Hiking shoes resemble normal rubber shoes but have uppers and soles specifically made to withstand hiking hazards such as mud, rain, and snow.
The best hiking shoes are made of lightweight and breathable uppers like nylon, leather, or mesh, which allow the feet to expand and breathe during long hikes. They come in three different ankle lengths.
Types of Hiking Shoes
Kinds of Hiking Shoes include the following:
Low-cut hiking shoes
Most low-cut hiking shoes are usually made of softshell nylon uppers that are lightweight and comfortable. Some models are made of genuine leather and suede for maximum breathability. Good ones usually have quick-drying sock liners for better fit and comfort. They also have shock-absorbent soles and padded tongues and ankle supports to prevent feet and ankle injury.
Low-cut hiking shoes may be made with traction rubber soles for better grip especially on muddy surfaces. They are ideal for light hiking.
Mid-cut hiking shoes
Mid-cut hiking shoes are usually made of breathable mesh, nubuck, or leather uppers. They are ankle high and have padded ankle supports for maximum comfort. Some types have removable cushion insoles and steel toes.
Mid-cut hiking shoes can handle rougher hikes.
High-cut hiking shoes
High-cut hiking shoes are the tallest hiking shoes—they come up slightly over the ankle. They are usually made of durable and waterproof nylon or leather, making them ideal for climbing and hiking under all types of weather conditions. The best high-cut hiking shoes have abrasion-resistant rubber soles that provide maximum grip on mud and rocky surfaces.
Choosing Hiking Shoes (Buying tips)
Use: Low cut hiking shoes are adequate if you are only going on recreational hikes on slightly steep terrain. If you will be going on adventure hikes up steep mountains and muddy slopes,, then invest in mid-cut or high-cut hiking shoes. They have better traction and non-slip soles for maximum grip on rough terrain.
Fit: Choose hiking shoes that still fit even when you’re wearing thick socks. Try on hiking shoes in the afternoon or early evening when your feet are at their largest. Walk around in your shoes and observe for pressure points in the toes, heel, or ankle.
Materials: Choose hiking shoes with leather or mesh uppers because they allow your feet to breathe and expand even through long hikes.
Toes: Choose hiking shoes with steel toes if you will be climbing steep mountains or hiking along rough terrain. These steel toes protect your feet from debris and falling stones or rocks that you may encounter along your hike.