I think we can all agree…
Boots are one of the most important accessories for any hiker. If your boots aren’t comfortable and effective, chances are you won’t be comfortable or enjoy your time outdoors.
That being said, no one wants to spend a tons of money on hiking boots. After all, there are SO many cool things that you can spend you money on (check out these 7 awesome survival tools).
In this guide, we review a few of the best cheap hiking boots that are sure to fit any budget. We cover both cheap men’s hiking boots and cheap women’s hiking boots, so everyone is sure to find something they like.
Best Cheap Men’s Hiking Boots
Here are a few of the best cheap hiking boots for men:
Timberland is a classic brand when it comes to quality boots, and for great reason.
The Timberland White Ledge’s are 100% waterproof, tried and tested by thousands of hikers. With this boot, you won’t have to worry about any leaks or tears. In addition, the rugged leather is abrasion and puncture resistant, so they are poised to last you at least a few years.
Not only are these boots built for performance, but also comfort. In fact, these are rated as one of the most comfortable boots on the market. They feature a padded tongue and collar as well as a removable footbed for prolonged comfort.
To top it off, the Timberland White Ledge waterproof boots and one of the most durable on our list. The rubber soles should last 3-4 year at the least, even with every day use in rough terrain. The rubber sole also features a BSFP motion efficiency system, which increases traction.
Overall, these boots are extremely tough to beat for the price.
The KEEN Targhee II is one of the highest rated hiking shoes on the market. They are carefully crafted out of high quality leather right here in the United States.
One thing that I can say about these shoes is that they can handle some rough treatment. They feature a lugged outsole, a thick rubber sole, and thick leather to ensure amazing durability, no matter what you put them through. These shoes are also completely waterproof up to the collar.
These shoes are also great on the comfort side of things. They feature a padded tongue and collar and don’t require more breaking-in.
One thing that I do have to say about the Keen Targhee II is that they tend to run a little small. If you decide to go with these, you might want to order a half size larger than you usually would.
Columbia make amazing outdoor gear for virtually every hobby. Why should hiking be any different?
The Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Men’s Hiking Boots are a safe bet for anyone looking for well made, durable boots. They are crafted from PU coated leather, mesh, suede, and metal to form the ultimate hiking footwear. In addition, these boots are seam-sealed to form a airtight, waterproof fit that can take on any stream or river.
One thing I really love about this boot is its 0.5″ platform sole, which keeps you from feeling every little pebble you step on. Overall, the high platform makes for a much more comfortable hike. The soles are also made from a Omni-Grip™ non-marking traction rubber (a Columbia special!) which lends to an amazing grip.
Finally, these boots are surprisingly lightweight and comfortable. Judging by their appearances, the Ridge Newton Plus II’s look like they would weight a ton. In reality, they are very light and cushiony. I think the PU leather has a lot to do with this.
Just by looks, you can probably tell that these Merrell Moab waterproof boots are the most unique on out list! Made out of a combination of leather and textile, these boots are different than anything else we have covered. Don’t get it wrong, though; they are great hiking boots.
I am not sure what type of magic Merrell developed here, but the mesh on the Moab’s keeps water out while allowing moisture and heat to escape. I don’t know how it works, but I won’t question greatness. If you want to be safe, spray the outside with a waterproof boot spray.
In addition, these boots are lightweight and able to handle any task. They are light enough to wear as everyday work shoes, but tough enough to take on rough terrain. A lot of reviewers also say that the Moab’s do excellent with slippery surfaces.
For those on a strict budget, these Hi-Tec Bandera Waterproof Boots are hard to beat. They are the cheapest on our list, yet still deliver some good features.
Like any great hiking boots, these are breathable. They effectively keep water out without making it feel like your feet are stuck in plastic bags. Some users report that they experience leaks, which others claim the Moab’s are 100% waterproof.
When it comes it comfort, these boots are average. You really can’t expect too much though out of a $50 pair of boots. For what you pay, they are definitely worth it!
Best Cheap Women’s Hiking Boots
Here are a few of the best cheap hiking boots for women:
Columbia’s Newton Ridge line of boots was covered in our men’s list, so it is no surprise that rank high on the female list as well! Just as you would expect, the Newton Ridge Plus Women’s Hiking Boots are high-quality and built to last.
These women’s boots really excel in the comfort category. They are one of the lightest hiking boots on the market, so if that is a selling factor for you this may be a winner. In addition, a lot of reviews state that they are a lot easier to walk long distances in than other pairs on the market.
Next, the waterproofing on this pair is done extremely well. You won’t have to worry about leaks like you will with other boots (looking at you Hi-Tec). Overall the Newton Ridge line is hard to beat if you don’t mind shelling out $100 or so.
The Ahnu Sugarpines are one of the highest rated hiking boots for women on the market; trust us…we have scoured the web.
One thing that hikers really love about this boot is its durability. Put them through any sort of torture, a simply rinse with the hose as the end of the day will have them looking brand new. When it comes to hiking, durability is a very desired trait.
In addition, these boots are truly waterproof. I don’t just mean puddle waterproof, I mean hours in the water waterproof. If I had to rank all of the boots on our list based off that one trait, this would be a clear winner.
Overall, the Ahnu Sugarpines are great for anyone who frequents wet, muddy, or rocky terrain; maybe even a combination of the three!
Ah, back to the classic Timberlands. Can you really blame us though?
The Timberland White Ledge Women’s Hiking Boots are the powerhouse of the boot world. If you aren’t impressed with any of the fancy features of the other boots on our list, these are always a good choice.
These Timberlands are tough and built to last. Virtually the entire boot is made out of thick leather, leaving very little weak points. As a result, they tend to last a lot longer than pairs with mesh pieces. Points to Timberland for longevity!
One thing that kind of concerned me about these boots were the mixed reviews about comfort. Some reviewers claim that they are extremely comfortable, which other say they sort of lack on that aspect. In addition, it seems like they take a little while to break in. If your feet are especially sensitive, these might not be the best for you.
These Ariat Terrain Women’s Hiking Boots are probably less known than some other brands on the list, but that doesn’t make them any less effective. In fact, Ariat holds a special place in my heart for being the first pair of boots I ever owned!
These boots are great for women who wan’t to use them for activities other than hiking. They don’t have any spiked soles or crazy features, so they are great for everyday wear. In fact, these boots are very popular in the equestrian world.
A few reviewers claim that these boots run a bit large. You may want to order a half size smaller than you normally would if you are concerned. Other than that, we really don’t have many negatives things to say about the Ariat Terrains!
The Merrell Moab makes another appearance on our list, this time with their Ventilator line.
These are more of a shoe than boot, but we had to include them because they are simply too great. Since these are a lot smaller than other pairs on out list, they are great for hikers looking for extra agility. If you are looking for something lightweight to conserve energy, these are a great choice.
The Moab Ventilators probably aren’t great for hikers who frequent muddy or wet trails. These aren’t completely waterproof, so you feet will probably get wet. What this shoe does, it does very well…but that is not waterproofing.
That being said, there is a reason the Moab Ventilators are one of the best selling hiking shoes on the market. They are very well rounded and make for an easy, enjoyable hike. For hikers not looking to do anything too crazy, these are a go-to choice.
Features To Look For In Hiking Boots
As we said before, quality is important when it comes to your hiking boots. You should always evaluate these features before shelling out any cash:
The most obvious first…
Hiking books have to be durable and able to withstand a beating. Out of all the gear hikers are required to buy, shoes tend to wear out the fastest. After all, they are under stress 24/7.
If possible, you should try to go with a leather hiking boot. They tend to be more durable, last longer, and provide better performance. Also, who doesn’t love leather?
