Day after day, we ask our feet to do all the dirty work - literally and figuratively. Our feet, and therefore our boots, carry the weight of our adventures. However, footwear is often overlooked as an essential piece of equipment. Especially when participating in outdoor activities such as hikes or climbs. Discomfort in your feet can lead to extreme pain and suffering out on the trail. However, most of us don’t have $300 to spend on the nicest, most luxurious, and most expensive boots out there. In this blog, we are going to lay out a few options for under $100 that are suitable options for you on your next outdoor adventure!
First, you have to prepare. To prepare before a long hike, you need to make sure you get your boots early and spend time breaking them in. We suggest going on several shorter “prep hikes” before embarking on a long excursion. 1 or 2 miles in a new pair of shoes will go a long way to let you know whether or not they may be a good fit. If they aren’t, return them, or resale them on a site like Rerouted if returning them is not an option. People love gently used shoes. Having the right boots will make you a much happier camper…literally! You want to make sure that you have the right combination of socks to make your feet as comfortable as possible. If there are spots on your boots that are rubbing, see if you can get your boot snugger to avoid potential blisters and hot spots. Additionally, make sure you are prepared with blister remedies in your first aid kit for draining and coverage. These steps can help you avoid having a bad time out there.
There are a few different priorities that you might want to consider when shopping for hiking boots and shoes. First, what kind of terrain are you going to be on for the most part? Sometimes hiking shoes can be more comfortable than hiking boots, however, the extra support on your ankles can be life-saving if you lose your footing and twist your ankle. I’ll only be featuring one pair of hiking shoes on this list, while all the others will be boots with full ankle support.
Additionally, are you going to be on the wet muddy ground, or in a dry, airy, dusty climate? Certain hiking boots and shoes will either prioritize ventilation or waterproofing. There are some mid-waterproof boots as well that offers some water resistance, while also allowing some ventilation for your feet, but these will not always protect against ALL water. They are generally considered to be water-RESISTANT rather than water-PROOF. In most cases, water-resistant boots are totally fine for wet ground or a rainy hike. However, if you are stomping through ponds and river crossings on your hike, you may want a more waterproof pair of hiking boots.
FINALLY, let’s check out the products.
Merrell Men’s Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof $110.00 (ON SALE $81.99)
Columbia Women’s Newton-Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot $110.00 (ON SALE $89.95)
Merrell has been making incredible footwear in the hiking and outdoor industry for decades. Founded in 1981, Merrell burst on the scene many years ago by making high-quality outdoor footwear at a reasonable price. While a bit more expensive than the Mountain Warehouse alternative, Merrell has a history and reputation that precedes its products. The Men’s Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof boots are a bit of a stretch to make the list as they are regularly priced at $110.00, I included them because at the time of writing this they were on sale within the price range, and I simply couldn’t help it. They feature Merrell’s “M Select” technology to create a waterproof layer that allows sweat, odors, and moisture to release from the boot while blocking exterior water from getting inside the boot. Additionally, the tongue on the Men’s Thermo Chill is bellowed in order to keep debris out of the boot. Merrell uses a waterproof polyurethane coated leather on the outside of the boot to provide longevity of waterproofing and durability of the boot itself. While maybe slightly pricey for this list, to write a hiking boot blog without including an offering from Merrell felt sacrilegious. Anyone who spends the extra $10 over a $100 budget on the Merrell Men’s Thermo Chill Mid Waterproof will absolutely not regret it. You will be getting a pair of boots to last you a lifetime (depending on how often you use them, obviously!) but thousands of miles, nonetheless.
Columbia sportswear is an outdoor company that has been around since 1938, putting quality outdoor clothing on people’s backs and footwear on their feet. Generally, not the cheapest cost around, if you can find a pair of Columbia boots on sale, you’ll be set for years to come. Enter the Women’s Newton-Ridge Plus Waterproof. This is one of the most classic hiking boots you can find on the market with a waterproof suede-leather upper, the Newton-Ridge Plus is inspired by old-school mountaineering boots. They feature superior cushioning for your long day, or multi-day trips but maintain a lightweight and supportive sole to keep your feet comfortable and moving quickly. The responsive and grippy rubber outsoles of the Newton-Ridge Plus are designed for long days over all kinds of terrain. Whether you’re on gravel, dirt, grass, or walking over tree roots, the Columbia Women’s Newton-Ridge Plus will get the job done in a stylish and durable package.
