Hiking may have tons of benefits on your mind and body, but the right kind of gear might actually be the deciding factor that either enhances or deteriorates your experience. Indeed, a comfortable and well-fitting pair of hiking shoes that is in tune with the rigors of the terrain can divert your focus from your feet to the pleasures of wandering in the lap of Mother Nature. On the other hand, an ill-fitting, flimsy pair of shoes can give you blisters and achy feet that are bound to ruin what could have been a fabulous outing.
Hiking Shoes That Don’t Weigh You Down But Keep You Grounded
Ideal hiking shoes feature durable soles with superb traction and midsole detailing that primarily focus on increasing foot support for walking with moderate loads. They also contain waterproof linings to shield your feet from the effects of erratic weather and challenging terrain. Touted as the most popular footwear choice for day hikes, hiking shoes manage to strike the right balance between support and comfort, keeping you light, nimble and comfortable all day. They are thought to be more comfy than boots, and yet offer the same amount of traction. And the fact that they are more durable than ordinary trail runners makes them suitable for any back-country adventures. Most importantly, they are lightweight, and as a result, ideal for beginners, as well as people who are skeptical about trudging on a pair of burly boots for long hours.
Any outdoor adventure calls for the right kind of footwear because no one wants to end up with sore feet miles away from home. And the next obvious question is which one is better, hiking shoe or hiking boot. Well, one of the primary departments where hiking shoes have a leverage is in their weight. Hiking boots often weigh a few ounces more and have the danger of weighing you down, especially if you are not accustomed to traveling long distances in lesser known paths. Boots do offer more protection from snow, mud and water, but they are definitely warmer as well, and do not feature that airy and bouncy feel characteristic to the shoes. Overall, if you are looking to lug on light loads on day hikes and do not demand much in terms of ankle support, you are better off with a pair of hiking shoes.
In the following section, we have rounded up the eight best men’s hiking shoes that are sure to win you over with their innovation, design and features.
1. Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe
Merrell Men’s Moab Ventilator is the ultimate answer for anyone looking to avail comfort, traction and top-notch weight support on a hiking trip. This shoe is rugged on the outside and cushy on the inside, giving your feet a nice and airy feel regardless of the weather outside. The long-lasting comfort keeps your feet rested and safe even after hours of rough hiking.
- The mesh upper of the shoe features a protective toe bumper, as well as a heel counter to minimize the effects of wearing out on your feet.
- The midsole has air cushioning that prevents your feet from feeling the effects of shock and abrasion every time you step on an obstacle.
- The Vibram rubber outsole enhances grip over wet and dry terrain and reinforces your confidence for hiking across unknown trails.
- The entire body of the shoe is breathable, water-resistant and light. It’s easy to clean as well.
- There are some durability issues with this shoe, and the construction is somewhat flimsy as compared to the counterparts.
- It lacks sufficient arch support.
These Merrell Moab hiking shoes tick all the boxes of a robust and rugged footwear that performs well on ultra-hot hiking trips and long-distance adventures in wet weather. You can even wear them out for exploring canyons or hiking through the desert.
2. KEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoe
Crafted with quality materials and featuring a sporty design, the KEEN Men’s Targhee II is easily one of the most tried hiking shoes out there. It comes with the signature waterproof protection that stands up to wet climate and keeps your feet dry and odor-free even after long hikes. It also features a contoured secure heel for premium ankle support.
- The slim toe profile of the shoe gives a precise fit and keeps your feet steady enough to prevent slippage and missteps on unstable terrain.
- The easy-on heel pull makes it fun to strap on and diminishes the need to bend down and adjust the lacing every now and then.
- The outsole is designed to even out the pressure of walking for long hours on unfavorable hiking environment, and lends all-round traction to prevent tripping over obstacles.
- The shoes are padded on the inside and accommodate easily around your feet, giving you the torsional stability you need to conquer rough trails.
- The lace eyes tend to wear out with time
- Some users complain that the shoes are not as durable as is expected from a hiking shoe of this range.
Despite some minor letdowns, the KEEN Men’s Targhee II doesn’t disappoint. It’s doesn’t need a break-in period and is comfortable from day one. Plus, it’s designed to adjust according to the natural contours of your feet and support any movement you make. And the foot support offered by the shank and midsole makes it a great choice for hiking with light-to-medium loads.
