Best Hiking Shoes

Whether you’re an experienced outdoorsman or someone who likes hitting up local trails from time to time, the last thing you want are aching, blistered feet. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem – buying yourself proper outdoor footwear. Believe it or not, boots are not your only option for trekking.

Our favorite budget hiking shoes are the The North Face Ultra 109 WP, an affordable pair of all-around shoes. If you want the absolute best nothing beats the combination of comfort, traction, and durability offered by La Sportiva Spire GTX.

Related: the best hiking shoes for women and a list of vegan hiking shoes and boots.

Nowadays, many hikers opt for hiking shoes instead of boots. This type of low-cut hiking footwear is a mix of boots and running shoes that takes the best from both worlds. They offer an excellent balance between traction, comfort, water protection, durability, and weight for those in need of protective and stable trail footwear.

However, with dozens of different brands on the market, choosing the best hiking shoes is all but easy. To avoid painful blisters, one has to choose a pair of shoes that is adequate for the conditions they are planning to hike in, particularly in terms of terrain difficulty, temperature, as well as the load of weight they expect to carry.

To help you out, we’ve decided to thoroughly analyze the market’s most popular models and find out everything about their advantages and downsides. We’ve also written a short but informative buying guide with a list of factors you’ll need to keep in mind while shopping for hiking shoes. If you need great sandals for the end of the day check out these minimalist sandals.

The Top 20 Hiking Shoes Reviewed

The following is a roundup of our favorite hiking shoes – from supportive models that help with carrying a full pack to ultralight options for the less demanding outdoor adventures:

1. Arc’teryx Konseal FL Hiking Shoes

Arc’teryx Konseal FL Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.32 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 3

The company that made these hiking shoes broke into the market with its unique Acrux series, which is now discontinued and replaced by the Konseal line. Available since December 2019, Konseal FL is one of the most popular members of this new range.

Designed to provide stability and comfort on rough terrain, these shoes come with Vibram Megagrip soles, similar to those found on La Sportiva’s top offerings. The fit, on the other hand, is surprisingly narrow – Konseal FL may not be the best choice for the most dedicated of hikers.

At 1.32 lb, the shoes are quite lightweight. The manufacturer managed to keep the weight down by using light synthetic materials. However, the lightweight build doesn’t sacrifice protection or durability – Konseal FL is a pair of surprisingly durable synthetic hiking shoes.

As such, these shoes are bound to appeal to the fast-and-light crowd. Arc’teryx also offers GTX and AR versions of Konseal FL, which cost more but also offer more features and better construction quality.

Pros

  • Well-rounded, versatile hiking shoes
  • Surprisingly durable and lightweight
  • Grippy over all kinds of terrain

Cons

  • The fit is on the narrow side

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2. Salomon Outline GTX Hiking Shoes

Salomon Outline GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.53 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 6

Next up is a modern-looking pair of shoes from Salomon’s popular Outline range. Essentially, these look like your regular running shoes, but they have a hiking shoe tread on the bottom. While they feel like running shoes, Salomon Outline GTX have the sole and traction of a hiker.

An important thing to mention here is that Salomon’s proprietary Contagrip outsole is among the best on the market. The relatively deep 5mm lugs are well-spaced and provide good traction on all surfaces – from light mud to rocky terrain.

Unlike your regular hikers boots, Salomon Outline GTX are not designed for carrying a heavy pack. Although not suitable for long distance adventures, these nimble shoes allow waterproof hiking – they will keep your feet dry no matter the weather. There is also a non-waterproof version available.

When it comes to the lacing system, Outline GTX features “Quick Laces” – a single pull system that works like a charm. Although not that important, one thing we particularly liked about these shoes is their sleek design – they’re far more eye-catching than most other hiking footwear out there.

