Having choices is supposed to be a good thing, right? But with countless of hiking footwear out there, you might feel completely overwhelmed and can cause you to ultimately give up on the hike altogether. Most of us have been there. That’s why it’s always a good idea to make sure you get the best waterproof hiking shoes for your unique foot and gait.
Luckily for you, the unpredictability of the weather doesn’t have to ruin your nature walk. With a sturdy pair of waterproof hiking shoes, you can keep your feet dry from rain, but also from small streams and puddles. On top of that, they’ll be comfortable but lightweight enough. However, if you don’t know the first thing about buying good hiking shoes, you have come to the right place.
There are million waterproof hiking options on the market, which makes navigating through the sea of options even harder and confusing. It’s for this reason that we have compiled a checklist that covers everything you need to help get you through the process of finding the right pair. We have also researched and put together some of the best waterproof hiking shoes you can depend on – keep reading to learn more!
|Hoka One Tor Summit Hiking Shoes||Nubuck and suede leather||14.20 oz.||7 – 15, width D – Medium||Check price on Amazon|
|Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Shoes||PU coated leather suede and mesh||13 oz.||7 – 17, width D – Medium||Check price on Amazon|
|Salomon X Ultra 2 Hiking Shoe||Leather and synthetic||14.5 oz.||7 – 13, width D - Medium||Check price on Amazon|
|Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Shoe||Sueded leather and mesh||15 oz.||7 – 15, width D – Medium and 2E – Wide||Check price on Amazon|
|The North Face Ultra 109 Running Shoe||PU coated leather and mesh||15.5 oz.||7 – 14, width D - Medium||Check price on Amazon|
|Asolo Agent GV Hiking Shoes||Polyester mesh and suede leather||14 oz.||7 – 14, width D - Medium||Check price on Amazon|
|Colombia Granite Ridge Hiking Sneaker||Suede leather and textile||15 oz.||7 – 17, width D – Medium and E – Wide||Check price on Amazon|
|Merrell Yokota Trail Hiking Shoes||Suede and fabric mesh||14 oz.||7 – 16, width D - Medium||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
Buying the right waterproof hiking shoes can seem overwhelming considering the number of options available in the market. That’s why it’s worth the extra time to shop around before making a decision. Remember, there is no ‘best-ever’ hiking shoe out there, but there is one that will perfectly suit your needs. So what should you be looking out for?
This guide will take you through the main factors you should be bearing in mind before taking the plunge. Needless to say, some things/factors are more important depending on what your situation or priorities are, but hopefully, this guide will point you in the right direction.
The first question you should probably ask yourself is where you are planning to hike to –is it the Sierra Mountains, the Himalayas or just a nature walk within the national park? For day walks on low levels, you’ll probably need comfortable lightweight shoes.
For longer routes or multi hikes, you’ll probably need a pair of sturdier hiking shoes as they have a better grip to maneuver through a more demanding ground. Make sure the shoes have a flexible, firm and slip-resistant rubber outsole. Often these outsoles feature cleats or lugs to improve traction to help you move steadily over any surface, be it mud, dirt or gravel.
The midsole is another part of the shoe that you should never ignore. It’s considered as the stability and cushioning layer of the shoe. Hence, it’s worth considering midsoles with thick cushioning under the heel and forefoot to help absorb shock and control motion.
Once you have an idea where you are going to hike, you should then assess the terrain. If the terrain is not rocky or rooty, you don’t really require a hiking shoe that offers extra protection. A well-cushioned shoe will be fine as you will not encounter any obstructions in the way.
In rugged, off-road terrain, however, you’ll need shoes that provide great traction on mud or other slippery surfaces. The shoes should as well give your feet added protection while keeping them as comfortable as possible.
Also, when it comes to uneven terrain, you should take heed of the outsole and midsole as discussed above. The best thing about insoles, however, is that most of them are removable. So, if you feel the insole doesn’t offer the comfort and performance you seek, you can always purchase one that suits your needs and fits well.
Are you planning to hike during spring, summer or even in winter? However, no matter what season you’re planning to hike, remember the weather changes quickly in the mountains (if you are headed there of course). Hence, you must have the right foot protection for the task ahead.
In summer, conditions are generally hot and dry and your feet might tend to sweat. Wet feet are prone to blisters. That’s why you might need a sturdy waterproof shoe that is lightweight, breathable and does not compromise performance for protection.
Since the spring weather is so unpredictable, you must be well prepared for the light rains, sunny days, high winds, mud and all. A waterproof shoe that can tackle both the balmy and frigid weather goes a long way. So you can consider a breathable, comfortable and easy to dry shoe that has deeper lugs to give you a better grip even on a slippy rock.
