If you’re heading to the trail during the hottest months, finding the best summer hiking boots will enhance your experience.
Blue skies and blazing sun can make for a great day outdoors, but it can also lead to sweaty feet. Having properly ventilated boots can make all the difference, keeping your feet cool enough to stave off any potential discomfort.
In order to make sure you’re blister-free, we’ve put together a list of the best hiking boots for summer weather. Finding the right option for your feet can be a challenge, but the comparisons we have included are sure to make your life easier.
Comparing The Best Summer Hiking Boots
Lightweight boot that offers excellent breathability and waterproofing
A comfortable summer day-hiking boot for a bargain price
A great shoe for hot and fast trail hikes
A breathable boot that is supportive enough to go off-trail
Extremely lightweight and comfortable boot for basic terrain
Value For Money
Best Summer Hiking Shoe
Off-trail and backpacking
Breathable throughout, waterproof, light, comfortable
Comfortable, no 'break-in' time, budget friendly, ventilated
Comfort out of the box, good fit, ventilated, reliable traction
Durable, supportive, breathable, waterproof
Lightweight, comfortable, flexible, breathable
Very narrow fit
Limited backpacking support, struggle off-trail
Not the most durable, best used on trail or tarmac
Expensive, lacking the stability of a traditional backpacking boot
Lacking support, limited durability
Nubuck leather, Mesh
Nubuck leather, Mesh
2lbs. 1oz (936g)
2lbs. 2oz (964g)
1lbs. 14oz (851g)
2lbs. 3oz (992g)
1lbs. 14oz (851g)
Why Do I Need The Best Summer Hiking Boots?
Hiking during the summer can be fantastic, but it can also cause overheating. One of the best ways to keep your cool is by wearing the right clothing, with ventilation usually the key to comfort.
Most hiking boots are designed to cope with adverse weather. Their thick and sturdy design will perform well throughout the winter, but can lead to sweaty feet when the temperature increases.
The best summer hiking boots have all the attributes required to keep your feet cool. They are generally lightweight, breathable and ventilated.
Keep in mind that sweaty feet can be a cause of blisters. If you want to avoid the discomfort caused by excess perspiration, summer hiking boots are probably your best bet.
It’s worth noting that the socks you wear can also have a big impact on overheated feet. We recommend combining your new boots with a good pair of summer hiking socks for maximum results.
How To Choose The Best Summer Hiking Boots
The material a hiking boot is made from will have a big impact on its breathability, weather-resistance, durability, stability and weight.
Mesh is a popular summer hiking boot material. It maximises ventilation by allowing full air circulation throughout the boot. It’s also lightweight and cost effective.
The downside of mesh lies in its poor water-resistance, which is something to keep in mind if you hike in wet weather areas.
Leather can come in a variety of types. Full-grain, split-grain, nubuck and suede are the most popular choices; with each option having unique attributes.
- Split-grain leather is often preferred for summer hiking boots. It’s the most lightweight and breathable type of leather. It also pairs well with mesh and synthetics, providing added durability to a ventilated hiking boot.
- Full-grain leather is more common with winter hiking boots. It’s highly durable and water-resistant, but it’s also heavy. In general, it offers the least ventilation.
- Nubuck leather is a suppler version of full-grain leather. It is also water-resistant and durable, with its lighter weight making it a common summer hiking boot material.
- Suede is another leather that can be combined with mesh or synthetics. Despite lacking the durability of thicker leathers, it’s soft and lightweight enough to be included in a summer hiking boot.
Synthetic materials are common amongst warm weather hiking boots. Polyester and nylon are the most common choices.
They are both lightweight, quick-drying and cost-effective. Despite lacking the durability of leather, they are good choices for warm weather.
The best summer hiking boots need to breathable. Allowing warm air and perspiration to escape is vital on hot days if you want to keep your cool.
As discussed previously, the material your boots are made from often has the biggest impact on breathability. Mesh and synthetics usually offer the best ventilation, while also remaining lightweight.
