If you’re extra anxious to hit the trail, we’ll get to the point: RAVE’s pick for best overall waterproof hiking boot is Merrell’s Moab 2.
You just can’t find the same balance of weight, price, and durability in a hiking boot that will also keep your feet dry and comfortable in all sorts of terrain. If you pick the Moab 2 boots for your next hiking trip, your feet will stay dry and comfortable the entire time.
You’re an all-terrain junkie. You love it all, and you hike it all—from high desert to wet, forested trails. You’ll even ford a stream, just to get to the other side. You won’t let a little water stand in your way.
But you don’t actually have webbed feet. So you need a reliable pair of waterproof hiking boots to keep your feet dry, comfortable, and operating at peak hiking performance.
Besides being waterproof, what else should you look for in your next pair of hiking boots? RAVE Reviews is here to answer that question—and a whole lot more.
Pick a pair of the best waterproof hiking boots from our list, and you’ll be on the trail (with dry feet!) in no time.
The Waterproof Hiking Boots We RAVE About
How Should Waterproof Hiking Boots Fit?
Even if a pair of hiking boots are as watertight as a duck in a swimming pool, they won’t do you much good if they don’t fit right.
So here are some pointers for getting a good fit from your next pair of waterproof hiking boots.
Know your size
Before buying a new pair of waterproof hiking boots, be sure to know your foot’s width and length. In addition, find out your arch length.
Foot volume is also a good thing to know. Some hiking boot retailers even offer the service of assessing your foot volume.
Try your boots on at the end of the day
Your feet swell over the course of the day. Remember, orthotics will impact the fit of the boot, and it’s a good idea to try on a boot with the kind of socks you’ll be wearing while hiking.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to let a retailer know any special preferences you have in the fit of your shoes, or if you have any issues with your feet.
And if you’re buying online, try to stick with a brand you’re familiar with and that you’ve gotten a good fit from in the past.
Break your new boots in
You can’t, of course, take your boots outside before you purchase them. So instead, search for some variable terrain within the store. Go up and down stairs, find an incline, vary your pace, do some jumping jacks, try a jog.
After buying a pair of the best waterproof hiking boots, and before taking them out on the trail, be sure to take them for a spin around the block.
After doing so, if you’re still having issues with the fit of your hiking boots, consider changing how you tie the laces (it can make a difference!) or look into an aftermarket insole.
Even if your boots fit well, making these minor adjustments can help your boots fit—and feel—even better!
In the end, when trying on hiking boots keep this simple rule in mind: A hiking boot should be snug, but never tight, and still allow you to wiggle your toes.
How Much Should Waterproof Hiking Boots Weigh?
Next to fit, the weight of your hiking boots might be the most important consideration—you don’t want to be out there on the trail feeling like your feet are stuck in cement.
Did you know that weight carried on your feet burns up to six times as much energy as weight carried on your back? Yep, it’s true.
Managing the weight on your feet helps prevent stumbles, lessens muscle fatigue, and even helps prevent knee and hip flexor issues.
Don’t forget: If you’re going to be hiking in wet conditions for multiple days, your boots will get heavier the more they get soaked in water.
So if you’re planning to be out in the wet for a while, bring some lightweight trail runners to change out of once you reach camp. And don’t forget some camp socks to wear while you dry out and warm up your tootsies by the campfire.
As well as weight, it’s also very important to consider traction in your boot-buying decision. Will you be hiking in mud, or on gravel? Will you be traversing well-maintained trails, or will there be a risk of encountering a washed-out section of trail?
Appropriate traction will help you find your way, while also helping prevent slips and even injuries.
In addition to traction, ankle support, durability, and breathability are also important to keep in mind when buying a new pair of waterproof hiking boots.
And on top of all that, there is, of course, price—good waterproof hiking boots aren’t cheap!
But perhaps the most important thing to remember when shopping for the best waterproof hiking boots, is that even the best waterproof boots won’t stay waterproof forever.
Even the best waterproof hiking boot can’t completely prevent rain and sweat from collecting around your feet.
And If you’re standing in water all day (we’re not sure why you’d do this, but to each their own) your feet are going to get more than a little bit wet, and it will take a while for your boots to dry out.
