I regularly get asked for comfortable, durable hiking shoe recommendations for both men and women. I’ve done my fair share of hikes for several years now, and I’ve learned the importance of choosing the right shoes. They need to be well-suited to the environment, and definitely need to prevent blisters or other wounds. So after some trial and error, I am happy to be able to pass on my hiking shoe recommendations to you.
This blog post is in partnership with Merrell, my go-to online retailer when gearing up for hiking adventures. I bought my first pair of Merrells 14 years ago, for my very first overseas adventure to Vietnam. Since then, I’ve expanded my collection and taken it to every corner of the world.
Based on everything I’ve learnt from my experiences, I made this blog about how to select the best hiking shoe. Obviously giving advice on the best hiking shoes for women is a bit easier for me, so I asked the opinion of my husband and friends to give you some expert advice about the top hiking shoes for men.
**disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but this doesn’t change the fact that I share my own honest experiences.**
Types of hiking shoes
There are three types of hiking shoes:
- Hiking boots
- Trail runners
- Hiking sandals/ water shoes
Depending on what type of hike you plan to do, you need to decide which type best fits with your chosen activity. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How far are you hiking?
- Do you mainly do day hikes, or are you going to hike for several days?
- What kind of terrain will you be hiking through?
- What kind of weather do you plan on hiking in?
- Do you have weak ankles?
How to choose the best hiking shoes
Choosing hiking shoes is personal. Many friends of mine swear by trail runners because they’re light and compact, whereas I prefer a hiking boot because they provide more support. Despite this, I still always take a few trail runners with me as a spare pair for longer distances. Everything depends on the conditions and the climate you plan to walk in.
Hiking shoes for every climate
If you plan to hike in warmer climates, trail runners or shoes for a light hike are ideal. They’re better ventilated and let the air circulate freely through the shoe. You should avoid waterproof hiking boots in these conditions, as they’ll trap the heat in and make your feet even warmer.
In a humid climate or wet environment, you should opt for a waterproof pair of hiking boots. A higher shoe above the ankle is recommended in these weather conditions to give you more grip. If you walk in freezing temperatures, make sure you have hiking shoes that have some kind of insulation.
Hiking shoes for backpacking
The perfect hiking shoes for backpacking will have to be a bit firmer. Carrying more weight puts more pressure on your feet, so you’ll need a shoe that offers you enough stability and support. For this purpose, hiking shoes with a higher profile are ideal. They provide more support for your ankles and knees on rocky terrains.
Hiking shoes for water activities
When you do certain walks through water (such as the narrows hike in Zion National Park, where your feet are guaranteed to get wet!), it’s best to take a light, quick-drying pair of trail runners on your adventure.
Best hiking shoes for women in 2020
I’ve put together my favourite Merrell hiking shoes for women – and to make sure you choose the right shoe for you, I’ve included an extensive description for each.
Women’s high-profile hiking boots
Hiking boots with a high profile (which means they fit to above your ankles and provide you with extra support) are ideal for backpacking, hikes in colder and wetter temperatures or hikes on sloping surfaces. In short, hikes where you need extra support for your ankles and knees.
I recommend the Deverta 2 Mid Waterproof. Price €150.
Women’s low-profile hiking boots
The following boots are all low-profile types, meaning they sit below your ankles and provide less support compared to higher profiles. This type of hiking boot is similar to a trail runner, but typically provides more durability, stability, and (often) weatherproofing.
Low-profile ankle boots are often a good choice for day hikes, flat or smooth trails, and generally if you prefer less bulk around your ankles or you don’t require the extra support.
Women’s trail runners
Many hikers prefer wearing trail runners instead of a traditional style hiking boot. Trail runners are generally much more lightweight and quick-drying compared to hiking boots, though they provide less support and are often less durable.
Women’s hiking sandals and water shoes
I’ve also included some hiking sandals and water shoes, because I do find they come in handy in certain situations. I personally opt for outdoor sandals when I’m walking somewhere hot and I know my feet will get wet – though I wouldn’t typically hike long distances in them. In saying that, I have friends that hike 5+ miles in sandals, so each to their own!
I recommend the Kahuna 4 Strap. Price €100.
Best hiking shoes for men in 2020
For all my male readers (or those buying for their significant others), these are the best Merrell hiking shoes for men. As with above, you can find my top picks along with descriptions, pros vs cons, height, weight, and retail price.
Men’s high profile hiking boots
The following boots are all mid-high-profile, meaning they come up your ankles and provide extra support. These types of hiking boots are generally better for when you’re carrying a heavy backpack (eg. when you’re backpacking), you’re hiking in cold wet climates or on rockier trails, or if you prefer more support for your ankles and knees.
I recommend the Alverstone Sport Mid GORE-TEX®. Price €155.
Men’s low profile hiking boots
The following boots are all low-profile. As I mentioned above, they provide less support than higher profiles but often more durability than trail runners. They’re perfect for easier, shorter hikes.
I recommend the Accentor Sport 2 GORE-TEX®. Price €135.
Men’s trail runners
Trail runners are the perfect option for a mixture of hiking and trail running. They’re lightweight and dry quickly – ideal for walking in hot climates.
I recommend the Wildwood GORE-TEX®. Price €135.
Men’s hiking sandals and water shoes
As I mentioned in the women’s section, hiking sandals and water shoes really come in handy in certain environments. They’re particularly useful on hot, sweaty days when you know your feet will get wet, and some people even choose to hike considerable distances in them.
I recommend the Kahuna 4 Strap. Price €100.
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