The right hiking boots are a necessity for hiking and scrambling up Colorado’s 14ers. While you can use shoes or boots, I recommend boots for their superior ankle support. However there are a lot of options and things to consider. Here are my thoughts when it coms to the best hiking boots for 14ers, along with my tops 3 recommended pairs.

RELATED READ: TREKKING POLES FOR 14ERS: GEAR REVIEW

Using Hiking Boots for 14ers

Hiking boots are a better choice than approach shoes or tennis shoes because they provide ankle support. Scrambling over rocks is a big part of 14ers. If you climb enough peaks, you’ll inevitably trip or twist your ankle. Boots reduce your chance of injury thanks to their taller ankle and better support. They also help keep sticks, dirt and snow out from the trail. Here are several other considerations to keep in mind.

Waterproofing

Wet socks are miserable socks. Waterproofing will help with creek crossings and snowfields to keep your toes nice and dry. Gore Tex shoes are the best as they let your shoes breath.

Shoe Grip/Traction

When crossing wet rocks or working your way up a scree-covered slope, boots with solid grip is key to avoid a slip or fall. Look for composite rubber materials and technologies.

Breaking In Your Hiking Boots for 14ers

It takes time to break in your boot to your feet (and vice versa). Wear your boots around your home and on short walks. Start several weeks before your climb, increasing your hikes until you reach 5+ miles. Heading out to climb a 14er with a pair of shoes or boots you just bough is a really bad idea.

RELATED READ: BEST BACKPACKS FOR 14ERS | MY TOP 3 PICKS

The Best Hiking Boots for 14ers: My Recommendations

First Choice: Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Best Hiking Boots for 14ers

These lightweight hiking boots are great for most 14ers thanks to their many features. They’re waterproof with gore-tex material, provide top of the line traction for scrambling, and great cushion for mid-length hikes. Their price, aroudn $160, is on the higher end but well worth the investment.

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Second Choice: Scarpa Men’s Zodiac Plus Gtx Hiking Boot

Best Hiking Boots for 14ers

The Zodica Plus GTX Boot is the best climbing/hiking boot on the market. For peaks with a lot of scrambling or climbing, especially Class 3 and 4 peaks, they’re a great pair of boots to help scramble your way up to the summit. They aren’t great for long approach hikes due to their rigid soul, but can’t be beat on rock.

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Budget Choice: Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Best Hiking Boots for 14ers

These lightweight, no fuss shoes are a more cost effective alternative to the other hiking boots for 14ers on this list. They’re waterproof and provide solid support for 14ers, even if they don’t come with cutting edge technology or extra features. They’re dependable and they’ll get the job done.

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Best Hiking Boots for 14ers – What Do You Think?

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About the Author: Alex Derr

Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.