Pros

  • Thoughtful, lightweight construction
  • Nimble but grippy
  • An appealing design

Cons

  • Not for covering serious ground

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3. La Sportiva Wildcat Hiking Shoes

La Sportiva Wildcat Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.56 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 3

A favorite among outdoor enthusiasts, La Sportiva is undoubtedly one of the most beloved manufacturers of hiking boots and shoes. Their Wildcat shoes come with a sort of crossover appeal – they’re great for both trail hiking and running.

Blurring the line between lightweight hiking shoe and trail runner, Wildcat successfully grips most surfaces with ease. It’s a capable companion in normal conditions, but isn’t that great when things turn wet – those in a need of waterproof hiking footwear will have to look elsewhere.

When it comes to cushioning and support, on the other hand, La Sportiva Wildcat is very generous – it will keep your feet comfortable and isolated from sharp rocks. Another great thing about these shoes is the mesh upper which will keep your feet cool on day hikes during summer.

As a decent trail runner and a solid hiking shoe, La Sportiva Wildcat is a worthwhile investment. While not the best choice for those who often hike in wet conditions, these shoes are a great option for day hikes during hot summer months.

Pros

  • Great for both trail running and light hiking
  • Mesh upper keeps the feet cool
  • Lightweight but stable

Cons

  • Not for wet conditions & surfaces

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4. Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX Hiking Shoes

Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.37 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 4

Most of the trail runners and hike boots made by Vasque feature a more traditional design, with elements such as the leather upper and a stiff construction. This model, however, is a completely different story – Breeze LT Low GTX is a pair of feather-light trail running shoes with a modern design.

Besides the low weight of just 1.37 pounds, Breeze LT Low GTX flexes quite a lot underfoot. In terms of performance, the model comes with an energetic, comfortable midsole and Vibram Megagrip rubber.

When it comes to downsides, it seems like the model’s trimmed-down construction could impact its long-term durability. While it does come with a Gore Tex lining (a synthetic waterproof fabric), the mesh upper of Vasque Breeze is surprisingly thin. In addition, the mix of light and stylish fabrics used in this shoe’s manufacture isn’t really suitable for rough and rocky terrain.

Nevertheless, Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX is still a fantastic choice for those looking for a more stylish option that won’t let them down during lighter backpacking trips.

Pros

  • Vibrant, multi-colored look
  • Great for trail running
  • Lightweight and grippy

Cons

  • Compromises in durability

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5. Keen Targhee Vent Hiking Shoes

Keen Targhee Vent Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.85 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 4

There’s a good reason why so many outdoorsmen consider Keen to be one of the best manufacturers of hiking gear. Their Targhee Vent shoe is a great example of how to modernize a classic design.

Namely, this particular shoe is an update of Keen’s older Targhee Vent model. While not groundbreaking, the new changes turn this hiking shoe into a genuinely worthwhile investment. Most importantly, Keen decided to trim down the extremely wide foot bed of the previous iteration – the result is a hiking shoe that’s a lot less sloppy over rough terrain.

Other features we liked are the well-cushioned interior, reasonable weight, as well as the durable leather construction. Besides the ample ankle support, Keen Targhee Vent also offers excellent traction and plenty of support.

These and other perks turn the model into a great casual hiking shoe – it’s a solid choice for those who don’t hit the trail too often. Experienced outdoorsmen will have to look for tougher hiking boots, however.

Pros

  • Modernized classic Targhee design
  • Well-cushioned interior with a good fit
  • Great for shorter backpacking trips

Cons

  • Lacing system is somewhat flimsy

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6. Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Hiking Shoes

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.35 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 6

Behind this peculiar name hides a pair of genuinely stylish trail running shoes. Unlike the trail runners from Hoka’s older lines, the shoes from the Speedgoat range are different animals – they’re more than capable of handling rougher terrains.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 comes with a phenomenal Vibram outsole that provides a good grip no matter the conditions. Moreover, it’s a shoe with good ankle support (there are special reinforcements around the ankle) and one with an upper that’s both breathable and tear-resistant.

