These days, virtually every type of outdoor gear—from backpacks to trail-running shoes—is getting lighter and tougher, making off-the-grid adventures more comfortable and easier to enjoy.
Hiking boots are no exception.
Over the last decade or so, hiking boots have gone from big, burly leather clodhoppers into multiple categories honed for every hiker’s specific needs. Light hikers cover a broad swath of outdoor shoes, but the idea is the same: When you’re just out for a daylong jaunt, and you’re not hauling a heavy pack for multiple days, freeing your feet from the weight and bulk of bigger boots can feel liberating.
To find the best of the breed, we laced up a batch of the latest light hikers and went on a few adventures—boulder-hopping, trail-trekking, mud-puddle-dodging (and some wallowing). Read on for our favorites, and pick a pair for your next outdoor adventure.