Another factor that you should consider is the shoes upper material. Hiking shoes are comprised of a variety of different materials from leather to nylon to mixed materials. Mesh materials tend to provide a more breathable wear feeling as they allow air to circulate thus reaching the skin. This makes it the ideal shoes for warmer conditions.
Leather is widely known for its toughness and durability. It can withstand any weather conditions, be it rain or snow. However, it stains easily and it’s far less breathable than mesh and other materials.
Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester, on the other hand, offer a more lightweight feel and they are breathable, but not as durable compared to leather. It’s also important to note, hiking shoes with Gore-Tex, eVent and Outdry technologies are waterproof and highly breathable. This means you will always feel comfortable no matter how hot or cold the weather gets.
Sizing and Fit
When it comes to achieving the perfect fit, there are two things to consider; the snugness and toes. Your hiking shoes should hug your foot without any space or sliding. If the shoe is too wide, your foot will slide up and down as you walk which is can be very uncomfortable. If the shoe is too narrow, it can hurt your feet.
You should as well be able to wiggle your toes because if the shoes are too short, your toes might hurt especially when hiking downhill. When it comes to hiking shoes, the rule of thumb still stands: there should be a thumb’s width of room between the end of your toe and the end of the shoe. If perhaps, one foot is longer than the other or have low arches, you should consider insoles as they might help you achieve the perfect balance/fit.
If you are planning to buy the shoes online and you are worried about picking the wrong size, don’t be. Most online shops provide a personalized size chart for each brand and you can return them without any cost if they don’t fit. If you prefer shopping around in stores, always fit the shoes with socks. Always remember to fit the shoe again days before your hike.
Even though the above pointers might not necessarily guarantee a perfect fit, we hope they will steer you in the right direction. Now let’s take a look at our top picks you will never go wrong with.
Best Products on Today’s Market
Here are some of the best products on today’s market.
Price: Approx. $160
Weight: 14.20 oz.
Size: Sizes 7 – 15, width D – Medium
Specific features: eVent waterproof technology, RMAT midsole, Vibram MegaGrip Hi-Traction outsole, nubuck, and suede leather upper
Best use: Hiking, trail running, backpacking
Description: If you are a fan of Hoka running shoes, you will also fancy the Hoka Tor Summit Hiking Shoe. It is one of the most comfortable hiking shoe out there are, as it incorporates the full-length EVA top midsole and RMAT midsole cushioning. This blend should provide ultimate comfort and support for your feet while hiking.
Its upper portion is made of nubuck and suede leather which makes this model shoe quite durable. The shoe upper also features a breathable mesh tongue to allow air to reach your feet. The eVent waterproof membrane further boosts the breathability and waterproof of the footwear.
The shoe features a Vibram MegaGrip rubber sole in the heel for greater traction and durability in all types of weather. It as well utilizes the Active Foot Frame that wraps underfoot to provide great stability while walking or running on an uneven, rough or rocky terrain.
- Comfortable for everyday use
- A good level of grip and traction
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Breathable and waterproof
- Available in only two colors
- Sizing might be a problem for some people
Related: Regardless of your hike length, it’s also good to have an item that serves multiple tasks. A bandana – namely Tough Headband 12-in-1 Bandana can be an excellent option. You can not only wear it in 12 different ways but also comes with a breathable microfiber material that wicks sweat away from your body.
Price: Approx. $80
Weight: 13 oz.
Size: Sizes 7 – 17, width D – Medium
Specific features: Breathable textile lining, Omni-Grip rubber outsole, Techlite lightweight midsole, waterproof seam-sealed membrane
Best use: Hiking, trailing, trekking
Description: From a well-renowned brand known for its exceptional quality, comfort and durability, the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Shoe shouldn’t disappoint even the pickiest buyers out there.
It features a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry from the unpredictability of the weather. What’s more, it’s equipped with Omni-Grip rubber outsole which delivers great traction and grip on a different type of ground: muddy, rugged, rocky, gravel soil.
The product also comes with a combination of PU coated leather, suede and mesh-made uppers which are considered to have more breathable capabilities. However, the suede may not be as durable as other forms of leather which in turn can slightly compromise the overall durability of the shoe.
Nonetheless, it comprises of Techlite midsole which provides a high energy return, maximum cushioning and a supremely comfortable feel all day long. Although the shoe may lack arch support, it is exceptionally lightweight and affordable too.
- Super comfortable and sturdy at the same time
- Excellent grip and traction for easy maneuverability
- Waterproof and reasonably priced
- Somewhat narrow
- Might lack arch support
Related: Since these shoes are somewhat lacking in arch support, the Thorlos Moderate Padded Sock goes a long way in providing the much-needed arch support. It’s not only soft but also provides maximum comfort under the heel as well as protection from friction.