Just like we expected, the midsole of this shoe is substantial and provides ample protection from rocks during hiking and trail running. While not your best choice for hauling a heavy pack up the hills, Speedgoat 4 is a good choice for ultralight backpacking and short day hikes.

All in all, Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 delivers when it comes to both hiking and running, and is one of the most well-designed trail running shoes on the market. However, it certainly isn’t the most well-rounded option out there and can’t be compared to hiking boots in terms of durability and performance.

Pros

  • Colorful, eye-catching design
  • Stable and durable for a running shoe
  • Substantial, protective midsole

Cons

  • Not waterproof (Gore Tex version available)

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7. Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX Hiking Shoes

Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.53 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 7

Who doesn’t know about Adidas? Founded almost a century ago, this German company is one of the world’s most renowned manufacturers of sportswear. As it turns out, Adidas has a lot to offer when it comes to hiking footwear, too, and Terrex Swift R2 GTX is a great example.

Although somewhat stiff and rigid, these hiking shoes don’t loosen up or create hot spots while still fitting snugly around the wearer’s foot. In our opinion, Terrex Swift wears like a hike boot but with lower weight and a lower ankle. This turns it into a great choice for people looking for flexible trail runners that offer ample protection.

At only 1.53 pounds, these hiking shoes are impressively light. When it comes to traction, on the other hand, Terrex Swift R2 comes with durable, well-spaced, and deep lugs. The tread pattern resembles the one found on car tires, which is a direct result of Adidas’ partnership with Continental. Terrex Swift R2 is a grippy hiking shoe – there’s no doubt about that.

As expected, the model also delivers in protection, stability, and ankle support departments. Waterproofing is ensured by the presence of a Gore Tex liner, allowing you to use these shoes in both wet and dry conditions.

Pros

  • A lightweight hiking shoe with excellent traction
  • Outstanding protection from the trail
  • Very stable for low-cut shoes

Cons

  • A stiffer, more rigid feel

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8. Oboz Sawtooth II Low Hiking Shoes

Oboz Sawtooth II Low Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.95 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 3

Hiker boots and trail runners made by Oboz are stable and protective for a good reason – the manufacturer is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, in Montana. Updated last year, the company’s Sawtooth II Low undoubtedly deserves its place among the best hiking shoes available on the market.

Also offered in a mid-height boot style, Sawtooth II Low sports a very durable build. The proprietary heel counter of this shoe provides the wearer with steadiness over uneven terrain and holds its shape well. It’s a great choice for folks who want their hiking boots to provide above-the-average support and stiffness.

Other great things about Sawtooth II Low include a wide toe box and a specially sculpted O Fit insole that provides ample heel and arch support. In addition, the model includes an upper with moisture-wicking properties.

Unfortunately, Oboz Sawtooth II Low hiking shoes are not waterproof, although there is a waterproof variant available. Furthermore, this shoe runs surprisingly warm – you may experience overheating issues during long distance trips. As such, it’s much more suitable for shorter day hikes.

Pros

  • Sturdy, durable design
  • Moisture-wicking upper
  • Wide toe box

Cons

  • Runs warm – not for hot weather backpacking

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9. Keen Targhee III Low Hiking Shoes

Keen Targhee III Low Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 2.35 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 6

Next up is yet another offering from Keen – Targhee III Low. It’s the latest product in the company’s Targhee range and a successful update of the previous iteration, Targhee II.

Just as we expected, Keen Targhee III provides a comfortable fit straight out of the box. Unlike its predecessor, this shoe uses softer, higher quality leather. The result of this is a shoe that’s much more flexible and allows one to walk for miles without feeling any discomfort.

However, while the model’s lightweight ESS shank provides sufficient support, Targhee III isn’t as stable as its predecessor. Nevertheless, it features a well-designed lacing system, and comes with an additional strap that provides a snug fit around the wearer’s ankle. The traction is average at best – Keen Targhee III are not the best hiking shoes for those who often venture far off the trail.

