8 Best Hiking Boots for Iceland
Our Guides Reveal Their Best Boots That Won’t Break
August 9, 2019
Think You Know the Best Hiking Boot for Iceland?
Our outdoor adventure guides are some of the chillest people you'll ever meet.
They spend their time deep in the wilderness, soaking in the sun, showing visitors the Arctic paradise that is Iceland. Once in a while, they may get a little upset if someone does something unsafe on a tour or litters (seriously, don’t litter). But typically? Totally, very, extremely chill.
Until you raise one simple question — “What is the best hiking boot?”
In comes the flood of opinions and tips on the best boots for tackling the rugged Icelandic terrain. Trekkers are nothing if not passionate!
Here are our guides’ most beloved hiking boots:
Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Fiercely defended by our guides, the Quest 4D 3 is built for long days on rough terrain.
Salomon’s beloved hiking boot has a sticky Contagrip TD bottom sole with an innovative, deep, and bold tread ready for larger rocks and loose terrains. It's wrapped in a nubuck leather exterior for rip resistance and comes with an industry-standard waterproof Gore-Tex lining. The Quest also has a molded OrthoLite sock liner that coddles your foot while keeping hot spots and blisters to a minimum. Nifty lace locks keep the boot strapped down tight as you go.
This boot is made for Iceland.
“They've been unanimously awarded for two years in a row by hikers and top reviewed across the web. Retail price is pretty much a joke (around 110£)... but most importantly, they've lasted a year of hiking in the wettest Scottish bogs and highlands… 🙌🏻”
— Francesco L
La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX
This light, breathable, medium-duty boot is designed with backpackers in mind.
Gore-Tex Surround lining keeps your feet dry and a 3D Flex ankle makes it easy to move this way and that. Vibram Nano sole with Impact Brake System for great grip and superior shock reduction lets you cover serious ground easily. Nubuck exterior and a cozy and comfy Nano-Cell upper wrap ensure a snug, protective fit. La Sportiva boots are known to run narrow — try a pair on to be sure they’re right for you!
Overall, a great, durable boot excellently suited for Iceland’s climate.
“La Sportiva is by far the best! Did 28 summit hikes to Hvannadalshnjúkur in La Sportiva. But keep in mind that each foot is unique so what works for me doesn't work for somebody else. If we are thinking about how the shoe fits your foot, I would say that Scarpa would be a similar option as La Sportiva, but they are just too narrow for me. I also own Aku’s, they fit well but don't last as long as La Sportiva after heavy use. The main question is, what are you gonna use the shoes for?”
— Freyr H
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
A soft, flexible boot with a low profile fit, the Zodiac Plus may look heavy/bulky, but this boot is incredibly light and ready to go the long distance.
Waterproof Gore-Tex Performance Comfort and Vibram Drumlin sole allow the Zodiac to handle most of Iceland’s sudden weather changes. The upper is mostly durable Suede Perwanger and is connected directly to the tongue, keeping gravel and dirt out. The Zodiacs do have one drawback — their durability could be better.
Extremely light, agile, and sensitive, the Zodiac is a great option for backpackers and hikers who like to keep a quick pace.
“We have mainly been buying Mammut hiking and glacier boots for our rental operation in Rvk. These have worked very well for us and we have in circulation rental boots that have been there 3-4 years and are still going strong. We did try Scarpa and took in some boots last year both for hiking and glacier, but they have not been as durable as Mammut. They were more expensive and they need more maintenance, i.e. if leather they need regular leather grease.”
— Niels G
AKU Alterra GTX
A very good all-purpose trekking boot with an elastic upper making for a snug, comfortable fit.
This boot is gusset-less (meaning the tongue isn’t connected to the upper), which allows for more mobility. Without sacrificing ankle-support, thanks to the unique material used for the upper, the Alterra offers tons of protection in a sleek, little package. A Vibram Octopus outsole mixed with exclusive AKU Elica tech makes for stellar weight distribution and a better, easier foot roll while stepping.
