Altitude Glide WP Light Hiking Boots

If you are looking for a shoe with a low-cost, high-value waterproofing solution, these are the shoes for you.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Hi-Tec’s Women’s Altitude Glide WP Light hiking boots have a variety of things to recommend them: they have a low price, are specifically designed to fit women’s feet, and are overall classic boots with all the high-quality features that entails. Most importantly, however, they are made to keep water, snow, and dirt outside, exactly where they belong. With these on your feet, you will never have to worry about the weather conditions while you are out exploring—your Altitude Glides will keep you warm and dry regardless of what they are.

Pros

  • Minimal breaking-in time: according to some customers, they were able to walk blister-free in shoes fresh out of the box!
  • Very lightweight
  • Removable soles: you can remove the TrekLite EVA midsoles, leaving room for substitution of the innersole of your choice, if you have a preferred brand or model

Cons

  • Sizing issues: Like many hiking boots, these run small, so most customers recommend ordering them at least half a size larger than your normal shoe size in order to accommodate your feet as well as bulky socks.
  • Outsoles have been reported to wear more quickly, sometimes coming off in less than a year

The Company

Hi-Tec Sports USA was founded in 1978 and is best known as the company that produced the first lightweight hiking boot. Today, the company has spread its mission worldwide, bringing lightweight, well-made, and comfortable outdoor footwear to over 70 countries around the world.

The Product

The Altitude Glide comes in two colors, both classic shades of brown leather. It has a black leather tongue and silver accents, making this shoe more durable than the Targhee II or the Newton Ridge Plus, but less breathable. This can be a big advantage in wintry conditions; with the right socks, these boots will keep you very warm. The bottoms are also designed to be durable: they are made of carbon rubber, with a waffle tread that provides traction in rugged and slippery terrain alike, and have a steel shank, which provides extra sturdiness and support by stabilizing your foot as soon as it touches the ground, minimizing the torsion and thus the risk of injury.

A noteworthy feature of this product is its waterproofing technology. Not only is it equipped with seam seals and designed to trap out moisture and keep your feet warm, but the interior features eVent waterproof membranes designed to keep out the elements while allowing perspiration to evaporate, keeping your feet from overheating. In addition, the steel shank is rustproof, meaning that you can walk through water and on wet ground without worrying about water damage.

Another perk is the Comfort Tec memory foam sock liner, which is made especially with women’s feet in mind. The liner conforms to fit the contours of your foot with each step, giving you custom-fit arch support as well as helping you remain comfortable as you traverse for long stretches of the day.

Compared to the KEEN Targhee II, this product’s exterior materials have greater durability and can handle the same tough conditions. Its middle-rise design is better at protecting your ankles, although its rubber sole only covers the lower front part of the foot and does not afford as much toe protection as the Targhee II’s rubber toe cage. For the style-conscious, the Altitude Glide’s appearance is more streamlined, dark, and rugged; this also means that it is a better option for handling dirt and mud staining than the brightly-colored Targhee II.

Compared to Columbia’s Newton Ridge boots, Hi-Tec’s shoes have less ventilation due to their full-leather exterior, but more temperature and moisture protection from the elements. Therefore, this shoe would be a better choice for you if you intend on trekking through colder, wetter conditions, while Columbia’s footwear may be better if you plan on going through hotter, more humid environments. In addition, this boot initially has more traction due to its carbon rubber sole, but the Newton Ridge wears less quickly and retains its tread longer.

In a Nutshell

This boot is, without a doubt, a very dependable short-term footwear choice. It requires almost no breaking-in time, and is very lightweight while maintaining comfort. In addition, it has top-of-the-line waterproofing technology, a wonderful memory-foam sole, and a beautiful, classic leather design. It has some minor flaws, such as the fact that according to some customers, the tread of the outer sole wears and loses texture more quickly than they would like. However, considering this shoe’s extremely reasonable price and its many useful features, it is still a good pick for those venturing into colder, wetter climes.

Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boots

Columbia Sportswear’s Women’s Newton Ridge Plus boots are the perfect shoes in which to take your first steps toward hiking adventure. Dubbed “the perfect introductory boot” by satisfied customers, this shoe offers you excellent basic hiking features, such as waterproof technology, great traction, and an impact-absorbing midsole, at a fraction of the price. If you are considering taking up hiking as a pastime but have not yet decided whether to invest in a heavy-duty pair of shoes, these are the perfect low-cost, high-value solution. With them, you can “test-drive” the trails and decide for yourself whether hiking is for you; and should you decide to keep hiking, these boots will carry you far.

Pros

  • Praised as very lightweight
  • Customers report satisfaction with the comfort of the toe box, which is roomy and does not compress the toes as is common with many brands
  • Sizing: buyers report that this product is made true to size and fits well. However, you may still want to consider buying them at least half a size larger than your usual size in order to accommodate thick or bulky socks, which may be necessary if you plan on wearing this shoe in colder conditions

Cons

  • Customers complain of a “toe crease” that occurs in the shoe’s tips; with each step, the leather creases where bent by your toes, digging into the foot and contributing to discomfort
  • Omni-Grip sole, while stable, has been reported as slippery when wet

The Company

Established in 1938, Columbia Sportswear is a company chock-full of nature enthusiasts who are devoted to helping people enjoy the outdoors as much as they do. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Columbia produces products designed for daring. Their premium footwear is made to not only withstand that region’s rains and rough terrain but also provide joy and comfort every step of the way.

The Product

This boot comes in two attractive color schemes: brown and gray. Both designs feature full-grain leather and a mesh tongue, both treated using OmniShield water and stain resistant technology. It has an outer sole made of OmniGrip non-marking traction rubber, which provides stability and moderate traction. The inner sole is a Techlite cushioning midsole engineered precisely to be durable and impact-absorbing.These are of the mid-rise variety, featuring a high collar, high tongue, and slightly lower backing, which is padded in order to hug the ankle and keep it from rolling. Additional ankle support is given by nylon shanks which capture the heel and keep in place while you walk. The shoe roof tamps down snugly on the feet, preventing blisters and hot spots, but leaving enough room for the feet to breathe.

Standout attributes include:

  • Exterior: The combination of waterproof full-grain leather and a mesh tongue has earned praise for providing water protection while allowing feet to breathe. In addition, the leather is very easy to hose down and clean while keeping the soles and interior dry.
  • Waterproofing: The inside of the boot utilizes the OmniShield water and stain resistance treatment, which customers have reported as extremely effective.

Compared to the KEEN Targhee II, this product’s middle-rise design provides greater protection against ankle injuries. It does not give as much toe protection, however, with its rubber toe covering only the front-most part of the feet and not doing much to prevent stubbed toes or dropped objects.  It is slightly heavier, at 16.3 oz per shoe, but much more affordable. Overall, choosing between these two boots comes down to a question of price range and regimen; for heavy-duty hikers who intend to explore the outdoors, the Targhee II is a better investment. For casual or beginning adventurers, however, or those who do not want to spend an exorbitant amount of money on hiking shoes, the Newton Ridge is a better choice.

Compared to the Hi-Tec Altitude Glide, this product gives your feet more ventilation due to its mesh tongue, which suits it better to hiking in hot environments whereas the mostly-leather Altitude Glide is more matched to colder, wetter terrain. Its rubber sole provides slightly less traction when wet, although it is still effective on rock, gravel, roots, and other varieties of uneven ground. The Newton Ridge’s Techlite lightweight outer sole lasts longer as well.

In a Nutshell

Many users call this product the perfect introductory boot. It has some minor design flaws that may make it uncomfortable and unsuitable for heavy-duty hikers accustomed to long distances, high levels of water, and rough terrain, it is well suited to beginning hikers due to its comparatively low price, its minimal break-in time, and its well-made basic features.

Targhee II Waterproof Hiking Boots

The KEEN Women’s Targhee II Waterproof hiking boot is ideal for the middling to advanced hiker looking to take the next step to adventure. From its exemplary, consider-all-scenarios toe protection to its patented waterproofing technology, this shoe is designed for the daring, and will take you far.

