Home » Best Hiking Shoes For Tough Terrains In 2021

Best Hiking Shoes For Tough Terrains In 2021

by Evelyn Smith
Best Hiking Shoes for Tough Terrains in 2021

Stepping into the wild for a long journey over rough terrain can sometimes become arduous. However, among all the mess, your feet are the ones doing the hardest yards. Therefore, to get going one must look for the most comfortable and durable pair of hiking boots that keep you warm and offer a strong grip while protecting your feet. They should pair well with your plans so that you are able to put the boots to the test on the day of adventure. 

However, the right pair of shoes can be hidden behind a plethora of choices and information. 

How do you know you’re making the right choice? 

How to choose the best boot for yourself? 

To keep your feet happy, your priority should be comfort. The important requirement while selecting a shoe, make it feel well-fitted and secured. Therefore, after dividing your requirements into a few categories, you can pick the most suitable selection as per your convenience. 

A few factors to keep in mind are given below :

Occasion

Whether you are willing to go for a long hiking journey or a short one, a shoe can be chosen to suit a specific purpose. 

You can either choose a pair that is laid-back and casual, or a tough looking one that means business. Have the locations in mind while making the choice. 

Duration

Multi-day hikes are rougher and harsher. They need excessive energy and tougher gear, like a heavier backpack and a pair of hiking shoes made of rugged materials. However, one-day hikes are short but intense hikes, where you conquer great heights or have walks on uneven or loose surfaces which demand a strong grip, ankle protection, and lightweight technology. Therefore, you need to make a choice depending upon your time duration.

Terrain

Going by opinions by experts, always opt for your shoe fit depending upon the type of surface you will be walking on. Whether it would be on ice, rock, water, or paddy field, always opt for waterproof boots as they work perfectly under moist conditions. Depending upon your terrain type, grab a pair that suits you best.

Weather

Again waterproofing is essential under this factor as many-a-times one can end up facing the wrath of rain or storms. However, trekking in desert-like areas means you should look for hiking boots that keep your feet safe from the heat as many boots come with a unique coolant sole structure. 

Trekkers have to walk through rain, water bodies, snow, etc. which can get their feet wet. Therefore, if your shoes are not water-resistant there are serious chances that you will develop bruises or shoe bites and at times some form of calluses owing to wet feet which can make you feel strong discomfort for long distances. Also, an added layer of resin or leather ensures that when you step into a puddle for a few seconds, your shoe doesn’t get wet or won’t seep in the water.

Protection

Having sore feet can stand to be an enemy of your adventure. Therefore, one must choose a selection that has a well-designed ankle and toe arch protecting you from blisters and shoe bites. Also, if you have a wide foot structure, you can opt for extra-wide boots as your go-to pair. 

Many shoe structures are crafted in a manner that does not offer strong ankle support. The arch near the ankle areas should be able to prevent blisters or result in shoe bites while walking, due to the friction between your ankle area and the shoe’s ankle area. 

And to sum it all 

Comfort

Your feet should feel protected and contained without feeling compressed. You should always have a little room to provide air to your toes while walking, as the friction of the fabric with your skin can result in blisters. Blisters can also occur if your sole is not flexible at all. Therefore, you should always check the room of your boots with well secured ankle arch coverings, a breathable room for your toes, and a well-cushioned inner-sole structure. 

Hiking shoes are meant to be lightweight as walking for miles, you should not feel that you are wearing bricks down your legs. Hiking shoes should always be as light as possible because those need to be carried along with you for as long as you are on that hike.

What makes a shoe different from another?

Is it the material? Is it the sole? 

Find out more about the factors that differentiate a pair from another. Don’t just settle for whatever is available. Choose what’s right for you. 

The Outer Sole

The upper or outer sole of your boots mainly determines their weight, water-resistance capacity, breathability, and durability. You can either go for Full-grain Leather which has a strong, durable and water-resistant front.

Split-grain Leather: It comes with a mix of nylon mesh and has better breathability and is lightweight but is less water-resistant. 