In our opinion, the best thing about this hiking shoe is the spaciousness it offers. If you’re a wide-footed person, look no further – Keen Targhee III is your best choice.

Pros

  • A great daily driver for local day hikes
  • Best option for wide-footed individuals
  • Soft, flexible leather for better comfort

Cons

  • Average traction

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10. Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes

Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.5 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 5

Best-known for their range of work boots, Danner has decided to step into the market of hiking boots as well. Their Trail 2650 hiking shoes are surprisingly capable and provide excellent all-around performance. They are, in fact, among the most versatile hiking shoes in our roundup.

One of the first things to notice about this shoe is that it uses leather around the upper, unlike many other competitors that utilize mesh and nylon. While it has a tendency to stretch, leather brings the much-needed boost in comfort. The Danner Trail 2650 shoes are very comfortable – we have no complaints about its cushioning.

The version we’re reviewing here is not waterproof, but the company also makes a Gore Tex version that allows waterproof hiking. This non waterproof variant weighs only 1 pound and 8 ounces, and, as such, is impressively light and nimble, while still offering protection and traction of a beefier boot.

Is Danner Trail 2650 the right hiking boot for your needs? If you want to move fast and light but still want decent stability and protection on rocky terrain, these hiking boots are a great choice.

Pros

  • A comfortable, well-rounded hiking shoe
  • Lightweight without sacrificing traction or protection
  • Eye-catching design of a regular running shoe

Cons

  • Not waterproof (Gore Tex variant available)

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11. Salomon X Raise GTX Hiking Shoes

Salomon X Raise GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.47 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 3

Salomon, one of the most renowned manufacturers of hiking footwear, has released their X Raise GTX hiking shoes for 2020. The flexible, well-cushioned, and trimmed-down design of this boot is intended to allow fast and light backpacking and hiking trips.

As a hiking shoe, Salomon X Raise GTX is built to last – it does a decent job of protecting one’s feet. However, these shoes are also extremely comfortable. The moment you slip them on, it becomes clear that comfort was Salomon’s top priority, with the interior being plush, soft, and well-cushioned.

The flexible build of Salomon X Raise GTX resembles trail runners in many ways. The shoes never feel overly cumbersome or stiff. This comes with a downside, though – they’re not the best hiking shoes for hauling heavy packs over rocky terrain.

However, as the name suggests, the model comes with a Gore Tex lining and is therefore waterproof (the non waterproof X Raise is also available). However, the traction is quite disappointing in moist conditions – the shoes are prone to slipping on wet rocks.

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable hiking shoes
  • Lightweight and flexible design
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • Traction falls short in wet conditions

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12. La Sportiva TX4 Hiking Shoes

La Sportiva TX4 Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.62 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 1

Over the past few years, La Sportiva became a favorite brand of many outdoorsmen. Their trekking gear includes some of the best hiking shoes on the market, with TX4 hiking shoes being a fine example of the company’s expert craftsmanship. Combining excellent performance on both rock and trail, good ankle support, as well as breathability, it’s a boot you won’t regret purchasing.

Hitting the trail while wearing La Sportiva TX4 is a fantastic experience. Although not waterproof (no Gore Tex lining) the shoes provide an impressive combination of traction, protection, and support on the trail. Featuring a Vibram Megagrip Traverse rubber sole, the model provides security and stability over all kinds of terrain.

If you’re a hiking enthusiast who wants his hiking boot to be durable, you’re bound to fall in love with TX4. Besides the burly Vibram sole, this shoe boasts a generously-sized wraparound rand and a thick leather upper.

While not the best hiking shoes out there, La Sportiva TX4 is a versatile sneaker that won’t let you down during your outdoor adventures.

