The 20 Best Hiking Shoes for Women and Men

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I’ve been a big fan of hiking for as long as I can remember.

My love of nature was inspired by my parents, who led our church youth group on camping trips to hike the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and explore the North Carolina mountains when I was a young boy.

In my 20s, I honed my skills as a nature photographer in North Georgia State Parks, hiking up Blood Mountain, Amicalola Falls, Brasstown Bald, and various trails near Blue Ridge and Helen

Over the past 15 years, Mary and I have traveled to more than 50 countries around the world, and visited nearly 50 different Blue Ridge Mountain towns

We’ve hiked up hills in Antarctica, in the mountains of Patagonia, in the deserts of Jordan, and through the jungle to see Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda.

Along the way, we’ve learned first-hand how important it is to have a good pair of hiking shoes, especially if you’re trekking on rough terrain or walking in/around waterfalls

Thankfully our jobs afford us the opportunity to test new hiking boots for men and women to see which ones are the most rugged, durable, and comfortable for long days on the trail. 

Read on for our in-depth guide to the best hiking shoes for women and men, including popular brands such as Arc’teryx,  Hoka One One, Keen, Mammut, Merrell, Vasque, and more! 

READ MORE: The 45+ Best Camping Gifts and Hiking Gifts


Best Hiking Shoes for Women

Arc'teryx Womens vegan hiking shoes

Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX

If you’re looking for a great choice for women’s hiking boots, start with the Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX women’s hiking shoe.

These vegan hiking boots feature a cross between the support of a traditional hiking boot and the lightness of athletic shoes. 

Designed for fast and light hiking on technical trails, the Aerios FL Mid GTX moves with your foot during every step that you take.

For protection from the elements in wet weather (or when hiking to waterfalls), these waterproof hiking shoes use GORE-TEX to keep your feet dry while maintaining breathability.

They’re a great alternative if you’re looking for a lightweight and flexible women’s hiking shoe that looks just as good off the trail as it does on.

READ MORE: The 20 Best North Carolina Hiking Trails

Womens hiking boots Ariat Skyline

Ariat Skyline Mid H2O Women’s Hiking Boots

Founded in 1993 by Stanford Business School classmates Beth Cross and Pam Parker, Ariat was the first company to apply athletic shoe technology to English and Western-style boots.

Initially known for cowboy, horseback riding, and work boots, the Ariat Skyline Mid H2O is a great example of how the brand’s hiking line balances technical considerations with comfort.

An excellent waterproof hiking boot for women, the Skyline uses a shock-absorbing EVA midsole, an “All Day Cushioning” insole with enhanced rebound, and ATS technology to ensure comfort on long hikes.

The padded collar, dual-density Duratread outsole, and extra protection at the toe and heel are also great features for a hiking shoe made to go as far as your feet want to wander.

READ MORE: 15 Helen GA Hiking Trails Worth Exploring

Keen Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Keen Explore Waterproof Women’s Hiking Shoes

Keen has been one of our go-to brands for waterproof hiking shoes for 5+ years now.

The Keen Explore Waterproof hiking shoe, which comes in 8 colors for women, is an appealing sneaker/hiker combo that works equally well on the trail or running errands around town.

The lightweight shoe features a Konnectfit system for a locked-in feel at the heel, a radial support system midsole for added lateral stability, and 4mm lugs that provide great traction.

These shoes are also eco-friendly, using a PFC-free approach to water repellency and footbeds infused with probiotics that work naturally to fight the odor in sweat.

All in all, it’s an attractive and versatile shoe for female hikers.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Virginia Waterfalls for Hiking

Mammut Duncan Womens Hiking Boot

Mammut Ducan Mid GTX Women’s Hiking Boots

Available in 3 different color combos, Mammut’s Ducan Mid GTX is one of the more stylish hiking shoes for women we’ve seen in recent years.

But they also offer impressive technological enhancements for serious hiking and long-distance trekking on the Appalachian Trail or Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Innovative features include a Flextron spring-steel sole for added stability and Georganic 3D Technology used in creating the Vibram sole, which provides superior support on treacherous terrain.

