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Hiking may just be one of the most underrated outdoor activities. Not only is it a fantastic and inexpensive workout, but hiking can also grant you access to majestic sights that you otherwise may never lay eyes on. It’s a great activity for all ages and, depending on your geographic location, it can be done as a year-round pastime. Selecting the right (or wrong) hiking shoe can make or break any outing. Shoes literally provide the foundation for any great hike. But with all the options to choose from, picking the best hiking shoes for you can feel like a daunting task.

Here at The Adventure Junkies, we pride ourselves in putting our best foot forward to help you find the ideal products for your specific needs. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best hiking shoes on the market to help you head down the trail with confidence in your new shoes.

For more of our top hiking footwear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

Waterproof Shoes | Lightweight Shoes | Trail Runners | Water Shoes

Hiking Shoes for Women | Hiking Shoes for Flat Feet | Hiking Shoes for Kids

hiking gift guide
Hiking Gift Guide

 

Quick Answer - The Best Hiking Shoes

  1. Merrell MQM Flex
  2. Oboz Sawtooth II Low
  3. Forsake Range Low
  4. Garmont Karakum Low GTX
  5. Salomon OUTline Low GTX
  6. KEEN Venture Low WP
  7. Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX
  8. La Sportiva Spire GTX
  9. Asolo Landscape GV
  10. HOKA ONE ONE Sky Arkali

 

Comparison Table - The Best Shoes for Hiking

PictureNameWaterproof?WeightHeightPriceRating
Merrell MQM FlexNo1lb 3ozAnkle$$4.4
Oboz Sawtooth II LowYes2lbs 2.8ozAnkle$$4.6
Forsake Range LowYes1lb 10.8ozAnkle$$4.5
Garmont Karakum Low GTXYes1lb 10.8ozAnkle$$4.8
Salomon OUTline Low GTXYes1lb 7.8ozAnkle$$4.7
KEEN Venture Low WPYes2lbs 2ozAnkle$$$4.6
Vasque Breeze LT Low GTXYes1lb 6ozAnkle$$$4.8
La Sportiva Spire GTXYes1lb 12.8ozAnkle$$$$4.9
Asolo Landscape GVYes2lbs 1.6ozOver The Ankle$$$4.9
HOKA ONE ONE Sky ArkaliNo1lb 14.4ozOver The Ankle$$$$4.8
PictureNameWaterproof?WeightHeightPriceRating

MULTI-DAY HIKING PACKING LIST

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Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Hiking Shoes

Merrell MQM Flex

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: No
  • Weight: 1lb 3oz
Features
  • Breathable Mesh Linings
  • Air Cushions In The Heel (to absorb shock and add stability)
  • Proprietary Grip Rubber Outsoles Provide Excellent Traction

BEST FOR: MOVING QUICKLY IN THE MOUNTAINS

Merrell was founded nearly four decades ago with a mission to design and manufacture handmade custom boots. One of those original styles remains in the brand’s lineup today. Today, this industry leader creates a multitude of footwear options all while remaining true to their humble beginnings. 

Utilizing a variety of proprietary materials, the MQM Flex is chocked full of features for moving light and fast on the trail. Synthetic uppers and breathable mesh linings will protect and keep your feet comfortable for extended outings. The M Select Grip rubber outsoles provide excellent traction for a variety of trails and conditions.

Oboz Sawtooth II Low

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 2lbs 2.8oz
Features
  • Proprietary Waterproof Membrane
  • Breathable Mesh Vents
  • Asymmetric Ankle Collars For Increased Comfort

BEST FOR: LONG DAYS ON THE TRAIL

Founded in Bozeman, Montana, Oboz is a company as committed to producing quality footwear as they are to protecting the environment. The company’s headquarters is powered entirely by wind power and the brand plants a tree for every pair of shoes sold. 

