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Best Hiking Boots Under $100 for Men & Women

Hiking season is finally upon us! 

If you are like other gear heads out there, you have spent the better part of winter researching and maybe even purchasing new gadgets and gizmos to enhance your time outdoors. It’s easy to get lost looking at brand new solar chargers or ultralight tents, but at the end of the day, the “essentials” will always be most important. 

Of all essential hiking gear, perhaps nothing is more important than a comfortable, well-fitting pair of hiking boots. There is an overwhelming amount of options on the market, each with its own set of pros and cons. 

The last thing you want to compromise on a hiking trip is your feet, but at Outdoorsr, we understand the financial burden of entry to many outdoor sports. While many hiking boots will cost more than $100, there is a wide variety of affordable options for folks looking to spend a little bit less. 

In this article, we will outline some of the best hiking boots under $100 that you should consider for this upcoming hiking season.

The Best Hiking Boots Under $100

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boots

best hiking shoes under $100

As far as mid-height boots go, the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boots are easily some of the best men’s hiking boots under $100. Don’t worry, the women’s version isn’t too far behind either. 

The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Boots offer much more than simply bang for your buck. 

The mid-height style offers excellent support without being too cumbersome. Further, the air cushion in the heel provides extra shock absorption and adds extra stability to boot. The Moab boot boasts a closed-cell foam tongue that keeps debris and water out, while the vented material allows for your feet to breathe. The Vibram sole provides incredible grip on practically all surfaces.

PROS

  • Excellent breathability
  • Protection from debris and water
  • Comfortable design
  • Affordable for quality

CONS

  • Vibram grip-ability isn’t ideal on wet surfaces
  • Not the most durable hiking boot on the market

Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid

We love that the Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid hiking boots have approached outdoor gear with an environmental ethic in mind. The soles are made from recycled rubber and the TimberDry Eco-conscious waterproof membrane lining the outside. 

The leather construction of the Mt. Maddsen boots add durability and water resistance. This is especially true since it is combined with the aforementioned waterproof membrane. 

These boots are arguably one of the most fashionable on our list, but that comes at a price. If you plan on putting many trail miles on your next pair of boots, consider looking elsewhere. If you are searching for footwear that can handle the trails but also look nice on the streets, the Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mids may be the shoe for you.

PROS

  • Environmentally conscious designed
  • Leather build is both durable and fashionable
  • TimberDry Eco-conscious waterproof membrane

CONS

  • Narrow fit

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus

We love that the Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid hiking boots have approached outdoor gear with an environmental ethic in mind. The soles are made from recycled rubber and the TimberDry Eco-conscious waterproof membrane lining the outside. 

The leather construction of the Mt. Maddsen boots add durability and water resistance. This is especially true since it is combined with the aforementioned waterproof membrane. 

These boots are arguably one of the most fashionable on our list, but that comes at a price. If you plan on putting many trail miles on your next pair of boots, consider looking elsewhere. If you are searching for footwear that can handle the trails but also look nice on the streets, the Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mids may be the shoe for you.

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Excellent sole construction for grip and traction
  • Relatively light for a mid/high top boot

CONS

  • Design makes shoes heat up quickly with just a little sun

Keen Targhee II

In recent years, Keen has emerged as a leader in the hiking boot industry. The Keen Targhee IIs are an excellent example of why. Right at our budget threshold for this list, we’ll give Keen the nod to have one of the best women’s hiking boots under $100 with their Targhee II. The men’s version is not too far behind. 

The upper of these boots are made with waterproof Nubuck leather and treated with the KEEN-DRY breathable waterproof membrane making these boots a great option for inclement weather. The rubber sole equates to excellent grip on almost all surfaces, and the overall construction provides ample balance, ankle support, and stability. 

Coupled with an environmentally conscious design, the Keen Targhee II boots are an excellent option for both men and women who are willing to explore boots at the upper end of the $100 budget.

PROS

  • Impressive waterproof treatment
  • Excellent grip and added traction
  • Simple, attractive design

CONS

  • Not the most durable stitching in boot fabric

Vasque Talus Trek Boot

talus trek hiking boots

Well, the Vasque Talus Trek Boots don’t quite fit the bill as best hiking boots under $100, they are one of the best boots on our list. 

