One of the essential items to keep in mind when planning for a hike is footwear. The last thing you want is dealing with blisters, painful ankles, and scrunched toes. For this reason, you need the right pair of hiking shoes and a top quality hiking pole. These will ensure you are comfortable and adapt to the terrain.
In this article, you will find hiking shoe reviews to guide you to the right pair to buy.
Hiking Shoes vs Hiking Boots
If you are looking for the right hiking footwear for your next trip, you need to understand how boots are different from hiking shoes. Boots offer plenty of ankle support and come in handy for avid hikers spending days on an expedition. These have a significant weight but provide the traction to conquer tough terrains.
Hiking shoes, on the other hand, are lightweight and easy on your feet. These are suitable for regular short hikes. With hiking shoes, you can walk quickly and efficiently over a long-distance terrain. Therefore, the choice between the boots and shoes will depend on the nature of the hike.
Top Hiking Shoes for Men and Women
1. KEEN Targhee II Hiking Boot
This low-cut hiking boot is ideal for different terrains. The Keen Targhee design is known for its superior quality and comfort.
- Easy-on heel
- Torsion stability ESS shank
- Lugged outsole
- Padded tongue and collar
- Contoured heel lock
These hiker boots are some of the highest-rated on the market. They feature a leather upper that is designed to last. Additionally, the boots come with a lugged outsole for excellent traction on any terrain.
You will love the comfort that this boot provides. It has a padded tongue and collar that are easy on your ankle. These provide stability on rugged terrain and absorb any shock from underneath.
Although this pair runs half a size smaller, the quality withstands regular hiking.
2. Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX Hiking Shoes
This pair is ideal for rocky and rooted terrain.
- Breathable design
- EVA midsole
- Lugged rubber sole
- Regular fit
- Lace closure
- Excellent grip
If you are looking for lightweight yet durable hiking footwear, this pair from Adidas can work well. It comes in a regular fit, so you do not have to worry about sizing. The best thing is that it has a responsive EVA midsole. It is great for shock absorption and contributes to comfort.
The hikers shoes are comfortable to wear and remove, thanks to the simple lace closure. With the lugged rubber sole, you get a firm grip on the ground.
3. The North Face Men’s 3 GTX Hedgehog Boots
Finding a pair that you can use for different sports activities, including hiking, can be challenging. With this pair, you can run, walk, hike, cycle, etc.
- Breathable and waterproof
- PU-Coated leather
- Abrasion-resistant upper
- Welded TPU quarter overlays
- Classic lace-up closure
- Protective toe cap
- Padded tongue and collar
- EVA midsole
- Rubber outsole
The design of this shoe makes it applicable to many outdoor activities. It features a breathable yet waterproof upper to keep you comfortable regardless of the elements. The upper comes in a PU-coated leather material to last long. Also, they have a protective toe cap to enhance comfort for long hours of walks.
With the EVA midsole, you do not have to worry about pressure from the rocks underneath. Also, the rubber sole is solid and textured to ensure great traction and protection.
4. Teva Men’s N Arrowood 2 Hiking Shoe
You can trust that this hiking shoe will deliver comfort, support, and stability.
- Float-Lite midsole
- Waterproof leather
- Breathable mesh
- Lightweight design
- Individual rubber outsole pods
This outdoor sneaker is versatile, allowing you to take it on any adventure. With the leather material, you do not have to worry about soaking wet on hikes. Also, it features individual rubber outsole pods that give you a firm grip on the ground.
The pair is ideal for rough terrain; however, it is not the best for mountain hiking. The sole is not as thick to protect against pressure from pebbles.
1. Adidas Australia Women’s Terrex AX2 Climaproof Hiking Shoes
The low-cut design of these shoes makes them comfortable for day hiking and trail walking.
- Lightweight and breathable
- Waterproof membrane
- Rugged Traxion outsole
- Lace closure
- Regular fit
The quality of the material withstands regular use and rough outdoor conditions. The design features a waterproof membrane to ensure you remain dry when hiking in wet conditions. More to this, it has a Traxion outsole that has an excellent grip and traction.
These are the best lightweight hiking shoes; however, they run smaller so you would need to but at least half a size bigger.
2. Salomon Hiking Boots
The boots have a unique design that not only stands out for women but also ensures a precise fit for comfort.
- Deep lugs on the outsole
- Breathable and waterproof
- Leather and textile upper
These hiking shoes for women combine quality with comfort, thanks to the leather and textile material. This construction makes them super breathable to keep your feet fresh all through. Additionally, they have a lugged outsole for traction on different trail conditions.
It is a stylish hiking pair; however, it is not entirely waterproof.
3. The North Face Women’s Hedgehog 3 GTX Hiking Shoe
Like the men’s pair, this one comes in a lasting quality for regular hikers.
