From lightweight hikers to rugged men’s hiking boots, this guide to men’s outdoor footwear is perfect for those looking to hit the trail.
If I had to pick the one piece of hiking gear that is the most critical to my enjoyment on the trails, it would be hiking boots. The best men’s hiking boots no longer require a choice between heavy and sturdy and light and flexible. Modern hiking shoes for men now feature lightweight, breathable materials, waterproof designs, and light, comfortable designs that will let you spend longer on the trails without leaving your feet swollen and sore.
Our guide to the best men’s hiking boots will break down all of the critical areas that you should consider when purchasing outdoor footwear such as materials, grip, weight, and ankle support. Because choosing the best hiking shoe for men means deciding on a design that will support your feet and ankles where you need it most.
At Trekking with Tykes, we are passionate about hiking gear, so helping you with these choices is something that we get ridiculously giddy about. We spent a lot of time studying men’s hiking boots to find which ones will have you walking on a cloud and which will leave you too sore for hiking the next day.
Further down this list of the best hiking shoes for men, we’ll share the criteria we look for when choosing them. But, to save you time, we’ll start with our top picks.
Our Choices For The Best Hiking Shoes For Men
What We Look For In The Best Men’s Hiking Shoes
There are quite a few things that we take under consideration when we evaluate men’s hiking boots. Because choosing the wrong ones can lead to uncomfortable feet, or worse, making a hiking fan fall out of love with the outdoors. The more enjoyable the hiking experience, the more likely they will enjoy a lifetime of outdoor adventures!
Comfort is the number 1 factor when choosing the best men’s hiking shoes. Uncomfortable feet make for miserable hikers.
We look for men’s hiking boots that are flexible, light, comfortable, and offer support that will keep you moving on even the longest trails.
The second factor that we consider is all about finding a hiking boot that will last. The costs associated with good quality hiking shoes can be high, so purchasing a pair that will last is something that we all want.
We look for men’s hikers that will take everything you throw at them and still hold their seams. Durability and build quality will make for a shoe that can keep up with everything you do.
We want hiking shoes that have excellent traction to help support you in every scenario. We look for shoes that will keep their grip, even on the slipperiest surfaces.
Lastly, the best hiking boots for men need to have high-quality support that will keep feet, knees, and ankles in great shape for years to come.
We look for shoes with quality arch support, firm ankle support, and enough rigidity to keep you hiking for years to come.
Now that you know how we choose men’s hiking shoes, here is our list for the top models.
The Best Mid-Ankle Hiking Boot For Men
Mmen’s mid-ankle hiking boots offer a convenient midpoint between the sturdy and stiff features of high-ankle boots and the lightweight comfort of a low ankle shoe or trail runner. But, it does this without sacrificing all of the ankle support.
If you’re looking for a sturdy pair of all-purpose hiking shoes that can be used across multiple terrains and environments, the mid-ankle design is for you. We find them to be the most versatile hiking boots for most hikers.
Top Choice – Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX
Salomon has consistently built some of the most exciting and reliable men’s hiking boots on the market. And their latest iteration of the X Ultra-series takes everything they have done and brings it up another notch.
The X Ultra 4 is lighter, more durable, and has better water resistance than past models. Yet, it still holds on to the incredible support points and comfortable insole that we’ve loved about past models in this series.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 offers the weight and comfort of a trail runner with the support and grip of a mid-ankle hiking boot. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s more on par with a running shoe than it is to a traditional men’s hiker.
That lightweight and comfort don’t sacrifice other important hiking boot features such as traction and waterproofing though. It’s truly one of the best all-around men’s hiking boots on the market.
If you require excellent ankle protection or a stiff sole, you might want to consider something in a high-ankle boot. But if you have been wearing low or mid-ankle hiking boots in the past and are looking to move up in quality, this model should be on your list.
Budget Option – Merrell Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boots
I have been a huge fan of Merrell hiking boots for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it’s the fact that they come in both regular and wide foot design so that they can fit a large array of women’s feet. Or, perhaps it’s the fact that through countless hikes in Colorado Springs and around the world, they’ve never let me down.
These boots are incredibly tough, comfortable, and breathable, they even come in a Gore-Tex waterproof model which is excellent if you’re caught in the rain or find yourself in any low water crossing.
Merrel Moabs are what you’ll find on my family’s feet most of the time. That’s because they are excellent hiking boots, and they come in at a fraction of the cost of many of the higher-end boots.
Are they the best? No. But they are the best for the money. By far.
The Best Mid-Ankle Hiking Boot For Men
Low-ankle hiking shoes are fantastic for those looking for a lightweight, flexible and comfortable hiking boot who don’t need the extra support of a mid or high-ankle boot.
These are the go-to hiking shoes for women who enjoy trail walking, day hiking, and exploring well-trodden trails where the chance of encountering uneven terrain is less likely. If you’re thinking you might be doing some scrambling or hiking among rocks, carrying a heavy load, or other strenuous hiking, consider a mid or a high-ankle boot.
Top Choice – Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX
Just like their mid-ankle design, the Salomon Ultra X 3 is our winner for the best low-ankle men’s hiking shoe. If money was no option, the Salomon model would be on my feet almost every day. They are sturdy and waterproof and offer some of the best traction under nearly every circumstance.
