Hiking Gear Review: The New REI Flash Hiking Boots - Trail Tested & Approved

52 Hike Challenge x REI Flash Hiking Boots - Gear Review

This blog post is brought to you in partnership with REI

Every hiker loves a new pair of hiking boots. Don’t you agree?

When REI asked if our team at 52 Hike Challenge would test their new hiking boots, it was like Christmas came early!

Spoiler: these boots would be a great Christmas gift for the hiker in your life!

We have been long-time partners with REI, so it was super exciting to hear they were coming out with their very own line of sustainable hiking boots.

We couldn’t wait to break them in and hit the trails!

Because we’re hikers who value thorough gear testing, we hiked in these boots all over the United States, from California to Florida and many mountain peaks in between.

We took our new REI Flash hiking boots into the desert, through the swamp, into the mountains, locally, and more.

In this hiking boot review, you will find insights from 52 Hike Challenge co-founder Karla Amador and lead content creator Mandi Carozza. 

Get ready to discover:

  • Our favorite features of REI’s newest product release
  • How the REI Flash boots held up while hiking in many different environments
  • Technical specifications and product details
  • Why we love these hiking boots

    And much more!

Let’s start from the very beginning: REI Flash Boots fresh out of the box.

Unboxing The New REI Flash Hiking Boots

REI Flash Hiking Boots Unboxing - Sustainable Hiking Boots

Karla: When I first received my REI boots, I knew I was in love. The box opens up with the message "Made with less impact on the planet." The boots are made with recycled materials! As a lover of the outdoors, I have become so much more conscious of the impacts of waste on the planet. Anytime a brand upcycles or reduces waste, it automatically gets a thumbs up from me.

Mandi: From the moment I opened the box, I could tell these hiking boots were very well-made. I opened my package while visiting with my parents, so of course they were very curious to see what REI sent me. “Wow, those are nice!” they said from over my shoulder. And they really are nice: REI thought of everything, from color scheme to durability, sustainability and much more. 

Now let’s take a closer look at just how durable and sustainable these hiking boots really are.

REI Flash Boots Technical Specs & Product Details

Montana Colorful Rocks - Hiking In Montana

Below you’ll find some of the most defining features of the REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots including weight, materials, waterproofing and more.

Weight: 1lb. 13 oz.

Materials99% recycled PET polyester FirmaKnit™; 30% recycled thermoplastic urethane (TPU) overlay, 100% recycled polyester laces

Waterproof: Yes

See the full technical specs below:

REI Flash Hiking Boots Technical Specifications

Image sourced from REI

Breaking Them In & First Thoughts

Breaking In Your New REI Hiking Boots

Did you know how to break in your hiking boots? It’s important to break in your boots so that you avoid discomfort and injury while hiking. 

How To Break In Your New Hiking Boots

The best thing to do when it comes to breaking in new hiking boots is to wear them around town or on a short hike. If you opt to take them on a hike, we recommend doing 1-3 miles max, to see how your feet adjust and feel. I, Karla, carry a backup pair of shoes as well. It's important to treat hotspots right away to avoid blisters.

Read more: How to Break in Your Hiking Boots by REI

First Hike, First Thoughts

Hear from Karla and Mandi on hiking for the first time while wearing their new REI Flash Boots.

Karla: As soon as I put my boots on and started walking, I felt like I was walking on clouds. They are very soft and bouncy! I also really liked how lightweight they felt. I decided to break my boots in at a new hike, Iron Mountain in San Diego, and I made it all the way to the summit in my boots. They did well with all the rocks and sandy areas of the hike. The hike up was 3 miles. Full disclosure, I did change them out for the hike down, as I wanted to ensure to break them in properly. 

Mandi: I broke them in during a hike in the pine flatwoods of Florida, and I was surprised by how comfortable they were right from the start. Florida hiking means hiking in the heat, so boots aren’t typically my first choice, but these hiking boots felt light and breathable for my Florida feet.

