Best Lightweight Boots Reviewed & Rated

Boots are usually designed with protection in mind first and foremost, and weight and comfort are secondary. Whether you are looking for a work boot, an equestrian, a hiker or a winter boot, many are resigned to the idea that boots are heavy. But that doesn’t have to be the case. More and more, manufacturers are looking for smart ways to take the weight out of boots, making them protective and non-fatiguing at the same time. They are helped in this regard by the development of lighter but tough materials that can replace traditional, heavier material.

Last Updated: June 19, 2018
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By Himmatpreet Kaur:

The most recent update took a fresh look at our lightweight boots. We've replaced four of the offerings with higher-rated, more current versions. We have also taken a thorough look at our frequently asked questions and criteria sections to ensure that they contain accurate and current information to give you everything you need to know to make a good decision in a lightweight boot for you.

Featured Recommendations

Merrell Moab 2 Mid
  • Merrell Moab 2 Mid
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • Price: See Here
 
5.11 Tactical Taclite
  • 5.11 Tactical Taclite
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Antibacterial
  • Oil resistant
  • Price: See Here
 
CLARKS Cotrell Rise Chukka
  • CLARKS Cotrell Rise Chukka
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Breathable leather upper
  • Flexible sole
  • Price: See Here

EVA has replaced leather in the midsole, synthetic airier rubbers are replacing heavier vulcanized rubber outsoles, and meshes are being incorporated into boots to make them more breathable and lighter weight. In most cases, these changes make little change to the overall protection of the boot.

We’ve searched the internet to find 10 of the best lightweight boots currently available on the market. There are a variety of boots in this list from work boots to winter boots. Whatever your needs are, you’ll find a boot on this list that is light in weight for their class and reasonable on your pocketbook. Happy hunting!

 

10 Best Lightweight Boots

 

1. Merrell Moab 2 Mid

Here’s a great lightweight boot tailored specifically for hikers. Unlike hiking shoes rather, the Merrell Moab 2 boots sacrifice weight for a full-on upgrade to a durable boot, making for a great hybrid shoe and boot option for hiking simple and esoteric terrain.
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Weight: 30 Ounces
The Merrell Moab 2’s are the heaviest boots on this list, but that comes with a few advantages. Featuring a suede leather and mesh build, the Moab 2’s are also the most durable boots on this list, and with their breathable lining, also feel great when wearing offering flex and reliability when hiking over obstacles on the trails.

Waterproof
The leather and mesh composure, as well as the protective rubber cap, add a bit more weight in exchange for waterproofing, something that certainly shouldn’t be overlooked on a pair of hiking boots and because of it makes this one of the most reliable boots on the market.

Cost and Value
Given the Moab 2’s are about the same price as the Atlanta Steel’s these are definitely a great option for hikers being a bit beefier but still being light enough to travel with and take with you on the trails.
Pros
  • Trusted Brand
  • Great for High Arches
  • Superior Fit
  • Excellent Traction
Cons
  • Heavier than Others

2. 5.11 Tactical Taclite

Jungle boots are typically quite heavy because they are meant to be water-resistant to deal with humid climates. These boots, however, are very light for their class. They are also breathable, padded where they need padding most and made of a durable leather and nylon. Supportive and function these tactical boots will not fatigue your feet.
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Anti-bacterial
So, you’re in a hot and humid climate in a pair of tac boots. That brings ugly images of sweaty, smelly feet to mind, no? Not in these boots. These are designed with a moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial insole and lining that will keep your feet cool and dry and smell free. Great for sweaty feet and the humidity.

Oil resistant
Oils are the enemy of a rubber sole and most upper material, causing them to break down much earlier than they should and causing stains. The outsoles on these boots are oil-resistant meaning they will last longer if you work in a greasy, oily environment.

Cost and Value
These shoes are priced in the higher range relative to the other shoes on the list. However, they are a durable, lightweight and hard-working boot that, unlike almost every other type of boot available, can protect your feet even in hot and humid conditions. It is also moisture wicking and anti-bacterial inside which becomes especially important in those conditions.
Pros
  • Minimal Break-In Period
  • Quite Breathable
  • Very Lightweight
  • Exceptionally Comfortable
Cons
  • Insole Durability

3. Redback Bobcat UBBK

Originally made in Australia, the Redback Bobcat’s are the face of lightweight boots with their extremely low weighing build and claiming to have 20% stronger leather than their U.S. made counterpart. Featuring a unique, practical, and good looking design it’s no question why the Redback Bobcats have been so successful these past few years.
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Weight: 20 Oz
As mentioned above, these boots have a really nice, easy to slip on design, made of strong and reliable leather and featuring an elastic-sided ankle boot for added flex and mobility. The full-length footbed and arch make these boots extremely comfortable as well while also continuing to be one of the lightest boots out there.

