10 Best Hiking Shoes for Men & Women in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

best hiking-boots

Here we have received the best hiking shoes of this year, just for you. Believe it or not, your hiking experience is greatly dependent on the type of shoe you wear. It is the most important part of the attire and the things to take along on a hiking trip.

Although many still overlook the importance, once you give these hiking shoes a try, you will feel a huge difference in the way things were before and after their addition to your gear. The speed, fatigue, feet comfort and ease of making through the rough terrain are a few of the major benefits these provide.

Most of the hiking shoes are designed to prevent injuries and the formation of blisters as well. However, with a huge array of designs, colors, types and brands, which one is the best hiking shoe?

Whether you are looking for the best hiking shoe for men or women, the answer rests on many factors. We have highlighted a few of the major considerations to make before buying in our detailed buying guide in the article, to help you find the right one.

To start with, let’s have a look at our selected top ten best hiking shoes for the year.

1. EEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking ShoesEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoes

Let’s begin with our Top Pick on the list, the KEEN men’s Targhee II. Made from leather and in the USA from the high-grade material, this one is prime quality and also comes with inside padding for the most comfort.

The hiking shoe is priced at a premium as it is made from scratch and wear resistant leather and has the rubber sole for giving the foot a good grip.

The heel is elevated to about 2 inches which gives you a push and makes the task easy and fatigue free. Moreover, the waterproof feature keeps your foot safe and warm even in the rain or when passing through puddles.

If you want top-grade quality, comfort and want your feet to be able to breathe, then this one is just the right waterproof hiking shoe for you.

The lugged outsole also enhances the grip, especially as you make your way through on the rough, uneven terrain. It also keeps the ankle safe and protected on the trails, mountains, and steep or rocky terrains.

All in all a great shoe, as long as it fits right, with all the basic elements to make it a winner.

  • Durable.
  • High quality.
  • Supports the ankle.
  • Waterproof.
  • Heavier than trail runners
  • Run undersize

A durable and quality shoe, it has all the basic features you may be looking for in a hiking shoe. It has the internal padded comfort, allows ventilation and yet, it is also waterproof. Moreover, your ankle stays protected and safe from injuries, no matter how rough the terrain.

2. Salomon Men’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Multifunctional Hiking BootSalomon Men’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Multifunctional Hiking Boot

If you have the budget and are looking for quality and comfort, then this one is our premium choice. Made from leather this one too has a rubber sole for the traction. It provides a comfortable space for the foot to settle in and also comes with a water-resistant membranous lining.

It is one of the best hiking boots and gives you the comfort and also allows the foot to stay ventilated on the hot summer afternoons. Plus, a striking feature of the boot is the gusseted tongue that does not let any dust or annoying small stones to enter into the shoe.

It is made to fit the foot perfectly; you will immediately notice how it feels like it’s just been made for your foot as soon as you step into it. The outsole has the CONTRAGRIP that gives your feet great traction on the run and on various types of terrains.

With this one, you will never feel burdened or get slowed down the track. It is a great running shoe as well and is also waterproof.

The footbed is OrthoLite to provide the maximum comfort and also helps keep all the weight away from the ankle.

  • Light in weight.
  • Very stable.
  • Waterproof.
  • Lets you go as fast as you want.
  • Not quite as breathable

A premium product with the top grade material and membranes to actually deliver what it promises. The lightweight hiking shoe features a waterproof membrane, Light weighted structure and a nice fit for most types of feet. The EVA midsole further enhances the experience and makes it very comfortable for the feet even if worn for days.

3. Adidas Men’s Terrex Swift R GTX Hiking ShoesAdidas Men’s Terrex Swift R GTX Hiking Shoes

Not everyone can afford luxurious premium footwear. Don’t want to spend too much, don’t worry! The Adidas men’s Terrex shoes are designed to give you the best value for money.

The shoes are made from textile material and do have the rubber soles for a strong grip. Light and comfortable, these have an Adiprene midsole for shock absorption during the hike. This way the foot gets added protection and stays strong all through the journey.

