The Best Hiking Footwear (2024) for Every Hiker and How to Choose

This post may include affiliate links, including Amazon Associate links. I may earn money if you click on one at no extra cost to you.

Having the right hiking footwear has a huge impact on your hike. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you find the best hiking sandal, boot, trail runner or barefoot shoe.

Table of Contents

If you’ve ever suffered rom blisters you’ll know how painful each step can be when you have the wrong or incorrectly fitting footwear. 

Being a hiker myself, I know exactly how important having comfortable hiking footwear really is. From experience, I can tell you that finding the right type of shoe can make all the difference on a trail.

The main misconception when it comes to hiking is that you have to have a good hiking boot to be comfortable. But in reality, you have a few different categories to choose from, each with their own perks and comforts.

So here is a guide to the best hiking boots, hiking shoes, trail runners, sandals and barefoot shoes out there and what you should know about each category.

Best Hiking Boots and other Hiking footwear

Related Reading: The Best Hiking Tents For Every Backpacker


Hiking Boots are the general go-to in footwear when you start out hiking. They are versatile and offer great protection on the trail from the elements, especially sharp rocks. Hiking boots also offer you the best ankle support which is important, especially on a rocky trail where the chances of injury are higher.

Finding the best hiking boot to fit your needs and the terrain you tend to hike can be difficult with all the options out there. These hiking boots each offer something unique and will give you a better idea of the differences that you can expect.

Tip: Remember that your feet swell when you hike. Make sure to try on your hiking boots later in the day and not in the early morning to make sure you take into consideration the swelling that occurs when hiking. This will ensure that your sizing is more accurate and you hiking boot more comfortable.

Recommended Reading: The Best Women’s Clothes for Hiking: A Guide to Everything you Need


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


Salomon is one of the leading outdoor brands and these boots are no exception to the brands’ reputation for quality. These hiking boots are comfortable and work well on every terrain. They offer great traction and are water-resistant.

These Salomons are also very sturdy, resistant, and durable. They feel a little heavy at the beginning, but once you get used to them, you won’t even notice it. The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is perfect for long-distance hiking and is incredibly versatile.

Related Reading: Hiking Gaiters for Every Activity from Mountaineering to Trail Running

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


If you’re the kind of hiker who enjoys technical terrain, this is a great option. These Salewa hiking boots offer the best traction, water resistance, and support; all packed in a very lightweight boot. As far as hiking footwear goes, this hiking boot is great on muddy and wet trails as it offers extra grip soles.

This is not the best hiking boot for long multi-day hikes. They tend to become uncomfortable when you use them for extended periods of time. Nonetheless, when it comes to short hikes with light equipment, the Alpenrose Ultra GTX is hard to match.

Recommended Reading: 7 Best Mount Rainier Hiking Trails for Every Adventurer to Explore

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


If you are looking for the best classic hiking boot then the Lowa Renegade GTX is a great choice. These are made of fully handcrafted leather and offer a traditional, sturdy and reliable construction.

This hiking boot is one of the heavier choices on this list. Despite this, these are one of the most reliable, durable, and comfortable boots on the market. Another thing about these is the incredibly good support and protection these give to your ankles.

These are perfect for slow-paced hikers carrying a lot of weight in their backpacks. If you are looking for hiking footwear that will be able to handle any terrain and last you for several years, then this is a great option.

Related Reading: Best Lightweight Sleeping Bags, Pads and Liners for Every Hiker

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


I’ve been using the Keen Targhee for many years, and I always recommend them to people who are starting their affair with the great outdoors. These are the last version of the classic Targhee model.

These hiking boots are very affordable compared to other hiking footwear on the market right now. These boots have good traction and great water resistance; all while being comfortable, lightweight, and durable.

The Targhee II had the downfall of making your feet feel very hot when hiking in warm conditions. Keen has fixed this issue in the Targhee III with a sleeker sole which has improved its breathability. This hiking boot is great on most kinds of terrain, but it doesn’t offer the support that some other hiking boots do.

