Hiking is an activity that requires a high level of strength, effort, and sturdiness. Those who love hiking usually have to be very careful of the gear and equipment they bring along. Since the most important part of hiking is climbing and scaling, what you wear on your feet is probably the most important part of your gear. Therefore, some high-quality hiking shoes are an absolute necessity for those who love such an adventurous hobby!
There are quite a few options for hiking shoes available on the market today. Many of the best shoe brands have come up with their own offerings specially tailored for hiking purposes. Not all these pairs of hiking shoes are the same, so you should do some careful research beforehand.
Not sure which of the hiking shoes you should go for? Curious to know more about the top brands of hiking shoes?
Finding a perfect pair of hiking shoes requires more than just comfort.
Let's dig deeper!
Why Is There A Need For Hiking Shoes?
Shoes specially made for hiking are usually lightweight, with one pair not weighing more than about 2 pounds each. To achieve this lightness, their materials are usually synthetic and non-bulky. With a proper lightweight shoe, you’re less likely to get tired while hiking; no matter how far or high you go!
The better hiking shoes you have, the further you’re likely to travel while hiking. In fact, some brands have even come up with speed hiking shoes for those who want to cover a lot of distance. Below are just a few more reasons why you need to choose a pair of hiking shoes that are just made for your feet:
You can give comfort to your feet
When you’re hiking, you’re putting a lot of strain on your feet. It’s hence highly important that your footwear be as comfortable as possible. Some people may prefer hiking boots, but these may be overly expensive as well as restrictive. Hiking shoes will give comfort along with a high level of freedom.
You can provide extra support to your heel
Since most people’s feet aren’t flat at the bottom, they need a certain kind of support to prevent a lot of health issues including plantar fasciitis. For this purpose, hiking shoes come with a lot of options for midsoles as well as insoles.
Some options might have a removable insole that allows for personalization according to the user’s need. The midsole ensures that the foot gets the cushioning it needs.
With proper arch support, the hiking shoes work with the bone structure to manage the body weight. While hiking, this gives you a springy, light aspect to your activity. This way, you’d be able to hike in a healthier and better manner.
You may feel the flexibility of ankles
When you hike, there are naturally some slopes on which you either have to climb or descend from. In cases like these, your ankle has to face a lot of pressure. The right hiking shoes allow for free ankle movement, thus developing just the right muscles you need for climbing purposes.
You can easily support your ankles
Along with flexibility, ankles also need a great amount of support while hiking. That’s because we may have lost the sense of walking on uneven ground, especially when accustomed to walking along flat areas for the most part. The proper ankle support would renew the elasticity and mobility of our feet, which also solves many ROM (range of motion) problems.
How to Pick the Perfect Hiking Shoes for My Feet?
The hiking shoes you choose should be the result of some deliberation and should suit your needs. Since these are feet and hiking we’re talking about, it’s essential that you consider several features to grab the best option. Otherwise, you may be looking at great discomfort and even experience some foot issues as a result of hiking with the wrong kind of shoes. Therefore, make sure to take into account the following:
The Upper Materials
The most commonly used materials for making hiking shoes are full-grained leather, split-grain leather, and nubuck leather. Full grain leather is the most resistant material of these, along with being the strongest and most durable. However, it is also more restrictive, limiting airflow and flexibility. It’s also quite a heavy option, so not really recommended for beginner hikers.
Split-grain leather is more breathable but also requires something like nylon mesh in construction. You’ll get a lighter weight and a smaller price tag with this option as well.
Nubuck leather is a synthetic option that gives you lightweight, breathable, and water-resistant hiking shoes. They may not be as durable as genuine leather, though.
Many hiking shoes come with midsoles made of polyurethane (PU) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) materials. There are different thicknesses, supports, and comfort levels available. The more expensive option isn’t necessarily the most comfortable. You should thus read the reviews before going ahead with any likely option.
When purchasing a hiking shoe, always look at the pattern it has on the sole. You’ll then be able to make a better decision according to the terrain you mean to hike in. For instance, a circular pattern is the best for providing traction. It would disperse water easily without creating an unwanted wall.
Check for the tread depth as well as the spacing of the shoes you’re thinking of purchasing. Having sipes on the tread would also enhance your resistance level while hiking.
10 Best Hiking Shoes in 2019
We’ll now come to the top 10 best hiking shoes available in 2019. These options will not only lead you to your final decision but will also help you in knowing what to look out for when buying hiking shoes.
According to the users of the Oboz Sawtooth Low, there are several reasons why you should invest in these hiking shoes. Their fit is true for the most part, requiring little downsizing or upsizing. There’s also a great amount of arch support, thanks to the insole inserted from the beginning. This provides great comfort as well, which hikers and outdoorsy people greatly appreciate.
In fact, there’s no time required to break in this pair! You can even start off by wearing them as your everyday shoes, which is not something you can say of many other brands of hiking shoes.