On the outer side, the shoe gives you a strong grip and is great even in the rain or the wet terrain. You can wear them for days in a row and your feet will stay light, fresh, and will not get tired unlike as in the other types of shoes. You can just take them out of the box and set out right away. No need to take the time to break-in.

So even if it’s the rocky pathway, the dangerous slope, mountains or glaciers, you will not be deserted or disappointed by these. The sturdiness is outclassed, at this price.

Adidas will keep your feet dry, light and active all day long and even for days. If you are not looking for a typical hiking boot you need to try these and you will love the quality and support it provides.

  • Affordable.
  • Good quality.
  • Shock absorption.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Not as robust as other options

These shoes are designed for comfort and for giving you the maximum value at the best price. These are very easy to carry due to their weight and also long lasting and supportive of the whole foot. Also great for all types of terrains, no matter how many obstacles you face in the way.

4. Merrell Men’s Moab Waterproof Hiking ShoeMerrell Men’s Moab Waterproof Hiking Shoe

The Merrell men’s hiking shoes are made from the leather, making them a great choice for use on the uneven terrain. The shoe has a bellows tongue that helps keep away the annoying dust and stones from getting inside the shoe.

The shoes feature the rubber sole and cushioned heel that acts as a shock absorber and makes the shoe more stable to provide good traction wherever you take it. No matter how warm the day is, your feet will feel fresh, active and stay dry all the time. These Merrells can also serve as great walking shoes as they are light in weight and hence really convenient on the trail, even if worn for a long time.

The grip is the most noticeable feature of this shoe. No matter how hard the trail or how hot or cold the day is, your feet will firmly stand their ground. Also, if it gets too hot you wont have to worry about the annoying and uncomfortable sweat.

The feet will stay dry and comfortable, aided by the M Select Dry technology, part of its design. The shoes look great and are also very durable, hence highly recommended at such a great price.

  • Strong grip.
  • Breathable.
  • M Select Dry keeps the feet dry and comfortable.
  • Bellows’ tongue.
  • Mid traction in rock and mud
These provide solid traction on the track and are known to keep the feet dry and comfortable for as long as you wear them. The shoes are breathable and also come with the bellows tongue that helps prevent the accumulation of dust or small stones inside the shoe.

5. Salomon Men’s X Ultra 2 Hiking ShoeSalomon Men’s X Ultra 2 Hiking Shoe

Available in three color options, this one has a unique mudguard. This feature helps protect the shoe from slowing you down if you hit a wet muddy puddle on the way. The shoe is designed as the low cut with the synthetic layers up top.

If you are thinking about whether it would fit the foot or not, you may rest assured, with the SENSIFIT system, your foot will feel like its always been part of the hiking shoe. The rubber sole is great for giving you the traction on the steeper areas and the toe caps, keep the toes safe from injuries since they are in the front line at all times.

Since hiking often requires you to get dressed and all set for the hike within minutes even, the Quicklace system hence comes in handy. It makes it really easy to pull these on and off whenever required. No more fumbling with the laces or straps or zippers on the way. All these features make this a great shoe for hiking, on even the roughest of the terrains.

Moreover, it also features the OrthoLite sock liner that makes it comfortable and also doesn’t leave much strain on the foot during the course. The shoe gives you a good grip overall, is light in weight and very stable.

  • Protects the foot.
  • Light.
  • Good grip.
  • Comfortable.
  • Low cut
  • Lace system
The shoe comes with Sensifit technology. This makes it very flexible and suited for most types of feet. You will feel the shoe is just the perfect size every time. Your feet will stay protected and relaxed at all times.

6. Altra Men’s Lone Peak 3 Running ShoeAltra Men’s Lone Peak 3 Running Shoe

These are made from synthetic material and help keep the foot protected and supported. This one is usually the best for the mountains or the rough and rugged terrain. The midsole has a double EVA layer that keeps the foot comfortable and well gripped no matter where you take it.

The waterproof hiking shoe will feel light as if its part of the foot itself and you will feel a marked difference in how active you are even after traveling in these for long hours, and even days.

