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Trail Shoes

Top Picks

How we choose: The best trail shoes highlighted here were selected based on 932 reviews of 427 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)

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)

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 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)

Oboz Firebrand II BDry

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Comfortable, highly stable, burly, durable outing foot support in a three-season shoe. Warm so that they are wonderful to wear on cooler temperature outings. Might be a bit hot on warmer weather outings. Nice gusset, so can walk through shallow streams and puddles. Waterproof and breathe well.

Reasons to Buy

  • Useful both as hiker and foul weather city walker
  • Strong tread design with great grip and traction
  • Strong sole design capable of carrying heavy loads with impressive stability
  • Good wet weather shoe, waterproof with B-Dry membrane
  • Full boot quality gusset design to help keep debris and water out
  • Unusually warm, so great as a cool or cold weather shoe
  • Stiffer sole making it more useful on rock and snow (later with gaiters)
  • Striking, many might say, attractive visual styling

Reasons to Avoid

  • Unusually warm, limiting seasons of use
  • Burly strong styling may lure you to use shoe where boot with better ankle protection might be better
  • Wide, unusually stable, platform may torque on ankles on uneven terrain
  • Striking attractive visual styling ... may not pass dress code in office (and might be too warm)
  • Color/Pattern may influence other external gear color selections

My daughter on the way to Comet Falls in Oboz Firebrand II hiking shoes. (see Comet Falls photo below) Pre-Test Visual Impression: I do not want to like these shoes! (for one key use envisioned) Post Test Impression:  If you research and test functionality carefully ... you get what you pay for, and sometimes more. Beauty is more than skin deep. What does 'Oboz' mean anyway?  Hobo?  Branded by an Obsessive Great Oz like person?  I had to ask!   Turns out that a working clan of highly experienced, dedicated outdoor loving folk are providing great gear for us for Outside use made or designed in Bozeman, Montana (get it?).

Read more: Oboz Firebrand II BDry reviews (2)

Merrell Moab Waterproof

user rating: 3.5 of 5 (7 reviews)

These were my first pair of hiking shoes and I hiked all over Scotland, Korea, and NZ without problems. Slipped while crossing a stream and my feet only got wet from the water getting in from the top. It's extremely comfortable even with my narrow feet and wide toes with painful bunions.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable right out of the box
  • Kept my feet dry during hours of rain
  • Easy to lace tightly for hiking downhill

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not a boot, so no ankle support

These were my first pair of hiking shoes and I hiked all over Scotland, Korea, and NZ without problems. I didn't know about breaking in shoes before a trip, but luckily these were very comfortable right out of the box. I have difficult feet, narrow but I need a wide toe box to accommodate my painful bunions. Talking about bunions, I found that for me these shoes have the perfect degree of stiffness which means my big toe joint doesn't get overused and I only feel pain after very long days. I found it easy to tighten the laces to keep my foot in place during downhill hikes.

Read more: Merrell Moab Waterproof reviews (7)

Merrell Moab 3

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

A comfortable upgraded model from Merrell, that while grippier, still falls a little short for technical or long hikes.

Reasons to Buy

  • Substantial shoe with lots of protection from sticks and shrubs
  • Very comfortable
  • New sole design appears to grip better than prior versions
  • Excellent stabilization of the foot
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Recycled materials
  • Consistent sizing—for Merrell
  • Breathes well
  • New double stitching

Reasons to Avoid

  • Sole is still not as grippy as many competitors
  • Heavy
  • Needs long-term review

I have a love-hate relationship with Merrells. I've worn several models over many years and have not had problems. Until I bought pairs manufactured after 2019. The Moab 2's I bought after 2019 were fraught with issues. The soles literally had chunks come off and the stitching all around was coming undone, particularly at the toe. And while I like the Moabs for casual hiking they simply are not grippy enough for snow or slick rock hiking. So they are my go-to shoes for smaller, non-technical hikes and that's it.

Read more: Merrell Moab 3 review (1)

Lowa Renegade GTX Lo

user rating: 4 of 5 (6 reviews)

I have had two pairs of these shoes and they are great. These are shoes that work well with khakis or jeans for casual attire, but these shoes can also take some serious abuse. I used my first pair when I worked up in Alaska and used them with gaiters when the snow got deep. The rubber is pretty tacky and predictable on wet and snowy slick surfaces and the shoes really do a nice job of protecting your feet when walking in rough terrain. The rubber is also extremely durable and after 4 years on my current pair, they are still looking good!! The only fly in the ointment with these shoes is that the seams where the rubber wraps around towards the sides in the flex zone end-up popping threads over a long period of use.

Read more: Lowa Renegade GTX Lo reviews (6)

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