Recommended Reading: The Best Hiking Jackets for Every Season


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


It’s hard to express how great this boot actually is. The Quest 4D has been the most comfortable boot since the first version came out. This one is the last version and Salomon has fixed a lot of issues, making it the most versatile and reliable hiking boot on the market.

This hiking boot offers some of the best water-resistance technology available. These boots offer great traction and support, great for muddy hiking trails, especially when you’re carrying a heavy backpack.

These hiking boots are incredibly durable, but since they are leather you should make sure to take proper care of them.

Overall, the Salomon Quest 4D 3GTX is an improvement to the already exceptional previous version: reliable, versatile, and extremely comfortable on any trail.

Recommended Reading: 22 Best Hydration Packs for Every Adventurer in 2021

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Zodiac Plus GTX is a specialist lightweight boot designed to hit cold rocky trails while giving you the support and comfort of a mountaineering boot. If you encounter some boulders that need to be climbed or the trail gets a little snowy, Scarpa has you covered.

This is also a great boot for off-trail hiking on technical terrain since it has exceptional support, stability, and traction. If you’re into mountaineering, these Scarpa are perfect for alpine approach. However great this boot is in its area, this is not a versatile one; it will do terribly if you wear them in the tropics for example.

Recommended Reading: Hiking in Yosemite: The Best Reason to Visit this National Park

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This one is another classic manufactured for rough use under the harshest conditions. These hiking boots provide the best support, stability, and protection. The comfort these boots provide will make you forget how heavy they are.

The St. Elias are perfect for wet steep trails when carrying a heavy backpack. Despite not having good breathability, I’d rely on these ones for hiking in rainforests and in the tropical weather, since they provide spectacular protection, they are very reliable and durable. If you don’t mind wearing heavy boots, the St Elias FG GTX will keep your feet dry and protected while lasting for years.

Recommended Reading: Tour du Mont Blanc: The Best Way to Plan Your Epic Trek!

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This is a very unique model designed to be a hybrid of a hiking and a mountaineering boot. If you’re looking for hiking footwear that works perfect on rocky terrain while also being able to take you to high summits, this is the best hiking boot for you.

The Trango Tech GTX provides great weather protection while also being crampon compatible. This is not a mountaineering boot, so I wouldn’t take these ones too high for too long.

However, they are perfect for alpine approaches, since they have astonishing climbing capabilities due to the stiff sole. They are not comfortable if you’re looking for speed and mobility though.

Recommended Reading: 64 of The Best Adventure Books Ever Written


Hiking shoes are similar to hiking boots but are cut lower and have a more flexible midsole. They offer you an option between trail runners and boots, with durability and versatility on most terrains. They are usually lighter and more compact to pack, which is always a bonus.

Although they do not give you the same support and protection that a boot might, they are still made with hiker safety in mind. This means that you will still have most of the same features as hiking boots, minus the sturdier ankle support. You will most likely also find them more breathable than most hiking boots.


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


Comfortable from the right start (no breaking in required). They’ve lightweight with a very rugged sole for extra cushioning and traction. Waterproof and breathable. I personally have a pair and wear them for easy day hikes and would recommend them.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


These hiking shoes perform incredibly well on different types of terrain. They have great traction, good weather protection, are very comfortable and you won’t have to take days breaking them in. On the downside, they tend to fit a little large (especially if you have small feet like me) and are not the lightest hiking shoe out there.

The Spire GTX work best when hiking light or technical terrain, their Vibram XS sole does a great job in keeping you stable on rocky, muddy, or wet trails. But don’t expect them to last for years as they are not the most durable on the market. If you are not an “every-weekend” hiker but love trying different terrain, then this is a good choice in hiking footwear.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Merrell Moab 2 WP is an affordable hiking shoe that is designed for most types of terrain. They are not the most comfortable hiking shoe when you start wearing them. Once you wear them in a bit though they do get more comfortable.

They also have a Vibram sole that provides perfect traction wherever you’re hiking. The Moab 2 doesn’t offer a lot of cushioning, so I wouldn’t recommend you wear them while carrying a heavy backpack. These hiking shoes are heavy compared to others on the market.