Nevertheless, a good pair of waterproof hiking boots go a long way to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable while out on the trail.
And, like you, we’re eager to get out there! So coming up next is RAVE Reviews’ ranking of the 10 best waterproof hiking boots.
When researching this list, RAVE Reviews took into consideration similar lists from websites like Cleverhiker.com, REI.com, and Switchbacktravel.com, as well consulting the opinion of hiking and footwear industry professionals.
We ranked the books on the following:
- Outsole Material
Being located in the Pacific Northwest, we love to get outdoors—and we understand the importance of waterproof footwear. So read on for our ranking of the best waterproof hiking boots.
The Best Waterproof Hiking Boots
Merrell Moab 2
Coming in 1st in RAVE Review’s ranking of best waterproof hiking boot is the Moab 2 from Merrell.
These suede boots feature a leather and mesh upper and a synthetic outsole made from VIBRAM TC5. Air cushioning is added in the heel for extra shock absorption—at a 5mm lug depth. There’s also a breathable mesh lining.
The arch shank is made from molded nylon, and even more stability and comfort comes from the EVA midsole, also at a 5mm lug depth.
In addition, the Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ blended EVA contoured footbed adds zonal arch and heel support for extra comfort. There’s also a protective rubber toe cap.
At only 2 lb 4 oz, the Moab 2 offers the best weight, price, and durability ratio on our ranking.
These are all important traits in a great waterproof hiking boot, and for these reasons and more we think the Moab 2 is the very best.
- EVA contoured footbed
- VIBRAM TC5 Outsole
- Added air cushioning
- Durability issues reported
- Water-resistance issues reported
- Some add fitted insoles
Our #2 pick for best waterproof hiking boot is not technically a hiking boot at all, but a “sneakerboot.”
Nevertheless, the Duck, from the Forsake brand, offers unparalleled durability, and (since weight is major factor in any boot-buying decision) at only 12 oz., the Duck can’t be beat.
This sneakerboot’s all-weather performance comes from a composite shank as well as a proprietary “peak-to-pavement” outsole for traction in the wilderness.
Outer lugs create stability on cement, while a leather vamp provides protection from all sorts of elements.
The Duck’s upper is full-grain leather, genuine suede, and molded PU leather. The boot’s internal construction keeps moisture out while also remaining breathable.
And speaking of breathability, the sneakerboot’s sweat-wicking lining features an anti-microbial treatment—meaning your feet will stay cool and fresh no matter what the weather might be. Plus, the Duck just looks cool with a timeless aesthetic.
This hiking boot is perhaps not for the most serious hiking adventure, but if versatility between trail and town is what you’re after, look no further than the Duck from Forsake.
- “Peak-to-Pavement” outsole
- Internal bootie construction
- Lining not insulated
- Lacks arch support
Keen Targhee III
Up next in our ranking of the best waterproof hiking boots is the Targhee III from Keen.
Made out of environmentally-preferred premium leather from an LWG-certified tannery, this boot has a waterproof, breathable membrane and leather mud shields for extra durability.
The mesh upper is waterproof leather, and this boot’s higher-traction grip comes from the KEEN all-terrain rubber outsole. There’s also a removable, metatomical dual-density EVA footbed, as well as a dual-density, compression-molded EVA midsole.
Extra stability is provided by an injected, TPU heel-capture system, while lightweight support is provided by an ESS shank.
For traction, the boot has 4mm multi-directional lugs, and to keep odor under control, there’s the all-natural Cleansport NXT, a probiotic technology used for odor control. And the boots lace up up quickly and easily with the speed hook system.
The Targhee III is a durable, well-priced, waterproof hiking boot. But it weighs in at 2 lb 2.8 oz., and there are cheaper options on the market.
In addition, while this hiking boot rated well overall, some consumers reported a decline in quality from the Targhee II. All this contributed to our decision to move the Targhee III a little further down our list.
- Cleansport NXT technology
- EVA Footbed
- ESS Shank
- Smaller toe box than Targhee II
- Not much arch support
- High, stiff upper
Next in our ranking of the best waterproof hiking boots is the Talus Trek from Vasque. Known for a stable fit with athletic cushioning, and utilizing Vasque’s UltraDry waterproof system, the Talus Trek keeps feet dry while on the trail.
