Selecting hiking shoes is a very important decision for any hiker. When you’re out on the trail, you’ll be able to tell the difference in comfort, traction, weight, and durability with each step you take.
Benefits of Wearing Hiking Shoes
Wearing shoes has a specific purpose. Footwear’s primary goal is to make people’s lives more comfortable while also protecting their feet from the elements. Walking boots provide the same functions as hiking shoes, namely to cushion and protect the soles of your feet from the bruising and abrasion that can be caused by rugged wilderness terrain.
In addition to providing adequate stability and durability, hiking shoes should be lightweight and comfortable. Having a good pair of hiking shoes means that you’ll be able to keep going for a long time. Supportive shoes are essential for long-distance hiking, and they should also be as light as possible. When walking, they should be able to move freely and comfortably. Shoes may need to be stiffer and more supportive on rough surfaces, however.
#1. Salomon X Ultra 4 Low GTX
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX hiking shoes strike an ideal weight-to-durability ratio. They feel far lighter and more nimble than other shoes of similar construction, and the fit is comparable to that of a trail runner. Additionally, like trail runners, they take little breaking-in and are pleasant to hike right out of the box. The X Ultras’ traction is far better than typical, making them ideal for hiking or day walks in difficult terrain. Needless to say, we love the X Ultras and strongly suggest them to hikers looking for a shoe that feels like a trail runner but performs like a more traditional hiking shoe.
#2. Altra Lone Peak 6
Altra’s Lone Peak 6s are the brand’s first significant departure from its standard design in a long time. The most significant difference is the smaller profile (wide sizes are available). This gives the shoe a more streamlined appearance and feel, while retaining the trademark foot-shaped toe box that allows for natural toe spread. The strengthened and well-ventilated uppers make them feel more robust than prior Lone Peak models and should provide a significant increase in mileage over some other shoes in their weight class. We’re in love with the latest Lone Peaks model and highly recommend them to anyone searching for a comfy ultralight hiking shoe.
#3. Merrell Moab 2 Low WP
If you’re searching for an affordable shoe that doesn’t skimp on quality, the Merrell Moab 2 WP Lows are a great option. These shoes – along with the Moab Mids – have been a long-time favorite among hikers due to their comfort, durability, and affordable pricing. Because the Moabs are slightly more substantial than some others, they may not be the greatest choice for long-distance runs. However, they will last a long time and give good cushioning and support for day treks and weekend excursions.