rely on such shoes when the only hiking trail available is a goat beaten path through the alder tangles. In that case, boots with a full-grain leather, more rigid sole and above-ankle support will do.
A perfect fit
Nothing results in a dull hike like blisters, sprained arches, blackened toenails, plantar fasciitis and bone spurs than an ill-fitting pair of shoes. To avoid this, you should purchase a hiking shoe that fits properly.
Fitting start with the socks as their varying thickness can alter the boot fit significantly. If possible, try on the hiking shoes while wearing the similar socks to those you will use in the woods or better yet, buy hiking socks and the shoes simultaneously.
Also, consider purchasing a boot one/half size larger than the norm. Avoid any pair whose toe box smash your toes. In addition, go for a boot ‘last’ that matches the volume and shape of your foot. Consider the shoe’s footbed too. It’s important as it maintains the sole even-handed preventing heel slip and arch pain.
If you can’t try the boot before purchasing (like in a case of online shopping), have your feet length, arch length and width measured on a calibrated fitting device. Get details about your feet volume too from specialists.
Send the resulting data alongside with the payments to the online store you will be purchasing from. You can also make use of sizing charts to help establish your size or consult boot fitters.
This is a key consideration if you are hiking frequently. To have a durable boot, go for a shoe design that’s best suited for the terrain and your frequent usage.
Also consider shoes made of full grain leather, polyurethane midsoles, and rubber with carbon additives outsoles to boost their hardness and durability. Most importantly, buy a pair with excellent customer reviews regarding their lifespan and from a reputable brand.
This takes into account many factors such as breathability, warmth and water resistance. For starters look at the padding. A tongue lining should be adequate and relatively stiff to combat discomfort due to tight laces and an internal ankle filler should be decent and adequate on each side to minimize chaffing.
If you’re in need of a breathable and waterproof shoe, look for pairs made of Gore-Tex, eVent or other materials using a similar technology. You can also consider boots with water repellent coating to boost their water resistance and consequently your comfort.
During summer, though, consider selecting boots with a ventilating mesh rather than Gore-Tex membrane as the latter function only via diffusion. This requires temperature gradient that may not be possible over summer.
A Gore-Tex made boot can also guarantee you warm feet as the membrane is windproof and thus alleviate chills alongside retaining your feet temperature. Better yet, select a pair with synthetic insulation for warmer feet.
For added comfort, buy a pair that’s well cushioned to absorb shock and pressure alongside having well-positioned plates to protect your feet from roots and uneven rock bruises. Most importantly, break in your new shoes a couple of times before an extended hike for a better fit.
Weight of the hiking boots
You don’t want extra weight on your backpack, do you? You can consider going for boots made of synthetics or EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) midsoles as they are lighter. Whatever your criteria, just ensure that your pair leans on the lighter side.
A boot’s material has impacts on its breathability, weight, water resistance, and durability making it a very vital consideration. Suppose you go for a full-grain leather boot, you can be assured of its durability, water, and abrasion resistance.
However, you’ll have to forego breathability and lightweight. These properties can be recovered by purchasing a pair made of split-grain leather paired with nylon. Nonetheless, the material has low water and abrasion resistance. Nubuck leather on its side is a buffed full-grain leather that resembles suede. It’s more durable, resistant to water and abrasion, flexible but take long to loosen/break in.
The list can go on and on; synthetics, plastic, vegan etc. but one thing is prominent; each material has its merits and demerits. It’s therefore up to you to make a solid decision based on your needs.
Support and Stability
You don’t want to be a victim of slipping and falling with each footfall, do you? To avoid this, go for stable hiking boots.
Start with their midsoles, are they made of polyurethane or EVA? Consider buying a boot with a polyurethane midsole or one made from EVA densities as they’re firmer providing support and stability.
