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When you’re out exploring nature, walking through puddles, and facing all kinds of weather, having the right shoes is essential. That’s where waterproof hiking shoes come in handy—they keep your feet dry and comfy no matter what. In this guide, we’re diving into the world of hiking shoes that keep you dry and comfy, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way. We’ll also see what makes them special and learn about the cool tech that keeps your feet happy. Whether you’re a regular hiker or just like to wander on weekends, these shoes will help you enjoy the outdoors without worrying about wet feet. Let’s dive in and find the perfect pair for your next adventure!

1. Salomon X Ultra 4

Salomon X Ultra 4
Waterproofness: Gore-Tex
Upper: Synthetic/textile
Outsole: Contagrip® MA
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 11.2 oz.

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GORE-TEX hiking shoes truly live up to their promise of delivering exceptional performance on the trails. Designed for tackling varied terrains and weather conditions, these shoes offer a perfect blend of stability, agility, and protection. The inclusion of waterproof/breathable GORE-TEX technology ensures that your feet stay dry even in challenging weather, This makes them a reliable companion for any outdoor adventure. Salomon’s trail-running expertise is evident in the lightweight and agile design of these hiking shoes, allowing users to navigate uneven terrain with ease.

The SensiFit™ technology provides a snug and customized fit. It cradles the feet from the midsoles to the lacing systems. The Active Support “mobile wings” and ADV-C chassis further enhance stability by adapting to the natural movement of the feet. The Contagrip® MA outsoles demonstrate impressive traction on wet or slippery surfaces, instilling confidence, especially during descents. The durability of the outsoles ensures that these shoes can handle a wide range of surfaces, making them a versatile choice for hiking enthusiasts. Overall, the Salomon X Ultra 4 GORE-TEX hiking shoes combine innovative features and expert design to deliver a high-performance footwear option for outdoor enthusiasts seeking comfort and reliability on the trails.

What I like: Excellent balance between weight and performance on the trail.

What I don’t: A fit and comfort that elicits either strong affection or strong aversion.

See the Salomon X Ultra 4 See the Women’s X Ultra 4

2. Columbia Crestwood

Columbia Crestwood
Waterproofness: Omni-Tech
Upper: Suede leather
Outsole: Omni-Grip
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 8.6 oz.

The Columbia Crestwood Waterproof Hiking Shoes stand out as an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable and versatile option. Boasting advanced technology, these shoes feature Omni-Tech waterproof bootie construction, ensuring feet stay dry even in challenging conditions. The TechLite lightweight midsole provides long-lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return, making it ideal for extended use on the toughest trails. Designed with durability in mind, the Crestwood is a perfect blend of high function and performance.

The reinforced toe and heel barriers, along with the extended outsole toe overwrap, offer protection in key wear points. The handy features, including top metal rivets and lacing aglets, contribute to the shoe’s overall durability. The Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber outsole delivers exceptional grip across various terrains, which makes these hiking shoes suitable for versatile three-season use. Whether conquering miles on challenging terrain or navigating indoor spaces with ease, the Crestwood stands as a reliable outdoor companion. With a true-to-size fit and multiple color options, Columbia once again delivers a quality product that combines functionality, style, and value in the realm of outdoor performance footwear.

What I like: Affordable, lightweight, durable, and tend to dry quickly.

What I don’t: The waterproofness is not as good as Gore-Tex.

See the Columbia Crestwood See the Women’s Crestwood

3. Merrell Moab 3

Merrell Moab 3
Waterproofness: Waterproof membrane
Upper: Pigskin leather/mesh
Outsole: Vibram TC5+
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 10.08 oz.

The Merrell Moab 3 hiking shoes prove to be a game-changer for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable and comfortable footwear option. With an impressive array of features, these shoes are well-suited for various terrains and weather conditions. The upgrade from the Moab 2 series includes the use of partially recycled fabrics, enhancing both sustainability and performance. The pigskin leather and mesh uppers, coupled with protective rubber toe caps and bellows tongues, effectively keep moisture and debris at bay, ensuring a dry and comfortable hiking experience. The waterproof membranes of the Merrell Moab 3 play a crucial role in sealing out water while allowing moisture to escape, striking a perfect balance.