3. Salomon Men’s X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoe
A high-performance, long-distance trekking/hiking shoe, the Salomon X Ultra II GTX comes with a wide spectrum of features that make it perfect for people with arthritic issues and back problems. With an abrasion-resistant nylon upper and Gore-Tex waterproof lining, the shoe is designed to keep your toes safe when hiking on rough terrain. Plus, it’s engineered with the 3D Chassis that consists of carefully designed components to keep your foot protected and safe. Additionally, the shoe also features the QuickLace unit that can be tightened easily by a single pull.
- This shoe is comfortable right out of the box and eliminates the regular soreness that arises from wearing new shoes.
- It’s lightweight and doesn’t drag you down as you stomp through thick mud and water puddles.
- The design is versatile and every part is more or less detachable, so you can easily add a lift or extra inserts for greater support and protection.
- The shoe is fitted with a unique Contagrip outsole that enhances durability and protection around areas that are more susceptible to wear out, such as the heel and toes. It also helps to even out the pressure falling on the feet and distributing weight to reduce stress on the heels.
- The water resistance is not very reliable and tends to wear off with time.
- The quick-lace technology renders little adjustability than the casual lacing system featured by other comparable shoes.
Salomon X Ultra II GTX is a remarkable trekking shoe the performs exceptionally well for its price. It offers a great combination of cushioning, stability and comfort to improve the quality of your hike and reduce the stress of staying on your feet for prolonged hours. Overall, it’s suitable for anyone who wants a heavy-built trekking shoe at a reasonable cost.
4. Adidas Men’s Terrex Swift R Hiking Sneaker Shoes
Sporting a sleek and stylish design with hiking-specific features, the Adidas Men’s Terrex Swift R is a lightweight and supportive answer to anyone looking to conquer cumbersome day hikes. This shoe is quick to lace up and offers a surefooted grip, thereby alleviating the possibility of missteps and subsequent injuries. While it’s not exactly water, it is completely breathable and even help you stomp through puddles and mud without getting your feet wet.
- The midsole of the shoe is integrated with an adiPRENE insert that enhances shock absorption and helps you maintain an upright posture irrespective of the hiking terrain.
- The rubber outsole is designed to increase grip on wet surface and forgive missteps.
- The rubber outsole is designed to increase grip on wet surface and forgive missteps.
- The lightweight EVA midsole increases padding aroung the feet, thereby negating the need to stop and rest for comfort.
- The quick-lace system that tightens the lace is hard to loosen. Also, since it’s made of plastic, the shoes can make an annoying sound of plastic laces hitting each other.
- The toe box is slightly narrow as compared to other shoes of the same range. Initially, it tends to graze the small toe a bit for some users, but with repeated use, it stretches to a comfortable size.
Overall, the Adidas Men’s Terrex Swift R shoes get full marks for living up to its hype. While it is not ideal footwear for walking on snow or ice, it is definitely a great choice for light day hikes and running on trails. With this shoe, you can finally bid good riddance to bruised heels and painful heels.
5. Vasque Men’s Juxt Multi-Sport Shoe
The Vasque Juxt Multi-Sport hiking shoe is definitely one of the most multi-functional footwear you will ever own. It features a sporty, modish design that complements any backdrop, right from the desert to the office. In addition to being supportive for everyday use, they are ultra padded to give you sufficient comfort for walking non-stop without breaks. Basically, if you are looking for a hiking shoe with boot-like characteristics and more support than your ordinary sneakers, then the Vasque Men’s Juxt should be your answer.
- The outsole is engineered with the Vasque’s OTC technology that enhances grip on slick and jerky surfaces.
- The midsole is fitted with a molded EVA TPU panel that absorbs the shock of stepping on sudden protrusions and bends of an uneven terrain, as well as lends extra support to your feet.
- The Arc Tempo offers greater support to your ankle.
- The toe box is roomy enough for people with arthritic feet. It keeps you comfortable even during lengthy hikes.
- These shoes feature a long and narrow fit that is not suitable for people with wider feet.
