There are few workouts I enjoy more than hiking. The fun and adventure of traveling new trails, seeing new sights, and walking off the beaten path almost makes you forget that you’re challenging your body in dynamic new ways.
Ever since I started taking my personal health and fitness seriously, I’ve made it a point to go hiking at least two or three times a month.
Sometimes, I’ll visit a local trail around my city, and other times, I’ll drive a couple of hours out of town and find some serious mountain trails to challenge myself.
Today, I’m going to be showing you guys some of the best vegan hiking boots for women and men that my boyfriend and I have used. Whether you’re looking for a high-top, waterproof boot or a low-top breathable hiking boot, I guarantee you’ll find the perfect pair below!
- Low-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
- Mid-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
- High-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
What Are Vegan Hiking Boots Made Of?
If you visit your local outdoor retailer, I guarantee you’ll find plenty of durable, high-quality hiking boots on the shelves. The only problem is that the majority of these hiking boots are going to be made out of leather.
Leather is one of the most common materials used to make hiking boots. It’s durable, looks good, resists odors, and is water-resistant. These are all of the aspects that can make or break a hiking boot.
Leather, of course, is not vegan. It’s a direct product of animal slaughter and most traditional boots (such as Timberlands), are made using the hides of cattle and pigs that have been killed for their meat.
While some vegans argue that leather shoes are ethical, as the organic material is less harmful to the environment, the majority of vegans avoid leather shoes and boots.
Ultimately, when you buy a leather shoe, you’re sending a message to boot manufacturers:
“Keep using leather from slaughtered animals, because I’ll keep buying it.”
Until there’s a significant decrease in leather sales, major shoe companies will keep on using it instead of finding innovative and environmentally-friendly solutions.
Instead of leather, vegan hiking boots are typically made out of:
- Gore-Tex Mesh
- PVC and Polyurethane (Synthetic Leather)
- Recycled Plastic
Vegan Hiking Boots vs. Non-Vegan Hiking Boots
Here’s a quick table outlining the key differences between vegan and non-vegan hiking boots:
|Vegan Hiking Boots||Non-Vegan Hiking Boots|
|100% Cruelty-Free||Often Made From Slaughtered Animals|
|Award-Winning Brands||Award-Winning Brands|
|Made With High-Quality, Synthetic, Water-Resistant Materials||Often Made With Leather or Suede Leather|
|Often Made With Recycled Materials, Which Reduces The Brand’s Carbon Footprint||Typically Made With Newly-Manufactured Materials, Increasing The Brand’s Carbon Footprint|
What To Look For In The Best Vegan Hiking Boots
There are a few key considerations to keep in mind when you’re shopping for the perfect pair of vegan hiking boots. There are many different types of boots, each designed for different types of terrain and hiking.
It’s important to get the right type of boot so that you’re the most comfortable and protected on your hiking journey! Here are the key points to keep in mind.
One of the main things that new hikers forget about is to consider the weight of the boot. For example, if you’re doing a lot of uphill canyons climbing in Utah, you’re not going to want a heavy, waterproof boot.
Your feet will get hot, sweaty, and tired before you’re halfway to your destination.
Conversely, if you’re hiking through dense, grassy forests in the mountains, where moisture levels are higher, you don’t want a thin, lightweight hiking boot, as you’ll end up soaked.
Waterproofing & Breathability
Some hiking boots are designed to be waterproof or water-resistant. These are great for hiking through rain, muck, and even snow. Others are designed to be lightweight, thin, and breathable. These are excellent if you plan on hiking in hot, humid, or desert climates.
You’ll find a variety of different sole designs in vegan hiking boots. Some feature deep grooves, which are great for handling slick mud, and snow, or catching onto rocky ledges. Others feature a flatter sole that’s more suited to flat gravel or sand trails.
It’s important to look for a sole design that’s suited to the type of hiking you plan on doing the most.
If you plan on going on long hiking trips across difficult terrain, the last thing you want is a pair of uncomfortable shoes! The best vegan hiking boots are made with your foot and leg comfort in mind.
They’ll often include added arch support, shock-absorbing insoles, and enhanced ankle support.
The 6 Best Vegan Hiking Boots: It’s Time To Go Hiking
Now that you have a good idea of what to look for, it’s time to check out some of the best vegan hiking boots on the market. Some of these boots may seem a bit pricey.
However, they’re all super-high-quality boots that are designed to keep you safe when you’re out in the wilderness by yourself.