Vasque has been producing top-quality hiking boots since the 1960s, and their innovation improves with each passing decade. The Talus Trek Boots are their lightweight design and athletic feel thanks to an especially thoughtful construction. 

Mesh underlays on the upper portion will help your feet breathe, and the 100% Nubuck leather adds to the durability and waterproofing. Finally, a synthetic sole with multi-directional lugs provides excellent traction on the trail, and the Vibram outsole adds even more grip when you need it most. 

While a bit more expensive than other hiking boots on our list, the Vasque Talus Trek Boot (for men and women) is an excellent choice for those willing to spend just a bit more.

PROS

  • Light and athletic feel
  • Durable and innovative design
  • Sleek appearance

CONS

  • Boots run small
  • More expensive than other options

Oboz Sawtooth Low

Perhaps the most significant difference in hiking boot styles is their cut. Every hiker has a preference between high top or mid to low cut boots, and as far as low cut hiking boots go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more solid pair at this price than the Oboz Sawtooth Lows. 

Both the men’s and women’s Sawtooth boots are exceptionally comfortable with their molded heel counter and deluxe footbed. The heel counter design, in particular, helps relieve unnecessary pressure buildup around the ankle and Achilles tendon. 

Further, like other boots on our list, the Nubuck leather upper has great water resistance and is relatively durable. The Oboz B-DRY Waterproof treatment and partial mesh construction gives the Sawtooth boots an extremely breathable design.  

PROS

  • Very comfortable design
  • Highly breathable and lightweight build
  • Excellent waterproof material and treatment

CONS

  • Delaminating toe rubber is common
  • Provides less ankle support than high top boots

Timberland White Ledge Mid Ankle Boot

The Timberland White Ledge Mid Ankle Boots are very similar to the Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid boots, which are also on our list. 

Constructed of premium full-grain leather uppers, the White Ledge Mid Ankle Boots are both durable and waterproof. Plus, their seam-sealed construction further helps keep the water off your socks. 

These boots are quite light for a mid-ankle design and very comfortable as well. True to the Timberland reputation, the White Ledge Mid Ankle Boots have a great look and are as fashionable as they are functional. While they may not be the most bombproof trail boots on the market, they are elegant enough to pass for city boots as well.

PROS

  • Very comfortable fit
  • Lightweight construction – especially for a mid-ankle boot
  • Simple and elegant design

CONS

  • Toe box is not the most durable for severe wear and tear
  • Switch in manufacturing has led to more inconsistent construction

Merrell MQM Flex

best hiking boots under $100

In recent years, there has been a movement away from full-on hiking boots and more toward comfortable, lighter trail shoes. 

If you are considering making this transition, or perhaps you already have, consider the Merrell MQM Flex. These shoes were made for moving fast in the mountains and, despite being very lightweight, boast a construction that will have your feet feeling supported. 

The TrailProtect pad offers support on the trail, and the M Select GRIP outsole provides superb traction on rock and road. Additionally, the GORE-TEX mesh outer is waterproof, light, and breathable. 

From a functionality standpoint, the Merrell MQM Flex is a high-quality trail shoe for both men and women, and the aesthetic design and bright colors are just a bonus.

PROS

  • Incredibly lightweight and breathable construction
  • Good support for those used to trail shoes
  • Affordable for a shoe of this quality
  • Fun and colorful design

CONS

  • More rigid and stiff than comparable trail shoes
  • Not a great transition for those exclusively used to high top hiking boots

NORTIV 8 Men’s High Hiking Boot

As far as affordable footwear goes, the NORTIV 8 Men’s High Hiking Boots are one of the best cheap hiking boots we’ve reviewed. 

While these boots are certainly the most budget option on our list, they still serve their purpose as a durable high top hiking boot. Multi-directional lugs on the rubber sole allow maximum traction on varied surfaces. The waterproof upper means that these boots are ready for adventure. 

The NORTIV 8 Men’s High Hiking Boot is a good no-frills option for someone who is just getting into hiking and potentially leery of investing too much money into new gear.

