Those who love the great outdoors know just how important it is to have dry feet at all times during their adventures. Another important feature for these people is durability, and everyone knows that regular sport or walking shoes just don’t have this property.
As a hiker, don’t you want a waterproof footwear that will keep your feet nice and dry? And won’t it be nice if you could have a durable pair on top of that? In that case, getting the best waterproof hiking shoes might just be for you. Hiking shoes are meant to help the wearer on rugged terrain, prevent slipping, and survive the whole adventure without breaking or having the sole separating from the upper part.
Another important task of these shoes is to keep water away from your socks and feet, so that you can feel comfortable while walking, both on and off the trail. If you have no idea what are the features such a shoe must have, you’re at the right place as we’ll spill the beans for you!
We compiled a short guide with the details you need to look at when shopping, as well as the reasoning why. What’s more, we even included a brief list of products that have these properties. We try our best to be objective and point out both their good and bad parts, to help you get a clear image for an informed decision. Let’s get to it!
Our Top Picks
|Product||Material||Back Pull Tab||Fastening||Price|
|The North Face Ultra 109 GTX||Fabric, synthetic||Yes, horizontal||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
|Columbia Granite Ridge||Leather, textile||Yes, vertical||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
|Hoka One One Tor Summit||Leather||Yes, vertical||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
|Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX||Leather, fabric, synthetic||Yes, vertical||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
|Ahnu Coburn||Leather, fabric||Yes, vertical||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
|Merrell Moab 2||Leather, textile||Yes, vertical||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
|Asolo Agent GV||Synthetic||Yes, vertical||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
|Merrell All Out Blaze||Leather, fabric, synthetic||Yes, horizontal||Laces||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
We start off with the features that matter most to hikers everywhere. Perhaps some of these features belong in the “personal preference” category, however it is still something you need to look at when buying.
Items made of cheap materials will not last for long, however we can’t always know their quality just by looking. Knowing what type of materials have been used in the making of the hiking shoe can indicate for how long it will survive, whether it will keep water and moisture at bay, and whether the sole has good traction or not.
The type of materials used can also indicate what kind of season or weather should be avoided. Many hiking shoes are made of a combination of leather and textile, or even mesh. This type of footwear should be worn only during the warmer months, and could need a coat of waterproofing solution for the rainier seasons.
Those who want to use their shoes for a longer time should consider pairs that are made of real suede leather. PU coated leather on the other hand, should be avoided if durability is on your mind.
The soles of a hiking shoe are very important since they provide traction and protection against rocks and other elements that can be dangerous. Most hikers are searching for soles made of rubber since this material has a better grip on most surfaces, including the wet ones.
One should inspect the soles and avoid the ones that are almost flat – they are as slippery as it can get. The best soles for hiking have many small logs, a feature that helps the wearer to go uphill and prevents him from falling when going downhill.
Most of the footwear designed for hiking has molded soles that cover the front of the shoe. This is the secret to having your toes protected against bumps, especially when walking through streams and you can’t really see where you’re stepping.
The insoles of your footwear is also quite important. It might be best to search for shoes or boots with removable insoles. You can change them if your foot gets too sweaty or if water got in, allowing you to continue your hike in relative comfort until you can completely dry off.
Don’t worry if the pair you like doesn’t have removable insoles. All you have to do is get a bigger size and use extra soles sold separately. You can even find some with a better arch support. The extra soles you place in your shoes will tighten the footwear.
You might think that a padded shoe or boot is more uncomfortable while walking, but this can’t be further from the truth, especially while hiking. A foot cushioned between pads will not get tired at the same pace as one wearing a non-padded shoe.
The padding can even offer more support to your foot. You should be aware that a well padded shoe or boot could be tighter than one with little to no padding, and you might want to get a slightly bigger size.
Many hiking socks are also padded, and you might want to have a pair with you when shopping for hiking shoes or boots, to better see how they fit together.
Toe box shape
Most of the pairs we present in this article have a pointed toe. This could also mean an overall tighter shoe – but in many cases, a tight fit means a better control over your steps.
People with wider feet or various foot issues might want to consider either bigger sizes or models that are known to be wider in the toe area. Getting wider shoes means more comfort if your feet get swollen towards the end of the day.
Ensuring your shoes stay put while you walk is crucial. You can’t risk losing one because you had no way of making it tighter. Most hiking footwear fastens with laces, but it’s possible you might find Velcro closures as well.
To minimize the time it take you to put your shoes on, some models now have a fast-lace system. All you have to do is pull the ends, and you forget about your laces. It’s also common for these models to have rather thin and flimsy looking laces, but you can be certain they’re good quality that will not break on the spot.
Hopefully now you know more about which features matter more when it comes to buy footwear for hiking. Now you’ll even be able to help others choose their gear as well! Let’s have a look at some goodies!
Best Products on Today’s Market
The next products have been praised by their users as being some of the best for hiking purposes. Unlike them, we won’t only highlight their good parts, but also their letdowns to help you get a better image on the selected product.