With the Talus Trek, you’ll also take advantage of a GORE-TEX lining with extended comfort technology that works to keep your feet dry.
In addition, there’s a TPU midfoot stabilizer and a Vibram Nuasi rubber outsole that uses an XSTrek rubber compound and angular, multi-directional lugs for traction.
There’s an athletically inspired EVA midsole and a waterproof, all leather upper that deliver excellent day hiking performance and support. In the toe, a rubber sidewall wrap also helps to increase stability.
A quality boot, at 2 lbs 8 oz. the Talus Trek is a little heavy when compared to other boots in its price range. And some users report durability issues. Both of these facts contributed to us listing the boots #4 in our ranking.
- UltraDry waterproof system
- Extended Comfort Technology
- GORE-TEX lining
- Heavy for price range
- Not ideal for wide feet
- Issues with narrow tongue
Rounding out the top 5 in our ranking of the best waterproof hiking boots is the Asolo Falcon. Made from suede, the Falcon’s outsole boasts Asolo/Vibram Megagrip for highly exceptional traction. The lugs are self-cleaning (nice!) and perfect for all sorts of terrain.
There’s a classic lacing system on the boots, and the GORE-TEX lining is waterproof and breathable, while the EVA double density midsole creates optimal support and provides shock-absorption.
We love the ankle support in the Falcon, as well as the versatility across different terrains. But you’ll pay up for the Falcon GV, and reports of rigid soles and stiff footbeds, as well as no odor-control system, and cheaper boot options available at a comparable weight (2 lb 2.6 oz.), prevented the Falcon from ranking higher than #5 on our list.
- EVA double-density midsole
- Asolo/Vibram megagrip
- Self-cleaning lugs
- Stiff footbeds
- Rigid soles
- No odor-control system
6th in our ranking of the best waterproof hiking boots is the Renegade, made by Lowa. The Renegade is meant mainly for weekend trips on moderate terrain, with a signature DuraPU midsole, MONOWRAP frame construction, and a full-length stabilizer.
The Derby-cut vamp design makes getting the right fit easy, and the VIBRAM Evo sole ensures excellent traction. The boots are also durable, waterproof, and breathable, with a Nubuck leather upper, and a slip-last-injected PU midsole. The insole is ATC, with a GORE-TEX lining.
The Renegade is not cheap, however, and relatively heavy at 2 lbs 7 oz. For the price, there’s no insulation, and issues walking in snow or cold conditions are reported by consumers.
The locking ankle hook definitely sets the Renegade apart, but the boot’s other issues, combined with a lack of durability in extreme terrain, combined to keep the Renegade out of our top 5 best waterproof hiking boots.
- DuraPU midsole
- MONOWRAP frame
- Good for arch issues
- Not ideal for snow
- Insole issues
- Meant for mild terrain
Salomon Quest 4D 3
7th in our ranking of the best waterproof hiking boots is the Quest 4D 3 from Salomon. These GORE-TEX boots are made from a mix of leather and synthetic materials, with a rubber sole and a shaft measuring about 6.5 inches from the arch.
Known for their Speedcross lug pattern, these boots come with the 4th generation of this legendary design. They also feature a combo of Sensifit with Quicklace and endoFit, making them exceptionally comfy.
There’s also high-traction Contagrip for premium wet traction, and an advanced chassis surrounded by foam cushioning for comfort, connected directly to the sole for added stability.
You’ll also get OrthoLite insoles, heel foam, and a gusseted tongue, and it’s all protected by a 2-year limited warranty.
A hiking boot of choice for technical trail runners (given its extra stability features), the 4D 3 is heavy (2 lb 13 oz.), with durability issues over extreme terrain and issues with the waterproofing, as well as discomfort in the toe box.
- High-traction Contagrip
- OrthoLite insoles
- Speedcross lug pattern
- Issues in extreme terrain
- Leaking issues
- Uncomfortable toe box
Scarpa Zodiac Plus
Next up are the Zodiac Plus hiking boots from Scarpa. A softer, more flexible version of the Zodiac Tech, the Zodiac Plus has a rubber, Vibram sole, and a shaft measuring about 6 inches from the arch.
