Best Hiking Shoes of 2020

Best Hiking Shoes of 2020

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Best Hiking Shoes of 2020

The trend in hiking footwear is moving from heavy boots towards light in weight shoes and even trail runners that are highly comfortable and faster. You lose some ankle support when carrying a traversing rocky trail or heavy pack, but the feathery feel and weight savings are worth it for many.

Below are our favorite best hiking shoes of 2020, from light options for fast light trips to even supportive models for carrying a full pack. So without any delay let us start:

#1 Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoes Men’s

Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoes Men's

Adidas has expanded its hiking footwear line in the last few years, and the updated Terrex AX3 is very capable on the trail. Its single-pull lacing system and sleek design are evocative of a Salomon shoe, but AX3 is even tougher and lighter than any other best hiking shoes.

The sole is very soft and great, toe and protection around the side of the foot are highly impressive, and the lining provides waterproofing without making you feel swampy.

That’s a winning formula for Adidas and has made the Terrex line very popular.

Why is the Adidas Terrex AX3 hiking shoes are ranked here? We found the shoe to be on the stiff it loosened up a bit after few days of backpacking in the Utah Canyon Country but remains highly noticeable.

Also, although the Lace Bungee system is functional and we did not have any issues with it, it’s not as smooth or easy-to-use as Salomon’s tried-and-true Quicklace. In terms of stability and support, theAX3 is cut fairly low, but Adidas does make the shoe in a Mid-GTX version.

Features

  • Synthetic-and-mesh
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately ankle-high from arch
  • Regular fit
  • Lace closure
  • Mesh and synthetic upper; molded TPU Toecap

#2 ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 7 Running Shoes

ASICS Women's Gel-Venture 7 Running Shoes

ASICS made one of the best hiking shoes for women. These shoes are made of manmade fabric and have a great, soft rubber sole.

If you are going hiking, I personally recommend these shoes. They are very soft and its toe protection is simply best.

The best thing about these shoes is that it has a rear foot get technology cushioning system that reduces the shock effect and allows you for a smooth and lovely transition mid-distance.

Features

  • Fabric, Manmade
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Rearfoot GEL technology with cushioning System

#3 Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

These may not be your ultra-rugged or long-distance hiking shoes, but there is so much to like about Merrell Moab 2 Vent hiking shoes.

What has made this shoe so popular over the last few years? A lightweight feel, a comfortable fit, and an eye-catching price point.

Merrell updated the Moab some years ago including a durable upper and good cushioning in the heel of the footbed, but the formula remains the same.

For day hikers, Moab 2 are the best hiking shoes for them.

In terms of disadvantages, on muddy and rocky trails we found that stability and traction fall short of a performance.

And despite a competitive 1-pound 15-ounce weight of the shoes, it feels a little cumbersome and slow compared with some lightweight models. But these are really small complaints, otherwise, these are the fantastic shoe, and we personally recommend the Moab 2 for lightweight backpacking and day hikers.

Features

  • suede leather, mesh
  • Imported
  • Synthetic sole
  • Performance suede leather and mesh upper
  • Bellows
  • Keeps debris and moisture out
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Breathable mesh lining. 5mm lug depth
  • Vibram TC5+ sole

#4 Salomon Women’s Speedcross  Running Shoe

Salomon Women shoes

Salomon’s best hiking shoe line added the lightweight shoe collection for women last year. And on paper, there was so much to like with the low to top model: its light weightiness easily undercuts any best shoes for hiking.

These shoes have a modern aesthetic that crosses over well to use daily, and its build quality appeared to be up to the best standard.

Moreover, when we first tried it on, the Salomon Women’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe immediately stood out with its running shoe-like feel.

Despite the positive first impressions, however, these shoes disappointed in some key areas. First off, the fit is on the narrow side so even those feet with an average-width could run into issues here.

In addition, our testers dealt with a bit of foot soreness because of the minimalist cushioning. It’s worth noting we were hiking on rocky trails, but certainly, they were not overly technical, and we were only carrying light backpacks.