The Sawtooth II Low BDry features a waterproof leather upper with a moisture-wicking mesh liner for breathability. In addition to the naturally waterproof properties of the leather upper, this shoe utilizes a proprietary waterproof and breathable membrane called “B-Dry”. Located in the liner, this membrane allows moisture to escape from the inside of the shoe while keeping out the elements for a comfortable hike every time. Asymmetrical ankle collars (lower on the outside and higher on the inside) accommodate a wide range of movement on a variety of terrains.

Forsake Range Low

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1lb 10.8oz
Features
  • Moisture Wicking Mesh Lining
  • Fashionable So You Can Go From Trail To Town In Style
  • Breathable And Waterproof Upper To Keep Your Feet Cool And Dry
  • Grippy Outsole To Keep You Secure On A Variety Of Surfaces

BEST FOR: THE STYLISH CASUAL HIKER

In 2012, two friends, Sam and Jake,  set out to create a better sneaker that provided versatile styling and rugged construction for adventure and travel. In that moment, Forsake was born. Hence the name – For Sam and Jake.

The Range Low features a waterproof, yet breathable, taped-seam upper that helps to keep your feet dry and cool while hiking or traveling through wet conditions. They’re also made with a Vibram Megagrip sole on the bottom of the shoe that provides reliable grip on a variety of surfaces. Designed to pull double duty, this stylish sneaker is at home on the trail or traversing any city around the world, regardless of the season.

Garmont Karakum Low GTX

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1lb 10.8oz
Features
  • Asymmetrical Ankle Cuffs Increases Stability On Uneven Terrain
  • Anatomical Tongue Design Matches Foot Shape Provides Superior Comfort
  • Reinforced Toe Caps Provide Extra Protection

BEST FOR: WIDE RANGE OF CONDITIONS

Garmont was founded in northern Italy in 1964. Located in the Dolomite Mountains, the brand utilizes its backyard testing grounds to research and create innovative products while incorporating state-of-the-art materials and technology. 

The Karakum Low GTX features the brand’s “a.d.d.” (anatomically directed design) that builds the shoe from the inside out, creating a product that provides ideal fit and performance. Weighing in at less than two pounds, the shoe’s uppers are built using rugged synthetic materials to provide a lightweight and durable model. The asymmetrical ankle cuffs are lower on the outside and higher on the inside for better stability on uneven terrain.

Salomon OUTline Low GTX

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1lb 7.8oz
Features
  • Protective Toe Caps For Extra Protection
  • Antimicrobial Treated Footbeds For Odor Control
  • Gusseted Tongue Aids In Keeping Debris Out Of The Shoe

BEST FOR: TECHNICAL AND AGILE ADVENTURES

Salomon was founded as France was emerging from World War II. Their initial offerings included ski edges and saw blades. Born in the French Alps, the brand evolved, as did the market for outdoor sporting equipment and apparel. Today, the company is internationally known for producing high quality products for hiking, trail running, adventure racing, skiing, and snowboarding. 

The OUTline Low GTX is the evolution of a running shoe paired with a hiking boot. The shoe is technical and agile, yet also rugged enough to protect your feet on the trail. This lightweight hiking shoe features protective rubber caps around the toes to prevent painful stubbing on roots and rocks. And, it’s waterproof with a Gore-Tex lining on the interior of the shoe to keep your feet dry in case you get caught in the rain on the trail.

It also comes with a gusseted tongue, which means that it’s attached at its sides to the shoe’s upper. This style of tongue helps prevent debris from entering the shoe from the top. The brand’s proprietary rubber outsole is called Contagrip and is designed to grip any surface, no matter how slick.

KEEN Venture Low WP

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 2lbs 2oz
Features
  • Mesh Uppers For Breathability
  • Natural Odor Control
  • Proprietary Waterproof Membrane (to keep your feet dry)

BEST FOR: GO-ANYWHERE SUPPORT

Keen is a relative newcomer in the footwear industry. What started in 2003 with the brand’s iconic hiking sandal has blossomed into a brand that features both lifestyle and active options.

