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The 15 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Wet Days Outdoors: Danner, Altra, Scarpa

Seasoned hikers know never to skimp on hiking boots because no matter how beautiful the scenery, you won’t have fun if you have blisters and sore feet. And if you’re hiking around puddles, hiking in the rainforest, or getting caught in an unexpected drizzle, not just any boots will do.

You will need a good pair of waterproof hiking boots to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

“When buying hiking boots, I always recommend paying the extra for waterproofing,” Cat Ekkelboom-White, a certified hiking guide in the Austrian Alps, tells SELF. “Sometimes all it takes is a little morning dew on the long grass to get your feet wet. Having a fully waterproof boot means you can cross rivers, squeeze through when it’s raining and not worry about getting wet. wet feet Once you’ve invested in some high-quality boots (and a good pair of hiking socks), you’ll be ready to hit the trail.

What to Look for in a Waterproof Hiking Boot

Sealing mechanisms

Two key features make the best hiking boots truly waterproof. First, the inside of waterproof hiking boots usually has a membrane designed to keep water out, while allowing sweat to evaporate. While Gore-Tex is the most well-known waterproofing material, some brands, like Altra, use other materials like eVent.

Next, waterproof hiking boots should also wick water away from their exterior. To do this, brands incorporate materials such as nubuck leather or a water-repellent coating such as DWR.

It should be mentioned that waterproofing is not always a necessary or useful feature: “A traditional waterproof boot offers more protection against the elements, but lacks breathability and takes a long time to dry out if wet”. So it’s a trade-off, says Lauren de Vega, hiking guide for Another Summit and an experienced hiker who’s backpacked more than 15,000 miles. “Many hiking enthusiasts use a waterproof boot in winter and spring, and a breathable trail shoe in summer and fall.” In other words, leave room in your gear closet for non-waterproof hiking shoes, approach shoes, or even trail runners.

Adjustment and support

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all hiking shoe, as every hiker has different foot shapes and preferences, but there are a few general criteria to keep in mind when shopping. Hikers should look for a boot that’s “comfortable yet roomy around the toes to allow for slight movement in the hiking boot,” says New York-based podiatrist Nelya Lobkova, DPM. Too tight a fit and your toes will hit the end of the toe box as they slide forward on steep descents. Too loose and your foot will rub against the fabric of the boot, causing blisters and hot spots.

You should also find a boot with a secure ankle cuff, says Ekkelboom-White. The ideal boot will “hold your foot in a stable position with no heel lift when walking and no pressure points”. Some hikers will need more ankle support than others, so if in doubt, consult a podiatrist before you start shopping.