Pros

  • Sole is removable, allowing you to substitute in your own foot-pad preference, if necessary
  • No breaking-in time; customers report good performance and comfort right out of the box
  • Machine washable, like all KEEN leathers; just take out innersole and toss into wash

Cons

  • Low-rise ankle protection has been criticized by some as too hard for comfort
  • High price – due to patented parts

The Company

KEEN is dedicated to designing footwear, clothing, and bags that help people enjoy the outdoors, which they define as “anyplace without a ceiling,” while also giving back to the global community. The company does this by using sustainable materials and contributing to a wide range of nonprofit causes.

The Product

These attractive shoes have a leather exterior with a mesh-and leather tongue and brightly colored accents, which come in seven different combinations ranging from spruce green and black to gray and Caribbean blue. Each boot weighs 14.69 oz and has a shaft measuring approximately 4.5 inches from arch to top. It also has rubber soles, about 1 inch thick. It uses laces and a cloth-loop lacing system to ensure maximum fit for a wide variety of feet.Inside, padding includes both an EVA compression-molded footbed that supplies lots of arch support, and a removable dual-density midsole. There is also an ESS shank embedded in the midsole, which is designed to stabilize your foot as it lands, reducing fatigue. These features combine in a symphony of comfort to keep you walking long distances as easily as if you were making a jaunt out the door.

Attributes that set this product apart include:

  • Toe protection: Out of the top 3 rated models for women’s hiking boots, the Targhee II offers the best safeguard. Unlike Hi-Tec’s Altitude Glide and Columbia’s Newton Ridge boots, the rubber toe cage on these shoes (a patented design called Keen.Protect) wraps over the toe area and around the entire footbed. It covers not only the front of all toes but also some of the top, protecting your toes in a wide variety of situations.
  • Waterproofing: The product not only has a patented, Keen.Dry waterproof lining that is highly praised by customers, but also includes a waterproof nubuck upper to insure no water gets in. Both components are reported as effective but breathable, giving users the best of both worlds.
  • Ankle protection: Although this shoe has a fairly low-rise top compared to other women’s boots, it has an S3 (Shock, Suspension, and Stability) heel design, which absorbs shock, provides a sturdy foot support upon impact, and prevents ankle injuries.
  • Versatility:  Customers have reported high satisfaction with the shoe’s performance in many different kinds of weather, work, and terrain. The multi-directional lugs on the sole, for example, provide traction over slippery and muddy ground alike.

Compared to the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus, this product has greater toe protection, and is slightly more lightweight. It is also more versatile and able to handle a greater variety of conditions and terrain.

Compared to the Hi-Tec Women’s Altitude Glides, KEEN’s product offers a better toe cage and slightly more breathability due to its mesh tongue. Although the two boot models weigh approximately the same, the Targhee II has an additional advantage of greater customizability. It has longer-lasting EVA soles and a removable footbed, which makes the innersoles easy to replace or swap out for custom pads better suited to each user. It also has a unique combination of loops and eyelets for tying, which in turn make it possible to lace up the shoe in a variety of different ways to ensure the best fit for each user.

In a Nutshell

This is an ideal shoe for the heavy-duty adventurer, someone who expects to hike in many different environments and needs to be prepared for every eventuality. Every feature has been designed to ensure maximum comfort, durability, and versatility, and overall construction is meant to withstand heat, wet, and rough ground. Due to their high price, these shoes may not be the best choice for a beginning or casual hiker, although they do require next to no breaking-in time and would still serve you well from the get-go. These boots, however, are a testament to KEEN’s craftsmanship and a worthwhile investment for someone who intends to turn hiking into a long-term pastime. They will serve you well for many years.

Timberland’s White Ledge Hiking Boots

If you are on a budget, consider these White Ledge boots, made according to Timberland’s creed of no-nonsense, durable footwear, are a steal for their price range. They are sleek, adaptable, and one of the most comfortable models on the market, suited for both the hiking trail and the workplace.