It has been designed to give you comfort and includes all the great features of a good mountaineering shoe. Also part of its features is the stone guard technology and the toe box, which keep the gravel out of the shoe and also provide increased protection to the toes.

Another striking feature is the zero-drop sole. Although it may require some time to get used to once your feet accept the feature, you feel a marked difference in the run.

Your feet will not get tired and stay comfortable throughout the day. You can also make it through the puddles and mud with ease without any worries about the moisture from getting inside to your toes. The feet will always stay dry and happy, as you go about your long hiking adventures.

  • Light in weight.
  • Comfortable.
  • Guard technology.
  • Dual EVA layer midsoles.
  • Rear liner/foam bunching
With three design options, these shoes provide the comfort and grip you need on the roughest of the terrains. Designed to fit you best even on the mountains and the rocky trails, these include the EVA midsoles and the guard technology to make the experience as hassle-free and comfortable for you as can be.

7. Men’s The North Face Ultra 109 GTX Trail Running ShoesMen’s The North Face Ultra 109 GTX Trail Running Shoes

These come with a suede sole and are comfortable waterproof hiking shoes. The stability you get as you stomp through the puddles is just remarkable.

Moreover, the GORE-TEX makes it comfortable to wear for days, whereby keeping your feet dry and ventilated.

Your feet are completely supported with the leather on the upper midfoot which keeps it safe from shocks and injuries. Moreover, the toe caps help protect the toes and nails from getting hurt upon hitting the rocks or other hard items on the terrain.

So if you are looking for design, looks, and protection for the feet, then this is a good option. Also suited for the uneven or rocky terrains it has the EVA midsole and also a snake plate for maximizing the protection.

The best part about these hiking shoes is that these can also be worn daily. The material and inside is light, comfortable and protects all parts of the foot. You can choose from seven different design and color options, as per your taste and add them to your hiking gear. Since these aren’t made from pure leather, the cleaning and maintenance are really easy too.

  • Waterproof.
  • Breathable mesh.
  • EVA midsole.
  • High Quality.
  • Heavy
This shoe is all about protection. It helps keep your feet protected and safe from shocks, injuries and strong impacts over the rough terrain. Also, it is light and comfortable to be worn through the day even when you are going about the routine life.

8. New The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Hiking ShoesNew The North Face Men’s Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Hiking Shoes

Another smooth and reliable hiking shoe, this one comes with a suede sole. The light-weighted design is the best for gliding through the trail.

You can travel as fast as you like without unnecessarily getting tired through the rough and rocky terrain. The exterior is coated with the polyurethane leather that serves as an added protection and increases the longevity of the shoe.

Moreover, it is also waterproof and made from the breathable membrane to allow the feet to stay dry and active at all times.

The shoe provides cushioned support all around the foot, making it ever comforting no matter how hard or long the journey may be. You can get all the support and traction you need with this one, in the extremely hot and humid summers as well.

These are great in terms of quality, support, and strength, and also serve amazingly well when hiking on the rough terrain.

  • Quality shoes.
  • PU external coating.
  • Very supportive.
  • Breathable and waterproof.
  • Poor Cushioning
A really nice option, particularly if you are looking for support and durability. The shoe is comfortable and great for hikes and keeps your feet dry all day long. The breathable membrane enables you to wear it for days. So if you are planning a longer trip, these are a good option that will aid you through the trip and make it easier and ever comfortable for you.

9. Vasque Breeze III Low GTX Shoe – Men’sVasque Breeze III Low GTX Shoe – Men’s

These are made from leather and come with an extra comfort layer. There are separate toes and heel ventilation ports that keep the foot active and make these a great choice to be worn through the day.

The shoe features a dual-layer of EVA on the bottom for increased comfort and traction. Extra cushioning also keep it supportive and the ventilation ports are there to ensure breathability.

The shoe is waterproof and really good to wear for days.

There are five color options to choose from and these are also quite durable. Easy to get into and out, the laces are nice and made to last. You will see that the outer upper part is great for going through the rough and rocky terrain.