The 3rd category is Nubuck Leather which closely resembles suede, offering flexibility, whereas synthetic leather is a mix of nylon, polyester, and leather which is light and dry fast.

Midsoles

The mid soles or inner soles should have good cushioning with shock resistance and flexibility as major key factors.

The 2 materials used here are:

  1. EVA: Ethylene Vinyl Acetate will make your feet feel lighter. It is cushier and relatively cheaper than other alternatives. EVA is used in a majority of inner soles.
  2. Polyurethane:  It is sturdier, firmer, and more durable in nature but may lack the comfort of  EVA.

A good inner sole should be the foremost necessity requirement to keep an eye on. The inner sole should always have a great amount of padding or cushioning from the inside, which helps your feet feel comfortable at all times while walking. No one likes flat inner-soles which feel like walking barefoot and result in fatigue. 

Outsoles

Most of the outsoles offer rubber with the addition of carbon which is added for extra stiffness, it is mainly used for mountain regions. The grip pattern is an important feature to look for. Patterns like the Lug Pattern, which give a better grip with wide space where one can easily remove mud and debris. The other is Heel Break, which is mainly designed for slow and steep surfaces. You need to carefully choose a pattern according to your needs.

The outer sole of your shoes should have a secured and strong grip over any type of surface, from snowy to rocky terrains, which will prevent you from slipping and will give you comfortable and secure traction while walking.

Rands

These are mainly found on hiking shoes. These are the rubber wraps that go around the toe part or at times the entire boot. They are provided to offer a stronger grip over additional rocks and also for abrasion protection. 

Types of shoes

Now that we’re done with the nitty-gritty, let’s have a look at the kind of shoes by design. To choose according to your requirements, there is a list of trekking shoe types which one can choose from to fulfill your needs. 

Hiking Shoes: 

These have a more secured and stronger grip which makes them more resistant to nature and robust. They mainly have a flexible sole and are quite lightweight which makes them an ideal selection for short trips with light baggage on your back. They can be used for Weekend treks, in warm weather, and better for dry terrains. The key feature includes a snug and rugged fit, flexible soles, lightweight, come with a secure grip, and are very easy to wear and remove. Some of the popular hiking boot brands are Timberland, Arpenaz, Saloman, etc.

Trekking shoes: 

This type of shoe selection is mainly considered a wing above the hiking shoes and has a strong bracing around the ankle support area. Can be used for longer and shorter distances, they can be used around the year under various seasons and on any type of terrain. 

They come with a moderate water-resistant feature, being lightweight and a positive choice for trekking in rainy and snowy weather conditions. The upper part of these boots is either made of suede, synthetic material, or 100% leather. Ensuring you with a deep groove grip technology, these selections mainly save you from uneven trails which lead to ankle twists and completely protect you from any leg injuries. Recommended and popular brands for this category are Saloman, Quechua, Keen, Decathlon, etc. 

Work out which type of hiking boot will suit your needs either if you are just starting out or if you are more advanced. There are plenty of cool options on the market providing great quality for the price. I’ve selected the items you’ll find on this guide considering a balance of price, quality, extensive review research, and features.

Mountaineering Boots: 

As the name suggests these types of shoes are not mainly required on usual short distance treks but are essential on rocky and complicated trekking journeys for dangerous heights. Crafted for lofty surfaces such as on rocks, glaciers, crevasses, etc. They come with a very strong and secured grip. Their key features are a strong and supportive ankle gear, cushioned in-sole padding for comfort, thick soles with aggressive out-sole durability, covering with a robust fabric on the outside, and keen support for crampons. Some of the popular mountaineering shoe brands are Keen, Merrell, Scarpa, etc. 

Trekking Shoes for Women: 

Many trekking shoe manufacturing brands have launched their special women’s collection, specially designed for women’s feet, infused with comfort, durability, quality, and style. These types of shoes mainly have a heel-to-ball length with a wide width in step, in contrast with the men’s shoes where the heel is comparatively larger for men. Design for women trekking shoes mainly comes with a slimmer shape, snug fitting, and with a special material intact at the midsole and at the in-sole for the Q-angle. Some of the top recommended shoe brands are: Saloman, Merrell, Decathlon, etc. 

