Hiking puts some wear and tear on your feet, especially if you are not wearing a pair of comfortable shoes. Many people spend a lot of time researching the best backpack for a camping day hike or the tent they need for their next overnight trip. People don’t think always about their feet and the shoes they will wear. They often grab the most rugged pair of shoes in their closets or will buy the first pair of boots they see at the outdoor store. This strategy frequently backfires as the wrong shoe leads to wet feet, blisters, and not enough support.
Check out these shoes below to help you feel comfortable on your next hike.
At A Glance
- Best for new hikers: Keen Targhee III
- Best for day hikes: Vasque Breeze LT GTX
- Best for ultralight or minimalist hikers: Altra Lone Peak 4.5 Trail
- Best trail shoe:
- Best for backpacking:
- Best affordable boot:
Best for new hikers: Keen Targhee III
Like the Merrell Moab, the Keen Targhee is a classic hiking boot. The brand is known for its roomy boots that are comfortable right out of the box. It’s a casual hiker that you can wear on the trail and around town. Don’t mistake for the Targhee for a city shoe, though. It has a rugged tread and ample support for a day on the trail.
Best for day hikes – Vasque Breeze LT GTX
The Vasque Breeze LT GTX is a lightweight hiking boot that provides a nimble feel on the trail without sacrificing support. Unlike the Salomon hiking lineup, which is more sneaker than a boot, the Breeze LT GTX brings a sneaker feel to a boot chassis. The Breeze LT is perfect for day hikes where speed and comfort are essentiaal. If you are carrying a heavy pack, you’ll need a more rugged, supportive boot like the Vasque Talus XT GTX.
Best for ultralight or minimalist hikers: Altra Lone Peak 4.5 Trail
Hands down, Altra makes some of the best shoes for trail running, but they also can be used for hiking. They are the top choice for hikers who prefer a lightweight and agile shoe over a heavy boot. The Lone Peaks weigh just over a pound and are both breathable and highly cushioned for comfort. One trade-off to having such a low-weight shoe is protection. The Lone Peaks don’t offer a lot of protection at the toe or along the sides of the foot. Because it is a low cut shoe, it also lacks the ankle support of boots.
Best trail shoe: Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX
The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is a versatile shoe that takes the fit of a sneaker and merges it into a shell designed for hiking. The lightweight shoe has a rugged tread and stable design that’ll make it easy to scramble over rocks and plow through the mud. Unlike the Altra Lone Peaks, which offer little to no protection, the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX shoe has a toe cap, so you don’t stub your toes on roots and rocks. If you need additional support, the X Ultra 3 also is available as a boot.
Best for backpacking – Oboz Bridger Mid
The Oboz Bridger is a reliable, well-rounded boot with outstanding durability. We’ve heard of pairs lasting for five years or more. The Bridgers provide exceptional protection in the toe and plenty of support in the ankle. It’s perfect for day hikes and overnights backpacking trips. The lacing system helps provide this support, but it does make the boot challenging to take on and off. The eye loops hold in the laces, so you have to loosen each one when removing your boots. The boot also is lacking pull tab at the back, which helps you pull on a boot.
Best affordable boot – Merrell Moab 2
Merrell has been selling the Moab for more than a decade. The combination leather and mesh upper and Vibram soles make the Moab not only comfortable but also a long-lasting boot that’ll go the miles. You’ll absolutely get your money’s worth out of this boot.
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