Plus the chances of injuries are minimal, as the traction provided by the soles is strong and keeps you going for as long as you desire.

You may have to break in a few days before taking off on the trail, it will also give you an idea about the feel and comfort on the hike.

  • Water resistant.
  • Durable laces.
  • Comfortable and roomy.
  • Strong and supportive
  • Heavy
  • Expensive
Built to last, these hiking shoes look great, are priced at an affordable level and give you good value. These are not just long lasting, but also very comfortable and strong. Your toes can enjoy the space and while it gives a good grip, it also keeps the foot comfortable.

10. Lowa Men’s Renegade II GTX LO Hiking ShoeLowa Men’s Renegade II GTX LO Hiking Shoe

Made from leather, these come with the synthetic soles. The leather on the exterior is waterproof and hence lasts long.

Plus it also has the tough PU coating that keeps the shoe protected and dry even during the extreme climatic conditions.

The traction is good, it also absorbs shocks and keeps you safe from the common injuries, up on the trail. This one is great for the daytime adventures as it provides comfort, support and also takes away the burden from the feet.

These are breathable on the inside and hence the feet can stay active and dry, helping you to perform well and also, without any fatigue.

The footbed is climate controlled for giving you the most comfort during the hot and humid days and the cold, windy days as well.

These are flexible, comfortable, and available in five colors and though pricier than others, but give great comfort to the feet no matter how hot or cold it gets.

The shoes are designed to meet all the prime requirements for a good hiking experience and give you smooth traction throughout the journey. Even if the trail gets muddy, uneven or hard, these will help you hold on the trail without much effort on your part.

  • Spacious.
  • Comfortable.
  • Great design.
  • Provide warmth and support.
  • Not stiff enough
These hiking shoes are comfortable, complete with shock absorption mechanisms, climate control, and waterproof features. The design is very classy and it is also great if you have a large backpack to take care of. Also, the weatherproof feature works great typically on the wet and muddy terrains. These provide comfort and can be great hiking partners in the winters as well as the hot and sunny summers.

Hiking Shoes Buying Guide

Choosing the right pair of shoes that actually fit is often as hard as finding your soulmate. Moreover, the purpose you want these shoes for is one prime factor you need to consider before setting out.

Hiking, as the name goes, is not an activity for the faint-hearted. It requires stamina, physical strength, a whole lot of gear and the right pair of shoes!

Your shoes can make a whole lot of difference in your trail. The more comfortable the feet gripped by a great pair of hiking shoes, the easier it will be for you to cover great distances. Since it is already one tiring experience, it is only healthy that your feet support you through your journey.

So to decide the right pair for your feet, you need to know the basics about the different hiking shoes. Here’s a great video for all those who are new to the concept of these shoes.

First, let us see the types of hiking shoes and boots available in the markets today.

Types of Hiking Boots/Shoes


  • Hiking Shoes

These have flexible center soles that make these great for hiking during the hot daytime. Most of the shoes are low-cut and are ideal for longer hikes.

The hiking shoes have about everything the hikers need for going on the longer trails. These are long-lasting, built with the high-grade material (hence often expensive) and give a comfortable grip to the foot. They also feature water and scratch resistance and are quite light in weight.

When compared to the hiking boots, these are much more comfortable and also gaining more popularity these days amongst the hiker communities.

  • Hiking Boots

Hiking boots are often the most sought after in the category by all the young and old. These are suitable for long hours and can support heavyweights. These also cover the ankles and are great for the rough terrain as well as the cold weather.

  • Light Hiking Shoes

These often look like running shoes. Mostly preferred by the beginners and those who travel to shorter distances, these are low cut and great for the leveled terrains.

  • Mountaineering Boots

Mostly preferred by the avid mountaineers and other professionals, these boots are designed for the rough terrain. They support the middle part of the feet and also are great for carrying heavier loads. SO if you have a larger backpack, these tough mountaineering boots are the best for the job.

  • The Trail Runners

These are known for their lightweight design and give thorough support to the foot. If you are an avid hiker and love to take the longer trails, then these can be a great option for you.

  • Day Hiking Boots

These are great for the day time and ideal for the shorter trips. They may be designed in the low or medium cut style and give you the flexibility you need on the uneven terrain. However, one downside is that these aren’t as durable as the others and not suitable for the longer hikes.

  • Backpacking Boots

The backpacking boots are the best if you have a heavier physique or have a larger backpack to take along on the trail. Most of these are high cut, covering and protecting the ankle from injuries. These are supportive of the whole foot and last long. If you want the ultimate comfort for the long day trips, then these will be the best you can give to your feet.

Important Considerations When Picking the Hiking Boot

how to choose the hiking shoes

01 The Right Fit

All hiking boots are supposed to FIT PERFECTLY in every sense of the word. They should not be tight, or lose and give you enough room to settle those toes as comfortable as can be.

Since you are going to be wearing these shoes for a couple of hours at least, and the hike is a strenuous task as well, the shoes have to be comfortable.

The wrong size, wrong fit and even the extra tightness around the midsole can actually turn your hiking experience into an awful one.

Here are some tips to help you find the right size of the shoes for your hiking adventure:

  • Try the shoes in the evening with the socks. Since the feet are at their most swollen stage of the day in the evening, you will have a better idea about the fit.
  • Find out the exact size of the foot on the fitting device available at the stores; make sure to have it evaluated by a specialist at the outlet.
  • In the case of buying online, you can also log on to REI.com and check out the size charts to determine the exact size at home.
  • Check the size with the right type of socks. The very socks that you are going to wear or the orthotics you with to place inside.
  • Take a little walk in those shoes to have an idea about comfort, grip, and feel.
  • If you are comfortable with a certain brand, always consider repurchase with the same later on too.
  • Make use of the insoles if needed for more comfort and for achieving the right fit.
  • Try the thick as well as the thin insoles and then see which one suits you best. This will help your foot get comfortable and adjusted to the shoe.
  • Break into the boots before setting out.
  • If you have smaller or low volume feet, try the thick woolen socks. These will help your feet stay snug and comfortable without requiring you to tightly tie the laces.

The right size of the shoe or boot keeps your footwell placed so that it does not slide and the chances of blisters are minimal. Make sure that the toes do not touch the front part of the shoes. Ideally, it should be at a half-inch distance from the front.

Similarly, for the heels, try to leave about half an inch space behind it. Most of the time, the feet often swell a bit during the day on a long hike. So, these measures help to accommodate the foot with ease whereby providing the maximum support throughout.

02 Comfort

One of the most annoying things to happen on a hike are shoes that turn out to be too tight or uncomfortable. These not just hinder your walk but also cause a major painful experience in case of the occurrence of blisters or wounds.

03 Hiking Conditions

  • Hiking during the Day

For hiking, during the daytime, you would be carrying a smaller backpack. Since the things needed during a day can easily be carried in a small backpack, you do not have to worry about the extra load.

  • The Terrain

How even or leveled is the terrain you would be hiking on? If the path is leveled or smooth, you will need a separate set of shoes/boots, whereas for a rocky, uneven terrain such as the mountains etc. you need shoes that keep your feet well gripped and sturdy onto the ground.

  • The Distance to Cover

The complete length of the distance you wish to cover determines the number of hours you’ll be wearing your shoes. The shoes must be able to provide comfort in order to endure the environmental conditions during this time.

04 The Support

The hiking shoes have to provide maximum support. You need to evaluate first, however, the total support you will be needing through your hiking.

This depends on a number of factors. Such as The total distance you will cover, the number of pounds you will be carrying and also how the terrain you would travel through is. Always remember the farther you wish to go, the more support the shoes must provide. Similarly, if the terrain is rough and you are carrying more than a few pounds, you will definitely need more support down your heels.

05 Water Resistance

Another important consideration while hiking is that the feet should stay dry and sweat-free. As long as the feet are dry, you can combat the weather extremities to a great extent as the dry feet are cooler in the summers and warmer during the winters.

