7 Best Desert Hiking Boots in 2024

Best desert hiking boots
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Hiking in a desert can be quite challenging as compared to going on a random hike. Trust me, I used to be one of those people who believe that all hiking experiences are alike, no matter what the trail or environment is. But when I finished my first desert hike, my views were changed completely.

That being said, it is compulsory to make certain arrangements before going on a desert hike. And the most important thing to consider are the shoes you wear while you hike. But don’t you worry because I’m here to help you pick the best desert hiking boots that will provide you the long-lasting comfort that you need for your hikes in the desert.

A Quick Look at the 7 Best Desert Hiking Boots

Photo Title Buy
Lowa Men's Renegade...image 1) Our Top Pick - Lowa Renegade GTX Mid custom 1
Merrell Men's Moab...image 2) Best at a Low Price - Merrell Moab 3 Mid custom 1
Salomon Quest 4...image 3) Most Comfortable - SALOMON Quest 4 GTX High Rise custom 1
ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQH...image 4) Ultralight Hiking Boots - Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid custom 1
Timberland Men's Anti-Fatigue...image 5) Best Waterproof - Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid custom 1
KEEN Men's Voyageur...image 6) Best for a Rough Terrain - KEEN Voyageur Low Height custom 1
Salomon Men's X...image 7) Best Appearance - Salomon X ULTRA PIONEER MID CLIMASALOMON™ custom 1

Tips For Buying Desert Hiking Boots

1) Fit & Size

The first and most important thing that you need to consider before buying a desert hiking boot is the fit and size. You have to keep in mind that if the shoes you choose aren’t the right fit and size, your hike can be quite uncomfortable.

Now the question arises that how are you supposed to know that what’s the best size for you. A great way to find out your perfect fit is by reading product reviews on amazon or any other platform you wanna buy the shoes from.

2) Cushioning & Comfort

Desert hikes are usually longer and more challenging than regular hikes. So it is important to choose the kind of footwear that provides long-lasting comfort. A good way to tell whether the shoe is comfortable or not is through it’s cushioning.

Now, the cushioning can be from the insole and the outsole of the shoe. Let’s say you buy a shoe and you aren’t comfortable with it’s insole, you can easily buy a new insole. But if you don’t like the cushioning at the outsole, you can’t do much about it. So it’s important to buy shoes with comfortable outsoles.

3) Keeping the Sand Out

If you are planning on going on a hike on the low dune terrain then you don’t have to worry about the sand getting in your shoes because the sand is not deep enough. But on deep sand your boots will be filled with sand quickly.

That’s why you have to choose shoes with special features such as liner or gusset present between the main body and tongue of the shoe. You can choose a shoe with Gore Tex Lining because it helps to block the sand from entering the shoes.

4) Ankle Support

Whether you have any ankle issues or not, I’ve found that it is always better to choose shoes that provide excellent ankle support. Because even if you don’t have any ankle related issues, you can easily develop them by not taking proper care of your ankles while you go on a hike.

For adequate ankle support, use a mid-height hiking boot. In addition, a mid-height boot is great for keeping out pebbles or other small particles that easily sneak in your boots.

5) Weight

According to my years of hiking experience, I’ve found that it is always better to choose a midweight hiking boot. Because it is also important to consider comfort and durability. 

Lightweight boots usually tend to be more comfortable but less durable. On the other hand, Heavyweight boots are durable but usually lack comfort. But still, it depends upon the hiker’s preferences.

6) Sock Material

I’ve tried both synthetic and wool socks, and I’ve found that it is best to wear wool socks in a desert environment. Because wool socks have moisture-wicking properties and are also great to prevent blisters.

Additionally, wool socks provide comfortable cushioning as well. But, in my opinion, it is better to choose mid-weight wool socks because they provide better protection against blisters.

7) Traction

While hiking on rough terrains such as deserts, it is important to have shoes with a grippy outsole. Because the land is usually rocky and uneven in deserts so extra grip is required to hike over there. 

I recommend that you buy a shoe with a patterned rubber outsole because it usually provides the best traction as compared to other material and also prevents you from slipping and sliding.

8) Breathability 

It is best to choose a breathable hiking boot for your desert hikes. The reason is that your feet can get really sweaty in a hot environment. If your footwear isn’t breathable there is a chance that your feet are gonna get painful blisters all over them. A non-breathable shoe can also lead to fungal infections.