Finally, the toe cap started to peel back on one pair only 12 miles into its test. The nimble build will do the trick for day hikes, but we’ve concluded the speedcross is not the best selling of Solomon but still, it is one of the best hiking shoes.

Features

  • 100% Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch
  • Aggressive Grip
  • Precise Foothold
  • Outsole

#5 Merrell Men’s Moab Waterproof Hiking Boot

Merrell Men's Moab Waterproof Hiking Boot

Finally, Merrell has released a successor to their popular Moab hiking shoes, and judging by both feel and performance is almost 10 years wait worth it.

The Moab 2 is as light as original and more comfortable especially after hours on trails.

This shoe makes you feel like silk out of the box. No 2 week breaking in period full of muffled curses and blisters.

All you have to do is unbox them, slip them on and you are ready to go for hiking. You would not be weight down by these best hiking shoes either as a pair tips the scale at just under 2 pounds which is much better than most competitors.

Features

  • 100% Suede Leather/Mesh
  • Imported
  • Synthetic sole
  • Shaft measures approximately Ankle from arch
  • Boot opening measures approximately 2 around
  • M Select DRY seals out water
  • Performance suede leather and mesh upper

#6 Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus II

Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus II

These best hiking shoes by Columbia are made of leather. They are really cool and pretty. Its rubber sole is very soft and makes your feet relax and make you feel fresh.

Approximately the shaft measures mid-top from arch. The leather is PU coated and mesh upper have metal hardware.

Its lightweight midsole offers long-lasting comfort, high energy return, and superior cushioning.

You can wear these shoes in rain and wet terrains also because they are completely waterproof.

Features

  • 100% Leather and Textile
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately mid-top from arch
  • PU coated leather, mesh upper, suede.
  • Techlite lightweight midsole
  • Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber.
  • Waterproof seam-sealed construction

#7 Timberland Men’s Waterproof Ankle Boot

Timberland Men's Waterproof Ankle Boot

 This one of the best hiking shoes are made of leather. Its rubber sole is very soft and makes your feet feel good even after a long hiking trip.

Its shaft measures 5 inches approximately. Its platform measures 0.5 inches almost.

These hiking boots for men have the best quality full-grain waterproof leather uppers, best sealed waterproof construction, and rustproof hardware with hooks on the top in order to secure lacing. So no need to look here and there for style and trail-ready performance. Our selection of hiking boots for men, casual boots, waterproof hiking boots, and casual shoes is designed to fit with your outdoor ensembles.

Features

  • 100% Leather
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 5″ from arch
  • Platform measures approximately 0.5
  • Premium full-grain waterproof leather uppers,
  • Seam-sealed waterproof construction
  • Rustproof speed lace hardware with hooks in order to secure lacing.

#8 Skechers Men’s Classic Hiking Boots

Skechers Men's Classic Hiking Boots

These hiking boots are made of synthetic and textile material. Its synthetic sole is really soft and comfortable.

These best hiking shoes have air-cooled memory foam which makes your feet cool.

If you are going hiking at hot and hilly are, these shoes are simply best.

Features

  • 100% Textile and Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Synthetic sole
  • Shaft measures approximately not_applicable from arch
  • Air Cooled Memory Foam
  • Classic Fit
  • Air Cooled

 

#9 New Balance Men’s Trail Running Shoe

New Balance Men's Trail Running Shoe

New balance men’s hiking shoes are made of textile and leather. Its rubber sole is very soft.

The shaft approximately measures low-top from arch.

Also, it has an NB ultra-soft comfort that is inserted in your shoes. We personally recommend these best hiking shoes.

Features

  • Leather and Textile
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch
  • CUSH+ midsole
  • AT TREAD outsole
  • NB Ultra Soft comfort insert

#10 Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

Merrell Women's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes are one of the best hiking shoes on our list.