When it comes to internal support, go for a pair with shanks covering the whole length of the midsole. Buy pairs with deeper, thicker and if possible spaced lugs for an improved grip alongside shedding mud more easily. In addition, consider heel breaks if you will be hiking in steep areas.
Remember footwear aren’t just for covering your foot. They should provide protection, stability, support, proper cushioning and comfort to your feet by keeping off any adverse elements. Following the tips outlined above, you can be sure to select a perfect hiking boot that suits your needs.
Reviewing the top-rated Gore-Tex hiking boots
Whether you plan on going camping, hiking, mountaineering, snowboarding etc.; there’s a Gore-Tex shoe out there for you. Are you open to a recommendation? If so, we hope that you will find our review of 7 of the top hiking shoes helpful. Better yet, you can find a recommended brand that meets your needs. If you need something different, check out our other Gore-Tex shoes reviews.
Let’s get started…
Vasque Men’s Breeze 2.0 Gore-Tex Hiking Boot
- Reputable brand
- Very popular bestseller among Gore-Tex hiking boots
- Arc tempo rocker action, and
- Great customer reviews
Weight: 20 Oz
Dimension: 13 by 10 by 5 inches
Features: Wicking nylon mesh and Gore-Tex liners, gusseted padded tongue, thermoplastic urethane plate, Vibram contact rubber outsoles, molded EVA midsole, Dual-density EVA footbed, Nubuck leather (2mm thick), airy nylon mesh
Best use: Day hiking, backpacking, trail running, trekking
Much as Vasque Men’s Breeze 2.0 Gore-Tex boots get steamy on hot and long hikes with their cuff feeling a little higher for light hikers, they’re the best option when tackling tough and demanding trails. For starters, the breeze is secure and comfortable. Its Gore-Tex liner ensures that the pair is breathable (during cold seasons) and resistant to elements keeping your feet warm and dry.
It’s a mid-cut with its cuff above the ankle for protection and control on steep hikes, loose rocks etc. The urethane plate provides midsole rigidity that’s highly needed in exhausting hikes. The heel box being narrow help prevents any slippage on steep rocks.
In addition, its super aggressive outsole is made of rubber with toe bumpers for increased durability and protection. The 2 mm thick Nubuck leather is top quality and has metal lacing hooks as an added bonus. Is it worth the dough? Absolutely as you can rely on this boot for anything any adventure throws at you.
Related: The Vasque Men’s Breeze III GTX Boot has an extended shaft by 1 inch, made of synthetics, has an affordable price (when compared to the upper limit of Breeze 2.0), ventilation ports and its Gore-Tex liners have comfort extended technology.
Salomon Men’s Quest 4D II GTX Hiking Boot
- Top brand
- Excellent designs
- 4.625-inch forefoot
- Great customer reviews
Weight: 3.24 lbs for a US size 11.5 US
Dimension: 10 by 9 by 10 inches
Features: Nubuck leather with nylon mesh material, seam-sealed Gore-Tex membrane, removable ortho lite footbed, dual-density EVA midsoles, Thermoplastic urethane plates, wicking polyester linings, gusseted tongues, contagrip outsole, standard lacing, 4 D advanced chassis
Best use: Mountain sports, trail running, adventure racing, hiking, skiing
Much as the boot may have some insoles problems and the need to double knot your laces, it’s the best for any hiker who loves their freedom. You can rely on it to keep on trudging regardless of the trail’s turn from a beaten baby powder to sleek mud.
With adequate ankle support for comfort, Salomon Men’s Quest 4D II GTX Hiking Boot are built for the long and tough haul. They are fitted with features necessary to keep your feet jovial throughout the haul. Their Gore-Tex membrane is water resistant and breathable which ensure your feet are dry alongside preventing any chances of having soggy toes.
It’s contagrip sole ensure firm traction as you navigate nasty scree fields and hairball ridgelines while their mud guard and padded tongue keep stubborn hitchhikers at bay. In addition, EVA midsoles supply long-lasting support and comfort with the urethane plate helping reduce ankle pain, control flex alongside enhancing stability.