- They are not waterproof in any way, though the uppers can be considered as water-resistant.
Overall, the Vasque Men’s Juxt has been rated highly by hikers, military men and women, as well as trail runners. While it is not the ideal heavy-duty footwear for hiking on the Appalachian Trail with a heavy load, it is certainly perfect for most running and hiking trails. It offers a unique mix of flexibility and support to help you adjust your feet naturally on rock scrambles and muddy trails. And it’s exceptionally versatile, so you can even wear them to the office without looking crazy!
6. Columbia Men’s Granite Ridge Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Whether you are thru-hiking, or cruising on steep switchbacks, you need a pair of shoes that absorbs the shock of bumpy terrain and delivers the right amount of traction to help you focus more on the adventures and less on your feet. Well, the Granite Ridge Hiker does just that! It features a unique combination of cushioning, support and fit, giving you a lively and airy feel that you will surely appreciate when you are away from home on your feet all day!
- The rugged leather body makes the shoe tough and heavy-duty yet lightweight. The textile uppers hold their ground even in the face of abrasion.
- These shoes are 100% waterproof but only till the ankles. So you can step in streams and puddles and still stay dry as long as the water doesn’t rise over the shoe ridge.
- The advanced Omni-GripTM rubber outsole lends premium traction on wet and dry areas, thereby negating the chance of slippage and sprain.
- The comfortable microfleece lining keeps your feet soft and snug even when the outer environment is hard and rugged.
- These shoes are not as breathable as they claim to be, so your feet might stay sweaty at the end of a lengthy summer hike. However, this problem can be managed by taking them off after every one or two hours.
- They do require a minimal break-in period.
The combination of abrasion-proof leather and webbed upper makes this shoe unparalleled in terms of comfort and ankle support. So no more hip pain or ankle pain; These shoes come with sufficient cushioning to keep you comfy and snug during prolonged outdoor adventures. And the seam-sealed construction stays taught and intact even in the face of awry weather and rough terrain.
7. New The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Hiking Shoes
The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Fastpack hiking shoes feature a unique combination of design and technology. They have supportive and protective components to make hard hikes easy, and flaunt a full-grain leather body that is strong enough to stand up to the ravages of Mother Nature. There is a scratch-rubber tip to provide extra protection to your delicate toes from rocks, as well as the patent Vibram sole to give you a solid grip over any sort of terrain. To top it all, it includes waterproof protection to keep your comfortable in erratic weather.
- At just 2.2 lbs, this shoe is lightweight and roomy, giving your feet a nice and airy feel when you walk in them.
- It comes with a solid rubber sole that lends great traction for treading on trails strewn with obstacles. Despite having a flexible structure, it’s extremely sturdy and offers great foot support to give you a good grip over slippery surfaces.
- It features a waterproof and breathable covering that is potent enough to shield your feet from rain water, creek water and puddles.
- The leather upper is abrasion-resistant and keeps your feet protected from shocks and injuries.
- There are some durability concerns with these shoes, as some users complain that the seams tend to come apart after extensive use. However, a quick trip to the cobbler and they should get fixed in no time!
- These shoes do need a break-in period.
The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Fastpack shoes are the new representation of design innovation and technology. They are just the type of gear you need to push the boundaries of adventure and explore untrodden paths without the fear of getting injured or uncomfortable. No wonder, these shoes are the top choice of the world’s most successful climbers, snowboarders, mountaineers and runners.
8. Ahnu Men’s Coburn Low Waterproof Hiking Shoe
The Ahnu Coburn hiker has all the traits to become your go-to shoe for trudging on slick and muddy trails with heavy loads. It’s an aggressive, mid-height hiking shoe designed for rugged terrain, and equipped with an ultra breathable waterproof technology. Despite being lightweight and extra roomy, the shoe is engineered to confer a concise fit to your feet and support balance on bumpy surfaces.
- This shoe features a solid rubber toe protector that prevents your feet from getting stubbed at the slightest contact with rocks and stones. It keeps painful injuries at bay and enhances comfort during a rough hike.
- The upper is fitted with multi-directional lugs that allow your feet to maintain a steady grip over the terrain and flex as and when needed to avoid slippage.
