With so many excellent options available, selecting a pair of hiking shoes that are perfect for your needs is no easy task. Each model of hiking shoe is unique in certain ways. There are a variety of features that will work better for some applications than others. The only way to make a decision that your feet will be happy with for the long term is to do your due diligence. Research all of the available options. With this comprehensive guide, we’ve made your job a little bit easier. We’ve compiled all of the vital information on 10 of the best hiking shoes in one place. Read on to learn how to find the hiking shoes that are perfect for your needs and gain all of the information you need on the best hiking shoes models that are available.
How to Pick the Best Hiking Shoes
The definition of the perfect hiking shoe will vary from person to person. Not only do you have to take the obvious into account, such as women’s hiking shoes being unviable for men’s feet, but there are also many subtle differences between hiking shoes that need to be considered as well. Sometimes the brief hiking shoe descriptions provided for product pages on major online retailers like Amazon aren’t enough to get a full grasp of all the details pertinent to the shoe you’re considering.
It can be well worthwhile to visit the manufacturer’s website as well since they often have more information than is provided on 3rd party online marketplaces. However, the reviews and questions posted on product pages on sites like Amazon are a veritable goldmine when it comes to information gathering. If you have a question about a particular hiking shoe, chances are someone has asked it before, saving you time and providing you with an immediate answer.
Familiarize Yourself with the Features
When selecting the best hiking shoes for your needs, it pays to become familiar with common features that are offered with different types of shoes. For instance, many models of hiking shoes feature leather uppers. This means that the top part of the shoe is constructed from leather. Leather is great for durability and is water resistant. However, it isn’t as breathable as mesh. Thus deciding whether to go for leather and in what percentage is a big consideration.
You’ll also want to take a close look at the soles of all the shoes that you’re considering. Mainly because the surface you push down on with each step makes a huge difference in terms of comfort. Most hiking shoes feature EVA midsoles. These are great for shock absorption but can dry up and crack over time. Also, make sure to check the material used for the outsole of the shoes you’re considering. Almost all hiking shoe soles are made of rubber, but not all types of rubber are created equal.
A Necessity for Trail Hiking
If you’re planning anything more intensive than a half-mile excursion on flat terrain, you’ll want to be equipped with the best hiking shoes. Hiking shoes provide you with the traction that you’ll need for ascending high slopes. At the same time they also offering essential support for making the inevitable descent. These types of shoes are specifically designed for the rigors of hiking. They will keep your feet feeling relaxed and fresh for the duration of your hike. While other types of shoes may be acceptable for a casual walk, hiking shoes are the only way to go if you want to master the mountains and trek cross-country for long distances.
The Best Hiking Shoes For Men Reviews
Equipped with a leather mid and mesh upper, this hiking shoe offering from The North Face makes the best of both worlds. Featuring a gore-tex lining that surrounds your foot while you’re on the trail, these shoes will keep your feet high and dry no matter what the conditions may be. The leather midsection has been coated with polyurethane in order to enhance the durability and aesthetics of these shoes.
One of the best features of the Ultra 109 GTX hiking shoe is the UltrATAC outsole. This specially designed outsole boasts lugs of different sizes and heights to provide ultimate grip on uneven surfaces. This shoe also features a TPU toecap to protect your feet from unseen dangers like rocks and roots. While this offering from The North Face is equipped with an industry standard EVA midsole, some customers have complained that the Gore-Tex liner doesn’t keep water out as well as is advertised and can also cause problems with breathability.
This shoe from legendary manufacturer Salomon includes all of the features that are to be expected from a high-end hiking shoe. The leather upper is coated with polyurethane and the entire frame of the shoe is surrounded by a waterproof Gore-Tex bootie. Most Salomon shoes boast this company’s proprietary Advanced Chassis technology, and the X Ultra 2 GTX is no exception. Consisting of an OrthoLite EVA midsole, a TPU chassis, and a Contragrip outsole, this hiking shoe from Salomon provides unique comfort and stability while on the trail.
These shoes are also equipped with SensiFit technology, which claims to cradle the foot for a “virtually customized fit”. While some customers love having Gore-Tex protecting their feet, others consider this feature to be a gimmick and would just as soon do without it. Yet it can’t be denied that the Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX shoe benefits from superior construction and attention to detail.
Constructed from a combination of polyurethane-coated leather and synthetic materials, the Newton Ridge Plus II is a solid-looking hiking shoe from Columbia, the legendary outdoors outfitter. This hiking shoe features a proprietary Techlite midsole, distinguishing itself from the EVA that is commonly used in other models. Also included are Omni-Grip outsoles for advanced traction. These shoes are listed as containing leather, suede, mesh, and metal hardware, and it seems that the metal must be used as a toe guard.
One definite con of these hiking shoes from Columbia is lack of detail when it comes to describing the features. Even on the manufacturer’s website, details are hard to come by. For instance, these shoes are listed as being waterproof, but no indication is given as to how this waterproofing is accomplished. Customers that want to try the Newton Ridge Plus II for themselves will need to go off of what limited information is available and the general looks of the shoe, which does seem sturdy enough in pictures.