The GORE-TEX extended comfort lining and double-layered engineered mesh uppers are also noteworthy.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Waterfalls Near Cherokee NC for Hiking

MBT Womens Trail shoe

MBT Colorado X Womens Trail Shoe

Engineered in Switzerland, MBT creates “physiological footwear” designed with the benefits of health, wellness, and adventure in mind.

All of their shoes have unique, 5-component curved soles with varying levels of “rock” to them (ranging from high to recovery).

They include a contoured insole, engineered shank, midsole with pivot axis, MBT’s SensorTechnology, and an enhanced traction outsole for better ground-grip as you walk.

The stylish MBT Colorado X is a light trail shoe for women and men. It features a durable Nubuck leather upper and mesh footbed, their signature rocker sole, and a traction-enhancing rubber outsole.

Accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting quality foot health, these ultra-comfortable  sneaker-style shoes feel just as great as they look.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Hiking Trails In Atlanta GA (& Hikes Near Atlanta)

Merrell Womens Waterproof Hiking Boot

Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP Women’s Hiking Boots

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP is a classic waterproof hiking boot for women.

The Moab 2 Mid WP may look traditional at first glance. But the cushioning comfort of the footbed and Vibram TC5+ soles make it crystal clear why this updated classic is one of their most popular hiking shoes.

Noteworthy features include M Select DRY to seal out water and let moisture escape (which make them great for waterfalls), a closed-cell foam tongue to keep debris out, and an air-cushioned heel.

We also love the FIT.ECO+ blended EVA footbed, which offers excellent arch and heel support.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Hiking Trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest


Oboz Katabatic Waterproof Hiking Boots

Named after their base near Yellowstone in Bozeman MT (Outside + Bozeman= Oboz), this specialty hiking shoe brand is rooted in their lifelong love of the trail. 

We love their eco-friendly initiatives, including carbon offsets of their shoe shipments and travel, using renewable energy, and planting a tree for every pair of men’s and women’s hiking boots they sell. 

The Oboz Katabatic is their new fast trail hiking shoe for women and men, and it’s designed for speed without compromising on comfort or support. 

They’re available in low and mid, waterproof and non-waterproof styles. But all of them feature a form-hugging heel cup, sculpted mid-foot, and a spacious toe box that offer excellent stability and performance.

Other features include abrasion-resistant breathable mesh, a B-DRY waterproof membrane, and welded/stitched TPU overlays for enhanced durability. 

READ MORE: The 50 Best North Carolina Waterfalls for Hiking

Scarpa Maverick Womens waterproof hiking boots

Scarpa Maverick Mid GTX Women’s Hiking Boots

Founded in the foothills of Italy’s Dolomites in 1938, SCARPA stands for Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima (the Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area).

Long known for their high-quality, handcrafted footwear, SCARPA’s Maverick Mid GTX is a lightweight women’s hiking shoe designed for moving quickly in the mountains.

Like the MBT shoes, they have a sole rocket for improved walking efficiency, as well as a lightweight upper and athletic design.

Other noteworthy features include a dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole, TPU heel stabilizers, and a proprietary HDR outsole that gives the shoes higher friction and durability, plus an excellent rebound.

READ MORE: 52 Best Georgia Hiking Trails for the 52 Hikes Challenge

Vasque Breeze Womens WP hiking Boots

Vasque Breeze WT GTX Women’s Hiking Boots

The Breeze GTX from Vasque was one of our picks for the best men’s lightweight hiking boots several years ago.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that we had equal love for the Vasque Breeze WT GTX, which boasts a design that’s similarly built for speed and agility that makes them one of the best hiking shoes for women.

The waterproof GORE-TEX technology keeps your feet dry even when hiking to waterfalls, while the 200g 3M Thinsulate keeps them warm and toasty even in winter.

We love the Vibram Contact Grip outsole, which provides exceptional traction on just about any terrain you care to tackle.

The high-top cut gives these women’s boots awesome ankle support without sacrificing all-day comfort. Our only complaint is that they only come in one (fairly drab) color.

