Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes Reviewed
Tired of having massive and bulky boots weigh you down as you exercise? A lot of athletes are moving from heavy footwear and shifting to lightweight hiking shoes. With a lighter pair of shoes, you can cover more distance and not suffer from too much fatigue. They are also more comfortable, and they allow you to achieve your fitness goals quickly.
With many brands in the market trying to curve a niche for themselves. We have taken time to compile a list of the best men’s and women’s lightweight hiking shoes in the market. This list consists of high-quality shoes that are gender-specific to help you find the right fit for you.
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10 Top Rated Lightweight Hiking Shoes
1. Keen Targhee 2
Great Foot protection
Dull colors available
The Keen Targhee 2 is the perfect hiking boot for a minimalist athlete looking to keep it simple. With a variety of colors to choose from, you will always look stylish as you exercise. It is affordable and highly functional. Users also like that it is all-terrain.
The Keen Targhee is sturdy and durable. And, it is easy to maintain compared to most hiking shoes. Thanks to the leather overlays, it offers protection to your feet. You can also use it for casual occasions thanks to its versatility
Due to its waterproof ability, you can use it in wet conditions. The outsole will also keep you stable on slippery surfaces thanks to its lug design. With your Keens on, you can be confident that you’ll get enough stability and support on the trail. The insole is also designed for comfort and security.
A dual-density EVA footbed makes up the insole of the hiking boot. The insole is removable for easy washing. You will also find it easy to replace when it wears out. It also has a metatomical nature to provide users with excellent arch support. The brand also designed it to contour to the foot's shape for maximum comfort.
The design used in the construction of the insole has many benefits to the wearer. Apart from offering comfort and stability, it also provides shock absorption and protects the midfoot. The boot's collar offers ankle support, while the tongue is also padded to keep the wearer comfortable.
One other great advantage of purchasing this pair is their lightweight form. It will allow you to hike for longer periods. It is also flexible and doesn’t require a break-in period. You will also be impressed by the traction provided by the multidirectional lugs.
2. Merell Moab
Excellent foot protection
This hiking shoe is designed to let women push their limits by offering them comfort and excellent performance. Female athletes have continuously taken advantage of this superb hiking shoe, to achieve their fitness goals. It also keeps the hiker’s feet cool and dry on the trail.
Hikers trying to transition to using boots can use this Merell shoe with ease. It is lightweight and offers excellent stability. Protection is guaranteed thanks to the padded heel and toe box. Besides, this model is an improvement of its previous version.
You don't have to worry about how it fits because it is true to size. The upper consists of leather and mesh, providing excellent breathability. Additionally, it dries faster to allow you to be comfortable and dry. Protection is available thanks to the leather straps and a nylon shank.
Your midfoot protection comes from the shank, which also acts as a shock absorber. It protects you from bruising and sharp rocks on the trail when you exercise. Moreover, the shoes are durable thanks to the sturdy outsole and strong upper.
The heel area has a softshell lining that wicks sweat from your feet. No break-in is necessary for these lightweight hiking shoes. The sole is Vibram, and it contains lugs with no torsional flex. The pair does not have a heel lift, and the heel area is narrow for a firm fit.
3. Salomon X ultra
Can't handle rough trails
Athletes who used the high-top version of the Salomon X are going to enjoy walking in this pair. The brand has done away with the weight and created a lightweight hiking shoe for all occasions. You can use this new version without any restrictions.
The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is built to offer flexibility and comfort. With great padding for comfort, the collar and the tongue are thicker than most shoes. The insole design provides cushioning and support to the wearer during exercises. Its underfoot is thin, making it suitable for hikers who want to feel closer to the ground.
This hiking boot is lightweight compared to most low-top shoes. The outsole also has excellent traction making it perfect for downhill climbs. The heel of the sole has gill-like treads for a firm grip on the ground. It has Contagrip technology at the bottom makes this product excellent for hiking or mountain climbing.
You don't have to worry about the level of traction. The outsole has already been tried and tested on different terrains. The rubber compound on the sole doesn't chip way or deteriorate on rough grounds. You’ll be able to use these lightweight hiking shoes when you are lightweight backpacking or involved in any other sporting activity.
