Buying good hiking boots may seem pretty simple–just find some that look cool and have good tread – and away you go. However, you need to be pretty picky about your hiking boots/shoes. I think it’s worth spending some time looking at what’s available before just grabbing a pair.
A good pair of hiking boots or shoes should, of course, be comfortable. You should be able to wear them and feel that your feet are not rubbing up too much against the boot, which will cause blisters. Your toes should have room to move around. And your boot or shoe needs to be sturdy enough to tackle the different terrains that you will encounter. There are some good hiking boots and shoes on the market that I can recommend. My favorite hiking shoes are the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe. Besides being the best value by far for hiking shoes, the Moab 2 shoes give outstanding support to your feet through difficult terrain, are comfortable, and provide excellent ventilation. For the price, I can’t find a better hiking boot or shoe. That’s my top pick.
The Moab 2 is not a waterproof hiking shoe, but that’s never bothered me. Because they are ventilated, I have been able to dry my feet completely after a couple of hours after walking through heavy rain and wet brush. I also suffer from very few blisters when I use the Moab 2. Just a great, affordable hiking shoe.
Best Hiking Shoes For Women
For women hikers, I’m also going to recommend a Merrell, specifically the Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe. Based on the reviews I have seen, the Women’s Moab 2 can easily put in up to 15 miles a day and remain comfortable. There is also less break-in time than other boots.
If you have wide feet at the toes, the Moab 2s are really roomy. They’re lightweight enough not to fatigue my legs, but they are sturdy and easily handle rough terrain and rocks.
Trail Runners – If You REALLY Want To Be Comfortable.
Trail runners have become more and more popular with hikers in the past few years – with good reason. Especially if you are planning a thru-hike, or a longer hiking trip that could mean up to 100 miles, a heavy pair of hiking boots just doesn’t sound too appealing. Trail runners, while not as sturdy and durable, do offer a level of comfort for hikers who will be on their feet a lot during a hiking trip.
The first pair of trail runners that I tried out were the ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe (link to Amazon). I have to say, I loved them. I loved how light my feet felt and how comfortable I was. And while I could tell that they didn’t offer the same level of sturdiness and support as my Moab 2 hiking shoes, I was happy to trade that for a more comfortable hike.
Although I have not tested them, I would also recommend the ALTRA Men’s Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe based on my research and reviews of other hikers. One thing I really appreciate about this shoe is its wide toe box, which is a huge plus for hikers with wide feet. Also, the Stone Guard on the bottom of the shoe resembles the skeletal structure of your foot, providing protection and support that many other trail runners do not offer.
The great thing about trail runners as well is that they are much easier to wear around during every-day life, making them even more value-added.
Sturdy, Strong Hiking Boots
Sometimes, a hiking boot really is the right option. If you have a difficult hike with uneven terrain, sometimes you need as much support as you can get. I love both the look and the feel of Salomon boots. And to me, the top of the line when it comes to their boots is the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX.
One thing that sets the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX apart is how surprisingly lightweight they are. Combined with its breathable upper, and this is a boot that keeps you very comfortable as you reach the end of a long day on the trail. I also love the fact that the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX is made for wide feet. I have wide feet, and have actually blow out the sides of shoes and hiking boots in the past. This boot puts that problem to rest.
Finally, the X Ultra Mid 3 GTX is made with Gore-Tex Performance Comfort, for waterproofing and breathability that you can count on during wet weather. While waterproof boots aren’t for everyone, I do think these boots strike a good balance between breathability and keeping your feet dry.
There are a lot of good options out there for hiking boots and shoes. It can be tempting to just go to your local Wal-Mart and buy some simple boots for $50. If you only hike once or twice a year, for no more than a day hike, then that’s probably fine. But if you want to hiker longer distances over more days, then I recommend something of better quality and durability to keep you as comfortable as possible.
For me, I’ll stick with the Moab 2s or my Adidas trail runners.
If you’re looking for good quality hiking boots and shoes that won’t break the bank, I have other pages like this one recommending footwear for under $150. You can find that page HERE.