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Best hiking shoes for women and men: September 2020

Having fun looks different this summer, thanks to the coronavirus. But hiking is still something you can do at a safe distance from others. Just make sure you have the right shoes.

“A lot can go wrong during the thousands of steps you take, but one thing in your control is giving your feet a quality boot from the start,” says Chad Lubinski, a hiker writing to Hiker Trash Nation who plans to face the John Muir Trail next month and the Pacific Coast Trail next year.

Good hiking shoes will alleviate blisters, inflammation, ankle problems and more. They’ll keep you on the trail longer and can be the difference between being a lifelong hiker and never coming back to hiking again, adds the McMinnville, Oregon-based hiker.

When shopping for hiking boots, it’s important to match the boot to the terrain, conditions and activity, says David Dicerbo, based in Catskill, New York, and co-owner of the adventure travel company. Destination Adventures in the backcountry, which specializes in hiking and backpacking in upstate New York.

“The best day hike boot for the Catskills would be different from the best day hike boot for the Utah desert,” he adds. Likewise, the best hiking boot for the Catskills would be different from the best hiking boot for the Catskills.

Dicerbo says there are three things to consider when looking for hiking boots:

  • Building material: Most boots are a combination of a thin waterproof and breathable membrane called Gore-tex (or something similar to Gore-tex) and panels of suede, nubuck or leather. There are also full grain leather boots that are waterproof. Water resistant boots are suitable for the majority of hikes, but if water crossings and muddy trails are a big part of your plan, fully waterproof boots are a good choice. But there’s a trade-off: Waterproof boots have less breathability and therefore can be warmer (and more fragrant) because while moisture can’t get in, it can’t get out either, says Dicerbo.
  • Ankle height: The higher the ankle of the boots, the more support is important. This is an example of how the boot adapts to your terrain – if you plan to walk on rocky, rugged trails, a taller boot can help avoid crooked ankles. But the trade-off here is that they’re a bit heavier, he adds.
  • Sole and Traction: While a thicker, harder sole is more durable, it is also heavier. Some heavier hiking or backpacking boots have a metal or plastic upper in the sole, which is great for rough terrain but also adds weight, Dicerbo says.

So what are the favorite boots of experienced hikers who have walked the trails around the world? We asked around, and there are their recommendations.

Best Hiking Shoes for Women and Men: Updated September 2020

Merrell Moab 2: From $ 80 to Amazon or $ 110 at Merrell

DiCerbo recommends the Merrell Moab 2 fan as “a great boot for day hikes on any terrain, hikes with moderate weight.”

Julien Heron – who launched the blog Outdoor generations with his dad after years of hiking together – says the Merrell Moab 2 are the best value boots. The shoe’s foam tongue keeps moisture and debris at bay while the sole, depth, and toe cap provide durability to handle whatever the trail throws in your way, he adds.

“The performance suede and mesh upper offers protection and durability without sacrificing breathability and comfort,” says Heron, based in Montreal, Canada. “Plus, this shoe is available at a fraction of the price of many competitors.”

The Merrell Moab 2 boots are available in waterproof and non-waterproof models.

ColuMbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Boots: From $ 66 to Amazon or $ 79.95 at Colombia

Lubinski loves the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II waterproof boots.

They worked well for him on trails that are not well maintained as well as during the winter months and are extremely light. That’s important for people who want ankle and foot protection, as well as waterproofing, but still want the boots to be lightweight, he says.

Lubinski says he’s never twisted his ankle (which he can’t say for all of his hiking boots). He has had them for 2.5 years and there have been “no durability issues and no cosmetic damage whatsoever,” he adds. “Even the tread was not worn out.”

Salomon OUTline Mid GTX: From $ 112.50 to Amazon or Solomon

If you’re looking for a sleek, stylish and lightweight shoe, take a look at Salomon’s OUTline Mid GTX, suggests Kate Ayoub, a 15-plus hiker who is also a physical therapist, endurance coach and health coach with Master your movement. The liner gives you protection against water and the reinforced toe and ankle support keeps your feet safe in the woods, she adds.

“This hiking boot fits and feels like a sneaker, which makes it incredibly comfortable right out of the box,” says Ayoub, who lives in Washington, DC.

Asolo Powermatic GTX: From $ 310 to Amazon or $ 176 to Asolo

Matthew Usherwood, the founder of Book my route – a travel company specializing in walking vacations – has been trekking Central America, India and the UK in Asolo Powermatic GTX boots.

These are sturdy trekking boots for long distance hiking and trekking, with a molded sole and excellent foot support.

The durable interior liner “has never failed once after 10 years of use,” adds Usherwood, based in Nottinghamshire, UK.

La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX: From $ 99.98 to Amazon or $ 110 at La Sportiva

Diane Vukovic, an American expat in Belgrade, Serbia, has been hiking since her father brought her to the Adirondack Mountains when she was 6 years old. Now she takes her own daughters hiking and blogging at Mom is going to camp. She recommends the La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX boots, which she says are lightweight while providing good ankle support.

The waterproof liner also keeps your feet dry when hiking in inclement weather, she adds. Vukovic is also vegan, so find these animal friendly boots was a must!

Lowa Sassa GTX Mid Hiking Shoes: From $ 158 to REI

When your foot isn’t securely on the sole of a boot, you can have pain and blisters, says Durham, NC-based Alison Watta, who leads hiking trips and shares her advice at Solo exploration. But that’s not a problem with the Lowa Sassa GTX Mid hiking shoes.

These boots are narrower around the toe box but have a wider midsection than the others, which helps keep her foot on the sole, she says. With this design, her toes don’t slip and it prevents calluses from forming behind her big toe, which she says is common in other boots.

“The support they provide helps me walk in privacy and my feet feel good at night,” Watta adds.

Talus Ultra Dry washbasin: $ 149.99 at Amazon or Washbasin

Kim Hefner, an avid hiker from Denver, Colorado, loves the Vasque Talus Ultra Dry hiking boots, which she has hiked several 13 and 14 (mountains over 13,000 or 14,000 feet).

This is a great boot for beginners or experienced hikers, with strong ankle support that is useful on rocky trails. In addition to being waterproof, they are comfortable with soles designed to last, she says.

“I have probably covered 200 miles with these boots, and they are still in great condition,” adds Hefner, owner of Wild and found photography.

SALEWA Mountain Trainer Lite mi GTX Boots: From $ 199 to Amazon or Salewa

Ben Vaughan is currently riding the 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail and is more than happy with his SALEWA Mountain Trainer Lite mid GTX boots. In fact, he just ordered a second pair, to help him complete the trip.

The instep area is connected to the heel pocket, which makes the shoes strong and stable on all mixed terrain, he says. They also combine leather with an abrasion resistant fabric, which provides superior durability, he adds.

The liner kept his feet “dry and comfortable for miles,” says Vaughan, who is based in Fraser, Colo., When he’s not on the trails.

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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson