Top 20 Best Hiking Shoes For Men & Women
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Beautiful nature, fresh air, and plenty of exercise sounds great. However, if you don’t have the right hiking gear, your adventure might turn out to be a miserable one.
How can you enjoy hiking when your feet are full of blisters or you have twisted an ankle due to poor choice of shoes? Well, if you are planning a hike, shoes are the most important part of your gear. But buying hiking shoes can sometimes be overwhelming, especially due to so many options available.
The good news is that we have done the heavy lifting for you. Here are some of the best hiking shoes for men and women.
Top 10 Best Hiking Shoes for Men
Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe (10 2E US, Beluga/Denim Blue)
The Moab Ventilator hiking shoe is designed for hikers looking for comfort, breathability and durability. These low-lying and light hiking shoes for summer will not only feel great on your feet by they also appear trendy. After all, who said that you have to wear dull shoes just because you are going for a hike?
One of the best features of these boots is their perforate upper. It improves their aeration and breathability, while keeping your feet fresh, dry and cool at all times, regardless of the conditions on the trail. Most of the upper part is covered with breathable mesh.
The design of this mesh is done in a way that allows free circulation of air while protecting your feet against dust and debris. Apart from that, this design makes cleaning and drying faster. Also, the use of mesh on these shoes helps to reduce their weight. And most importantly, they come with a breathable membrane that doesn’t hold moisture. Instead, it wicks away sweat and perspiration to keep your feet dry.
Comfort remains one of the most important considerations when it comes to hiking boots. Luckily, the Moab Ventilator comes with numerous features such as the compression-molded EVA midsoles, which ensure cushioning and support all through. On the other hand, the removable footbeds also add further cushioning to keep you comfortable.
As for support, these hiking shoes for men come with a vibrant rubber outsole, which provides great traction, and grip while ensuring you are safe during the hike. Merrell has also ensured your toes are sufficiently protected with the inclusion of a bumper toe protection.
Salomon Men's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes, Black/Everglade./Sulphur Spring, 12 M US
If you are looking for hiking shoes for water and wet conditions, then the Speedcross 4 Trail Runner is just what you need. With its protective upper and deep lugs, this pair of shoes is an aggressive hiker when it comes to muddy trails, rocks, soft ground and even snowy conditions. These are among the toughest hiking boots you can find on the market today, and they are an instant hit with hikers across the globe.
One of the key features of the Speedcross 4 is its traction. Whether you are hiking uphill or downhill, you just plant your feet on the ground and go wherever you want. From snowy conditions and muddy trails, to rocky dirt and loose gravel, this pair of shoes is a real machine when it comes to traction.
Its excellent traction can be attributed to the aggressive outsole with deep lugs. The sole grips firmly on the ground, thus giving you the support and stability you need to move forward.
These hiking shoes for mountain environments feature tightly woven mesh, which resists snow and light rain. As much as the Speedcross 4 is not the lightest hiking shoe in this category, it makes good use of that weight by including thick EVA foam for enhanced cushioning and underfoot support.
You can trek for long distances and you will not experience any form of discomfort. Also, lateral support is great while its toe box is spacious enough for toe splay and improved comfort.
KEEN Men's Targhee II Hiking Shoe, Cascade Brown/Brown Sugar - 11.5 D(M) US
As one of the best hiking shoes for long distances, the Targhee II remains a favorite among many hikers due to its foot support, comfort, extreme capability and relatively low price. Its toe protection is one of the best among trekking shoes in its class. Therefore, even when the trails get tough your toes remain sufficiently protected from unseen roots and rocks.
Comfort and support are its strongest attributes. Its footbed is perfectly balanced, the tongue is sufficiently padded while the spacious toe box keeps your toes fresh and relaxed during extended descents.
Its foot protection is also great thanks to its stiff soles and a solid rubber toe cover, which eliminate all forms of discomfort on rocky terrain. If you have narrow feet, then you will appreciate its lacing system. With its wide lacing system, you can easily obtain a snug fit, even if your feet run narrow.
