The Best Hiking Shoes for Men Review
|Hiking Gear Guru Rankings||#1||#2||#3||#4||#5|
|Pros||Overall winner because it is as good in dry weather as it is in rainy conditions. Good value as the shoes offer good ankle support and durability||Great traction and good enough support. These shoes could have been a bit more sturdy, but overall they offer good value for money thus their second place.||Lightweight and with comfortable fit. The ankle support is lacking, but if you’re not going anywhere extreme, these shoes should get you there without problems.||Greatest fit of all models we tested. Durability could have been better, but overall the shoes offer enough for the price point they are positioned in.||Great ankle support, fantastic traction and not a bad model. The issue with these shoes is their price to value ratio, which simply isn’t that great.|
|Cons||There aren’t many problems we found with this particular model and obviously that’s the reason it wins our “Best Buy Award”.||Not so great durability, break in period is longer, but that’s most of it.||Lacks ankle support and if you are not a beginner, these won’t be the top choice for you.||A long break in period combined with the heavy weight of the pair makes them a sub par choice.||The price is too high for what these shoes offer. They aren’t bad if you have a few extra dollars though.|
|Weight in lbs||5.5 lbs||6.0 lbs||7.2 lbs||6.6 lbs||5.9 lbs|
|Weight in kgs||2.5 kgs||2.8 kgs||3.1 kgs||3.4 kgs||2.7 kgs|
|Date Reviewed||15 June 2016||13 July 2016||27 January 2016||12 April 2016||4 May 2016|
|Available Sizes US||7- 14||7-15||7-15||7-14||7-14|
|Sizes Available EU||37-47.5||37-48||37-48||37-47.5||37-47.5|
|Manufacturer Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
|Year of Model Release||2014||2015||2015||2015||2014|
Table of Content
- Which Hiking Shoe has the best traction
- Which is the best shoe for fast hiking
- Which is the best shoe for Thru-hiking
- Which is the most comfortable hiking shoe
- Which hiking shoe offers the best ankle support
- What is the most versatile hiking shoe
- What is the best waterproof hiking shoe
- Which is the most durable hiking shoe
- Why should you trust our opinion
- How we tested these hiking shoes
- Where can I buy these
Why you should trust us
That’s a trick question of course. We could write a lot of stuff here to make you believe why you should trust us, but regardless of that you’d still think that our choice could have been rigged and we have listed hiking shoes from companies that have paid us to do so. The reality is actually quite different. All of the shoes that we have listed here have been bought by the company behind the Hiking Gear Guru project, so that we are as objective as possible in reviewing them. Our editors have hundreds of hours walking around canyons, mountains, river beds and all types of great hiking destinations and are experienced in both using and testing hiking gear. This year we have also included a person from The Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association to help us with his input, but in order to keep this review as objective to you our readers as possible, we won’t show Bill’s name. The Hiking Gear Guru has always been a transparent website and we are always open to the input of our readers, that’s why our comment section below is open to discussion and we are ready to answer your questions about any of these hiking shoes, as long as it’s not answered somewhere in this review already. So keep on reading and believe us when we tell you that there aren’t any better hiking shoes on the market right now.
How do we test these hiking shoes
As mentioned above, most of the people that have helped us create this review are regular hiking enthusiasts and some of us hit the hiking trails almost every weekend and as long as we’re not writing reviews for the Hiking Gear Guru, we are roaming in the nature somewhere. We have tested these shoes by taking them to various locations and the “date reviewed” you see is the first time one of our editors has put the shoes on. We haven’t written down a final date, as most of these hiking shoes are sturdy and durable as hell and take a lot of beating to get to that “final date”. For most of the people reading this guide, the hiking shoes we review could last them a lifetime, especially if you go hiking a few times a year. If you are like us and you explore unexplored places often, these shoes will probably last you a good 3-5 years without any problems. There could wear out, but will still keep most of their features relatively unchanged. We have tested the ankle support, water proof level, comfort level as well as a few other features of these shoes and have given them a grade from 1-25 with 1 being the lowest and 25 being the highest.