Utilizing an array of proprietary materials, the Venture Low WP is a lightweight go-anywhere shoe. It features a KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane to keep the water out while allowing moisture to escape the interior of the shoe so you can hike comfortably through puddles or wet grass without worrying about soaking your socks. The Keen All-Terrain rubber outsoles provide high-traction grip on a variety of terrain. The mesh uppers are further reinforced with synthetic overlays that help to increase the durability as well as the lifespan of the shoe.

Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1lb 6oz
Features
  • Moisture Wicking Materials
  • Abrasion-Resistant, Microfiber Mesh Uppers (for increased breathability and durability)
  • GORE-TEX Waterproof Membrane (to create a waterproof environment for your feet)

BEST FOR: LONG DISTANCE HIKES

Founded in 1964, the brand was founded with a singular mission to get Americans outside and hiking. Over five decades later, Vasque continues to create dependable and durable products utilizing innovative technologies and materials.

The Breeze LT Low features an outsole that combines Vibram Megagrip with Vibram Lightbase technology to provide exceptional traction with a 25% reduction in weight. Founded in 1937, Vibram is an innovative outsole manufacturer that produces high-quality rubber that can be found on footwear worldwide. A waterproof GORE-TEX membrane surrounding these shoes provides a waterproof barrier to protect your feet from outside moisture while moving sweat away from the inside of the shoe. While the waterproof liner protects your feet from the elements, the durable, synthetic mesh outer provides an abrasion-resistant shell so you don’t have to worry about your feet getting wet or injured while hiking. The footbeds of the Breeze LT Low are anatomically designed to offer additional support and shock absorption.

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Specs
  • Height: Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 1lb 12.8oz
Features
  • Vegan Design
  • GORE-TEX Surround Waterproof Breathable Membrane (to keep your feet dry)
  • Abrasion-Resistant Mesh Uppers

BEST FOR: HIKING BOOT COMFORT

Born in the Dolomites of Italy in 1928, the brand got its start creating footwear for lumberjacks and farmers. Today, La Sportiva has become as industry leader in footwear for activities ranging from hiking and trail running to climbing and mountaineering. 

The Spire GTX shoe features a vegan design utilizing an abrasion-resistant, synthetic mesh upper and Vibram rubber outsoles. Vegan designed shoes contain zero animal based products and utilize only man-made components. This beefy shoe sports a GORE-TEX SURROUND membrane that includes aeration channels which aid in 360-degree breathability and waterproof protection so your feet will stay dry regardless of the weather. Engineered for superior stability on uneven terrain, the rubber outsole provides a flexible and responsive foundation.

Asolo Landscape GV

Specs
  • Height: Over The Ankle
  • Waterproof?: Yes
  • Weight: 2lbs 1.6oz
Features
  • Toe Cap Provides Protection
  • Waterproof And Breathable Upper
  • Self Cleaning Lugs On The Bottom Of The Shoe Prevent Debris Build-up While Hiking Through Muck And Mud

BEST FOR: FULL ANKLE SUPPORT HIKING

Following the end of World War II, the Zanatta  family began making high quality boots in Italy. Founded in 1975, Asolo was the first brand to make trekking boots using Cordura materials. Additionally, Asolo boasts that it created the first footwear utilizing a GORE-TEX lining. In 1998, the Zanatta family purchased the Asolo brand and continues to build off of the quality and innovation that was created over two decades earlier.

The Landscape GV is built like a boot but features durable and lightweight hiking shoe technology. It utilizes quality Italian suede and polyester to create an over-the-ankle design for extra support. Continuing its history of incorporating GORE-TEX into its footwear, this waterproof shoe also includes a technical Vibram rubber outsole with self cleaning lugs. Lugs are the raised bumps on the bottom of shoes and boots that provide traction for a variety of terrains. The spacing and design of these lugs help prevent mud from building up on the bottom of the shoe, thus allowing the lugs to remain in contact with the ground for superior support.

