A lot of shoe manufacturer have tried to diversify by going into the hiking boot niche, but many have failed miserably doing so. Only the brands that have this embedded in their name are still on top of this not particularly small niche, and in this article we’ll talk about the 5 best hiking boot brands still in play in 2014. A lot of companies that used to manufacture hiking shoes have pulled off from the market and a couple of new ones have shown on the market to fill in their places, but only 5 companies have been able to equip the hikers for the past few years and boy has the battle between these five been fierce.
How are these rated
Well we decided to make a more serious and in-depth analysis of the best manufacturers of hiking boots and compare them side by side with over 80,000 user reviews. That’s how we found out that expensive hiking boots are not better in general than their cheaper alternatives.
Although hiking boots are still a high-priced commodity the prices have been significantly lowered especially at the lower end of the boots, which are aimed at the occasional hiking enthusiast and not that much for the pros and the hardcore trekker. In this article we will go over the best models of each brand and their worst models by comparing how each one has performed in the different tiers of the market. After all, everyone wants to get the best value for his money, especially if you’re paying a good 200$ for a pair of hiking boots.
We will try to look over the best models for both men and women as well as their kid section if such section exist of course. Although we did a serious look at the best hiking boots for men as well as the best choice that the women could make, we only went through the best models that these brands had to offer and for this reason we will see what else the best have to offer.
Without favoring any of these brands we will go into them alphabetically so there’s not even a hint of me picking one brand over the other, as after all we will be trying to get you the best review possible. And without any further ado, here’s the first contender that you already expect…
Hi-Tec® hiking boots
Hi-Tec is a company with a serious history behind it and this year they are celebrating their 40th anniversary. There isn’t a true hiker who isn’t familiar with this brand and hasn’t heard of it at least a couple of times in his life and seen the boots that they offer, if not on his feet, then on the feet of a fellow hiker. This brand is actually right in the middle in terms of pricing, although they have a couple of models which are pretty expensive.
If you are looking for the best shoes offered by Hi-Tec for hiking, then the choice is pretty obvious with the
This is one really serious piece of equipment that is highly likely to outlast you and once you pay the 200$ price tag for it, you can simply forget that you’ll ever have to buy another hiking boot again. Although there aren’t a ton of people getting in line to buy these boots, they are actually worth your money, believe it or not, but only if you are looking to buy the best of this brand in particular. True Hi-Tec fanatics love these boots and you can see why. After the initial shock of paying 200$ for a pair of shoes, you will have something which is almost indestructible. We shouldn’t even talk about durability, waterproof leather, etc. in this case, because you expect this from such shoes.
Anyway without getting too carried away, here’s the best representative of the brand in the lower tier of the market a.k.a.
which we already talked about in our best hiking boot for men list for 2014. These boots are actually so good and so well priced, that they made our list and I honestly don’t know why you would pay 200$ for hiking boots if you are not going to really extreme conditions. The Falcon boots are waterproof and keep the feet just as dry for a fraction of a price. I personally haven’t tried the Hi-Tec Bergamo as it’s out of my price range though, but still, this is a crazy price to pay.
In conclusion we can say that Hi-Tec is a brand which has most of it’s models in the middle of the price range, with a great pair of boots in the lower tier priced at just above 50$ in the face of the Falcon hiking boot.
Keen is actually the new kid on the block so to speak. The company was started in 2003 and while Hi-Tec are celebrating a 40 year anniversary, Keen just made 10 last year. This being said, the Keen hiking boots are definitely some of the best out there and I’m not trying to bash on the old dogs, but they surely didn’t expect that such a young company would become such a serious competitor in a limited amount of time.
This being said they also have a model in our top hiking shoes for 2014 list and this model is the
Another one of this year’s best, but this time it’s in the high end. I am not going to talk a lot about it, as there’s plenty of info in the review, but this is definitely the best boot that they have to offer … and by far. Their prices are actually pretty similar throughout the whole range of models and the cheapest model which you could find would be the
Hi-Tec Men’s Altitude IV Hiking Boot priced at $60 for the male model.
