The Best Survival Boots for When the Going Gets Tough

Benjamin Roussey

Introduction

If you are planning to go off into the wilderness, out into the desert, up mountainous terrain, into a rain forest, and so on the most important thing you need to be able to do is walk and move freely without any inhibitions.

This means that you should make sure that you have the right gear on and with you to get out there and walk over the rough terrain, through dirt and rivers, and whatever else Mother Nature decides to challenge you with.

To be able to walk through different types of terrain and conditions, you need a solid pair of survival boots. This is essential! Bear in mind that the shoes you wear play an important role in whether or not you can survive out in the great wide open.

Proper footwear is certainly more vital than hairspray!

At a Glance: Our Choices for The Top 10 Survival Boots

Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each boot.

How to choose a great pair of survival boots

Survival boots aren’t like a pair of heels that you simply try on and buy. There are a number of factors to bear in mind while choosing the best survival boots for yourself. Listed below are a few of the many things you should bear in mind while picking a pair that will go hiking with you.

What terrain are you going to traverse?

Select a pair of boots based on the terrain you plan on hiking as well as the loads you expect to lug around. The added weight on your feet can take a toll on you by the end of the day. And we, therefore suggest you pick the lightest boots you can get away with. For instance, a pair of off-trail boots can turn out to be a nightmare for someone who does short weekend hikes with a really light pack.

What type of sole is the best?

It is the sole that make your boots what they are. The soles of your boots are responsible for not just gripping the ground, but also absorbing the shock of walking as well as keeping sharp objects from cutting your foot which can be a terrible experience if you have a lot of walking to do. The sole must be stiff enough to support your foot yet flexible to allow you to walk naturally.

Upper – The upper part of the shoe is what holds the sole to the foot as well as protects your feet from the act of twisting, getting cut, and the pounding that your feet take when hiking. The upper sole of your boots should be waterproof and yet breathable.

Inner – Pick a pair of boots that has suitable padding and lining built within to improve comfort and also aid in moisture protection and control. The padding also helps in insulation and reduces pressure points.

Insole – Your feet rest on the insoles all along the way. It is, therefore, vital that your feet fit the insoles well for decent support. Check the arch support as it braces the arch of your feet and gives you the support you need and ensures you do not get flat-footed. Once the arch of your feet flattens out, you will immediately lose flexibility, and experience a lot more foot fatigue than ever before.

Types of hiking boots to consider

Trail sandals/boots – If the trail you plan on setting out on is well kept and your pack is rather light, open the door for low-cut or mid-cut boots. These boots made from fabric/leather may have multiple seams, so you will need to augment them with the right kind of socking. Trail shoes generally have stiffer soles and provide more traction and stability when compared to walking shoes.

If your backpack is going to be light, but you plan on some aggressive day hiking, press the button for ankle-high boots. Their tapered plastic midsoles provide sole rigidity and guard your feet against stony trails while allowing a solid amount of flex at the balls of your feet.

Off-trail – If you plan on hiking through goat paths, talus and alder tangles, we suggest you pick off-trail boots that provide above-ankle support and rigid sole stability. These boots will provide your feet appropriate protection, and flex well at the balls of your feet.

Mountaineering – Pick boots with full grain leather uppers, fantastic traction, and minimal seams if you plan to use them for mountaineering. Mountaineering boots have full-length shanks, and still nylon midsoles. They may be a tad bit rigid for comfortable full-stride hiking, but work well under heavy packs or even on a steep terrain.

Technical-scrambling – These boots have a low cut and are mid-height hybrids with anti-abrasion toe rands and sticky rubber soles. They are designed specifically for scrambling and light hiking. These boots, work best under a lightweight backpack and on good trail well-kept trails. If you intend on using them for serious trail-travel, you will need to use gaiters to keep sand, twigs, and gravel out of them.

The best option for survival: high weight hiking boots or backpacking boots

High weight hiking boots are hands down the best you can buy for all types of terrain in a survival situation. These boots are designed to give you magnificent foot and ankle support and can be used in any terrain with total confidence and safety. They are mostly used for cross country backpacking. Some users also use it when hiking through very rough terrain.

Durability

Quality materials – A sensational pair of survival boots is generally made from thick leather. The upper is generally made out of genuine leather or in some cases nylon blends. Leather with synthetic mesh make way for concrete structural support and is a lot lighter than an all-leather upper.

Gusseted tongue – The tongue of the shoe that is sewn to each boot behind the lace eyelets is called the gusseted tongue. This keeps water and debris from entering the shoe.

