When it comes to choosing between the best lightweight hiking shoes and high-cut hiking boots at the top of the list, there is really no right response. Although boots have historically been the go-to footwear for hikers as long as there are boots, the emergence of what some would claim as a more flexible form of hiking footwear has been seen in recent years: lightweight hiking shoes.
For years the debate of hiking shoes vs hiking boots has been raging, with highly relevant arguments being made on both sides. But growing numbers of people are leaning to opt for the grippy, light-footedness that hiking shoes offer. And if you’re teetering on the verge of digging your hiking boots and getting a little more adventurous on your outdoor walks, then looking at the best lightweight hiking shoes could help you take the plunge.
Overview of the best lightweight hiking shoes of 2020
This brief overview gives you a simple idea of the shoes lead the way in the world of hiking and trekking, with more specific details about each of the best lightweight hiking shoes later in the article. So then skip to our buying guide for recommendations on what to look for in the right lightweight hiking shoes.
- Keen Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoes
- The North Face Ultra 109 GTX
- Oboz Hyalite Low
- Merrell Moab Ventilator
- Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX
- Keen Targhee II
- Scarpa Zen Pro
- The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX
- La Sportiva Primer Low GTX
- Salewa Men’s Wildfire S GTX
- Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 GTX
- Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R 2 GTX
- Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry Hiking Shoe
- Five Ten Five Tennie
- Lems Trailhead Hiking Shoe
- Tecnica Plasma
The best lightweight hiking shoes
Keeping that in mind, our choices for the best 15 + hiking boots are here:
Eco-conscious: PFC-free water repellency and eco anti-odour
Uppers: Synthetic + Keen.Dry
The Keen Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoes, new to the lightweight hiking shoes scene in 2020, have a very different look on them compared to the normal beefy bumpered boots. Bridging the difference between a trainer and a hiking shoe seamlessly, the sporty style is perfect for daily wear as well as trail time, however high your feet are going. They have super soft cushioning for instant comfort around the ankle and tongue, without compromising protective protection and strong traction. Furthermore, Keen uses a water-repellent PFC-free solution to complement the durable and breathable Keen. Dry membrane–their own Gore-Tex version. Such trendy hiking shoes also feature probiotic-infused innersoles. This Eco Anti-Odor breaks down odor in sweat without the use of toxic chemicals and heavy metals of course.
- Natural anti-odour treatment
- Laces quickly disintegrate
Uppers: Synthetic + Gore-Tex
Hikers looking for extra assistance through the midsole will find The North Face Ultra 109 GTX. They are extremely lightweight and provide mild pronation corrective support-when the foot rolls inwards during a step. These are specifically made for high arched hikers and, thanks to a Gore-Tex cover, the mesh sides allow for a breathable shoe that is still waterproof. As for most The North Face shoes, the toe box is smaller than that of most other brands. One of the best waterproof hiking shoes which cost no fortune!
- ood support in the arches
- A little on the narrow side
Uppers: Split suede leather + rubber
The Oboz Hyalite Low Hiking Shoes are an excellent choice for those who want a multifunctional hiking shoe that is as perfect for daily wear as it is for life on the trail. New in 2019, these trendy suede leather hiking shoes offer outstanding support through the arches and sole thanks to the Oboz Ofit Insole, which beautifully molds to your feet.
In terms of safety protection, this support and durability helps the shoes feel more like hiking boots but without the associated weight and size. While not as high performing as other choices on our list when it comes to long distance hiking, these lightweight hiking shoes most definitely meet the needs of the casual hiker navigating mild terrain in mixed conditions.
- Casual syle
- Good support and protection the arches
- Very low cut makes ankles feel a little vulnerable
FAQs when buying best lightweight hiking shoes
What are the most comfortable hiking shoes?
It’s down to your own choice to find the most comfortable hiking shoes, and the shape if your feet are. But if you have standard formed feet (i.e. not super wide or narrow), look at the Scarpa Zen Pro, the Salewa Wildfire S, and the Adidas Terrex Swift hiking shoes.
What hiking shoes are the best for hiking boots to move from?
The Keen Targhee II or the Vasque Mantra 2.0 hiking shoes are both great choices if you’re a little nervous about jumping from the maximum support of high ankle hiking boots to the low cut of lightweight hiking shoes. They are cut at the ankle slightly higher than the rest of the shoes on our list offering a little extra support and confidence.
What are the best lightweight, wide-foot hiking shoes?
Keen hiking boots and shoes are renowned for their extensive fit. The Oboz Sawtooths also have a big toe box and are available in both Small and Standard. If you want a lightweight hiking shoe however, then the Merrell Moab Ventilators is a great choice.
Which of the best hiking shoes provides strong support on the arch?
The North Face Ultra 109 GTX offers excellent support to those with high arches. If you need to add your own inner soles for additional support then take a look at the Keen Targhee II–they have removable inner soles. The Oboz Sawtooths also provide strong Broad fit arch support.
What are the lightest shoes to go hiking?
The Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX shoes are on our list of the lightest hiking shoes. They weigh 595 g (21 oz) for a size 9 of a mens US. The next lightest choices are the Merrell Moab Ventilator and the Adidas Swift R GTX Outdoor Terrex.
What are the best water resistant hiking shoes?
All of the hiking shoes on our list offer some waterproofness level. The La Sportiva Primer Low GTX, however, not only has a Gore-Tex lining, but also a gusseted tongue that also prevents water from getting through the laces into the feet.
What are the most reliable hiking shoes
When it comes to toughness, it is hard to top the leather uppers and beefy Tough hiking shoes bumpers. Another great choice though, is the Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 GTX, if you don’t mind their extra weight.
What are the best snow-hiking shoes?
The Keen Targhee II and Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 GTX high cut feet, leather uppers and robust build make both of these hiking shoes better suited for walking in snowy conditions. However, it’s safer to pick a high cut hiking boot or a completely lined winter hiking boot for something lower than ankle-height.
Which of the best lightweight hiking shoes can be used in trail running as well?
The Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX and Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R GTX are both excellent choices for trail runners who wish to use their hiking shoes. They’re lightweight, compact and many trail runners favor pace lacing systems. Another strong competitor is the somewhat heavier La Sportiva Primer Low GTX.
Which are the best brand of hiking shoes
Sadly there is no definite answer to this question! Our list includes some of the best outdoor shoe brands, but there are more incredibly high-quality hiking shoe brands out there that haven’t made up the list. But not yet!