Best Hiking Shoes and Boots For Men And Women

Hiking is a very common and favorite sport for many people. As refreshing and enjoyable as hiking it, it can be quite challenging and risky too. One of the biggest challenges with hiking is negotiating the terrain. To do this you need some level of agility and stamina and a pair of sturdy hiking shoes. Without the right accessories, hiking will not be a lot of fun.

The perfect pair of hiking shoes should be combination of the following: light, comfortable and keeps your feet dry and protected. Hiking shoes are vastly different to walking shoes. Today you will learn how to choose hiking shoes that fit all the above characteristics.

How To Select Hiking Shoes

There are many aspects of a hiking shoe that one must consider while purchasing it. Some common features that one must note include:

  • the size
  • material
  • weigh
  • stiffness
  • shape
  • soles

Each of these features is vital in giving you the support and control for long hiking expeditions.

Deciding on the Right Pair Of Shoes Or Boots

There are two major things to consider in choosing the right hiking shoes:

Where you will be hiking

Do you plan on hiking up a mountain, through a forest or by the shore or riverbanks? Each location requires a different type of hiking shoes. Mountains can have lots of rocky trails; forests will have roots over soft soil and shores and riverbanks will have sand or mud. A pair of hiking shoes for mountain trails is too much when you are hiking on riverbanks.

Features of Your Feet

Foot size and foot type will also dictate the hiking shoes that you are going to buy. Your foot type must also be considered. Follow the same principle in using foot types to choose a pair of running shoes. If you suffer from supination or underpronation or even plantar fascitis, then you should pick the right shoes to wear.

Hiking Shoes or Hiking Boots?

Most of my walks last from 1 to 6 hours. I like to travel light, and the local terrain, though hilly and rugged, is not what could be called ‘hardcore’. I used to wear hiking boots and they lasted me well but when they finally wore out I decided to try hiking shoes instead. So far, I think it has been a good move. The new shoes are lighter than my boots were and I feel slightly less fatigued after long walks now. If your hiking is similar to mine, shoes might be better for you than boots. There is a huge range of women’s hiking shoes (including sandals and trail running shoes) at the companies I recommend here.

If you are very overweight or going for multi-day hikes carrying a heavy load over rough or mountainous terrain, then you might be better off taking a look at this page. Your feet and ankles will be better supported and protected when wearing boots. And walking on concrete paths is not hiking!

Buying hiking shoes also depends on how often you go for hiking. For those who occasionally hit the trails, a cheap pair of hiking shoes might be enough. Those who often hit the trails might want to get a better durable pair. The most important element is finding one that is comfortable to fit your feet properly.

Most people do not buy boots for climbing rocks and mountains due to the lack of feel. A good pair of hiking boots will enable the climber to feel crevices and the smallest foothold in the rocks. They must also fit securely so that the foot will not twist leading to the risk of ankle injury. You can many cheap hiking boots and other used hiking shoes boots for maximum savings from this store.

A good pair of hiking shoes cannot be used for diverse selection of surface as it can only be used on flat terrain and smoother trails. The smooth soles on most hiking shoes are designed for flat surfaces with low chance of getting mud of loose soil and rock. Boots with deep tread on the bottom work much better on these types of surfaces.

The type of trail will determine if low-top hiking shoes boots are enough for trails where the terrain is problematic. Sometimes those with uppers that can stabilize the ankles are needed. For normal flat walking, comfortable walking shoes will be enough. But for longer walks, you can get hiking shoes with a spongy sole.

It can be a challenge to find the perfect hiking shoes or hiking boots for rock climbing and taking trips. There are so many different surfaces that can pose a challenge.

Always stay prepared for the ever changing path – buy hiking shoes boots that are designed for the worst type of terrain.

Hiking Shoes By Activity

Now that you know where you are going to conduct your hiking activities it is now time to learn about the different types of hiking shoes based on the location of the activity:

  • Backpacking Hiking Shoes – Hiking trails that require you to bring large backpacks means your feet will be sustaining a load above your own weight. If you are doing this then go for a pair of backpacking hiking shoes. This type of hiking shoes is designed to withstand the additional weight and effectively support your foot at the same time.
  • Light Hiking Shoes – Light hiking shoes are for hiking activities that requires you to bring lighter bags. This type of hiking shoes is excellent for day hikes and closely resembles some rubber shoes except for the outer soles.
  • Mountaineering Hiking Shoes – This type of hiking shoes is heavy since it is designed to sustain just about any mountain terrain. It is also have the characteristics of backpacking hiking shoes in supporting more weight.

Hiking Shoes By Cuts

Next we will discuss about the type of hiking shoes based on cuts:

  • Low-Cut Hiking Shoes – Low-cut hiking shoes are designed for hiking in smoother terrains where there is a small chance of debris going towards your foot. This is because of the low-cut which exposes your foot to invasion of small particles like tiny pebbles and twigs.
  • Mid-Cut Hiking Shoes -This type of hiking shoes wraps up the ankles offering a level of protection from debris.
  • Mid-Cut Hiking Shoes – This type of hiking shoes wraps up the ankles offering a level of protection from debris.
  • High-Cut Hiking Shoes – High-cut hiking shoes are for more challenging terrains and hiking environment.

Best Reviewed Hiking Shoes

What are the best hiking shoes?

The answer to this question would be silly if it just listed a bunch of the top rated hiking shoes. This information wouldn’t be correct next year and definitely not in 5-10 years when our technology has advanced so much that today’s shoes look like something worn in King Arthur’s time. So the answer to this question will focus on those timeless things that are relevant to hiking and feet. It’s these things that will always make the top rated hiking shoes regardless of the era.

When you now know what hiking shoes to look for then it is time to shop for them.

Focus on the brands that primarily design hiking shoes since they will have the better selections.

Aim for quality and remember that it could not be the cheapest hiking shoes. Try on several hiking shoes of the type chosen and see which of them fits your feet perfectly.

Features of Top Rated Hiking Shoes and Boots

The Shoe Deals With Liquid Well

The first and most important thing is that your top rated hiking shoes deal with liquids well. This simply means that if you come across water or snow and ice then the shoe needs to keep this stuff away from your feet. Modern shoes have two ways of doing this.

  • Either by using a synthetic fabric or a natural fabric that has been coated with a waterproof synthetic material,
  • Or by using a complicated drainage system made of mesh that takes water away from the feet and off the side of the shoe.

The one you pick which makes your top rated hiking shoes is really up to personal preference. Some people really prefer natural materials so they’d rather go for the leather boots with the protective spray. But other people really like the idea of air still being allowed in your shoe while liquid is kept out. Of course it also depends entirely on the season. The top rated  hiking shoe in December will not be the same one for August.

 The Shoe is Comfortable

It might be safe to walk around barefoot in some places and it may also be safe to wear comfortable sandals in the hot summer, but for hiking at this season it might be much smarter to find a good pair of comfortable hiking shoes.

Safety is more important than comfort, so the top rated hiking shoes will be comfortable.

Good hiking shoes will all have comfortable padding, maybe lining, support for feet, ankles and heels.

The soles will also feel airy and graceful to walk on, but the traction and grips on the bottom for a top rated hiking shoe will also be very firm and strong.

Safety First

Speaking of traction, the top rated hiking shoes will also most likely be the safest. Regardless of how wet the surface is or how slippery, the best shoes will hold on firmly to these surfaces. You will never slip on a rock in the top rated hiking shoes if you are careful.

The other important part of safe top rated hiking shoes is that the ankles are supported and prevented from twisting if you mistakenly step the wrong way.

Warmth is also many times an important safety factor in the top rated hiking shoes – in winter they have to keep you warm, but in the summer you want to keep out the warmth. You can solve this dilemma by getting two pairs of shoes or by finding a nice hybrid shoe.

Women’s Hiking Boots

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I generally wear hiking shoes for my walks these days. My walking partner Lisa wears heavy duty hiking sandals in hot weather (see website header photograph above), but at other times she wears old-school leather walking boots.

There’s no doubt that boots give your feet more support and protection than shoes, but they often weigh more and cost more. For the kind of hiking I do, shoes are fine most of the time. Lisa could get away with hiking shoes too but her sister bought her the boots and they are a good fit, so there isn’t much point in buying another pair. She used to go trail running, and for that you definitely wouldn’t want to be wearing boots. Anyway, I’ll give you links to the recommended dealers below.

Womens Hiking Shoes

In past times, hiking shoes were very similar regardless of what gender they were intended for, but in our times there has been a new revolution in hiking shoes for women. It was only in the past twenty to thirty years that the anatomical differences between men’s and women’s feet were fully appreciated and evaluated by the hiking shoes industry. The differences are many – women have more cartilage and muscle in their feet, especially around their ankles, heels and in step, presumably to account for the ability to bear children and it is also known that in general, women’s feet have a different shape than men’s.

These differences weren’t accounted for too much in the past, but modern hiking shoes for women almost always have slightly less lining than men’s shoes and additionally, they have support in different places. While outside they may look very similar in appearance, most certainly they are not the same on the inside at all.

Furthermore, colors and style may also be a difference, although this is often entirely personal taste and choice. Often hiking shoes for women are marketed as a similar, but different looking shoe to a men’s hiking shoe. This is ideally aimed at partners who go hiking together. Sometimes the shoe looks like an exact twin of the men’s shoe, but it will still have engineering differences to account for the anatomy.

Hiking shoes for women not only come in different sizes, colors and styles, but also the basic shoe is available in many forms.

For example, hiking sandals are a very popular choice for easy hiking in places such as national parks, on beaches or light forest trails with no danger from foreign objects or poisonous wildlife.

Hiking sandals are also often worn in the summer in urban settings. Regular hiking shoes for women are also available, these have the advantage that they can be worn in the rain as well as on slightly colder days. They are also intended for hikes where the feet need to be covered, for instance, to prevent insect bites or rock and plant debris from getting in the shoe.

Finally, a class of hiking shoes for women is also available which has a high ankle. These are intended for medium to difficult terrain, with the assumption that slippery surfaces will be navigated, where the ankle is in real danger of being twisted or sprained if it is not restrained correctly. These shoes often also have rubber internal protection for the toes to prevent stubbing on rocks.

All forms of hiking shoes – from the sandal to the boot – come with very good grips on the soles that can hold on tightly to slippery surfaces, such as wet rocks, ice or snow.

Men’s Hiking Shoes

Fortunately, hiking seems to be one of those activities that women and men are equally interested in. I spend a lot of time out in the countryside on foot or on my bicycle and I see roughly equal numbers of both sexes out walking, whereas I see greater percentages of male cyclists and female horse riders. So, according to my informal research there are obviously a lot of men who need hiking shoes and I want to direct you to the best brands selling them!

I have already catered for women on the women’s hiking shoes above and below you will find the links you need to buy men’s hiking shoes. I list the reasons why these brands are a great place to buy shoes from. Heck, I put my money where my mouth is recently and bought a pair of men’s hiking shoes myself. I got 20% off list price and free delivery. I ordered the shoes in the middle of the night and was out walking in them 36 hours later. Beat that!

I assume that you already love walking, or you want to get into it. You know that you need to wear good quality shoes (or boots) or you could end up with blisters, blood and blackened toenails (I’ve seen them all out on the trails).


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