PROS

  • Highly affordable option
  • Good traction for a boot of this price
  • Ideal introductory hiking boot
  • Simple design

CONS

  • Not the most comfortable boot on the market
  • Not the most waterproof when compared to other boots

Timberland Women’s Norwood Mid

best hiking boots under $100

Timberland does it again with the Women’s Norwood Mid boot – striking a balance between attractive appearance and serviceable functionality. 

Like other boots in the Timberland line, the leather and textile build of the Norwood is both waterproof and durable. Additionally, these boots are both warm and comfortable. As a bonus, they seem to lack the considerable break-in period so typical with other hiking boots.

The rubber sole provides enough traction for walks and light hikes but is perhaps not burly enough for longer, more strenuous treks. Like other boots from Timberland, the Women’s Norwood Mid boots seem to be as much about fashion as they are about function – but that’s not always a bad thing!

PROS

  • Very comfortable fit for narrower feet
  • Attractive and sleek design
  • Do not require much of a break-in period

CONS

  • Bottom tread is not burly enough for strenuous hikes and climbs

How to Choose Hiking Boots

More so than any other outdoor gear, hiking boots are super-specific to the person wearing them. The best pair of boots for you may be the most uncomfortable pair of footwear for your best friend. Comfortable feet are essential when spending time outdoors, and that all starts with your boots. This becomes even more important if you plan to do extended hikes or multi-day trips. 

When exploring different options for hiking boots, there are many things to consider – all of which play into how most anticipate using them. No matter the use, though, fit and comfort are always of the utmost importance. 

Keep that in mind as you explore different options. Then, once you find a couple of pairs that feel great on your feet, start exploring the many other characteristics of each boot. Prioritize what you want, and soon you’ll have the brand new hiking boot of your dreams.  

Type of Hiking Boot

Hiking boots have come a long way in recent decades, with this broad definition of the shoe now comprising many different types of footwear.

In general, when looking for hiking boots, you should consider four different types of shoes: trail runners, hiking shoes, day hiking boots, and backpacking boots.   

trail running shoes

Trail runners are lightweight shoes meant for folks looking to cover a lot of ground quickly. While seemingly simple in design, these shoes provide enough support and grip for uneven trails but may not be the best choice for long excursions with heavy packs. Alternatively, some ultralight backpackers have started to gravitate toward trail runners to help move as efficiently as possible through the mountains.   

A step up from trail runners is hiking shoes. This type of footwear has a low-cut and flexible sole. Hiking shoes are great for the average day adventurer, and some thru-hikers have adopted this style for long multi-day packs.  

day hiking boots

Moving up in burliness from the hiking shoe is the day hiking boot. Day hiking boots will have a mid to high cut and are a great choice for the day hiker looking for a little added support. This style of boots can be a reliable option for backpackers going out for a quick couple of nights out. When it comes to classic boots, though, these often do not have the durability, or full support desired for major backpacking adventures.  

 

Those characteristics are reserved for backpacking boots, the burliest type of boot on our list. Backpacking boots are specifically designed for long overnight journeys with heavy packs and have the durability and strength to last. These boots generally have a high cut and complete ankle support. Their stiffer soles can take a beating, and after you spend some time breaking them in, they can be as comfortable as any other type of boot on our list.   

You may end up needing to try more than one of these types of hiking shoes. It will help to first determine the primary use of the shoe before you invest in anything.

Size & Fit

As mentioned above, comfort and fit should be your top priority when choosing a pair of boots. In a perfect world, boots shouldn’t be tight anywhere on your foot and should leave enough room to wiggle your toes. 

The way that hiking boots fit is more particular than a pair of tennis shoes or flip flops, and trying on different pairs is essential if you want to achieve maximum comfort. When it comes to finding the right fit, there are a handful of tips to consider.

When trying boots on, do so in the type of socks you plan on wearing while hiking. If you wear special orthotics, bring them along to the store so you can slip them into the boots for a more accurate fit. If you don’t wear orthotics, consider buying a pair of special insoles to add a bit of cushion and comfort to your footbed. Make an effort to try boots on at the end of the day. Your feet swell a bit each day, and trying them on after this has happened will help give you the best impression of how the boot fits your foot.   

Once you have a pair on your feet, walk around a bit. Merely putting a pair of boots on won’t help. Find a set of stairs or some uneven surfaces and see how your foot reacts inside the boot. You’ll know pretty quickly whether they are a good match or not.  

