As gyms continue to stay closed due to COVID-19, many people who still want to keep an active lifestyle have resorted to activities that can be done in open areas without crowds of people. One of these activities is hiking, a popular recreational activity that is also practical as it requires minimal gear. In fact, a trusty pair of hiking shoes could go a long way in making hiking a great and enjoyable experience.
When choosing hiking shoes, a lot of things have to be considered. Hiking shoes have varying features built for different circumstances on the trail. To help you pick the right one, this article breaks down the main things to consider before buying a pair namely type, trail, material, and size. We also included a top 10 list of the best hiking shoes that you can purchase online.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
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As a recreational activity, hiking offers much more benefits than most people realize. Before we dive right into the buying guide, here some of the benefits that you can get out of hiking.
Hiking is a highly physical activity that engages different parts of your body. Depending on how rigorous it is, it can shed body fat while strengthening your body at the same time. Among the health benefits it offers are reduced risk of heart disease, stronger bones and muscles as well as improved balance, flexibility, and coordination.
As with any other exercise, hiking is a good cardio workout. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol level, and improves blood circulation in your body. Also, it trains your heart as well, lowering the risk of developing heart disease in the future.
From walking, climbing, and leaping, hiking enhances your cardiovascular endurance. By walking for hours straight, your heart rate picks up and then adjusts accordingly in order for you to keep going. Basically, hiking raises your heart rate, which consequently forces your circulatory system to be in active mode during hikes.
Since walking for long distances requires the use of muscles, hiking is also a good leg workout. Carrying your own weight plus a backpack if you are bringing one, can significantly boost your bone density as well as muscle strength. For those who think running is too hard and walking too easy, hiking might be a good balance between the two.
Because it targets your bones and muscles, hiking also reduces the risk of having arthritis and osteoporosis. Aside from that, it is also ideal for those who want to keep their leg muscles toned. And while having strong bones is something not as visually obvious as the other benefits, it is definitely something that you will feel has improved and will benefit you greatly in the long-run.
Hiking improves your sense of balance. By traversing on rocky, uneven terrains without slipping or falling, your body eventually gets more coordinated without you even realizing it. Doing leaps and reaching out with your arms when hiking increases your flexibility, too.
Hiking beginners usually struggle with this during their first hikes. However, as with most things, balance, flexibility, and coordination improve with time and practice. With this in mind, it is ideal to begin with easy trails before progressing to more challenging ones.
Aside from physical health, hiking also benefits your mental health. According to a study done by researchers from Stanford University, going for a hike calms anxiety and lowers the risk of depression. The adrenaline release you get from hiking allows you to loosen up and destress, especially if you have a busy work schedule and rarely have the time to go out.
Also, the endorphins you let out when you are on a hike supply you with a calm and happy feeling that combats stress and depression. It might not be the case for all, but hiking, for many, is in a sense therapeutic especially for those who seek solace in nature.
Sometimes people need a break from their city lives and hiking is a great recreational activity to fulfill that purpose. Aside from that, hiking is known to stimulate creativity as you have fewer distractions on the trail. In fact, it might even help you reflect on your life as your mind subconsciously wanders when it is surrounded by nature.
An underrated benefit of hiking is that it lets you appreciate nature firsthand. Hikers willingly traverse long and difficult terrains in order to arrive at the peak and soak in the breathtaking view from the mountaintop. Beyond being an outdoor activity, hiking is an experience that allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature and see the value of the environment.
If the benefits mentioned above sounded interesting to you, perhaps it is time for you to give hiking a try. To get you started, here are 10 great hiking shoes that you can purchase online before you plan that hiking trip.
Hiking shoes have different types that vary depending on their use. Some are ideal for day hikes, others for backpacking, and some are used for specific terrains. Before you buy a pair, it is essential to know first what type of hiking shoes would be ideal for every situation.
