Dakota Plus
Dakota Plus (courtesy, Garmont)

Is a $200 hiking boot really that much better than a $100 one?

I need a pair of solid backpacking boots. Is there really that much difference between a Lowa that sells for $200 and a Hi-Tec that sells for $100? I'll be hiking on occasionally rocky, steep terrain. Pela Pickens, South Carolina

Dakota Plus

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.

Lots of times there really isn’t $100 worth of difference between one item and its cheaper or more expensive competitor—least of all when the price differential is double. But I mean no knock on Hi-Tec when I say that in this case, there is a difference. OK, maybe that is a knock.

Dakota Plus Dakota Plus



But, take Hi-Tec’s Solitude, which sells for $90 (www.hi-tec.com). It’s not a bad boot—leather uppers, steel shank, even a waterproof bootie. But its EVA midsole is better suited for a running shoe (not the best thing for rough terrain) and you won’t find the construction to be as durable as a boot costing more. Lowa’s Banff ($200; www.lowaboots.com), on the other hand, has heavier leather uppers and a polyurethane midsole for more support, an extremely good Vibram sole, and even leather linings—a real plus for long-term comfort. Simply a much better boot overall.

There are other good boots to consider, as you want to make sure you buy good-quality boots that fit, and one maker’s boot may not fit you as well as another’s. So take some time to try on Garmont’s Dakota Plus ($235; www.garmont.com), the Boreal Tundra ($200; www.boreal-club.com), the Chaco Garvin ($210; www.chacousa.com), and perhaps the Dunham Waffle Stomper Premier ($180; www.nbwebexpress.com). All are solid midweight boots, perfect for hiking on rough terrain.

Read reviews of the year’s best boots from Outside‘s 2004 Buyer’s Guide.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
Filed to:
Lead Photo: courtesy, Garmont

promo logo
sms