Multi-Layered Sole
The sole on this pair of boots is composed of synthetic materials while also having a 3-layer heel for added protection, perfect for attacking any job or trail.

Cost and Value
Taking into account the high quality of these shoes in addition to the unique design, it makes sense why these shoes are prices so high. If you're looking for a reliable pair of well built and handcrafted shoes that will last you quite a while, these are the boots you should shoot for.
Pros
  • Elastic sided ankle boot
  • Synthetic sole
  • Multi-layered heel
  • Strong leather
  • Made in Australia
Cons
  • Leather may wear down 

4. Timberland PRO Pitboss

4. Timberland PRO Pitboss
Another popular choice from Timberland, mostly among welders, providing a nice high cut and comfortable fit while also having a nice balance between weight and protection to suit any job you may have.
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Weight: 24 Oz
Weighing in at a comfortable, but not too heavy, 23 ounces, the Timberland Pitboss’ are a great all-around choice; being one the most durable and reliable options on the market in terms of boots.

Durability
The Pitboss’s feature a polyurethane midsole as well as cast metal top hooks for increased durability and all around comfort. There's a reason why the Pitboss' is one of the most popular choices among welders and physical workers and it definitely shows.

Cost and Value
The Timberland Pitboss is a nice mid-range boot choice if you're looking for something still light enough to reduce fatigue but durable enough to ensure you won’t have to continue buying a new pair of boots periodically, definitely a choice you can’t go wrong within all honesty.
Pros
  • Safe and tough 
  • Comfortable inner lining
  • Nice weight to protection balance
  • Quality leather
  • High quality rubber sole
Cons
  • No waterproofing

5. Irish Setter 83605

5. Irish Setter 83605
The design of the Irish Setters feature more of a foreign look, but nevertheless still look great. Being made of dark Trout Book Leather, while also having a couple added safety features in addition to their lightness, including heat and electrical resistance when out on the job, this is a great pair of lightweight boots.
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Weight: 23 Oz
Being fairly light in weight compared to many other boot options on the market, the Irish Setters provide a wide range of versatility whether it may be for everyday usage on the job, or for hiking.

Safety Features
As stated in the intro to this boot, one of the main selling points of this boot along with its low weight is its ability to resist heat and electrical hazards, obviously a really great feature to have on a boot. The soles can resist heat up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit while the rest of the shoe meets ASTM F2413-11 Safety Standards in terms of electrical resistance, which as a result explains the rather large sole this shoe has.

Cost and Value
The safety features and looks alone are enough to justify the price of this shoe. Durability is a key factor for lightweight boots as most just don’t have it; with the Irish Setters, you’ll surely get the most out of your investment while maintaining comfort and the lightness in weight this shoe has to offer.
Pros
  • Electrical and heat resistance
  • Light and mobile
  • High quality Trout Brook leather
  • Comfortable
  • High quality laces and footbed
Cons
  • Lower Quality Materials

6. Wolverine W02421 Raider

6. Wolverine W02421 Raider
Wolverine has been known for producing some fantastic boots, and the Raider is no different. Including “ContourWelt” technology for added flex as well as high quality no slip soles, it’s no question why the Raiders are considered to be one of the best all around boot options out there.
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Weight: 23 Oz
Being a nice, lightweight option the Raider also looks great like many of the other shoes on this list, but in addition, they feature a breathable mesh lining ensuring that your feet stay comfortable and cool when out working.

ContourWelt Technology
The name might sound a little weird, but it makes sense when you hear what it’s used for. Wolverine’s ContourWelt’s on the bottom of each shoe bend and flex as you move, similar to how an athletic shoe would, providing fantastic all-around mobility.

Cost and Value
Depending on what size shoe you get these can be a little more than your average lightweight boot. Although they may cost a bit more, you get a great working boot package that is nice and mobile while also looking great at the same time, another great option to consider from this list.
Pros
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Great mobility
  • High quality soles and treads
  • Removable cushions
  • Look great
Cons
  • On the expensive side
  • Boot lace metal durability

7. Danner Tachyon 8” Duty

7. Danner Tachyon 8” Duty
The Danner Tachyon meets US Air Force regulations (AFI 36-2903). It is a very lightweight full height duty boot that is also a great work boot for those who aren’t serving. This hard-working boot will not fatigue your foot and will maintain great contact on most surfaces. Whether you use it on a carrier or on a factory floor, the boot will work every bit as hard as you do.
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Synthetic upper
There are two benefits to the synthetic upper in this boot. First, the material goes a long way to making this boot very lightweight. Secondly, this boot will also dry very quickly. The upper also features an abrasion resistant toe cap for extra durability.