Made from 100% leather and textile, these boots feature GORE-TEX performance comfort and Sock-Fit DV construction that reduces bulk while helping create as snug a fit as possible.
There’s also a rubber rand for performance and protection, as well as an asymmetric lace system, which helps make the fit as a precise as possible.
In addition, PU and three densities of EVA in the midsole optimize the weight and performance of the boot.
Known for fit and comfort, these boots, at 2 lbs 6.4 oz., lack the durability for serious backpacking, but instead are better suited for hikers looking for a mid-weight boot for unpredictable weather conditions.
You can get more for your money, but for fit and comfort, the Zodiac Plus is a great choice.
- Vibram sole
- Sock-Fit DV construction
- EVA midsole
- Fragile sole material
- Narrow toe
- Rigid sole
Salewa Mountain Trainer
Ninth in our ranking of the best waterproof hiking boots is the Mountain Trainer from Salewa.
With a rubber sole, and a shaft measuring about ankle-high from the arch, these boots come with a breathable Gore-Tex liner and a lightweight Vibram sole.
There’s also a dual-density Bilight Technology midsole, and these features combine for increased comfort in mixed and technical terrain.
The boots have a leather upper, and a full rubber rand, as well as the trademark SALEWA 3F System, connecting the instep area of the boot with the sole and heel, while the MFF+ interchangeable footbeds adjust to the shape of your foot.
At the ankle, the Flex Collar allows natural movement and adaptability during descents.
At nearly 2 lbs 16 oz. the Mountain Trainers are quite heavy, and they verge on the upper end of the price scale.
In addition, some consumers report an extended breaking-in period. All these factors contribute to the Mountain Trainer coming in 9th in our rankings.
- Flex Collar ankle support
- SALEWA 3F System
- Interchangeable footbeds
- Rigid sole
- Not for long ranges
- Long break-in period
Arc’teryx Bora 2
Last in our ranking of the 10 best waterproof hiking boots is the Arc’teryx Bora 2, a borderline hiking boot/backpacking/mountaineering solution.
With the Bora 2 you get a one-piece textile and synthetic upper with thermolaminated construction that is highly abrasion resistant, while remaining lightweight, durable, and hydrophobic.
The Vibram rubber hiking outsole and lug pattern make these boots stable, providing extra traction and grip, while the Y-groove heel split helps with braking.
There’s also a lace-up closure, as well as laminated and protective heel and toe caps.
The front and rear pull loops make the boots easier to put on and take off, while the removable, stretchable Adaptive Fit GORE-TEX bootie keeps moisture out, and the mid-cut lightweight liner helps the boots dry quickly.
Breathability and arch support come from the removable 3D-molded Ortholite footbed, while the long-lasting EVA foam midsole helps absorb shock.
Solid, well-made boots, the Bora 2 is expensive—and overkill for many hikers. But if serious mountaineering is your game, consider the Bora 2.
- Ortholite footbed
- Thermolaminated construction
- Adaptive Fit GORE-TEX
- Overkill for casual hikers
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Still having trouble choosing the best pair of waterproof hiking boots for you? What else do you need to know? Check out these frequently asked questions from new hiking boot parents.
How Do You Tie Laces on Waterproof Hiking Boots?
If your new waterproof hiking boots feel uncomfortable, try changing up your lacing game. Here are some options worth trying:
If your heel is slipping, try the surgeon’s knot:
- Pull on the laces to remove all the slack. Make the boot as tight as possible over the top of your foot.
- Find the lace hooks closest to the point where the top of your foot begins to flex forward.
- Wrap the laces around each other 2 times. Pull them tight. Lock the knot’s tension by running the lace directly up to the next hook.
- Find the next set of lace hooks, repeat Step 3.
- Finish lacing boots like normal.
To relieve pressure on the top of your feet, try window lacing:
- Identify pressure point, and then unlace the boot down to that point.
- Re-lace straight up to the next hook, then cross laces over.
- Finish lacing the rest of your boot normally.
Tip: for a snugger hold, tie a surgeon’s knot at the lower and upper end of your window lacing.