Best Reasonable Hiking Boots at a Glance

While starting out your hiking journey, stepping into the field one needs to analyze their needs. Everyone needs a reasonable price at the time of purchase, therefore below are some budget friendly hiking boots, which are recommended by top experts keeping in mind their durability, quality, comfort, and style.

  • Best for rugged surfaces and not only limited to mountainous hikes, the Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry is an ideal selection.
  • Best carried for multi day purpose hikes with backpacking and lightweight technology, the comfortable sturdy soles of Clorts Hiker Waterproof Lightweight Hiking Boots are one of the best options. 
  • For technical hikes with no off-trail selection need, the Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX Hiking Boots is a special recommendation. Best for everyday outdoor activities, the Timberland White Ledge Ankle Boot can be a budget friendly selection for beginners.
  • For easy and intermediate hiking journeys, the new level hikers can opt for the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof.
  • Many millennials struggle with a wide feet structure, therefore best for such a pattern the Keen Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot will be an ideal choice.
  • Good ankle support and a secured grip is a must finding, therefore for tough trail journey’s the Keen Targhee II Mid Waterproof is a perfect purchase.
  • Coming with a thick rubber sole with a capacity of having a strong grip over heavier loads, the Timberland Chocorua Trail Boots is a keen selection for multi-day hikes.
  • Useful for non-technical and complicated hiking trails mainly, the Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is the best option.
  • For individuals who are up for a hiking journey on an occasional basis and mainly believe in the structuration of comfort but at a reasonable price, the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof will be the most adequate choice. 

The hiking shoes Hall of Fame

Here’s the complete list of shoes that made it to the top. 

Starting with your hiking gear, we have listed some of the ideal boot selections for your next outdoor adventure. They are as follows:

1. Timberland Men’s White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot

Price: $89.95 ~ $180
  • With 100% premium leather, with seam-sealed construction, the Timberland Men’s Waterproof Ankle Boot is a sturdy shoe. These pairs are water resistant and come with a great wide fit.
  • The bottom of the boots is glued and stitched with solid rubber where you can easily cushion out the sole and can replace it with a new one.
  • With a firm grip, these boots can be a hiker’s delight, as they are lightweight and can be used on harsh terrains.
  • Right from rocky mountains to a snowing ground, the boots can be used for a short and ultralight adventure, as well as for a long route journey. 
  • Sometimes in need of a perfect pull, the lace stretches the top right eyelet, pulling the complete section out, which at times results in the replacement of the laces.
  • Also, the boots are not insulated but have a padded collar that will keep you warm. A good take for hiking, fields, and trails. The overall selection is very rugged and tough, and vulnerable making it a good fit for a hiking trail. 

2. Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus Ii Waterproof Hiking Boot Shoe

Price: $55.83 ~ $218.90
  • With a full grain leather upper,  mesh bootie construction, and omni-grip rubber this one looks stunning, is sufficiently breathable and provides a great traction on the trail.
  • With a durable midsole and excellent comfort, the Columbia Men’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot is a good pick for long duration hikes. The boots are very comfortable from the inside as they are lined with excellent cushioning, with the bottom of the sole being covered with rubber traction assisting grip.
  • Suitable for slippery grounds, the boots catch a firm grip on tricky surfaces.
  • They are very lightweight which creates a plus point for steady hikers.
  • However, the 100% waterproof guarantee is not reliable, as the boots do soak some amount of the water inside, which may cause uneasiness and rashes from the constant rubbing of wet socks on your skin.
  • If you have wide feet, it is recommended that you choose half a size bigger than what you’d normally go for as this one offers quite a snug fit.  

3. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

Price: $64.50 ~$195.01
  • Provided with a comfortable synthetic insole and a protective rubber toe cap, the shoes protect your feet comfortably from within. You can walk miles, wearing these boots without causing blisters from shoe bites.
  • It also has a breathable mesh lining and a closed-cell foam tongue which keeps the moisture and debris out. Therefore, if your feet sweat a lot, to prevent causing uneasiness, the foam quickly absorbs the sweat making it all comfortable from within. 
  • The lacing quality is well managed, but the lacing geometry is quite complicated, where you will find a complete set of lacing holes to be eliminated.
  • The shoe opening area is in comparison to the complete shoe size, is slightly big which leads towards loose fitting causing discomfort at times.
  • Lacking a bit in the craftsmanship segment, the boots are also not waterproof.
  • But, the synthetic sole provides a solid traction and grip cover, over hard and rugged surfaces, which can be used for long hiking seasons.

4. Keen Men’s Targhee ii Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boot

Price: $91.98 ~ $227.02
  • The non-marking rubber outsole leaves no patches of your footprints, keeping your indoor clean at times.
  • The inner sole of the boots is made of synthetic with a breathable membrane outlet, which keeps your feet dry and comfortable.
  • The most soothing part to know is that the inner footbed can be removable. Thus, people can change their inner sole bed according to their comfort, supporting the natural contours of your foot. 
  • The padded tongue and collar overall give you a perfect fit, but the quality seems to lack a bit, as the durability of the boots is questionable. The boots are water resistant but to a certain limit. If you are standing for too long in the rain or crossing a field filled with water, the boots instantly will become wet making you feel not so comfortable.

5. Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe

Price: $96.99 ~ $659.49
  • Whether you are into trail running, hiking, backpacking, or mountaineering, Salomon has this as a reasonable fit for all.
  • These boots are perfect for a mid-day trekking hike, mountaineering, or for long and new hiking routes.
  • With deep, sharp lugs for an improved grip and a more dynamic upper for better fit and stability, the Salomon is the perfect shoe for trail runners who aren’t afraid of wet, dirty terrain.
  • The overall material of the boot is 100% synthetic, which is completely resistant to water and can be used roughly on hard and rocky surfaces.
  • The outer sole of the boots is made up of solid rubber which covers a strong grip over snowy, wet, or even slippery surfaces.
  • There is a lot of room inside the boots and it is a perfect choice for a wide fitted foot.

.

6. Skechers Men’s Relment Pelmo Chukka Waterproof Boot

Price: $56.21 ~ $180.09
  • The rubber traction acts perfectly under harsh snowing or slippery terrains, providing a great fit and secured stability action. The overall look of the pair is very decent and stylish and gives a more rugged and sporty look.
  • However, the comfort aspect needs a bit of attention, as the inner sole has a cooling feature but does have a flat structure which causes discomfort after long walks at times.
  • The lacing section of the boots is a bit challenging as the laces break easily with unique metal eyelets which makes the laces go for a quick and frequent change. 
  • Having good looks, it can be used for short hiking trails as well as for various casual events.

7. Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Lightweight Waterproof Shoe

Price: $76.81 ~ $241.08
  • The boots are very strong and tough, with a rubber outer sole and a durable midsole with cushioning comfort.
  • Excellent ankle support.
  • Available in various feminine colors and sizes, it is also 100% water resistant.
  • This lightweight pair has strong and stable traction on rocky surfaces and gives you needful protection.
  • The boots sometimes get very hot on coming in contact with direct sunlight. This causes uneasiness and sometimes needs to be cooled down by pouring water on them. Made with full-grain leather and stylish mesh construction, it is a popular choice for short hiking trips. 

8. Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

Price: $83.12 ~ $189.68
  • Constructed with 100% Suede Leather and Mesh, the boots have a Vibram sole which gives slip resistance features useful in snowy and slippery wet grounds providing confidence to your feet.
  • The mesh construction gives a breathable membrane to your feet which absorbs the sweat occurrence. The inner sole of the boots gives raised heels, which gives you a stylish, tall, and rugged overall look which can be paired with shorts, jeans, or even with casual outdoor dresses, completing your strong feminine hiking glow. 
  • The inner sole comes with a feature where the sole is replaceable. Due to this not having a strong glued surface, requires it to be adjusted frequently.
  • It does not have a cushioning structure which at times will make you feel as if you are walking barefoot. 
  • These hiking boots are fairly wide for a women’s shoe. This leaves you with enough room for thick and warm socks for that extra cushion and heat retention.