The shoe has a flexible underfoot to allow you to climb over trail elements. The flexibility also protects you from ankle injuries on the road. Also, the shoes are waterproof but won't dry fast enough when it gets wet inside. Moreover, they offer excellent insulation in snowy and wet conditions but are a bit uncomfortable in hot weather.
Not many shoes can match the Salomon X Ultra 3 on durability. It has a high lifespan thanks to the presence of a reinforced upper. The upper design also protects the mesh from damage with a sturdy toe cap. Additionally, the Quicklace system helps provide a snug fit to the foot, and it is easier and faster to use.
4. La Sportiva Wildcat
Excellent Outsole traction
If you enjoy going for long hikes, marathons, or off-road races, then this is the footwear for you. With its unique design and technology, it is meant to offer maximum shock absorption. The midsole is firm while the upper is layered. The upper also consists of Gore-Tex or GTX material, which is waterproof and protective.
Not only is the La Sportiva Wildcat durable, but it is also highly functional. It is the perfect hiking boot for hikers who often tackle rough terrain. The shoe is designed to offer comfort in the most challenging places.
The outsole will give you the confidence to hike wherever you want. Moreover, it works exceptionally well in mountain hikes and rocky terrains. It consists of pronounced pins that offer excellent traction. The shoe also provides a progressive run thanks to the sole's firmness and the midsole.
The midsole consists of a soft LaSpEVA layer around the forefoot region. It has excellent responsiveness and effectively. The sole, as mentioned earlier, is firm and doesn't flex easily. If you want an outsole with flexibility, then this is not the shoe for you.
For protection and functionality, the upper consists of a durable mesh cage lining. It includes the GTX lining and TPU overlay. The mesh also covers the tongue area while offering protection and durability to the shoe. GTX is waterproof and will keep you dry in wet conditions.
This lightweight hiking shoes have a tight fit because of the extra layer on the upper. Make sure to order a size up when making a purchase. Besides, the heel area is stable, thanks to the TPU. However, the TPU function makes it difficult to put the shoe on because it doesn't bend.
5. Altra lone Peak
Excellent toe room
It is durable
Limited color options
Female athletes are growing in numbers, hence the rise in women's quality footwear. The best feature in this exceptional footwear is the lug design. It digs deep into the ground to keep you stable and works well on uneven and rough terrain.
The lugs are made of rubber. They allow the wearer to move fast on a technical surface without slipping. They are set at an angle for a multidirectional grip on the surface. The shoe has a rock plate to protect your foot. As such, you will be safe even on wet or muddy surfaces.
A strapless 4-point gaiter helps to keep debris outside your shoes as you exercise. The sole is sturdy and stiff and may not be suitable for some runners. Altra Lone is also a zero-drop trainer and ideal for people who love having their heel and forefoot level closer to the ground. The upper area has a rugged look, and the toe cap offers the much-needed protection to your foot.
The outer mesh of the upper is durable and breathable. It is quick-drying to ensure that your feet get dry and comfortable. It also helps with the drainage of the shoe during rainy periods. The toe box is spacious enough to allow the wearer's toes to play inside these lightweight hiking shoes.
The cushioning in the shoes is moderate compared to other brands in the market. Moreover, the outsole consists of rubber Maxtrac with beveled lugs that help during hikes and runs. You can also use the shoes on slippery rocks without fear of getting injured. The improved upper consists of a quick-drying air mesh that has a built-in toe protection design.
6. Vasque grand traverse
They run small
The Vasque Grand Traverse is perfect for female hikers who have a great sense of style. It comes in a range of beautiful color options. The hiking shoe is also designed for comfort and practicality. You’ll be able to enjoy your gear and make the most out of your hiking trip as well.
Suede leather makes up the upper. It is durable and protects the foot. A PU-coated mesh is also present at the top to enhance the shoe’s breathability. The footbed consists of an EVA cushioning that gives comfort to your foot. Additionally, the molded EVA midsoles conform to the foot's shape and act as a shock absorber against the ground.
With this product, you won't be limited to a few locations when working out or warming-up. The Vasque is versatile and suitable for most conditions. It is also excellent for the gym and running errands around town. The outsole can also withstand the environment it is exposed to, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your shoes.
