Hiking Boots and Trail Shoes are becoming much lighter weight. There’s no doubt about it. We surveyed 440 backpackers to find out what their favorite hiking boots and trail shoes are it’s clear that the era of heavy leather hiking boots is on the wane. Perhaps ever more amazing is that the top 10 hiking boots and trail shoes we identified are used by nearly half of our survey respondents, demonstrating a high degree of consensus among backpackers. If you’re looking for the best hiking and backpacking boots or trails shoes, you should definitely start with the 10 backpacker recommended hiking boots shoes listed below!
1. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Mids
are by far the most popular hiking boot or trail shoe used by backpackers today, outnumbering the nearest competitor by 2:1. Noted for their affordability and availability in wide sizes, the Moab Ventilator Mid is a long-lasting, lightweight hiking boot that provides excellent ankle support with wrap-around mesh that’s highly breathable and fast drying. The Vibram lugs provide excellent traction and protection for hiking across a wide variety of terrain from the damp forests of Appalachia to the high desert. Available in mens and women’s versions, and waterproof and non-waterproof versions for better breathability. The Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid is also available as a low trail shoe, ($100).
2. Altra Lone Peak 3.0
($120), a relative newcomer to the hiking and backpacking world, is the top trail runner used by backpackers. Noted for their roomy toe box and splayed forefoot, the moderately cushioned Lone Peak has mesh uppers for enhanced breathability. This zero drop shoe has a toothy lugged sole that provides excellent traction, with an integrated stone guard that offers enhanced forefoot protection. Available in men’s and women’s versions, including the new ($160) which provides more ankle support.
3. Keen Targhee II Mids
($135) is an agile but well-protected waterproof hiking boot also available in wide sizes. The aggressive outsole has large lugs to bite into the terrain, providing excellent traction control. An integrated shank provides torsional stability, while the mid cut height increases ankle support. The Targhee II is available in men’s and women’s sizes, and a low version, the waterproof ($125) is also available.
4. La Sportiva Ultra Raptors
($130) is a all-terrain mountain running shoe with an ultra sticky rubber outsole geared towards all-day protection. Noted for their excellent traction, even on wet rock, they have a sturdy toe bumper and molded nylon shank that provides excellent forefoot protection in rugged terrain. Mesh uppers are highly breathable and dry quickly when wet. Durability is good with reinforced plastic ribs that prevent the mesh from shredding. The Ultra Raptors have an athletic fit, narrow enough in the heel and mid-foot to provide a stable running or hiking platform, while still providing a roomy toebox. They are available in men’s and women’s models.
5. Salomon X-Ultra 2
($120) offers a sleek, athletic design, breathable uppers, stable chassis and grippy soles designed for fast hiking on moderate to technical terrain. A minimalist lacing system secures with 1-pull tightening, while gussets create continuous connections between tongues and uppers, blocking out debris. The X-Ultra provides great traction in all types of terrain and dries quickly in wet conditions. Men’s and women’s version of the X-Ultra are available, with a ($145) and without, described above. ($165) version is also available for both men and women.
6. Salomon XA Pro 3D
($130) is Salomon’s lightest advanced-chassis shock-absorbing shoe. Built for moving quickly, the 3D has lightweight, breathable sandwich mesh that keeps your feet cool and drains well. A beefy toe cap and forefoot rand provide extra protection, while minimalist kevlar speed-laces provide a secure and customized fit.Traction is fantastic overall with a nice heel brake for descents. Available for men and women. A ($160) is also available.
7. La Sportiva Wildcats
($110) is a neutral trail running shoe with highly breathable nylon mesh uppers that keep your feel cool and dry quickly when they get wet. Sticky rubber outsoles deliver excellent traction while TPU stabilizers in the heel and midsole offer additional stability. A large toe box and ample heel cushioning make the Wildcat a sweet ride for hiking and backpacking in a wide variety of terrain. Men’s and women’s models are available.
8. Vasque Breeze 3.0 GTX
($180) is a Gore-Tex-lined waterproof hiking boot noted for its comfort out-of-the box. Nubuck leather uppers maintain abrasion-resistance on the trail, reinforced with a rubberized toe cap for protection from rock strikes. Ventilation panels circulate air inside the boot, preventing overheating in hot weather, while the waterproof liner seals out rain and shallow stream crossings. Wide and narrow widths are available for an excellent fit. Available in both men’s and women’s models, the ($150) is also available as a low trail shoe.
9. Salomon Quest 4D II GTX
($230) is a lightweight, but supportive hiking boot that incorporates trail running technology into its design. The beefy toe-cap provides protection for your toes while a TPU midsole helps control flex, reduce ankle strain, and shield feet in rough terrain. High ankle support and locking laces provide good stability while eliminating heel lift and potential blisters. The gusseted tongue protects against rain and water during stream crossings while grippy rubber outsoles provide excellent traction over wet and dry surfaces. The Quest 4D II GTX is available in men’s and women’s models.
10. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
($230) is a waterproof hiking boot with a leather upper that securely holds the foot in place, reducing strain on the toes during downhill sections. Available in wide widths, the Renegade’s midsole technology reduces overall boot weight, while providing extra cushioning and lateral stability. A rugged Vibram outsole and thick, nonslip rubber lugs make these boots ideal for hiking and light backpacking. This shoe also has gender-specific, men’s and women’s lasts, for optimal fit and comfort. ($210) is also available for men and women.
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