The North Face Ultra 109 GTX Shoe
Weight: 3 pounds
Sizes: 7 D(M) US and 17 D(M) US
Specific features: Gore-Tex, EVA midsole, UltrATAC rubber soles, Snake Plate, suede leather
Best use: Hiking
Description: If you need some new shoes for your hiking sessions, check out the The North Face Ultra 109 GTX Shoe. This pair offers maximum protection for your feet and soles when you are on the trails, and provide extra stability on any terrain. The shoes were designed with a EVA midsole as well as a rigid Snake Plate for additional protection on uneven terrain.
The rubber soles of these shoes allow for easy movement even on wet surfaces. This pair of shoes is made of suede and sport a rugged look and feel, ideal for mountain trips. Some shoppers found these boots too heavy for track running, however they deliver good performance on trails.
The shoes fit true to size, but you should consider going a size smaller if you like them tighter. These boots are also easy to clean in the washing machine and easy to maintain. This item wears well and doesn’t need much break in time, which adds to its advantages.
- Good traction
- No break in time
- True to size
- Not for track running
Related: The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack Shoe is a model of shoe designed to better fit any type of foot or ankle. There are two extra loopholes at the top, right next to the ankles that you can choose to use or not, depending on how tight you want your shoes to be.
Columbia Granite Ridge Sneakers
Weight: 15 ounces
Sizes: between 7 D(M) US – 17 D(M) US
Specific features: Omni-Grip rubber outsole, removable insole, water resistant, suede leather, microfleece lining
Best use: Hiking, walking
Description: The Columbia Granite Ridge Sneakers are everything you could need in a hiking boot. These shoes have a rubber sole as well as a removable insole for added comfort and protection on the trails. The sneakers can be worn during your everyday outings but are perfect for mountain expeditions as well.
The shoes are made from a combination of materials like textile and leather in order to let your feet breathe but also provide full stability on the trails. The waterproof design doesn’t allow for any water inside, keeping your feet dry and comfortable throughout the entire day.
Although these shoes are promoted as being true to size, it has been noticed that they tend to run small. If your feet are wider make sure to order a size up in order to stay on the safe side. These boots withstand well any weather conditions, and are durable thanks to the high quality materials.
- Well padded
- Just water resistant
- Pointed toe
Related: Some hikers need a wider toe box, and the Oboz Bridger Boot delivers just that. Despite the name, this model doesn’t cover the ankles, has a molded toe box for improved protection, and is waterproof. The traction of the soles is also good.
Hoka One One Tor Summit Shoe
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Sizes: 9 D(M) US
Specific features: EVA and RMAT midsole, high-traction outsole, gusseted tongue
Best use: Hiking, trail running, mountaineering
Description: Have a look at the Hoka One One Tor Summit Shoe for your hiking expeditions. The boots are made of leather that adds extra comfort to your feet, while the breathable membrane protects against any weather conditions. These shoes are waterproof and will not allow your feet to retain moisture or get wet.
The mix of EVA and RMAT in the midsole offers cushioning but also stability on rough terrain. The design of this shoes enables a natural flow and lightweight feeling all day long. The boots deliver great performance and stability on uneven terrain, while allowing your feet to be comfortable.
These sneakers have a wide fit, so they are suitable for larger feet. If your feet are narrow you should probably go a size down from what you usually wear. The shoes can be easily washed in the machine and are easy to maintain even on a hike. These boots can be worn straight out of the box as they don’t require any break in time.
- The price tag
Related: If the price of the shown pair is an issue for you, the Xiang Guan Oxford Shoe is an affordable alternative. This pair is water resistant, thus keeping your feet cool throughout the day, lightweight and comfortable right out of the box!
Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX Shoes
Weight: 14.5 ounces
Sizes: 7 D(M) US – 13 D(M) US
Specific features: EVA midsole, rubber sole, molded shank, PU coated leather, quick lace system
Best use: Hiking, outdoor activities
Description: The Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX Shoes deliver all the performance expected from this brand. The boots feature a rubber sole and are made of a combo of leather and textile materials. Their EVA midsole provide good stability and comfort on uneven terrain, while the boots still feel lightweight and flexible on your foot.
This item is waterproof, so you can wear the boots even during unfavorable weather conditions. The shoes have a sleek design that makes them easily wearable during casual outings, but also mountain trips. These boots are considered to be heavier than other running Salomon shoes, so consider a lighter shoes for your running workouts.
You can maintain these sneakers easily and wash them in the machine every time it’s needed. The shoes are durable thanks to their design and materials, which makes them a good investment for hikers. This footwear fits true to size, unlike some other models.
- Moisture wicking
- Good traction
- True to size
- Not ventilated
Related: Some people prefer or need wider shoes, and the Adidas Caprock Shoe might be a better fit for them. This model uses the same Goretex material to keep the feet dry, but also comes with 2 removable insoles, Traxion outsole, and they can be worn on any surface, unlike other similar models.
Ahnu Coburn Shoe
Weight: 2 pounds
Sizes: between 7 D(M) US – 10 D(M) US
Specific features: rubber sole, EVA midsole, wicking, arch support, shock dispersal plate
Best use: Hiking
Description: Your hiking trips could be made easier by the Ahnu Coburn Shoe. These shoes are made of a mix of leather and textile for improved comfort and stability on the trails. The EVA midsole and arch support allow your feet to withstand uneven or rocky terrain.