Although we have tested these shoes ourselves, we value the opinion of people a lot and that’s why we have also scraped the most informative user reviews from the major hiking gear retailers such as Amazon, The Moosejaw, Rei and others and have created an overall user score from all these places, which you can see in the “User Review” section of the table above. We have calculated an overall score from all these places and the fact that they all use a 5 star rating system has enabled us to use these ratings here.
Where can I buy the best hiking shoes for men
Depending on where you live, there are lots of different places where you could buy such hiking shoes and we are actually in the process of setting up a list with the best hiking gear stores in every city throughout the US, from Seattle WA, to Boston MA, but that’s not up yet, so you could use our regular partners
Prices actually vary from retailer to retailer so you could go to the price comparison table we have at the bottom of this page and check how much each of the best hiking shoes for men costs at the respective retailer.
So with that information out of the way I guess that we could simply jump in and start this list of the best hiking shoes. We are sure that you will find the shoes you are looking for without a problem, but if you were looking for hiking boots instead of hiking shoes, or you need hiking shoes for women, you should probably check out the reviews we have for them on our website. So let’s get started and kick it light with the hiking shoes with the best overall traction.
Which hiking shoe has the best traction
Traction might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are selecting proper hiking shoes, but if you go to such places as we do, the shoes you wear could mean the difference between being seriously injured or having a great time. The traction that hiking shoes provide these days is as high as it is because of the outer sole, which in most cases is a Vibram sole. Vibram is a company founded back in 1937 which nowadays manufactures the outer soles of almost all major hiking shoe and hiking boot brands worldwide. In fact Vibram doesn’t only manufacture outer soles for shoes used in the mountains or on the trail, as the products they offer could be found on running shoes as well. There quality of their production is so high that Vibram has become the standard for hiking shoes and their logo is recognized by amateurs and professionals alike. You might have not realized that this is a separate company which creates outer soles only and though that Vibram is something like “Clima Cool” for Adidas or “DryFit” for Nike, but that isn’t the case.
Enough about Vibram though. The product the outer sole isn’t the only thing that matters when measuring the traction of a hiking shoe as there are other factors to measure as well. One of these factors is the inner sole, which every company makes itself and here comes the main difference between the separate shoe makers such as Merrell, Vasque, Adidas, The North Face and Keen, which we have listed today. The combination of grip you have inside, the design of the outer sole and the stiffness of the compound could create a big difference from shoe to shoe and in this case there’s only one winner here, which is The North Face Ultra 109 GTX. The design of the outer sole is right for both hard and sharp rocks as it is on mossy turf and slippery boulders.
Which are the best men’s shoes for fast hiking
Lets first start with the definition of fast hiking. Obviously you can’t really do proper hiking for long periods of time with a fast pace, but you could try and cover more ground, they you would with your normal pace, which allows you to easily catch your breath if you stop for a brief period of time. Fast hiking usually refers to a speed which allows you to cover almost as much ground on a cross-terrain as you would if you were walking down the street, although this is almost impossible on most trails. Being ambitious about the speed of your trekking is sometimes a bad idea as if you miscalculate or you believe in yourself too much, you would end up injuring yourself for no reason whatsoever.
With that taken into consideration and the tests that we have conducted on all hiking shoes on the list, we have concluded that the best pair of hiking shoes for fast hiking are the The La Sportiva FC Eco 2.0. We have a special review of that pair of hiking shoes, which you might want to take a look at as well. Although the La Sportiva FC Eco 2.0 are our to pick for fast trekking shoes, we have to mention that The Northface Ultra 109 GTX, our winner of the hiking shoes with most traction award perform well enough to consider them a contender in this segment as well. With their great traction comes the feel that you are in control even when you’re running, although we wouldn’t recommend this unless the trail where you’re doing this is perfectly flat and dry, as getting too comfortable with them could lead to bad injuries as well.
The North Face Ultra 109 GTX also have a separate review for themselves where we have covered almost all of the points that these shoes stand out for like traction and being great for fast hiking as mentioned here.
