The right hiking boots is crucial to your enjoyment and comfort when bushwalking and hiking all year round. A boot that is too rigid and heavy makes the exercise a strain, and one that fits poorly leaves you with bruises and blisters on aching feet.
The point of hiking is to enjoy the experience, not to be constantly looking for the best place to sit down and take the weight off your feet. There are therefore lots of considerations when choosing the right hiking boot for you, including:
- Water Resistance;
- Durability; and
The following are, in our opinion, the best hiking boots available at the moment, taking into account all the above categories above.
Best Lightweight Hiking Boots – Salmon Quest 4D 2 GTX
In developing the Quest 4D Salomon have learnt from their extensive trail running knowledge. As a result they have developed a versatile mid-weight boot that feels light, with a nimble midsole and foot bed for increased comfort and confidence in uneven conditions.
Features And Specifications
- Leather and Textile construction;
- Synthetic sole;
- Rugged lacing hardware;
- Protective rubber toe cap;
- GORE-TEX waterproof protection;
- Salomon 4D Chassis for stability;
- Molded EVA Orthilite removable footbed;
- Updated Contragrip Outsole.
An All-Purpose ‘Lightweight’ Boot
The Salomon Quest is probably properly considered a mid-weight boot, weighing in at 2lb. 13 oz. however the very clever construction and choice of materials leaves the boot feeling quite light on your feet. Partially this is due to the flexible and contoured sole, which bears a lot of the burden, but the high collar of the boot also assists.
By comfortably covering the ankles, and distributing the weight of the boot nicely on the foot, the boot finishes with a quite comfortable fit. Additionally, Salomon have joined the tongue of the boot more firmly to the boot’s upper, providing a tighter hold on the foot, and a better seal.
Using their proprietary Contragrip outsoles, rather than the Vibram material that is becoming industry standards, Salomon are showing enormous confidence in their own development.
Traction out of the Contragrip is superb however, and the design of the outside, with solid lugs and contoured tread pattern, the Quest holds up well in rocky, wet and muddy conditions. While not the most aggressive looking pattern on the market, they will certainly hold their own in most conditions.
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Constructed of nylon and leather, with a well-connected tongue and Gore Tex liner, the Quest 4D provides enough water resistance to serve the purpose. Even in warm conditions a genuine hiking boot will need to withstand the occasional splash through a stream or deep puddle, and the Salomon sheds water easily.
With the water resistance scaled up, hiking boots will often run hot in warm weather, and it is difficult to balance both the need to stay dry, and the need for your feet to breathe.
Salomon have not solved this riddle unfortunately, despite the nylon mesh exterior, and can leave your feet a little uncomfortable on a hot, dry hike. The nylon does a decent job of wicking off the moisture, and the boots will dry quickly at the end of the walk. Despite this weakness, however, the high level of water resistance supports the boot’s all-weather function.
It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the Salomon Quest is an exceptionally solid boot, with durable seals around the sole, and tough materials through the remainder of the unit. This solid construction (don’t fear for the exterior stitching, it will hold together) combined with the high-water resistance escalates the boot in our opinion as a long-term investment.
The tough construction of the boot extends to your ankle and toe protection. The robust outsole will match it with any rocks underfoot, and the rubber cap over the toes will ensure stub-pain is kept to a minimum. The tight fit, and overall height of the boot will also provide you with confidence that uneven conditions are not going to result in broken ankles.
You Will Love These Boots If…
You want to hike long distances. The lightweight design, and comfortable mid-height of the boot should stop the boot from become a distraction on a long hike, and that is vitally important.
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You want an all-weather, multi-purpose boot. Rather than excel for any specific season, Salomon have designed great boot for all year adventures. With a pretty high purchase price, the versatility of the boot is a real feature.
You Won’t Love These Boots If…
You’re carrying a heavy pack. The boot is relatively thin underfoot, and if you are carrying a heavy pack you are likely to feel the difference.
You have wide feet. The boot fits quite snugly to an ‘average’ foot width. If you have a wide fit however, the boot may compress slightly, making it a little uncomfortable.
Conclusion – Best Lightweight Hiking Boots – Solomon Quest 4D 2 GTX
Solomon have delivered a beautifully versatile boot with the Quest 4D 2 GTX, improving on the original design, which was already a solid competitor.
Light enough for long journeys, with high ratings in water protection, comfort, traction and toe protection, the boot wins in a lot of categories. While slightly expensive when compared to competitors on the market, the versatility and all-year function of the boot can provide some confidence against that benchmark. Absolutely some of the best lightweight hiking boots on the market.