If the boots have a waterproof ‘membrane’, this will also affect their ability to keep your feet cool. Despite adding to their wet-weather capability, it can make it more difficult for heat to escape.
If you’re hiking during the summer, waterproofing might not be your first priority. However, it can be important if you plan on trekking through wetter terrain.
Hiking boots often use an inner bootie to provide waterproofing. It’s commonly known as a ‘membrane’, providing a layer of defence against wet weather.
Most membranes claim to be breathable, designed to keep water out while still allowing hot air to escape. Although some are fairly adept at keeping your feet cool, they can still compromise ventilation.
If you plan on hiking in wetter areas or are hoping to use your boots year-round, a waterproof pair might be the way to go. If you want to maximise warm weather performance, you will need to forgo water-resistance to maximise breathability.
The last thing you need in hot weather is heavy hiking boots weighing you down. Not only will they make your feet overheat faster, but will also sap your energy at a much higher rate.
The best summer hiking boots have a design that lends itself to being lightweight. They often have a minimalist construction that uses light and flexible materials, making them perfect for hot weather days.
It’s worth noting that reduced weight can come at a cost. Despite their improved summer performance, lightweight hiking boots can lack the stability of their heavier counterparts.
Look for strong materials and supreme build quality when judging the durability of a lightweight boot. In this article we have aimed to prioritise reliable boots to make sure you don’t have a ‘blow out’ on the trail.
Best Overall Summer Hiking Boot
- Material: Nubuck Leather, Mesh
- Waterproof: Yes
- Weight: 2lbs. 1oz (936g)
- Retailers: Amazon
- Previous Model: N/A
- Alternate Versions: N/A
Finding waterproof hiking boots that will keep your feet cool can feel like an uphill battle. However, the La Sportiva Pyramid GTX is out to prove that keeping your feet dry doesn’t mean you need to get hot and bothered.
In order to maximise breathability, ventilation outlets have been integrated into the entire nubuck leather upper. In addition, the use of ‘aeration channels’ across the footbed and midsole provides complete airflow throughout the entire boot.
Away from the hot weather, these boots also cope admirably on wetter days due to the use of Gore-Tex surround technology. At just 2lbs. 1oz, they are also lightweight and comfortable without sacrificing stability.
If you’re looking for the ultimate all-round summer hiking boot, we strongly suggest you give the Pyramid GTX a shout. It provides all the traction and durability you should expect from a La Sportive boot with a design that can keep your feet feeling fresh.
- Breathable upper, footbed and midsole
- Gore-Tex Waterproofing
- Decent underfoot traction
- Soft and comfortable out of the box
- Highly durable
- Supportive for a lightweight boot
- Runs narrow
- Would be more breathable without the waterproofing
Best Budget Summer Hiking Boot
If you’re on the hunt for a summer hiking boot that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid. It comes with all the quality that we have come to expect from Merrell boots, despite costing significantly less than many of its competitors.
Designed exclusively for hot weather hiking, they have included mesh throughout the boot. As you might expect from reading the name, these boots are highly ventilated and do a great job of letting moist air evaporate.
The outsole traction of Merrell’s boots has proven to be reliable in previous models, with this years product being no exception. You also get better ‘bang for your buck’ with the inclusion of air cushion heels that provide ample shock absorption.
Although the Moab 2 might not offer the support of a heavy-duty backpacking boot, it’s more than capable of supporting your summer day-hiking ambitions. Despite its inclusion as a ‘value for money’ option, it offers a level of performance that might be expected from a much pricier model.
- Great value for money
- Excellent ventilation
- Seems to fit most feet
- Not much ‘break-in’ time required
- Good shock absorption
- Reliable on-trail traction
- Less supportive than some competitors
- Durability can become an issue after long-term use
- Will come up short when heading off-trail or scrambling
Best Summer Hiking Shoe
Despite their limitations when it comes to support, hiking shoes are a popular choice for those trekking hot summer trails. When we assessed the best summer hiking shoes on the market, the Keen Targhee Vent proved to be a stern competitor.