If you have an issue of footsore, this shoe is made for you. It will make you feel relaxed and comfortable.

These lightweight shoes are good for heel and toe protection. It offers a secure fit for your feet. Order your pair of shoes right now at Amazon.

Features

  • 100% Suede Leather/Mesh
  • Imported
  • 5mm lug depth

 

Critical footwear considerations

Comfort and fit

This is a very important consideration when choosing the best hiking. Different people various different things in shoes (wide vs. arch support, narrow, heel-to-toe drop, etc.), so finding what makes your feet comfy and happy is really critical. If your shoes don’t fit right, you could have pain with every step and your hiking trip will quickly become a bust.

Weight

Weight is a really very important thing to consider for footwear, and one of the reasons we choose lightweight trail runners over heavy boots. Weight carried on your feet zaps about five times more energy than weight carried on your back.

So swapping a 4-pound pair of boots for a one-pound pair of shoes is the energy-saving equivalent of removing around 8 pounds from your bag. We can definitely say that it is a great deal.

Also, nimble feet lead to less stumbling, less muscle fatigue, and over time can help avoid hip and knee flexor problems.

Well, it does not mean that heavy-duty footwear is bad. If you do so much hiking in rugged areas, or if you have to carry a heavy backpack, you might be confident in hiking shoes or burling boots that make you feel more supported and secure.

Price

We tend to be willing on spending a bit more for good quality footwear because it’s tied so directly to the enjoyment of hiking trips. Usually, fit and comfort trump cost in our books, but we recommend a variety of great quality options in our above mentioned top pick.

Sizing 

Feet tend to swell during a long hiking trip on trails, so it is a great idea to buy hiking footwear almost a half-size larger than your actual shoes.

The best way to test the sizing on your shoes is to loosen the laces, adjust your foot inside the shoe so that your toes touch the front of the toe box, and ensure that you can put your index finger between your back of the shoe and heel.

This will make sure that your toe does not slide forward and hit the toe box when you have them laced tightly. Also, it is very important to consider which socks you will be wearing and if you are going to add aftermarket insoles when selecting a size. It’s better for shoes to be a little too big than a little too small.

Break in period

You’re going to take hundreds and thousands of steps on any hiking or backpacking trip, so you need to know that your shoes will fit with comfort and won’t cause swellings or blisters.

We recommend to buy your footwear a few weeks before any long hiking trips and spending a lot of time you can spend.

This will allow your boots to soften up and you can ensure that they work best for your feet. If you notice any problem or issue, it is easy to address them before you head to the backcountry.

Traction

Traction is one of the important most parts of quality hiking footwear and backpacking. Your shoes will take you over thin rocky ridgelines, through slippery water adventures, and across loose talus fields.

Knowing that your footwear will hold and keep you from falling is critical, especially overexposed or washed out sections of trail. We heavily factored quality traction into all of our recommended footwear.

Waterproofing treatments

 Waterproof shoes are ideal for soggy day hikes, but it is very important to keep in mind that waterproof does not mean that water cannot get in.

Water will find a way in a prolonged deluge and light rain can drip down your legs and into your boots. Even the best quality boots will develop tiny holes that allow the moisture to creep in overtime. Waterproof treatments are not everlasting, eventually, you will need to reapply a treatment to keep your shoes sealed.

Breathability

This is also a critical consideration when selecting footwear and one of the main reasons we hike in trail runners.

Your feet are going to sweat so much when you hike, especially on hot days. If that moisture does not have a way to escape, it will make your skin soft and prone to warts and blisters.

Generally, the shoes that are highly breathable are not waterproof and will get wet quickly in rain. But, they also will quickly dry.

MANAGING moisture and blisters

 If you are on a hiking trip in the wet atmosphere or you find yourself caught in a downpour during a hike, your feet will get wet no matter what type of shoes you are wearing. Wet feet can lead to blisters and hot spots, but these sores can be prevented if you pay attention and maintain a foot care routine.

