Heading for the hills? Pick a hiking boot that can tackle challenging and changeable mountain conditions. Jack Wolfskin's Wilderness Lite (£160/$224) was designed with scramblers, via ferrata fans and hut-to-hut hikers in mind, and it ticks the boxes for anyone heading to high ground. In fact, we were so impressed we gave it a 2021 T3 Award in the hiking boot category. This is a technical boot – if you're after something for more casual use, head to our best women's hiking boot and best men's hiking boot roundup for more options. If not, read on for full Jack Wolfskin's Wilderness Lite review for a closer look at this boot's standout features.
Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite review: design and features
If you're more of a 'mountain high' than a 'valley low' kind of hiker, you'll need a tough hiking boot that can keep up with your adventures. Jack Wolfskin's Wilderness Lite boot is designed for high ground and changing weather conditions, and it delivers in both. Sturdy toe boxes will protect your feet on rough terrain, Vibram soles give great grip even on slippery rock and a tight lacing system stays put all day and creates a snug, supportive fit – if you have weak ankles, or tend to roll them, these boots give a good extra level of confidence and support on the trail.
Jack Wolfskin's own-brand TEXAPORE O2+ membrane does a great job of keeping your feet dry and warm, even in driving rain. Despite offering good warmth these boots are still reasonably breathable when you're moving fast, making them suitable for use from autumn through to spring.
While we aren't sure that these boots are as lightweight as their 'Lite' moniker would suggest, at 535g per boot they aren't prohibitively heavy, either. They won't weigh you down on all-day hikes the way some chunkier leather mountain boots can, so they're great for multi-day hiking challenges as well as for tackling scrambling or via ferrata routes.
Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite review: performance and comfort
The Wilderness Lite offers comfort straight out of the box but does lean towards a narrow fit, especially around the toes – anyone with wide feet or bunions may need to go for a size up or look for a wider boot altogether. That said, these boots do mold nicely to your feet over time, and feel comfortable even on all-day hikes. The snug lacing system gives reassuring ankle support even if you're carrying a heavy load in a backpack, such as on a walking holiday or when wild camping. These boots are too heavy and not packable enough to work for lightweight backpacking or hot summer hikes, but then again, that's really not what they are designed for.
We tested out the Wilderness Lite out over months of winter hikes. They were always reliably warm, waterproof and comfortable, and we like the confidence they give over tough, rocky terrain.
Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite review: verdict
Jack Wolfskin reckons this boot is perfect for “multi-day hut walks, moderate hikes in alpine terrain and demanding day hikes”, and we'd have to agree. The Wilderness Lite is a reliable and weatherproof boot that can take on more challenging mountain conditions as well as more relaxed hikes in the lowlands, and while its only really suited to colder climates, it's still lighter and more comfortable than many other boots offering similar waterproofing and warmth. If you only want a boot for casual summer hikes, however, this technical boot is overkill.