Having said this, they are admittedly the best hiking shoes for wet conditions as they offer excellent weather protection and are fully waterproof.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


If you’re the kind of hiker who prefers long hikes on rugged trails, this is the perfect hiking footwear for you. Sturdy, durable, stable, cushioned, and with great waterproof technology, the Oboz Sawtooth II is perfect for a multiday hike with a heavy backpack on technical terrain.

These hiking shoes are a little heavy, but not too heavy that you won’t get used to it. The durability of these shoes is amazing, these are one of the most reliable hiking shoes in the market.

These hiking shoes were designed for slow-paced all-terrain multi-day hikes. Adventure hikers will love them.

Recommended Reading: 38 Hiking Quotes to Inspire You To Get To the Mountains

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Aerios FL is a lightweight hiking shoe perfect for fast hikes on solid trails. These hiking shoes don’t tend to work well with rocky technical terrain, especially if the rock is wet, but will do great otherwise.

Despite its lightweight, the sole is stiff, supportive and provides good traction with amazing comfort. However, the insole is not cushioned enough to be comfortable and stable while carrying a heavy backpack.

The waterproof technology of the Aerios FL also has good performance, but I wouldn’t try it in snow as your feet will probably get wet. Overall, this is the perfect hiking footwear for fast-paced lightweight excursions on average trails.


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Salomon X Ultra 3 is for the ultra hiker. Designed for the aggressive hiker, this hiking shoe offers stability, traction and great foot support. They do well in any terrain.

Although they are made for every terrain I would not recommend them for long-distance hikes that require to carry heavy loads.

These hiking shoes are also not the most durable on the market, so if you are an avid hiker, then you may want to consider this. But if you love hitting the trail hard once in a while and are looking for the best choice in hiking footwear, then this is these are for you.

Recommended Reading: Tour du Mont Blanc: Self-Guided Hiking Tours

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This is the most affordable hiking shoe on this list. For a reasonable price, you’ll get a lightweight hiking shoe that works great with wet weather.

The TNF Ultra 109 WP, is a great transitional hiking shoe, it works great on muddy trails, as it does on stiff surfaces like asphalt or concrete for instance. If you feel like you’re not sure whether you want to go hiking or go running, this is the perfect footwear as it performs well in both disciplines.

Unfortunately, The North Face is not famous for manufacturing durable footwear; so don’t expect these hiking shoes to last for too long, especially if you’re too rough on them. The Ultra 109 WP is a versatile shoe that works well all year round in a wide variety of circumstances for a very affordable price.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


I really loved how stylish these shoes looked the first time I saw them. They receive great reviews for comfort and versatility. The Nucleon GV sticky sole provides astonishing traction on any kind of surface.

The water-resistance of these hiking shoes is not the best, I wouldn’t recommend wearing these during the rainy season. These are also not very supportive, so wearing a heavy backpack on tricky terrain won’t be very comfortable.

Still, this a very lightweight shoe; and combined with its durability and versatility, makes a perfect option for backpackers. In short, this a shoe that looks good with most outfits and works great in dry conditions.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This hiking shoe was designed for hikers carrying heavy loads in cold dry weather conditions. This is an extremely durable and reliable shoe that works great on rocky off-trail terrain.

Its heavy-duty sole performs an amazing job when climbing small boulders while the shoes sturdy construction protects your toes from unnecessary bruises. The Dragontail is also very comfortable when carrying a heavy backpack, they provide stability, comfort, and support for long hours, making them good footwear for long hikes.

However, these shoes don’t have good breathability nor good water protection, so these are not a good option if you plan to wear them in the tropics. But for mountain conditions, these are the best. They are also well-known for being durable and should last you a good few years.

Recommended Reading: Winter Hiking Gear: What You Need for Winter Day Hikes


Barefoot hiking shoes have been on the market for some time now. This unique hiking footwear is designed in a way that gives you a “no shoe” feel. Essentially they are designed wider and better suited to the natural shape of feet.