- PU-coated leather
- Breathable textile mesh
- Rustproof hardware
- Dual-density outsole
- Synthetic upper
- Compression-molded EVA
These combine the waterproof quality of PU-coated leather and the breathability of mesh textile. They are super comfortable to wear for long walks and hikes. More to this, it has a rubber outsole in a dual-density design for excellent traction.
With this pair, you do not have to worry about pressure from pebbles as you walk. However, these are not suitable for people with wide feet as the toe box is a little slimmer than usual.
4. Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Boots
Nothing beats the quality of a full-grain leather hiking shoe. If you are looking for a long-lasting pair, this Columbia’s Women hike boots are ideal.
- Waterproof full-grain leather
- Compression-molded EVA foam midsole
- Lugged outsole
- Stain-resistant treatment
The quality of these boots is outstanding, thanks to the quality of the upper material. Full-grain leather is known for its strength as well as its waterproof quality. For durability, these boots have undergone treatment to resist water and stains.
It is the perfect women’s pair for an avid hiker looking for quality, support, and stability. However, these get hot quickly, especially in summer.
How to Choose Hiking Shoes
The material determines how comfortable the shoes are and how long they will last. Hiking shoes come in different materials, with the common ones being synthetic, split-grain leather and full-grain leather.
Synthetic ones mostly come in nylon or polyester materials. These are super lightweight, easy to break-in and ideal for trail walking. Additionally, the shoes dry faster when wet. However, these are not water-resistant; therefore, not suitable for wet conditions.
Split-grain leather combines half leather and half synthetic. This material offers the breathability of synthetic materials and the durability of leather. However, it is not water-resistant and damages quickly with over-exposure to wet climates.
Full-grain leather is the most durable of the three materials. It makes most of the mountaineering boots available on the market. This is because the material can withstand rough terrains and wet conditions. However, this material is less breathable and can be heavy on your feet.
The best hiking boots should fit properly. It is easy to pay attention to the quality and durability and forget how the shoe feels in your foot. It is, therefore, essential to give the boots a size test, especially if you are not sure of your actual size.
You should note, however, that the shoe should provide a little wiggle room. Remember, with hiking comes swollen feet and scrunched toes. Make sure the shoe fits snug around the foot but leave adequate space on the upper for comfort.
Like other types of shoes, hiking shoes come in specific styles. The kind of hiking shoes you choose will depend on the hiking conditions. Therefore, you need to understand the difference in these styles to make the right choice.
Light hiking shoes are more like running shoes. These are suitable for day hiking and favorable terrains. These are super lightweight and also work well for long-distance backpackers.
Mountaineering boots, on the other hand, are more solid. They are designed to withstand rocky terrains, glacial trails, and snowy paths. They also handle a heavy load and provide excellent traction on any rough terrain.
Backpacking boots come in handy for a variety of terrain. If you hike on and off the trail, these are suitable. They have a stiff sole to adapt to rough terrains and relatively lightweight for multi-day hikes.
If you intend to hike in the summer, you certainly need a breathable pair of hiking shoes. Therefore, you should go for the lightweight, synthetic options for comfort. However, you should note that breathable shoes are not waterproof, so they might not handle all conditions.
If you are more of a mountain hiker, a waterproof boot or shoe is what you need. Waterproof shoes are usually made from leather and are relatively heavier than synthetic ones. But, with these shoes, breathability is reduced, which can affect comfort for hours of wear.
This feature plays a vital role in the fit and comfort of the shoe. You want to get a hiking shoe that you do not have to readjust all the time. Consider shoes that come with locking hooks rather than single-pull speed lace designs.
The midsole plays an essential role in absorbing shock from under your feet. Also, midsoles provide an extra layer of protection from sharp rocks. The most common material for lightweight hiking shoes is EVA. This material is super soft, comfortable but does not last a long time.
PU midsoles are ideal for tough applications, thanks to the extra support they provide. This material is heavier and lasts long with regular use. However, it is less cushy and can feel uncomfortable at first.
The best shoes for hikes should provide excellent traction in rocky, slippery, and steep terrain. Most shoes come with rubber outsoles to provide a grip as you hike. However, not all rubber outsoles are equal. Rubber outsoles vary depending on the density to accommodate different needs.
Hike shoes should be comfortable to walk in for hours. Also, they should have a solid outsole to provide traction and a firm grip when walking. If you need ankle-supporting shoes, high-cut designs work well.
Running shoes are much lighter than hiking ones. These may not be as comfortable to wear for long hours. Also, the sole may not be thick enough to absorb any shock from under the shoe. Running shoes do not provide ample support all around the feet for rough terrains.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best hiking shoes can be a daunting process with all the designs available on the market. But, with the reviews above, you can find a pair that suits your needs. The tips explained in the buying guide section are helpful; hopefully, you find the most suitable hiking shoe for your next expedition.