From Chinese manufacturer Xiang Guan come these sleek and low-rising hiking shoes that are constructed from 100% synthetic material. For this hiking shoe design, Xiang Guan decided to leave the leather behin. This should definitely score some points in lightweight breathability. But it may leave a hiker high and dry in terms of support and durability. These shoes are designed in traditional oxford style. This means that they only rise a short way over the ankle, providing for greater flexibility.
The included EVA insole is removable. This is a definite plus because you’ll be able to increase the life of the shoe by replacing the insole after it inevitably cracks and compresses. But besides assuring potential customers of the comfort and “hi-tec” design of the Xiang Guan Men’s Oxford Hiking Shoes, the manufacturer doesn’t go into very great detail about the materials or processes used in the manufacturing process.
The North Plains II Hiking Shoe comes in two different colors. This is a definite plus for those who appreciate the ability to customize their look. The uppers on these shoes consist of stripes of rubber punctuated by mesh webbing. This allows for flexibility and breathability at the same time. The techlite midsole provides powerful impact resistance. It also returns a great deal of the energy expended by pushing off from the ground. The outsole consists of Omni-Grip non-marking rubber. Columbia boasts that these soles provide for incredible traction. There’s also a toe cap that provides protection from obstacles and improves the durability of the shoe.
These shoes are advertised as featuring a seam-sealed waterproof bootie. However, no information is given about the bootie material or breathability. Like other Columbia hiking shoes, not a great deal of information is provided. It is necessary for potential customers to take a minor leap of faith when trying these shoes. Most that do however, are happy they did.
Best Hiking Shoes For Women Reviews
Merrell calls this hiking shoe the Mother Of All Boots for a reason. Equipped with Vibram outsoles and a distinctive leather-and-mesh upper, the Moab 2 shoe provides advanced traction and breathability. These shoes from Merrell include Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ blended EVA midsoles for advanced support on any terrain. These proprietary midsoles are advertised as providing additional heel support and zonal arch, giving you more pumping power with each step. The outsoles are made from Vibram TC5+, which is widely respected as one of the best outsole materials in the industry for traction and durability.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot to dislike about the Moab 2. Almost every reviewer on Amazon provides the product with 5 stars. With an obvious focus on quality, the only perceivable downside to the Merrell Moab 2 is the relatively high price. While some may prefer a full-leather upper for their hiking shoes, incorporating breathable mesh into the design of the Moab 2 doesn’t seem to be accompanied by a decrease in quality as is so often the case.
The Moab FST is a mid-cut hiking shoe that serves as a more robust variation of the Moab 2. An extended leather upper provides better ankle support than the original Moab while compromising somewhat on flexibility. The Moab FST features a heavy-duty Vibram MegaGrip outsole that is studded with lugs of various shapes and sizes that provide excellent traction on any surface. The entire ankle section of these boots is composed of leather while the lower portion of the upper is composed of a combination of leather and mesh. These hiking shoes are equipped with Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ midsoles and a bellows tongue to keep dirt and debris out of your shoes.
Overall, the Moab series from Merrell appears to be one of the higher-quality hiking shoe families available on the market today. This attention to quality of course commands a higher price, but if you’re willing to pay extra, the Moab FST doesn’t seem to have many downsides when compared to other hiking shoes.
This hiking shoe from Clorts represents an affordable option that’s best for occasional hikers. Featuring an upper body that’s composed of 60% leather and 40% mesh. The Clorts HKL826 cuts off at the ankle to provide maximum flexibility. These hiking shoes are equipped with a uneebtex waterproof membrane that keeps moisture out. At the same time, they provide a good degree of breathability. The Clorts HKL826 is equipped with a standard EVA midsole. Not much information is provided about the outsole other than that it is composed from rubber. A one-piece tongue keeps the elements and debris out of your shoe where they belong. If you’re looking for a sturdy pair of hiking shoes that won’t break the bank, the Clorts HKL826 is the way to go.
The Clorts HKM823 is a mid-height hiking boot offered at an affordable price. Featuring a uneebtex waterproof membrane and a mixture of suede and mesh on the upper portion of the shoe. The Clorts HKM823 offers the best of both worlds when it comes to breathability and durability. This hiking shoe includes a compression molded EVA midsole for maximum longevity. There is also a proprietary actifresh insole that keeps bacteria away for fresh feet and socks. The rubber outsole may not be as complex as a Vibram sole. However, it appears sturdy and capable of providing excellent traction on any terrain. Despite the low price of the Clorts HKM823, this hiking shoe is very highly reviewed. This gives the impression that Clorts has found the perfect balance between affordability and quality.
For those that are looking for a hiking shoe that’s truly out of the box, the Keen Newport EVO H2 is there to satisfy any eclectic cravings. More sandal than hiking boot, this offering from Keen features regular openings around the side for maximum breathability. This open design of course means that waterproofing is impossible and the wearer is incapable of protecting themselves from dirt and debris. But it can’t be denied that this hiking shoe from Keen is uniquely lightweight and unique in appearance.
Equipped with an EVA midsole and a rubber outsole with razor siping, the Newport EVO H2 is highly durable and supportive. This shoe also features something called a metanomical footbed design. This supposedly fits the contours of the foot to provide excellent arch support. These shoes would be the wrong choice for wet or snowy conditions. However, they’re great for desert hiking or going on summer treks.