HOKA ONE ONE Sky Arkali

Specs
  • Height: Over The Ankle
  • Waterproof?: No
  • Weight: 1lb 14.4oz
Features
  • Ankle/Heel Straps Allow For Adjustable Support
  • High Abrasion Rubber Toe Caps Extend To The Midfoot (to protect your toes)
  • Multi-directional Lugs On The Bottom Of The Shoe Provide Grip On Variety of Terrain

BEST FOR: RUNNING SHOE COMFORT IN A HIKING SHOE

Ten years ago, Hoka One One was founded with a mission to create a better downhill running shoe. After a decade of building a successful running shoe brand, Hoka recently launched a line of hiking and backpacking boots utilizing those same principles. 

The Arkali is the result of multiple innovations – it is light and comfortable like a running shoe, it has excellent grip and traction due to the use of climbing shoe technology, and it’s super rugged thanks to hiking boot engineering. The shoe features Vibram Megagrip rubber outsoles on the bottom to give you superior traction on a variety of terrain. The high-abrasion rubber toe caps extend to the midfoot to ensure ample protection for the foot. The ankle and heel straps allow for adjustable support depending on the terrain.

Hiking Gear Course
Hiking Gear Course

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING HIKING SHOES

TYPE OF HIKING

Terrain dictates the type of shoe one should choose when planning to purchase footwear. Hiking footwear is typically used for day outings while carrying lighter loads in a daypack. Rugged boots are usually overkill for day hikes and can prove to be hotter and heavier than shoes designed to be lighter and more breathable. Always ask yourself, what type of hiking do I plan to do? Will I be hiking on designated trails? Will I go off-trail and bushwhack through the woods and low brush? Will the terrain be rocky and wet or dry and flat (or any combination of the above)?

 

COST

Hiking shoes come in an array of styles and price points. In addition to the type of hiking you plan to do, you should also consider your budget. We’ve provided a broad selection of quality hiking shoes that are as varied as their costs. Some are more budget friendly while others will require a little more of an investment. Properly cleaning your hiking shoes can increase the lifespan of your footwear so you won’t have to purchase a new pair of shoes every year.

 

ANKLE SUPPORT

While hiking (versus backpacking) often involves carrying lighter weights, you should consider your individual needs in regards to ankle support. With hiking, you typically carry a daypack and just a few essentials for the hike. Unlike backpacking, this frees you up to choose from a wider range of hiking shoes versus heavier boots. If you know you have weak ankles and need additional ankle support, we have provided several over-the-ankle options on the list above. In general, ankle-height shoes provide little to no ankle support and this factor should be considered when deciding on which shoes are right for you.

 

HIKING SEASON

Hiking is a great year-round activity. With summer, the temperature rises, and having breathable footwear can be advantageous in preventing too much moisture retention. Pairing a breathable shoe with quality hiking socks can provide a symbiotic relationship that will provide the ideal balance for a long (or short) day on the trail.

However, as the weather begins to cool, it’s important to consider a shoe that will prevent moisture from entering from the outside of the shoe (like those containing GORE-TEX or other proprietary waterproof membranes). This feature will protect your feet should it rain or if you have to step in shallow creeks or puddles on the trail. These waterproof membranes also allow moisture created in the form of sweat to escape from the shoe, which helps to keep your feet warm and dry.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

OUTSOLE

The outsole is the outermost layer of a shoe that comes into contact with the ground. Rubber is used for all outsoles in hiking shoes.

INSOLE

An insole is the inside part of a shoe that makes direct contact with the bottom of the foot.

VIBRAM

Vibram was created by an Italian based company. They have been producing rubber outsoles for over eighty years. Though originally created for mountaineering, these soles are now used by numerous footwear manufacturers (including many in this roundup).

WATERPROOF LINING

Waterproof fabrics like Gore-Tex (GTX) and proprietary fabrics used by Oboz, Merrell, and Keen (in this roundup) provide a barrier against water entering the footwear from the outside. These same fabrics also allow for moisture inside the shoe to escape through a breathable membrane layer.

LUGS

Lugs are raised bumps on the bottom of the outsole that provide traction on a variety of terrain. The pattern of the lugs on the bottom of the shoe can also work to provide traction under varied conditions.

READ MORE

For more of our top hiking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

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