Durability

One disadvantage to trail hikers is that they tend to be less long-lasting and durable than hiking shoes. Generally speaking, trail runners last almost 500 miles, hiking shoes around 800 miles, and hiking boots around almost 1000 miles.

If you value shoes that will last for many years, you may prefer a hiking shoe or boot that will live longer trail runners, simply ensure that you understand the shortcomings associated with that choice. Also, when selecting a hiking or trail running shoes, avoid large sections of unsupported mesh that can wear out quickly.

Ankle support

So many people hike in boots because of the ankle support they offer. In order to get the best ankle support, you need to choose a pair of boot that sits higher up on the ankle and ensure to tie the laces with care.

Research suggests that an active and healthy person without nagging ankle issues will assistance a lot from easing their load, stretching, and strengthening their ankles. Combining these strategies with a supportive boot can help give you confidence in any type of trail.

Soles 

We look for trail running shoes with well-cushioned and thick soles so we do not feel every rock under our feet. Trail runners tend to have very flexible soles, which can help prevent warts and blisters. Alternatively, hiking boots and shoes tend to have more tough soles, which will feel stiffer under your foot and last longer.

Heel to toe drop

It is very common for shoes to have an obvious decrease in height from your heel to toe. Usually, this was believed to increase your walking and running efficiency.

On the other hand, some modern designs now have “zero drops,” which means that your foot is the same distance off the ground. It puts very little stress on your body and more closely competes with a natural running style.

How To Choose Trail Shoes, Trail Runners and Hiking Boots

There is a variety available in the market when it comes to best hiking shoes and people have a huge range of personal preferences. That is why we recommend that you try different options if you are making a new selection, so you can find out what your preferences are. Here are guidelines about things you need to consider when choosing between different trail shoes, hiking boots, and trail runners.

Sweat can lead to blisters

The sweat inside your hiking shoes and socks can lead to blisters. When your socks stick to the skin, they can cause friction and a friction burn that is how blisters form. Breathability preventing building up of sweat build-up, which is why a lot of hikers select mesh hiking footwear since it dries when you wear it.

Black toenails indicate a poor fit

If your toenails turn black when you start hiking, it is because your toes do not have enough space in the front of your shoes. Choose a pair of shoes that have a larger toe box. KEEN and Altra boots and shoes have an exaggerated size toe box that is why they are so popular among backpackers and hikers.

After-Market Insoles

So many backpackers and hikers buy after-market insoles, such as Superfeet, to replace the insoles that come with their hiking boots, trail runners and trail shoes. They offer more arch support, more protection, and cup your heel to help prevent the lateral movement that may cause plantar fasciitis.

Waterproof/breathable footwear dries slowly

Waterproof and breathable footwear tends to dry more slowly than any non-waterproof footwear. While waterproof hiking shoes are great for hiking in cold weather, it’s more desirable to have a well-vented mesh shoe that quickly dries than the one that remains wet for days and can lead to discomfort including blisters.

Ankle Rolling

Many hikers choose boots because they think that boots are mandatory for carrying heavier weight backpacks and provide ankle support than trail runners or low trail shoes.

While probably that was true when all hiking boots were made with good quality leather, modern hiking boots are softer and less supportive, and also they are one step up from running shoes or being trail. They can provide more assurance, you can twist your ankle while wearing it.

On the flip side, many backpackers and hikers are able to carry heavy packs and walk-in rocky mountainous terrain in trail runners and trail shoes. In other words, there is no proper answer and you should decide for yourself, rather than follow anyone’s gossip.

Traction

Shoes and boot manufacturers make a big deal about traction and it is important yet difficult to prove that different sole compositions Vibram or non-Vibram soles, lug angles, lug depth, blah, blah, blah, etc. make a big impact on traction. When push comes to shove, the hiking traction that actually matters is when you are scrambling on wet rock or walking on a cliff edge. Even then, good footwork is maybe more important, so develop that rather than depending on your shoes.

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