9. Mountain Warehouse Adventurer Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots

Price: $49.99
  • With a 100% synthetic cover, the boots have a strong and sustainable waterproof membrane that soaks 100% water, keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
  • However, it does not have the ability to keep your feet warm. If you wear them in snowy weather, your feet will freeze.
  • Guaranteeing you solid traction, the outer sole has a rubber structure that provides a strong grip on slippery and snowy terrain. 
  • Promising you with a cushioning inner structure and an extra reinforcement near the heel and toe sections, the breathable membrane provides great comfort.
  • The boots are quite wide from within, therefore one must order a size small from their original size for a perfect fit.
  • It is a perfect recommendation for short hiking trips.

10. New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Arishi Trail V1 Trail Running Shoe

Price: $48.36 ~ $76.99
  • Not specifically “hiking boots”, these trail running shoes can act as them.
  • The pair comes with a promising 100% textile material which has a rubber outer sole and a versatile traction comfort that gives a stable and strong grip for on and off-road activities.
  • The overall look of the shoe is more towards a sporty edge rather than a hiking field and comes with a perfect running balance as they are lightweight, easily washable, and 100% waterproof.
  • Despite having no mentioned arch support the inner sole is fairly cushioned and gives good support while running and walking.
  • These shoes are not very friendly to people with wide feet. Therefore it is recommended to buy a size bigger than what you usually wear.

11. KEEN Women’s TARGHEE II MID Waterproof Hiking Boot

Price: $135 ~ $265.26
  • The KEEN Women’s Targhee Boots can be termed as a steal deal. Guaranteeing you with 100% waterproofing, the boots perform exceptionally under rains and hailstorms, where the pair will act as a shield for your feet.
  • The outer sole of these hiking boots is covered with rubber which performs very well giving you a firm, secured, and strong grip on rocky and slippery surfaces making it your first choice to wear on long walking trails filled with rocky terrain. 
  • The torsion stability External Support Shank (ESS) and mid-cut height add ankle support and balance on uneven surfaces.
  • The low-profile upper with padded tongue and collar gives a comfortable and secure fit, while the contoured heel provides unparalleled stability.
  • The metatomical footbed design provides excellent arch support and cradles to the natural contours of the foot.
  • These boots run half a size small. Therefore, we recommend buying half a size bigger than your usual.

12. Skechers for Work Women’s Workshire Peril Steel Toe Boot

Price: $63.63 ~ $171.37
  • The Skechers for Work Women’s Peril Steel Toe Boots is not to be confused with your day to day safety shoes. The 100% leather texture uplifts the complete look of these pairs, which can be styled with a pair of jeans, shorts, or any casual dress giving you a complete rugged-cowgirl look.
  • The bottom of the boots comes with a rubber sole which maintains your grip on slippery and rocky terrain or for any outdoor activity.
  • The leather can be a bit stiff for a trial or two, however, after wearing them more than 2-3 times, the stiffness fades away, giving you an ideal sense of comfort.
  • These shoes are not one of the most comfortable ones and hence, it is suggested that you insert insoles for better comfort.
  • Excellent torsion resistance supports you on rocky roads and muddy trails.
  • These versatile shoes can be treated as your casual boots, safety shoes, and your trekking partner equally.

Taking Care and Maintenance

They have kept you warm in cold winters, protected you from the scorching heat and have kept you dry. They literally have been with you through your ups and downs. It would only be fair to pay back for all that loyal service they have given you.

Your hiking boots, like most things, wear out with usage and deteriorate with the passage of time. You need to take care of them in order for them to last longer and more importantly keep on doing what they are supposed to do. 

Hiking boots sure need the love and care they deserve for the time they’ve spent with you. It becomes absolutely necessary for you to keep them clean, dry, waterproof, and maintained.