Pros

  • Works well for both hiking and climbing
  • Vibram Megagrip Traverse rubber sole
  • Durable and long-lasting

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof – won’t keep your feet dry

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13. Altra Lone Peak 4.5 Hiking Shoes

Altra Lone Peak 4.5 Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.31 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 5

Altra is well-known as a running-centric brand – their lightweight, heavily cushioned shoes are very popular with ultralight backpackers. The company’s Lone Peak 4.5 men’s shoes continue the same tradition and stand as a great option for minimalists and thru-hikers.

An update of an older iteration, Lone Peak 4.5 comes with a simplified lacing system and an upgraded midsole. However, the formula remains largely the same – this is still a super-light option that looks and feels like your regular running shoe.

In use, Altra Lone Peak 4.5 is a solid performer as a shoe that provides decent traction and stability. While not as tough as hiking boots (nor waterproof, for that matter – it won’t keep your feet dry), it is decently tough and its thick cushioning offers some protection against sharp rocks.

All in all, Lone Peak 4.5 is one of Altra’s better offerings and a great choice for ultralight hikers. For rocky terrain and steep climbs, however, you’re better off with regular hiking boots.

Pros

  • Super light
  • Heavily cushioned and very comfortable
  • Provides solid traction and stability

Cons

  • Not suitable for difficult terrain

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14. Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.93 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 12

Merell’s original Moab shoes were held in high regard by hiking beginners and professional outdoorsmen alike. The all-new Merrell Moab 2 Vent hiking shoes aim to carry on that tradition. Coming at a genuinely reasonable price, Merrell Moab 2 offers quite a lot for the money.

Considered by some to be the best hiking shoes in this price range, these suede-style sneakers are comfortable right out of the box. The footbed of this shoe offers ample support, while the extra padding provides solid underfoot protection on the trail. However, keep in mind that this isn’t a hiking boot and is more suitable for day hiking than serious outdoor adventures.

Nevertheless, Merrell Moab 2 Vent offers decent traction thanks to its trusty outsole with an interesting tread design. While they don’t offer the best hiking experience, they’re a pretty good match for moderate-difficulty day hikers. Merrell Moab 2 Vent hiking shoe is also very breathable thanks to its mesh sections along the sides and top.

An important thing to mention here is that there’s also a waterproof variant of Merrell Moab 2 that costs $25 more.

Pros

  • A genuinely affordable hiking shoe
  • Excellent comfort and support
  • Very breathable – suitable for warm weather hiking

Cons

  • Too flexible for heavy loads

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15. Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX Hiking Shoes

Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 2.78 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 2

Next up is something completely different from Merrell Moab 2 – a hiking shoe that could easily be taken for a low-top mountaineering boot. Extremely durable, stable, and supportive, Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX undoubtedly deserves its spot in our roundup of best hiking shoes.

As we already mentioned, one of the biggest advantages of Dragontail MNT GTX is its durability. Resembling hiking boots in construction, this hiking shoe uses thick, full-grain leather that easily handles wear and tear. When properly cared for, Dragontails can last for years.

Traction is yet another field in which these shoe/boot excels. The outsoles feature thick lugs that won’t let you down in both wet and dry weather. And, as the name suggests, this boot sports a Gore Tex membrane that does a great job at repelling water.

A fantastic off trail companion, Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX is certainly a worthwhile investment. As a true mixture between a boot and a hiking shoe, it’s one of the most unique offerings on the market.

Pros

  • Extremely durable hiking shoe/boot
  • Excellent traction and support
  • Water-repellent construction

Cons

  • Heavy

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16. Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX Hiking Shoes

Arc'teryx Aerios FL GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.64 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 5

When compared to Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX in terms of weight, these shoes are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Hikers who need light gear for faster transport are bound to love the Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX – they’re a great choice if you want to shave weight and move quickly on the trail.

The first thing to notice about this hiking shoe is its impeccable design. Available in five different colors, it can be used in town and on the trail alike. Despite their minimalistic design and low weight, these trail runners are made out of very durable fabric.