If the feet get sweaty during the hiking, the chances of development of blisters increases. So, try to look for those types – especially if you are prone to sweating – which is made from the breathable membrane. Water resistance also helps to keep the feet from getting wet if the terrain has puddles or wet mud.

Water resistant membranes help keep the feet warm and are great for the colder weather.

06 Good socks

We recommend not to buy cotton socks to wear with these shoes. The most preferred of the lot are the synthetic and woolen socks as they are comfortable and softly cushion the entire foot.

Also, these dry rather quickly as compared to the other types so that you can replace and reuse easily on the hiking trips.

07 Purpose

The purpose you are buying the shoes for is of most importance. Actually, the whole makeup of the shoe is determined by the actual purpose of it. It is also in turn dependent on the other factors we’ve covered in the article. However, you must keep this in the forefront when deciding the right shoe to buy.

08 Experience

Are you a professional or just a beginner at hiking? This too is very important when buying hiking shoes. For the beginners, the heavier shoes that provide more traction are generally recommended. Moreover, boots also help against the injuries, particularly around the ankles, so if you are just getting started on this new hobby, look for the hiking boots.

For those who are professional mountaineers or experienced hikers, we recommend the light weighed shoes as they are well acquainted with all the hurdles they may encounter up to the terrain.

09 Quality

Since hiking is by no means an easy task, the shoes you wear must be built to withstand all the hurdles, rocks, weather conditions and other external factors. For this, you cannot compromise on the quality EVER.

Low-quality shoes may break down in the midst of the hiking, leaving you stranded without help for a long time. Moreover, they could lead to serious injuries, particularly on the ankle. So make sure to buy good quality shoes, preferably from a renowned brand. Even if it costs a couple of bucks more than the other types, if it’s worth it, spend it.

All in all, the beauty and look of the hiking shoe should be of the least importance. Your comfort, the shoe quality, traction, weight, and protection are what should be the major concern at all times.

10 Type of Terrain

  • Even Terrain

If the trail is leveled and also the backpack is easy to carry, then the low cuts or mid-cut shoes are ideal in such a situation. The boots are very stable and provide a great grip for the feet.

  • Rough Terrain

For the uneven or rocky terrain, you need an additional grip. You must have the ankle covering boots for this type of terrain. These are usually made from the breathable membranes and the best for beating the heat on the go.

11 When there is No Trail

If you have to go through the wilderness or heavy grass, it is better to buy the trail boots. These are the best for the longer trips as well as for carrying the heavy loads.

  • For the Mountains

Grip, strength and high quality are what you need to get atop those mountains. However always make sure to break into such shoes before going up. You need to make the trip as comfortable as can be.

The shoes must be anti-slip, long-lasting and also water-resistant to provide the maximum protection and traction on the mountain.

12 Material

The material the shoe/boot is made from greatly impacts the overall look as well as the quality of the shoe. It is often interrelated with the other important considerations you may be made before the purchase. Such include the total weight of the boot, the water resistance, and the breathability.

These hiking shoes are usually made from the following types of leather and other materials:

  • Split-grain Leather

This one is mostly used in combination with the nylon and nylon mesh material and gives you great boots to beat the summer heat. These provide great internal ventilation for the feet to stay sweat-free all day long.

Cheaper than the other leather, however, these do not go great when immersed in water and are also prone to scratches.

  • Full-grain Leather

This type is very long-lasting and does not get scratched or stains when exposed to water. The boots made from the full-grain leather are ideal for the longer trips, no matter how much weight you are carrying and also great on the uneven terrain.

However, these cannot beat the split grains in terms of breathability.

  • Nubuck Leather

This type deeply resembles the suede material. It is resistant to water, scratches and very long-lasting. The quality is really good and it gives you the flexibility to move your foot about with ease.

However, you will have to take the time to break into it prior to the trip.

  • Synthetic

Many of the modern types are made from nylon and polyester. These are usually low cost, light and dry up rather quickly as compared to the other types.

However, it may start to deteriorate on the outside much sooner than the actual leather does.