Cleaning

It should be a practice to clean your shoes after every trek or outing.

The mud and debris on your hiking boots’ upper not only make it look dull and unattractive but also adversely affect breathability and water resistance.

  • Tap your shoes with the sole hitting the surface so that you get rid of the dirt lodged in the treads of the sole.
  • Brush off any remaining dirt with a dry brush.
  • Now with a wet cloth or a used toothbrush soaked in water gently clean the areas with stubborn dirt.

Drying

Rain, sweat, and humidity: your shoes are continuously exposed to moisture.

Excess moisture can cause fungus to grow, bacteria to breed, and odor to trap

The leather in the leather boots is an organic material and rightfully behaves like one.

Ironically, moisture is a friend and a foe of leather at the same time. Too much moisture can cause all the above mentioned problems and too little of it will force it to become hard and brittle leading to cracks.

To take care of these problems your boots must have an optimum amount of moisture. But don’t be afraid: you do not have to measure the moisture content of your hiking boots after every wear.

The simple solution is to dry your hiking boots in the shade when wet, and moisturize the leather with a shoe cream regularly.

Do not place your wet hiking boot under direct sunlight as the leather may lose moisture more than what is required and crack or discolor.

Treating your hiking boots with a disinfectant and de-odorizing sprays from time to time also increases the life of your 

Waterproofing

Needless to mention how important is waterproofing to your hiking boot.

With usage, the waterproofing ability of the shoe deteriorates and needs to be restored regularly.

This can be achieved by applying waterproofing products usually in the form of a spray and sometimes waterproofing-grease.

When using a spray, make sure the surface is clean.

Spray on the surface where you need waterproofing evenly.

Make sure you take extra care of seams and joints as these are the places where the water enters the most.

Allow the shoes to dry naturally (do not dry them under direct sunlight or use a hot air blower) for at least a day.

Grease is mostly used in the case of leather shoes.

It is similar to a shoe cream in its function but additionally provides waterproofing.

It prevents moisture to enter the leather by creating a layer over it and at the same time stops the required amount of moisture to escape it.

A hiking boot is not always made from leather, rather rarely. The modern day hiking boot is usually made from mostly synthetic materials that need care as well. Taking care of synthetic material is relatively easier than taking care of leather.

Repair

From time to time your hiking boots may require repairs.

All those perilous hikes, rugged climbs, and long walks will damage your hiking boots at some point in time.

Repairing as soon as possible after the damage is crucial.

Un-attended tears and cracks may worsen with usage, thereby, shortening the life of your hiking boot.

This may also cause your hiking boot to malfunction and cause discomfort to you.

Sometimes, few materials may decay with time, but then that is rarely under your control.

Storage

  • Make sure your hiking boots are thoroughly dry before storing them.
  • Keep them in a well ventilated and dry place.
  • If you plan to store them for long, stuff them with newspaper so that they do not lose their shape.
  • Using a de-humidifier like silica gel will help them to stay mold free and odor free.

Phew! That’s a long climb up the hill of choices! 

With most of our picks rounded up, we hope you found a shoe that caught your eye. 

Often, a good pair of shoes last for years before showing their age. Many miles and tedious feet up the slopes later, a shoe proves it’s worth. 

“Making an informed choice is just the first step.”

“Taking proper care of the shoes is another task.”

Given proper conditioning, cleaning, and maintenance, a pair of shoes will last you beyond a reasonable amount of time. 

We hope you make a good choice and plan your itinerary accordingly. Your next adventure will be carried on the shoulders of a pair of shoes that’s strong, durable, and resistant to all that the elements throw on them. 

Each product has its own pros and cons, therefore understanding the sense of a mixed feeling, you are advised to start with the requirements, the demands of the destination, your comfort type, a fixed price value, and then if needed, dig deeper. Exactly which shoe you will end with, will completely depend on your taste, requirements, and priorities. 

We hope this guide acts as a compass in your quest for choosing the best pair for you.

But do YOU think this compass is taking you north?

Let us know what you have to say in the comments below.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More