It offers excellent ankle support despite the shoe being a low-cut hiking boot. The shoe is also durable and will last for a long time with proper care. Thanks to the Vibram Ibex with Idrogrip and Megagrip compound, the outsole offers excellent grip and stability on any given surface.
7. Adidas Outdoor Terrex
Lightweight EVA cushioning
Adidas has always been a significant player in the footwear market. That is part of why the Adidas Terrex is another great option for athletes looking to get a pair of efficient and dependable hikers. This athletic-inspired shoe is exactly what you need if you are looking to enhance your outdoor experience.
Although it feels a bit stiff at first, it does not require a break-in period. The design used in its manufacture is meant to help you move quicker. It can also handle wet conditions and tricky terrain. The shoe is lightweight so you will always be at your best without feeling as if it is weighing you down.
It is highly breathable thanks to the ripstop mesh on the upper. The TPU overlays protect your foot and enhance the shoe’s durability. What makes it able to handle wet conditions is the presence of a Gore-Tex membrane. The membrane also contributes to the shoe’s breathability.
It fits snugly around the foot without any issues. It is also highly protective, keeping you safe from the trail elements. The boot is also considerably light compared to those of other brands in the market. The outsole design is durable and also offers a high level of protection for the underfoot.
The outsole design also has deep lugs, which are very tough. The lugs allow the boots to handle any environment. Adidas has partnered with a re-known tire to ensure that the sole is of a high standard. The tread pattern of the outsole resembles that of a car tire.
The shoes offer great separation from the terrain for protection. The design also protects the sides of the foot and the toes. The TPU toe cap also ensures the safety of your toes and forefoot. The brand also uses sturdy rubber to protect your heel and midfoot.
8. New Balance Wt10v1
This New Balance shoe is highly supportive and has a lightweight structure to help you achieve your fitness goals. The shoe also has premium performance foam for lightweight support. The use of Acteva midsoles also contributes to the shoe's lightness.
The hiking boot has the right amount of cushioning for comfort. It is also flexible to allow for natural movement. The upper mesh design allows your feet to have enough airflow to keep you cool and dry. So, ventilation will not be an issue for you.
The shoe will not restrict you even if you decide to switch up your training activities. Its flexible nature allows it to be versatile. Besides, you can also use it for casual occasions thanks to its aesthetics. Users also get to experience exceptional stability.
9. Salewa Wildfire
Effective lacing system
Vibram tech outsole
Some find it heavy
Salewa has always gone high-tech when making their products. These hiking boots use a 3F system that connects the sole, the top eyelets, and the back of the shoe. It has a POMOCA speed MTN sole that provides an excellent grip.
The toe area has a designated climbing zone that offers better protection when climbing technical terrain. The insole has a plate under the forefoot for better stability. It also has a smooth rubber between the big toe and ball of the foot. Users also like how the outsole has excellent durability and superior traction.
Some hikers find the boots bulky. This is partly because of the protective and sturdy EXA shell. The shell is a low profile rubber exoskeleton that offers torsional stability. It also protects the upper and laces from extreme wear.
The shoe also comes with a Multi-Fit Footbed Plus footbed or MFF+ that is removable. It consists of two thin foam parts that connect with Velcro. You can choose to customize the footbed to your liking or position it however you want. The shoe also comes with a 100% blister-free guarantee.
10. The North Face Hedgehog
Perfect everyday shoe
Easy to clean
Poor insole quality
The North Face has been in the game for over fifty years. The brand has a large following because they always manufacture performance footwear that helps hikers push their boundaries. Users also get to benefit from a warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship, provided they get their boots from authorized The North Face re-sellers.
Like every other high quality running shoe, the Hedgehog has Vibram on the outsoles. As a result, the shoes have excellent traction and durability. The sole’s sturdy rubber covers the whole underside of the boots. This design ensures that the outsole is safe from the early stages of wear and tear.
The gripping lugs on the outsole are strategically set to offer excellent traction. The tread pattern also helps in draining water and mud and providing grip on the surface. The outsole also has flex grooves to allow natural movement. It also follows the under foot's natural curves.
The midsole consists of Compression-Molded EVA. This material provides better support and cushioning. It also provides adequate shock absorption to the wearer. The back has a TPU cradle heel stabilizer, which also helps with impact absorption.