They also do not have any padding or cushioning in them at all, letting you feel the ground as you walk. The idea behind them is that they give you a more natural way of experiencing nature, in a way it takes you back to the basics. There is nothing besides thin fabric, mesh and a piece of rubber between your feet and the ground that you are hiking.

Barefoot hiking shoes are not for everyone though. They are not comfortable and take quite a lot of getting used to. They do offer many benefits though. Barefoot hiking shoes help you better your


balance and posture. They have also been said to help with impact reduction on trails and help reduce plantar fasciitis and foot-related pain. This type of hiking footwear is also great on wet trails as they dry much faster and more effectively than any other shoe.

Recommended Reading: Cinque Terre & Beyond Self-Guided Walking Tour


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


If you’re looking for a true barefoot experience, this is the best barefoot hiking shoe option. By wearing these you have a lot of sensitivity, you’ll feel every surface you’re stepping on.

You can wear these to hike on soft surfaces like mud, grass, or flat rocky terrain; hiking on densely vegetated areas or on volcanic rock, can become a little painful if you’re not used to walking in barefoot hiking shoes or if this is your first time wearing these.

These barefoot hiking shoes fit great and feel like a glove on your feet. They are extremely lightweight and comfortable while also providing a decent amount of traction. Vibram KSO EVO brings the most accurate barefoot experience, just keep in mind that you must first get used to them before attempting long difficult hiking adventures.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The New Balance Minimus 10 V1 allows fast-paced hikers to be aggressive on the trail while also being able to enjoy the barefoot experience.

These barefoot hiking shoes feature cushioned heels, making them a good option for people who are looking for a minimalist shoe but are not ready to ditch all the cushion on the heels and the elevation it provides.

The Vibram sole provides amazing traction while also allowing you to feel the ground very well. The lacing system is a little tricky at the beginning, but you get used to it. This is the best shoe to help you transition from normal hiking shoes or boots to barefoot hiking shoes.

Recommended Reading: 25 Best Gifts for Hikers

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 offers one of the best barefoot experiences. They are incredibly lightweight, but still feel like they support your foot.

The Vibram soles provide great traction while also allowing you to feel every step on the ground. It’s 6.5 mm height sole feels nice on smooth trails, but can become a little painful if you’re hiking on technical terrain. Unless you’re already used to it.

The lacing system is very simple and comfortable, you barely notice that its there. This is the perfect choice for those that have used barefoot hiking shoes before. I would not recommend them for beginners.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This one is better suited for hikers or trail runners who enjoy hitting rocky terrain. While looking a little burly for a minimalist shoe, the Merrel Trail Glove 5 3D gives you enough cushion and traction to allow your feet to hit those pointy rocks while also staying comfortable and safe.

These shoes also do a great job of keeping dust and small particles out of your feet. Despite this, you can easily go hiking with these even if you don’t have barefoot training, trail running is not recommended for beginners. These are also one of the most durable shoes on the market while being weather adaptable as well.

These are the best minimalist shoes for hiking and trail running in rough terrain, but you won’t have the most accurate barefoot experience while doing so. This is the perfect hiking footwear for beginners.

Recommended Reading: The Best Hiking Journal and 7 Reasons You Should Keep One


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This a great entry-level shoe, perfect for flat and smooth trails. The Xero Prio brings an accurate barefoot sensation inside a versatile and durable shoe.

This shoe wasn’t designed for rugged trails, but on gravel and regular dirt, it performs very well. For a minimalist shoe, it is not very light. But if you’re used to hiking shoes or even trail running shoes, the Xero Prio will feel incredibly lightweight.

For fast-paced hikers and trail runners who are looking into switching to barefoot shoes but don’t want to compromise too much protection, this is a good durable option.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Vibram Fivefingers V-Trail 2.0 gives you a holistic barefoot experience. It is lightweight, sturdy and resistant. The lacing system on this shoe is very practical and easy to manage.

The shoe is designed to allow you to feel the ground but does not take away from comfort. The V-Trail 2.0 are perfect for hitting rugged trails under tough weather conditions.