Best men’s shoes for thru-hiking
Thru-Hiking, another separate hiking discipline that we at the Hiking Gear Guru really enjoy and would wish to do more. Unfortunately thru-hiking means covering long distances, which means that it takes longer periods of time. The thru-hiking shoes must be light, comfortable and allow your feet to breathe. Thru-hikers often tend to choose either low-cut shoes or the lightest model possible, because by being lightweight their shoes will enable them to keep their strength for a longer period of time. Light shoes enable their owners to preserve energy and the low-cut models are often chosen because thru-hikes aren’t that extreme and don’t require so much ankle support as shoes for extreme trails would. We have lots of models that fit the criteria for being lightweight and being low-cut, but the best value is offered by two particular models, which are the Merrell Moab Ventilator and the Keen Taghee II. Both Keen and Merrell are really great brands which offer high quality products, which is actually the reason why we were impressed that neither of these two companies offered the best hiking shoes for men in 2016. The overall award went to the model from The North Face, which quite honestly took us by surprise. Merrell had a great claim in the past few years and Keen had always offered a shoe that would get into the top 3, but not this year. Both brands are out of the top 3 hiking shoes for men and although they made it to the top 5 hiking shoes for men, we are a bit disappointed by the fact that they haven’t really upgraded the performance of their shoes in the past few years.
Anyway the award for the best thru-hiking shoes goes to the Merrell Moab Ventilator and the second best pair which you could get at an even lower price is the Keen Taghee II. We have chosen the model by Merrell because it’s simply lighter and it offers good enough support even in it’s low cut version. Merrell have a mid-cut version as well, which we have already reviewed here.
The most comfortable hiking shoes for men
We’ve finally come to this really interesting part of the review. The most comfortable hiking shoes are usually the best sellers as most people aren’t that obsessed by ankle support, traction or any of the other features all these shoes for men have to offer. Being comfortable is a must for any pair of hiking shoes and although women are even more obsessed with comfort men like their shoes to offer good cushioning and to be forgiving on the toe and heel. Comfort depends on a couple of factors with the two main ones being how the shoes fit as well as their outer and inner soles. Inner soles might be replaceable or adjustable with additional gel inner soles for example, which could help improve comfort. This isn’t the case with outer soles though and it’s really important that you get a shoe with well balanced and well designed outer sole. As we previously mentioned most outer soles are made from Vibram, but they aren’t all created equal – that’s for sure.
To determine which are the most comfortable trekking shoes for men we went through all of models and actually switched the models between ourselves in order to all get the best feel of each pair of shoes. That is the only reasonable way to determine which shoes are most comfortable and everyone from our team had to grade the comfort of the shoes from 1 to 5. With a team of 5 people, that makes a total amount and best score of 25 points. You can actually check how we graded each of the shoes reviewed here if you scroll up to the chart we have prepared for you.
The decision on which are the most comfortable trekking shoes in 2016 was tough as most manufacturers have done their best to make the shoes as comfortable as possible, but the winner was just one and it’s name is the Keen Taghee II. These lightweight shoes, which we talked about in the thru-hiking section offer the most comfort and considering that their price is as good as it is, it would be surprising why anyone would look further. If they were a bit lighter and a bit more durable, they would have probably taken the prize for best hiking shoes in 2016, but the winner is different, because comfort isn’t the only thing we considered when picking the overall winner. The Keen Taghee II really lacks durability, especially if you put it next to the La Sportiva Eco 2.0 for example. If you don’t hike too often, the shoes offered by Keen would be a good pick, but if you go on about 10-20 long hikes for example, you’d certainly regret the decision of buying them. Not for the lack of comfort, but because these shoes aren’t that cheap, with prices starting at about $100. They are also not that versatile and if you are looking for an all rounder the Keen Taghee II won’t deliver on that either. There are better more versatile options that you can read a little more if you continue to the end of this review of the best shoes for trekking in 2016. Versatility is key if you aren’t looking for specific shoes for a specific task and the Keen Taghee II is more of a specific choice. We already mentioned that they are perfect for light backpacking and thru-hiking, so let’s keep them as the winners in this section and move on to our next section. Being the most comfortable option is not something to pass by lightly and we really believe that the comfort of this shoe will make lots of people buy them.
