Best Hiking Shoes: The Top 10 Brands

There is nothing like spending time in the great outdoors on or off the beaten trails. This time should be exciting and filled with wonderment and reveling in the awe of nature. Yet getting to the top of that peak and enjoying it may depend on the performance of your footwear. We will go into detail about the best hiking shoes available to get you there and back while keeping you comfortable and protected for the duration of your outdoor adventures.

Best Hiking Shoes Frequently Asked Questions


1. What Are the Best Hiking Shoes?

The first thing you may notice about this product description is that we say the best hiking ‘shoes’ rather than ‘boots’. On one side of the equation, there are super-light athletic running shoes and on the other side, we have rugged, heavy hiking boots. The best hiking shoes are somewhere more toward the middle.

They are light enough not to exhaust you after putting miles under your feet on the trail yet durable and rugged enough to protect your feet from rocky terrain, brush and the extreme outdoors.

2. What Are the Functions of the Best Hiking Shoes?

The best hiking shoes will protect your feet and allow you to propel yourself over rugged and difficult terrain, rocks, debris, brush, creeks, mountains, canyons and valleys while providing traction, stability and comfort from footwear that is lighter than a dedicated hiking boot.

3. How Can the Best Hiking Shoes Accomplish Their Mission?

Modern day hiking shoes use advanced design, engineering, and materials and experienced footwear expertise to produce shoes with ruggedness, durability, breathability, traction, stability and other critical features. With top-quality footwear, outdoor hiking enthusiasts can get from Point A to Point B and back with absolute dependability and performance.

4. Where Can You Buy Them?

All the best hiking shoes reviewed here can be found on Amazon.com.

How We Reviewed


All the best hiking shoes we reviewed were first selected from footwear manufacturers with solid reputations for manufacture and design of performance hiking footwear. We then picked the most important hiking and performance features which include weight, price, protection, comfort, durability, traction, lacing, comfort and other features most important to outdoor enthusiasts on the trail.

Overall Price Range of the Best Hiking Shoes


KEEN Chandler CNX Casual Shoe Hiking, Steel Grey/Wasabi, 6 M US
KEEN Women's Terradora Mid Wp-w Hiking Boot Shoe, Timber/Cornstalk,...

The price of the best hiking shoes depends on several factors. It is important when selecting the best hiking shoes to consider which features mean the most to you based on your typical usage. Variations in cushioning, traction, durability, protection, waterproofing, lugs, lacing, performance, ruggedness and even styling will affect the price. Some best hiking shoes lend themselves to both running and hiking so if you run on the road at home or on portions of the hiking trail, take that into consideration.

What We Reviewed

  • Saucony Peregrine
  • Vasque Juxt
  • Altra Lone Peak 4
  • Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX
  • Brooks Cascadia 13
  • La Sportiva TX3
  • Salomon X Ultra 3 Low
  • Oboz Sawtooth
  • Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Low
  • Salomon Odyssey Pro

Saucony Men's Peregrine 8 Running Shoe
  • EVERUN topsole
  • ISOFIT dynamic upper
  • PWRTRAC outsole

Features

This shoe has the advantage in that its primary design lends itself first to trail running and secondly to hiking trails. Fantastic heel cushioning damps vibration and impact while increasing stability and its lightness serves to reduce fatigue. The aggressive 6mm lugs give plenty of traction and the comfort level is high because of the flexibility of the materials.

The downside is the lightness and flexibility may be less comfortable if moving over more rugged terrain where incline and such may negatively impact internal stability. The lightness of the shoe also may not provide as much protection from rocks, debris, brush and other obstacles.

On easier hikes, trails and terrain these shoes will shine. Construction materials include EVERUN PWRFOAM, rubber soles and other synthetic materials with standard laces.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Aggressive lugs
  • Good cushioning
  • Good for running or hiking

CONS

  • Lack of stiffness may affect stability on rugged terrain
  • Lacks protective features

Vasque Men's Juxt Multisport Shoe,Aluminum/Chili Pepper,11 M US
  • Sporty shoe for day hiking with approach-shoe durability, stability and comfort
  • 1.6mm suede leather upper
  • Highly tunable lace system

Features

This is a more dedicated hiking shoe with great rubber outsoles called Off The Grid that really help with traction and impact over rugged terrain. The leather uppers give extra protection. The extra-long tongue and lace section means you can adjust and tune the lace and tightness to get the most comfort and performance out of this shoe. 

Even though the uppers are leather, there are still plenty of synthetics to increase the breathability. But keeping in mind the lack of waterproofing, this shoe will work better in drier conditions.

PROS

  • Excellent tread
  • Good lace adjustability
  • Leather uppers for toughness

CONS

  • Not good for wetter environments
  • Heavier than the other shoes we reviewed at 2 pounds

ALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe
  • Allows your toes to relax and spread out naturally for more comfort and stability in...
  • Places your heel and forefoot the same distance from the ground to encourage proper,...
  • Energy-return compound sits directly under the foot to reduce ground impact and add a...

Features

These shoes are popular and can easily serve as trail running shoes or hiking shoes. They are light and designed to the actual shape of human feet, meaning the toe box is rather spacious so if you have a wider foot these are worth a consideration. These shoes feature a zero-drop build which means the heel and ball of your foot are level and equidistant to the ground. This guards against heel strike and foot fatigue.

Additionally, these shoes have enough cushioning regardless of their lightness. There is good drainage in case you are fording creeks and such and there is also a waterproof variant available.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Zero-drop build
  • Good for running or hiking

CONS

  • Wider toe might decrease stability on inclines especially if you have narrow feet
  • Not as much protection as other shoes especially in the toes and sides

adidas outdoor Men's Terrex AX2R
  • A day on the trail isn't complete without the adidas® Terrex AX2R hiking shoe underfoot.