A cheap pair of boots can easily leave you stranded with holes in your soles, or even result in a sprained ankle while you’re miles away from civilization. Trust me – you don’t want to be in either of those situations!
So, take my advice and treat your next pair of hiking boots as an investment. As long as you take care of them, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t last you for several years or longer! Your feet will thank you.
1) VIVOBAREFOOT Magna Trail II FG (link)
- Type of Boots: Low-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
Vivobarefoot’s Magna Trail II FG hiking boots are arguably some of the strangest-looking boots that I’ve come across. They look more like an 80’s basketball shoe than a hiking boot.
However, they’re manufactured with an incredibly unique design that’s meant to provide added support and comfort for your joints as you traverse difficult terrain.
Vivobarefoot was developed by Tim Brennan, who wanted to create a line of shoes designed to work with our body’s biomechanical mechanisms. His theory is that most modern shoes are over-engineered, which actually makes them worse for your long-term foot and joint health.
His brand can be summed up in a few short words, “As close to walking barefoot as possible.”
These vegan hiking boots feature a flat sole, which allows your foot to move more naturally. The outsole is made out of high-quality reinforced leather, which can withstand even the roughest, rockiest terrain.
The shoe’s upper is made from a water-resistant, tight-knitted mesh, that allows your feet to breathe while keeping moisture out.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend these boots to those who are planning an intense wilderness hike.
However, if you’re looking for a super-comfortable, supportive, eco-friendly shoe for everyday hiking, then this is perfect. These shoes will perform well on light trails, and dryer environments, and can even handle a bit of rock-climbing!
- Innovative, minimalist design
- Encourages your body to move more naturally
- Shock-absorbant reinforced rubber soles
- No arch support
- Not designed for heavy hiking
2) Merrell Altalight Mid-Rise Waterproof Boots (link)
- Type of Boots: Mid-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
Merrell’s Altalight Mid-Rise Waterproof Hiking Boots are a great all-around pair of vegan hiking boots that are designed to handle a variety of terrains and hiking styles.
They feature a mid-rise design that provides solid ankle support and protection while not being as cumbersome or heavy as a pair of high-top boots.
When it comes to hiking gear, Merrell is one of the leading names in quality. Even before I tried these boots, I used to wear some of Merrell’s leather boots in my pre-vegan days. Each pair I owned was incredibly comfortable and lasted me for at least two years.
These particular boots are 100% synthetic and made from durable, high-quality, vegan-friendly materials. The outsole is made using reinforced rubber and features a wide waffle pattern design that’s excellent for gripping slick surfaces like river rocks, wet terrain, and even snow/ice.
The upper is made from a tear-resistant, lightweight material that’s water-resistant and breathable.
This means that it lets sweat and moisture escape from your feet (keeping them dry) while preventing outside moisture from penetrating. They aren’t 100% waterproof, but they can easily handle a bit of wet terrain or snow without a problem.
It’s then reinforced with Merrell’s patented Stratafuse exoskeleton, which provides support throughout the entire boot and spreads the strain across all parts of the boot, reducing weak points.
- Water-resistant, breathable upper
- Reinforced, high-grip rubber sole
- Mid-rise design
- Supportive Stratafuse exoskeleton
- The style of the boots leaves a bit to be desired
3) Manfen Women’s Hiking Boots (link)
- Type of Boots: High-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
If you’re looking for an affordable, durable pair of high-top hiking boots, then I’d encourage you to check out Manfen’s Women’s Hiking Boots. They’re made from 100% synthetic materials, so you don’t have to worry about any leather, wool, or other animal-derived materials.
Granted, Manfen isn’t one of the top-rated brands, as they’re a relatively new shoe company. They haven’t been in the game as long as Merrell, Avia, Salomon, Columbia, and others.
However, they make some very high-quality boots for the price, so I always recommend them to those on a tighter budget.
The outsole is made from ultra-durable reinforced rubber and features deep groves and curvature. This makes them perfect for handling loose terrain, mud, and snow. They almost have a studded design that keeps excess mud and dirt from building up and reducing traction.
Another great thing about these boots is that they’re 100% waterproof. You can trudge through up to six inches of water without having to worry about your feet getting wet.
This is thanks to the watertight membrane upper. Of course, the only downside to this is that they’re not very breathable, which means that you might sweat a bit more in them.
All-in-all, I’d say that these are great for cold-weather hiking, handling streams, and rivers, or anybody hiking through muddy terrain.