Light hiking shoes are low-cut, lightweight, and flexible shoes ideal for well-maintained trails. Their low-cut style gives your ankle more flexibility, but they also provide less ankle support making them more vulnerable to injuries. These are perfect for short day hikes because they have a lighter and more comfortable feel.
These type of hiking shoes, especially those made out of synthetic materials, are inferior to other hiking shoes in terms of durability. Still, they are great for short and infrequent hikes over easy terrain.
Hiking boots can either be mid-cut or high cut. Mid-cut hiking boots are more durable than short ankle boots. On the other hand, high-cut hiking boots are heavier but provide more ankle support. Ankle support is ideal especially if you will be carrying something heavy while hiking.
Since they protect the area around your ankles, hiking boots reduce the risk of injuries while also prevent dirt and rocks from entering your shoes. Overall, hiking boots are perfect for long hikes in rocky, uneven terrains.
These are the heaviest and most durable type of hiking shoes. They usually reach well-above your ankles and provide excellent ankle support especially for carrying heavier loads. Since they are rigid, heavy, and made from stiff materials, expect them to be less flexible and comfortable than other hiking shoes. They are perfect though for long, challenging hikes that last more than 3 days.
In tropical countries such as the Philippines, local hikers prefer breathable shoes with minimal padding thus backpacking boots are not very popular. For instance, the warmth that these shoes provide is not an issue when hiking within the country due to our already hot climate.
Outsoles are the bottom part of the shoes that touches the ground. They are usually made of rubber and vary widely depending on their functions. Hiking-wise, outsoles that have good traction are essential for steep and uneven trails. With today's hiking shoes, Vibram soles are the most common rubber outsole. These are rubber outsoles created with lugs that provide grip.
Shoes with soft rubber outsoles are the lightest and most flexible outsoles for hiking. They are more comfortable because of their soft quality but would wear out faster too. For light and easy trails, opt for outsoles made primarily of soft rubber for increased comfort.
Hard outsoles, on the other hand, offer stability and durability as they are stiffer and less prone to early wear and tear. They also protect your feet from the protruding feeling of stones and debris underneath, especially if you are traversing through rocky terrains. Expect them to be heavy though, so you might want to reconsider if you prefer lighter shoes.
Lugs refer to the indentations and grooves found on the outsole that allow your shoes to have grip. Generally, lugs with wider gaps offer better traction on uneven surfaces and can shed mud more easily. On the other hand, deeper lugs with tighter gaps have less grip, but can disperse water with ease.
Meanwhile, heel brakes are added features on the arch part of the outsoles that prevents slippage. If you have plans to hike on wet and slippery trails, look for shoes with huge heel brakes that would prevent you from slipping down. Heel brakes are essential for hikes that include steep descents especially on muddy and slippery terrains.
The material from which hiking shoes are made play a huge role in their performance. Each material gives you different benefits and advantages. Among these are durability, waterproofness, breathability, lightness, and comfort.
The leather used in most hiking shoes falls under two categories: full-grain leather and split-grain leather. Full-grain leather is extremely durable and can usually last for a couple of years. Often the choice of expert hikers, it is naturally capable of repelling water and can provide stability & support for rigorous hikes. They are, however, heavy and less breathable than other materials.
Meanwhile, split-grain leather is mixed with synthetic materials such as nylon mesh. This hybrid is less durable and not waterproof; however, it is significantly lighter and much more breathable.
Synthetic materials in hiking shoes include materials such as polyester, nylon mesh, and synthetic leather. They are suitable if you're new to hiking and just go on light trails. Recent technology has allowed them to be quick-drying, extremely soft, waterproof, and lightweight.
Hiking shoes made of synthetic materials usually have waterproof features. However, they are much less breathable, and your feet can get sweaty after long hikes. They are significantly cheaper than leather and require less break-in time, but they also tend to absorb water and wear off easy than other materials.
