Looking for a hiking boot that can handle Class 1, 2, and 3 scrambling? Black Diamond’s new Mission boots may be it.
Black Diamond finally makes hiking boots! Yes, it’s true. Black Diamond’s Mission collection is right away both similar to, but also in many ways wildly different from, the brand’s other Mission leather approach shoes.
Namely, the Black Diamond Mission Leather Mid WP (that’s waterproof) is an over-the-ankle style. It borrows the same ultradurable, high-performance sticky rubber that we all know and love from the brand’s climbing shoes. Other than that, the Mission Leather Mid brings a lot of new perks to the table.
In short: This shoe is capable, durable, and waterproof, with a secure fit around the ankle and a comfortable lace-up system — it’s everything you may want in a hiking boot if you tend to favor rocky, mountainous, technical trails. Ever wish your approach shoe was more like your favorite hiker? Black Diamond’s Mission Leather Mid ($175) is both rolled into one.
Black Diamond Mission Leather Mid Review
Next-level traction meets all-day comfort — this is what the Black Diamond Mission Leather Mid offers. Right away, the Mission Mid is comfortable to step into, and the lacing system is secure.
The boot isn’t bulky; in fact, it’s the opposite — it fits like a glove, not too tight, but with obviously hearty protection in the toe area. One of the first tests for if I like a hiking boot for technical terrain is checking its comfort on both steep ascents and descents. The Black Diamond Mission Mid passed the test.
The tread on this shoe is also no joke. It’s not even that aggressive of a tread, and not the luggiest tread I’ve seen, either (maybe that would be the Salomon Quest 4). So, with that in mind, it really impressed me with its grip on a variety of surfaces and trails, which I’ll dive into more below.
- Upper: Nubuck leather upper
- Outsole: BlackLabel high-performance rubber
- Design: Padded fully gusseted tongue, padded ankle, rubber toecap and heel
- Fit: Medium-volume shoe, true to size, standard fit
- Waterproof: Yes, BD.dry membrane
- Weight: 2.4 lbs. per pair (2 lbs., 6.2 oz.)
- Sizes available: 6-14 (11 for women)
- Price: $175
The outsole rubber (and general boot) is durable. I scrambled over quite a few rocks (some were big boulders) while testing these shoes, and I haven’t noticed any major scuffs or marks on the rubber. The tread, as well as the exterior material, definitely live up to the brand’s abrasion-resistant claim.
I can see two great places to make good use of these boots: high-alpine, rocky terrain (like here in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado), or in lower-elevation wet and rocky environments (peaks in the Southeast, the White Mountains, or in rainy locales along the Appalachian Trail).
If you are someone who frequently hikes more technical terrain, combined with stream crossings, for instance, these boots would be great. I can also see using them as approach shoes when weight isn’t a factor.
They’re secure, stable, and have enough traction and sticky rubber that you shouldn’t lose your footing — win-win-win.
Hiking Boot or Approach Shoe? Best of Both
For climbers who may want more support and more security, not to mention more protection at the heel and ankle, this boot could function as a burly approach shoe.
It’s got several webbing attachment points for that purpose (when you switch from approach to climb mode). But mostly, these leather-upper, waterproof, and abrasion-resistant shoes shine in the scree fields and technical trail arenas.
Our favorite elements on the shoes off the bat are the full-coverage toecap and rubber heel rand for protection on or against any rock, as well as the snug and secure fit in the ankle area. The Mission Leather Mid WP wears and feels like a true mid-rise boot — no dirt, gravel, or rocks should get in your way.
The only cons we could find with this boot are one, the weight, and two, the padded tongue. Given the protection and waterproofing that this boot provided, the weight isn’t necessarily a sticking point but may be a factor for some.
Onto number two: The padded ankle is comfortable, and necessary because it gives the ankle that snug and secure feeling. But for me, the extra padding on the gusseted tongue is a bit bulky.
I don’t have any faults with the lacing system — just the tongue. This may affect comfort for some wearers, so we wanted to mention it here.
In essence, Black Diamond did a pretty stellar job with its first mid-rise hiking boot. It satisfied us when it came to performance, durability, and traction. And overall comfort was up there as well.
Get ready to climb, scramble, and rock-hop to your heart’s content with the Black Diamond Mission Leather Mid hiking boots.