- High-rise waterproof boot
- High-grip outsole designed for heavy-duty hiking
- A protected toe cap is great for rocky terrain
- Not very breathable, so they’re not the best for desert or canyon hiking
4) Avia Grit Sport Women’s Vegan Hiking Boots (link)
- Type of Boots: Mid-Rise Vegan Hiking Boot
Although Avia is better known for its cross-trainers and walking shoes, the Avia Grit Sport Women’s Hiking Boots are a great all-around pair for hikers.
They feature a rugged rubber sole that has a good traction and can handle a variety of different terrain types. The sole design also makes for a super-comfortable hiking experience as well.
The “Anatomical Cradle” (as Avia calls it), keeps your heel in the perfect position relative to the shoe. This, in turn, results in improved shock absorption and puts less strain on your joints.
The bottom inch of the outsole is water-resistant as it features a rubber lip and a high-rise platform. However, the majority of the upper is made from an ultra-lightweight synthetic mesh. These boots are perfect for hiking on hot summer days when you need a pair of breathable boots.
Best of all – they’re super-affordable. They may not look as fancy as some of the nicer brands, but they’re perfect for light hiking and handling some off-road trails.
- Lightweight and breathable
- A supportive insole improves mobility and absorbs impacts
- They’re not water-resistant
- They’re not designed to handle heavy hiking
5) Salomon Women’s X Ultra Pioneer (link)
- Type of Boots: Mid-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
Salomon Women’s X Ultra Pioneers are a truly excellent pair of women’s hiking boots.
They’re made from Salomon’s patented waterproof membrane that allows moisture to escape the boot while keeping 100% of outside water out. This membrane is both tear-resistant and lightweight as well, which makes it great for any terrain.
The waterproof upper is bound to the lower outsole with an intuitively-designed synthetic chassis system. This spreads the weight and effort of your feet evenly throughout the boots, reducing joint strain, and improving your ability to react and respond to a dynamic environment.
The bottom soles are designed with Salomon’s patented “Mud Contagrip” design which features deep lugs that can easily handle slippery terrain, without becoming heavy or bogged down.
Overall, these hiking boots are great for any type of outdoor hiking! They’re breathable, lightweight, weatherproof, and offer superior grip and traction.
The only downside, of course, is the higher price point. I’d say that these vegan hiking boots are definitely worth it, though!
- Sole designed to handle mud and slippery terrain
- Reinforced, supportive midsole chassis
- They’re expensive
6) Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX Hiking Boots (link)
- Type of Boots: Mid-Rise Vegan Hiking Boots
I love my Salomon Ultra Pioneers… But when the Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX Hiking Boots came out, I was one of the first to buy them. These are, by far, some of the best vegan hiking boots that I’ve ever owned, and I’ll probably buy another pair once I wear these out.
The entire upper is made with a revolutionary new Gore-Tex mesh, that’s waterproof, abrasion-resistant, and breathable. The bottom outsole is reinforced with thick rubber, designed to handle the roughest terrain.
The bottom sole, itself, is another thing entirely. The soles feature extra-large lugs that are designed to handle ice, snow, mud, and whatever else nature throws at them. These boots truly are designed to handle any terrain.
Check out this in-depth video breaking down the shoe’s innovative design:
- Heavy-duty sole can handle any terrain
- Awesome design and style
- Expensive price tag (but SO worth it)
Are Vegan Hiking Boots Durable?
When it comes to shoes, there’s a stereotype that leather is the most durable material there is. This simply isn’t true.
Leather was the most durable material before the advent of modern manufacturing. However, today’s synthetic materials are just as durable, tear-resistant, and breathable as leather.
Are there some cheap synthetic materials out there? Yes, there are lots.
However, by shopping with high-quality brands that own patents to their own revolutionary materials, you’ll mitigate this risk. I wouldn’t trade my synthetic Salomon’s for any leather boot, regardless of the quality.
Conclusion – What Are The Best Vegan Hiking Boots For Women?
If I had to choose the best vegan hiking boots, I’d say that the Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX Hiking Boots are my favorite. They look awesome, are designed to handle rough terrain, are 100% waterproof, and I’ve traveled around the world with them.
Although I definitely love hiking, I don’t always have time to get outdoors as much as I’d like. Even so, I still try to make it to the gym for a full-body workout or a stair-climbing session at least four or five times a week.
To see my favorite vegan Nikes that I use for my daily workouts, check out my latest post on the best vegan Nike shoes!