Although it falls into the ‘budget’ category, durability has not been sacrificed. The quality nubuck leather used has proven to be highly durable and makes them excellent value for money.
One of the big factors that makes this shoe take the prize is the ventilation it offers, with mesh panels ensuring your feet keep breathing on the hottest days. Coupled with excellent underfoot traction and a decent amount of cushion, it’s clear to see why the Targhee has become such a popular choice.
With a seemingly endless amount of companies trying to create the perfect shoe, it’s a testament to Keen’s design quality that they still manage to maintain the top spot. The time tested Targhee remains a solid choice, giving you piece of mind after you’ve made your purchase.
- Great ventilation
- Durable nubuck leather upper
- Comfortable without much ‘break-in’
- Great fit for most feet
- Decent traction
- Good stability for a hiking shoe
- Budget price
- Not for steep or off-trail terrain
- Sole durability can be a factor
Best Summer Backpacking Boot
Most backpacking boots are stiff and heavy, making them a recipe for hot and sweaty feet during the summer months. The Asolo Falcon GV does a great job of breaking this mold by providing enough support for challenging terrain despite its slimmed down design.
With the focus of our research being on hot weather performance, we are pleased to report that the Falcon performs exceptionally well in the heat for a boot in the ‘backpacking’ class. The combination of Gore-Tex and polyester really gives these boots breathability that’s way above many of its rivals, making it ideal for long summer treks.
Another area where the Falcon’s excel is comfort. Despite sacrificing a touch of support in comparison to a more ‘traditional’ boot, they are extremely lightweight and provide great comfort out of the box.
If you’re a thru-hiker, backpacker or just looking to get off the beaten path; the Asolo Falcon GV is prepared for any adventure. Traction, comfort, waterproofing and breathability have all been combined to make a modern looking boot with a performance orientated design.
- Supportive enough for off-trail use
- High level of breathability
- Lightweight for a backpacking boot
- Supreme comfort
- Strong enough for any situation
- Gore-Tex waterproofing
- Less supportive than a ‘heavy-duty’ backpacking boot
Most Comfortable Summer Hiking Shoe
Hoka One One are becoming an increasingly popular producer of sports shoes. Despite being best known for their running shoes, they have been applying their technology to hiking footwear with some impressive results.
The Sky Toa is a perfect example of a modern summer hiking boot. Lightweight, breathable and built with impact absorption that can match any other boot on the market.
Although the mesh and synthetic upper could have limitations in term of durability, it provides solid breathability on warmer days. The material also gives it a comfortable and flexible feel that’s comparable to a sneaker, which is great for fast days on the trail.
If you’re looking for a supportive boot that can accompany your multi-day adventures, this is not the one for you. However, if you’re looking to attack the trail at speed and walk with a spring in your step, the Sky Toa is a modern boot that will improve your experience.
- Maximum comfort
- Breathable mesh upper
- Gore-Tex waterproofing
- Excellent underfoot cushioning
- Great fit out of the box
- Outsole have ample traction when on trail
- Comes up short on challenging terrain
- Questionable durability long-term
Being prepared for the heat is sure to improve your summer hiking experience. Overheating is never fun, especially when it can lead to blisters.
The best summer hiking boots provide the ventilation required to keep your feet cool. Designed to be lightweight and breathable, they can have a huge impact on your outdoor experience.
Every boot on this list has specific attributes that make it best suited to a different individual. Once you have assessed the key features of each product, you will get a good idea of the type boot that will keep your feet comfortable.
James is the founder of SnowSunSee. He started skiing when he was five years old and has been a qualified ski instructor for 8 years. He has taught skiing in many countries, including UK, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia. When he’s not on the slopes, James spends his time travelling the world one trail at a time.