9) Moisture-Wicking Material

Another important thing to look for in a hiking boot for desert hikes is wether it has moisture-wicking material in it or not. Such material is amazing for drying your feet once they get wet from water or sweat.

10) Quick-Drying

One of the common misconceptions about deserts is that they are completely dry and there is no sign of water there. Believe it or not, there are deserts out there in which heavy rainfall is common. 

There are Streams flowing through these deserts which the hikers have to cross in order to get to the other side. In such cases, I recommend that you should buy a shoe with quick drying materials such as mesh and synthetic fibers.

11) Light Color Shoes

Dark colors, such as black, absorb more sunlight and heat as compared to light colors. This can make your feet really sweaty and hot. So I recommend that you choose a light colored shoe for your desert hike like, tan desert hiking boots.

12) Non-waterproof

It isn’t necessary to wear waterproof shoes in deserts and other hot environments. Because waterproof shoes can make your feet a little sweaty.

On the other hand, non-waterproof shoes are highly breathable and are best to prevent blisters and fungal issues.

13) Hiking Shoe Brand

Now, this question might arise in your mind, “Which brand makes the best desert hiking boots?”. You have to keep in mind that when it comes to desert hiking, the brand of the shoe doesn’t actually matter. What matters is the mold used in the process of manufacturing the shoe.

In order to find your ideal fit, you have to try different brands. Once you find it, you can stick with it for all your hiking journeys.

Top 7 Best Desert Hiking Boots

Following are the best lightweight Men’s and Women’s desert hiking boots:

1) Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

Our Top Pick

Features & Specifications

71gMG70UzkL. AC SR18401472

Type: Lightweight
Weight & Height: 1.5lbs/680g & Mid
Insole & Outsole: ‘ATC’ & ‘Vibram EVO’
Upper Material: Nubuck Leather
Overall Rating: 4.3⭐ (1,028 ratings)

There’s a reason that we picked Lowa Renegade GTX Mid as the best overall desert hiking boots. These boots are an all-rounder. They got everything you need in a comfortable and durable footwear.

These boots have a waterproof, yet breathable, Gore Tex lining. The speed-lacing hardware ensures quick on and off. They have a moisture-wicking footbed which makes them perfect for desert hiking. The full-length Nylon Shanks provide great support and protection. These are the best hiking boots with vibram soles.

The quality, performance, and weight of these boots is amazing. Customers say they are well-made, durable, and comfortable.They also like how these boots look. However, opinions vary on how well they fit.

Pros

  • Exceptional comfort
  • Short Break-in Period
  • Lightweight with excellent durability
  • Waterproof with great breathability

Cons

  • Short laces

2) Merrell Moab 3 Mid

Best at a Low Price

Features & Specifications

81Ij4KnDhsL. AC SR18401472

Type: Lightweight
Weight & Height: 1.2lbs/544g & Mid
Insole & Outsole: ‘Kinetic Fit ADVANCED’ & ‘Vibram TC5+’
Upper Material: Leather & Mesh
Overall Rating:
4.6⭐ (2,957 ratings)

Now, it’s true that buying a high-quality and durable hiking boot can be a little costly. But there are still a number of options that provide all the features of an ideal hiking boot at a low price without any compromise on quality.

One of them is Merrell Moab 3 Mid Hiking Boots. These boots are popular for providing extraordinary comfort, support and durability. The 100% recycled mesh lining provides great breathability. Merrell Air Cushion in the heel offer outstanding shock-absorption.

These boots are popular for their comfort, ankle support, fit and grp. They come in both wide and narrow fits. People like the excellent traction provided by the Vibram outsoles. However, people have different reviews regarding it’s waterproof features. 

Pros

  • Good value
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Variety of colors
  • Excellent durability

Cons

  • Less waterproof

3) Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex

Most Comfortable

Features & Specifications

817KcjW0 L. AC SR18401472

Type: Lightweight
Weight & Height: 1.78lbs/807g & High
Insole & Outsole: ‘Textile’ & ‘Contagrip TA’
Upper Material: Full-grain Leather
Overall Rating:
4.5⭐ (974 ratings)

The most comfortable option on the list is Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex hiking boots. Customers love the comfort, quality, weight, appearance and performance of these desert boots. They are designed to provide exceptional comfort and protection.