This model offers excellent weather protection and traction. But if you’re looking for a raw barefoot shoe, its sole is too thick to fully satisfy hardcore barefoot hikers. Overall, this the perfect shoe for moving light and fast on technical terrain if you don’t mind losing a little bit of sensation in your toes.

Recommended Reading: Best Hiking and Trekking Poles

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


You are probably wondering why we’ve added this shoe as it shares some characteristics with the Glove 5 3D. Although they may seem alike, they are completely different in some important aspects.

This barefoot hiking shoe is way more minimalist that the Glove 5 3D. It is also lighter and allows you to go much faster on the trail, and all for a more reasonable price.

The Trail Glove 5 is very durable and has great traction on hard surfaces. On soft surfaces not so much. Another nice thing about these Merrells is that they adapt well to any weather.

These barefoot shoes can withstand wet weather as well as heat. Overall, the Merrel Trail Glove 5 is a perfect option for intermediate barefoot hikers or runners on well-maintained trails.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


Vivobarefoot is a company true to barefoot values. All their shoes are manufactured with recycled materials and fully vegan. The Primus Lite is as minimalist as it looks, if you’re ready for the full barefoot experience, this is the best option.

These shoes are very light, durable, lightweight, and versatile. Enjoying these shoes requires training, experience, and practice; Vivobarefoot didn’t design these for beginners. But once you get used to them, you won’t want to use any other hiking shoe.

A new world of sensations will open under your feet and you’ll love it. These shoes don’t come with a lot of traction so you would be advised not to try them on steep slippery slopes.

For experienced barefoot hikers who really enjoy wandering around as barefoot as possible, this is the most accurate option.

Recommended Reading: Best Hiking Backpacks


Trail runners are a more recent option in hiking footwear. These have become more popular over the last few years and there’s a good reason. Not only are they light and breathable, but most of them also offer excellent grip and versatility on trails. If you are not one for bulky hiking boots but are still looking for grip and stability on a trail then these are the best option for you. The fact that they are great for trail running, leisure hiking and the occasional bouldering experience, make this type of hiking footwear the ideal choice. Many of these are also really stylish, so you can get away with wearing them on a daily basis.

Although, keep in mind that you will probably not have the same protection from ankle injuries and sharp objects that hiking boots will offer you. But many brands do make them fast drying which means that wet terrain will be a breeze.


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This is an affordable trail running shoe perfect for solid trails. The Gel-Venture 7 is not as aggressive as others but performs very well on your average trail. These deliver stability above all, with a decent amount of protection and comfort.

While these are not the lightest trail running shoe out there, the sturdy construction allows you to feel confident when covering long distances. This is definitely not a shoe you want to try on technical terrain since it doesn’t have much traction, but it will do a terrific job otherwise. These ones are the best buy if you’re a seasonal trail runner or a beginner hiker.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


If you’re the adventurous kind of runner/hiker who wants to run/hike on any kind of surface, this is the shoe you’re looking for. The Altra King MT 2 performs astonishingly well on technical terrain due to its amazing traction.

Its minimalist design also provides great sensitivity, that allows you to feel the ground and react quickly when taking a downhill at a fast pace for example. While not bringing a lot of protection to your feet, Altra makes sure that your ankles remain stable.

Overall, this is a lightweight trail running shoe that excels on steep and sloped trails, perfect for committed trail runners and hikers.

Recommended Reading: Hiking in Denali National Park: Why you Should Visit

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


Personally I am a big fan of the Speedcross, and the latest version of this trail runner has not disappointed. This trail running shoe is not designed for running on very hard surfaces (road running with these is uncomfortable and slows you down). But steep trails with slopes are a breeze with these.

The Speedcross 5 offers incredible traction, so whether it’s muddy or you have to climb over a few slippery rocks to get where your going, this hiking footwear has you covered. They are also fast drying so don’t worry about wet terrain.

The top of the shoe fits snugly just under the ankle giving you extra stability and support. They are heavier than your standard trail runners though, but for the protection, they offer you on technical trails, the extra weight is worth it.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This is a versatile lightweight trail running shoe, great for unpredictable terrain. While these excel on those dry rocky off-trail running adventures, on slippery surfaces the traction system doesn’t perform very well.