Pros

  • Minimal breaking-in time
  • Durable; customers highly praise these products and report that they last years
  • True to size

Cons

  • Not 100% waterproof under extreme conditions
  • Outer sole loses texture more quickly, which may impact the degree of traction over an extended period of time
  • Leather at the sides of the lower foot has been reported to be rather thin

The Company

Established 1973, Timberland is devoted to producing premium footwear of top-of-the-line craftsmanship and durability. The company believes in corporate responsibility and not only supports numerous civic projects, but also works to incorporate sustainable and renewable materials into their products.

The Product

This boot has a sleek, all-black, streamlined design. Its tongue and laces begin lower on the shoe than they do for most brands, and this allows for increased adaptability of fit. Even people with flat feet have been able to find a good fit in this product. It has an elegant and efficient D-ring and speed-hook lacing system that holds the laces securely in place all day long.

All in all, this shoe is designed to withstand day-long stress, be it on the hiking trail or at work. It is made of abrasion-resistant grain leather, which not only keeps out water but also keeps your footwear from getting scratched. Many customers have commented that the product doubles very well as a work boot, due to the secure lacing, the padding on the soles and uppers, and the enduring elegant design. Also, it weighs about the same amount as your standard dress shoe.

Standout features on this product include a BPSF motion efficiency rubber lug sole, which has lugs along the curved center of your foot’s pressure path. The sole is designed to flex along with your foot, supporting a very natural and very comfortable gait.

Another significant feature is the very thick, beefy, comfortable padding on the uppers and the inner sole, both of which are made of high-performance synthetic material. These may take some getting used to, as they contribute to a peculiar weight distribution in the shoe as a whole, but they serve as excellent insulation from the elements. Also, they make offer great comfort for those who need to be on their feet for long hours. This is what makes this product ideal for workers who walk or stand all day, and for backpackers toting a heavy load. However, this shoe may be less than ideal for those wishing to cover longer distances.

Compared to the Hi-Tec Men’s Flagstaff Waterproof Hiking Boot, Timberland’s footwear has less breaking-in time, taking only a few hours to break in rather than the week needed to fully break in the Flagstaff, which makes it the better shoe to buy when you need a comfortable fit but are short on time. It also has better padding, so it is better suited to backpacking and other activities where you may be carrying a load or staying on your feet for an extended period of time.

Compared to the Salomon’s Men’s Quest 4D GTX Backpacking Boots, this shoe is far less expensive in comparison to the Quest’s high price tag. It offers less ankle and toe protection. While the Quest 4Ds include extensions of the rubber sole that protect the ankle and toes, this product covers those areas with only leather. Some customers have reported that sharp rocks and sticks have in some cases penetrated this leather, and for that reason it is highly recommended that you avoid areas with spiky objects whenever possible. You have fewer waterproofing features, and the sole loses texture more quickly, meaning that Salomon’s footwear is probably the way to go if you expect to encounter lots of water. However, if you are just looking for something solid and comfortable with a reasonable price, go with the White Ledge.

In a Nutshell

This boot is durable, stylish, and highly comfortable even over extended periods of time. It has several features geared specifically toward making sure you can stay on your feet comfortably and shoulder weight while hiking as well. White Ledges do not offer as many protection features as the Salomon’s Men’s Quests and other brands, but they are just as supportive and just as versatile. Their conservative design and solid padding also make them very good work shoes, which mean you use them in your everyday routine as well as on the trail. All in all, they have an excellent value for their price.

Flagstaff Waterproof Hiking Boots

Hi-Tec’s Flagstaff Waterproof boots are a hidden treasure of sorts. Although they have a lower price and a sportier, athletic design than most hiking boots, they are still classed alongside far more expensive brands due to features such as their shock-absorbing soles, their easy-breathing mesh-and-leather exteriors, and their overall sturdy build. They are a veritable steal—read on to see why!

