Monday, December 11, 2017 by Rita Winters
One of the hurdles for hikers is picking the right shoe. Some are incredibly cheap but super absorbent. Others are water-resistant but overly priced. Based on reviews of the best hiking shoes, we’ve narrowed the extensive list down to five of the best hiking shoes for men, rated by their strengths and weaknesses.
For three years in a row, The North Face Ultra 109 GTX tops the list in hiking shoe reviews. Priced at around $120, this versatile shoe has solid all-terrain traction and is lightweight. A pair of these comfortable hiking boots weighs around 1.99 pounds and uses the Gore-Tex Extended Comfort Range technology for a waterproof lining. However, you’d want to look at another pair if you’re looking for something with better durability.
The Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX is second on our list and is best used for aggressive hiking and incredible traction. It is waterproof, but it really isn’t suited for extended backpacking trips on a medium load. Average shoe price is $140, which is a bit more expensive than our top pick. The “quick lace” system is great but it isn’t for everyone and takes some getting used to. If you’re looking to go through a tough trail, this 2.09-pound shoe might fit your tastes.
Ranked as the most comfortable shoe, the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit WP comes in at number three. For $130, beginners can experience a hiking trip without the burden of getting sores and blisters. It provides the greatest comfort, can support your legs and your back well, and is lightweight and breathable. However, this pricey 2.05-pound shoe isn’t that great when it comes to traction, especially in fine rocks or sand, and is not the best when it comes to durability. This shoe is great for light hiking trails, and for first-timers who would like to experience what the fuss is all about.
If you’re looking for a multi-purpose shoe, then the Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX might be the one for you. At an average weight of 1.85 pounds per pair, this super lightweight shoe is great for both hiking and working out at the gym. This familiar brand is known for making athlete’s shoes, so it isn’t really surprising to find them making stuff for hikers as well. Priced at around $108, this shoe doesn’t really give that much comfort and lacks support for medium to heavy loads over long distances. It’s great for short trips and light trails, though.
Last on our list, but not least, is the Vasque Juxt. One of the cheapest hiking shoes around, these 2.01-pound boots are lightweight and breathable. It’s great for light backpacking trips, especially in dry areas. Since it’s not waterproof, you’d want to avoid wet locations as much as possible. Its incredibly affordable price of $77 provides the same function as most of the other hiking shoes listed here, but if you value quality, then it wouldn’t have much to offer.
Fast fact: Some shoe models include unusual acronyms like V, GV, or GTX. These only specify what material it uses. For example: V stands for a Vibram outsole; GV stands for Gore-Tex lining with a Vibram outsole; and GTX stands for Gore-Tex lining.
When it comes to survival, a heavy pair of boots may slow you down, especially if you’re carrying a heavy backpack. A lighter pair might wear down too easily. Some boots don’t take water too well and can shorten its service life. You might find some cheap ones that are surprisingly great in quality. Be patient when shopping, and you’ll definitely find a pair that fits your feet (and your financial taste).
Your choice of hiking boots really comes down to what you want to do on the trail, or how advanced your itinerary is. For beginners, a cheap pair would suffice. On the other hand, advanced and more adventurous hikers should pick a heavy-duty pair that would last longer than their endurance.