Keen has this middle range between $90 and $150 occupied completely and that’s where their strenght is, because they have such a huge variety of hiking boot models at the same price, that it is pretty much a decision based more on the looks of the boots rather than the price. Most of the boots have completely the same characteristics and this makes it easy for the customers to pick too.
Merrell is an american hiking boot manufacturer, originally from Texas, with a solid background dating as far as 1981. They offer a huge variety of models themselves and are well known throughout the whole community.
The flagman of the company is probably the Merrell Men’s Mattertal Gore-Tex Waterproof Hiking Boot, which is by far their most expensive hiking boot. It also offers all the things you would expect from such a pricey item and without a doubt would last you a lifetime. Although I haven’t tried this model of Merrell in particular, I have had one pair of Merrells and they were more comfortable than any of the other hiking boots I’ve ever owned. They did not last as long as my Salomons, but we’ll go into that a little bit later. Surely Merrell would have made these shoes their best ones and they would be worthy of the $200 price tag.
Their least expensive model is definitely the Merrell Men’s Phoenix Mid Waterproof Lace-Up Boot, but this is pretty normal considering the materials that have been used in the production of these boots. They don’t really offer as much support either. A friend of mine has these and has complained by the front of them being too narrow as well. These are good hiking boots and even though they aren’t great we’re talking about the best hiking boot brands in 2014 and Merrell is still one of them.
The Salomon gear has always been a benchmark of what others had to compete with and even though I personally always loved their hiking gear as well as their snowboarding products, they have let the bar a little low in the past few years. Unfortunately being founded in 1947 the French brand is the oldest company in this big brand list for 2014, but is probably the one which is the most overpriced. Don’t get me wrong and take this review the wrong way, because Salomon still has a bunch of hiking boots that would blow away the competition in the same range, but price wise they’ve stayed pretty highly priced.
The flagman of the company is the Salomon Men’s Cosmic 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot which with it’s name suggests that we’re talking about a hiking shoe from a different planet.
A pair of these would set you back about $300 which makes them the priciest item on the list so far and I imagine that these are the boots that people go climbing the K2 or Everest with.
Still there isn’t anything that these are missing in any way and I’d recommend them if you’re a professional hiker, a guide or you’re simply doing a ton of trekking a year and you simply need the best.
These Salomon boots are definitely the creme of the crop!
On the other hand we’ve got the Salomon Men’s Synapse Mid Hiking Shoe which is a great boot non the less and would support your ankle really well too. The price of these is $74 at the very least and shows that
Salomon still offers a wide diversity of items with different prices, but the quality of the Synapse is not as good as the one of a Hi-Tec pair to be hones.
The really great products that Salomon offers are definitely the ones priced at more than $130.
Vasque hiking boots
Vasque is a part of the Red Wing Shoes company which is dated back to 1905, but the Vasque brand is not as old as the rest of the company. They have their place in our list and although the brand is the last on this best hiking boot brands in 2014 list, they deserve the title no less than the others. I decided not to have favourites, but I have to say that Vasque offers a sense of style that Salomon hiking boots just don’t have. Although really practical the Salomon boots just lack this sense of uniqueness and style that Vasque offers and to more old school guys like me they are really appealing. This goes especially strong for their flagman model
Brand new out of the box these look, feel fantastic and simply make you happy from the first moment you see them. I would recommend them to everyone who likes the old school way hiking boots looked back in the days, but only if you can find them with a substantial discount.
Without being too flashy the Vasque Men’s Snow Junkie Hiking Boot offers a really high quality and I’d suggest these. They cost only around $84 and in the lower tier of hiking boots they probably offer the best value most of you are looking for.
Hopefully you have been able to get down to read these words and didn’t go away, as there are still a couple of things that I have to say to sum things up.
These five brands offer amazing quality to the customers that decide to trust them with their feet and money and whichever way you go, you won’t be making a mistake. It’s really sort of a personal choice kind of thing, because different people look for different styles, different support etc.
Hopefully this post has been at least a little bit helpful in your choice of a brand as it took quite a long time for me to write. I tried to cover most things about each and every brand of hiking boots which rule the market in 2014.