Price: Approx. $180
Weight: 14.5 oz.
Size: Sizes 7 – 13, width D – Medium
Specific features: Quicklace system, protective rubber toe cap, Gore-Tex performance, advanced Chassis system, non-marking Contagrip outsole
Best use: Hiking, trailing and light backpacking
Description: If you are looking for a hiking shoe that’s not only lightweight, easily maneuverable and comfortable, but also able to deliver an impressive performance on any terrain, the Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoes might just be the one for you.
This product features a Quicklace closure system which is quicker and easier, unlike the regular laces. What’s more, it doesn’t loosen even during hard use of hikes. The Contagrip outsole delivers great lateral stability and traction, backed by the molded shank EVA midsole.
The combination of leather and synthetic uppers provides some breathability with an added protection of Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane. Even though they don’t provide the best level of breathability, the Ortholite insole allows air circulation under your feet keeping them dry and cool in warm weather. They also feature a rubber toe cap which protects the toe and helps prevent the tip of the sole from wearing out.
- Superbly well cushioned while still having a light feel
- Quite sturdy and stable even for long hikes
- Tough build to reduce impact
- Not suitable for wide feet
- Not enough ankle support
Related: It’s also a good idea to carry a hat to protect your face from the wrath of the sun rays. The Columbia Bora Bora Booney Sun Hat can be an excellent option. The adjustable chin strap also comes in handy as you don’t have to hold onto your hat every time the wind blows.
Price: $100 – $140
Weight: 15 oz.
Size: Sizes 7 – 15, width M, W/2E
Specific features: M Select Dry waterproof, suede leather and mesh upper, rubber toe cap, EVA midsole, Vibram TC5+ sole
Best use: Trail running, hiking
Description: If you have wider feet, Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Shoes might just be what you are looking for. The shoe features M Select Dry technology to keep water out, but still allows water vapor to escape. This keeps your feet dry no matter the weather.
Further, it features a breathable mesh upper mixed with suede leather for added comfort, durability and style. What’s more, the upper mesh comprises of closed-cell foam tongue which ensures moisture and debris stay out.
The outsole provides excellent traction and a firm grip on slippery surfaces and steep rocks thanks to its Vibram TC5+ sole. It as well blends with the EVA midsole, molded nylon arch shank for comfort and stability.
The flexible rubber toe cap stretches to fit over toes to cushion and protect. It as well helps in protecting the tips of your shoes from wearing out prematurely. Besides, they are among the most affordable hiking shoes out there capable of withstanding most hiking tasks.
- Wide base for better comfort and fit
- Provides great stability and grip
- Mix of leather and mesh is quite durable
- Comes a reasonable price
- A bit heavy
- Somewhat lacks ankle support
Related: The Duco Sports Polarized Sunglasses with unbreakable frame, impact & scratch resistant lenses seem like a worthy product to buy along with the hiking shoes. If you happen to hike in the sun, the polarized lenses might come in handy. They have a special coating that eliminates glare, which in turn reduces eye strain.
Price: $120 – $200
Weight: 15.5 oz.
Size: Sizes 7 – 14, width D – Medium
Specific features: Gore-Tex Extended Comfort Range Waterproof, compression-molded EVA midsole, UltrATAC rubber outsole, protective TPU toe cap
Best use: Backpacking, hiking, trail running
Description: The North Face Ultra 109 GTX Running Shoe is considered as one of the best hiking shoes out there. Reason being, it’s built to perform well in all kinds of conditions and environments.
Not only is the shoe lightweight, but also comfortable all day long. The Gore-Tex Extended waterproof breathable membrane allows water vapor of sweat escape but also stops rain, snow from getting in. The mesh upper also adds to the breathable factor. The ESS midfoot shank and compression-molded EVA midsole combine to create a firm midfoot which offers excellent underfoot protection.
The shoes also tend to have a stiffer heel for better pronation control or correction. Actually, if you have high arches, this shoe might be an ideal fit. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about hurting your toes when navigating over any type of rugged terrain as the TPU toe cap got you covered. The outsole, on the other hand, provides excellent traction on all surfaces.
- Lightweight upper provides great breathability
- Versatile as well as comfortable
- Reasonably priced
- Provides solid performance
- Might not be durable
- Not suitable for wide feet
Related: You can bring along The North Face Apex Bionic Soft Shell Jacket on your outdoor adventures. It’s water-resistant, windproof and also breathable –a combination that’s hard to find. The soft shells are designed to fit any weather conditions without feeling too bulky. Hence, you’ll be well covered in case the weather turn for the worse.
Price: $130 – $185
Weight: 14 oz.