The laces on hiking boots offer quite a bit of freedom when it comes to micro-adjusting your comfort level. If you try on a pair of boots and feel nice but not quite perfect, try a different lacing strategy to see if you can get them just right.  

Lastly, after you have purchased your new boots, make sure to budget enough time to break them in before your first major adventure. Most boot issues come in the first few days of wearing them, and often, hikers get antsy and go for something big before allowing their feet to adjust. Do yourself, and your feet, a favor, and spend plenty of time on shorter trails or even around the house before tackling significant objectives. 

Material

When checking out different boots, pay close attention to the materials used for the upper, midsole, and the sole. The materials that make up all three parts of the boot will ultimately contribute to their weight, durability, water-resistance, and more. After getting a feel for a few varieties, you will quickly come to understand what your materials are most important to you.  

Aside from trail runners and many hiking shoes, you will notice that most hiking boots will be made with some form of leather. Full-grain leather, including Nubuck leather, is strong and water-resistant and is often the go-to material for heavy-duty hiking boots. Split grain leather balances leather with other material to make these boots a bit more lightweight and promotes increased breathability, compromising a little water resistance and durability along the way.  

Hiking shoes and trail runners are often made with synthetic materials and are used to make these boots extra light and breathable. They generally break-in easier than leather boots and dry faster when wet, though they may wear out sooner.  

The material that goes into the midsole will impact the stiffness and cushioning of a boot, and every hiker will have their preference. Stiffer boots are great for longer hikes and climbs, whereas cushioned boots can be better for repeated impact and running. When examining boots, you will likely find boots with EVA midsoles – providing a bit more cushion and usually lighter in weight – or polyurethane midsoles – a stiffer and more durable option better for those that plan to put their boots through the wringer. 

Finally, when checking out differences in outsoles, you will find that rubber is the go-to for virtually all hiking boots. When comparing rubber between boots, look at the design of the “lugs” – or traction patterns on the bottom – and differences in stiffness. Like car tires, deeper lugs provide more grip and are better suited for off-trail hiking or backpacking on rocky trails though may feel strange to walk with on common ground for extended periods.   

Design

Avoid getting bogged down in aesthetics when looking at hiking boots, as your priority should be function over fashion. What does matter, however, is what each boot was designed to excel at. By looking at different types of hiking boots and the materials used to create them, their design and purpose will soon come to light. Cross-reference that with what you plan on using your boots for, and the rest will be easy.  

You may be looking at a fun, colorful trail runner next to a drab and burly backpacking boot, but don’t let the glam fool you. If you have a demanding 10-day backpacking trip on your calendar, you may need the support, strength, and durability that a backpacking boot offers – even if brown leather isn’t the easiest on your eyes.

Price

Like all pieces of outdoor gear, if you are willing to spend a little bit more, it will almost always be worth it in the end. 

What we have listed above are some of the best hiking boots under $100. Every boot on this list serves a purpose and does it well. While there are certainly more expensive options on the market with better function and durability, these ten boots serve as introductory or budget-friendly boot options. 

There is undoubtedly a financial burden to entry when trying to enjoy the outdoors, and affordable boots are a great way to ease into hiking or keep costs down. After your first pair of the best budget hiking boots, you will quickly learn whether or not it is essential to spend more. 

Ultimately, your goal should be to find a comfortable pair of shoes within your price range that will allow you to get out and enjoy the trails. 

Final Thoughts 

There is a lot to consider when looking at hiking boots, but, of all outdoor gear, footwear is not something to be taken lightly. 

The difference between an incredible hike or backpacking trip and a miserable one often comes down to foot comfort. If you are in a boot or shoe that does not serve you well, try a different type or style. Once you find the perfect fit, we guarantee that the appreciation and enjoyment you find in spending time outdoors and on the trail will grow exponentially. 

While investing more money upfront can provide a durable piece of gear, it is not in everyone’s budget. At Outdoorsr, we want to provide you with the resources you need to get the best gear within your price range. Even if you weren’t able to find the best hiking boot under $100 here, we hope we at least provided you with the criteria to pick the perfect hiking shoe for you.

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