The 11 best men's hiking shoes for all conditions and terrain (2023)

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Hiking shoes are all the rage, and many outdoor enthusiasts are ditching their bulky, blister-causing boots for lighter, more comfortable, low-cut shoes.

It's a good strategy. Hiking shoes offer the best of both worlds: the protection, support and waterproofing of boots combined with the immediate comfort and flexibility of shoes. And because they're much lighter than boots, each step uses far less energy - meaning you'll have a nimbler stride than ever before.

Comfort is the be-all and end-all when it comes to hiking shoes, so it's best to try them on before you buy. Try to find a pair that fits snugly and doesn't have any rubbing or pinching points. Your next big decision is waterproof or non-waterproof. Shoes with a waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex will keep your feet dry, but when you end up in a knee-deep swamp, they take forever to dry.

Non-waterproof shoes are much more breathable and dry much faster, but they let water through like a sieve. On hot and dry days, it is better to use non-waterproof shoes because your feet will sweat less. Of course, in wet and wet conditions, waterproof shoes are better - although you may prefer to pair non-waterproof shoes with waterproof socks.

Other key hiking features include a deeply grooved outsole for grippy traction on rough terrain and an engineered midsole for cushioning, support and shock absorption. Quality lacing for a slim fit and a comfortable ankle finish are also important.

For more information, see:

  • The 12 best men's boots for every terrain
  • The 9 best hiking and hiking shoes for women
  • The 9 best men's hiking pants for demanding hikes
  • 9 best waterproof jackets for women to brave all the drizzles

Most of the pairs in our top picks resemble trail running shoes with a fast and responsive design. These tend to be the most comfortable, lightest, and best for long hikes, but they're not the most protective or durable. Other pairs are stylized as “approach shoes”, a kind of hybrid shoe that combines the properties of climbing and hiking shoes. They offer an excellent base on rocky terrain and ridge tops due to a stiffer, stronger construction - but they're not the most forgiving when you're putting in lots of miles.

how we test

We carefully assess the technical performance of each pair, ranking them in terms of comfort, fit, waterproofness, grip, support, energy return and value for money. Testing took place in the mountains of the Lake District, including hikes up some of England's highest peaks and most famous mountain ranges.

Here are our 11 best men's hiking shoes that will keep your feet happy, whether you're walking the dog, commuting across town, trudging to Ben Nevis, or hiking a long-distance trail.

The best hiking shoes for men for 2021 are:

  • overall best–Danner Trail 2650: £130,
  • best technical shoe–Inov8 roclite g 315 gtx: £ 145,
  • best light shoe–Merrell Moab Speed ​​GTX: £ 125,
  • best for traction–La Sportiva TX4: £116.99,
  • best minimalist style–Haglofs L.I.M niedrig: £79,99,
  • Best for walks in good weather–The North Face Vectiv Taraval: £110,
  • Best for firm heel catch– Meindl Ontario GTX: £158,
  • Best for wet and slippery ground– XCR-Vortex-Schuh: £ 165,
  • Best for city trips–Columbia facet 30 outdry: £ 87,50,
  • Best for versatility– Salomon GTX Contour Prism: £120,
  • Best Distinctive Design–On Running cloudventure waterproof: £150,

Forms 2650 Spur


  • Weight:312g per shoe

Named after the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, this shoe is great for long-mile days. It's beautiful, perfectly comfortable, adequately protective and - best of all - super stretchy underfoot like you're being propelled forward with every step. The plush midsole offers excellent cushioning, very good energy return and feels almost springy - we rampaged around the mountains like a hyperactive tigger with the 2650 trail on our feet.

We especially love the grip of the Vibram Megagrip outsole, the lockdown of the sock-like elastic tongue, and the flexibility of the supple leather and textile upper. The shoe we tested isn't waterproof, but Danner makes a Gore-Tex version. As with all lightweight shoes, the durability, stability and long-term support cannot be compared to sturdier pairs, and the Trail 2650's external heel counter is a bit odd. But overall this is a great hiking shoe - anyone up for a 2,650 mile hike?

inov8 roclite g 315 gtx

Better:technical shoe

  • Weight:315g per shoe

While some hiking shoes look like souped-up versions of hip sneakers, this shoe is not. Instead, it has an uncompromisingly technical design with well thought-out features - and we love that. The real star of the show is the rock solid sole with 6mm thick claw shaped lugs. It's enriched with graphene, apparently the strongest material on earth, and the result is super-grippy traction no matter how wild the terrain.

