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10 Best Hiking Boots and Trail Runners of 2024

10 Best Hiking Boots and Trail Shoes

While there are hundreds of hiking boots, mids, and trail runners available, most hikers and backpackers choose from a small set of common makes and models. Preferences vary widely, however, and some hikers like waterproof mids and boots, while others prefer more breathable trail running shoes that dry rapidly when they get wet.

Here are the 10 best hiking boots and trail runners that we recommend.

Make / ModelMen'sWomen'sWide Sizes
Altra Lone Peak 7 Trail RunnersMen'sWomen'sY
Merrell Moab 3 Trail ShoesMen'sWomen'sY
Merrell Moab 3 Mid BootsMen'sWomen'sY
Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat 5Men'sWomen'sY
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Trail RunnersMen'sWomen'sY
Danner Trail 2650 Men's Women's Y
KEEN Targhee III WP Mid BootsMen'sWomen'sY
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTXMen'sWomen'sY
Lowa Renegade GTX MidsMen'sWomen'sY
Salomon Quest 4 GTX Hiking BootsMen'sWomen's

Regardless of your preferences, it’s important to choose footwear that fits well and is appropriate for the conditions you plan to hike in, especially in terms of temperature, terrain difficulty, and the weight of the loads you expect to carry. Many hiking shoes and boots are also available in wide sizes, which is useful if you have big feet, or you find that your feet increase in size if you take a long backpacking trip or hike frequently.

1. Altra Lone Peak 8 Trail Runners

Altra Lone Peak 7 Trail Runner

The Altra Lone Peak 8 is the top trail running shoe used by hikers and backpackers by a wide margin. Noted for their roomy toe box, splayed forefoot, and integrated tongue, the moderately cushioned Lone Peak has mesh uppers for enhanced breathability and drainage. This zero-drop shoe has a toothy lugged sole that provides good traction, with an integrated stone guard that offers enhanced forefoot protection. An innovative gaiter trap on the rear of the shoe holds your gaiters in place. A women’s model of the Lone Peak 8 is also available.

Shop at REIShop at Altra Running

2. Merrell Moab 3 Hiking Shoes

Merrell Moab 2 Low Vent Hiking Shoes
The Merrell Moab 3 is a mesh trail shoe that features excellent breathability coupled with durability and the added protection of leather uppers. A reinforced toe cap provides great foot protection for rocky scrambles, while a rockered sole helps sustain forward momentum. The Vibram sole has large 5mm lugs that provide added traction in sand and mud, while a hard nylon shank provides arch support and protection. The Moab 2 is a very stable shoe that resists rolling, with air cushioning in the heels for enhanced shock absorption. Wide-width sizes and waterproof versions are also available. Read our review. 

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3. Merrell Moab 3 Ventilator Mids

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boots

Noted for their affordability and availability in wide sizes, the Merrell Moab 3 Ventilator Mid is a long-lasting, lightweight hiking boot that provides excellent ankle support with wrap-around mesh that’s highly breathable and fast drying. The Vibram lugs provide excellent traction and protection for hiking across a wide variety of terrain from the damp forests of Appalachia to the high desert. The boot version of the Moab 3 Ventilator Low (see above), these mids feature the same grippy Vibram sole and leather uppers, but with added ankle support. Wide sizes are available. There are also waterproof and non-waterproof versions available.

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4. Hoke ONE ONE Speedgoat 5 Trail Runner

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
The Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat 5 is a rugged trail running shoe that provides sure-footed traction in rough terrain. Breathable uppers and a wide toe box provide lots of comfort on long hikes, while the shoe’s excellent midfoot support provides stability and a secure feel. A Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole provides grip in wet and dry conditions while the 4mm drop allows you to enjoy the benefits of a lower drop shoe without a long adaption period. Wide widths are also available.