The addition of removable Kinetic Fit™ Advanced contoured insoles with reinforced heel cushioning provides medium support, catering to the needs of avid hikers. The Super Rebound Compound in the heels, along with the Merrell Air Cushion, delivers impressive shock absorption, contributing to reduced torque and a smooth transition to the midfoot. The Vibram TC5+ nonmarking outsoles, with 5 mm lugs, offer a remarkable blend of grip, traction, durability, and flexibility, making these shoes a reliable choice for multisport performance. Moreover, the commitment to sustainability is evident in the use of 100% recycled materials for the mesh lining, laces, and webbing. In summary, the Merrell Moab 3 shoes set a new standard with their comfort, durability, and eco-friendly design, making them a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

What I like: An excellent combination of comfort and durability at a great price.

What I don’t: Not built for technical terrain.

See the Merrell Moab 3 See the Women’s Moab 3

4. Oboz Sawtooth X Low

Oboz Sawtooth X Low
Waterproofness: B-DRY
Upper: Nubuck leather/mesh
Outsole: True Tread rubber
Weight (pair): 2 lbs. 1.8 oz.

The Oboz Sawtooth X Low proves to be a remarkable upgrade from the original. It showcases enhanced capabilities that elevate the hiking experience. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Sawtooth series, these shoes deliver an outstanding combination of comfort, traction, and durability. The oiled nubuck leather and CORDURA® fabric mesh uppers provide a perfect blend of protection and breathability, ensuring your feet stay dry and comfortable even on wet trails. What sets these hiking shoes apart is the incorporation of eco-friendly features, such as REPREVE® laces and webbing made from recycled PET polyester.

The B-DRY waterproof/breathable membranes strike a balance between moisture protection and breathability, allowing sweat to escape while preventing external moisture from seeping in. The Micro-injected polyurethane window underlay and Adaptive Cushioning Technology midsoles with TPU heel counters contribute to exceptional comfort and support. With Nylon shanks offering underfoot protection and True Tread rubber outsoles providing improved traction, the Sawtooth X Low shoes are a reliable companion on varied terrains. Overall, these shoes are a commendable choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking top-notch performance and sustainability in their footwear.

What I like: Improved comfort, traction, and durability compared to the original.

What I don’t: Come at a relatively higher price.

See the Oboz Sawtooth X Low See the Women’s Sawtooth X Low

5. Keen Targhee III

Keen Targhee III
Waterproofness: KEEN.DRY
Upper: Oiled nubuck leather
Outsole: Rubber
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 14.8 oz.

The Keen Targhee III is a testament to the brand’s commitment to providing outdoor enthusiasts with a reliable and durable footwear option. Built lean and tough, these shoes maintain the renowned Targhee fit that has garnered a loyal global following. One standout feature is the KEEN.DRY™ waterproof breathable membranes, ensuring feet stay dry while allowing perspiration to escape, enhancing overall comfort during extended hikes. The addition of mud shields not only provides extra protection but also contributes to the shoes’ durability, making them well-suited for challenging terrains. The Targhee III incorporates thoughtful design elements for an optimal hiking experience.

The removable, dual-density EVA footbeds offer cushioning that adapts to your stride, enhancing comfort during long treks. The injected TPU heel-capture system promotes stability, a crucial factor for traversing uneven terrain. Furthermore, the inclusion of Cleansport NXT™ treatment for natural odor control ensures that the shoes stay fresh even after prolonged use. The KEEN all-terrain rubber outsoles, equipped with 4mm multidirectional lugs, deliver an impressive high-traction grip, providing the confidence needed to tackle various landscapes. Overall, the Keen Targhee III shoes seamlessly blend durability, performance, and comfort, making them a reliable choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a dependable companion on their adventures.

What I like: The shoes are built tough, featuring mud shields that add an extra layer of protection and durability.

What I don’t: The shoes are less breathable in warmer climates.

See the Keen Targhee III See the Women’s Targhee III

6. Columbia Facet 75

Columbia Facet 75
Waterproofness: OutDry
Upper: TPU/mesh
Outsole: Rubber
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 13.4 oz.

The Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Hiking Shoe is a stellar choice for those seeking a comfortable and high-tech companion on their on-trail adventures. Despite its minimalist appearance, this hiking shoe is loaded with features that make it stand out in mixed weather, variable terrain, and long excursions. The durable uppers, equipped with OutDry waterproof technology, provide superior protection against moderate to heavy rain or snow. It ensures a dry and comfortable experience even in challenging conditions. The shoe’s technological prowess continues with the Techlite Plush midsole. It offers better cushioning than traditional EVA for long-distance performance on variable terrain.