READ MORE: The Best Hiking in Asheville NC Bucket List (Top 25 Hiking Trails)

Suavs The Legacy Women’s Flexible Shoes

Suavs Legacy shoes feature a unique knit design so comfortable, it almost feels like you’re wearing socks!

This vegan, eco-friendly style is remarkably breathable, with moisture-wicking insoles. They’re also incredibly flexible, bending easily with your foot’s natural movement.

The shoes were created with 100% post-consumer plastic, and Suavs has cut down on their paper packaging by 50% in recent years.

Their Legacy shoe comes in 3 colors, and features a rubber toe cap that’s perfect for rainy weather. In our opinion, they rank among the most comfortable women’s shoes for casual hiking adventures.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Hiking Trails in North Georgia Bucket List


Best Hiking Shoes for Men

5.11 A/T Mid Waterproof Boot

If you’re looking for sturdy men’s waterproof hiking boots, check out the 5.11 A/T Mid Waterproof Boot.

This waterproof hiking boot for men is an expansion of their popular A/T series. The A/T stands for All Terrain (not Appalachian Trail), which is precisely what they’re designed to tackle. 

The boots are built using 5.11’s signature A.T.L.A.S. technology, which helps to improve stability and weight distribution on the trail and return energy as you move, offering all-day comfort and performance.

Available in 4 colors and 2 widths, the hiking shoes’ additional features include a high-traction outsole, a breathable welded-mesh upper, and a 3D-molded TPR toe and heel for enhanced foot protection.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Easy Hiking Trails to Waterfalls in Georgia


Bearpaw Brock Men’s Hiking Boots

The ankle-height Brock Hiking Boots from the California-based Bearpaw might just be the most budget-friendly shoes on this list, with an MSRP of around $65.

These mens hiking shoes use sustainably sourced leather (in this case, suede) and mesh upper, plus a memory foam insole, EVA midsole, and rubber outsole that makes them rugged enough for extended day hikes.

Their full bootie waterproof construction and NeverWet protection provide great water and stain resistance, even when hiking in creeks and waterfalls

But some customers have complained that this makes them a bit too warm for summer, and a few critics have said their overall construction does not stand up to extended wear and tear. 

READ MORE: The 10 Hiking Essentials Packing List for the Blue Ridge Mountains


Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 Men’s Trail Running Shoe & Trail Code GTX Lightweight Hiker

Hoka One One has emerged over the past decade as one of the most beloved shoe brands in the business, offering a balance between the sporty style of a great sneaker and the rugged durability of the best hiking boots. 

Named for athlete Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, their Speedgoat 5 is a terrific technical shoe designed for trail running or speed hiking. I wear them often for hiking in State Parks and National Parks.

This updated version of their popular line is a new shoe from top to bottom. They’re lighter than ever and offer more traction thanks to Vibram Megagrip with Traction Lugs.

For those seeking additional ankle support, check out their Trail Code GTX Lightweight Hiker.

It features a 100% recycled ripstop upper, GORE-TEX booties with 71% recycled polyester fabric, Vibram Megagrip soles with 5mm lugs, and a unique HUBBLE heel and SwallowTail design.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Boone NC Hiking Trails to Explore


Mens vegan hiking boots

Lowa Innox Pro Gtx Mid

Lowa’s Innox Pro Gtx Mid men’s hiking boots are a step up from their previous version.

They cut down the weight and streamlined the design of the vegan leather boot for the Pro edition, creating an stable and durable boot suitable for trekking and other athletic endeavors.

Their midsole is injected with DynaPU for an enhanced rebound and cushioning of each step, along with MONOWRAP, which provides added stability and support.

The Innox Pro Gtx Mid is ideal for fast and light traveling, but it doesn’t skimp on the stability you needed from strong hiking boots.

They’re really just as comfortable as an athletic shoe, but with the support and weatherproofing of a hiking boot. They’re perfect whether you’re day-hiking the Appalachian Trail or taking longer, multi-day treks.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Pisgah National Forest Hiking Trails in North Carolina

Kodiak Mens Hiking Boots

Kodiak Skogan Mid Waterproof Men’s Hiker

Although they’re not as well-known in the US as some of the other brands featured on this list, the Canada-based Kodiak Boots has a storied history dating back to their 1910 founding in Ontario. 