Size: Sizes 7-14, width D – Medium
Specific features: Gore-Tex Extended Comfort technology, Vibram outsole, mono density PU midsole, rubber toe cap, Asoflex Natural shape footbed, suede leather and polyester mesh upper
Best use: Hiking, backpacking
Description: The Asolo Agent GV Hiking Shoes is an all-around hiking shoe that’s quite versatile, very light and quite durable.
This shoe features an upper polyester mesh and Gore-Tex technology which work to keep your feet dry, cool and breathable. The waterproof yet breathable Gore-Tex lining keeps water out and also prevents sweating in warmer conditions.
The Asoflex Natural Shape which is placed between the outsole and midsole provides added comfort and support to the entire foot. It also provides better foot control. The Vibram rubber outsole helps to keep your feet extra stable on any surface.
This shoe also comes with an easy lace-up design which makes it easier to get it off or on. However, if you have wide feet it might give you some problems as it is considered ‘too narrow’ or ‘tight fit’. Although the durability is unquestionable, the comfort raises question marks.
- Versatile and durable
- Great traction without a weighty feel
- Comes in three colors
- Ideal for narrow feet
- Sole might be a bit stiff
Related: The Envelop Gel Insoles can also be a worthy investment. The honeycomb design can be very effective in absorbing shock when running or walking – it reduces the amount of stress placed on your joints, relieves pain and improves your foot’s overall comfort. It also massages your feet when you wear them.
Price: $50 – $90
Weight: 15 oz.
Size: Sizes 7 – 17, width D – Medium, E – Wide
Specific features: Omni-Grip rubber sole, Techlite midsole, waterproof seam sealed construction
Best use: Hiking, running, walking
Description: While the Colombia Granite Ridge Hiking Sneaker is among the cheapest on our list, it delivers quite an impressive performance. Not only does it offer all day long comfort, but it’s also lightweight, giving you an easy walk/run experience.
It comprises of a waterproof, breathable membrane which wicks moisture away effectively, keeping your feet dry all day long. The suede leather combines with the textile upper to offer durable waterproof comfort. The shoe upper has an attached padded tongue and collar to cushion the foot and also reduce forefoot pressure.
The shoe also comes with Omni-Grip rubber sole to ensure a firm grip and stability on slippery rocks, pavement, and gravel roads. The midsole, on the other hand, features Techlite technology. It delivers superior comfort and long-lasting cushioning for impact absorbing support and high energy return. The lightweight foam insole ensures your feet are always in the right position for each step.
- Ample cushioning to protect your foot
- Lightweight and comfortable feel
- Durable, supportive and affordable
- Reliable traction
- Size and fit might be a problem for some
- Sole’s a bit stiff
Related: An extra pair of shoelaces has never hurt anyone. The Miscly Round Thick Heavy Duty Laces will offer great backup in case your laces tear. Not only are they heavy-duty, but also built to last. The shoe laces allow strong knot which ensures they stay firmly in place.
Price: Approx. $80
Weight: 14 oz.
Size: Sizes 7 – 16, width D – Medium
Specific features: Waterproof leather and fabric upper, protective toe cap and heel counter, padded tongue and collar, rubber sole, fabric mesh lining with Aegis antimicrobial shield
Best use: Hiking, backpacking
Description: Another Merrell has made it to the list. Unlike its counterpart on this list, the Merrell Yokota Trail Hiking Shoe is not well known. However, it still goes a long way in maintaining your comfort while keeping water away from your feet.
The shoe features a suede and fabric mesh upper portion while the soles are of rubber material. The good thing about rubber sole is that it’s quite durable, flexible, waterproof and offers greatly extended contraction stability. Further, the lace-up closure offers better support as it allows you to tighten shoe whilst adjusting where needed.
It also comes with a breathable fabric mesh lining with Aegis antimicrobial shield to keep your feet fresh and free from odor. What’s more, the shoe comprises with a padded collar and tongue for added comfort. The air cushioned heel on the other hand aids in providing better shock absorption to reduce stress on the lower body joints.
- Lightweight and responsive
- Has a durable build and its comfortable
- Great foot support
- Not suitable for wider feet
- Might be a bit tight
Related: Great hiking shoes go fairly hand in hand with great pants for easy movement. The soil and stain resistant 5.11 Tactical TacLite Pro Pant is a great option to consider. It’s not only lightweight and durable, but also comes with an elastic waistband and 8 pockets where you can stash away your small gears. It also works great in all conditions.
Too much choice not only makes our decision harder, but can also make us miserable. This is because we are more likely to regret our selection. However, we believe this guide has made the burden of choice a little easier to bear and you can now make informed and reasonable decisions when it comes to getting the right hiking shoe for your situation.
If you have any questions, comments, corrections or feel we’ve missed anything, please don’t hesitate to chime in! We are always happy to hear from our readers!