Quality laces – The laces of your boots need to be of high quality, so they can be securely tied up and stay so for a long time. Choose boots that have laces made of braided leather or nylon.

Excellent stitching – Check the stitching on your boots, before you buy them to ensure they are done to a high standard. Any loose threads or stitches is nothing but an invitation to trouble, as they may come off when you are hiking.

Comfort

Breathability – It is only when your feet can breathe through your shoes, will you feel comfortable hiking. Look for a pair that lets sweat out and allows your feet to get fresh air.

Good range of motion – It is crucial that you have a decent range of motion when you don your boots. This will ensure it is easier to move around and get exactly where you need when you are hiking. Also, when you are carrying a load, your boots should be able to protect your feet from either bending backwards or forwards, while also allowing you respectable range of motion.

Scree collar – Scree collar is that padded space at the ankle of your boots that hugs tight to your legs. It helps keep debris out and ensures you do not get blisters and sores. Look for boots that have high-quality scree collars as it will protect your ankle and allow you to enjoy your time outdoors.

You may also look out for light weight boots as long as they fit the bill of the above-mentioned parameters. Remember, the lighter your boots are, the more easily will you be able to hike. You will be putting less effort in battling a survival situation if your feet feel light.

Proper protection

Water resistant – You may come across a pool or rivulet that you have to wade past, or may just have to brave it through a rain storm. You never know what is in store for you when you are outdoors. It is, therefore, quintessential that your survival boots must be completely waterproof and made of materials that will let the sweat escape, but not let any water inside. If water seeps into your boots, it can result in smelly feet and painful blisters.

Ankle protection – Any pair of survival boots that you pick should come way above your ankle. This will protect you from rolling your ankle. While this may not happen when walking through an even terrain, you are bound to find yourself twisting, bending, and moving your ankle for better grip and support when traversing uneven terrain. This movement can lead to sprains or an actual break too.

The 5 Best Survival Boots for Men

 #1

Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot

Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot
Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Materials: Leather and Textile
Weight: 19.8 oz
Shaft Length: 6 in

Pros:
(+) Very lightweight and comfortable
(+) Well designed and made
(+) Impressive breathability
Cons:
(-) Laces do not stay tied after walking a mile or two
(-) Slightly narrow – not a judicious choice for people with wide feet

Overview

Comfortable and made with quality materials to give you rugged and durable footwear for your outdoor adventures The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX might be the kind of boots you need for a bug out situation. The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX’s shaft measures roughly 6 inches from the arch and comes with tough lacing hardware and protective rubber toe cap.

These boots feature GORE-TEX waterproof protection and the Salomon 4D Chassis to give you both protection and stability. The gusseted tongue keeps debris out and the heel and toe have rubber reinforcement for protection against wear. This is definitely a salient choice if you are looking for fantastic pair of boots for survival.

Conclusion

If you do not mind spending a little extra cash on a pair of survival boots, the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX are a solid option to check out. Lightweight, rugged, and comfortable, it is sure to be a resolute companion on your outdoor adventures, no matter what the terrain. It is comfortable even during break in.

A small problem with these boots is that they are a bit narrow, so if you have wide feet, they probably will not be too comfortable. And although the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX has a poignant lacing system, the laces tend to come untied after you have walked a mile or two. But other than this, these boots do not have many flaws and are definitely a very good purchase.

 #2

Scarpa Men’s Kinesis Pro GTX Hiking Boots

2. Scarpa Men's Kinesis Pro GTX Hiking Boots
Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Materials: Leather
Weight: 36.8 oz
Shaft Length: 6 inches

Pros:
(+) Extremely comfortable
(+) High-quality materials and awesome construction
(+) Sterling lacing system
Cons:
(-) Toe box a little too narrow for some

Overview

Made of high-quality leather, the Scarpa Men’s Kinesis Pro GTX are another great choice. These are an awesomely rugged pair of boots that feature waterproof GORE-TEX lining, micro-pulley hardware lacing and full rubber rand. It also comes with dual-density PU midsole, Vibram traction outsole and a cushioned tongue and collar.

With weatherproof leather and all-terrain sole, the Scarpa Men’s Kinesis Pro GTX provide the sturdy grip and dryness you need whenever you are on a demanding trek.

Conclusion

When it comes to survival boots, the Scarpa Men’s Kinesis Pro GTX are a very good option to keep in mind. It is well designed and constructed, providing comfort and stability no matter where you are. One of the best things about these boots is that you do not have to worry about blisters, calluses, and other such problems. They offer solid protection when you are out in the rough wilderness.

