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Home > Gear Guides > How do synthetic materials affect hiking boots?

How do synthetic materials affect hiking boots?

The outsoles of many hiking boots are leather, but when you are buying hiking boots, even leather hiking boots, you will see some types with synthetic components. Here’s a review of some non-leather materials used in hiking boots and the functions they serve:

  • Weight and price: Synthetic materials, including polyester, nylon, and synthetic leather, are used in some hiking boots. These products weigh less and cost less than leather hiking boots, and they are appropriate for light hiking and walking on maintained trails. Synthetic materials also provide added ventilation in the form of nylon mesh. But if you are serious about backpacking, it is worth investing in leather hiking boots for those treks. Keep a pair of light hiking boots on hand for day trips.
  • Waterproofing: One of the important non-leather features of any hiking boots is the waterproof lining. Gore-Tex hiking boots are a reliable choice for waterproof hiking boots, but other waterproof brands you might see when buying hiking boots include eVent and XCR.

For example, the Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Mid-level Hiking Boots feature a combination synthetic leather and mesh upper for breathability and lightness, with EVA cushioning and a Vibram multi-sport sole.

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