The upper has PU coated leather held together by breathable mesh panels. Breathability is shared thanks to the TPU quarter weld that also gives the lightweight hiking shoe its structure. The shoe's Gore-tex feature provides extended comfort.
It is a non-insulated lining that allows proper airflow and waterproofing. The toe box offers maximum comfort and an aggressive heel clip for protection. The tongue and collar are padded and the metal eyelets are rustproof.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The material you choose will determine the quality of your boots.
The shoes we have chosen have some of the best fabrics and materials. Some of the uppers are made of waterproof fabrics, while others consist of breathable materials.
The perfect upper will offer you longevity and value for your money. It will also allow your feet to be comfortable and dry, thanks to adequate airflow. We have carefully chosen brands that will keep your feet fresh and protected as you hit the road. The list also highlights those that have waterproof abilities for athletes in wet climates.
Hiking boots that are waterproof have a Gore-Tex membrane. They are also meant to be highly breathable to allow your feet to get sufficient airflow. However, mesh uppers are the best choice for people who want to prioritize ventilation. With breathable shoes, your feet won't be susceptible to blisters or odors.
A comfortable fit has a positive impact on your performance.
You should always have shoes that fit you properly. With the right fit, you won't have to worry about chafing or having an uncomfortable toe box. The shoes we have picked have strategically placed padding to give you that snug fit when you lace up.
Running shoes with special fittings on the tongue, often fit like a glove. However, you should try on shoes that have an extra layer on the upper. Such designs tend to have a tighter fit. If you want to purchase a shoe that has an extra lining, be sure to order a size up.
Additionally, if you want to make an online purchase, check the store's return policy. You might get stuck with a pair of shoes that won't be of use to you. Each company uses a different foot model to come up with their sizing charts. This method results in having shoes that may fit differently when you try them on.
Most of the brands we have mentioned fit true to size. They are less likely to have sizing issues, and you can always check the sizing chart if available to be safe. There are a few tricks you can use to ensure you get the right fit. One of the methods involves trying on the shoes with socks rather than without socks.
Tough hiking boots are worth purchasing.
Durability is a crucial factor to consider whenever you are shopping for gear. Our list comprises of shoes that are worth investing purchasing. They are known to last and offer longevity when given the proper care.
The design and technique used by the manufacturers, also make the boots durable. From using rubber toe caps to strategic cuts on the edge of the shoe, the brands ensured that the boots were constructed to meet people’s expectations. Some manufacturers also used the double stitching technique for durability. Other brands have leather overlays on the upper to protect the shoe from wear and tear.
The outsole is also designed to last thanks to a rubber compound that protects the sole from chipping away. Some of the extra features provided by the companies also help prolong the shoe's lifespan. We carefully worked through each item to make sure that you get your money's worth.
Safety and traction go hand in hand in some terrains.
You need shoes that have excellent grip, if you plan to go hiking. Some of the models we listed have lugs that hold firmly to the ground. We also have some pairs that depend on treads for support.
Always match the outsole to the surface it was meant to thrive in. Having better traction on a trail will help you avoid injuries. You will also be able to move faster and acquire stability as you walk.
Multidirectional lugs will also come in handy for loose terrain. The type of rubber used in the making of the outsole will also determine how much traction you get. All the shoes we have listed offer different levels of friction, it is up to you to choose the pair that will serve you best.
Your feet should always be cool and dry.
We know just how annoying it can be when there is sweat all over your shoes or clothing. That is why we have selected some of the most breathable shoes available. They will allow moisture to escape as you work out and ensure that your feet are well-ventilated.
Some of the shoes we mentioned are breathable and at the same time, quick-drying. Having sweat not drying up in your shoes can lead to embarrassing situations since your feet and boots will have a bad odor. If you want to avoid such scenarios, you’re better off selecting boots with mesh construction, since they have better airflow than most upper materials.
You will also benefit this list if your route involves stream crossing as well. Some of the models we selected have fabrics that will allow your shoes to dry up as you run.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Lightweight shoes are not enough for proper hiking or exercise sessions. You need to go for shoes that fit well to have a better experience. Wearing comfortable shoes will give you better track time. And reduce the risk of injuries and accidents on the trail.
Avoiding problems like blisters, a sprained arch, and blackened toenails, are essential to any athlete. If you get injured while training for a big event like a marathon, chances are that you won't participate in the competition. It will take time before your wounds heal, and you might end up missing the occasion. Having the right fit will enable you to train well and get ready for any competition.
You should not compromise on the quality of the outsole. Before purchasing the boots, remember to check if the tread is compatible with the terrain you plan to use. A capable outsole will provide you with excellent traction and stability. It will reduce your chances of slipping on the trail and incurring injuries.
A flexible sole will allow your feet to have better mobility as well. It will also protect your feet from objects on your path. A good outsole will also reduce the amount of shock your feet will experience as it hits the ground. It should also offer you sufficient support.
Other Factors to Consider
Not every athlete is comfortable wearing lightweight hiking boots. However, they do have a ton of advantages that are worth considering. Your leg muscles won't get strained by the weight of the shoes.
And you will move better on the track since you won’t be subjected to excessive fatigue. The boots we have mentioned on our list of best lightweight hiking shoes are of high quality and will offer you great value for your money.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Will these shoes have excellent cushioning?
Cushioning is important for comfort and impact absorption. It also helps in maintaining the durability of the boots. The products we have chosen will provide excellent cushioning for your feet. You will be comfortable regardless of the kind of terrain you plan to explore. While some are superior to others, they will still offer the stability and support you need.
Boots also have different types of cushioning. Some are thicker than others. If you have a specific preference, make sure you take time to check out what each brand is offering before you settle for any pair.
q: How often should I wash lightweight hiking shoes?
There is no limit to the number of times you can clean your boots. However, we recommend washing them after use. Depending on the type of terrain you have used your shoes on, you can wipe the surface and outsole. If you have mud on the boots, then you can wash it off.
You can also use a wet cloth to wipe off debris on the upper. Keeping the hiking boots free of dirt will help maintain their breathability. Additionally, having clean footwear will always reduce the chances of odor and bacteria formation. Remember to always have a fresh pair on your hikes, workouts, and warm-up sessions.
q: How should I clean my boots?
Cleaning hiking boots is not a hard task. You can wash them as you usually clean your regular casual shoes. Although, some manufacturers tend to provide cleaning instructions with their products.
In such scenarios, carefully read the manual, and follow the steps provided. Stick to the manufacturer's instructions to ensure the longevity of your boots. Some boots also have removable insoles. The insoles should also be washed to keep your shoes free from bacteria.
q: How long will they last?
These shoes are designed to last for a considerable amount of time. The materials and fabrics used are durable and sturdy. They can handle rough terrain and most environmental conditions. If you also take proper care of them, your hiking boots will last for more than 1000 miles.
If the manual or packaging has care instructions, we recommend that you follow them keenly. Proper storage will also add to your shoes’ longevity. When you are not using your pair of hiking shoes, store them in the right place. You can also apply polish to maintain the upper and let it dry before storing it.
q: Will the outsole protect my feet?
Yes, they will. Our selection comprises of boots with sturdy and durable outsoles, designed to provide users with adequate protection. Their outsoles have been tried and tested, so you can rest assured that your feet will be safe.
Although, you’ll find that some shoes offer better protection than others. Most of the outsoles on our list are versatile and meant for different terrains. That is why you need to be aware of the location you plan to use the shoes before you make a purchase. Once you do, selecting the proper outsole will not be an issue.
In case you plan to use the boots on wet and slippery grounds, choose lugs that will give you stability. This sole design will also offer you protection and balance.
q: Can I use my lightweight hiking shoes for trail running?
Most of the boots on our list are versatile. You will be able to use them on different terrains. Several of them can also double as trail running shoes because of their lightweight nature.
q: Can I use my lightweight hiking shoes on snow?
You can use water-resistant boots on snow. Some of the mentioned shoes are waterproof and will serve you well in snowy conditions. Be sure to check the sole and upper material before making a purchase. Some of the designs will come in handy in snowy conditions and protect you from the elements.
Boots with certain tread patterns will provide you with more stability and keep you on your feet. The size of the lugs on the sole will also determine the traction you get.
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