Most hiking shoes are shifting towards lighter, slimmer and faster designs, while losing support in the process. However, that is not the situation with these shoes. If you are looking for trekking shoes with exceptional support, then you just need this pair.
As for traction, the lug design and pattern provide you with all the traction you need when hiking on snowy trails, muddy trails, or loose sediment. They also come with water resistance although they are not suited for extremely wet conditions. As for their application, they will perform best on rugged trails and backpacking.
Merrell Men's Chameleon Prime Stretch Hiking Shoe,Granite,10.5 M US
The Merrell Prime Stretch is designed for fast-paced hiking conditions. Despite being one of the lightest hiking boots, it comes with aggressive traction, which can handle difficult terrain. Also, their versatility makes them great shoes for everyday wear. These will perform exceptionally well regardless of the conditions you encounter.
Their versatile upper features Dura leather for guaranteed protection while the breathable mesh ensures proper ventilation to keep your feet fresh, cool and dry. Also, the breathable mesh is further treated with an antimicrobial solution, which helps to fight odor-causing bacteria to keep your feet smelling fresh after an entire day of hiking. Its sole comes with an air-cushioned heel, for extraordinary stability and shock absorption.
If you are hiking on loose ground, then you don’t have to worry about slipping or losing your footing. These trekking shoes are enhanced with M-Select Grip sole, which delivers high slip-resistant capabilities on dry, wet or mixed terrain. For comfort, these come with a compression molded EVA midsole for supportive cushioning, even when the trail conditions get tougher.
Merrell mens MOAB 2 WTPF Hiking Shoe, Beluga, 10 US
If you are looking for light, versatile and comfortable hiking shoes, then the Merrell Men’s Moab is perfect for your needs. These shoes will keep you comfortable throughout your hike while providing ample protection against all the elements you might encounter during your adventure. They are designed to handle tough and tricky hiking conditions.
Featuring waterproof Dura leather, combined with nylon mesh uppers, these boots will deliver a flexible, breathable and supportive experience during your trek. The nylon mesh uppers allow air to move in freely while protecting your feet against trail debris. The toe area is enhanced with toe caps to protect your feet against the roots and rocks that you might encounter during your hike.
Merrell is renowned for producing comfortable hiking shoes and the men’s Moab don’t disappoint. The tongue is well padded to keep debris out while protecting your insteps against pressure exerted by the laces. These shoes achieve all these capabilities without compromising on breathability. Furthermore, their breathable and waterproof membranes allow your feet to breathe, while keeping them dry and comfortable.
Comfort will never be an issue as long as you are hiking with the Moab waterproof shoes. They come with Aegis antimicrobial solution, which prevents buildup of odor-causing bacteria, while ensuring your feet remain fresh.
Also, they come with thick EVA midsoles which deliver ample cushioning and shock absorption while the molded nylon shanks provide support and stability. With their Vibram outsoles, these are undoubtedly among the best hiking shoes for loose gravel.
KEEN Men's Voyageur Trail Shoe, Black Olive/ Inca Gold, 12 M US
A breathable and lightweight hiker, the Voyageur remains one of the best hiking shoes for walking. It comes with all the right features for your summer adventures. These fit great straight out of the box. Unlike other trekking shoes, these don’t require you to break in, as long as you get your sizing right. They come with mesh ribs instead of full leather, which makes them light and flexible.
Their lacing system is one of their best features. While most hiking boots require you to secure everything using a single knot, these tend to offer a better solution. The upper hook secures the laces in place, thus freeing your hands to tie them easily without worrying about lace slippage. It might appear like something basic but it makes a huge difference.
The Voyageur handles trails with ease, thanks to its natural and smooth motion. Since they are meant for light hiking, they come with an ESS shank for torsion stability instead of a full shank. Therefore, you will feel as if you are wearing your training sneakers. The lacing system cradles your foot and provides the necessary support.
If your feet tend to sweat a lot, then you now have a perfect hiking companion. The breathability of these hiking shoes is outstanding. Their construction is rugged and with 4 mm lugs on the outsoles, traction is guaranteed.
Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Hiking Shoe, Olive Night, 13 M US
The Merrell All Out Sieve provides a nice balance between a traditional sandal and a walking shoe. If you going for a vacation and you are planning to spend most of your time walking on rough ground and tarmac, then these sandals are perfect for your situation. Available in different sizes, these hiking shoes for walking will make it easy to explore your surroundings while ensuring your feet are comfortable.
Their uppers are made of stretchy neoprene and nubuck leather. Apart from protecting your feet, this combination is also durable and dries fast. When it comes to their laces, they are made of an elastic cord, which is easier to adjust while providing a secure fit to your feet. These also come with an elastic neoprene heel for additional support and comfort. Their soles are made of great quality materials and they will offer sufficient traction when hiking on light trails.
If you have soft and sensitive feet and you have trouble finding comfortable sandals, then you should try out this pair from Merrell. Their interior features comfortable neoprene, which will feel great on your skin. These are great for taking on a holiday.
You can either use them as your main footwear for hiking on shorter trails or for strolling around the city and soaking in the atmosphere. Their performance is great on mud, grass, tarmac and even rough trails. You can also use them for water sports.
Vasque Men's Mantra 2.0 Hiking Shoe,Dark Earth/Chili Pepper,8 W US
The Mantra 2.0 is a flexible and lightweight hiking shoe, designed for light loads and moderate terrains. It’s one of the best hiking shoes for big guys, comfort-minded hikers and people with low arches. It comes with supple leather upper as well as a flexible sole, which make it highly comfortable. If you have wide feet, you will love the secure fit that comes with these shoes.
Their wide outsole provides larger contact with the ground while its Vibram sole delivers all the traction you need during your trek. Apart from keeping your feet comfortable, the leather uppers also supply protection against the stones and rocks that you might encounter on the trail. Furthermore, the gusseted tongue and the padding around the ankles combine to offer additional comfort and support.
The Mantra 2.0 performs well on moderate hikes. You will love their comfort. Also, they are light, which means you can move faster if the trail conditions allow. If you will be hiking in wet conditions, then you should opt for the version that comes with a waterproof Gore Tex membran. It will protect your feet against moisture while the dual density EVA footbeds offer maximum cushioning.
Adidas Mens Rockadia Trail Running Casual Shoes, Grey, 9.5
Adidas is one of the most popular companies when it comes to running shoes. And if you are looking for hiking shoes for running, then you don’t need to look any further. The men’s Rockadia are specifically designed for trail runners.
Their unique outsole provides excellent traction, even if you encounter unstable surfaces such as loose dirt, mud, river trails and other obstacles. With these shoes, you are assured of exceptional traction throughout your hike.
Whether you are hiking or running on the trails, you need highly comfortable shoes. The Adidas Rockadia features Cloudfoam technology. Regardless of the terrain you will encounter, the midsoles on these shoes absorb underfoot impact while keeping your feet comfortable throughout. These also come with Ortholite sockliner, which is both durable and extremely comfortable.
On the other hand, the full mesh uppers, combined with the vents ensure proper ventilation while the lining wicks moisture away from your feet.
Salomon Men's Eskape GTX Hiking Shoe,Black/Asphalt/Aluminum,9 M US
The Salomon Eskape GTX features a nice blend of waterproofing and breathability, something that most other companies have struggled with when it comes to hiking shoes. The uppers are lined with a Gore Tex waterproofing membrane, which keep your feet dry even when you wade through water.
Despite their great levels of waterproofing, these shoes don’t compromise on breathability. If you are hiking on hot and humid conditions, they upper materials allow optimal air circulation to your feet, while allowing sweat and perspiration to escape.
Another great feature of these hiking shoes for men is that their tongue is gusseted, which helps to prevent entry of roots, pebbles and other foreign objects.
It also comes with a unique tread pattern for traction while ensuring you don’t lose your footing even when you are hiking on unstable ground. These fits like a glove. However, their toe box is also spacious enough to allow toe splay. Ankle and underfoot protection is adequate, cushioning is excellent and comfort is guaranteed.