Features

These shoes are fairly lightweight with great rubber soles and well-spaced lugs to let the mud slough off. Besides that, extra rubber on the sides and toe beef things up for extra protection from trail obstacles. This tread and sole has plenty of traction and does well on difficult terrain such as steep inclines. 

The front face features a lacing system called the Lace Bungee system which allows tightening with a single pull. To top it all off this shoe has a Gore-Tex liner for waterproofing that really adds to the functionality. That is what the GTX in the name is all about.

The shoes are relatively lightweight though they are obviously more for hiking and less for running than some other shoes we reviewed.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Tough
  • Good protection on the sides and toes
  • Gore-Tex waterproofing
  • Good traction
  • Lace Bungee system for one-pull lacing

CONS

  • Somewhat stiff

Features

Light and very flexible, these shoes give lots of support through the midsole and have 10mm lugging on the soles for traction and grip. Those features combine to give you fantastic performance over your trail run and the comfort to log in many miles. Rock shields and 3D rubber print mud guards help keep your feet well protected. Meanwhile, BioMoGo is a special feature that helps the midsole cushioning adapt to your stride as you walk. The lace guard keeps the laces protected and out of the way for extra safety.

PROS

  • Light
  • Flexible
  • Lace guard
  • Rock shields
  • Great suspension and cushioning

CONS

  • Lugs may not be durable

La Sportiva Unisex Genius Climbing Shoe
  • AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE - The highest-performing shoe on the market, the Genius'...
  • FAST LACING SYSTEM - Quick and easy to pull on, this rock climbing shoe allows for perfect...
  • HYPER-RESPONSIVE - No-Edge Technology allows the foot to come into closer contact with the...

Features

One of the primary features of this shoe is that the upper wraps the medial zone, increasing stability and providing superior comfort and fit. They call this the STB Control System. Additionally, this shoe has high resistance to abrasion due to the PU Techlite rubber and the Vibram MegaGrip Traverse outsole. The traction and grip provided by these factors is remarkable. This shoe is wide in the toes, which people with broader feet will appreciate.

PROS

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Great traction
  • Great stability and cushioning

CONS

  • May not provide enough protection

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Features

Excellent traction for high stability over steep terrain with excellent internal stability provided by Ortholite sock-liners, Ortholite foam and EVA heel cups combine to make navigating over hazards and rugged terrain so much easier. Polyester mesh keeps your feet cool while moisture is wicked away by the lining. Tongue gussets keep the dirt. rocks and twigs out while mudguards and toe caps keep you safe from trail hazards. Differential rubber lugs aid with traction while EVA molded rubber midsoles provide comfort and protection and cushioning to reduce foot fatigue. Single-pull lacing system means donning and doffing is a breeze.

PROS

  • Internal stability is fantastic
  • Great traction
  • One pull lacing
  • Toe cap
  • Differential rubber lugs

CONS

  • None

Oboz Men's Sawtooth Low BDry Hiking Shoe,Russet,US 10 M
  • Waterproof Nubuck Leather - Highly durable, highly comfortable material that repels water,...
  • Highly Abrasion Resistant Textile - Protects the upper and the foot from the rough and...
  • B-DRY Membrane - An added barrier of defence against water penetration, the Bdry membrane...

Features

Nubuck leather uppers and abrasion-resistant materials help these shoes stand up to heavy use and abuse. Waterproof Oboz B-DRY waterproof membranes keep your feet dry while the breathability of those same membranes keeps them comfortable.

EVA footbeds and midsoles provide for cushioning while nylon shanks give you stability and protection. Super aggressive lugs on the sticky outsoles give you superior traction in all weather. A molded nylon shank helps with stability.

PROS

  • Nubuck uppers
  • B-DRY waterproof/breathable membranes
  • Aggressive lugs

CONS

  • Stiff

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
  • Performance suede leather and mesh upper
  • Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue keeps moisture and debris out. Molded nylon arch shank
  • Protective rubber toe cap, Breathable mesh lining

Features

The suede and leather mesh of this shoe gives good protection while the Vibram soles offer good traction. There is also a waterproof version available. The shoe has excellent breathability and the soles provide some decent cushioning. EVA footbeds offer both comfort and support and the molded nylon arch shank gives you torsional stability.

PROS

  • Good protection
  • Good comfort

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Traction could be better

Salomon Men's Sense Pro Max Trail Running Shoe
  • Upper Material: 3D Stretch Air Mesh
  • Closure: Quicklace
  • Midsole: EnergyCell+ (compressed EVA)

Features

Salomon’s proprietary midsole material really diminishes impact shock and vibration to keep your feet fresh. The gusseted tongue keeps dirt, dust and debris from entering while the ContraGrip rubber outsoles give you traction in many conditions. These shoes are suitable for running and hiking.

PROS

  • Running or hiking
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Excellent impact and vibration dampening
  • Lots of rubber lugging
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Could use more protection in the toes and sides

The Verdict


Every one of the best hiking shoes here is a worthy piece of footwear for the trail. The final analysis, however, requires a nod to the best of the best. We pick the Salomon X Ultra 3 Low. The traction and the fit provided by the heel cups and the Ortholite foam provide so much internal stability and control that they perform above and beyond the rest especially over steep inclines, unstable rocks or hazards and all other rugged terrain.The one-pull lacing and durability of the materials and workmanship also establish the Salomon X Ultra 3 Low as the best hiking shoe reviewed here. No matter what type of outdoor hiking you do, we hope this review has given you guidance as to which of these best hiking shoes will serve your specific needs.

Janice Friedman
 

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