Quality hiking boots can be fairly expensive, but it is possible to find a great budget pair when you know what to look for. The biggest factor to consider is what type of hiking you’ll be doing. The best budget hiking boots will vary depending on the use, but generally speaking there are three different types to choose from:
- Day Hiking Trail Shoes: These are typically low-cut or mid-cut shoes with breathable fabric and sometimes partial leather. They will have stiffer, tougher soles than running sneakers. While they won’t be rugged enough for multi-day adventures, they're the perfect choice for easy day-hikes on groomed trails.
- Lightweight Hiking Boots: A mix between trail shoes and backpacking boots, these mid-range boots will be ankle-high and offer extra thickness and added traction without being stiff or uncomfortable.
- Backpacking Boots: This is the toughest type of hiking boots, intended for rough trails or long, extended trips. They’re usually made with full-grain leather uppers and fully waterproof features that can withstand challenging conditions and heavy loads.
If you’re planning to climb mountains or go on rugged, weeks-long adventures, you can also find mountaineering-specific boots and other technical styles. However, these are rarely offered at budget price points. For typical hiking excursions, the list of the best hiking boots below will provide plenty of quality and traction at prices that aren't too steep.