Top 10 Best Hiking Shoes for Women
SALOMON Women's Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe, Lime Punch, 6.5 M US
Whether you are cutting through mountain streams or tackling a mud run, the Speedcross 4 will ensure you remain on your feet all through. This trail runner comes with a rugged sole, which crushes anything it comes across on the terrain.
On the other hand, its protective overlay combined with a streamlined fit protects your feet from trail debris. Ranked as one of the best hiking shoes for trail running, the Speedcross 4 effortlessly combines the lightweight nature of running shoes with the functionality of hiking shoes, to deliver a high performance.
You can tell it can handle all types of terrains just by its looks. Its fit is secure and snug and you don’t have to worry about it being too heavy for trail running or hiking. Enhanced with numerous shock absorbing properties, these shoes will ensure you arrive at your destination in the most comfortable means possible.
With its deep-set lug pattern, combined with a soft and sticky rubber outsole, these hiking shoes will always deliver reliable traction through wet, sloppy, steep or technical terrain. As much as comfort is important in running shoes, it’s also vital that your feet can breathe from outside.
Luckily, Speedcross 4 features breathable upper materials, made of water resistant fabric and nylon mesh. This material not only keeps your feet comfortable but also allows proper aeration.
Merrell womens Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe Beluga/Lilac 6.5 M US
If you are looking for supportive and comfortable hiking shoes, with incredible traction and high levels of breathability, then the Moab Ventilator is a perfect option. These are comfortable straight out of the box, and no break-in period is needed.
Featuring blended EVA midsoles, Merrell has managed to strike the right cushioning balance. The cushioning is not too soft or too hard. It’s just the right amount for shock absorption while keeping your feet cushy.
As for support, these shoes are fitted with a molded nylon arch shank, which offers great arch support. Merrell utilizes mesh and leather on the upper parts of the shoe. Just like its name suggests, this pair of shoes will keep your feet properly ventilated.
Furthermore, the use of air cushioning technology in the heels helps in shock absorption while adding stability.
In terms of performance, these shoes will exceed your expectations. You will not encounter any slippages thanks to the incredible traction offered by their Vibram outsoles. It can handle approximately 600 miles of hiking, which is a good return for your money. They are ideal for hiking in dry and hot conditions.
Merrell Women's Siren Sport 2 Hiking Shoe,Olive,9 W US
Merrell is renowned for producing comfortable, durable and affordable hiking shoes and the Siren Sport 2 measures up to those expectations. Despite being cheaper than the majority of the other hiking shoes in its class, the Siren Sport 2 delivers incredible durability, comfort and long-lasting support. They also come with removable antimicrobial insoles, which are easy to wash when dirty.
Weighing approximately 1.5 pounds, these hiking shoes for women are among the lightest you can find on the market. The use of mesh on the uppers and the Ortholite anatomical footbeds go a long way in keeping their weight down. Whether you are going for a long hike or short trek, it’s hard to find a lightweight shoe that compares to the Siren 2, when it comes to support, and durability.
Also, these shoes are among the most comfortable hiking shoes for warm weather. You will experience ongoing comfort from one mile to the other, which can be attributed to the use of Qform comfort midsoles.
As much as they may not have as much padding as other shoes, their minimal cushioning helps to keep their weight down while allowing proper air circulation. They also provide enough flexibility without losing their support. Furthermore, their traction rivals their more expensive competitors thanks to the use of Vibram soles.
Whether you are hiking on steep rocks or loose dirt, these will supply ample traction and stability. They are also highly versatile, which means you can use them in a wide range of conditions, locations, terrains and climates. Regardless of where you will be hiking, these shoes are versatile enough to handle the conditions you will encounter.
KEEN Women’s Targhee 2 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Magnet/Periwinkle, 7.5 M (Medium) US
If it has been a challenge to find the right hiking shoes for your problematic feet, then you now have a solution. The Targhee II comes with the right amount of support and cushioning to take good care of your arches and feet pain. With these shoes, you will no longer experience discomfort. Instead, you will experience stability, comfort and warmth, wherever the trail takes you.