In addition, rubber soles are a must for hiking boots. Not only are rubber soles durable, but they provide excellent traction and help prevent falls/slips.
Gauging the comfort of a pair of hiking boots over the internet can be difficult…for obvious reasons. There are a few things you can look at, though, to see if your potential new boots will be comfy.
First of all, you should check to make sure the boot has a padded tongue. Generally, a lot of pressure is put on this are of the shoe. Having a padded tongue ensures your feet will stay snug and comfortable.
In addition, removable insoles are a big plus. If not, its a huge deal. You can always replace your insoles with a more comfortable, custom pair.
There is nothing worse than wet shoes, especially on long hikes. Not only are wet shoes uncomfortable, but they can actually encourage infection and sickness. There is no telling what sort of rivers, streams, or unexpected downpours you will have to deal with while hiking.
As a result, it is an absolute must that your hiking boots are waterproof. If there was one make or break feature for me, this might be it.
There is not doubt about it…hiking boots can get quite gross after a while. Between a combination of dirt, sweat, and who knows what else, the insides of your boots may not be the nicest place.
To combat this issue, a lot of manufacturers are coming out with breathable boots. In my opinion, this feature is a huge plus.
Tips For Maintaining Your Boots
When you buy a pair of boots (regardless of how much you spend), you definitely expect the to last a while. Here are a few tips to help keep your boots in tip top shape:
1. Break them in correctly
There are tons of tips out there for breaking in a new pair of boots. Let me tell you…I have heard some crazy suggestions. In reality, breaking in your boots is simple (although not that enjoyable); just wear them around the house.
Don’t judge your boots the second you put them on. Chances are they won’t exactly feel comfortable. Leather needs some time to soften up and adjust to your feet. By wearing your boots around the house, you form a perfect fit and shape for your foot.
You might get a few blisters at first, but it is worth it in the long run.
2. Keep them inside
Keeping boots outside is a huge mistake that I see way too often. Though boots are tough and meant to last, extreme temperature for long periods of time can destroy even the best of the best.
Way too often, hikers will come back from a day on the trails and leave their wet boots outside for the night. If you live in a cold part of the country, your boots could freeze and crack. On the other hand, hot temperatures combines with damp boots encourages the growth of mildew. You will never get the smell our of your boots if this is the case.
It is best to keep your boots inside in a place of high air flow (if your boots are wet).
3. Clean your boots thoroughly after each hike
This one may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people just throw their boots aside until the next trip. Taking a few minutes after each hike to clean your boots prolongs their life and makes for a much more enjoyable hike next time.
First, you should shake your boots and remove any mud/debris. Don’t let this build up over time.
Second, wash your boots under warm soapy water. Make sure to get the inside as well to remove salt from your sweat. This will help remove and last trace of mud, debris, or dirt.
Allow your boots to dry in a ventilated area. Make sure to keep them away from direct heat or sunlight.
4. Spray your boots with a waterproof coating
This one may surprise you!
Most hiking boots on the market are already waterproof. If you find your boots leaking after prolonged use or just want to add another layer of protection, this is for you.
Kiwi Boot Protector is a great choice and is surprisingly inexpensive. Just follow the directions closely and you should be good to go!
5. Apply leather conditioner regularly
Leather conditioner is great for tons of products, not just good. No matter what type of boots you own, it is always a good idea to apply leather conditional regularly. Leather conditioner helps keep the leather soft, strong, and free of cracks.
I use Leather Honey Leather Conditioner and have only positive things to say. It does a great job of hydrating the leather and keep it looking new.
When it comes to choosing the best cheap hiking boots, it is easy to get overwhelmed. A lot of people claim that you have to spend $200 or $300 to get a good pair, but that is simply not true. There are tons of amazing hiking boots for less than $100.
All of the boots on our list have been tried and tested by thousands of hikers just like you. No matter what you pick from our list, we are sure that you won’t be disappointed!