Its 4 D advanced chassis and 4.625 wide forefront guarantee a stable and a fitting boot. The price! True, but nothing good come on a silver platter, is there?
Related: The Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boot is a good alternative if you are looking for a more affordable pair.
Merrell Men’s Moab Mid GTX Hiking Boot
- Good brand
- Good reviews
- Light weight
- Aegis antimicrobial pigments technology
Weight: 1 lb
Dimension: 14.2 by 10.6 by 4.5 inches
Features: Vibram multi-sport sole, molded EVA footframe, M-select FRESH, Gore-Tex XCR insert, ortholite insole, air cushions, breathable and waterproof Dura leather textile, bellows tongue
Best use: Trail running, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, snowboarding
Merrell Men’s Moab Mid GTX hiking boot has a flaw in its design. I.e. The hard rubber extends over the soft causing a ‘biting’ feeling. Worse, the soft rubber does compress with time and the stitches wear out fast. Nonetheless, this boot is ideal for anyone as its all round.
Have you ever gone for a hike in Moab? That rugged and rocky terrain of the desert (Utah). If so, you can appreciate the need for support and breathability in your footwear. Much as it’s a desert, the downpours fall in epic proportions capable of creating flooded streams from dry creek beds in minutes.
To avoid all these adverse elements, just lace up the Merrell hiking footwear and experience how supportive, lightweight, totally waterproof, breathable and grippy hiking boots should feel. What’s more? These boots have Aegis antimicrobial pigment in their mesh lining that not only fends off the odor but also prevent bacterial growth in your shoe.
Related: The Merrell Men’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is a good recommendation as it a more affordable price as compared to our main product and has an M-select DRY feature for a warm, dry foot.
Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude V I Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Great brand
- Good review
- Great design
Weight: 1 lb 4 0z
Dimensions: 12 by 8 by 4 inches
Features: Full-grain leather, hydrophobic technology, I shield coating, bootie construction, Multi-direction Traction rubber outsole, Compression-molded EVA midsoles, rust-proof eyelets, ortholite insole
Best use: Hiking, backpacking, walking
Much as it’s not that breathable or a perfect fit for a narrow foot; Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude V I Waterproof hiking boot is the best companion for your feet. It’s sealed with Dri-Tec membranes to ensure full waterproofness. With the exclusive I-shield coating, the shoe can repel water, oil, and dirt keeping them looking ageless year after year.
Their Ortholite insoles deliver superior cushioning and lasting comfort while the molded EVA midsole absorb impact adding further comfort, cushioning and support. In addition, Multi-directional Traction rubber outsole provide a firm grip regardless of the terrain ensuring stability. What’s more? You get to have all these benefits with minimal break-in time.
Related: The Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude IV Waterproof Hiking Boot is the more popular best seller among Gore-Tex hiking boots as compared to our main product and their outsoles are made of carbonated rubber which increases their durability.
Dunham Men’s Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot
- Reputable brand
- Good reviews
- Unique design
Weight: 18 Oz
Dimension: 14 by 5 by 5 inches
Features: Multi-directional lug outsole (slip-resistant TRU-TRAK sole), graphite rollbar with lateral and medial TPU posts, full-grain leather material, adjustable lace closure, toe guard, memory foam footbed, removable EVA midsole, fiberglass shank, seam-sealed waterproof construction, extended toe box, rubber bumper, padded tongue
Best use: Walking, hiking
Following customer reviews, Dunham Cloud Mid-Cut Waterproof Boot loses support and cushioning very fast. It’s siding stitches loosen really fast too. Nonetheless, Dunham cloud mid-cut pair provides waterproofing and comfort which ensures that your feet are dry and happy. The cloud features graphite rollbar which is strategically positioned in the midsole for maximum rearfoot stability.