- LIGHTWEIGHT TRAIL SHOE - La Sportiva's Primer Low GTX is a low-top, all synthetic, highly breathable hiking shoe...
- GORE-TEX PROTECTION - Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex Surround technology keeps your feet dry during extended day hikes...
- BREATHABLE - Ultralight moisture-wicking AirMesh fabrics with Nano-Cell technology keep your feet cool on hot days,...
The comfort of the Primer Low GTX has a stunning level of comfort. This has even been able to reduce knee and foot pain for several users. The fact that it’s also light and provides amazing arch support is also a positive factor. It’s also severely uncompromising when water tries to get inside, protecting your feet at all costs.
At the same time, it’ll get you traction on all kinds of terrains, which other pairs may not offer. No need to break it in, it’s flexible and comfy right from the box!
The Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry hiking shoes are excellent for hiking, running errands, jogging, or whatever you feel like doing! It may have a low cuff, but the rating on its support is unprecedented by any other pair. The high comfort, low level of break-in time, and water-resistant properties have won the hearts of many a user.
If you’re having pain in your feet, do consider the Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry. It has provided additional comfort to the customers’ feet and helped them hike while giving them a feeling of being unstoppable.
What really pleased a majority of customers for the North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX was the amazing comfort this pair comes with. It comprises of Gore-Tex membrane, which makes the whole item waterproof. This will not just prevent water damage, but also keep water from reaching your foot and possibly causing nasty issues like athlete’s foot.
There’s also a proper amount of traction involved, meaning that you can wear this on several kinds of trails. The low-cut pair is deemed to be lighter than most other offerings.
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The Lowa Sesto GTX Lo is an excellent option if you want lightness, comfort, and breathability all in one package. These are the highest praises given by people who have actually made use of this pair and tested it out on hiking trails. Airflow is as important a feature as water-resistance, so this is the pair that could keep your feet healthy while hiking.
Customers also love this option because of the outsole, which provides a firm grip on the ground no matter what it’s like. What’s more, the soft padding is thin, unlike many other similar pairs on the market. This will enable a nice contouring to the arch of your foot without taking up much room.
The low-cut Adidas Caprock doesn’t have any rivals for its level of comfort. The minute you put these on, you’ll be amazed by the firm traction. It won’t let you down on any trail, mountain, or wherever you choose to go. While it may have a somewhat bulky profile, the general effect it gives is one of lightness.
It might even be a trail runner, but an exceedingly sturdy one. There should also be no issue of fitting since many users claim it fits perfectly straight from the box. Since it also has two footbeds, something not usually found in any pair, its versatility is unparalleled.
If you’re looking for a high-quality hiking shoe that’s also extremely light, the Vasque Juxt should be one of your first picks. There’s not much time required to wear these hiking shoes. They’re highly comfortable and can provide a great level of arch support, even though it’s cut below the ankle. This design, incidentally, also provides proper ankle flexibility. It’s also highly durable and tough, which is rare when it comes to other lightweight shoes.
The Vasque Grand Traverse hiking shoes are a pair that has delighted many users. The price may be steep, but it’s deemed well worth it by those who have gone through their experience. Even though the pair is low-cut, their ankle support remains excellent even when tested.
They’re also lightweight, which is an added bonus for those who aren’t quite ready to deal with heavy genuine leather hiking boots yet. Even though it contains so many features, it doesn’t bulk out like many other pairs available.
- Intended Use: Water, Light Hiker
- Uppers: Ripstop 2D Mesh with TPU overlays at toe and heel cap. Supportive EVA heel cup. Removable Polygiene treated...
- Foot to Ground Distance: 21mm heel, 20mm ball - Weight / shoe: Mens 278g (9.8 oz)
The Astral TR1 Mesh is one hiking shoe that can provide you with more lightness than almost any other option, according to many reviewers who have personally tried them out. It’s perfect for handling wet terrains since it’s known to dry out quickly as well. These hiking shoes are also versatile and comfortable from the minute you wear them. With the firm grip, you’ll be able to hike without worrying.
Overall, this shoe promises to be quite a favorite among those who love the outdoors in general and hiking in particular.
The Salomon X Ultra Prime is a pair that’s not going to restrict airflow to your feet. It provides a highly satisfactory level of comfort along with a great grip on all kinds of wet and dry terrains. The lightness is exceptional and could very well set it apart from all other options. Since it’s also highly breathable, you can safely expect your feet to stay high and dry ever when hiking in damp environments.
You'll also have excellent grip on several surfaces with these hiking shoes on your feet. The upper will dry quickly and you’ll be stable thanks to the advanced midsole. One unique and highly appreciable feature is the addition of ankle pockets. Those with protruding ankle will absolutely love them!
The Verdict on the Best Hiking Shoes
Of the excellent options above, the Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry seems to be the best choice for most hikers.