Pentagonal lugs
The Danner Tachyon features pentagonal lugs on the outsole to maximize surface contact and provide great traction. Excellent traction ensures you stay on your feet avoiding unsteady footholds that can lead to strain and injury.

Cost and Value
These boots are priced in the higher range but they are exceptionally lightweight, hard-working, breathable, comfortable and they offer superior traction. What more can you ask for in a boot that is expected (and does) work hard?
Pros
  • Synthetic upper
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Dries quickly
  • Abrasion resistant toe cap
  • Very breathable
  • Excellent traction
Cons
  • Heels are narrow

8. Hi-Tec Logan

8. Hi-Tec Logan
This is an ankle-high hiker that is a lightweight for its class. Like all good hiking boots is has good traction and is made of waterproof materials that still allow your foot to breath. For its lightweight construction, it is still a protective boot for your time in the great outdoors.
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Waterproof build
There are few things more uncomfortable than wet feet in a shoe. Hikers need to be waterproof for the protection and comfort of your feet. This boot features a waterproof suede and mesh upper that keeps the water out. It’s lacing hardware is also rustproof, a bonus for a hiking boot.

Good traction
The rubber outsole on the Logan is made of MDT rubber which makes it tough and durable. The grooves on the bottom are also multi-directional which provide for great traction. Mud, soft soil, sands, and street, this boot will get you over it.

Cost and Value
These boots are priced in the lower end of the range. They make a very good lightweight hiker for the money with good traction, waterproof upper and a comfortable sock liner. Rustproof and lightweight, these boots are worth the money.
Pros
  • Leather and mesh upper
  • Durable rubber sole
  • Waterproof upper
  • Rustproof hardware
  • Good traction
  • Comfortable sockliner
Cons
  • Sizes run wide

9. Clarks Cotrell Rise Chukka

9. Clarks Cotrell Rise Chukka
Clarks knows all about comfortable footwear. They’ve been making comfortable shoes in a wide range of styles for over 100 years. This very light chukka boot is an example of comfort meets style. The ankle boot is flexible, comfortable and breathable in a casual boot that can pull double duty for work.
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Breathable upper
Leather is a naturally durable material that is also breathable. It will not irritate your skin and your feet will stay cool, comfortable and dry inside.

Comfortable insole
Lightweight doesn’t have to mean that all the cushion has been taken away. This boot features an Ortholite memory foam insole that will be comfortable for most feet and has room for a custom insert or orthotic if needed.

Cost and Value
This is the least expensive of the shoes in our line-up and is a good value for a stylish, casual and lightweight boot. It’s non-marking, flexible, and breathable with a comfortable insole as well.
Pros
  • Breathable leather upper
  • Extreme lightweight
  • Flexible sole
  • Non-marking
  • Memory foam insole
Cons
  • Not true to size

10. Golden Fox Lightweight

10. Golden Fox Lightweight
The Golden Fox Lightweight Leather Boots are just as their product name suggests: light as a fox! While looking absolutely fantastic with their premium oiled, full grain leather, these boots also act as a great wintertime boot and are tried and true within the camping and hunting industry.
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Weight: 20 Oz
These boots are really light considering that they look to be a full-size boot. The 6-inch moc toe these features are fantastic as well, offering great protection for the weight and sure to last you awhile. Taking into account that they're American made is always an added bonus for any shoes, giving one more reason to check these out.

Comfort and Warmth
The insides on this pair of boots feature a mesh lining and pigskin collar for added warmth on those cold winter days, as well as an oil resistant lightweight wedge cushion that's also removable; fantastic features that bode great when working.

Cost and Value
Coming in at more or less the mid-range price tag, the Golden Fox Lightweight Leather Boots are a great choice for colder climates, and have a really nice hardened U.S. look to them. Considering the quality of these boots as well as the fact that there manufactured in the United States, I’d say these boots are well worth the price for the features you get.
Pros
  • Great Style
  • Comfortable Insole
  • Good Support
  • High-Quality Material
Cons
  • Not for Narrow Feet

Lightweight boots are very versatile – in the workforce as well as when hiking or even wearing from day to day. In addition, an advantage not often mentioned when talking about lightweight boots are the potential health benefits they offer. Reducing fatigue as well as back pain is huge when standing and walking for long periods of time, and for many of the boots on this list, the lightweight build they provide really drives this point home. Either way, we hope you liked our list and we hope we were able to assist you in making your boot decision!

Criteria for Evaluating the Best Lightweight Boots

Weight

Weight is obviously the most important factor when choosing a lightweight boot because they need to be light enough to allow for great mobility, while not being too cumbersome when used on a day to day basis. There are many advantages to having a low weight boot – mobility and flexibility being something that you don’t usually get when purchasing a full-size boot. Lightweight boots, in general, are usually more low profile, allowing for fantastic all-around versatility which makes them an excellent all-around choice for working as well as recreation.

