Hiking is practiced by 5.5 million USA people. For this pedestrian sport, there are special shoes able to adapt to the capricious weather conditions and rugged terrain. There are different types to wear depending on the intensity of walking, most of which are designed for men. Buy the right pair by reading our guide to:
The Best Hiking Shoes for Mens Reviews
Editors’ choice: Salomon X Ultra 3 Gtx
Slip into the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX and your feet will take off almost without you feeling it! The shoe is super light and has a snug fit, as if you were wearing trail running shoes. This allows you to keep a good walking pace without tiring you, especially downhill. Thanks to these Solomons, you will no longer fear any rough terrain.
Despite their stiffness, which softens over time, the X Ultra 3 GTX will give your feet an excellent level of comfort for long distances with or without a backpack. Since these shoes are among the top picks for aggressive hiking, they more than deserve their top spot in our selection.
- Comfort and lightness come together with the Salomon X ultra 3 Gtx.
- You benefit from an innovative lacing system and excellent grip on all types of terrain, no matter the conditions.
- Quicklace system not suitable for everyone, medium ankle protection
The best cheap: Knixmax hiking and trekking shoes
The Knixmax shoe is suitable for walking and hiking. For starters, this shoe is waterproof. The synthetic microfiber coating has a Knixmax Tex membrane lining, a patented and exclusive product to the brand.
We also appreciate its great lightness and wearing comfort. On these points, it does much better than ankle cover shoes, which, despite their enveloping side, are quite heavy. The rigid and pleasant sole offers good adhesion on all surfaces. The hooks on the notched surface show all their practicality in difficult terrain, regardless of the weather.
- If you want to shop smart, these men’s hiking shoes are for you.
- Waterproof, comfortable to wear and light, they offer exemplary comfort with a special Knixmax signature.
- They are 2 sizes below according to some users
The best high end: Salomon Quest 4d 3 Gtx
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX is a men’s hiking shoe designed for long hours of walking. Mid-weight, it is very robust and offers good ankle stability on difficult trails. It is also more robust for hitting rocks and branches with safety due to its combination of nubuck leather and nylon mesh through the upper.
The Quest 4D shoe progresses incredibly well in mud, slush, and wet rock. Thus, it keeps the foot well connected to the ground, including in high mountains. Using the Gore-Tex membrane, it offers good breathing to your feet even when it rains or when you walk on a wet or muddy path.
- Very popular with fans of outdoor activities, these hiking shoes offer foolproof grip.
- Add to that exceptional protection and comfort, especially in cold and rainy weather.
- Not suitable for hot climates, no wide and narrow shoe sizes
For backpackers: Merrell Momentous
Thanks to its crampons, the Momentous is not likely to fail, no matter what the circumstances, especially on snow or ice. Incorporating a stone guard called Trail Protect, it is made of a thin plastic plate to effectively protect the feet from outdoor debris.
In addition, the Hyperlock technology that Merrell uses provides optimal support for the foot and heel during descents and turns. This reduces the occurrence of overheating. Ultra light (278 g), it devours technical trails, while ensuring good grip. In short, the Momentous is a great choice for men who prioritize comfort and grip.
- The Momentous supports regular use in trail running.
- Its main asset is the Vibram Mégagrip sole which provides remarkable grip on all types of trails.
- A shoe is synonymous with comfort.
- People with thin feet are advised to try out their Momentous as they are a bit tall.
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How to choose your hiking boots
In order to guarantee you long hours of walking in total optimal comfort, here are a few parameters that should not be overlooked when choosing your hiking boots.
Tip 1: The coating
Be aware that an unsuitable material offers less breathability and can therefore make your feet uncomfortable and confined. So opt for the synthetic which is often nylon or polyester. Synthetic hiking boots are easy to put on, are lightweight and dry faster when wet, but are less water resistant.
