Because the terrain and conditions that confront guys going on a hike can vary so considerably, when picking out a pair of hiking boots that will work best for you it’s a good idea to think about where you are heading. If you like a strenuous hike that hits high alpine areas with plenty of loose rock and rough conditions, a stiffer, burlier boot is going to serve you the best.
Heading into a temperate rain forest like the towering forests of the Northwest? You’ll definitely need boots with a waterproof liner to keep leaks at bay and a grippy lugs for navigating slippery slopes. Or if you are just planning on doing some hiking around a local state park or forest where there’s not much extreme terrain to travel over besides gnarled roots, a light and versatile boot will fit the trail.
To find your perfect hiking boot for the summer of 2018, we took a load of different boots—all great at most things and some so-so at other challenges—and tested them in varying conditions. We picked the top 5 that will make you experience in the outdoors a satisfying and safe adventure, no matter the terrain or weather.