On The Trail: Hiking In The New REI Flash Boots 

REI Hiking Boots In Glacier National Park

States hiked in: Karla trekked in Southern California while Mandi explored both Florida and Montana while wearing REI hiking boots.

Terrain hiked on: The REI Flash Hiking Boots traveled into the swamp, through the desert, to mountaintops, around lakes, locally, and more. We took these boots on local shorter hikes, desert treks, hikes with high elevation gain and more.

Elements hiked in: We tested these hiking boots against all kinds of elements: heat, humidity, rain and more.

On-Trail Takeaways While Wearing REI Flash Hiking Boots

Karla: I ordered my shoes a half size bigger, as I like to have extra room in my shoes for swelling, etc. I first wore these boots 3 miles up to a smaller peak in Southern California, and they fared well. I really liked the extra stability felt when going up rocky terrain. I then wore my boots on most of my local hikes, 3-5 miles long mostly. I also wore my boots on a short overnight backpacking trip in Joshua Tree National Park. We arrived a bit late and hiked at dusk. Somehow, I didn't notice a big puddle in one of the rock formations. I dunked one of my shoes in it. But guess what? No wet socks or feet - they are truly waterproof! Lastly, I took the boots up Tahquitz Peak in Idyllwild, CA for 10 miles and they worked out well, especially when using different lacing systems depending on if I was going up or down the mountain!

Mandi: REI Flash Hiking Boots appear to be true to size. I ordered my usual size 7, and they were perfect. After breaking in my boots, I took them on a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, where I hiked anywhere from 5 to 12 miles in a day. Even when I was traveling down a very steep trail with lots of switchbacks, I never felt my toes jamming in the front of the boot. I also trekked across running water and never felt any moisture from inside the boot. I felt supported from the start, and the more I wore them, the more comfortable they became. Overall, I‘m really happy with how these held up, and I’m looking forward to taking them on even more hiking adventures to come.

Conclusion: The REI Flash Hiking Boots Compete Against Some Of The Best Hiking Boot Brands Out There!

Montana Colorful Rocks At Flathead Lake

It’s not easy to make an amazing hiking boot, but REI Co-op succeeded. In terms of look, feel and practicality, the REI Flash Hiking Boots for women compare to hiking boots from leading brands.

There are so many reasons to love these hiking boots. Not only were our feet comfortable and supported on trails of all kinds, but we especially appreciate that they are made sustainably. Read on to find the top reasons why we love our REI Flash Hiking Boots.

Why We Love These Hiking Boots

  • Lighter Footprint: As we’ve said, REI’s hiking boots are made with recycled and plant-based materials, making them a sustainable option for eco-minded explorers.
  • Waterproof: using HydroWall™ technology, this hiking boot protects your feet from the elements, keeping them warm and dry… because nobody likes wet socks. 
  • Lightweight: At less than two pounds, these hiking boots are perfect for day hikes. Plus, they can pack easily in your carry on.
  • Durable: With TerraGrip™ anti-slip tread, TrailBed™ insoles, TerraLoft™ midsoles and more, it appears REI thought of everything in order to create an all-around great hiking boot.
  • Cute: Okay, this is obviously just a perk, but it’s still a top reason why we love them! The REI Flash Hiking Boots for women are a good-looking boot that can be worn on the trail or on a casual outing.

Get Your New REI Flash Boots & Take 52 Hikes Now

52 Hike Challenge x REI Partner

Looking for some motivation to get outside more often? Getting a new pair of hiking boots + joining a hiking challenge that holds you accountable might be just what you need!

Now that you know all about REI’s new hiking boots, it’s time to get yourself a pair and hit the trails!

Get Your New REI Flash Hiking Boots Now

We invite you to join us on 52 hikes in your REI Flash boots! Sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge now and commit to hiking once a week for a year — you won’t regret it.


We look forward to following your journey on 52 hikes! Don’t forget to tag us @52hikechallenge and @rei using hashtags #52HikeChallenge #52HikeChallenge2021 #52HikeChallenge2022 #OptOutside

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