Boots, of course, come in many form factors, and if you may have noticed, some of the boots on this list can be as low as 18 ounces and as high as around 28 ounces.

  • 17-22 Ounces:
    These are going to be your lightest options available, usually having features tailored more towards comfort and mobility. Often mesh and lightweight leather materials are going to be used on these types of boots. In addition to feather like materials, designs that ease the user’s experience is going to often be implemented as well. Ultimately, boots of this caliber are designed for lighter workloads typically being used for recreational activities such as hiking. Lighter boots, due to their mobility, make a great work and day to day boot wear, just without as much durability.
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  • 23-30 Ounces:
    Boots on the higher end in terms of weight are going to still be light enough to allow for more mobility than your average boot, but will, however, be a bit more durable, and pack a bit more of a punch when wearing. The Merrell Moab 2, for example, features a waterproof build mixed with a bit of leather and mesh to continue being fairly light, providing a nice medium between super lightweight and super heavy, a great option for hunters and hikers. In the end, that’s what these high weighted boots are for; to provide extra options for those looking for a more reliable boot, while still being able to be multipurpose and long-lasting. 

Insole and Outsole

In order to maintain a low weight, many boots on the market skip out on high-quality insoles and outsoles in order to cut down on weight. The sole, arguably, is one of the most important aspects of the boot and contributes hugely to the overall comfort and effectiveness of the boot itself.

Whether it be hiking or working, the inner sole provides cushioning for the foot, cutting down on fatigue while the outer sole is the real meat of the boot, taking the workload and providing traction. We’re going to break down specific aspects of the sole here and why they were chosen for this list.

  • Insole:
    As mentioned, the inner sole is the cushioning of the shoe, and without it, wearing boots (or any shoe for that matter) would be dreadful. The inner sole should be breathable, comfortable, and provide enough flex to still be mobile and keep your feet comfortable. There are a lot of issues that can be caused by bad soles, including back pain and a plethora of other conditions which is why I believe soles are one of the most important aspects of any shoe.
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  • Outsole:
    The outer sole, on the other hand, is quite the opposite compared to the inner sole. It should be extremely hard and durable to withstand any sort of terrain that the boot may be worn on to ensure traction. A great example of excellent inner and outer soles on this list is the Timberland PRO Pitboss as it has a polyurethane midsole as well as big and durable rubber outer soles to withstand any sort of wear.

Leather and Mesh Quality

 

Last but not least is definitely the quality of leather that is used on all the boots chosen. Of course, not all of the boots on this list are 100% made out of leather, but other materials will be addressed in this section as well.

Leather (and a mixture of other mesh type materials) are what the outside of the boot is primarily made out of, and to ensure a quality boot that doesn’t tear, the quality of the leather used has to perfect. Leather is a bit heavier than many other materials on the market and given the size of boots, in general, it is what makes them so heavy. In terms of lightweight boots, the leather has to be light enough to not weigh you down while also being tough enough to not tear or get scuffed up easily.

  • Leather and Mesh Mixes –
    Due to the heaviness of leather itself, many boots on our list have chosen to include a leather and mesh mix in order to be both strong and lightweight at the same time. A great example of this would be the Merrell Moab 2 featuring aspects of a mesh outer shell for flex and breathability as well as leather for stiffness. This combination is great especially on hiking shoes as it adds great all around versatility. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know which boots to choose from?
A:
Depending on what you’re going to be using the boots for will generally determine what boot you should get. For the most part, all of the boots on this list are suitable for all types of activities due to their lightweight build. Additional safety and waterproofing features are what you should shoot for if your looking for a hiking boot as those will be more durable.

Q: How do I get a proper boot fit?
A: Your boots should generally be the same size as your regular shoes, however, you may want to consider getting half a size up if you plan on wearing heavier socks with them.

Q: What are the benefits/differences of different boot heights?
A: Getting a higher raised boot provides better ankle support when on foot. Generally the higher they are the more ankle support provided. Lower cut boots will be lighter, as there is less material required.

Q: How do I make my boots last longer?
A: We have another buying guide on leather polishes that you can check out by clicking here.  Most of the shoes on this list are composed of leather so choosing a nice shoe polish will ensure a healthy and long-lasting shoe.

Q: What is a steel toe?
A: A steel toe is a steel cap that is built into the end of the boot that is added to provided protection for the wearer’s toes. Almost every boot on this list has one, being a great safety feature. Composite toes, in addition, are essentially the exact same thing but being lighter in weight as they are not made from steel.

Sources

  1. Gempler's, FAQ,


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