No one likes to feel like their feet are being suffocated and in the same way, no one likes to feel as if their shoes are going to come off with every step. To prevent either one of these from happening, pick the right size of shoes for your hikes. This task can get tricky, so we have broken down the things you should consider when choosing the right size for your hiking shoes.
Provide your toes enough room to wiggle at the front part of your shoes. This is important because toes are usually pushed forward during descent and having no extra room will probably hurt your toes, especially if the trail is steep. Make sure, however, that the extra space is not enough to make your feet move from their place with every step.
Before making a purchase, make sure to get this part right by checking that your toes are not crammed and there is actually allowance for movement. According to this article, you should have around a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the insole. You will thank yourself later for it when you eventually encounter tough descents while on a hike.
Extremely tight shoes result in painful blisters that may lead to an infection. It is the same case for loose-fitting ones since your foot is slipping back and forth inside your shoes. It is important to pick shoes that fit just right to prevent any kind of discomfort when hiking. Also consider the socks you would be using too, as their thickness can affect the fit and overall feel of the shoes.
Also, in shoes, there is this thing called break-in time, which refers to the short period of discomfort caused by new shoes. Recently purchased hiking shoes, particularly those made of leather, usually require break-in time. So it is necessary to walk in them for a couple of weeks after purchase to allow them to loosen up and conform to your feet.
Click to purchase
Men's Wayfinder Mid Outdry
Stay Comfortably Dry With These Waterproof Hiking Shoes
X Ultra 3 Men's Hiking Shoes
Lightweight Hiking Shoes Built for Effortless Descent
MOAB 2 Smooth GORE-TEX
Split-Grain Hiking Shoes Built With a Durable Outsole
Women's Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6
Light and Sleek Hiking Shoes for Tricky Terrains
MQM Flex Hiking Shoes
Super Flexible Hiking Shoes That Give Support and Stability
Men's Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Keep Your Feet Snug and Protected With Its Anti-Collision Sheet
The North Face
Men's Activist Futurelight Footwear
Breathable Hiking Shoes for Outdoor Adventures and Everyday Use
Women's Peakfreak X2 Outdry Hiking Shoes
Lightweight Hiking Shoes With Enhanced Grip and Traction
XA Pro 3D Hiking Shoes
All-Terrain Hiking Gear With High Stability, Cushioning, and Grip
Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoes
Ultra-Light Hiking Shoes Built for Speed on the Trail
Layered with synthetic materials, these hiking shoes guarantee that your feet will stay protected during your outdoor adventures. Its mesh and other synthetic overlays are designed to deal with bad weather conditions by keeping your feet cool and dry at all times. These make them perfect for long hikes, especially during the cold and rainy season.
Aside from its protective exterior, the inside of the shoe delivers as well with its TechLite EVA midsole that provides a soft and warm cushion for your feet. Expect a high energy return on every step. It will keep your legs from easily getting tired even while carrying a medium to heavy load backpack.
These light hiking shoes ranked high on this list mainly because of its comfort and stability on the trail. It features a sculpted insole that cushions your feet while keeping them comfortably in place. Weighing at only 365g, this is one of the lightest hiking shoes out there.
Aside from that, it also uses Descent Control technology, which means it has an outsole with an excellent grip on uneven surfaces. Descent will not be an issue even in slick, muddy, and generally tough terrains. Overall, its lightness plus its advanced grip technology make this shoe ideal for day hikes on relatively easy trails.
With its deep 5mm lugs, these shoes from Merrell promises a stable hiking experience. The mesh lining on the uppers adds breathability while the split-grain leather adds durability against repeated use. Also, these shoes are great for carrying heavy loads such as a backpack because of their shock absorption and comfort.
Yet, the highlight would still be its GORE-TEX membrane and Vibram outsole. The former makes the MOAB absolutely waterproof and breathable, while the Vibram sole with deep lugs adds stability and improved traction. While the thick outsole might add weight, the Merrell air cushion insole will make sure that you will barely notice it while walking.
