Lightweight hiking boots, or day hiking shoes, are generally lighter, though offer less support, than most other hiking boots. However, light hiking boots are a comfortable and an appropriate choice for on-trail day hikes or even wearing around the campsite. They are a great choice for those looking for hiking shoes that are lightweight, breathable, and water-resistant. Here are some other features to keep in mind when you are focusing on light hiking boots...

Water Resistance and Breathability

As a general rule of thumb, shoes that aren’t water-resistant will be more breathable. But if water resistance is important to you, look for lightweight shoes that have a waterproof membrane inside the lining of the boot. Unfortunately, the membrane will wear down over time and the boots will lose their ability to resist water.

Ankle Support

Lightweight hiking boots usually don’t offer ankle support. If ankle support is important then you may want to look at midweight boots, which can be a happy medium for most people.


Lightweight hiking boots usually have an upper made out of synthetic leather (which is vegan friendly!) polyester, or nylon, which helps reduce weight and cost in lightweight hiking boots.


Even in heavier weight hiking boots, a larger proportion of synthetic materials such as nylon mesh in the lining helps to reduce weight. Nylon is durable and less expensive than using a leather lining.


Look for lightweight hiking boots with an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole, which weighs and costs less than a polyurethane midsole.


Even when shopping for light hiking boots, look for Vibram© rubber outsoles for superior support and durability. This will help increase the life of your boots.

Many brands of hiking boots have lightweight models as well as heavier models of backpacking hiking boots. For example, the North Face Women’s Hedgehog Fastpack II Waterproof Hiking Shoes feature Polyurethane-Coated Leather and synthetic nubuck leather to resist dampness and abrasions, plus a nylon and ESS midsole shank and EVA midsole for support without extra weight, and a Vibram© outsole.

For a men’s option, the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Ventilator Wide Hiking Boots feature breathable, waterproof, and light-weight mixture of suede leather and mesh upper, a light-weight molded nylon arch shank, EVA midsole, and a Vibram© outsole.

This isn’t a complete list of things to look for in a light hiking boot. Instead, this should give you an outline and a base on what to look for. For more information and a wide selection of lightweight hiking boots, come visit your local Sun & Ski Sports.