In 2017, the company became part of the VF Corporation (which also owns iconic brands like Vans, The North Face, and Timberland), which has helped to bolster their US profile. 

Their Skogan Mid Waterproof Hiker is part of the brand’s commitment to more eco-friendly manufacturing processes. Its ComfortZone ECO footbed is made with at least 70% plant-based biomass.

These men’s hiking shoes also include recycled plastic laces, liners, and upper mesh fabric; 15% recycled rubber lugs; and a dual-density ComfortZone Eco footbed with Ortholite foam for cushioning and moisture control. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Smoky Mountain Waterfalls for Hiking

Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX Mens Lightweight Hiking Boots

With a name and logo inspired by the Saucony Creek in Kutztown PA, Saucony is a Boston-based brand best known for world-class running shoes for men and women. 

The women’s Saucony Peregrine 11 ST found them venturing into off-trail shoes, but the Ultra Ridge GTX is the first hiking boots they’ve made in their 125-year history.

Available in men’s and women’s lightweight hiking boots, the vegan-friendly Ultra Ridge GTX offers a waterproof GORE-TEX upper to protect your feet from the elements.  

Other noteworthy features include PWRRUN PB foam cushioning for added spring and support, and an extremely grippy PWRTRAC outsole for excellent traction on rugged terrain. 

READ MORE: The 25 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes for NC Day Trips

Vivo Barefoot Hiking Boots for Men

Vivobarefoot Magna Trail Mens

Vivobarefoot Magna Trail shoes are high-performance, lightweight hiking boots that are available in both men’s and women’s styles.

These multi-terrain vegan boots are designed to give you “the most with the least,” letting you feel the ground beneath your feet in order to reconnect you with nature.

This hiking boot is so light (12 ounces), it almost feels like walking barefoot. Yet the Pro5 protection layer is 5 times more resistant to punctures than other shoes, so you won’t damage your feet on rock and stone.

Another cool feature is the 3.5mm-thick removable thermal insole, which combines Vivobarefoot’s Outlast thermal regulator, reflective foil, and insulating foam to guarantee warmth even in the cold of winter.

READ MORE: The 25 Best North Georgia Waterfalls for Hiking


Xero Shoes Men’s Mesa Trail Shoes

Xero Shoes are definitely not for everyone, nor are they appropriate for all kinds of hiking trails.

But for those who want a minimalist, lightweight hiking shoe that feels like you’re practically barefoot, they’re the best brand in the business.

Their men’s Mesa Trail Shoes are ultra-comfortable, with a breathable mesh upper, moisture-wicking interior lining, welded protective covering of the adjustable straps, and lugged tread for enhanced traction. 

What fans love about this brand is the way they feel. The wide toe box, non-elevated heel, flexible fabric, 3mm TrailFoam insole, and extremely light weight (less than 8 oz per shoe) makes them feel 100% natural. 

We also love that they’re vegan-friendly, and feature a 24-month manufacturer’s warranty as well as a 5,000-mile warranty on the sole of the shoes.  –all reviews by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

The BRMTG was created by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, the award-winning team behind the world-renowned responsible travel website Green Global Travel. Born and raised in North Georgia, Editor-In-Chief Bret Love grew up hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family. A professional writer/editor since 1995, he's covered travel and culture for 100+ publications, including American Way, Destination Marriott, Georgia Travel Guide, National Geographic, and Southbound. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning website, Green Global Travel, which is ranked among the world's top travel blogs. Since launching BRMTG in 2020, he and Mary Gabbett have visited 50+ Blue Ridge Mountain towns together. Though she lived in NYC for 14 years, photographer/Business Manager Mary Gabbett's family has Georgia roots dating back 200+ years. Her great-grandfather was President of the Western Railroad of Alabama. Before moving to Atlanta in 1989, she fell in love with the North GA mountains, where her aunt owned a cabin. In 2010 she co-founded Green Global Travel, and has since traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents. Her photos have appeared in numerous travel publications (including National Geographic and Southbound) and various textbooks.