The ADV-C 4D Chassis provides exceptional support and stability. The Gore Tex lining is placed in a strategic way to keep your feet dry at all times. The Contagrip TD outsole offers great grip and stability.

These boots are know for there exceptional comfort. People like the fit, weight, waterproof features and appearance of these shoes. These boots offer great ankle support and comfort even for all day use. 

Pros

  • Exceptional comfort
  • Short Break-in Period
  • High quality boots
  • Excellent support

Cons

  • Poor quality outsole

4) Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid

Ultralight Hiking Boots

Features & Specifications

71ZabXoalEL. AC SR18401472

Type: Lightweight
Weight & Height: 1.5lbs/680g & Mid
Upper Material: eVent Bootie
Insole & Outsole:
‘Altra EGO’ & ‘MaxTrac’
Overall Rating:
4.3⭐(598 ratings)

If you’re looking for a lightweight hiking boot that provides great comfort without making your feet tired, then Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid hiking boots are exactly what you need. They are known for being comfortable and providing great traction.

The original Altra Ego Foam used in these shoes provide enhanced energy return for a comfortable feel. The weather-resistant eVent Bootie that wraps around your foot, provides great protection against moisture.

People like the quality, comfort and weight of these shoes. They aren’t too bulky or compact. Some people say that these shoes make a popping noise when they walk. Also buyers have different reviews regarding the fit.

Pros

  • Comfortable fit
  • Great ankle support
  • Lightweight with excellent durability
  • Short break-in period

Cons

  • Narrow fit

5) Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid

Best Waterproof

Features & Specifications

Type: Lightweight
Weight & Height: 1.19lbs/539g & Mid
Insole & Outsole: ‘EVA’ & ‘Rubber lug’
Upper Material: Full-grain Leather
Overall Rating:
4.5⭐(14,316 ratings)

Even though it isn’t necessary to wear waterproof boots on a desert hike, you might encounter streams and even rivers on your way in a desert. If you plan to go on a hike in a desert with such conditions, it is best to wear waterproof hiking boots.

This where Timberland Mt. Maddsen Mid Hiking Boots come in. The TimberDry waterproof membrane is great for keeping your feet dry in any weather. These desert hiking boots are a perfect combination of comfort and protection. The tongue of the shoe is perfect for debris-protection. 

People like the look, quality, comfort, moisture-wicking and weight of the boots. They keep your feet dry and the soles are extremely soft. Almost all buyers are happy with the fitting of the shoes.

Pros

  • Exceptional comfort
  • Good value
  • Great traction
  • Waterproof with great breathability

Cons

  • Fitting issues

6) KEEN Voyageur Low Height

Best for a Rough Terrain

Features & Specifications

973cacb91042c823f1f0dc4c4e71b5812413de18 min

Type: Lightweight
Weight & Height: 1.66lbs/752g & Low
Insole & Outsole: ‘Textile’ & ‘KEEN ALL-TERRAIN’
Upper Material: Leather & Mesh
Overall Rating:
4.4⭐(4,390 ratings)

You are most likely to encounter a rough train while hiking in the desert. The KEEN Voyageur hiking boots are built for the toughest terrain and help you to push your limits without getting exhausted.

The 4mm multi-directional lugs provide superior traction. For hiking on uneven terrain, these boots are equipped with a stability shank to provide maximum support. The padded tongue and collar of the shoe provide great protection.

These boots are popular for their versatility, fit, value, appearance, and comfort. Buyers say that these boots have a wider toe box as compared to other boots and they ae worth the price too. Some people don’t like the weight of the shoes.

Pros

  • High breathability
  • Comfortable fit
  • Excellent traction
  • Wide toe box

Cons

  • Slightly heavy

7) Salomon X ULTRA PIONEER MID CLIMASALOMON™

Best Appearance

Features & Specifications

71Sbw ZCCHL. AC SR18401472

Type: Lightweight
Weight & Height: 0.89lbs/405g & Mid
Insole & Outsole: ‘Cushioned’ & ‘Mud Contagrip’
Upper Material: PU-coated Leather
Overall Rating:
4.4⭐(1,757 ratings)

Last but not the least, we have the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid-GTX hiking boots. If you are one of those people who like to maintain an aesthetic look while they hike, without compromising on quality and comfort then theses boots are just the thing for you.