  • Waterproof Membrane

The shoes made from the waterproof membrane are designed to keep your feet dry and give them proper ventilation throughout the day. However, still, these are not as ventilated as the others. So, sweating may not be completely countered by these boots.

  • Vegan

These are free from all sorts of animal hide/skin or other by-products.

  • Insulation

Some of the shoes may have some sort of insulation material that helps keep the feet warm during the winters or on the ice-cold glaciers.

The insulation material helps keep the toes from freezing so that you can stay at the same pace and make it through the coldest of the days during the hike.

13 Other Considerations

Other important considerations when making the purchase include:

  • The weather conditions and exposure to water.
  • The terrain you are considering for the hike.
  • The weight of the backpack you may be carrying.
  • Extra support required such as, for around the ankles.

Should you go for Shoes or Boots?

Should you go for Shoes or Boots?

When it comes to choosing between the shoes and the boots, consider your comfort level first. If you have been in a habit of wearing boots for the long hours, these can beat the winters, and keep the whole foot including the ankle well protected throughout.

Another element is the weight. The boots weigh a few ounces or a pound over the shoes. So again, your comfort is what matters most. Other things you can look into when deciding are the external conditions of the terrain, the miles you wish to travel and the overall strength of the foot are all major considerations to make before deciding.

While boots offer much protection to the ankle, and from the external conditions such as the water, mud, and snow, the shoes are often seen to be more convenient and comfortable by many of the hikers.

However, if you are considering the purchase of the shoes, then the fitting is most important. Unlike the boot, the shoes do not have a collar for support. They have to be the right fit in order to provide maximum traction to your feet.

Moreover, the shoes for hiking are light in weight and comfortable to be worn with ease for hours.

Parts of the Hiking Boot

Parts of the Hiking Boot

  • The Midsoles

This part is responsible for giving you the cushioned support and to keep your foot from getting any shocks through the hike. It provides comfort and keeps your foot under a strong grip as you make your way through the rocky terrain.

These midsoles may be made from the following materials:

  • EVA: This is the light and cheaper material for supporting the front part of the foot.
  • Polyurethane: A much stronger material, it is also better in terms of quality and is also used for making the strong mountain and backpacking boots.

Interior of the Hiking Shoes

What does the shoe for hiking have on the inside for support? Since the feet come in direct contact with the interior of the shoe, it is a vital element to look into prior to the purchase.

  • Plates: These are the inserts that are placed in the midst of the outsole and midsole of the shoe. If you are planning on a rough hike around the very rocky path, these will keep the feet protected from injuries and sharp stings.
  • Shanks: These too are the inserts that make the midsole stiff for stronger grip while carrying heavy backpacks and weights. They may cover the entire midsole or half of it depending on the design.
  • The Outsoles: The most common material used in the lower part or the outsole of the shoe is the rubber. At times it may be coupled with carbon to increase the stability and protection, especially on the sharp and rocky terrains.

The hard outsoles are really good in the mountains or areas where you need an additional grip, however, away from the trail, it is not very comfortable.

  • Lug Patterns: These add grip and help you make it through the toughest of terrains well supported. The lugs are actually the bumps on the outer sole that work against the accumulation of mud on the outsole and help you hike on the mountains with ease.
  • Heel Brake: This is the heel of the shoe and the hiking shoes have a tough heel that keeps you from sliding off or slipping on the slippery and inclined slopes.

Tips and Tricks

  • Consider waterproofing the shoes during or after the hike. It will help enhance their life.
  • Use wax/silicon treatment to work the leather. This will help the leather get softer and the shoes to get stretched to provide you a comfortable hold.
  • Use boot trees.
  • Try to keep them away from water and rain. This may cause the leather to shrink, and if the shoe is not made from the high-quality, it could get damaged.
  • Use stick-on type pads underneath the tongue of the shoe to enhance comfort.
  • Cut off your toenails frequently.
  • Make use of external sole pads or insoles.

Remember, there’s never a one type fits all type of shoe. You may even need more than a pair of hiking shoes, depending on your trail, distance to cover and the weather. However, again you must stay within your budget and if you can afford to buy two good pairs, you may do so. But if not, there are always great options like the ones discussed above.