These shoes provide great protection to your feet, while also making sure that your ankles will remain stable in the most extreme situations. Another great thing about these Scarpas is the comfort they provide.

They fit very well and are incredibly comfortable. These are perfect for trails in desert and alpine conditions. If you tend to spend more time running or hiking in wetter areas you may want to look at a different option.

Recommended Reading: Day Hiking Packing List


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This is another versatile shoe, perfect if you’re not sure what kind of terrain you will encounter in your adventures. These shoes work well in any kind of terrain, from deserts to rainforests, you can be sure that La Sportiva Kaptiva won’t let you down.

These also have a good fit, just keep in mind that they are narrower than most hiking footwear. While these shoes were designed for technical terrain, they will perform great on your average trail.

I wouldn’t recommend you wear these while running on asphalt or concrete since the sole will wear faster. I think this is the kind of shoe every trail runner should have. Just keep in mind that this is not a specialized shoe.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Superior 4 is a lightweight minimalist shoe, with zero drop and durable construction. These are not recommended for rocky trails since they don’t offer a lot of protection, but for softer ones, these are great to wear.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys feeling every step, Altra Superior 4 doesn’t feature a lot of padding, so you’ll always have a lot of sensitivity. That will allow you to react faster, which becomes particularly useful when going downhill on steep trails.

The traction system works fine, but it’s not the best. I’d recommend wearing these ones for shorter runs rather than longer ones. If you’re a trail runner who is looking for minimalist footwear you should consider the Superior 4.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


If you’re willing to sacrifice weight in exchange for foot protection and stability, the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 is an option to consider.

This shoe is specifically designed for ultra-distance trail running. These will keep your feet very comfortable even when you decide to hit those 100 miles on different kinds of terrain. Salomon also invested heavily in technology with these ones; they feature an incredible sticky sole and a dual-density EVA foam that guarantees traction, support, and stability.

These also fit perfectly, weight issues aside, you’ll feel like you’re running barefoot. I’d say this is the kind of shoe you should get if you’re planning on running an Ultra on rugged terrain. Just don’t be surprised by the price.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


The Topo Athletic Mt-3 is a medium weight shoe that can perform incredibly well in a wide variety of terrain for a reasonable price. While it doesn’t provide great traction under extreme conditions, it will work fine on your average trail.

While providing a sensitivity similar to a minimalist shoe, the sole will do fairly well at protecting your foot from sharp objects while running. The shoes’ construction feels sturdy and solid, and provides a lot of stability.

Combined with the sensitivity, you’ll feel particularly agile while running with these ones. The Topo Athletic Mt-3 is a great shoe that feels good and provides perfect stability. I think everyone can enjoy running with these shoes.

Recommended Reading: Coastal Hike: Costa Brava, Spain to France: Self-Guided


Admittedly, hiking sandals are not for everyone. But for those that find closed footwear problematic, hiking sandals are certainly the best alternative. There are several different types of hiking sandals that you will find out there. Hiking sandals are incredibly versatile as they dry much faster than any other hiking footwear and still offer you amazing comfort.

If you are worried about feeling cold or even getting scratched on your feet while you’re hiking then wear some good hiking socks with them. They still offer you way more breathability. Another really great thing that people love about hiking in sandals is they hardly ever give you blisters (which every hiker can agree is the worst).

For those hikers that may suffer from medical conditions that affect their feet, you will find that the hiking sandal is the best alternative to any closed hiking shoe on this list. It all comes down to comfort and preference at the end of the day.

Tip: This may sound silly, but I have learnt that wearing sunblock on your feet when hiking in sandals is really important. Remember, you can get sunburn on any part of your body that is exposed, so be safe, especially in high heats.

Recommended Reading: Hiking Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The Greatest National Park in Texas


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This is a great sandal if you love outdoor activities as well as water sports. They offer you a lot of protection in the toe area. This causes them to look bulky, but the Keen Clearwater CNX remains nimble, comfortable, and light.

Its soles will provide good traction when stepping on uneven slippery terrain. I’ve heard some people say this is not a stylish shoe, but in my opinion, it looks just fine.

