How much do lightweight hiking boots weigh?

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Written By Dominic Howard

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Hiking boots are an essential piece of gear for any hiker or backpacker. Having a good pair of hiking boots can make all the difference in comfort and safety while out on the trail. When shopping for hiking boots, weight is an important factor to consider. Lightweight hiking boots help reduce fatigue by putting less strain on your feet and legs over long distances. But how light is lightweight when it comes to hiking boots? Let’s take a closer look at how much lightweight hiking boots typically weigh.

What Qualifies as a Lightweight Hiking Boot?

There is no universal standard for what constitutes a lightweight hiking boot. However, most hikers and outdoor gear experts agree that a lightweight hiking boot is one that weighs 2 pounds (32 ounces) or less per individual boot for a men’s size 9 US. Women’s boots and other sizes will vary slightly but generally follow this same weight range.

Boots that weigh 2.5 pounds or more per boot are usually considered regular or heavy-duty hiking boots rather than lightweight models. The lightest hiking boots typically weigh around 1 to 1.5 pounds per boot. Anything under 16 ounces per boot starts getting into the territory of a trail running shoe rather than a true hiking boot.

When considering weight, it’s important to remember that the weight refers to each individual boot, not the pair combined. For example, if a man’s size 9 hiking boot weighs 2 pounds, that means each boot weighs 2 pounds. So the pair would be 4 pounds in total.

Factors That Affect Hiking Boot Weight

What makes one hiking boot lighter than another? There are a few key factors that impact the weight of a hiking boot:

  • Materials used: Synthetic uppers and rubber soles are lighter than leather and Vibram. The hardware used for lacing and eyelets also contributes to weight.
  • Construction method: Boots made with glue rather than stitching are often lighter. The number of seams and reinforcement also affects weight.
  • Midsole cushioning: EVA foam midsoles are light while polyurethane is heavier. Some boots have removable insoles to save weight.
  • Shank: An internal shank adds stiffness and support but increases weight slightly. Some ultralight boots omit the shank.
  • Extra features: Added components like waterproof membranes and external frames add more weight. A simple low boot tends to be lighter than one with ankle support or waterproofing.
  • Build specifics: The last, outsole design and size of hardware and eyelets change the weight slightly. But the materials and construction method makes the biggest difference.

With these factors in mind, let’s look at examples of popular lightweight hiking boot models and what they typically weigh.

Lightweight Hiking Boot Weight Examples

Here are some examples of lightweight hiking boots with average weight ranges:

  • Salomon X Ultra 3: 1 lb 7oz – 1 lb 11oz per boot
  • La Sportiva Nucleo High II: 1 lb 10oz – 2 lb per boot
  • Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator: 1 lb 10oz – 2 lb per boot
  • Vasque Breeze LT: 1 lb 11oz – 2 lb per boot
  • Oboz Bridger: 1 lb 15oz – 2 lb per boot
  • Scarpa Zodiac Plus: 1 lb 8oz – 2lb per boot
  • Lowa Renegade GTX: 2 lb – 2 lb 3oz per boot
  • Salomon Quest 4D 3: 1 lb 14oz – 2 lb 2oz per boot
  • Ahnu Sugarpine: 1 lb 12oz – 2 lb per boot
  • Keen Targhee III: 2 lb – 2 lb 5oz per boot

As you can see, while sub 2-pound lightweight hiking boots are available, most fall in the 1.5 to 2-pound range for a men’s size 9. The weights vary slightly between men’s and women’s sizing but remain very close across standard sizing.

The lightest options typically sacrifice some support and durability for reduced weight. The boots at the heavier end of the lightweight range offer more features for backpackers, like waterproofing and ankle support. But they all qualify as lightweight compared to the average hiking boot.

When Does Boot Weight Matter?

For short day hikes over easy terrain, boot weight may not make a big impact. But for longer distances, multi-day backpacking trips, and challenging terrain, every ounce counts. Wearing heavy boots can cause more fatigue than necessary. This isn’t just hard on your feet, but can also tire your legs, engage smaller stabilizing muscles more, and increase overall exertion.

Reducing boot weight has the greatest impact when:

  • Hiking 15+ miles per day
  • Backpacking over multiple days
  • Carrying a heavy pack (30lbs+)
  • Doing lots of elevation changes on the trail
  • Hiking over uneven or challenging terrain

In these situations, a lighter boot prevents some unnecessary muscle fatigue and strain. This leaves you with more energy to actually cover the miles and enjoy the scenery.

But boot weight isn’t the only factor when choosing hiking footwear. Fit, flexibility, cushioning, and support also play key roles. The “right” boot balances all these elements for your particular needs and preferences.

Finding the Best Lightweight Hiking Boot

If cutting down boot weight for your hiking and backpacking adventures sounds appealing, here are some tips for finding the best lightweight hiking boot for you:

  • Get properly fitted at an outdoor store for length and width. Try boots on with the socks you’ll hike in.
  • Prioritize fit over weight. An ill-fitting boot negates any weight savings.
  • Consider when you’ll use it – a shorter day hike or thru-hike changes needs.
  • Choose weight-saving materials like synthetics over full-grain leather.
  • Look for basic low-cut style boots over heavy-duty ankle-support models.
  • Compare midsole and shank materials for weight tradeoffs.
  • Read reviews from experienced users on sizing, comfort, and durability.
  • Buy previous year models at a discount to get lightweight boots at lower prices.
  • Don’t sacrifice foot protection, traction, and support just to get the lightest model.
  • Aim for a total boot weight under 2 pounds per boot for lightweight performance.

The right boot for you balances weight savings, comfort, and features based on how and where you hike. Prioritize fit first before looking at weight and design. With a dialed-in fit, lightweight materials, and some research, you can find hiking boots that are light on your feet without sacrificing performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much do hiking boots weigh?

The average weight for a pair of men’s hiking boots is 4 to 5 pounds in total. But lightweight models range from 2 to 3.5 pounds per pair.

2. What’s the weight difference between regular and lightweight boots?

On average, lightweight hiking boots weigh at least 1 to 1.5 pounds less per pair than standard hiking boots. Some ultra-light boots weigh only 16-24 ounces per boot.

3. Do lightweight boots sacrifice durability or support?

Some ultra-light models compromise on features like support and waterproofing. But well-designed lightweight boots last just as long. New materials like Dyneema maintain durability while shedding weight.

4. Are lightweight boots appropriate for backpacking?

It depends on the model, but many lightweight boots work for short backpacking trips. Prioritize fit and comfort over weight savings for multi-day trips with a heavy pack. Sturdy ankle support is also beneficial when backpacking.

5. Do I need special socks for lightweight boots?

No, you can wear your regular hiking socks. Focus on getting a boot with the right internal dimensions for your foot. Wearing thin-liner socks under thicker hiking socks can help.

6. Will switching to lightweight boots make hiking easier?

Shedding extra weight from your feet can help conserve energy and reduce fatigue over the course of a long hike, especially with a pack. Improper fit can undermine any benefits.

7. What’s the best way to break in lightweight boots?

Lightly condition and waterproof them first. Then wear them on short, easy hikes before longer treks. Stop and re-lace periodically if any hotspots develop as they mold to your feet.

8. Should I size up to accommodate heavier socks in lightweight boots?

No, fit your regular hiking sock thickness. Too much extra room causes friction. Use light liners or low-cut socks in warm conditions when possible.

9. Do I need to sacrifice ankle support for lightweight boots?

Some ultra-light models have lower cuffs. But many lightweight boots offer adequate ankle stability for most hiking scenarios while shedding ounces.

10. Will lightweight boots stand up to rocky terrain?

It depends on design – some have minimal underfoot protection. Look for sturdy soles and rock plates for the roughest trails. Traction and stability are more important than weight alone on rocky ground.


When shopping for new hiking boots, keeping weight in mind can help you avoid unnecessary fatigue out on the trail. Seeking out lightweight models that still offer comfort, support, and protection for your hiking needs is the sweet spot. With lightweight hiking boots weighing around 1 to 2 pounds per boot, your legs and feet will thank you over the miles.

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