People's to-do lists often include going on an outdoor adventure. Although, many people are still confused about what footwear is best for them. And so, worry not Our best hiking boots list and accompanying buyer's guide will make selecting the appropriate footwear for your outdoor adventures a breeze.
In order to find the best hiking shoes, we researched and tested over three hundred pairs. Here are our top picks in five categories, whether you're looking for a pair of lightweight, city-friendly hiking shoes or a pair of sturdy, long-distance backpacking boots.
Scroll down for a guide covering the key distinctions between hiking shoes and boots, as well as tips on how to pick the right pair for your needs.
We here at RunRepeat are committed to providing you with accurate and up-to-date information on the best hiking shoe options on the market. Our strategy is as follows:
- As an unaffiliated review site, we don't take money from shoe companies in order to maintain our objectivity when writing about hiking shoes, so we always pay for them out of our own pockets.
- We put each pair of shoes through its paces by sending our testers on a series of hikes over varying distances and terrain types to ensure that they pass muster in every critical category, from comfort to durability to water resistance.
- We are extra cautious about the most in-demand shoe models, so we subject them to our comprehensive lab tests.
- We take into account the views of others; to provide the most thorough reviews possible, we compile thousands of testimonials from professional hikers and everyday consumers. To help you out, I've summarized these in a quick pros and cons list.
After considering all of these factors, a score between 0 and 100 called the CoreScore is given to every model. That's why we developed this unique rating scale for choosing the best products in each class.
Corescore is a number from 0 to 100 that combines user and expert feedback. The following table displays the frequency of each rating for all hiking shoes.
- The most popular 2% of all footwear for hiking
- Prompt relief
- Anti-sway device
- Microbe-resistant insole
- Weird method of lacing
- Exceptionally High Collar
Salomon's X Ultra 4 GTX is a technological marvel.
Priced at around $150, this shoe has everything you could want in a durable, all-terrain hiking shoe. We loved the prior versions, and this fourth installment keeps surprising us.
We put one hundred pairs of hiking shoes to the test and keep coming back to this Salomon as the best overall value. For starters, it offers unparalleled ease of use in terms of comfort. It takes only a few miles for the shoe, which is on the stiffer side, to feel like it's been with you forever.
This forerunner is at home on the most treacherous ground. We put it through its paces by venturing onto some unofficial alpine trails. The Results Are There, Too The shoe has an incredibly gripping sole that prevents slippage on rocky terrain, dirt, and steep declines.
Additionally, the heel of the shoe is constructed in a way that facilitates a soft landing and a smooth progression from one step to the next. During our testing, the Salomon shoe showed no signs of instability.
The brand's Quicklace system is highly regarded and is another major perk. If you hate fumbling around with laces but need to quickly tie or untie your shoes, this is a godsend. We really like how it distributes pressure evenly across the midfoot, making the foot feel more secure.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX are great for when you need to go into the water without worrying about your feet getting wet. In our experience, this is one of the most reliable pairs of waterproof hiking shoes equipped with a GTX membrane.
This shoe is also available in a non-waterproof iteration if you'd prefer a more breathable option for the warmer months.
What really sets it apart, though, is the fact that you can get everything mentioned above in just 13 words. 8 oz Commonly available hiking footwear of comparable quality typically weighs at least 2 oz more
If you're looking for a pair of hiking shoes, look no further; these offer the best combination of performance and weight, not to mention value.
Typical hiking shoes are superior to trail runners and sneakers in terms of protection, traction, and stability. Wearing running shoes could be a good option if you're the active type. If you're the complete opposite, though, hiking shoes that are strong, supportive, and sticky will serve you well.
Take a look at the picture below to learn what distinguishes hiking shoes from trail runners, hiking boots, and regular old sneakers.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: The ratings reflect the typical performance of each shoe type. However, this isn't true of every model out there. Shoes of different brands and models will be given varying ratings.
The structure of hiking shoes and the advantages of different materials
The value of hiking is frequently undervalued. It may look like a stroll in the park, but you'll need strength, stamina, and endurance to complete it. What you wear on your feet while hiking will be determined by the terrain and your personal preferences.
The design of a pair of hiking shoes is the single most important factor in determining how well they perform in terms of comfort, traction, stability, and longevity. Here we'll go over the fundamentals of hiking shoes, the materials typically used for those parts, the pros and cons of those materials, and how you can choose the best pair for your needs.