In addition, Aerios FL comes with a Gore Tex membrane that prevents water from getting through the shoe to your foot. In terms of support, the model uses a compressed EVA midsole and a TPU shank. As such, this shoe is supportive and quite helpful with torsional stability, although it can’t really be compared to hiking boots when it comes to these departments.

For some, lightweight hiking is the best hiking. If you count yourself among these individuals, Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX is a fantastic choice – it’s an ultralight hiking shoe that successfully combines support, stability, and water resistance into one great package.

Pros

  • Minimalistic, superlight trail runners
  • Provide support and stability
  • Water-repelling Gore Tex membrane

Cons

  • For trail use only

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17. Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Hiking Shoes

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.93 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 9

Are you into aggressive hiking? Do you often spend days traversing rough terrain? If so, Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX may be the best hiking shoes for your needs. Offering excellent support, traction, and comfort, it’s a shoe worth spending money on.

Just like we expected, Salomon X Ultra 3 provides a snug fit and doesn’t take much time to break into. The model’s toe cap is made out of thick rubber, while its High Traction Contagrip outsole excels when it comes to traction. In addition, Salomon X Ultra 3 comes with a Gore Tex membrane – out of all the products we tested, X Ultra 3 is a shoe with best waterproofing.

Another great thing about this shoe is that it provides great ankle support and lateral stability. While not as thick as a mountaineering boot, Salomon X Ultra 3 also offers ample protection on and off trail at any speed. To put it simply, it’s an all-around, versatile shoe that’s popular for a good reason.

As such, X Ultra 3 is one of the best hiking shoes on the market and a fantastic choice for hiking enthusiasts who like to pick up the pace in all kinds of terrain.

Pros

  • Versatile – performs well on all kinds of terrain
  • Superb comfort, support, and traction
  • Water-resisting Gore Tex membrane

Cons

  • Not the best lacing system

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18. The North Face Ultra 109 WP Hiking Shoes

North Face Ultra 109 WP Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 2.04 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 2

Those who search for the best hiking boots and shoes often look for versatility. They want their hiking boot to be an all-around great product that offers support, comfort, traction, and protection on the trail. The North Face Ultra 109 WP shoe is one of such products – it’s an all-purpose model like no other.

One of the best hiking shoes money can buy, Ultra 109 WP feels like it’s already been broken in – the shoe is ready to hit the trail right out of the box. Its toe cap is sufficiently wide, while the high-quality insole provides comfort both inside and outside the city.

In terms of support, Ultra 109 WP sports an EVA midsole and an ESS shank, both of which work together to promote stable and supportive movement across rough terrain. While you can’t expect the long-term durability of a regular hiking boot, this shoe is well-built and should last you for years.

Finally, Ultra 109 WP comes at a genuinely reasonable price, rivaling Merrell Moab 2 in that regard. If you’re looking for an affordable all-around shoe, get this one – you won’t regret your decision.

Pros

  • Very affordable and versatile
  • Offers boot-like support and stability
  • Waterproof (Hydroseal / Dryvent)

Cons

  • Questionable long-term durability

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19. Vasque Juxt Hiking Shoes

Vasque Juxt Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 1.90 lb
  • Waterproof: No
  • Colors available: 4

Most hikers don’t need the newest, most expensive gear. When it comes to footwear, they’re looking for an option that offers a good value for the money – an inexpensive shoe or boot that won’t let them down on the trail. If you’re on a tight budget but would still like to get a shoe with good traction and support, Vasque Juxt may be your best choice.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way – Vasque Juxt isn’t as durable as your regular hiking boot and it’s not a shoe you want to use in wet weather. It is, however, extremely comfortable, especially once we consider its price. Whatever size you decide to go with, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the plush interior of this affordable shoe.

The model also provides ample support on rough trails and truly shines in the traction department. You’ll find Vasque Juxt hiking shoes to be a great companion on dry terrain – there’s a lot to like about its proprietary soles.