The TPU heel clip enhances on-trail stability, while the Adapt Trax outsole with hike-specific 5mm lugs ensures advanced traction in wet or slippery conditions. The proprietary Navic Fit System, integrated into the lace closure, provides a natural mid-foot lockdown. It enhances comfort and stability during runs or hikes on uneven terrain. With its modern hiker design, durable and breathable mesh construction, and a commitment to cutting-edge technology, the Columbia Facet 75 is a reliable choice for those who prioritize both style and performance in their hiking footwear.

What I like: Comfortable, roomy fit, and versatile design.

What I don’t: The water resistance is limited to moderate rain and snow.

See the Columbia Facet 75 See the Women’s Facet 75

7. Salomon OUTpulse

Salomon OUTpulse
Waterproofness: Gore-Tex
Upper: Synthetic/textile
Outsole: Contagrip rubber
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 5.2 oz.

The Salomon OUTpulse GORE-TEX Low shoes prove to be a stellar companion for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a versatile blend of performance and protection. Engineered with a GORE-TEX waterproof/breathable membrane, these shoes effectively shield your feet from wet weather, ensuring a dry and comfortable experience on the trail. The incorporation of full rubber toe caps adds an extra layer of defense against roots and rocks, enhancing the durability of the shoes while maintaining the integrity of your stride.

What sets the OUTpulse apart is its innovative design inspired by Salomon’s ski heritage. The reverse camber curved midsole geometry provides a floaty, fluid feel with each step, offering a unique and enjoyable walking experience. The Fuze Surge foam compound not only delivers premium energy return but also ensures cushioning that keeps you going mile after mile. The lightweight Energy Blade TPU plate in the forefoot area contributes to a smooth and dynamic stride, enhancing overall agility. The Contagrip rubber outsoles provide reliable traction in unpredictable conditions, making the Salomon OUTpulse an excellent choice for those who demand performance and comfort on their outdoor adventures.

What I like: Solid performance and top-tier traction.

What I don’t: Lacks durability of a leather hiking shoe.

See the Salomon OUTpulse See the Women’s OUTpulse

8. Hoka Anacapa 2

Hoka Anacapa 2
Waterproofness: Gore-Tex
Upper: Recycled mesh
Outsole: Vibram Megagrip
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 14.7 oz.

The Hoka Anacapa 2 effortlessly blends performance and sustainability, which makes them a standout choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The lightweight design, coupled with waterproof nubuck leather uppers and GORE-TEX Invisible Fit membranes, ensures that these shoes are up for any adventure, whether it’s scaling peaks or navigating urban pavements. The incorporation of recycled yarn meshes and 30% sugarcane midsoles not only speaks to Hoka’s commitment to environmental responsibility but also enhances the overall comfort and support provided by the shoes.

Impressive attention to detail is evident in the Anacapa 2’s Achilles heel comfort build, soybean-based sock liners, and abrasion-resistant toe caps. These features contribute to a snug fit and durability, while the lightweight EVA midsoles made with 30% sugarcane strike a balance between performance and eco-consciousness. The Vibram Megagrip outsoles with SwallowTail heels deliver exceptional traction on various terrains, ensuring stability and confidence on every step. In summary, the Hoka Anacapa 2 hiking shoes stand out as a reliable and eco-friendly choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a versatile and comfortable footwear option.

What I like: Cushy design, excellent traction, and breathable.

What I don’t: Recycled mesh upper lacks durability and runs big.

See the Hoka Anacapa 2 See the Women’s Anacapa 2

9. Scarpa Rush 2

Scarpa Rush 2
Waterproofness: Gore-Tex
Upper: Recycled mesh/microfiber
Outsole: PRESA SuperGum rubber
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 10.8 oz.

The Scarpa Rush 2 hiking shoes strike an impressive balance between versatility and performance, making them a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a do-it-all solution. With a design that seamlessly blends the support of hiking shoes with the agility of runners, these shoes provide a comfortable experience from pavement to peak. The mesh uppers, crafted from durable and lightweight materials with recycled content, ensure a quick-drying and breathable experience, adding to the overall comfort during extended wear. What sets the Scarpa Rush 2 apart is the inclusion of GORE-TEX Invisible Fit liners, offering reliable waterproof protection for unpredictable weather conditions.

