When I first started hiking, I bought my first pair of boots because they were cheap and looked good. As it turned out, the boots were too heavy, poorly made, and started to come apart after 20 miles on the trail. My lack of research made for a painful trip – both to my feet and my wallet.
Now that I have more miles under my belt, I’m able to find boots that will keep me comfortable on the trail and not cost too much. I am confident that if you look for the right features in a hiking boot or shoe, you can find excellent hiking footwear for less than $150.
The best hiking footwear combines stability, durability, and comfort. There are many affordable options available to hikers who want shoes or boots that will last for hundreds of miles, handle difficult terrain, and protect against soreness and injury.
If you are looking for a good pair of budget hiking boots or shoes, you are probably just starting out as a hiker or just don’t hike enough to make a larger investment. I would suggest these nine pairs of boots and shoes because they still offer the kind of quality and durability that will allow you to push yourself and see if hiking is right for you.
Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX
On Amazon, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX starts at about $149. You can buy it HERE.
I love both the look and the feel of Salomon boots and shoes. And to me, the top of the line when it comes to their boots is the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX.
One thing that sets the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX apart is how surprisingly lightweight they are. Combined with its breathable upper, and this is a boot that keeps you very comfortable as you reach the end of a long day on the trail.
I also love the fact that the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX is made for wide feet. I have wide feet, and have actually blown out the sides of shoes and hiking boots in the past. This boot puts that problem to rest; it feels reinforced from the midsole into the upper, which also improves stability on uneven terrain.
Finally, the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX is made with Gore-Tex Performance Comfort, for waterproofing and breathability that you can count on during wet weather. While waterproof boots aren’t for everyone, I do think these boots strike a good balance between breathability and keeping your feet dry.
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes usually starts at about $63. You can buy it HERE.
No list of top budget hiking boots and shoes would be complete without an entry from Merrell. To me, Merrell provides perhaps the very best value when it comes to a hiking boot or shoe.
I am highlighting the Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe because I do believe in this shoe’s durability to handle the same kind of terrain that normally demands boots to be worn. What really sets this shoe and Merrell boots apart is the focus on value through stability and durability.
Although not made with a focus on hikers with wide feet, I have never felt that the Moab 2 was an uncomfortable fit for my wide feet. Indeed, when coupled with the excellent support from the midsole, the suede and mesh upper provide the right amount of breathability, especially for summer hikes.
The Moab 2 is not, however, waterproof. If you are caught in rough weather, your feet will not be spared from getting wet. However, because they are mesh, they do dry relatively quickly, if you are willing to hike several miles with wet feet.
Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 Hiking Shoe
The Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 Hiking Shoe usually starts at about $90. You can buy it an Amazon HERE.
The Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 Hiking Shoe is a rugged hiking shoe that offers the same level of grip and stability as a more traditional hiking boot.
If there is one feature that sets the Mantra 2.0 apart, it is durability. Unlike Merrell boots and shoes, the Mantra offers a nubuck and mesh upper that is more resistant to rubbing against rocks and branches that might tear lesser shoes. However, this does not sacrifice comfort, as the Mantra is a great comfort fit for longer hikers.
The Mantra 2.0 does come in a more expensive, waterproof GTX version that provides excellent protection against the elements. However, the Mantra 2.0 itself, while not waterproof, does offer more protection against water than the Merrell.
Heavier hikers have complained that this shoe is not rigid enough for them – that it does not hold up well to rough, jagged terrain.
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
The Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot usually starts at about $130. You can buy it HERE.
In many ways, the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Waterproof Boot is an excellent choice for not only beginners, but for anyone who hopes to take a long hiking trip (30-50 miles or so) a few times a year. Mixing durability, comfort, and protection from the elements, this is a great choice for most hikers.
The M Select DRY barrier works to seal out water and let moisture escape. I have always found that Merrell boots and shoes do a great job getting your feet dry, and these boots are no exception.
While they do not provide the same level of waterproof protection that more expensive boots offer, the Moab 2 Waterproof Boot does just fine in wet weather (maybe hold off on walking through a stream…) or walking through wet grass.
Further, with the added support of a taller upper and the same great stability through the midsole, you can tackle almost any terrain with confidence. Merrell boots always offer a sturdy outsole and tread that holds up extremely well.
KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid
The KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot usually starts at about $100. You can buy it HERE.
KEEN boots are renowned for their excellent rubber outsole and their durability and traction. If I had to walk across a field of wet, slippery rocks (which I’ve done, by the way, in the Olympic peninsula in WA State), I would want these boots. The traction is excellent, not only for slippery conditions, but also for steep climbs.
The Targhee II is a waterproof boot, and does quite well protecting your feet from water. However, you should not expect them to be as breathable as the Merrells, or even the Salomon boots. I would definitely recommend these for cooler weather hikes.
KEEN loyalists also love how comfortable they are – some report that you can pull them out of the box and start a long hiking trip. While I would NOT recommend doing that, it does speak to the comfort these boots offer.
Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes
The Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes usually start at about $75. You can buy them HERE.
I wanted to include some trail running shoes in this review; I love trail runners because of how comfortable and lightweight they are. I really value a lightweight shoe or boot on my hikes, so I appreciate how trail runners such as these feel for my hiking trips.
The comfort factor is off the charts – I have only developed blisters from these shoes on my first serious hike with them – they have protected my feet well since then. But the support for a trail runners is outstanding – I never felt too much out of place hiking on rough terrain.
When you choose to wear trail runners on a serious hiking trip, you have to still find the most stability and durability you can. This is why I love the Speedcross 4. They can handle very tough trails quite well – with excellent grip.
All this comes with the caveat – trail runners will never replace a good pair of hiking boots for stability, support, and protection from the elements. However, if you are an experienced hiker, and are willing and able to sacrifice these elements for added comfort and less weight on your feet – try a trail runner.
Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II
The Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II usually are priced at about $60 to start. You can buy them HERE.
I included the Newton Ridge Plus II because it is quite cost-effective as a starter boot. These are comfortable boots that provide for wide feet and do quite well starting out. They are lightweight, and for the casual hiker who might keep it to 15 or 20 miles, they work very well.
The Newton Ridge Plus II does a very good job with waterproofing; many hikers report that the boots do well even when submerged for several seconds.
The main complaint against the Newton Ridge Plus II is likely the overall durability of the boot; you will likely need to upgrade after a couple of years, or after more strenuous hikes that put some stress on the boot.
However, for the truly casual hiker who isn’t planning on more than one or two medium-length hikes per year, the Newton Ridge Plus II is a very good option.
Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoes
The Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoe usually starts at about $75 on Amazon You can buy them HERE.
You may not think of Adidas when you think of hiking boots, but I owned a pair of Adidas trail runners for several years and was very impressed with their performance and durability. I came away convinced that Adidas is a brand worth considering when looking at hiking shoes.
The Terrex AX3s are extremely comfortable right out of the box, and really don’t feel like they need much time to be worn in and adapt to your feet for hiking. They are very accommodating for wide feet.
From a durability and performance standpoint, the Terrex AX3s are quite comparable to other hiking shoes. They offer great traction for almost all terrains and hold up well to regular hiking use.
While the Terrex AX3s do well to resist water – they should do fine during moderate rain – they are not waterproof, stressing breathability over being waterproof.
You should also consider sizing up a half a size or so when ordering – they do run a tad small for some hikers.
Altra Lone Peak 4.5 Trail Runner
The Altra Lone Peak 4.5 Trail Runner is usually priced at about $120 to start. You can buy them HERE.
I wanted to include the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 because this is the shoe that I will be using most of all in 2020. I am very excited to put these shoes to the test and see if they can be a durable trail runner that handles most of my hikes.
The Altra Lone Peak 4.5, like all Altra shoes, is an absolute winner for comfort. Possibly the best feature of Altras, including the Lone Peak 4.5, is their wide toe boxes on all their models. Hikers rave about how comfortable these shoes are.
As for durability and holding up on the trail, the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 more than holds its own. You shouldn’t really expect a trail runner to last the 500 to 750 miles that quality hiking boots do, but Altras can last for more than two hiking seasons through all but the most difficult terrain.
The only complaint I have really seen with the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 is that they actually run smaller than other models. I would recommend sizing up at least half size in order to enjoy that wide toe box to its fullest.
Tips For Selecting The Right Boot Or Shoe
Some factors you might consider when choosing the right boot/shoe:
- Fit – Boots should fit snugly everywhere but be tight nowhere. You should be able to wiggle your toes. Test boots at the end of the day when your feet are swollen.
- What Type of Shoe? – Much of what hiking boot or shoe you wear depends on your own preference. You may want more support and protection for your feet, so a sturdy boot may be your choice. Or, you may value comfort and lighter weight, so a hiking boot or trail runner may be better for you.
- Test Them Out – One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wear new boots/shoes on a hiking trip. Your feet need time to acclimate to the boots, and they to your feet. Walk around in the boots before you purchase them, and then go on shorter hikes in different terrain before your big trip.
- Support – Consider the midsole. This is the part of the boot that will provide protection from shocks. Trust me, hiking over rocks or uneven terrain is a painful proposition. In most cases, selecting a stiff midsole for your boot is worth it, despite perhaps some added weight.
- Don’t Forget The Socks! – You should consider your socks and hiking shoes/boots as part of a footwear system. A good, comfortable pair of shoes/boots can still lead to blisters if you don’t have a good pair of socks that can keep your feet dry and reduce friction.
There you have it – my picks for the best hiking boots and shoes of 2020 for men, under $150. You really don’t have to break the bank to get a solid, reliable pair of hiking boots or shoes. Take your time, do your research, understand what you and your feet need from hiking footwear, and make your decision!