These shoes are stylish for the woman who wants to hike with elegance, but aggressive enough to handle the technical challenges you might encounter on the trail. These waterproof hiking boots will keep your feet warm and dry, even when you are trekking on wet conditions or crossing shallow rivers and streams.
You no longer have to worry about wet socks, thanks to their waterproof membrane. Despite being waterproof, they also breathe comfortably, thus keeping your feet sweat-free and dry.
Their EVA midsoles are removable. Therefore, you can easily customize these shoes according to your foot. On the other hand, the pleasantly designed footbed, in combination with the rubber outsole help to plant your feet firmly on the ground.
These trekking shoes can be worn by anyone, regardless of their age. And no more stubbed toes, thanks to the bumper toe protection.
KEEN Women's Voyageur Hiking Shoe,Neutral Gray/Lime Green,9 M US
The KEEN Voyageur is more than just a hiking shoe. Just like the men’s version, these women’s hiking shoes are super breathable, lightweight, and protective. They also tend to run wide. Therefore, if you have been searching for hiking shoes for wide feet without much success, then you finally have a solution.
Most hiking shoes from this brand come with a waterproof lining. However, in the Voyageur, a mesh lining has taken the place of that waterproof membrane. This design has led to increased levels of ventilation. If you are planning to go on a long hike during the dry season, these shoes are perfect. Their increased ventilation will help to prevent accumulation of sweat or bad odors.
When it comes to support, these hiking shoes for ladies feature multi-directional lugs on the outsole, which provide top-notch grip and traction on varying terrains. As long as you are wearing these shoes, there are zero chances of slipping. They also feature an inbuilt ESS shank for improved stability.
Salomon Women's X-Mission 3 Trail Running Shoes, Magnet/Black/Rose Violet, 8.5 D US
If you are looking for versatile hiking shoes for everyday use, then you will love the Salomon X-Mission 3. You can wear it while jogging in the city or go hiking with it and it will always deliver outstanding levels of comfort, support, breathability and traction. As long as you will not be trekking on trails that are too technical, then these will perform just fine.
They come with Contagrip rubber outsoles, which is one of the best materials when it comes to hiking shoes. Only Vibram soles come close to the performance levels of Contagrip. With this rubber sole, you can hike, walk or run on different surfaces without any issues. Furthermore, this rubber is non-marking, so you don’t have to worry about messing your floor at home.
The midsole features injected EVA foam. This foam runs across the entire length of these shoes to give you a well-cushioned and supportive base. Also, the EVA midsole also offers additional impact protection. As for the uppers, the X-Mission 3 features 3D mesh, combined with the Sensifit system, which ensures ample breathability and snug comfort.
Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Air Mesh-W, Black/Pink, 6.5 M US
For comfort and style, you can never go wrong with the Sugarpine Air Mesh hiking shoes. It’s affordable, lightweight and stylish. Apart from their vibrant colors, these pair of hiking shoes is also comfortable and supportive.
They will get the job done with minimal fuss. Weighing only 1.3 ounces, the Sugarpine Air Mesh is one of the lightest pair of hiking shoes for women. Despite their minimalist design, they still do a great job when it comes to supplying support and comfort during a hike.
You will love the moisture wicking technology, which eliminates sweat and perspiration from your feet. Apart from that, their inner cushioning makes them super comfortable, both for long and short hikes. You can also use them indoors as well.
These hiking shoes with arch support will perform well regardless of where you intend to use them. They are supportive and flexible. Also, their soles soften with time while the uppers maintain the same levels of softness throughout a hike. Their traction is great and their simple lacing system saves you plenty of time.
Merrell Women's All Out Blaze AERO Sport Hiking Shoe, Sea Pine, 10 M US
The Blaze Aero Sport is an exceptionally versatile shoe, designed with comfort, durability, and style. From crossing rivers to cutting through switchback trails, these hiking shoes for women will keep your feet comfortable and dry, regardless of where you go. In fact, due to its exceptional water-shedding abilities, paddleboarders and other water-sports enthusiasts commonly use it.