Grained leather, half leather, half synthetic, is very breathable. But it is less resistant to wear and water than full grain leather. Finally, full grain leather is a very resistant material that will satisfy the most demanding hikers. Although full-grain leather hiking boots are suitable for mountaineering, they are found to be less breathable and heavy.
Tip 2: The weight
Experienced backpackers prefer to wear lightweight hiking shoes while others give more credit to leather hiking boots which are stronger and more reliable. If you are looking for shoes that will serve you for many years to come, choose leather models that are rather heavy. If you prefer practicality, turn to lighter models. Note, however, that there are also models that reconcile these two criteria.
Tip 3: The shoe size
It’s easy to get carried away by the bells and whistles of a product and ignore any adjustments. Therefore, before buying hiking shoes, make sure that they suit you both in terms of size and comfort. The shoe should fit snugly around the sole of your foot and keep your heel in place to avoid blisters. Also remember to try on your hiking boots while wearing socks to get a precise feeling of comfort and fit.
Tip 4: The grip of the sole
The grip of a hiking shoe generally depends on the material of manufacture used and the notch. Soft gums grip well on rocks and rocky surfaces, but wear out faster. Hard compounds are stronger but will tend to make you skid.
Choose a compromise between these two models depending on the type of terrain on which you are going to hike. Today, there are models of hiking boots equipped with soles that offer more grip on rocks and that do not slip on wet surfaces.
Tip 5: Protection
Waterproofing / breathability is an important factor for practicing mountain activities. Some shoes with plastic cups are very waterproof, but won’t let your feet breathe. Look for models that allow your feet to breathe well and that do not let the surrounding water in.
To guarantee you more protection, choose models of hiking boots with a self-locking hook that locks the hold of your shoes well during the hike or models that absorb shocks without problem in order to absorb vibrations and relieve your joints.
Some shoes also have stone guards. This is the rigid part at the front of hiking boots which helps prevent shocks and limit abrasion of the front part of them.
High or low hiking shoes?
High hiking boots
Offering excellent balance and optimal ankle support, this type of shoe is ideal for an adventurous hiker who progresses off-trail and crosses potentially dangerous terrain. However, tall hiking boots are heavier and lack flexibility.
Low hiking boots
These are models more or less similar to running shoes. While great for light, relaxed hikes, these models leave you vulnerable to ankle injuries. Low hiking shoes should therefore be worn on well-maintained trails.
Low shoes take care of the ankles, knees, thighs, and back and prevent blistering. However, they are not suitable for mountaineering races, descents of large rocks or even hiking in winter. To be able to practice these activities, instead turn to high shoes because they can also provide you with optimal comfort even during your hikes in the rainy season.
In conclusion, the choice between these two types of hiking shoes will depend mainly on the use you plan to make of them, the type of climate and the place on which you plan to venture. Be aware, however, that there are medium-height hiking shoes that combine the two models.
The cleaning of hiking boots depending on the material
Proper cleaning will not only make your shoes look good, but your feet will also feel good.
- If your shoes are made of synthetic fabrics or canvas, wash them by hand. To do this, wash the shoes and their laces separately with mild soap, a soft brush and water.
- Nylon is renowned for its durability and breathability. To keep it breathable, do not apply creams, varnishes or silicone solutions that could block the pores of the fabric. Use only a soft brush or damp cloth and water.
- As for leather shoes , keep them away from dust, use a soft brush to remove mud and moisturizing soap to clean the outside of the shoe.
- For suede , use only a dry brush or sponge.
- Nubuck is very vulnerable to wear and stains and is more absorbent than other leathers, so add a protective layer with a quality waterproofing spray. Use a dry brush or sponge for its cleaning. There are also special sprays and cleaners available that are compatible with different types of shoe materials.
What is the price of a pair of hiking boots?
The diagram below will help you get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).
However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better .
We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before making up your mind, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.