- Able to deflect water by its very nature
Weaker air circulation
It's softer right out of the box
Soaks up liquids easily
Over time, it tends to become more compact.
Scrambling in stony areas is where it really shines.
Slick surfaces, such as wet rocks, become less gripping.
Hiking boots that are impermeable to water, as well as resistant to it, and repel it
Waterproofing is a desirable feature in hiking footwear, especially if your hike will take you through snow or rain, across muddy trails, or over streams and rivers. Waterproof, water-repellent, and water-resistant are all terms that can be misleading.
It turns out you didn't have to be perplexed. The labels can be easily deciphered. Have a look at the list below.
-are constructed with sealed seams for added safety.
While waterproofing certainly has its advantages, it can be detrimental in warmer climates. We're all aware that they claim to be air-permeable, and we believe them. Truth be told, however, waterproof hiking shoes don't breathe as well as their non-waterproof or water-resistant counterparts. Their weightiness is also felt when walking.
Hiking shoes constructed from breathable, quick-drying materials are a great option for people prone to blisters (which is to say, everyone). You can buy waterproofing sprays to transform your regular sneakers into repellent ones, in case you're concerned about things like light rain.
There are 5 things you should look for in a good pair of hiking shoes.
Even after considering every model of hiking shoe on the list, settling on the best option may prove difficult. Luckily, all you need are these few expert tips to remember as you search for the perfect one:
1. Be prepared for the hike by knowing its length and level of difficulty.
When picking out your next hiking partners, keep in mind the hike's difficulty and expected duration. Shoe stability, support, and durability should all be increased for more demanding terrain.
The National Park Service (NPS) rates the trails' degrees of difficulty from easy (the lowest) to very difficult (the highest). What kind of footwear is best suited for each level of challenge is detailed below.
It's important to keep in mind that the weather or the season will significantly impact your decision. When hiking in the summer, it's important to have shoes with good ventilation. A pair of winter-appropriate, insulated hiking boots, on the other hand, is a must.
The load you're carrying has significance.
The most significant factor in how you feel while hiking is the weight of your backpack. Therefore, it is always recommended to only bring the necessities with you when traveling.
However, there are times, such as when thru-hiking or backpacking, when you simply must lug around a hefty load. Find shoes with lots of lateral support (ignore if you have strong ankles) for when the trip requires you to carry loads on your back.
Third, focus on your toes and the floor.
You should really care about your feet and learn your foot type. Knowing your arch type can help you choose the most comfortable shoe for your feet, in addition to knowing whether your feet are narrow or wide.
Look for the right size and shape 4.
It can be difficult, especially for a first-time buyer, to find the exact size and fit that they need. However, if you stick to these 6 easy guidelines, you'll have no trouble whatsoever finding the perfect fit.
Spend the afternoon shoe shopping. After a long day on your feet, swelling is to be expected. When out on a hike, the same thing will occur. Fitting new hiking boots is best done in the late afternoon.
Put it on, tie the laces, and feel around for any hot spots. The front of your shoes should be about a thumb's width away from your toes. The hiking boots are too large if your feet wiggle when you walk. The fit should be close but not tight.
Try them on with your hiking socks for the best fit. It's a good idea to take the hiking socks you intend to wear when you go shoe shopping. Cotton should be avoided because it absorbs and retains moisture and offers no insulation. Socks made of synthetic fibers or wool are preferable.
Don't forget to pack your insoles or orthotics of choice. User dissatisfaction is common with the insoles that come standard. The fit of your shoes can be greatly enhanced by using aftermarket insoles or your own custom orthotics. If this doesn't work, you can always try a different brand.
Take the incline and the decline in stride by using the ramp. Here, we check how well the shoe fits. Keep an eye out for a heel lift as you make your way up the plank. Make sure your toes don't hit the front of your shoes when you sit down. If your toes are hitting the front of the shoe or your heel is rising more than a quarter of an inch, try lacing them tighter or going up a size.
Wearing in your shoes for your trip is a must. There's a special breaking-in period for hiking shoes. Just wearing them around the house with your preferred socks is a good place to start. It's not comfortable now, but your feet will be grateful later. Gradually add on to your previous mileage total.
Master a few different methods of lacing your shoes.
The ability to tie your shoes securely may seem like a no-brainer, but it can help you avoid embarrassing situations on the trail if you know a few simple techniques. If you lace them too loosely, they may not provide enough support, and if you do it too tightly, you may get blisters and hotspots. Some useful strategies for preventing and treating the most typical hiking foot problems are outlined below.