Additionally, the boots are waterproof which makes them easy to wear on any kind of weather. The Coburn model also features a shock dispersal plate for enhanced protection. These shoes are both lightweight and breathable, which makes them ideal for long mountain trips.
Your feet will remain supported regardless of how much weight you are carrying thanks to the pronounced footbed. You can wear this pair on a run through the park but also during an alpine expedition.
If you need a durable shoe that is easy to maintain and wash in the machine, these boots could be a good choice. This Ahnu pair was designed for men but also can be worn by women with a bigger foot.
- Good fit
- Good grip
- Not waterproof
Related: Depending on when or where you go hiking, you might want some insulated footwear. The Ahnu Orion Boot is insulated, covers the ankle and has a good grip on many types of surfaces.
Merrell Moab 2 Shoe
Weight: 4 pounds
Sizes: between 7 D(M) US – 15 D(M) US
Specific features: Vibram TC5 outsole, mesh upper, Nylon Arch Shank, orthopedic insert
Best use: Hiking, everyday wear
Description: Are you looking for some hiking boots? The Merrell Moab 2 Shoe could be just what you need. The boots are made of waterproof leather and textile for convenience and enhanced comfort.
The shoes feature the Vibram TC5 outsole for improved stability and a natural feel. These shoes are not insulated, however are a good choice for winter hikes due to their waterproof features. The Moab 2 fit true to size, and are comfortable to wear straight out of the box.
The shoes can be used for hiking excursions, but also on your everyday outings. The shoes include an orthopedic insert that allows your feet to be flexible and stable even on uneven terrain. Due to their high quality design, these boots are durable and make for a good investment.
This item is an ideal choice even when carrying weight during your hiking trips. You can easily clean and maintain them by throwing them in the washing machine.
- Well vented
- Good fit
- Orthopedic inserts
- Not insulated
Related: The bungee style of fastening the Merrell Chameleon Prime Shoes can help you forget all about the laces getting undone. This pair is breathable, waterproof, lightweight and fit for walking or hiking. The cushioning of this model will absorb the shocks and keep your feet rested for longer.
Asolo Agent GV Shoes
Weight: 1 pound
Sizes: between 8 D(M) US – 14 D(M) US
Specific features: Vibram sole, low cut, water repellent lining, water resistant, ventilated
Best use: Hiking
Description: If you need a new pair of hiking shoes, check out the Asolo Agent GV Shoes. Designed of synthetic fabrics and a waterproof suede upper part, these shoes are perfect for any kind of weather. The boots have a smooth design with an anatomic footbed, which provides a natural feel.
These shoes offer good performance on hiking trips and uneven terrain thanks to their lightweight feel. They are also breathable and wick out moisture for a dry feel.
If you have bigger feet, make sure to measure your foot beforehand as they might be too narrow. If needed, go a size up just to stay on the safe side. These shoes can be washed in the machine and thus are easy to maintain.
These hiking shoes provide great comfort and stability in rocky and uneven terrain, but will also protect your feet against the elements. Keep in mind this item is not cushioned, so you may need to use your own inserts while hiking. The shoes can be worn straight out of the box, whenever you go on a hiking trip.
- Anatomic footbed
- The price tag
- Fits small
Related: Those that like the this brand but would prefer a taller shoe, then the Asolo Shiraz Gv Boot could be an alternative. This model covers the ankle, absorbs the shock, is water resistant and comfortable.
Merrell All Out Blaze Shoe
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Sizes: between 7 D(M) US – 14 D(M) US
Specific features: Vibram sole, ghillie lacing, Uni-Fly impact absorption system, mesh top, low cut
Best use: Hiking, walking
Description: The Merrell All Out Blaze Shoe is a type of footwear you might need for your hiking trips. The shoes have a low cut design, and are made of leather combined with textile fabrics for improved comfort. These boots are flexible enough to be worn all day, on casual outings but also on the trails.
Their waterproof features makes ideal for rainy days, and they also lock in moisture leaving your feet dry. These Merrells have an external stability heel counter that allows for good performance on uneven terrain. The shoes are both lightweight and breathable, and do not require any breaking in time.
The footbed is integrated, which provides extra stability to your foot. You may want to go a size down if you have narrow feet, as the boots have plenty of room in the toe area. When it comes to style, you should know the item may lose some of its color in time.
- Good grip
- Good fit
- No insole
Related: Some people prefer a taller shoe for hiking, to protect their ankles on a really rugged terrain. The Merrell All Out Blaze Shoes Mid cover the ankles and have the same features and comfort as their short counterparts.
This is where our reviews of the best hiking shoes ends. It’s our hope we managed to demystify the way experienced hikers choose their praised shoes, and that in turn you’ll also be able to shed some light onto the matter with others who need to buy such items. If you’ll read what other users say about their hiking shoes, you’ll see that some use this type of footwear for other purposes as well, not just hiking.
It’s up to you now to share some impressions or stories related to hiking and shoes made for this activity. Feel free to even tell us if you think we should have talked about other models, using the comments section below!