Finding eco-friendly vegan hiking boots is a real uphill struggle. Almost every waterproof boot has some animal products in it somewhere, whether in the form of leather, wool, glue, or something else. And if the boots are vegan, they’re often not waterproof unless they’re coating with toxic PFAS chemicals. This is why I was super excited to learn that Jack Wolfskin planned to release a vegan-friendly PFAS-free hiking boot.
I tested a pair of the Women’s Terraventure Texapore Mid-Waterproof Vegan hiking boots for this review.
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Highlight: Affordable, sustainable, comfortable, high-performance hiking boot from an eco-minded company. Vegan-friendly and waterproof without toxic chemicals and made with recycled materials!
- Waterproof hiking boot that’s 100% vegan!
- No ‘forever chemicals’ – i.e., no PFCs
- Made with recycled materials
- Excellent grip, cushioning, breathability, and comfort
- Lightweight but well-made and durable
- Sustainable packaged in recycled and recyclable materials
- Jack Wolfskin still uses leather in some boots, albeit more eco-friendly leather than most
- Color options seem a little gendered, at least in the U.S.
My experience with the Terraventure Texapore hiking boot from Jack Wolfskin
Out of the box, I love that these new boots from Jack Wolfskin don’t have that ‘new boot’ smell. Not that they smell like old boots, just that they don’t smell like nasty chemicals. I also love that the packaging is super simple – a cardboard box, tissue paper, and tissue paper boot inserts. The only plastic is a small loop for the various brand tags.
All of the packaging is recyclable and most of its made with recycled materials. As for the boots, amazingly, the same applies!
This is what really makes Jack Wolfskin stand out for me. The company lives its values, wanting to help preserve the environment where its customers go to have fun, namely up mountains and into forests. This means finding innovative ways to use recycled synthetic materials to produce technical fabrics and fibers for its apparel and boots.
Look and feel
As soon as I put these boots on, my wife wanted to steal them. Fortunately, her feet are significantly bigger than my tiny feet, so she’s out of luck. As she noted, though, these boots look good enough to wear about town or even to work (depending on your job), meaning you could easily go for an impromptu hike without having to change your footwear.
I love that the boots are super subtle in design. The pair I received is a mid-height in beige/light beige. I am not a fan of beige in general but these just… work. I think it’s because the beige is broken up by grey banding and a cool speckled off-white and brown sole. The speckles are thanks to the recycled materials and add a nice textured look to the final product (similar to the recycled shell of the Acer Aspire Vero I got to try out recently).
The Terraventure Texapore hiking boots are also extremely comfortable. I wore them around the house for a day or so, as I do with all new shoes, to break them in before going on any longer outdoor adventures.
I have quite narrow (and small) feet, meaning a lot of boots leave a lot of room to slide and get blisters. These fit snug without being restrictive, and I suspect they’d work well for anyone with average-sized feet, and even those with slightly larger and wider feet. If you have wider, smaller feet though, you might feel a tad pinched (but it’s definitely worth ordering a pair to try them out!).
Having smaller feet also seems to create a problem where most hiking boots (designed for larger feet and scaled down) have a heel indent in the wrong place, leading to nasty blisters. The Terraventure Texapore boots fit just right, offering support where needed and flexibility elsewhere. I love that these boots are sturdily constructed, so I feel like they support my ankles, but not so rigid that they scrape my heels over and over with every step.
Here’s where I have to confess that since adding a baby to the family, my hikes have been a little less rigorous than in previous years. Still, I put the Terraventure Texapore hiking boots through their paces, getting these rugged beauties good and muddy for a few weeks over summer and into fall.
Alas, by the time they arrived there was no snow still on the ground to truly test the grip (unless I hiked a good six hours or so uphill with a baby, and kudos to you if you’re a working mom with an infant who can do that). There are plenty of perilously steep gravel roads nearby though, and a slew of slimy logs in the forest to clamber over. Naturally, this is all done with a baby throwing off my center of gravity, making traction and support essential.
I’m happy to report that the Vibram EcoStep outer soles on the Terraventure boots work spectacularly well, offering excellent grip even in the soggiest pacific northwest rainforests. I’m excited to try these in snow as I suspect they’ll be excellent, negating the need for my cameltraks in many cases.