The Best Brands of Hiking Boots
In our opinion, the best brands of hiking boots in 2020 are:
Salomon – When it was created in 1947 in Annecy, the Salomon brand began in the design of skis and subsequently extended to articles and equipment for outdoor activities, including trail running. Today, the brand is positioned as a leader in the marketing of hiking boots made of high-performance material (breathable, waterproof, non-slip, etc.) and of premium quality.
Merrell – Randy Merrell started solo over 30 years ago and made a name for himself with his boots voted North America’s best-hiking boots by Backpacker magazine. Since then, Merrell has not ceased to innovate and highlight its many years of expertise to make it one of the most specialized brands in the field of walking shoes.
Lafuma – Founded in 1930, the Lafuma firm is one of the pioneers in the sports equipment sector, namely metal-frame backpacks, to finally launch into the marketing of hiking shoes in 2000. Followers of the brand particularly appreciate the brand’s walking shoes because of their breathable and waterproof shell.
Columbia – Founded in 1938 in the United States, Columbia is today a world-famous brand in the outdoor field. The clothing, shoes and hiking equipment that the brand sells are very popular due to the fact that they incorporate advanced technologies.
Mountain Warehouse – Since 1997, the Mountain Warehouse brand has launched into the design of outdoor activity items. With its years of experience, the company has made itself appreciated by trekking enthusiasts through its quality hiking shoes, comfortable, with excellent ventilation and grip and accessible to all.
Polish leather hiking boots properly.
Always condition your leather hiking boots with a suitable product that you can find in specialized stores. Try not to apply too much conditioner so that the leather can absorb it without appearing greasy. Polishing conceals scratches and adds color, shine and extra protection. You can choose from four basic forms of varnish for polishing your leather shoes: cream, liquid, paste and wax. Some forms of polish like paste or cream polish also work as conditioners, so if you have it you won’t need to use a conditioner like with wax or liquid polish bases.
Watch out for drying!
The best way to dry a pair of hiking boots is to air dry them. So avoid drying them near a fire, next to a car heater, oven or household heater. If you’re in a hurry, just tuck newspaper or absorbent paper inside your shoes to quickly reduce the humidity and speed up the drying process. For best results, replace the newspaper regularly and keep your shoes in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area.
Maintain waterproof hiking boots.
In order to keep your hiking boots waterproof as long as possible, coat them regularly with wax or oil as well as a waterproofing spray. The latter is best suited for more delicate leathers while the former is mainly used for nylon, regular leather or mixed materials. You can also follow the manufacturer’s recommendations via the instructions supplied with your shoes upon purchase.
Store away from heat and humidity.
When not in use, keep your hiking boots in a cool, dry place. Use supports to maintain the shape of leather shoes when you are not wearing them. They are available in many varieties and forms. Wooden shoe trees, for example, are more expensive than plastic shoe trees, but can help absorb moisture and remove odors from your shoes.
What are the best hiking shoes?
The best pairs of hiking shoes depend on your needs and your budget. Read our buying guide to find the best products around.
Is it safe to wear hiking shoes every day?
Yes. You can wear hiking shoes every day. In contrast, hiking shoe treads are more likely to wear out faster if used frequently, but their backing is strong enough for everyday use.
How often should I replace my hiking boots?
Some shoe manufacturers recommend that consumers replace their hiking boots every three to six months or every 550 to 800 km depending on use.
How do I know if my hiking boots are worn?
Whether you walk in mud, hard ground, or slippery surfaces, the bottom of your shoes will take a hit. In this sense, inspect your soles to see how worn the treads are. If the tread pattern is hard to see, it’s time to replace it. Feeling the effects of worn out soles will also put you on the hook.
Can I waterproof my hiking boots?
Yes. There are waterproofing treatments designed for full grain leather or “rough” leather such as suede or nubuck. If your hiking boots already have a Gore-Tex membrane, or some other type of waterproof / breathable membrane, no treatment is necessary in this case. Just clean the fabric.