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5. La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Trail Runners

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II is an all-terrain mountain running shoe with a sticky rubber outsole geared towards all-day protection. Noted for their excellent traction, even on wet rock, they have a sturdy toe bumper and molded nylon shank that provides forefoot protection in rugged terrain. Mesh uppers are highly breathable and dry quickly when wet. Durability is good with reinforced plastic ribs that prevent the mesh from shredding. The Ultra Raptors have an athletic fit, narrow enough in the heel and mid-foot to provide a stable running or hiking platform. Read the SectionHiker La Sportiva Ultra II Raptor Review.

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6. Danner Trail 2650 GTX Hiking Shoes

Danner Trail 2650

The Danner Trail 2650 GTX is a very stable lightweight leather hiking shoe that’s good for hiking and backpacking in moderately challenging and rugged terrain (non-waterproof and mesh versions are also available). It’s substantially more durable than a mesh trail runner but is still quite agile. Reinforced heel counters and an ultralight TPU shank provide lightweight support and protection while Vibram Megagrip outsoles provide very good traction on rocky or wet terrain. The toe box is large enough to let your toes splay out and wide sizes are also available. In addition to trail use, the Trail 2650 is stylish enough that you can wear it out or to work and no one will know you’re wearing your hiking shoes. Read our Danner Trail 2650 GTX Review.

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7. KEEN Targhee III Mid WP

KEEN Targhee III WP Mid Hiking Boots
The Keen Targhee III Mid is an agile but well-protected waterproof hiking boot.  The exterior is primarily made with leather, providing added stability.  The aggressive outsole has large lugs to bite into the terrain, providing excellent traction control. An integrated shank provides torsional stability, while the mid-cut height increases ankle support. Keens are especially good for people who prefer a wide toe box. Wide widths are also available. Size up a 1/2 size.

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8. Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX mids
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX brings running shoe comfort to a shoe that can tackle more technical hikes. Mudguards and beefy rubber toe caps provide protection from roots and rocks, while injection-molded EVA midsoles provide excellent cushioning underfoot. The shoe’s mid-cut profile adds ankle support and protection which is so important in rocky terrain, while the gusseted tongue blocks pebbles and debris from entering the shoe. Wide widths are also available.

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9. Lowa Renegade GTX Mids

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mids provide superb support for long day hikes and backpacking trips across rugged terrain. Full-length nylon shanks and polyurethane midsoles absorb shocks while the Vibram outsoles provide excellent traction and grip in wet or dry conditions. The boots are lined with Gore-tex to keep your feet dry when you’re stepping in shallow streams while water-repellent nubuck leather uppers have Cordura nylon ankle bands for comfort and flexibility.

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10. Salomon Quest 4 GTX Boots

Salomon Quest 4
The Salomon Quest 4 GTX is a lightweight, but supportive hiking boot that incorporates trail running technology into its design. The beefy toe-cap provides protection for your toes while a TPU midsole helps control flex, reduce ankle strain, and shield feet in rough terrain. High ankle support, leather uppers, and locking lace eyelets provide good stability while eliminating heel lift and potential blisters. The gusseted tongue and Gore-Tex inner bootie protects against rain and water during stream crossings while grippy rubber outsoles provide excellent traction over wet and dry surfaces. We love these boots!

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How To Choose Hiking Boots, Trail Shoes, and Trail Runners

There’s a lot of variety available when it comes to hiking footwear and ad people have a wide range of personal preferences. This is why we highly recommend that you try lots of different options if you’re making a new selection, so you can discover what your preferences are. Here are some guidelines about things you should consider when choosing between different hiking boots, trail shoes, and trail runners.

Sweat can lead to blisters

The buildup of sweat inside of hiking footwear and your socks can lead to blisters. When your socks stick to your skin, they can cause friction, and a friction burn, which is how blisters form. Breathability is key to preventing sweat build-up, which is why so many hikers prefer mesh hiking footwear since it dries while you wear it.

Black toenails indicate a poor fit

If your toenails turn black when you hike, it’s because your toes do not have enough room in the front of your footwear. Size up or select footwear that has a larger toe box by design. Altra and KEEN shoes and boots have an exaggerated-size toe box, which is why they’re so popular with hikers and backpackers.