- It has a gusseted tongue as well, to keep the debris from entering the shoe and harming your feet. The upper is fully breathable with an e-vent cover that allows sweat vapor to escape, keeping your feet dry and clean.
- These shoes feature the advanced Numentum Hike technology that makes it flexible and stable on uneven terrain.
- As a mid-height, lightweight shoe, it offers great ankle support for those times when you are lugging on a heavy backpack or stand a good chance of getting a tiresome sprain or blister on your ankles.
- These shoes may feel a bit stiff at first and require some time to break-in, but with repeated use they fit well.
Ahnu Coburn hiking shoes perform well on the mountain, as well as on the trail, and can easily tackle light- To-medium trail functions. Besides being truly waterproof and robust enough to withstand rough use, they are lightweight and offer premium ankle support that makes them suitable for any backcountry adventure.
There is absolutely nothing that can compare to the feeling of being out in the midst of fresh, unpolluted air. Yet, the vagaries of Mother Nature can deter even the bravest of city girls. Nevertheless, the only shield of protection you can depend on is a reliable pair of hiking shoes. They come with anti-fatigue soles that lend excellent traction on both wet and dry surfaces to keep you from slipping off a trail and getting injured in the process. Additionally, they encourage the natural mechanics of your feet, allowing you to flex and grip over uneven terrain with confidence.
If you are new hiker, or looking to participate in long hikes, you are better off with a high-top, or above-the-ankle hiking shoe. The latter comes with sufficient support and stability to ease the stress of extended hikes and heavy backpacks.
On the other hand, low-top shoes are more on the lighter side and are recommended for short trips rather than long-distance hikes on well-worn trails.
Now that you know what you are looking for, it’s time we delve into the most sought-after hiking shoes for women. Here is a roundup of the best in the market.
1. KEEN Women’s Voyageur Hiking Shoe
A well-constructed hiking shoe that is definitely better than an average hiking boot, the Voyageur from the house of KEEN is a mid-to-low hiker with a mesh upper, stiff rubber outsole and dual-density EVA midsole, to give you the maximum in terms of support, comfort and protection. On the inside, it features plenty of room and padding to cradle your feet even when you have walked for miles at a stretch.
- These shoes offer full foot coverage, while being breathable and stiff in the process. The detachable EVA footbed minimizes the shock of accidentally treading on sharp stones or thorns along the trail.
- The shoe is engineered with an S3 heel suspension to lend protection around the exposed areas of your feet, including your heel and toes.
- There is plenty of room in the toe box, in order to ensure comfort both without or without socks. Plus, there is adequate cushioning underneath the heel, so you won’t feel tired even after long hours of hiking.
- The leather upper is fitted with mesh panels to enhance breathability. There are pull-on loops as well, to allow for a more customized fit.
- These shoes are neither waterpoof, nor water-resistant so if you are planning to hike along riverbeds, or in the rain, you may want to consider another option.
- The rubber on the KEEN shoes’ sole is a bit too stiff to flex and provide sufficient grip on slippery surfaces like other hikers that use Vibram soles. As such, there is always the danger of sliding off of wet and hard surfaces.
Long story short, if you have relatively wide feet, and are looking for a lightweight and comfy pair of hikers at a reasonable price point, the KEEN Women’s Voyageur Hiking Shoe is your answer. Just make sure you use it on dry terrain as it offers poor traction on wet surfaces.
2. Merrell Women’s Moab Waterproof Hiking Boot
A lightweight and plush hiking shoe with plenty of intelligent detailing to deliver excellent performance, the Merrell Women’s Moab hiking shoe sports a durable leather upper and a roomy interior that wraps around your feet, cushioning it even in the face of abrasion.
- The mesh lining on the upper improves breathability and allows the shoe to dry quickly when soaked.
- The shoe comes fitted with a Vibram sole, which is essentially known for its strong resilience to wear and tear. Also, it offers praiseworthy traction on stone trails and loose gravel.
- There is air cushioning on the heel to minimize the effects of hard rocks and slick surfaces, and keep your feet secure and protected all day.
- The molded nylon shank increases arch support and gives you enough grip to climb steep trails without slipping.
- These shoes are not waterproof, however, the good news is that they are breathable, which makes them perfect for hot and dry weather.
