Hiking boots are a wonderful thing when it comes to backpacking treks and more aggressive trails, but for quick day hikes and trail runs, hiking shoes are preferable to boots for several reasons. For starters, they weigh less. You typically won’t need the heavier features of a more rugged boot for day hikes (such as advanced waterproofing and sole features), and trail runners will especially appreciate not having to carry that excess weight in their shoes.
Additionally, hiking shoes offer increased ventilation to help keep your feet cool and dry. A good pair of hiking shoes will also include solid foot support and toe protection since you certainly will, at some point, accidentally kick a rock or pointy object. Traction and water resistance may also be important to consider if the trails you frequent have slick sections or pass thru areas with water.
When researching these best hiking shoes for this list, traction, durability, toe and foot protection, ventilation, and degree of water resistance were all heavily considered. Special emphasis was also placed on consumer experiences and reviews.
The Mountain Masochist II offers superb grip and durability for backpackers, hikers, and trail runners. This shoe has a huge following thanks to its snug, lightweight construction and supportive design. Read Full Review
This is a tough, lightweight, protective shoe that performs beautifully on hikes and backpacking trips. The lacing system melds the shoe to your foot for an amazingly snug fit while the tongue is great at keeping out small rocks and dirt. The full-length protective plate effectively reduces shock and pokes from uneven, pointy surfaces. These shoes are also fantastically grippy thanks to the angled forefoot blades and perform very well on wet rocks and slick surfaces.
The Teva Raith eVent hiking shoe offers beast mode amenities for aggressive trails and terrain. It is waterproof, extremely supportive, and offers superior performance in a relatively lightweight package. Read Full Review
This hiking shoe is designed for more aggressive hikes and activities. The eVent waterproof fabric shields your foot like a champ during water crossings and is surprisingly breathable; your feet will obviously heat up a bit more in this shoe compared to non-waterproof membrane alternatives, but that is expected. The rubber sole offers incredible grip on virtually any trail terrain you will come across. This shoe also includes Teva’s Shoc Pad in the heel to keep shock absorption in your shoe instead of in your joints. Last but not least, the Mush insole is extra comfortable and supportive.
This hiking shoe is epically comfortable and durable. It offers breathable support and sturdy protection from rugged terrain. Read Full Review
The Voyageur is a stellar choice for keeping the toes and soles happy. The shoe's rubber toe bumpers and carbon rubber outsole offer excellent interior protection from toe-jamming and exterior protection from toe stubbing on rocks and upraised roots. It is also remarkably breathable thanks to mesh ventilation windows and offers killer grip due to the multi-directional lugs on the outsole. The leather is also water resistant and dries quickly when wet.
This lightweight, flexible hiking shoe is an extremely versatile option for adventurists looking for a minimalist outdoor experience. Use them for hiking, running, biking, and any other adventure where your tootsies could use a little extra coverage and support. Read Full Review
This hiking shoe is an excellent choice for hikers and adventurists who desire a barefoot experience but don't want to sacrifice comfort or traction. The Vibram outsole offers a hefty amount of grip for such a minimalist shoe. The mesh lining helps keep your foot cool and ventilated during hot climbs. A rock plate in the forefoot helps decrease bruising and hot spots by absorbing shock from rocks and uneven terrain. This shoe also incorporates a few reflective details to help keep you visible to others in low light situations.
The Moab Ventilator is a top pick for hiking and will also serve you well during your other favorite outdoor activities. They are unbelievably comfortable and will offer excellent support for many adventures to come. Read Full Review
Merrell shoes are a perennial favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and the Moab Ventilator more than adds to that reputation. These multisport shoes are a great accessory for anything and everything outdoors. They are extremely supportive, flexible, and breathable for a hiking shoe. The toe/heel bumper protection and air-cushioned heel effectively work together to ensure overall foot comfort and shock absorption. Many users often report how impressed they are with this shoe's durability and longevity.