After-Market Insoles

One-third of hikers and backpackers buy after-market insoles, such as Superfeet, to replace the insoles that come with their hiking boots, mids, trail shoes, and trail runners. These provide more protection, more arch support, and cup your heel to help prevent the lateral movement that can cause plantar fasciitis. They also last longer than factory insoles.

Waterproof/breathable footwear dries slowly

Waterproof/breathable footwear tends to dry much more slowly than non-waterproof footwear. While waterproof hiking boots and shoes are good for hiking in cold weather, it’s often more desirable to have a well-vented mesh shoe that dries quickly than one that stays wet for days and can lead to blisters and other discomforts.

Ankle Rolling

Many hikers opt for boots/mids because think they’re necessary for carrying heavier-weight backpacks and provide more ankle support than low trail shoes or trail runners. While that was probably true when all hiking boots were made with heavy leather, modern hiking boots and mids are much softer and less supportive and are really just one step up from being trail or running shoes. While they can provide more assurance, you can still twist an ankle when wearing one. On the flip side, many hikers and backpackers are able to carry heavy packs and walk on rugged mountainous terrain in trail shoes and trail runners. In other words, there’s no right answer and you should decide for yourself, rather than follow anyone’s gospel truth.


Boot and shoe manufacturers make a big deal about traction and while it is important, it’s very difficult to prove that different sole compositions, lug angles, lug depth, Vibram or non-Vibram soles, blah, blah, blah, etc. make that big of an impact on traction. When push comes to shove, the only hiking traction that really matters is when you’re scrambling on wet rock or walking along a cliff edge. Even then, good footwork is probably more important, so develop that rather than relying on your shoes.

Toe and foot protection

Hiking and backpacking can be tough on the feet, particularly around the toes and under the arch. It doesn’t affect everyone, but it can lead to injuries that take a long time to heal. Built-up areas around the toes, sometimes called toe kicks, are good if you hike in rocky terrain. A shank is usually a hard strip of nylon or plastic that runs under the arch and helps stiffen a shoe or boot.


Hikers wear gaiters to block sticks, stones, and other debris from getting into their shoes while they hike. But some shoes are more gaiter compatible than others. For example, if your gaiters have a strap that loops under your shoe, you’re going to want to have footwear that has an arch, so the gaiter strap doesn’t get destroyed by rubbing on the ground. Gaiters designed for trail shoes or trail runners may require gluing a velcro strip to the back of your heel to hold the gaiter in places. If this is the case, make sure there is a flat surface on the back of the heel that you can glue the velcro strip to.

Wide Shoe Sizes

About 1/3 of all hikers require footwear in wide widths. Companies such as Merrell, KEEN, Brooks, and Vasque have the best selection of wide-width hiking footwear.

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  1. Always love reading your posts. I’ve been on a long journey of finding a trail shoe for wider feet. The Lone Peaks just wouldn’t hold up long enough. However I found that Topo Ultraventure Pros fit like the Lone Peaks but with a minor drop (5mm) and seem to feel a bit more rugged. Love them! Thanks for your insight on every post, it helps a ton – cheers!

  2. I am struggling to find a better hiking shoe/ trail runner
    I have a wide foot and prefer a shoe that is not Zero-drop.
    I have overcome plantar fasciitis.
    I do not want a waterproof shoe.

    I like:
    The width of the Altra Lone Peak 8Wide, but not the zero drop

    The moderate drop and width of the Topo Ultraventure but not the limited toe protection

    The toe protection and traction of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor2, but even going up a size, the wides are still way too narrow

    I have also tried Brooks Cascadia and Saucony Peregrine. Not particularly comfortable for me
    Hoka Speed Goat Wide: feel kind of sloppy and the stack height was a bit much.

    I would appreciate any other suggestions that check all of my boxes. I might give the Merrell Moab3 a try.

    • Try the Danners I link to above. They come in wides. The key to preventing plantar fasciitis is to use an 3rd part insole, not the foam crap that shoe companies stick in their shoes. You want to immobilize the heel and provide a little bit more arch support.

      Other than that, all I can suggest is to buy everything you might think work at Zappos and REI and return everything that doesn’t fit.

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