All in all, the Vasque Juxt is a fantastic option for those on a budget – it’s a shoe whose performance matches that of the pricier models.

Pros

  • Inexpensive but capable
  • Comfortable right out of the box
  • Excellent dry traction

Cons

  • No water-repelling liner

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20. La Sportiva Spire GTX Hiking Shoes

La Sportiva Spire GTX Hiking Shoes

Specifications:

  • Weight: 2.06 lb
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Colors available: 1

There’s a lot to like about La Sportiva Spire GTX. Feature-packed like no other model in our roundup, this shoe undoubtedly deserves the top spot. As one of the best hiking shoes on the market, it excels in every category – durability, water resistance, traction, support, comfort, and versatility.

Like every other shoe made by La Sportiva, Spire GTX is built with comfort in mind. Thanks to its molded EVA sole, the model offers the same feeling you get while wearing trail runners. You’ll also find it to be very breathable, due to special channels integrated into its midsole and footbed.

In addition, your feet will never get wet while wearing these shoes – they come equipped with a Gore Tex waterproof membrane. In terms of traction, however, Spire GTX is a shoe like no other. It is extremely grippy thanks to its deep, widely spaced lugs. The outer shell of this shoe is extremely abrasion-resistant – you won’t have to worry about durability.

These and other features are precisely why La Sportiva Spire GTX is a top-of-the-line hiking shoe that easily beats its competition. If you have the money, get a pair of these shoes for yourself – they’re a definition of a worthwhile investment.

Pros

  • The best option for long-distance fastpackers
  • Impressive all-around performance
  • Excellent traction, comfort, and waterproofing

Cons

  • Expensive

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Hiking Shoes vs Trail Runners vs Sneakers

In four words – support, grip, traction, comfort.

There is an argument that trail runners are as good as hiking shoes. There is a convergence between hiking shoes and trail runners. In dry weather with little chance of rocks or in any way damaging my toes I believe that trail runners are a good choice. For long multiday hikes of more than a few days, I prefer the support of hiking shoes.

Sneakers or trail runners are great for an easy day in relatively flat tracks. Sneakers are not built to support your foot, ankle, and lower leg when climbing up or descending steep tracks. This will result in stiffer legs and sore ankles at the end of the day. Sneakers are not built to protect your toes during descents. The last issue I have with sneakers is that the sole is not good enough for the grip needed away from man-made surfaces and at the same time you will very quickly start to feel all the tiny stones through the sole as you hike along beautiful tracks.

Hiking Shoes Buying Guide

These are the most important factors to keep in mind when shopping for hiking shoes:

Comfort

Comfort is undoubtedly one of the most important considerations. If the shoe is painful, you’re bound to have a bad time during your backpacking trip – it’s as simple as that. Aim for a model with a plush interior and a wide toe box – our top pick, La Sportiva Spire GTX, is a great choice in that regard.

Many of the considerations we mention will seem like common sense, yet it is surprising how often people pay too little attention to the likes of comfort and fit. You are going to be wearing your hiking shoes for long periods at a time, so you need the fit to be perfect, and you want to feel comfortable. Too large and your feet will move around, which is bad for your balance as well as inducing blisters, and too tight and you will find things very uncomfortable. Take your time to get the fit right, and choose carefully.

Shoe Sizing

Be careful with choosing the right size of shoe; it might be prudent to have your feet checked for size, as many people routinely think they are one size when in fact they are not! Also, pay attention to the width, as with walking shoes this is as important as the overall size, and see our tips on comfort above.

Weight

One of the greatest benefits of hiking shoes over boots is that they’re a lot lighter. Still, not everyone hikes in the same way – some people want their shoes to be as ultralight as possible. If you’re one of them, Altra Lone Peak 4.5 hiking shoes are a great choice, as they weigh mere 1.31 pounds.

