When you’re hauling a 35- to 45-pound load on your back, you need sturdy footwear that wraps your ankle and provides tons of grip and support when navigating sketchy scree, slippery slopes, and rocky switchbacks. Though most new boots to take backpacking have shied away from the heavyweight, all-leather, bomb-proof construction that keeps feet safe, there is still a wide selection of great products that—even though they are lighter than ever—still offer solid support and long-wearing quality.
If you crave the all-encompassing cradling comfort of a burly leather backpacking boot, you can still spring for some that use the best in modern materials, giving you a lighter but trail-busting boot.
To find some of the best backpacking of summer 2018, we pulled some of the newest backpacking boots—ranging from the lightweight and flexible to the substantial and stiff. They were put through muddy, dusty, ankle-twisting treks through local trails and tracks with varying loads to find out which pulled through with aplomb.