These boots are popular for their appearance, comfort, quality and traction. The traditional lacing system with eyelets provide a secure and customizable fit. The Advanced Chassis is strategically placed between the midsole and the outsole to provide great stability and protection.

People really like these shoes because they are well-made, have good grip, keep their feets dry, and are lightweight. Some say they fit well, but others aren’t so sure.

Pros

  • Exceptional comfort
  • Good look
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Excellent grip

Cons

  • Wear out after a year

What to Wear in the Desert

  • Hiking Boots

The best footwear you can choose to wear for your desert hikes are hiking boots. If the desert you are planning to hike in has deep and soft sand, I suggest you choose the boots that at least cover your ankles.

 Over ankle boots are also great for protection against pebbles that get in your shoes. If not that, you should wear gaiters along with your hiking boots. Hiking boots are also great for mountain hiking.

  • Desert Wellies

These boots are great to be worn in the desert but they aren’t really versatile. If you want a single footwear for all your hikes, you shouldn’t go for these.

What Not To Wear In The Desert

  • Slippers/Flip-flops

Okay I admit, wearing flip-flops and slippers can be really comfortable at times but trust me, you DO NOT wanna wear them in the desert. If you walk on deep sand in them, it requires a lot of force to lift your feet up that keep getting stuck in the sand which can be really exhausting.

  •  Trail Running Shoes/Trainers

Trail running shoes and trainers are great for random hikes and other athletic activities but they are not good for desert hikes at all. They usually have low ankle line which allows the sand to get in easily. But you can always go for them if they have mid or high ankle line.

Foot Care for Desert Hikes

  • Wear wool socks

Wool socks have moisture-wicking properties which makes them great for desert hiking. They are way more comfortable than synthetic material sock and provide protection against blisters.

  • Dry your feet

No matter what boot you pick, your feet are gonna get a little sweaty. I recommend resting and removing your shoes for some time while hiking in the desert to dry off your feet. This helps in preventing blisters and other infections. 

  • Carry a blister Kit

I know some of you guys might believe that you are just immune to having blisters and have never had them while hiking before. This is not the case in desert hiking at all. Actually it is quite common to get blisters while hiking in the desert. So it is best to carry a blister kit(Compeed plasters, Tissue, Needle, Tape, Toe pads) on a desert hike.

  • Wear gaiters

If you are planning to hike in deep sand, it is best to wear gaiters along with hiking boots for extra protection from sand and debris.

  • Protection from Sun and Heat

The weather in the desert is usually very hot and it is really difficult to find any shade. You should wear light color hiking boots so that they absorb less sunlight and heat keeping your feet dry.

  • Foot Care Routine

Keep checking your feet for any signs of blisters while resting or when you come home. Trim your toenails before every hike because it can be really uncomfortable to hike with overgrown toenails. Moisturize your feet with lotion or cream before every hike.

  • Hydrate

Hiking in the desert can make you really thirsty and if you get dehydrated it leads to muscle cramps. This can makes your hikes really difficult and can cause knee pain too. So make sure that you drink plenty of water before, during and after your hike.

Conclusion

To wrap things up, it is best to choose a footwear for desert hiking that is a perfect combination of comfort, protection, stability, durability, breathability and traction. All of the above mentioned desert walking boots have these features so you can pick any one according to your liking without any worries. We hope that you find the perfect pair of hiking boots for your next desert hiking journey!

FAQs

What color desert hiking boots look best?

Light color desert hiking boots for men and for women, such as light brown and gray, are the best because they absorb less heat and sunlight keeping your feet dry from sweat.

What boots to wear for desert hikes?

It is best to wear hiking boots or desert wellies in the desert because they provide maximum comfort and sand resistance.

Can you wear desert hiking boots without socks?

No, you shouldn’t wear desert hiking boots without socks as it can easily lead to blisters and other fungal infections. It is best to wear mid-weight wool socks for desert hiking.

How to keep debris out of hiking boots in desert?

To keep your feet protected from debris and small rocks, you should wear hiking boots with mid or high ankle lines.If not that then you should wear gaiters along with the hiking boots.

Are desert boots good for walking?

Yes, desert hiking boots are good for walking.


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