Pros

  • Gusseted tongue keeps out anything small objects such as pebbles, gravel, plants, and bugs
  • True to size, according to customers who are largely satisfied with the sizing and width
  • Easy to slip on and slip off, due to shoe construction and sewn-in loops in front and back specifically for donning and doffing shoes in a hurry

Cons

  • Weight: This is one of the heavier shoe brands, weighing about 1.5 lbs
  • Requires roughly 1 week of breaking-in time in order to ensure comfortable use

The Company

Hi-Tec Sports USA was founded in 1978 and is best known as the company that produced the first lightweight hiking boot. Today, the company has spread its mission worldwide, bringing lightweight, well-made, and comfortable outdoor footwear to over 70 countries around the world.

The Product

The Flagstaff has a very stylized exterior design which incorporates both suede leather and mesh. It comes in two color combinations: brown with yellow accents, and charcoal gray with red accents. It ensures a snug, secure fit using a versatile lacing system made up of a unique combination of lacing eyelets and loops.

Customers have praised the Flagstaff’s sturdy build, which is lauded as supportive without being overly stiff, and thus very comfortable even for those on long trips. Additional padding is provided by the removable EVA midsole, which dissipates shock upon impact and prevents blisters from developing. Customers reported blister-less, dry feet even when hiking without socks!

Other standout features for this product include:

  • Ion-mask hydrophobic technology
  • Multi-directional lugs for traction on varied terrain
  • OrthoLite sock liner on rubber sole, which not only provides an extra layer of waterproofing but also is praised for its anti-odor, anti-microbial, and cushioning functions
  • Exemplary ankle support, provided by two things: first, the high front tops and tongue, which offer ankle protection and minimize the chances of your ankle going the wrong way in the case of a fall. Secondly, the shoe collar features a plush lining, which adds comfort and keeps the collar from being too confining.

Compared to Timberland’s White Ledge Boots, this product has superior waterproofing, and it is highly recommended that you choose this product if you plan on hiking in areas with high water or frequent rains. However, it has slightly less ankle protection due to the low-cut back. This can either be an asset or a setback; users with larger ankles have found the Flagstaff to provide greater mobility and comfort.

Compared to the Salomon’s Quest 4D GTX Backpacking boot, Hi-Tec’s product has more ankle comfort but less exterior ankle and toe protection because of its lower rise. It is slightly heavier, each shoe weighing about 1 lb 9 oz in comparison with the Quest’s 1 lb 6 oz, a difference that should be negligible to most users, since both shoes are praised as lightweight and easy to walk in. The shoes have the same adaptability for weather due to their mesh and suede mixed exteriors, and they have the same anti-microbial, cushioning OrthoLite foot beds. They have also both been highly praised for the sheer level of relief they offer hikers even over an extended period of time. The fact that these two shoes share so many qualities makes the Flagstaff a remarkably good buy for its price range and it is extremely affordable.

In a Nutshell

This is highly attractive and athletic hiking footwear, built to give you maximum comfort while covering long distances. Among its biggest assets are its customizable fit, its waterproofing technology, and its comfortable padding on the soles and the cuffs. It is extremely sturdy, providing support without being overly stifling, enabling your feet to breathe even as they traverse all day long. These attributes help to compensate for the fact that these boots are on the heavier end of the spectrum; while you will have to expend a little more energy walking, you will also be able to cover more ground, and your feet will run less risk of developing painful blisters along the way. The icing on the cake is the price, which is very low compared to other footwear that is equal to it in performance. All in all, this boot has extremely good value; your wallet—and your feet—will be happy about it.

Quest 4D GTX Backpacking Hiking Boots

For the heavy-duty adventurer looking to explore a wide range of locales, the Salomon’s Quest 4D Backpacking Boots are the way to go. They are not only streamlined and elegant, but full functional as protectors against cold, wet, uneven ground, and all the dangers therein.