The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6 is perfect for those who enjoy challenging hikes. Made from synthetic materials, this pair of shoes weighs less than 300g, which makes it the lightest hiking shoes on our list. The only trade-off is that it is not waterproof, a price you have to pay in exchange for its super light and cushioned design.
This shoe can be used for trail or track running, and it performs well even in muddy and rocky areas. Responsible for this is its segmented rock plate, which protects your feet from sharp rocks during hikes. Additionally, its mesh compositions allow for improved ventilation while its woven heel provides a secure fit.
Another one from Merrell, this pair of hiking shoes is built with support and stability in mind. These shoes are breathable and soft thanks to their mesh lining and TrailProtect™ pad that gives additional support to your feet especially on long hikes.
These shoes offer stability with their 3.5mm-deep lugs and EVA midsole. It also uses the Merrell air cushion, which absorbs shock and adds stability when encountering difficult terrains. Overall, these features alone make these Merrell hiking shoes of top-quality.
If you are looking for shoes that will keep your feet protected during challenging and dangerous hikes, these hiking boots are worth considering. It features a built-in anti-collision sheet that protects your toes from getting hurt by outdoor gravel and other rocks. Also, its high-cut feature protects you from wind and discomfort, as it prevents stones, dirt, and insects from getting in your shoes.
However, if you plan to hike under the glaring heat, you will have to think twice about using this type of hiking boots. Still, by its looks, you can already tell from the leather padding that these pair of hiking boots are extremely durable and would last for years, maybe even a decade at most.
This pair from The North Face can double as sneakers because of its casual look and comfortable feel. It is made of synthetic materials particularly mesh and TPU or polyurethane plastic, making it breathable and waterproof as well.
Aside from its protective toe cap and integrated ghillie lacing system, the best thing about these shoes is that they are really wearable whether you are hiking on the mountains or going out in the city. Also, the comfort that comes from its EVA midsole is perfect for all-day use without discomfort.
From the makers of Wayfinder, these hiking shoes from Columbia also promise that your feet will stay dry with its OutDry™ waterproof-breathable technology. These shoes are lightweight since they are mostly made of textile and synthetic overlays. These also allow it to be breathable and waterproof at the same time.
It has a cushioned midsole for long-lasting comfort as well as a non-marking rubber outsole called the Omni-Grip™ Rubber. This enhances the shoes' traction, allowing it to adapt to both easy and rocky terrains.
The many colors and patterns of these shoes are perfect for stylish hikers. Despite its modern style, its features were not compromised at all as it gets its stability from its 3D Advanced Chassis frame that performs well even in the most rugged terrain.
Also, its synthetic material provides comfortable cushioning while its rubber outsole, the Premium Wet Traction Contagrip® gives you the optimal grip you need whatever the weather. It also has a quick-drying breathable mesh for fast recovery when drenched with rainwater.
This last pick is from Adidas' Terrex, a shoe line launched by the brand dedicated specifically for hiking shoes. The AX3 boasts its speed on any terrain with its rubber outsole, and heel brake that provides excellent grip and stability. Also, its mostly synthetic composition makes it breathable and durable under any weather conditions.
Additionally, these pair of hiking shoes are super lightweight, weighing only 355g. This lightweight feature makes the AX3 perfect for running on the trail, without feeling weighed down and losing grip even in wet and slippery tracks.
Don't know what else to bring? Check out the article links below to see more of our recommended hiking essentials and outdoor equipment that you might find interesting.
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1: Columbia | Men's Wayfinder Mid Outdry | Grey
No. 2: Salomon | X Ultra 3 Men's Hiking Shoes | Phantom
No. 3: Merrell | MOAB 2 Smooth GORE-TEX | Bracken
No. 4: Nike | Women's Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6 | Aura
No. 5: Merrell | MQM Flex Hiking Shoes
View Full Ranking
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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