The incorporation of Dynamic Stabilizer Torsion (DST) control inserts enhances stability and torsion control on varied terrains. The EVA midsoles, featuring cushioning pods in the forefeet and heels, deliver a plush ride and support, making each step enjoyable. The PRESA® outsoles equipped with the Interactive Kinetik System (IKS) showcase thoughtful engineering, with shock-absorbing zones that not only maximize traction but also minimize impact on the body with every stride. In summary, the Scarpa Rush 2 GTX hiking shoes prove to be a well-rounded choice, combining durability, comfort, and performance for adventurers who demand the best in all environments.

What I like: Trail runner-like agility with added protection and stability.

What I don’t: Expensive

See the Scarpa Rush 2 See the Women’s Rush 2

10. La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire
Waterproofness: Gore-Tex
Upper: Mesh/PU
Outsole: Vibram XS Trek rubber
Weight (pair): 1 lb. 12.8 oz.

The La Sportiva Spire GTX has proven to be an exceptional choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable and high-performance footwear solution. Engineered with the demands of rugged peak-bagging day hikes and fast-moving backpacking trips in mind, these hiking shoes boast the innovative Gore-Tex Surround technology. This advanced feature not only provides comprehensive waterproof protection throughout the lining and upper but also addresses the common issue of moisture retention within the shoe during unexpected wet encounters. The incorporation of aeration channels within the footbed and midsole, along with drainage ports at the shoe’s bottom, ensures effective water expulsion, maintaining a dry and comfortable interior even in challenging conditions such as creek crossings.

Adaptable to changing terrains and weather conditions, the Spire GTX excels in delivering a stable and comfortable hiking experience. The Vibram XS Trek outsole offers impressive traction on various surfaces, including wet rocks, slick mud, and dry dirt. The cushioned footbed and midsole contribute to long-lasting comfort during extended hikes, while the breathable and durable upper efficiently regulates temperature on warmer days. The STB control system ensures a snug fit, enhancing stability throughout the journey. It’s worth noting that the shoe tends to run large, so prospective buyers are advised to size down for an ideal fit. Overall, the La Sportiva Spire GTX Hiking Shoe stands out as a versatile and dependable choice for outdoor enthusiasts tackling diverse terrains and unpredictable weather conditions.

What I like: A rugged, comfortable, and expertly crafted shoe ready for backpacking adventures.

What I don’t: Heavy and expensive

See the La Sportiva Spire See the Women’s Spire

Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes: Comparison Table

Salomon X Ultra 4Gore-TexSynthetic/textileContagrip® MA1 lb. 11.2 oz.
Columbia CrestwoodOmni-TechSuede leatherOmni-Grip1 lb. 8.6 oz.
Merrell Moab 3Waterproof membranePigskin leather/meshVibram TC5+1 lb. 10.08 oz.
Oboz Sawtooth X LowB-DRYNubuck leather/meshTrue Tread2 lbs. 1.8 oz.
Keen Targhee IIIKEEN.DRYOiled nubuck leatherRubber1 lb. 14.8 oz.
Columbia Facet 75OutDryTPU/meshRubber1 lb. 13.4 oz.
Salomon OUTpulseGore-TexSynthetic/textileContagrip rubber1 lb. 5.2 oz.
Hoka Anacapa 2Gore-TexRecycled meshVibram Megagrip1 lb. 14.7 oz.
Scarpa Rush 2Gore-TexRecycled mesh/microfiberPRESA SuperGum1 lb. 10.8 oz.
La Sportiva SpireGore-TexMesh/PUVibram XS Trek1 lb. 12.8 oz.

A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Hiking Shoes

A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Hiking Shoes

Embarking on a hiking adventure is a thrilling experience that connects us with nature and provides a sense of accomplishment. One of the most crucial elements to ensure a successful and enjoyable hike is choosing the right pair of hiking shoes. The diversity of hiking shoes available on the market can be overwhelming, but with a systematic approach, you can find the perfect fit for your feet and the terrain you plan to conquer.

Understand Your Hiking Needs

Before delving into the vast array of hiking shoe options, take a moment to assess your hiking needs. Consider the type of terrain you’ll be traversing—will it be rocky, muddy, or a well-maintained trail? The duration of your hikes and the weather conditions are also critical factors. Knowing these specifics will guide your decision-making process.