Its medial and lateral TPU posts ensure strides alignment for comfort regardless of the terrain. In addition, its TRU-TRAK sole provides aggressive traction while premium foam disperses shock and pressure adding support and stability. With the days getting shorter, are you planning to go on an off-trail hike? If so, this cloud got you covered.
Related: The Dunham Men’s Cloud Low Oxford is available in extended widths, adjustable to fit a variety of feet and relatively cheaper.
Ariat Men’s Terrain H2O Hiking Boot
- Top brand
- Excellent reviews
- ATS (Advanced Torque Stability) technology
- Great aesthetics
Weight: 1 lb 7 Oz
Dimension: 13 by 12 by 5 inches
Features: Waterproof full-grain leather, Duratread sole, rubber heel and toe guard, ATS ole technology, Waterproof construction, round toe profile, EVA midsole, moisture-wicking lining, lace-up closure
Best use: Hiking, horse riding, athletics (show jumping, team penning etc.), skiing
Don’t let few threads that are less aggressive hinder you from acquiring this boot. Rather, take on grueling rides regardless of the weather with Ariat Men’s Terrain H2O Boot. They’re made to have a strong finish over rugged terrain while providing great protection and performance following their oiled full-grain leather.
Inside, waterproof membrane together with moisture-licking lining keep your feet comfortable and dry. Below your feet, shock and pressure absorbing EVA midsoles together with ATS sole technology provide ergonomic cushioning and support all day.
On their side, durable Duratread rubber outsole resists slip, oils, wear, and barnyard acids for maximum protection and great flexibility on the hike. Do you hear the hills beckoning? Answer their call with this boot for a fun hike.
Related: If you want a good but cheaper alternative to the above pair, the Ariat Men’s Terrain Pro H2O Hiking Boot is more affordable and has ATS Pro technology.
Mammut Comfort Tour Mid GTX SURROUND Women
- Great brand
- Unique design
- Built-in sonar technology
- New in the market
Weight: 1 lb 14 Oz
Dimension: Single, size 8
Features: Nubuck leather & soft shell fabric, built-in sonar technology, TPU insert, EVA midsole, Gore-Tex surround technology, lace closure, board lasted, lightweight liquid rubber
Best use: Hiking, trekking, skiing, backpacking
Much as their outsole appear to be slightly warped, Mammut Comfort Tour Mid GTX Surround women boots are the queen of any trail. Root-riddled, craggy trails bow in their face. They’re build to handle slippery descents and tricky inclines.
With their Gore-Tex surround technology, they ensure your feet remain warm, dry and at optimal comfort alongside preventing blisters. Their Nubuck leather and shell fabric provide protection against jagged roots and rocks while their IP EVA wedge, grip comfort sole and sonar technology ensure comfort and ample traction throughout the hike.
Following their rolling concept, a natural gait is created that reduces foot fatigue alongside prohibiting your ankle from rolling/twisting. Are you planning on meandering through the San Juan’s? These boots got you covered.
Related: Another good pair for women is the Mammut T Aenergy GTX Women which makes use of high-quality materials 2Tone PA, hybrid shell (soft shell 3-D Textile Scale Technology).
There you have it! A review of 7 of the top Gore-Tex hiking shoes from the comfort of a walking boot, the durability of a working pair to the aggressive traction and support of a hiker. We strongly believe that you will find at least one brand that meets your needs; therefore, don’t hesitate to check them out.
Summing it up
As the days grow shorter, the hills beckon grow louder. How do you answer them? Well, it all begins with selecting the right footwear. How? Follow the tips outlined above on what to consider as you purchase your hiking boots and be sure to choose a perfect pair.
If researching is too much of a hassle; don’t worry, we’ve done the dirty work for you. Check out the recommended boots and be sure to find at least one type that suits you. If not, you will have a clear guideline on how to go about selecting the right hiking boot.
Do you know of a Gore-Tex hiking shoe that we should have included in the list? If so, include it in the comments below.