Although they appear bulky, the reality is different. Once you put them on, you will realize they are as lightweight as your training sneakers. Due to their lightweight nature, you can use them for various indoor activities, even when you are not hiking.
They offer excellent underfoot support as well as nice grip, to ensure your hiking experience goes as planned. With their lug design, they provide enough traction when hiking with them while remaining comfortable when you are wearing them indoors.
Similar to other hiking shoes from this company, the Blaze Aero Sport comes with an antimicrobial lining, which prevents the growth and spread of fungus and bacteria.
Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Alder Bark, 10 M US
If you are looking for women’s hiking shoes for wide feet, then the Ahnu Sugarpine is an ideal solution. Weighing only 600 grams, you can use this versatile pair of shoes, both for hiking and urban use.
Thanks to its waterproof fabric, you no longer have to jump over puddles. These are also well constructed and they come with fully enclosed tongue, which enhances their waterproofing properties while keeping debris out.
Their strudy Vibram soles offer great traction and support when walking on different surfaces. You will also notice that their soles are glued and then stitched to the upper, thus enhancing their durability.
The interior features moisture wicking mesh lining which helps to keep these hiking shoes for women breathable and comfortable. On the other hand, the EVA midsoles supply incredible shock absorption while helping to maintain their lightweight feel.
adidas Women's Duramo 7 Trail Runner, Utility Black/Chalk White/Still Breeze, 9.5
The Adidas Duramo 7 is one of the best hiking shoes for running. Whether you are an amateur or a veteran, this lightweight and durable pair of shoes is guaranteed to deliver a smooth ride whether you are hiking in the hills or just doing a normal hike.
Similar to other Adidas shoes, it comes with the proprietary Adiwear technology, which protects the runner’s foot as well as the shoe from excessive wear and abrasion.
The midsoles feature Adiprene+ technology, which is one of the most comfortable forms of cushioning in shoes. This midsole is also highly responsive. This pair of shoes is also flexible and it facilitates natural foot movement to minimize fatigue and stress on the feet.
As for the upper, Adidas has used mesh to ensure breathability as well as a secure and comfortable fit. These shoes are also stylish, trendy and good-looking. They are designed to inject new life into your hiking experience.
Hiking Shoes Buying Guide
Without a doubt, shoes are the most important gear when it comes to hiking. Whether you are exploring a neighboring park or you are trekking the Himalayas, your choice of hiking boots can make or break your experience.
The right pair of shoes can give you an enjoyable experience while poor quality shoes will turn the whole adventure into a miserable experience. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right pair of trekking shoes, which are specifically designed for this purpose and comfortable for your feet. So what factors should you consider when buying hiking boots? Here are some tips to guide you.
When choosing hiking boots, you need to pay particular attention to the fit. Once your order arrives, wear them with the socks you intend to use during the hike. Hiking socks help to provide additional cushioning as well as temperature control.
They also help to minimize accumulation of perspiration and sweat on your feet. Socks will create additional thickness, which means the shoes may not fit if you had ordered your exact size. Since hiking socks are usually thicker than ordinary socks, you need to test the fit of the shoes while wearing them.
You also need to note that feet tend to swell throughout the day, especially in hot weather or when you have been walking for many hours. Therefore, it’s advisable to try fitting these shoes in the afternoon, when your feet have already expanded.
Ensure the shoes are snug enough and your toes have ample space to wiggle. The shoes should not be too tight or too loose. You should also be able to insert two fingers comfortably either side of the Achilles. Since people have different foot sizes and orientations, you might sometimes require custom inserts to obtain your preferred fit.
Also, if you have collapsed arches, then it’s advisable to use a custom insert. Therefore, add a whole size up to accommodate your hiking socks as well as any inserts if you will be using them.
It also advisable to choose hiking shoes based on the loads you intend to carry as well as the terrain you are planning to hike on. And you should always carefully plan your trips, since this will increase your chances of success. However, considering the luggage you will be carrying can place a considerable amount of pressure on your feet, then you should choose the lightest shoes you can find.
