6 Best Hiking Shoes For Men

We’ve tested and chosen the year’s best hiking shoes if you’re looking for a quick and light alternative to boots.

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The trend in hiking gear is shifting away from heavy boots towards lighter shoes and even faster and more comfortable trail runners. When navigating uneven hikes or carrying a big pack, you do sacrifice some ankle support, but for many people, the weight savings and airy feel are worth it. The hiking shoes listed below are some of our favourites for 2023, ranging from light-weight alternatives for quick journeys to more supportive styles for toting a heavy load.

Our Favourite Hiking Shoes

Best Overall Hiking Shoe
1. Salomon Men’s X Ultra 4 GTX
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Category: Hiking shoe
Weight: 13.62 Ounces
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: Excellent weight-to-performance ratio while safeguarding delicate joints without impeding movement.
What we don’t: Fit and comfort are either loved or hated.

With its remarkable blend of comfort, on-trail performance, and durability for anything from easy day treks to challenging overnight expeditions, Salomon’s X Ultra has long been one of our favourite hiking shoes. The X Ultra 4 is an update to the well-liked shoe that was released last year. The X Ultra 4 boasts a sleeker, more contemporary appearance in addition to a new lacing system, chassis, and roomier fit in the toe box. Importantly, the shoe keeps the excellent balance of agility, support, durability, and protection found in the previous model, and there is enough cushioning underfoot for extended days with a heavy pack.

Although the most recent X Ultra 4 wins our top rank, it wasn’t as widely accepted as in previous years. In summary, some of our editors didn’t love the 4’s fit, which has a wide forefoot, thin midfoot, and difficult-to-adjust quick-pull lacing system. Some people may find this to feel locked down but find the toe box to be too spacious, while others may find the forefoot to be excellent but the arch to be too tight. Additionally, some users may experience irritation and pain from the elevated collar that surrounds the front of the ankle (in this instance, our testers didn’t experience this).

Best Budget Hiking Shoe
2, Merrell Moab 3
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Category: Hiking shoe
Weight: 2 lb. 1 pounds.
Waterproof: No (waterproof available)
What we like: Great value for a very comfortable and well-built hiking shoe.
What we don’t: Not built for technical terrain.

There is a lot to enjoy about Merrell’s flagship Moab 3 hiking shoes, even though they may not be your long-distance or quick-and-light hiking shoes. Why has this shoe been so popular over time? The fit, which is cosy and well-padded, the superb durability, and the appealing price point are particularly noteworthy. The Moab was recently upgraded by Merrell with recycled materials, a new insole, and minor changes on the cushioning and traction, but the basic design has not changed significantly. The Moab 3 is a fantastic deal for day hikers who stick to well-traveled paths.

The Moab’s traction and stability on rocky and muddy terrain are less than those of a performance shoe like the La Sportiva Spire below, which is one of its drawbacks. Additionally, it feels a little slow and heavy in comparison to some lighter and more manoeuvrable options (like the X Ultra 4 above) at 2 pounds 1 ounce for a pair. However, these are fair compromises for brisk hikers, and it’s difficult to argue with the cost, which comes in at a whole $50 cheaper than the Salomon above.

Other Versions Of Moab 3:
1. Moab 3 Mid
2. Moab 3 Waterproof
3. Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

Best Ultralight and Cushioned Hiking Shoe
3. Hoka Speedgoat 5
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Category: Trail runner
Weight: 1 lb. 4.6 oz.
Waterproof: No
What we like: Plush cushioning offers all-day comfort; grippy outsole.
What we don’t: New uppers lack structure; not as durable as a dedicated hiking shoe.

Hoka used to be a specialty brand for runners, but over the past several years, that has drastically changed, and the company is now a top choice for hikers. A lightweight trail runner can provide the ideal balance of performance and comfort if you remain largely on well-established trails, aren’t scrambling, or aren’t carrying a hefty pack. This trend makes sense given that more and more people are trading in their heavy boots for hiking shoes and trail runners. The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is our favourite shoe in this category because it has a lengthy history of success, substantial yet supportive cushioning, an incredibly gripping sole, and these qualities.