Both Mountain Warehouse and L.L. Bean have awesome options for both Men and Women under $100. Check out these offerings below from Mountain Warehouse.
Mountain Warehouse - Adventurer Collection $64.99 (ON SALE M/$54.99 F/$44.99)
The Mountain Warehouse Adventurer Collection is one of the most affordable pairs of boots on the market. With offerings for both Men’s, Women’s, and Kid’s shoe sizes, anyone can find a reasonable pair on their site. The Mountain Warehouse Adventurer boots are made with a synthetic material that keeps the boot lightweight and great for people with very active feet. With a breathable mesh lining and waterproof membrane, they are advertised as both breathable and waterproof. There is a cushioned, foam footbed for increased comfort, particularly on the toe and heel, as well as deep lugs for improved traction, and toe and heel bumpers to reinforce the heel and toe to keep your feet from experiencing as much direct impact, and maintaining the longevity of your boots. In theory and description, these boots sound perfect. And for the low cost of $64.99 its too good to be true, right? Maybe. However, these boots are worth a shot. With no hassle returns directly from Mountain Warehouse, there is very little risk associated with giving these a try. In a perfect world, you’ve found your hiking boots for the next several years at an extremely affordable price.
If you are looking for a hiking shoe rather than a boot, L.L. Bean has something for everyone in this price range, designing the Trail Model 4 for both Men and Women.
L.L. Bean Trail Model 4 Hiking Shoe - $89.00-$99.00
Our only featured hiking SHOES on this list are the L.L. Bean Trail Model 4. The Trail Model 4 comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, as well as a ventilated OR waterproof option. The ventilated Trail Model 4 comes in at $89 while the waterproof selection is a touch more at $99. Both the ventilated and waterproof Trail Model 4 feature a synthetic mesh upper that will keep your feet cool, however the ventilated ones are quite a bit lighter, given that the waterproof Trail Model’s have an added TEK2.5 barrier to keep your feet dry. The cushioned EVA midsole offers ample support for your feet, and the midsole along with the removable footbed allow for immediate comfort right out of the box or off the shelf. If anyone is looking for a hiking shoe rather than boot, the selection at L.L. Bean in this price range is tough to beat.
There are several options as well to purchase more expensive hiking boots from a used source (like Rerouted!). However, if you plan to purchase a nice set of hiking boots used, I highly recommend heading into a store and trying them on (or something comparable) first. You want to make sure that the used purchase you are making is a good one, and that there is a good return policy, or opportunity for resale. The reality is, because boots can be such a high impact piece of equipment, you don’t want to make a bunch of concessions in order to save a few bucks. Get the boots that are right for you, but if you are looking for an option to search for used - I cannot recommend the Asolo Fugitive series enough. I’ve had a pair of Asolo Fugitive boots since 2014, and they have been by far my favorite boots I’ve ever owned. I’ve hiked hundreds of miles in them, and hopefully have hundreds more ahead of me!
Well there you have it! A couple of options to purchase hiking boots and shoes NEW for under $100. As always, at Rerouted we suggest that you search for your next piece of equipment used. So many pieces of gear have tons of life left in them and you can find amazing deals on wonderful packs, boots, clothes, and so much more. When it comes to your shoes and boots, it is imperative that they fit properly. The used market can be a great place to explore if you know what you’re looking for, but go into a store, try on some boots, and see what you like. If you can figure out what fits, and search for that used or online you might be able to save a bit of money! Gear is too expensive. Hopefully these affordable options for hiking boots will suit some of you! If you want to check out last year’s article on Hiking Boots under $100, check it out here!