Most versatile hiking shoes for men
So here we are. As we go through the most comfortable, the pair with the best traction, the most lightweight option, we’ve finally come to the option that offers the most versatility. Versatility is quite important, especially when it comes to hiking shoes or boots. Versatility is also the thing that most people look for if they are first time buyers, because they will probably want to “try the water” first so to speak and see if hiking is their thing. Although we might think that this outdoor activity is great and many people would agree, there’s an equal number that would disagree with that statement. There are plenty of models that fit the bill of being versatile, but none offers more than The North Face Ultra 109. The only only other pair of trekking shoes which offers versatility close to the one offered by The North Face Ultra is the Vasque Juxt. The model from the American manufacturer is great for people that are going on the trail for the first time and don’t really have great trails nearby the place where they live. If you live far from such places, chances are that you won’t be able to spend so much time hitting the trails, which means that you shouldn’t really invest in the best gear either. Although the Vasque Juxt is a great all rounder, it performs significantly worse in all other aspects that we have reviewed such as comfort, durability, fit and especially traction. This is why The North Face Ultra 109 is the winner in the search for the most versatile hiking shoes for men in 2016. It checks all the marks and then some. The North Face Ultra 109 allows you even to run if you have the energy for it and the terrain allows for it, because it is relatively lightweight and has the best traction of all reviewed models.
If you are buying hiking shoes for the first time, either model will be a great pick and with their prices being relatively close, we can’t say that either models is the best for you as their capabilities are kind of close in terms of versatility. Our tests showed that much of their features and scores are close, with the model from The North Face being better because of their value. They are simply at the best prices, with some retailers offering them at prices as low as $75, which considering what the pair of shoes offer is a steal by any standards.
The verdict : The North Face Ultra 109 are the most versatile hiking shoes for men in 2016
Most waterproof hiking shoes for men
This one is quite a specific feature, which will only come in handy in certain conditions. For instance if you have decided to test if our guide about gear for hiking in the rain really does include all the essentials. Well waterproof hiking shoes is actually quite near the top on our list of hiking gear for rainy weather trekking, so to answer this for you, we have included hiking shoes in there. Although one might think that all of the best hiking shoes on this list would come with waterproof linen as a standard that’s not really the case. Some models, even the ones priced in the upper tier might lack the waterproof feature, which for some people could be the deal breaker. Shoes that are waterproof are often used for river bed hiking and some of the models on our list could even resist water when they are fully submerged. If you have the right waterproof hiking socks you could basically swim and you’d still keep your feet dry at all times. We know that most of you won’t do that and basic level of waterproof
Best hiking shoes for men under $150
Although 150 dollars may not seem like a lot for professional hiking shoes, the truth is that there’s an abundance of models that will definitely offer a lot for such a price. There are plenty of models which come to mind, but the obvious winner in this category is the overall winner of our review of the best hiking shoes for men in 2016, which is The Northface Ultra 109 GTX. We already covered it’s main advantages over the competitors and think that you won’t be able to find a better pair of hiking shoes at a more reasonable price. For the price of about 120-150$ depending on the retailer you’re buying them from, you are getting a lot of features. The North Face Ultra 109 GTX is waterproof, reasonably lightweight, offers the support you’ll need for most trails and is also okay for running if you feel like it. That’s definitely our pick for the best men’s hiking shoes under 150 dollars.
Best hiking shoes for men under $100
Finding a proper pair of hiking shoes for under $100 is a bit more difficult. There’s a lower amount of shoes that the manufacturers offer in the price range below 100 dollars and to be quite honest, the bigger brands such as Merrell, Keen, Salomon and others don’t really have a ton of choice at such a low price. If you’re looking for quality for $100, you’ll probably find it in brands that aren’t so renowned, such as Columbia, or Wolverine for example. The average price for Columbia hiking shoes is significantly lower then the one of shoes or boots manufactured by Asolo for example. You can actually take a look at our article which explains that pricier hiking boots aren’t always better and see the average prices of each brand and compare them. Hopefully this will help you out a bit more when choosing a pair of hiking shoes under 100 dollars.