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Trail Shoes

Top Picks

How we choose: The best trail shoes highlighted here were selected based on 934 reviews of 428 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Oboz Bridger Low Waterproof

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

A sturdy general purpose low hiking shoe. Surprisingly wearable considering their firmness. Great support, deep and durable treads, and reliable waterproofness make this a consistent favorite for all kinds of trails. Might be my all-time favorite low hiker.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very durable
  • Excellent support
  • Nice treads
  • Waterproof

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not lightweight
  • Moderate breathability

INTRODUCTION The Bridger Low is the most sturdy and heavy low hiking shoe that Oboz sells. My size 12 pair weighs 2 pounds 6 ounces. They come in two muted color schemes—tan/brown that they call "walnut" and darker/lighter gray that they call "dark shadow." My pair is gray. The upper part is all leather—a soft, smooth, nubuck leather that doesn't need much if any time to break in; the tongue is a combination of leather and mesh/synthetic. The shoes have Oboz's standard and above-average insole, which I replace with custom orthotics.

Read more: Oboz Bridger Low Waterproof reviews (3)

Top Barefoot / Minimal Shoe / Trail Shoe / Trail Running Shoe / Water Shoe

Vibram FiveFingers KSO

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (18 reviews)

As a children how many of us did not need any shoes and were happy running around barefoot even if it meant to get some blisters here and there? Later on, when we had to put shoes on and go to school and then work and so on, things changed and it would be considered inappropriate to one day show up without any shoes on. I wonder how many of us feel happy with what they are wearing on day to day basis on their feet and how many of us is actually comfortable?The Vibram soles is revolutionary innovation as far as comfortable shoes can be, which is based on the age old methodology that being barefoot helps your balance and will make you feel aware of the nature around and ground beneath your feet.

Read more: Vibram FiveFingers KSO reviews (18)

Lowa Innox Pro Lo

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

The Lowa Innox Pro Lo is a high quality hiking shoe that has a padded upper that feels like a sneaker, yet still provides under-foot feel when hiking on unstable terrain. This highly breathable and lightweight low-top (GTX/waterproof version also available) is stylish enough for everyday use, and therefore is ideal for both trail as well as town use. This trail shoe suits the fast packer/speed hiker/trail runner, as well as a backpacker carrying a substantial load.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent traction-to-wear ratio
  • Very comfortable
  • Great build quality

Reasons to Avoid

  • High price-point
  • Forefoot may be narrow for some
  • Gaiters can be difficult to attach/detach
  • Heel stack feels a little high (only tested with Rx/aftermarket insoles)

Photo Credit: D. Jankovic Lowa’s new Innox range of footwear is an exciting hybrid shoe that covers several categories. This shoe can suit as a quiver-of-one for day-in/day-out use as a street shoe, as a trail runner, or can be capable of off-trail duties while carrying a loaded backpack. Although best for lightweight/ultralight backpacking, the Innox Pro Lo comfortably handled a day hike with approximately 30 pounds. These Lowa sneakers could work well for the long distance hiker, as well as someone scrambling to the crag.

Read more: Lowa Innox Pro Lo review (1)

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

These low hikers were an upgrade from Salomon's XA Pro 3D trail running shoes for me that was well worth the extra investment. The shoe provides excellent support and foot protection for a lightweight shoe, and waterproofing has proved to be durable. Grippy soles showed a fair bit of wear after 18 months, and potential buyers should note the speed lacing system. A great all-around light hiking shoe.

Reasons to Buy

  • Support
  • Traction
  • Waterproofing
  • Light weight
  • Width sizing
  • Durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Stiff midsole benefits from some break-in
  • Stock insoles

You will note that this review looks at two pair of this shoe side-by-side. That is because the midsole is sufficiently flattened that I decided to get a new pair, and I thought it would help to compare a brand new pair with the well-worn shoes being replaced.   Fair warning: I spend enough time photographing Trailspace Review Corps shoes that I gave myself a break with these. I don't have any photos of the many months of walking and hiking I did in the older pair. For what it's worth, I average about 2,600 miles of walking per year, with about 1,400 of those miles from hiking/walking at a healthy pace, and the rest from the daily moving around I do.

Read more: Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX reviews (2)

Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5 reviews)

Great long distance hiking shoe for lightweight and reliability. Ideal for people with back issues that wish to have supportive, lightweight trail boots with ankle support.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable out of the box
  • Lightweight
  • Good value
  • Reliable quality every purchase
  • Easy to add a lift or additional inserts

Reasons to Avoid

  • Water resistance wears off
  • Laces need to be tightened firmly to prevent untying

I'm a woman with large feet (women's 11) and I do long distance hiking in the UK/Ireland/US. I walk at least two hours a day during my work life and up to 12 hours a day when I'm on the trail. I sized up after my first pair and haven't had any issues since. My feet tend to need more room when walking under a loaded pack for a few days so I always get the men's Salomon rather than the women's (and size up for load impact on my foot shape). Love these shoes! I usually have two pairs in rotation and beat them to death with use.