You need to be comfortable not just in the fit of your shoes, but also in the weight. All shoes carry some added weight, but you don’t want to be burdened by needlessly heavy footwear. You want to be able to wear your shoes for a long period without them encumbering you. Check different pairs side by side as a weight comparison, or check manufacturer specifications for details.

Support and Stability

These parameters are equally important. How much support and stability a particular shoe can provide depends on several factors, such as the shape and thickness of its midsole, insole, and outsole. Models such as Merrell Moab 2 Vent, Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX, and Salomon X Ultra 3 are particularly great in this department.

As long as you buy good fitting lightweight hiking shoes you will not notice the areas where your foot and ankle are being supported. (Shoes should be snug and not tight.) Usually, the best way to understand the support hiking shoes give you is to put them on after wearing sneakers for a few hours. You will then feel the support at the end of your Achilles tendon and around under your ankle and down the side of your foot. Assuming your shoe fits well, you will notice that your foot does not slide back and forward at any time – your foot stays in place whether you are going up or down a hill, (you might get a little slippage on very steep downhills).

Waterproofing

Dry feet provide more warmth and comfort than the wet ones. Shoes with a Gore Tex (GTX) barrier can be real lifesavers when you’re hiking in rain or snow. You’ll find an abundance of GTX hiking shoes in our roundup, with Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX being a standout.

Waterproofing your hiking shoes is a very important issue and one that you should not overlook. Even in the glorious environs of Northern Spain, where you will be walking the Camino de Santiago, you will encounter rain and wet ground, so you need your shoes to be waterproof. Of course, all of those on the list are designed to be so, but some have extra precautions such as specially designed tongues, so check them carefully for the best designs.

Traction/Grip

Traction is an incredibly important factor. Unlike shoes with shallow lugs, which perform best on hard-packed trails, footwear with deep lugs provides excellent footing in loose dirt and mud. For hiking shoes with exceptional traction, see Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX, Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX, and Vasque Juxt hiking shoes.

Shoe Soles

The soles of your walking shoes are the part that will do most of the hard work. Many people have their own choice of material for soles – you will find various options including rubber, which is a common choice in many walking soles, and others such as Vibram, which is a rubber sole designed by a company in Italy with plenty of expertise in the area, and a strong reputation.

Durability

Just like with all of your other hiking gear, you’ll want your shoes to be durable. In fact, your footwear will suffer a lot more wear and tear than anything else you’re wearing. For heavy-duty options, check out our reviews of La Sportiva TX4 and Oboz Sawtooth II Low hiking shoes.

Another point that ties in with all the above: you not only want your shoes to be comfortable, sensibly priced and waterproof, but you want them to last a reasonable amount of time. These are shoes that are going to come in for some very hard use, so check the materials they are made with, and also read the customer reviews for added information.

Price

Not all hiking shoes are created equal – some are budget-oriented and some come packed with a number of convenient features. If you’re looking to save money, you won’t go wrong with The North Face Ultra 109 WP, an affordable pair of all-around shoes. If you want the best of the best, however, nothing beats the combination of comfort, traction, and durability offered by La Sportiva Spire GTX.

Testing

It’s difficult to test shoes comprehensively, but we recommend you do check them out prior to making your decision. You can also – as above – use customer testimony given in online reviews, as this will highlight problems in the main.

Breathability

Last but not least we have to mention breathability. You need your shoes to provide adequate breathability for your feet, as they will be enclosed for a long time. The shoes on our list have all been designed with this in mind, so check for added features that may help.

That’s our list of considerations to keep in mind when buying walking shoes, so let’s take a look at the details of the top 10.

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Summary

Whether you’re only occasionally hitting local trails or you’re an avid hiker who often heads out on epic outdoor adventures, you want your feet to be comfortable and protected from rough terrain. And for that, you need a pair of quality hiking shoes.

Hopefully, our roundup of the market’s most popular options will help you find the right footwear for your needs. Keep in mind that your shoes take more punishment than all of your other hiking gear combined – choose wisely!

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