One shoe may not give you everything, but with a general idea of how you would want to use it, you can make a better decision.

What’s the Difference between Hiking and Other Shoes?

Hiking shoes are specially designed to aid you as you carry extra weight on your shoulders and climb up the steep. Other comfortable walking shoes, maybe great for the leveled surface, however, if taken up on a rough hike, they may actually break.

Moreover, you will feel excessively tired as well. Whereas in the hiking shoes, the soles are stiff to give you extra support ln the base. This way the shoes support the feet and minimize fatigue. Moreover, if the climb is steep or rocky, then the extra grip you get with the hiking shoes keeps the feet from slipping and help you with the traction.

Many of the hiking shoes also provide protection from the extreme cold weather, and your feet stay warm, thanks to the additional membrane. Water resistance and breathability are also taken into consideration when designing these, unlike common footwear.

Another thing the hiking shoes provide is the support to the ankle. Often when the terrain is rough, one may have a sprained ankle. But with these hiking shoes, the ankle is protected and often covered, so there are least chances of injuries and falls.

What Type of Hiking Shoes Do You Get?

The hiking shoes are further divided into 4-5 categories based on their traction, support, and padding. Here are the most common types, as also discussed in our guide above:

Trail Running Shoes

Whether you are thinking of taking a hike on the dirt, path or uneven gravel, these are great. Although not entirely for the hikers, however, they serve the purpose, particularly for the shorter trails.

These also boost your speed and enable you to cover longer distances rather quickly. The soles are quite flexible for comfort and let the air get to your toes via the breathable membrane.

Hiking Shoes

These are made for the hike. Light and simplistic in nature the hiking shoes give you quality and the ultimate support you need on the trail.

These are great if you are planning the longer hiking trips.

Then there are the Hiking boots. These are so known for covering and proving additional support to the ankle. These have rubber soles and are often heavy in weight. Ideal for carrying the heavier backpack on the uneven terrain.

The Mountaineering Boots are made for the toughest conditions. Especially for winters, as these have special membranes that keep the feet from getting cold.

Lastly, the Approach shoes are often like the trail shoes but are designed for climbing up the rocky and uneven terrain.

How Do You Choose Hiking Shoes?

How Do You Choose Hiking Shoes?

Choosing the right hiking shoes is not an easy job. However, by keeping the above factors in mind, it is often much easier to decide the right pair. The best way is to actually try on the shoe if you can and see how it fits.

However, if you are considering buying online, then stick to the known or tried brands. This way you can be sure of the fit and quality.

Other factors to consider have also been discussed in our guide to help you find the right pair. For more details check out this article.

What Budget is required for Good Hiking shoes?

The hiking shoes can be bought at a minimal price of over $50 and can go up as high as $400. However, depending on your budget you can decide accordingly.

You may even buy two shoes for different purposes, such as the hiking boots for the winters and the normal trail runners for the shorter daytime trips.

Price is usually not a major determinant of good quality hiking shoes. You have to look into the specs of each and match it with your requirements and the type of trail to get the right pair.


The hiking shoes are one of the most important components of hiking gear. The wrong pair will not just make the whole hike uncomfortable but could also lead to blisters and injuries. You must consider the terrain, the type, material and the making of the shoe, the fit and your budget all in line before setting out for the purchase.

Remember a comfortable shoe leads to a comfortable journey. So go ahead and buy the right shoe for your hiking trip and enjoy the comfort, traction and ease all day long without getting unnecessarily tired at any time.

You will love the way they enhance your experience, every time you set out.

My name is Melvin A. Turner from Dallas Texas and I have a deep passion and love for fishing and kayaking. It is my love for the sport cultivated by my dad, coupled with a wide range of challenges I faced in the sport that led me to attend a kayak basic training. Over the years, I have tried and tested all kinds of different kayaks available in different environments to determine the best in each location. The experience and skill I have gained over the years up to date is invaluable. I look to share this knowledge and experiences gained over the years with those who share the passion for kayaking with me.