Each shoe is ultra-light (315g, men's size 8) - perfect for moving fast and nimble on the trail - yet durable enough so you don't feel vulnerable in the mountains. There's a protective toe cap, sturdy heel counter and gate plate shank for surprisingly good grip, as well as a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane.

We have used these shoes on several hikes in the Lake District. Comfort was great right off the bat, and the underfoot feel was responsive and precise (rather than soft and springy)—almost like we were coming together at every twist, turn, climb, and descent of the trail. Our only concern was that a sharp stone might tear through the lightweight, flexible mesh upper, but thankfully we escaped that fate. Probably because that graph handle was so good.

Merrell Moab Speed ​​​​GTX

Better:light shoe

  • Weight:336g per shoe

If 20 million people bought a pair, it must be good, right? Merrell's best-selling line of Moab shoes has changed an awful lot over the past decade, and now the US company has added a training version to the line - the Moab Speed ​​GTX. It's a lightweight, protective hiking shoe with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, a foam midsole with ample cushioning, and an integrated rock plate for enhanced structure.

We've used these shoes on a number of walks, brisk walks and trail runs around Loweswater in the Lake District. Comfort was top-notch right from the start, with the padded collar and tongue providing a snug fit. We liked the protective toe cap, some stiffness in the heel and general lateral stiffness - this gave it more confidence over rough terrain - while the 5mm lugs on the Vibration and Dura soles gripped well. We've tried on a lot of Merrell shoes over the past year and these are probably our favorites.

La Sportiva TX4

Better:for traction

  • Weight:380g per shoe

Look like a mountain pro in these hiking boots. Combining Italian style with technical prowess, the TX4 can often be found on the feet of badass scrambling gurus as they nimbly negotiate a jagged ridge like it's a walk in the park. But you don't have to be a fearless mountain goat to enjoy the TX4. For classic UK runs like Striding Edge or Crib Goch, or just general walks over cobbles, gravel and rocky heights, this shoe is a smart choice.

Why? Because the Vibram Megagrip sole has a flat climbing zone from the tip to the edge, non-slip round lugs in the middle and U-shaped brake lugs at the back - in other words, the traction is excellent. You also get a 360-degree wraparound rim, sturdy rubber toe cap, and suede upper that strikes a good balance of comfort and durability. We felt nimble and quick in the TX4, and the precise feel underfoot helped us better gauge the stability of every ledge, crevice, and ledge we scaled.

Haglöfs LIM low

Better:minimalist style

  • Weight:255g per shoe

With their L.I.M (less is more) series, Haglöfs is a pioneer in ultra-light and minimalist hiking - the logic is, the less heavy you go, the more energy, time and passion you have for the exciting parts: the peaks, the views, the Escapism, the adventure. But there's a catch: when you make products this incredibly light, does it compromise performance or durability? In our experience, the answer is both yes and no.

Of course, the L.I.M Low can never be as durable, supportive or protective as a heavier, double-weight hiker, but for its specific function - a super-light, comfortable hiker in fair weather and on shorter distances - the performance leads the pack. We loved the shoe's sock-like fit (Haglofs calls it a "monosock construction") and the grip of the rubber sole was quite impressive as we walked along the lake shore and over grassy hills in the spring sunshine. The weight (255g per shoe) and minimalist design of the razor-thin shoe was also incredible, almost like a pair of trainers on a chunky sole.

And surprisingly for a Scandinavian brand, less is more, the philosophy extends to price too - at £90 this shoe is a steal. A waterproof version - theL.I.M low ecological test– costs £96 and weighs 325g per shoe.

The North Face Vectiv Taraval

Better:For walks in nice weather

  • Weight:352g per shoe

Launched to great fanfare in early 2021 and heralded as "breakthrough" new technology, The North Face's Vectiv shoes have received a lot of media attention. But while everyone was talking about the carbon-coated trail shoes, the vectiv taraval hiking shoe seemed to go unnoticed. Why? Because it's less flashy than its higher-priced, attention-grabbing cousins ​​- yet a solid performer with understated prowess.

The Vectiv Taraval is a lightweight, breathable shoe for hiking in nice weather. Everything about it feels like a shoe - except maybe the added aggressiveness of the 4mm rubber sole - and it's extremely soft and comfortable. We rode mountain trails with the Taraval and were particularly impressed with the midsole rocker geometry. With every heel strike, the shoe rolls naturally toward the toe for excellent forward propulsion, and the overall cushioning is super springy.

There's no waterproofing so your socks might get wet, but the shoe dries quickly and is great for wet days when you don't want sweaty feet. For really gnarly mountain terrain, it lacks a bit of robustness with the particularly thin upper, but that's to be expected in a lightweight trainer. Comfort and cushioning are the strengths of this shoe, as well as the price and credit bonus you always get with The North Face branding.

