Best Minimalist Hiking Boots

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Chances are if you have done much research into wide toe box shoes, you’ve ran across the phrase, minimalist hiking boot.

Minimalist hiking boots are growing in their popularity amongst outdoor enthusiasts and hikers and for good reason.

In this review of minimalist hiking boots, we will look at the top minimalist hiking shoes currently on the market and compare their top hiking boot designs to help you find the best minimalist hiking boot for your feet.

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Are Minimalist Shoes Good For Hiking?

While many hiking boots are designed to help assist in keeping your feet dry on the trail and preventing ankle roll, most hiking boots have a narrow toe box and don’t provide adequate room for your toes.

This can be particularly troublesome when you suffer from bunions or wide feet.

Even hiking boots that are designated “wide”, don’t always have adequate room for your toes or they are often too wide in the heel as our feet are generally larger at the top and narrow toward the heel.

The minimalist hiking boot design is premised upon the idea that the modern shoe is often designed completely contrary to the way our feet are made.

Add in those of us who suffer from bunions, and finding a comfortable hiking boot can be quite a challenge.

Minimalist hiking boots take advantage of the latest technology to provide both minimal discomfort in the toe box while still providing adequate protection and ankle support.

Minimalist hiking boots alleviate the pain a stiff hiking boot and give you the comfort of walking barefooted with the protection of a hiking boot.

It’s like having maximum protection and maximum comfort with a boot that fits the natural shape of your foot.

This makes minimalist shoes a great option for a hiking boot.

Related Reading: Best Wide Toe Box Hiking Boots

What Are The Best Minimalist Hiking Boots?

There are currently only a few “truly minimalist” brands on the market that offer both the barefoot feeling of a minimalist shoe with the support needed in a hiking boot.

Lems Shoes

Lems Shoes were started in Boulder, CO by founder and creator, Andrew Rademacher, in 2008 after he exhausted his search for a shoe with a fit for the natural shape of the foot.

He began by dissecting his favorite shoe, cutting out the unnecessary material, and embarking on an effort to learn the art and science of shoemaking with his own twist on things.

After his studies, he developed a shoe that fit like no other and released his first product- the Primal- in September 2011.

Lems Waterproof Boulder Boot

The latest Lems Waterproof Boulder Boot is our pick for favorite waterproof minimalist hiking boot on the market.

Lems Waterproof Boulder Boot

Shop minimalist footwear at lemsshoes.com

It has the great wide toe box Lems has come to be known for with a very fashionable look.

Lems has also earned a reputation for being extremely lightweight (the Boulder Boot comes in at a mere 12.9 oz for a men’s size 9) and “packable” making it a favorite amongst backpackers and through hikers.

It is recommended by Lems that you purchase a Boulder Boot 1/2 size larger than your normal shoe size.

Pros:

  • Lightweight Waterproof Minimalist Hiking Boot
  • Injection blown rubber outsole makes it extremely packable and easy to transport
  • 100% full-grain leather with an oiled finish provided water repellency
  • Gusseted Tongue to provide maximum protection from the elements

Cons:

  • Not available for purchase on Amazon, must buy direct online or at a local retailer
  • The Boulder Boot is UniSex which can be a Pro, but make sure to read their sizing chart and follow their instructions to buy 1/2 size larger than your normal shoe size.

What are others saying about Lems Boulder Boots?

THE BEST BOOTS!

These are my new go-to; they are the best boots made! These very quickly became the only thing I’d wear outside of the gym. They are super versatile. I wore them all through Glacier National Park, then cleaned them up and wore them to a wedding a few days later. I will be getting some of the non-waterproof very soon. Thanks, Lems!

Lems Reviews

Shop the world’s most packable boot – The Boulder Boot by Lems

BEST BOOTS I’VE EVER OWNED

I have extra wide feet and have always struggled to find comfortable shoes. This is my 3rd pair of boulder boot and they have been the best footwear I have ever worn. Only reason I’ve bought new ones is because I wear them out until there’s no tread. Every day use and hundreds of trail miles have gone into each pair. As long as they keep making them, I’ll be wearing them everyday.

Lems Reviews

Xero Minimalist Boots

Xero Shoes entered the minimalist shoe market in 2009 when husband and wife team, Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix launched Feel The World, Inc. on November 23, 2009. You can read more about their story here.

Xero shoes currently offers sandals, running shoes, and most recently added to their hiking shoe line a waterproof minimalist hiking boot, the Xcursion.

Related Reading: Best Wide Toe Box Sandals For Bunions

Fully Waterproof Hiking Boot Xcursion

The newest hiking boot added to the Xero minimalist line truly has it all.

The boot has a gusseted tongue and sealed waterproof inner liner with an additional water-repellent membrane inside the outer mesh.

There is a durable protective toe cap while maintaining the wide toe box and minimalist feel.

Some reviewers complained that the shoe had lost some of it’s wideness in the toe box when compared to their other minimalist shoes and a few felt the waterproofing caused the shoe to be a bit too hot.

If waterproofing isn’t a big deal to you, you might find the Xero Daylight Hiker more to your liking.

Overall, however, the Xero Xcursion comes in with high ratings and is a solid choice for a minimalist hiking boot for men or women.

Pros:

  • One of the few Waterproof Minimalist Options on the Market
  • Durable protective toe cap, foxing, and accents
  • A wide toe box — lets your toes spread, splay and move naturally
  • Low-to-the-ground design for balance and agility
  • Non-elevated, “zero-drop” heel for proper posture
  • Backed by their 5,000 mile sole warranty

Cons:

  • Waterproofing features seem to have decreased some of the breathability
  • Some complained they aren’t as roomy in the toe box as previous models by Xero Shoes

Related Reading: Best Hydration Packs For Kids

VivoBarefoot Minimalist Boots

“We believe that the perfect shoe has minimal interference with natural movement and minimal impact on the environment. Barefoot shoe making is sustainable shoe making, in that it’s about making shoes that are healthy for you and ultimately need to be healthy for the planet. Materials are only part of the challenge but every little helps on the journey to make less…. shoe.”

– Asher Clark, Design Director

As you can see VivoBarefoot is on a mission: To create a minimalist shoe that is sustainable, healthy for you, and healthy for the planet.

VivoBarefoot Tracker FG

Our third and final recommendation for a minimalist hiking boot is the VivoBarefoot Tracker FG.

Men’s VivoBarefoot Tracker FG

Women’s VivoBarefoot Tracker FG

This durable leather minimalist hiking boot is waterproof and still lightweight enough to toss in your bag when hiking and/or camping.

The waterproof breathable Hydrophobic membrane makes the shoes less hot than other brands. The multi directional lugs enhance it’s grip making it another great minimalist hiking shoe.

Pros

  • Premium Action Leather with Waterproof Treatment
  • Lightweight and Easy To Pack
  • 3 mm Lugs for multi-terrain traction
  • Removable Soles
  • Designed For Moderately Wet Terrain

Cons

  • Most Expensive Minimalist Hiking Boot On our List
  • Non Gusseted Tongue

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