To help with toe-box pressure, try this:
- Unlace boot completely.
- Lace it back, skipping the first set of hooks, opening up the toe box and relieving some pressure on your toes.
Do I Need Waterproof Hiking Boots?
Hiking boots in general, and waterproof hiking boots in particular, aren’t cheap. Even if you’re a pretty avid hiker, how do you know a good pair of waterproof hiking boots will be a good investment for you?
The best way to answer this question is to first consider how you like to hike.
- If you frequently take multi-day or overnight excursions in cold or damp weather, you could use a good pair of waterproof hiking boots.
- Do you typically hike during the day, in warm or dry climates? If so, save some money on waterproof hiking boots.
- Do you like to dash through streams or occasionally splash in a puddle—even in otherwise dry terrain? If so, consider a quick drying and lightweight hiking shoe instead of a thick hiking boot.
If you you are not hiking at all, but looking to wade or stand in water for a prolonged amount of time, skip hiking boots altogether, and get yourself some rubber boots instead. Be careful though, because while rubber boots will keep your feet dry, they’re not very comfortable to walk in for prolonged distances.
When shopping for the best waterproof hiking boot, look for a GORE-TEX membrane. A GORE-TEX membrane helps protect your feet from wetness, while allowing perspiration to pass through.
What Is the Best Type of Hiking Boot?
Backpacking boots, hiking boots, or hiking shoes—what’s right for you? The answer depends a lot on how you like to hike.
- Hiking Shoes
Hiking shoes are perfectly appropriate for a few hours spent strolling on well-manicured (and flat!) park trails.
If you’re going to be hiking all day, up and down hills, or on rough terrain, do your ankles and knees a favor and get yourself some hiking boots.
- Hiking Boots
A good hiking boot will provide solid ankle support, be waterproof, weigh less than about 3 lbs, and have good traction.
Hiking boots are more than enough for day trips.
- Backpacking Boots
Backpacking boots are a little like a beefy hiking boot. Heavier and more durable than a hiking boot, with reinforced ankle support, backpacking boots are appropriate for overnight backpacking trips or if you’ll be carrying a backpack weighing 50 lbs or more.
Backpacking boots are usually made of leather, with a thicker sole than hiking boots. They can weight up to 6 lbs.
Do you do a mix of overnight backpacking trips and day hikes? Consider a backpacking boot. If you strictly take day trips, a backpacking boot will be overkill for your purposes. So save yourself some money in that case, and stick with a hiking boot.
What Are the Best Waterproof Hiking Boots?
You’re in a hurry to hit the trail. So let’s not waste any more time and get to the point.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best of the best waterproof hiking boots:
RAVE’s pick for the best overall waterproof hiking boot is the Moab 2 Mid Ventilator from Merrell. Durable and versatile, the Moab 2 is a comfortable hiking boot for all sorts of terrain and all sorts of hikers.
If you’re looking to support a relatively new brand in the world of waterproof hiking boots, you won’t do much better than the Duck, a waterproof “sneakerboot” made by Forsake.
Forsake has only been in the business of making quality footwear since 2012. Waterproof, durable, breathable, and insanely lightweight, the Duck has the best of both worlds—combining the comfort of a sneaker with the strength of a boot.
For a boot customized for the feet of women on the trail, RAVE says go for the Keen Targhee III, which is durable and breathable, with unmatched traction no matter what sort of trail you find yourself on.
Now that you’ve picked out the best waterproof hiking boots, take your boots to the next level with these great hiking boot accessories.
- Leanking Ice Snow Grips: Whether you’re walking, jogging, or climbing in ice or snow, keep your traction with these quality cleats from Leanking.
- COOKI Zip Up Hoodie Pullover: Stay warm on the trail with this hooded fleece sweatshirt for women.
- DELELE 2 Pair Round Heavy Duty Climbing Shoelaces: Secure your new boots with these non-slip round shoelaces.
- ALEADER Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes: Change out of your hiking boots and enjoy the water near your campsite in these quick-drying water shoes.
- Unigear Waterproof Leg Gaiters: Complete your defense system against water and moisture with Unigear’s leg gaiters.