As for waterproofing, the Terraventure more than holds up to a good deluge of rain and after fording a few streams, I can attest that the boots are very waterproof. This protection isn’t at the expense of breathability, though, with my feet staying dry from the outside without getting gross and sweaty inside the boot.
The boots weigh in at just 874 grams per pair for a size 6 (U.S.) I’m a size 7 and these still weigh in less than a kilo total, making for a very light hiking boot. The boots have a smooth tongue fit, making it easy to slip them on and off, while offering support, comfort, and waterproofing where you need it. The recycled Ortholite PU-rubber insole offers good cushioning without being annoyingly spongy or sweaty.
I also like that these boots aren’t unnecessarily chunky. This makes for easier scrambling up and down rock faces. The recycled rubber toe protector is just big enough to do its job, without being so clunky it becomes a deadweight and barrier to performance.
What makes the Terraventure a sustainable hiking boot?
The Terraventure got my attention when I was asking around to see if any companies had plans to make a waterproof hiking boot without PFAS. I was so happy when Jack Wolfskin told me they had just such a thing planned for launch in 2022.
The Terraventure ticks a lot of boxes for sustainability. It is made with a synthetic upper and waterproof Texapore Ecosphere Pro membrane made from 100% recycled materials. The Ortholite insole is also made with recycled mesh on top, recycled PU (polyurethane) and rubber on the bottom. The midsole is a mixture of EVA foam and cork. Even the lace hooks are made of recycled zinc!
This means the Terraventure is almost entirely made with recycled materials. And, thanks to the innovative use of these materials, Jack Wolfskin didn’t need to apply PFAS coatings to make the boots waterproof. That means no forever chemicals leaching out from the production of the boots or their use. This is a big deal for technical wear, with most waterproofing still relying on toxic per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
I’m a big fan of Jack Wolfskin for its sustainable approach to manufacturing. Almost all its clothing is Bluesign certified, made with recycled materials, and PFC-free. In fact, its boots were the holdouts where the company still, like most brands, relied on PFCs for waterproofing. With the advent and success of Terraventure Texapore, that’s changed.
The company also makes some of our favorite winter boots, including the Auckland and Nanuk boots. The Auckland boots, launched in summer 2020, were also made with PFC-free water repellent finishes, as part of Jack Wolfskin’s plan to entirely eliminate PFCs in its products.
Jack Wolfskin also eliminated leather from its clothing lines and only uses it in certain footwear models. This is because of concern over the environmental footprint of leather, which, even when vegetable-tanned, is still a major source of pollution with a high greenhouse gas output because… cows.
The Terraventure hiking boot is totally leather-free and vegan, but Jack Wolfskin does still use some leather in other footwear (including in the Texapore Rebellion boot, so don’t confuse the two!). This leather is only Green Book-sourced, meaning it has to comply with strict limits for chromium and other heavy metals, as well as meeting other best practice standards. Jack Wolfskin strongly favors sourcing leather from Leather Working Group (LWG) audited factories with a gold rating, usually from Vietnam.
Final thoughts on the Terraventure Texapore sustainable hiking boot
I’ve only been using the Terraventure Texapore hiking boot for a few months, but I can tell this boot is in it for the long haul. It’s held up incredibly well to being banged up on the trails (and being thrown about by a toddler). It’s fared well with serious downpours, mud, and salt water (definitely rinse the boots off though, to keep them at their best).
These boots offer excellent grip, comfort, and waterproofing, and look great on and off the trails. My only gripe with these boots is that in the U.S. the Men’s style comes in a darker brown/gray, while the Women’s only comes in a beige. It would be great to see both colors available in the smaller and larger sizes, instead of maintaining that footwear gender binary!
For reference, the U.S. Men’s comes in sizes 7-14. The U.S. Women’s comes in sizes 5-11.
Jack Wolfskin also offers a Low height version of this boot, with additional colorways. The Men’s come in brown and gray while the Women’s come in beige and gray.
If you’re interested in a different color or smaller size of the boots or lower height version, consider ordering via Jack Wolfskin’s Europe website. Here, you can get a coral/blue option in addition to beige.
All in all, the Jack Wolfskin Terraventure Texapore sustainable hiking boots are the vegan-friendly hiking boots I’ve been dreaming off since my last pair of Zamberlans bit the dust. Comfy, waterproof, with some good bounce and excellent support and grip, I’m excited for more adventures with these boots.