Finding the right hiking boots can be challenging, but finding great summer hiking boots adds some new considerations to the equation. Excellent traction, foot support and protection are still key features, but in warmer weather, insulation against snow and rain take a back seat to evaporation and breathability as key features in a hiking boot. Also, since the added weight of insulation isn't as important during the summer months, people looking for summer hiking boots can afford to go lighter and look to add some bounce to their steps.
Merrell Phaser Rush Gore-Tex
For hikers who want a boot that will stand up to the most severe punishment, Merrell's Phaser Rush Gore-Tex ($140, as of 2009) is the way to go. At 2 lbs., 9 oz., the Phaser Rush makes up for its weight with virtual indestructibility. With a waterproof Nubuck Dura leather exterior and its durable and aggressively lugged Vibram outsole, the Phaser Rush is built to last a while. A Gore-Tex interior keeps feet dry, while the Merrell Air Cushion midsole keeps feet comfortable over the toughest ground.
Montrail Hardrock™ Mid 09 GTX
If you see a river crossing or two in your near future, Montrail's Hardrock Mid hiking boot is an excellent option. Costing $139.95 as of 2009 and weighing in at just over a pound, the Hardrock's Gore-Tex bootie construction adds waterproof breathability to the boot, keeping water out of your boot without trapping sweat in. A reinforced forefoot protects feet from trail debris, and the gusseted tongue helps keep out dirt and moisture. Throw in Montrail's durable Gryptonite outsole to provide traction and a molded midsole shank for support on rough surfaces, and the Montrail Hardrock Mid 09 GTX will keep you dry and comfortable across just about any terrain.
Mizuno Ascend 4
For fast, light hiking, good things come in small packages. At $89.95 as of 2009, the Mizuno Ascend 4 trail runner packs traction, protection and support into an affordable pair of shoes that weigh less than a pound. Mizuno's Wave insole provides support on moderately rough surfaces, while a deep cut, bi-directional tread on the outsole allows for solid traction. A reinforced toecap protects toes from the occasional jutting rock or exposed root, and hourglass laces prevent the shoes from coming untied. Combine these amenities with the Ascend's minimal weight and excellent traction, and you've got an excellent hiking shoe.
Article Written By Billy Brown
Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California.
An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight," uncooped.com, and Trails.com, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.