Pros

  • True to size, according to customer ratings
  • Very short breaking-in period; most buyers report that the shoes can be broken in within a few hours with very little movement
  • Highly praised for comfort over an extended period of time

Cons

  • Exteriors do not dry quickly
  • Limited durability: May gradually lose waterproofing ability after several hundred miles of hiking, or after extreme use
  • Not suited for trail running, although buyers report that it is excellent for backpacking and hiking

The Company

Salomon was established in 1947 in the French Alps, the heartland of Alpinism. From their origins as a pioneer of modern ski equipment, Salomon has since then expanded its production line to encompass their full passion for mountain sports, designing and distributing everything from skis to apparel to footwear. The company prides itself on its innovative designs and is always looking to expand the limits of mountaineering possibility. The Quest 4D GTX Backpacking boots accomplish this by packing a wide variety of features into a compact, elegant, and utilitarian design, giving you the optimum experience no matter what you do outside, be it wandering trails or scaling mountains.

The Product

This shoe comes in 6 color schemes, all of them dark or turf colored, which equips them to hide mud and blend in with the terrain if needed. It has a stylized exterior design that integrates polyester mesh, textile, and long-lasting split suede leather in such a way that the shoe is warm and waterproof without being stifling. Its interior features the OrthoLite foot pad, which absorbs shock and repels odors and microbes in order to keep your shoes always smelling good as new. In addition, the interior includes the well-known GoreText membrane, which repels water while allowing water vapor to escape and preventing your foot from overheating. Customers largely report satisfaction with the way the mesh and suede mix keep your feet cool in hot weather but warm in colder conditions—a very rare combination. In fact, this product has been praised by members of the military, who report that these are ideal for deployment due to their ability to support and warm the feet in snowy conditions for long periods of time.This product features a mid-rise design with a unique lacing system. The 3 pairs of lace hooks not only will hold the shoe’s form exactly the way you need it, ensuring ideal fit, but also make it very easy for you to pull it on and off in a hurry. The tongue is gusseted, locking out annoying small objects in your path such as stray pebbles or burrs. Other standout features include:

  • The Contragrip rubber outsoles, which enable you to move over surfaces both wet and dry
  • The 4D Advanced Chassis Midsole, which is made of a unique thermoplastic urethane. This controls the sole’s flex and reduces the strain on your ankles.
  • Toe protection includes a rubber cap that wraps around the entirety of the toe area, protecting all toes from obstacles or objects from the front and above. The cap integrates into the boot’s design without becoming clunky or overly large, making for an overall seamless, elegant, yet functional look.
  • Ankle protection incorporates several things: first, a well-padded, mid-rise collar; secondly, heel slings which are extensions of the rubber sole and wrap around the back of the shoe in order to keep the heel locked and prevent the ankle from rolling or causing injury

Compared to the Hi-Tec Men’s Flagstaff Waterproof Hiking Boot, this product has more exterior ankle and toe protection, with its heel slings, slightly higher top, and rubber toe cap; as such it is better suited to you if you are planning to hike through rougher terrain or uneven ground, where you may encounter rocks in your path or have a greater risk of tripping. The Quest has a shorter breaking-in time, needing only a few hours rather than the week or so needed to completely break in the Flagstaff. It is also slightly lighter, weighing approximately 3 oz less than the Flagstaff, although both are still praised as lightweight. Finally, Salomon’s footwear has a more classic hiking-boot appearance than the tennis-shoe-like Flagstaff, which will appeal to the style-conscious.

Compared to the Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot, this product is more expensive. It has far more waterproofing ability. As with Hi-Tec’s Flagstaff, the White Ledge offers less ankle and toe protection. Both have been praised for their comfort, so both are a good choice for the trails. If, however, you expect to encounter very wet or uneven terrain, the Quest 4D is definitely worth the investment.

In a Nutshell

These boots offer some of the best features on the market, all of them geared at making you prepared to handle any situation and avoid discomfort and injury. In addition to meticulous ankle protection, a toe cage, and versatile traction, it is highly praised for its ability to guard you against cold, wet conditions. Quests may not be the best choice for hot or humid climates, as their nearly full-on leather exterior is less breathable than other brands; however, for almost every other temperature and terrain, they are the way to go.

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