Overall, these Merrell shoes excel at short daylight hikes in hot and dry weather. While they may not be the #1 choice for walking on sandstone or slick surfaces, it’s particularly built for fast-paced hiking on flat terrain. It is also great for hiking in the canyons or canoeing, as it dries quickly when soaked.
3. Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Air Mesh Hiking Shoe
Ahnu’s Women’s Sugarpine Air Mesh shoes embody the basic concept of a hiking shoe. They are comfortable, supportive and waterproof! In fact, they fit and feel just like an athletic shoe and are often considered as the lightweight version of a hiking boot.
- This shoe features a neutral positioning technology to encourage the natural mechanics of your feet. It is designed to distribute your body weight, in order to promote a more stable and balanced stride.
- Thanks to the reliable Vibram sole, the soles of the shoe are made to deliver superb traction on bumpy roads.
- There is extra room around the big toe to prevent your feet from feeling the impact of hard obstacles.
- The heel strap is adjustable, to help you customize the shoe accordingly and create a more personalized fit.
- You may want to wear higher socks with these shoes as they tend to rub a little on the ankles.
- The mesh may allow dirt and sand to enter your feet, so this shoe is not the best choice for hiking on the beach.
Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Air Mesh incorporates every detail you need to ace long-distance hikes in erratic weather. It features a lightweight, everyday build that is sure to lend itself both on track and off-trail. Whether you are suffering from a sore lower back, or have flat feet, these shoes have all the support and protection you need on for your toes, heel and outsole.
4. Oboz Women’s Sawtooth Low Hiking Shoe
With a flashy, appealing design and a stable construction, the Oboz Women’s Sawtooth might just end up being the most-used shoe in your wardrobe. Fitted with stable, adjustable parts that represent modern technology, this hiking shoe is an example of footwear that is lightweight yet sturdy.
- The shoe is neither too narrow nor too wide, and thus fits feets of all sizes perfectly well!
- The area around the heel is snug and offers a personalized fit without feeling too tight. Plus, it keeps your feet from sliding.
- There is a unique plastic shank that runs along the entire length of the shoe, giving incredible support to people with plantar fasciitis.
- The dual density EVA midsole comes fitted with a nylon shank to prevent your feet from flexing in a bid to attain better grip over the terrain.
- If your heel is too narrow, these shoes may not be right for you.
- Additionally, they lack sufficient arch support for people with a relatively high arch.
Oboz Women’s Sawtooth integrates novel features to maximize the support and durability you deserve for feeling protected all day long in the trails. It is anatomically built to suit your needs of an active lifestyle, and lasts long before you can even think of a replacement.
5. Salomon Women’s X Ultra Prime Hiking Shoe
Just because you prefer high performance and fit, that doesn’t mean you have to go for overly technical hiking footwear. Combining design innovation with a minimalistic style, the X Ultra Prime hiking shoe is built to deliver underfoot support and great precision on track.
- This shoe features a unique, low-cut style with a 1.5-inch heel to allow maximum freedom of movement and ease of walking.
- The textile upper has mesh panels to allow breathability of feet and keep them dry and airy in hot weather.
- The upper is fitted with a protective rubber toe that includes potent anti-abrasion properties to stave off the entry of debris and subsequent injuries.
- There is a gusseted tongue as well that provides extra protection from debris, and that too without coming in contact with your toes.
- This shoe integrates the novel Sensifit technology, which allows it to wrap around your feet, and lock them in place to allow for a more confident stride.
- It’s difficult to hook up the laces through the shoe, and as a result, they tend to slip on the sides when walking.
- It doesn’t provide as much arch support as other renowned hiking shoes.
Whether you are looking to cross muddy terrain, or climb steep slopes without slipping, the Salomon Women’s X Ultra hiking shoe won’t let you down. The level of arch support, and cushioning it offers is practically unparalleled, and its intuitive detailing makes it a lot better than its pricier counterparts.
6. Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker
The Siren Edge hiker from the house of Merrell is designed with comfort in mind. It’s breathable, cushioned and contoured the accommodate the natural motions of your feet. Plus, it features a stiff yet roomy interior that makes it suitable for wearing with orthotic support and additional inserts. The dependable Vibram rubber outsole further makes it a solid choice of footwear to conquer long trail hikes.