For example, if you are just doing a weekend hike, then you should not hike with off-trail boots. You will be carrying unnecessary weight, which can also lead to wasted energy. If you will be hiking on a well-maintained trail, then you should opt for mid-cut or low-cut boots.
Most of the shoes in this category are made of a combination of leather and fabric, which leads to numerous seams. Therefore, unless the shoes have an inbuilt waterproof membrane, you need to apply waterproofing or reinforce them with Gore Tex socks.
Also, most trail shoes tend to have stiffer soles as well as better traction than conventional shoes. However, you should not use them to hike on rocky or slippery terrain. You should also consider purchasing low-cut ankle gaiters, to protect you against trail debris.
If you are planning an aggressive day trek or light backpacking, then you should consider ankle-high hiking boots. Some of the boots in this category are made of a combination of fabric and leather while others are made of split-grain leather.
Depending on the hiking conditions, some come with waterproof and breathable liners, for trekking in wet conditions while others well-ventilated and porous for handling desert conditions and hot climates.
They also come with half-length shanks or tapered midsoles, which gives them rigidity required to handle stony trails. Despite all these enhancements, these boots allow your foot to move freely around the ball, for a comfortable hike. Some seasoned hikers even use these boots for heavy backpacking.
For off-trail hiking, then you should go for nothing less than full-grain leather. Boots for off-trail hiking usually extend above the ankles and they have rigid sole stability to withstand the tough conditions on these trails.
Also, they offer ample protection to your feet while flexing enough around the ball of the feet to allow shorter strides due to a weighty backpack and the tough terrain common in off-trails. You should also note that these boots require a considerable amount of break-in time.
The good news is that they offer exceptional durability and waterproofing due to their minimal seams combined with all-leather construction.
If the terrain you will be hiking on consists of mountain and hilly areas, then you should choose mountaineering boots. These trekking boots feature excellent traction, minimal seams and full-grain leather uppers.
Some come with minimal insulation. Due to their rigid nylon midsoles and full-length shanks, you should not use these for any other purpose apart from mountain hiking. Also, ensure these boots are properly broken in before using them during a hike. Otherwise, you might end up with numerous blisters.
If you’re only a beginner and you’re going to hike an easy trail to get started, then your requirements won’t be so high and you can go with any kind of hiking shoe, really.
Fit plays a vital role when it comes to the comfort of hiking boots. However, trekking shoes also require ample padding as well as the right shape. Tongue padding should also be sufficient but slightly stiff to absorb pressure exerted by the laces on the foot.
The padding of the tongue should depend on the rigidity of the sole. Shoes that come with highly rigid soles should have thick padding on the tongue. Unfortunately, most hiking shoes with rigid soles tend to ignore ample tongue padding, a situation that leads to painful feet when hiking ascending steep hills.
Internal padding also contributes to the comfort factor in hiking boots. Your ankles fold and flex numerous times a day. However, they lack fatty skin cells as compared to other joints.
Therefore, your preferred pair of shoes should have considerable padding around the ankle joints to prevent or minimize chafing.
Men’s Vs. Women’s Hiking Boots
Men’s and women’s hiking boots are different. Women tend to have a taller arch and a narrower heel as compared to men. Therefore, your trekking boots should reflect these differences. Also, women’s boots are lighter and brighter.
However, some women prefer men’s hiking boots and there is nothing wrong with that. The most important thing is to find a comfortable pair of hiking shoes. Your choice of boots can make or break your hike. Therefore, use the above tips to choose the right fit for your situation.
The Important Of Good Hiking Shoes
While many experts — when it comes to footwear — believe that the right type of shoe makes all the difference in the world, some feel that when it comes to hiking footwear, you don’t necessarily need to buy shoes designed specifically for hiking trails.
Personal choice factors more significant than anything else to these experts, but let’s consider the reasons and importance of utilizing hiking (or trail) shoes or boots.
Many of the top hiking shoes available on the market today have been designed by hiking experts and with input from podiatrists who have helped add features that can make your feet more comfortable and protected when out on a challenging hiking trail where the terrain can vary from rocky trails, wet, muddy trails, even slick and icy conditions.