Although the toe box might be a tad too narrow for some, it is still one of the most comfortable and durable boots you will find. The rigid soles make them ideal for hiking even on the roughest trails. If you are looking for a prolific pair of boots for your survival needs, you should definitely consider the Scarpa Men’s Kinesis Pro GTX Hiking Boots.

 #3

Vasque Men’s St. Elias Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot

Vasque Men's St. Elias Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot
Our Rating: (4.6/5)
Materials: Leather
Weight: 49 oz
Shaft Length: 6 inches

Pros:
(+) Lightweight and comfortable
(+) Solid and sturdy – outstanding for any terrain
(+) Excellent breathability
Cons:
(-) Side lace lugs break easily
(-) Not warm, so not fabulous for cold conditions

Overview

Made of high-quality leather, the Vasque Men’s St. Elias Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot comes with a synthetic sole to give you a solid grip on slippery or any other type of terrain. It features GORE-TEX waterproof construction with Performance Comfort Technology.

It is extremely lightweight and comfortable with its dual-density EVA footbed, Vasque Exclusive Vibram Frontier rubber outsole as well as its A.S.E midsole with EVA cushioning pads. For the highest standards in survival footwear, nothing quite beats the Vasque Men’s St. Elias Gore-Tex Backpacking Boots.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the Vasque Men’s St. Elias Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot is a great pair of boots for backpacking, hiking, trekking and other outdoor adventures. It is made with some fine-quality materials with an awesome construction, making it both comfortable and sturdy enough for even the roughest terrains. For serious outdoorsmen, this is an excellent pair of boots to have.

While it may not be the best survival boots for winter, you can wear these boots any other time of the year on all your outdoor trips. There have been a few complaints about the side lace lugs – it seems that they tend to break quite easily. Otherwise, the Vasque Men’s St. Elias Gore-Tex Backpacking Boots comes highly recommended for anyone looking for a durable survival boots.

 #4

Salomon Quest Origins GTX Boots

Salomon Quest Origins GTX Boots
Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Materials: Leather
Weight: 32 oz
Shaft Length: 6 inches

Pros:
(+) High-cut profile provides ankle support
(+) Forefoot toecap protects from rocks and roots
(+) Stable and sturdy
Cons:
(-) A tad heavy for some people
(-) A little too snug for people with wider feet

Overview

The Salomon Quest Origins GTX is made of quality full-grain leather, which means that you get longer wear and durability from this well-made pair of boots. It features a high-cut profile that provides increased protection, stability and ankle support. Its gusseted tongue prevents debris from entering the boots.

These boots feature a Sensifit System that works to cradle the foot, ensuring a secure and precise fit, as well as a protective heel cap that provides rearfoot protection and stability. All in all, the Salomon Quest Origins GTX is a great buy for those looking for quality boots to face a survival situation.

Conclusion

If you are planning to buy a pair of survival boots, the Salomon Quest Origins GTX is a solid option to go with. It is comfortable and has features that provide stability and ankle support, which are critical when you are out in the wilderness. With its gusseted tongue, you never have to worry about dirt and debris getting inside and causing you discomfort.

While it may be a little too heavy for some and a tad snug for wider feet, the Salomon Quest Origins GTX Boots is otherwise a great buy. You will get your money’s worth. This boot is fantastic and can weather about any storm. They can take a beating and get you back to your car or safety or both!

 #5

Sorel Men’s Conquest Boot

Sorel Men's Conquest Boot
Our Rating: (4.3/5)
Materials: Leather and Fabric
Weight: 33 oz
Shaft Length: 8.5 inches

Pros:
(+) Designed and built for extreme conditions
(+) Waterproof leather
(+) Removable EVA comfort footbed
Cons:
(-) Rubber cracks
(-) Causes soreness for some people

Overview

Made with leather and fabric, the Sorel Men’s Conquest is a rugged and durable pair of boots perfect for cold conditions. It features rubber soles that give you magnificent grip and stability on rough terrains. With its waterproof leather and 400g Thinsulate Ultra insulation, you can make sure that your feet are dry and warm when hiking or trekking in the mountains.

The Sorel Men’s Conquest also features built-in gaiter bootie with drawstring and barrel lock snow collar as well as an Achilles adjustment strap that you can tighten for further ankle support for uneven terrain.