Know Your Hiking Shoe Categories

Hiking shoes come in various categories, each designed for specific types of terrain and hiking conditions. The three main categories are hiking shoes, hiking boots, and trail runners.

  • Hiking Shoes: Ideal for day hikes on well-maintained trails. They are lightweight, offer good traction, and provide ankle support, but not as much as hiking boots.
  • Hiking Boots: Designed for more challenging terrains and longer hikes. They provide excellent ankle support and stability, making them suitable for backpacking and rough trails.
  • Trail Runners: Geared towards those who prefer a lighter and more flexible option. Trail runners are excellent for fast-paced hiking on smoother trails.

Understanding these categories will narrow down your choices based on your hiking preferences.

Consider the Fit

The fit of your hiking shoes is paramount to your comfort and overall hiking experience. Visit a specialty outdoor retailer to get professionally measured and fitted. Pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Length: Ensure that there is enough space (about a thumb’s width) between your longest toe and the front of the shoe to prevent blisters and discomfort on descents.
  • Width: Choose a width that accommodates the natural shape of your foot. Shoes that are too narrow or too wide can cause discomfort and affect your stability.
  • Arch Support: Consider the arch of your foot and choose a shoe that provides adequate support. Some shoes come with removable insoles, allowing you to customize the arch support.
  • Heel Fit: A snug fit around the heel is crucial to prevent slippage and blisters. Test the heel fit by walking on inclines and declines in the store.

Materials and Breathability

Hiking shoes are made from a variety of materials, including leather, synthetic fabrics, and mesh. The choice of material impacts the shoe’s durability, weight, and breathability.

  • Leather: Offers excellent durability and water resistance but tends to be heavier.
  • Synthetic Fabrics: Lightweight and quick-drying, ideal for warm weather and shorter hikes.
  • Mesh: Enhances breathability, keeping your feet cool in hot conditions. However, mesh may not provide as much protection in rugged terrain.

Consider the climate and conditions in which you’ll be hiking to choose the right material for your shoes.

Traction and Outsole

The outsole of your hiking shoes plays a crucial role in providing traction on various surfaces. Look for a shoe with a lug pattern that suits the terrain you’ll encounter. Deeper lugs are effective on muddy trails, while multidirectional lugs offer stability on rocky surfaces.

  • Vibram Soles: Known for their durability and excellent traction, Vibram soles are a popular choice for hiking shoes.
  • Stickiness: Some outsoles are designed to provide stickiness on rock surfaces, enhancing your grip during challenging climbs.

Test the traction of the shoes by walking on different surfaces in the store, simulating the conditions you may encounter on the trail.

Waterproofing and Breathability

Consider the weather conditions you’re likely to face on your hikes. Waterproof hiking shoes are essential for wet and muddy trails, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. However, if you’ll be hiking in hot and dry conditions, breathability becomes equally important to prevent overheating and excessive sweating.

  • Gore-Tex: A popular waterproofing technology used in hiking shoes. It provides a breathable yet waterproof membrane.
  • Ventilation Ports: Some hiking shoes come with built-in ventilation ports or mesh panels to enhance breathability.

Strike a balance between waterproofing and breathability based on your specific needs and the climate of your hiking destinations.

Ankle Support

The level of ankle support required depends on the type of terrain you’ll be navigating. Hiking shoes typically offer lower ankle support compared to hiking boots.

  • Low-Cut Shoes: Provide more flexibility and are suitable for well-maintained trails.
  • Mid-Cut Shoes: Offer a balance between flexibility and ankle support, ideal for varied terrains.
  • High-Cut Boots: Provide maximum ankle support and stability, suitable for rough and uneven terrain.

Choose the ankle height that aligns with your hiking style and the conditions you’ll encounter.

Weight of the Shoes

The weight of your hiking shoes can significantly impact your energy expenditure, especially on long hikes. Lighter shoes are generally more comfortable for shorter, faster hikes, while heavier boots provide stability and support on challenging trails.

  • Ultralight Shoes: Designed for speed and agility, perfect for day hikes and trail running.
  • Midweight Shoes/Boots: Strike a balance between weight and support, suitable for a variety of terrains and durations.
  • Heavyweight Boots: Ideal for backpacking and challenging terrain where additional support is crucial.

Consider the trade-off between weight and support based on the demands of your hiking adventures.