If you take a look at the hiking shoes and boots available on this particular list, you’ll notice that many of the featured shoes have features specifically for the types of terrain you’ll come across when it comes to hiking.
Let’s take a look at the outer sole to elaborate this point. The rubberized material used on most hiking shoes or boots focus on traction and durability. The outsoles generally have what the footwear industry calls “lugs.”
These are protuberant, molded rubber patterns that are mainly multi-directional. Think of them as stubby fingers that superbly grip the surface you’re hiking on. They range from 2-3 mm in length to even longer.
The rubber itself is essential as well as a strong yet ultra-sticky material is needed. Vibram rubber is the most often used type. It was developed in the 1930s by an Italian designer who lost several family members to a mountain-climbing accident he felt was because of poor shoe traction. So he hit the laboratory and invented the vulcanized rubber we now know as Vibram.
While it’s been around for more than 80 years, it’s still tried, true, and tested. There are different varieties of Vibram rubber on the market today, but it’s received high marks because it’s dependable in all types of terrains, but especially wet, slick, and icy surfaces.
It’s so durable that the outsole of your Vibram rubber shoes will most certainly last longer than the rest of the shoe.
Some trail or hiking boots and shoes have been designed where the outer sole has tread constructed with grooves or reservoirs designed to more easily move water from puddles or streams from causing too much slippage.
And as cool as all of these features are, design companies still manage to keep the weight of these hiking shoes light enough, so your feet are more comfortable and don’t tire as easily.
We certainly remember those days where hiking shoes and boots used to weight a ton, which led many people to continue to wear gym shoes or sneakers, which many are simply not designed to handle the wear and tear hiking shoes and boots are subjected to.
The outer layer of the upper is also an important feature, and many of this lists shoes utilize a sturdy leather material and even a leather/mesh combination. The idea is to have a strong layer of protection and comfort while allowing for good airflow and breathability.
Some shoes are designed with special materials created in labs specifically for hiking (or simply outdoor-type) shoes. For example, some shoes have materials designed with materials that use things like Scotchguard for waterproof protection, or water repellency, as well as continuing to allow for breathability so feet down get too fatigued or sweaty.
Innovative designs are an integral part of the shoe industry, so many people believe it’s important to try out these type of shoes.
One main feature that many people need nowadays is hiking shoes that account for foot ailments. Many people refrain from walking, jogging, running, or hiking because of severe problems with foot pain or issues.
Ailments such as plantar fasciitis, heel pain, bunions, calluses, osteoarthritis, metatarsalgia, and capsulitis lead many folks to podiatrists who may recommend special shoes or inserts to alleviate these issues, and the painful foot, knee, hip, and back pain foot problems can cause or exacerbate.
So footwear design companies have really answered the call for better more comfortable footwear by constructed shoes with these ailments in mind.
In fact, you can get on the internet and perform a search for something like “hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers,” and you’ll receive a plethora of links that will lead to some different types of hiking shoes you could try.
These features will include things such as expanded toe box for people with forefoot issues and even specially designed inserts for folks who may have arch support problems to account for.
Heel box design is another key feature that has been added to many hiking shoes. Also, lacing and outer linings have been designed for a tighter, yet more comfortable fit. And many of these shoes come already broken in because we all can remember the days when you’d need to break in a shoe for a few weeks before they reached ideal comfort.
Besides the shoes or boots themselves, when you plan to go hiking, keep in mind that you need to think of the overall comfort level of your feet. And that includes to keep your feet dry and protected with the right type of socks and to make sure you have the correct size of shoe.
A shoe or boot that is too small will pinch and confine your feet, and this can cause severe foot problems and pain. A shoe or boot that’s too loose can cause avoidable slippage and of course foot injuries such as a twisted ankle or shin problem.
When you go to try on hiking shoes or boots for the first time, find one that doesn’t require a ton of time to break in, and wear (or bring with you) the type of socks you’ll be using when you hit the trail. And if your feet get wet while hiking, stop from time to time to put on dry socks (bring spares) and even consider using foot powder.