- These shoes are lightweight yet robust, so you can be sure of getting years of use with them.
- They have a breathable mesh panel with a quick lace-up closure to make for a snug and secure fit.
- The bellow tongue fitted on the shoe upper flicks out the debris and that too without touching your toes in an annoying way.
- The EVA contoured footbed comes with odor control to keep your feet dry and odorless all day. There is air cushioning too around the heel area to allow shock absorption and keep you steady even when the road gets bumpy.
- The area of the sole lacks adequate cushioning, however, you can fix this problem by fitting gel inserts or wearing thick hiking socks.
- These shoes tend to have a strong smells of chemicals when they are new.
All in all, the Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker lives up to its claims. While it is not really waterpoof and heavy-duty, it is certainly burly enough to withstand varied terrain and give you the grip you need to stay on your feet on lengthy hikes in erratic weather. It comes with air cushioning around the exposed parts of your feet and features a sturdy make to ensure years of satisfactory usage.
7. Columbia Women’s Plains Ridge WMNS Low Hiking Shoes
Contrary to the more regular hiking sneakers for women out there, Columbia Plains Ridge Hiking Shoe features a low-cut collar style. It is made of pure leather and breathable mesh fabric, which utilizes webbing technology to allow air to go in and out. The Omni-Grip rubber outsole provides a bounce on your feet, and ensures you leave no skid marks on the floor, while the Techlite midsole minimizes the impact of your weight on your feet and keeps blisters at bay.
- These shoes are designed to offer the perfect fit, in addition to sufficient toe room and arch support. You won’t feel the need to take them off after every few hours to feel comfortable and relax.
- The sole is super durable and doesn’t leave any marks behind. It provides commendable traction on track and doesn’t disappoint even when the terrain gets awfully wet.
- The Techlite midsole is engineered to keep your feet light and airy, and give you maximum comfort when you are trudging for hours in the sun.
- The presence of webbing overlays enhances the breathability of the shoe, and allows your feet to inhale/exhale, thereby making you feel as though you’re walking barefoot.
- The leather seams tend to come apart after extensive use, but a quick trip the the cobbler and this should be fixed.
Overall, if you are looking for a better replacement of your daily sneakers and don’t quite prefer the heavy and clunky hiking boots, this lightweight hiking shoe is suitable for you. They come with the guarantee of precise fit and durable functioning on track. And the fact that they come in earthy colors make them apt for outdoor ventures involving lots of dust and dirt.
8. Vasque Women’s Inhaler II Low Hiking Shoe
The Vasque Inhaler II Low hiking shoe represents the modern hiking shoe in many ways. Firstly, it’s stiff and burly enough to handle rocky scrambles, and yet it’s fairly lightweight and breathable. Additionally, it is suitable for a high-speed hiker or ultralight backpacker who doesn’t demand much in terms of waterproofing. By trimming excess weight, Vasque has managed to avoid the common pitfalls that characterized run-of-the-mill hiking footwear. It has retained all the important components, including a durable mesh and tough leather exterior.
- The reinforced big toe bumper provides protection from unforeseen stubbing or bruises. It keeps your feet secure from the effects of abrasion and helps you travel comfortably for long hours.
- The shoe comes fitted with a sticky rubber that ensures solid grip over slippery and uneven terrains, and provides as much support as the more expensive rock-climbing shoes.
- The molded midsole lends sufficient traction and protects your feet like a heavy-duty running shoe.
- The perforated mesh panels fitted over the toe and heel area allows your feet to breathe and stay dry and odor-free all day.
- The shoes tend to squeak initially, especially if you wear them without socks, but with repeated use, they do fine.
- Vasque Inhaler II Low is built in a way to accommodate long and narrow feet. As such, it is not meant for people with a wider and heavier built.
Vasque Inhaler II Low shoes are designed to minimize the rigors of trekking miles away from home. They incorporate innovative technology with ergonomic design to improve the quality of your adventures and keep your feet light and snug. They are exactly the kind of footwear you need if you are planning to cover some particularly rugged trails, strewn with dirt and rocks.