Read more: Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX reviews (5)

Vasque Juxt

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (5 reviews)

I bought these two months ago and I have been very satisfied. Pros: They are not Gore-tex but they are water resistant. They provide excellent arch support and the lace system allows you to pull them tight and stay that way. Cons: The hard rubber sole is not good on slick wet surfaces.

Read more: Vasque Juxt reviews (5)

Ahnu Montara II Low

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

My feet are thanking me for this lightweight, comfortable, hiking companion!

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive

Reasons to Avoid

  • Sizing runs small

In a former life, I was a runner. I took up hiking after a knee injury, but my feet have yet to catch on. They have rejected pair after pair of hiking shoes, and much to my husband's embarrassment, insist upon sporting running shoes as they carry me from peak to peak. Hiking shoes have felt to me like cinderblocks wrapped in leather — trapping my feet in sweaty fortresses where they feel protected, yes, but stifled to the point of near immobility. Each and every trial of hiking shoes has inevitably ended with me casting my boots aside and digging my tried and true runners out of the closet.

Read more: Ahnu Montara II Low reviews (2)

Danner Trail 2650

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

The Danner Trail 2650s are a great all-purpose trail shoe that handles a variety of trails and terrain with ease, are comfortable enough to wear all day, and get plenty of positive comments for their good looks. With tons of options available in both men’s and women’s sizes, as well as different leather options, there is a color and configuration for just about everyone.

Reasons to Buy

  • Supremely comfortable
  • Nice mix of materials make them durable and light
  • Breathable
  • Tons of options (colors, mens/womens, heights, waterproofing)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Some caking in the lugs
  • Sweaty tongue (that’s fun to say!)
  • Odd-looking external heel system (looks are odd, but function is good)

Conditions: For the past two months in the warm and wet spring and early summer, I’ve worn the Danner Trail 2650’s (named for the 2,650-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail) for a variety of activities, including hiking (day trips and overnight trips), casual bike riding, evening walks around the neighborhood, and scouting for hunting locations...roughly 75-100 miles so far, with the most at one time being 11 miles. The shoes have crossed streams, descended soggy trails, battled grassy fields, ran quickly away from upset rattlesnakes, and scrambled the rock-laden ridge-top trails that epitomize hiking in Pennsylvania.

Read more: Danner Trail 2650 review (1)

Merrell Moab Speed GTX

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

These shoes score well on most points including comfort and traction but the soles wore out fast.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Grip well in all conditions so far
  • Fairly neutral appearance
  • Excellent heel loop

Reasons to Avoid

  • Soles soles wore out fast.
  • No longer waterproof after 3 months

Overall I walk a lot, typically 2,000 to 2,500 km a year so it is important to have shoes that work well in all sorts of conditions. After my fifth pair of North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX shoes failed to come up to the standard of the earlier ones I decided to look for a replacement and chose these Merrell Moab Speed GTX. For the most part I am very happy with the change. They are noticeably lighter than the North Face shoes and very comfortable to walk long distances with the original insoles (I had to replace the North Face insoles because they lost their cushioning effect.) Appearance It is a matter of taste but I like the generally subdued black with grey highlights.

Read more: Merrell Moab Speed GTX review (1)

Merrell MQM Flex 2

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

I prefer the MQM Flex trail runners for three-season hiking, I have several different styles of Merrell shoes. I find the MQM Flex very comfortable and light. They are my go-to hiking shoe. I also wear them daily throughout the day everywhere. My granddaughter is a big MQM fan too and wears them while playing soccer and other sports. MQM Flex shoes are trail magic to my feet. I don't wear the Gore-tex model or have a pair as I don't hike in snow and prefer the breathability of the MQM Flex shoe.

Reasons to Buy

  • Color selections
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish
  • Durable
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Great company and customer services
  • They give back to the community and support great causes.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not on sale as often as I'd like to see (lol)

I don't wear the Gore-tex MQM Flex shoe. I do wear the MQM Flex, and they are my go-to hiking shoe. They fit well while providing the comfort and protection needed for extended hiking. They are low cut and lightweight, durable and have excellent traction. They are trail magic to my feet.

Read more: Merrell MQM Flex 2 review (1)

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