At 1 lb 10.8 oz for the pair, the Salomon Ultra X 3 are lightweight and versatile with a comfortable insole that offers a stiff base for rough and slippery surfaces.
The one downside of the Salomon models is that they run warm. This is due to the waterproof design which limits breathability. If you are someone, who, like me, prefers a cooler shoe, you might want to consider one that skips the Gore-Tex.
Budget Option – Merrell Moab Low Hiking Shoe
Once again, Merrell steps up and offers all of those without $200 to spend on a hiking shoe the chance to get into the game. These budget-friendly men’s hiking shoes come in both wide and regular styles to fit most men’s feet. They are comfortable right out of the box and don’t require much work to break them in.
For those looking for a bit more breathability, the Moab Low comes in both waterproof and non-waterproof options. Personally, I opt for the waterproof as I’m constantly chasing my kids into the water. But it’s nice to have that Gore-Tex option.
These hiking shoes come in at about 1 lb 15 oz, which is slightly heavier than the Salomon Ultra X 3. And they are also a good deal less expensive.
Best Lightweight Hiking Shoe For Men
So you love hiking, but you don’t like classic women’s hiking shoe styles. I get it. These lightweight women’s hikers fit somewhere between the classic running shoe, the trail runner, and the low-cut boot making for one of the most lightweight, comfortable, and versatile hikers for those who like to explore gentle trails.
Lightweight hiking shoes tend to be lighter than boots, more durable than trail runners, and generally more stylish for those who might also like to wear them for urban exploring.
The designs tend to focus on lightweight mesh tops that help with breathability but contain a leather sidewall that offers improved support and firmness.
Top Choice – The North Face Vective Exploris
The North Face has been a staple of the hiking and climbing community for ages. Their high-tech approach to products tends to put them on the leading edge when it comes to innovative approaches to men’s hikers. This doesn’t always work out for them, but their new Vectiv Exploris line of hiking shoe has hit a home run.
While many of The North Face designs tend to be heavy, the Vectiv Exploris is wonderfully lightweight and takes many of its engineering cues from trail runners. The unique rockered profile lends itself to speed and the Futurelight waterproofing and Cordura ripstop upper make this a shoe that should survive a lot of abuse.
This shoe might not be ideal for those looking for an ultra-lightweight hiking shoe that can double as an urban explorer. It’s definitely designed with trail and thru-hiking in mind. But if you’re happy with a dedicated hiking shoe, it’s worth the price tag.
At 1 lb 8.3 oz for the pair, these are among the lightest waterproof hiking shoes on the market.
Budget Option – Merrell MQM Flex 2
The Merrell MQM Flex sits in sharp contrast to its rugged sibling, the Moab 2. This men’s lightweight hiker is fast and flexible and works like a beefed-up trail runner. It’s also offered in both mid and low ankle designs for those who might prefer the extra ankle support.
At 1 lb 9 oz, this nimble hiking shoe is light, but it still offers decent toe and heel protection as well as a solid rock plate along the sole. The aggressive sole does a fantastic job of gripping to just about every surface, even under wet conditions, although we wish that the sole was more durable.
True to the Merrell brand, the MQM Flex offers excellent value for the money and is an excellent choice for those looking to save a few dollars. It also comes in both a Gore-Tex waterproof and a more breathable non-waterproof design.
Best Trail Runners For Men
I LOVE trail runners. They are light, comfortable, and a great option for hikers who love to tackle trails with speed or fitness in mind.
Because trail runners are so lightweight, they are also popular with thru-hikers and cross-country runners. They tend to offer better hiking support and grip than running shoes but little to no ankle support.
These aren’t a great option for those who carry a heavy backpack or a baby carrier for hiking. That’s because the lack of lateral support makes ankle sprains much more common. But, if you’re hiking some long trails with just a light pack and a lot of energy, women’s trail runners will serve you very well.
Top Choice – Altra Lone Peak 5
Altra Lone Peak’s have been a staple for thru-hikers on the Pacific Coast Trail and the Appalachian Trail for quite a while now. Their wide-toe shoe design is friendly for those who spend long hours on the trail and need room for the inevitable swelling that comes from a lot of time on your feet.
The Altra Lone Peak design is ingenious. Although it’s not waterproof (the design is more focused on breathability), it does have gaiter tabs that do an excellent job of keeping dirt and stones from entering your shoe while on the trail.
At 1 lb 2.4 oz for the pair, these are among the lightest hiking shoes on the market.
Waterproof Option – Tecnica Magma
The Magma by Tecnica is designed with the avid hiker and trail runner in mind. At 1 lb 6 oz, they are the ligthest men’s hiking shoes on this list, but that weight comes at a price as they also lack some of the cuishioning of other models such as the Altra Lone Peak 5.
The hybrid design is incredibly capable and the brilliant lug-style sole offers excellent grip and traction in every condition that we threw at it. The Tecnica Magma comes in both non-waterproof and Gore-Tex waterproof options and offers a nice combination of stiffness and flexibility for hiking and trail running.
The downside of the aggressive sole means that on firmer terrain such as concrete or urban environments, the Magma is not as comfortable or practical. It’s definitely designed for scrambling and off-the-beaten-path trails.
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