Meindl Ontario GTX

Better:For a solid heel pick-up

  • Weight:400g per shoe

We used the Meindl Ontario GTXs on a 17-mile hike up seven hills from Wainwright to Ennerdale - our first major post-lockdown ride - and they didn't let us down. The Gore-Tex lining kept our socks dry in swampy terrain, the suede upper felt tough enough to handle gnarly mountain terrain, and the sole held up pretty well to whatever it encountered, even when it started to get too snow.

We particularly like the sturdy toe, solid heel-lock (so your foot doesn't wobble all over the shoe), and the overall robustness of the approach shoe's design. Underfoot comfort and cushioning were decent but unspectacular, and we would have preferred deeper, more aggressive straps - leading to an easy conclusion. We wouldn't pick them for multi-day hikes and high mileage, but for day hikes over technical, rocky terrain, they hit the spot with arrow-like precision.

XCR swivel shoe

Better:For wet and slippery surfaces

  • Weight:460g per shoe

Deviating from the general trend towards ever lighter, trainer-like designs, Scarpa has stuck to a more traditional recipe with the popular XCR Vortex. Imagine a strong, supportive, durable hiking shoe that has had the ankle support cut out and what's left is this muscular hiking shoe. It doesn't look very good - it's a little clunky and uninspiring - but who cares? This is a shoe for distant adventures, not Instagram selfies.

Specifically engineered for wet and slippery British soil, the Vibram outsole is truly a strong, muscular unit with an intricate pattern of multi-directional lugs. Other features include a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, climbing-style laces, a textile and suede upper, and good all-round support for the foot. We found the Vortex XCR a bit too heavy and bulky for our personal tastes, but if you're looking for a strong, protective shoe that should last a lot longer than its lightweight, relatively flimsy competitors, then this is for you.

Columbia Facette 30 outdry

Better:For walks in the city

  • Weight:354g per shoe

Bringing a bit of urban flair and street-ready style to the hiking scene, these hiking shoes are all about the statement midsole: a geometric pattern of pyramidal triangles that wouldn't look out of place at the Tate Modern. But this edgy style isn't just a trend. The soft midsole provides springy cushioning and high energy return. The rest of the shoe - textile upper, toe, tongue and versatile design - is shoe-like in every way, resulting in a lightweight, waterproof and super comfortable hiking shoe.

It's not technical or overly protective, and we didn't find the outsole particularly grippy (especially on descents), but it's not a shoe for the highest mountains or the toughest trails. Instead, we'd use it for city and country micro-adventures that take as much time in the beer garden or coffee shop as they do on the trail. Plus, at this very affordable price, you'll have a few bucks left over for an extra Iced Latte or Rekorderlig under the beautiful British sun (hopefully).

Salomon Contour Prism GTX

Better:for versatility

  • Weight:310g per shoe

Salomon makes many highly technical, high-performance trail running shoes and trekking hybrids designed for hardcore adventures, but we love this less high-octane option. A slight update of the original Contour shoe, the Salomon Contour Prism is a great everyday shoe. You can use it in shops, in the garden or around town, as well as walking the dog, going for a walk in the country or even climbing a mountain. Thanks to its contemporary, light and comfortable design, it is very versatile and has everything you need: waterproofing, good traction, protective fenders and lightweight comfort.

On Running cloudventure waterproof

Better:striking design

  • Weight:325g per shoe

We can't help but find the sole of this shoe absolutely mesmerizing. It's a work of art - a deeply corrugated wave of aesthetically pleasing ridges and hollow "cloud" pods with a delightfully wrinkled profile. Or maybe it's just us? Anyhow, it's impossible not to be impressed by the purpose of this striking outsole design: the "clouds" compress on impact to enhance cushioning, then firm up for an explosive launch on your next leg. It's as if the shoe itself is urging you to move forward with every step.

Designed primarily as a trail running shoe, the Cloudventure is also great for hiking. The sole is grippy, the cushioning is good, and the rubberized toe cap and heel counter are firm and protective. We didn't find them particularly comfortable, and sometimes rocks get stuck between the ports, but overall performance was solid during our Lake District testing.

The verdict: hiking shoes for men

Our first place goes toForms 2650 Spurfor its incredible comfort and springy cushioning in a beautiful design. For tightrope walks and rock descents, theLa Sportiva tx4 GTXis easily our favorite while the for quick hikesInov8 Roclite G 315 GTXIt's a brilliantly technical shoe.

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