What are the Hoka Speedgoat 5’s drawbacks? We were taken aback by how quickly they degraded, especially the sole and midsole. A man purchasing new Hokas in front of us recently stated, “I absolutely love these shoes but am bummed by how quickly they pack out,” which perfectly describes our experiences as well. Additionally, the redesigned upper no longer has any overlays, so you receive less stability and protection than in earlier iterations. We found the 5 to be extremely erratic for trail running on tough terrain. But you just won’t find a more comfortable shoe for the job if you walk or run mostly on well-traveled paths.

Best Shoe for Backpacking and Technical Trails
4. La Sportiva Spire GTX 
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Category: Hiking shoe
Weight: 1 lb. 15 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex Surround)
What we like: A backpacking-ready shoe that is tough, comfortable, and well-made.
What we don’t: Super pricey and a bit heavy.

The majority of the styles on our list are either lightweight or almost trail runner-like in style, but La Sportiva’s bulky Spire is backpacking-ready, or about as close to a hiking shoe as you can go. It efficiently isolates you from rocky and uneven trails because it feels solid and substantial and has good stiffness (La Sportiva even refers to it as a low-cut hiking boot). You get one of the more capable hiking shoes on the market when you combine good protection, traction on various surfaces, and the high quality build we’ve come to expect from this Italian climbing brand.

Why does the La Sportiva Spire not have a higher ranking? It weighs over 2 pounds and has a relatively high ankle cut for a low-top hiking shoe. Second, it is the most expensive model on this list at $209, making it significantly more expensive than many hiking boots. The adaptive fit, which should be comfortable for most foot types, is something we also love, but the shoe is a little broad at the heel, so we had to tighten it up to prevent slipping.

Best Hiking Shoe for Off-Trail Scrambling
5. La Sportiva TX4

Category: Approach shoe
Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz.
Waterproof: No
What we like: Approach shoe grip with hiking shoe comfort and weight.
What we don’t: Leather upper limits breathability in hot weather.

Even though the La Sportiva TX4 isn’t the typical choice, we adore this shoe. It is designed as an approach shoe, making it durable and grippy for long excursions to climbing destinations or moving over rough, steep terrain. The entire rubber rand, smooth region of sticky rubber under the toe, and Vibram outsole make it an excellent choice for scrambling, smearing, and edging on rock. But it’s versatility is what has most struck us. With its light and relatively flexible build, the TX4 is equally adept at going quickly on the trail. Because of the excellent level of comfort and appealing design, we even appreciate it for daily usage.

The La Sportiva TX4 has limits, just like the majority of approach shoes. However, it will fall short of a proper hiking shoe in mud and filth. The dotty tread grips remarkably well on wet and dry rock and even wowed us with traction on snow. Additionally, some hikers—mostly those who are quick and light—might discover that the harder sole feels heavy and rigid. Overall though, despite the TX4’s designation as an approach shoe, it is a respectable hiking partner.

A Lightweight, Comfort-First Hiking Shoe
6. Danner Trail 2650
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Category: Hiking shoe
Weight: 2.38 oz.
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: Comfortable, grippy, and looks good for use around town.
What we don’t: Pricey and can’t match the X Ultra above in stability.

Although Danner is best known for its work boots, the long-established shoe company has recently made a smooth shift to hiking. The Trail 2650 has a lot going for it: It’s comfy right out of the box, grippy with a Vibram outsole, and incredibly light at 2.38 ounces each pair. Its name comes from the length of the Pacific Crest Trail. And this shoe accomplishes something that most hiking shoes don’t: it looks good while doing it. Overall, the path Danner is taking is impressive, and the Trail 2650 is one of the more adaptable alternatives on our list.

With extensive heel and toe protection and a rather solid rubber sole, the Danner offers a step up in protection compared to the trail runners above and below, despite its lightweight design. However, it is not the most stable design available; with a low collar and a less secure fit than shoes like the La Sportiva Spire or Salomon X Ultra 4, it will reveal its weaknesses while traversing difficult terrain or carrying a large load. Additionally, the relatively large chunk of rubber on the heel that appears to provide more protection than is absolutely necessary has us perplexed.

Exclusive Tip:

With insider information, improve your outdoor adventures! Don’t forget about our insider knowledge: You can also read our blog post about The Best Camping Tent in the United States. No matter what kind of outdoor activity you choose—camping, hiking, trekking, or backpacking—we have the knowledge and advice to make your trip truly unforgettable.Besides this, you can also check out our second blog Ultimate Survival Kit For Camping.