Conclusion

While the Sorel Men’s Conquest is a fantastic pair of survival boots, they do come with a few flaws. For one, the rubber starts to crack after a while. Some people have also talked about their feet feeling sore after wearing the boots for several hours. But these issues are rare and many people who have bought these boots say that they are fully satisfied with their purchase.

The Sorel Men’s Conquest is a poignant option if you are planning to go on a trip in extreme conditions. These boots keep your feet warm and dry in cold places and provide excellent support on uneven terrain. For those who travel often in snowy mountains and other such places, the Sorel Men’s Conquest Boot is the ideal pair of boots to wear.

Best Survival Boots for Women

 #6

Ahnu Sugarpine Hiking Boot

Ahnu Sugarpine Hiking Boot
Our Rating: (4.9/5)
Materials: Leather and textile
Weight: 10.6 oz
Shaft Length: 5.75 inches

Pros:
(+) Beautiful design with exceptional materials
(+) Lightweight and comfortable
(+) Completely waterproof
Cons:
(-) Slippery – grip is no better than the grip on sneakers
(-) Too hot for summer hikes

Overview

The Ahnu Sugarpine is a lightweight and comfortable pair of survival boots for women. You can cover miles of trails with this supportive and sturdy pair of boots. The waterproof leather and synthetic textile uppers provide toughness and flexibility, giving you lasting performance on the trail. It features rubber toe caps that protect your feet and uppers from abrasion.

The breathable, waterproof membranes offer protection from the elements while providing remarkable breathability. It also has dual-density EVA midsoles that provide cushioned support underfoot. The Ahnu Sugarpine is a sterling purchase for women looking for high quality, beautiful survival boots. Who says looks do not matter!?

Conclusion

The Ahnu Sugarpine is an outstanding pair of boots for the ladies who want to be prepared for a survival situation. They are pretty and come with features that make them fantastic for those outdoor trips. The best thing about these boots is that they are actually waterproof. They are lightweight and not at all bulky. The Ahnu Sugarpine provides excellent support when you are on uneven terrain.

Although it can be a little slippery, meaning it does not provide very good grip, the Ahnu Sugarpine is still a highly recommended pair of boot for women not only for hiking but also for survival. If you are looking for stylish and comfortable, durable boots for survival or your next outdoor adventure, you have to search pretty deep to find a pair of boots that beats these kind of boots on the factors that matter.

 #7

Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Boot

Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Boot
Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Materials: Synthetic/Nubuck
Weight: 21 oz
Shaft Length: 6.5 inches

Pros:
(+) Tall boot height for ankle support
(+) Waterproof
(+) Molded EVA midsole for more comfort
Cons:
(-) New toecap design not comfortable
(-) Does not provide enough ankle support for some

Overview

Another incredible pair of survival boots from a well-known brand, the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX provides impressive performance on the trail with great support and stability. The tall boot height makes it an excellent design, easily wrapping over and around your ankle.

The 4D Chassis gives you unmatched lateral stability underfoot without the need for a stiff midsole shank. It features GORE-TEX Performance Comfort membrane for waterproof protection and toe guard, as well as molded EVA midsole for improved comfort. The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX is a fantastic choice for ladies who love the wilderness.

Conclusion

The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX, with its tall boot height design, is an excellent choice for women looking for a pair of quality boots they can rely on in a survival scenario. Waterproof, solid and stable, these boots are ideal for all types of outdoor adventures. They are comfortable, durable and suitable for any type of terrain.

While some might feel like these boots lack a little in ankle support but for most women, the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Boot is a fantastic buy. With its impressive performance in the wilderness, there is very little chance that you will regret buying these boots.

 #8

Ahnu Women’s North Peak Event Waterproof Hiking Shoe

Ahnu Women's North Peak Event Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Materials: Leather/Textile
Weight: 18.1 oz
Shaft Length: 6 inches

Pros:
(+) Breathable and waterproof
(+) Comfortable
(+) Offers tremendous support, traction, and stability
Cons:
(-) Stitches need to be stronger
(-) Top of the boot ends just near the ankle

Overview

The Ahnu Women’s North Peak Event Waterproof Hiking Shoe is another superb pair of boots suitable for survival that has some great features. It has the eVent technology that allows for maximum breathability and comfort when you are out in the great wide open. The Vibram Duragrip outsole comes with multi-directional lugs for traction and durability in all types of environment.

The direct attached polyurethane midsole gives you comfort for longer, even in the roughest terrains and conditions. The Ahnu Women’s North Peak Event Waterproof Hiking Shoe also features Numentum Hike technology for stability and neutral positioning. Cute and well-built, this is a well-designed pair of survival boots that you might want to check out.