Men’s and women’s versions are both available. The Alterra is an all-around good choice
“Absolutely can't do Scarpa, too narrow. But I love my Aku's 😻 Basically all the same material as Scarpa, both made in Italy, but the Aku's have a wider fit and fantastic ankle support (which I desperately need as I sprained my ankles too many times as a kid).”
— Kristín S
Hanwag Tatra II GTX
Made for comfort, the Tatra II is a lightweight, well-padded option for the avid hiker.
The exterior of the boot is pretty, made of all Nubuck leather, and the well-cushioned footbed is attached to a Vibram AW Integral sole. Complete with a Gore-Tex liner and one of the best lacing systems on this list, your foot will stay snug and the boot’s tongue will stay put the Tatra is great for casual to slightly more difficult hikes but may struggle with multi-day treks.
The Tatra is a great boot but may not last very long through the Icelandic ringer.
“Me and my husband have been using Hanwag Tatras and we are very satisfied with them. Money well spent. Mine are 5 years old and I've used them mainly in Iceland. When I traveled around the country, I used them every single day for six weeks in all kinds of conditions. Since then, I have been using them regularly all-year-round. They are super comfortable and sturdy. However, they can get quite hot when the temperatures exceed 15°C.”
— Viktória K
Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator
These boots are probably the best known and most budget-friendly option on our list.
The Moab 2 really shines in above-average heat, as they are extremely well-ventilated. Made of suede and mesh with an air-cushioned heel and a closed-cell foam tongue, these boots are great for a long, hot day hike. They have solid traction thanks to the VibranTC5+ bottom. Moab stands for “Mother Of All Boots,” but they fit more like a shoe.
While definitely not snow boots, the Moab 2 is great for hotter climates. Unfortunately, the lack of waterproofing makes them only a sunny-day option for Iceland summers.
“I used the Moab and they're a bit cold, probably good for hot countries, and not as comfortable as I was expecting for hiking shoes, and also not as waterproof… I went back to my old Columbia boots over them.”
— Rita C
Mammut Trovat Advanced High GTX
Nubuck leather with a rubber tip and heel protection, Mammut Trovat is a comfy, well-padded backpacking boot.
Waterproofing by Gore-Tex and a Vibram MT Traction sole help it survive in the wet, slippery conditions of Iceland. The waterproof, memory-foam tongue makes this boot seriously snug. The Trovat is a cozy option for the casual hiker and commuter.
However, durability and longevity issues make the Mammut Trovat a tough sell for multi-day trekkers and pros.
“I have the Mammut Trovat High GTX Boots, love them, they're very comfy and I've not gotten any sore toes and/or ankles (up until now at least 🤞) I know about a few people who have the same here at the Reykjavík office. Highly recommend! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Bought in Everest for those interested, here in Reykjavík ;) ) Oh and they've been fully waterproof in the Icelandic conditions :D”
— Helena T
Danner Mountain 600
The best looking boot here, the Danner 600 is for those who might end up on a hike but aren’t banking on it.
Great for the urban hiker, this boot can handle a trek or two but won't hold up as well as other boots here. The 600 has great traction thanks to a Vibram Fuga outsole and an SPE midsole. The Mountain 600 also comes with built-in Danner Dry (Danner’s own waterproof barrier). The upper is all suede and the boot keeps a clean, light profile. Plus, it comes in several different colors.
The Danner is best for the super-casual hiker who prefers style over performance.
“I’m not much of a hiker but when I do I rock my Danners, the 600s are super comfortable (and stylish). I wear them around town a lot and commute walking in them, and they’ve held up pretty well. I know they’re not ‘real’ trekking boots, but they get me from home, to bar, to work just fine. Plus, I like knowing that if a hike suddenly presents itself… I’m ready-ish!”
— Joe T (Me)
Have you found your best hiking boots for Iceland? Let us know in the comments!