As you’ve probably experienced, it can be pretty hard to find entirely vegan hiking boots. Synthetic hiking boots are relatively easy to come by, but finding out whether the glue is animal based or not can be tricky-especially when the brands themselves don’t really know.
So to make it easier, I’ve whittled my ultimate list of vegan hiking boots to my top five choices. These five boots have performed the best in testing and are firm favorites of vegan and non-vegan hikers alike!
Many hiking shoes are made from animal hide and they typically contain a label on the tongue or sole of the shoes indicating that they have a leather upper.
Vegan shoes, on the other hand, are often made with materials such as:
Unfortunately the source of the glues used in shoes and hiking boots are rarely disclosed, so discerning whether they are vegan will require contacting the company. Today it is becoming increasingly common for shoes to be labeled vegan, which makes the search much easier. REI has an entire section of their website dedicated to vegan hiking boots!
Hiking shoes are an investment, and an important one at that. They can mean the difference between an enjoyable outdoor adventure and a tear-ridden blister-filled struggle up a mountain. I think we can all relate to the agony of uncomfortable hiking boots. A little extra research and thoughtfulness in choosing your perfect pair can help ensure the best hiking experiences for years come.
Here are some things to consider:
As you can see by the list of vegan-friendly hiking shoe brands above, there a lot of options. If this is overwhelming to you, read on, as we highlight what we consider the best-of-the-best vegan hiking boots. The shoes included were chosen based on the following criteria:
First up is the Evolution Mid GTX from US brand Treksta. Treksta has an entire vegan section of their website which makes it easy to search for their leather-free styles. This is a really lightweight but supportive boot that suitable for four season hiking. It’s got a synthetic upper, with a GORE-TEX waterproof and breathable membrane, which offers great protection in all weather conditions.
What I find particularly impressive about these vegan hiking boots is the outsole. It’s got a low-profile tread that not only prevents the boot from picking up and carrying mud, but offers impressive traction. That’s due to the micro-glass infused rubber filaments Treksta put into these soles and coined IceLock. This enables the boot to grip to the ground, even across ice patches and wet rock.
One thing to note is that the boots can run a little small. They feature a NestFit, which means the boot’s interior is designed to cradle your feet, accounting for every contour. This does make them very comfortable, if you’ve got the right size, but can be a little tight on a wider foot.
Next up is the Irox GTX MID from German brand Lowa. This is the male version of the female-specific Lowa Lyxa GTX Mid, and both have extremely similar features. The lightweight boot weighs around 1200g per pair and combines designs elements of a heavy alpine boot and an approach shoe. This makes it ideal for many types of terrain, while its waterproof GORE-TEX membrane layer also makes these boots suitable for wet weather. The boot is really robust and offers a large amount of support and stability around the sole and ankle, which is much needed for hiking in alpine terrain.
The breathability of the boot is what I think makes these vegan hiking boots stand out. The uppers allow your foot to breathe without letting in moisture, and they dry really quickly. It’s a top choice for spring and summer mountain hiking.
The Merrell Capra Venture Mid is another high-performance synthetic boot, suitable for almost any trail. The GORE-TEX Surround construction provides great waterproofing and breathability, while its midsole and air cushion in the heel makes these boots really comfortable. It’s also got a grippy Vibram outsole which is really durable and provides great stability over wet and dry surfaces.
One thing to note is that these boots aren’t super warm. That’s ideal for most hikes and conditions, as you don’t want your feet to overheat but if you’re looking for a specific winter boot you may want to wear thicker socks or look for a different shoe.
Next up is one of the offerings from Italian brand La Sportiva. The brand is known for its mountaineering boots and like the rest of the Trango range, Trango TRK GTX is aimed at climbers. The fit, like the rest of the climbing range, is slimmer in the forefoot, with excellent heel hold. The Vibram Mulaz sole is sturdy and grippy, but still provides a good amount of flexibility for scrambling. It features a water-repellent and anti-abrasion synthetic upper with a GORE-TEX Performance Comfort membrane which increases the boots breathability and waterproof-ness, while the 3D Flexed ankle joint provides support and allows greater control over the rough terrain. A great warm weather walking boot for moderate climbs and scrambles.
Finally is the Eco Vegan Shoes Terrain Pro Waterproof Hiker. This hiking boot comes from a brand which is entirely vegan and focuses solely on making sustainable footwear, which is a big plus. The Hiker is a lightweight but sturdy boot that provides enough flexibility for clambering over tricky terrains. Despite its lack of GORE-TEX it still offers a good level of waterproofing and features a breathable microfiber upper, and a ‘leather-like’ body developed by Swiss brand Schoeller AB. On top of this, the boots feature replaceable Eco-Ortholite insoles for improved hygiene, comfort and support. While the outsole isn’t Vibram, it’s still durable and provides a good level of support during lengthy day hikes.
Do you have a favorite brand of vegan hiking boots? Let us know in the comments below!
Vegan hiking shoes article by Jess Gray and Michelle Cehn. To find the latest news on vegan outdoor gear, follow Jess Gray at veganadventurist.com.
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