Conclusion

The Ahnu Women’s North Peak Event Waterproof Hiking Shoe is a fab pair of boots. They are cute and very well made. They are also highly breathable and comfortable, no matter what type of terrain you are on. For some, a little more cushioning would be preferred but all in all, it is very comfortable to wear on hikes and treks.

Because the top of the boots ends near the ankle, women with bony ankles might find that it bruises them after a while. But the Ahnu Women’s North Peak Event Waterproof Hiking Shoe provides superb support and is great even in mud. This is another stellar choice to consider when it comes to women’s boots that are great for survival. This boot can get you through the grit and elements and do it while maintaining your comfort level to boot (pun intended!)

 #9

Vasque Skywalk Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot

Vasque Skywalk Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot
Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Materials: Textile/leather
Weight: 24 oz
Shaft Length: 5 inches

Pros:
(+) Rugged and solid
(+) Stable with excellent grip on any terrain
(+) Lightweight and comfortable
Cons:
(-) Takes some time to break into them
(-) Not wide enough for some

Overview

Made with abrasion-resistant, breathable nylon mesh and USA-tanned waterproof leather with a synthetic sole, the Vasque Skywalk Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot is another splendid pair of survival boots. Not only do they look like they could hold their own on the runway, but they also perform extremely well in the wilderness. It features molded polyurethane and thermoplastic polyurethane shank midsole for improved comfort.

The boot’s GORE-TEX waterproof and breathable liner controls the temperature inside while its Vasque Pyrenees sole ensures a firm and stable grip on the trail. With the innovative technologies used in the Vasque Skywalk Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot, this boot rises to the top for any woman who wants to enjoy Mother Nature and explore the areas on this planet that are not paved.

Conclusion

If you are looking for boots that will hold well in a survival situation and also look fantastic and feel awesome on the trail, then you should put a yellow highlighter mark on the Vasque Skywalk Gore-Tex Backpacking Boot. Solid and tough, they are truly made for the woman who loves her outdoor adventures. It takes a bit to break into them but this is not a major issue.

Some may find that the toe box needs to be more spacious as it tends to pinch a little for some. However, all in all, the Vasque Skywalk is a nice choice for women who are on the lookout for a great pair of survival boots.

 #10

Zamberlan Gear GTX Waterproof Hiking Boots

Zamberlan Gear GTX Waterproof Hiking Boots
Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Materials: Cordura/Leather
Weight: 18 oz
Shaft Length: 4.5 inches

Pros:
(+) Made with quality materials
(+) Durable
(+) Comfortable
Cons:
(-) They run small – pick one size larger than your actual size

Overview

These Italian handmade boots offer great support and comfort when you are off the trail. Beautifully designed with a solid construction, the Zamberlan Gear GTX are perfect for all types of outdoor trips, from hiking to survival situations.

Made with Perwanger waxed suede and CORDURA nylon, these boots are lightweight, rugged and water-resistant. It also features a Zamberlan Z-Comfort Fit footbed which provides comfort and stability on any trail or terrain. If you are looking for a pair of good-looking, well-made boots for women that appropriate for survival, this is it.

Conclusion

No matter where you are, the Zamberlan Gear GTX are the ideal survival boots for the adventurous woman. Made of top-notch materials, these boots are comfortable and tough. You can wear them even in the most extreme conditions and they are designed to be worn year round. These are amazing boots that provide support, stability and keep your feet warm and dry even in snow and ice.

The only thing you should keep in mind is that they run small, which means that you will need to buy a pair that is one size larger than your actual foot size. Apart from this, there are no issues and the Zamberlan Gear GTX are one of the most recommended boots for women who want to be ready for a survival situation.

Final Thoughts

When you are in the wilderness, one of the most amazing and critical items you carry is your shoes. You need to make sure that you have the best boots for survival to help you walk through rough terrain and extreme conditions. With so many different types around, picking the right one can be pretty tough, but with the list provided above, you can have an idea of the best survival boots that are available today, for both men and women.

With these boots, you never have to worry about pain or discomfort, or not surviving in the wild. If you need a pair of boots to wear on your next adventure, consider one of these and make sure that your feet have the toughest and most comfortable survival boots on.

If you choose one of these pairs of boots and your next hike or camping trip turns out to be a dud or a disaster, it is probably not the boots fault! These boots are high quality and have proven they can handle extreme and steady use.

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