Besides every adventurer will recognize the characteristic Keen design in these sandals, so personally, I wear these everywhere. These sandals are a great option for rafting or kayaking, they will keep your toes protected while also being able to keep you stable on the ground.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This Chaco model is lightweight, comfortable and performs comparatively well for people who have low foot arches. If you’re looking for a stylish, versatile sandal, the Zvolv X2 is one of the best in the market.

These sandals have great traction, are very stable while also being very adaptable to any kind of terrain. Just keep in mind that even if Chaco pared these down, these sandals are still featuring a moulded arch. Overall, these sandals are very comfortable, durable and work perfectly in a wide variety of activities including hiking.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


I found these very practical and versatile while also being very affordable. These sandals work perfectly in coastal environments since the soles don’t have a lot of traction for steep trails.

The design offers great stability, no matter how slippery the surface, even if this hiking sandal is not known for its traction. The softness of the sole makes it comfortable for wandering around the whole day.

Hiking with these makes you feel very secure and comfortable. I think this is a great sandal for hiking on flat solid trails.

Recommended Reading: Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List 

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


These hiking sandals are bulky, sturdy, heavyweight, resistant and durable. Exactly what you want if you are hitting a trail with a heavier backpack. They are perfect for slow-paced hikes.

Despite its weight, these sandals are extremely comfortable; your feet always feel protected even if your toes are exposed.

Besides providing good traction, the soles also provide good cushioning, so your feet won’t feel sore after hiking the whole day. The only negative thing is since the construction is based on leather, these shoes are not the best option for water sports.


hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


Technically these are most popular for water sports, but the design works well for a variety of outdoor activities including hiking.

The Keen Newport H2 has outstanding performance when hiking on wet surfaces. The sole has excellent traction and the construction provides amazing stability. The construction is also solid, reliable, and very durable.

I think these sandals are a good investment if you plan on a backpacking trip in the tropics. While not being precisely versatile due to its lack of comfort when hiking longer distances, this closed-toe is your best choice to pack when going rafting, kayaking, sailing, or cruising. You can hike with these but they tend to become a little uncomfortable after a couple of hours.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


This is an upgraded Chaco sandal perfect for hiking with heavy backpacks with maximum comfort. This is not a minimalist sandal and it’s not the most lightweight out there, but its versatility and traction make it a good option for hikers and adventurers.

While having great traction on several kinds of terrain, the inner sole manages to bring a lot of soft cushioning as well. That’s why this sandal is perfect for slow-paced, heavy loaded hikers. Another thing I love about these sandals is the cool designs they come with. These bulky sandals look nice while also being a very functional option to consider.

Recommended Reading: Hiking in La Gomera Why You’ll Want to Do a 7-Day Self-Guided Hike


These sandals are the complete opposite of the Chaco Mega Z/Cloud. These are super lightweight, minimalist, and very easy to pack.

While these don’t work very well with heavy backpacks, fast lightweight hikers will love them. The Z-Trail is so light, you will forget you’re wearing them. Barefoot enthusiasts will get hooked immediately.

Just don’t let all these aspects make you think that you’ll be wearing a cheap sandal; these ones are very resistant and durable. Xero Z-Trail is probably the best minimalist sandal you can buy.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe


While there is already a new version of this model, the Terra Fi 5, in my opinion, the Fi 4 is a sturdier, more durable version. Both versions were designed for versatility, and are aimed at adventurers and multi-sports fans.

Whether you’re hiking in the desert or practising water sports, Teva has you covered. The sole is thick and cushioned enough to allow to carry heavy loads, while also providing good traction. These sandals are easy to wear, provide great stability, and manage to keep your toes protected thanks to its sole design. I’d say these sandals are between the Mega Z/Cloud and the Z-Trail: not as thick, but not as thin either.

Now that you know what to look for in hiking boots, shoes, sandals and barefoot hiking shoes, you can confidently choose the next addition to your hiking gear and footwear.

hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe
hiking footwear, barefoot hiking shoe

Leave a Comment