Hiking boots tend to be bulky (thanks to proper ankle support) and take up a lot of space in your suitcase, but a pair of sneakers sometimes just won’t cut it for the trails you want to tackle while traveling. While it’s common to see travelers wearing sneakers to the airport and around town, if you’re planning on hiking a peak or exploring the backroads, sneakers just won’t hold up. There are plenty of new hiking boots that you can wear for exploring, including some that won’t make you look lost when you sit down at the bar. These nine trail-ready alternatives to standard sneakers will keep your style fresh and your feet comfortable throughout all of your adventures.
Five Ten Access Mesh Approach Shoe
A durable and breathable upper with a rubberized exoskeleton lacing system makes these Access Knit sneakers ideal for summer hiking excursions. A reinforced toe cap protects your digits from sharp points along the trail.
Lowa Locarno GTX Lo Shoe
An all-tan option blends seamlessly with cargos or Carhartts, so you can wear these low boots to work as well as up a mountain. The Gore-Tex fabric guarantees no wet feet in puddles, so these are a smart idea for year-round use.
Ridgemont Outfitters Heritage Boot
The EVA foam footbed in these Heritage Boots guarantees comfort and the solid lugged rubber tread grips on snow and ice. A waterproof Hydroguard lining eases any summer to winter boot transitions. And the premium leather upper will survive rainstorms, hail and other weather ups and downs.
Danner Tramline 917
Handmade in Portland, Oregon, these all-leather mountain boots are built to survive the tough temperatures the Northwest brings. They are also 100-percent waterproof with a shock-absorbing Vibram outsole.
Adidas Outdoor Terrex Free Hiker Boot
While on the pricier end of this list, the newest Adidas Outdoor Terrex Free Hiking boots were one of the most hyped hiking shoes of the year. Adidas prides itself on creating high-performance hiking boots, shoes and trail runners that are lightweight yet dependable, and these are no different. The Free Hiker borrows Ultraboost foam as well as a Primeknit upper from Adidas’s beloved running shoes making these hiking boots bouncy and breathable.
Arc’teryx Acrux SL Approach Shoe
With technical-enough specs to climb tough summits, these low profile approach shoes fit like a glove. The seamless PU-coated nylon upper features a high abrasion tolerance so you can drag these all over the Pacific Crest Trail without ruining them. An intense Vibram light approach sole with Megagrip compound stays put over all types of terrain, and the monochromatic uppers blend in with jeans, so you can go straight to the bar post-hike without changing your kicks.
Nike ACG React Terra Gobe
Like the Adidas shoe, the Nike ACG React Terra Gobe also borrows from the brand’s running shoe cushion technology, making these uber comfortable and lightweight. Nike uses its Odyssey React foam from the eponymous running sneaker and pairs it with intense traction and a water-resistant upper. ACG stands for “all conditions gear,” meaning you can take these out and explore waterfalls and mud pits just as easily as you can hit city streets and suburban trails.
Video: Nike ACG React Terra Gobe – Tested on Mt. Hood
Teva Arrowood 2 Mid
While Teva makes some of the best hiking sandals available, with durable materials and grippy outsoles, we generally opt for something that features a closed toe box for extra protection on the trail, like the Arrowood 2 Mid sneakers. These boots feature a waterproof leather upper paired with the brand’s Float-Lite midsole, that’s equally water-resistant, for a wet-weather or stream-heavy trail super star.
Merrell Range AC+
The 3D knit upper packs down nicely so you can stash these in your suitcase before and after your trip. However, that doesn’t mean the Range AC+ won’t survive a technical hike. Merrell’s proprietary M Select grip has a sticky outsole that works over smooth rocks, slippery fallen tree trunks and desert trails. The Air cushion in the heel provides some added spring to each step, while the sneaker-like lace closure allows you to tighten the shoes once, and only once.
The Best Hiking Boots of 2018
Unlike concrete sidewalks and gravel paths, the trail calls for hardened and supportive footwear to combat dirt, mud, jagged rocks and streams. The answer is hiking boots and hiking shoes, and these are the best available. Read the Story