Best Lightweight Low-cut Hiking shoes for men

Lightweight Low-Cut Hiking shoes test 2022: Comparison & Test Winners

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As a lightweight and agile alternative to boots, we have tested and selected for you the best lightweight Low-cut hiking shoes for men.

Only the proper hiking shoes make your tour a successful outdoor adventure. Find out here which models perform best in the categories of lightweight low-cut hiking shoes and trail runners.

Here you will find an overview of the Best Lightweight low-cut Hiking Shoes! We have summarized the hiking shoe winners of various tests for you. A comfortable hike on wide forest paths or steep and fast off-road hiking is only fun if the shoe is suitable.

Whether for day hikes or more extended tours on rocky trails, you will find out which models were rated best by the experts.

Infos about Hiking Shoes and Trail Runners

A hiking boot that sits just below the ankle is a perfect choice for the vast majority of day hikers and even many backpackers. Shoes like our top-rated Salomon X Ultra 4 are stiffer and more substantial than a trail running shoe.

As a result, they don’t feel as heavy as a full boot. Also, hiking boots are often more ruggedly constructed than trail running shoes, using more leather and durable nylon instead of mesh.

Rubber toe caps and medium-stiff midsoles provide protection from obstacles like rocks and roots. Hiking shoes are also a good option for people looking for a dureable shoe for everyday use.

Just be aware that the outer soles will wear out faster on asphalt.

Test Criteria:

✓ Material & Breathability
✓ Processing & Quality
✓ Comfort
✓ Durability
✓ Price-Performance Ratio

Our Test Winner - Best All-Round Hiking Shoe for Men

Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes

There has been a long line of X Ultras from Salomon that preceded the X Ultra 4  – All top-notch hiking boots that are all of excellent quality.  So it’s no surprise that we had high expectations when this new iteration came out. The Salomon Ultra 4 GTX exceeded every one of those expectations.

The X Ultras are also  available as Salomon X Ultra 4 Non Gore-Tex Version  and as Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX (Gore-Tex) Version.

Built for rough and rugged trails, these solid shoes hold their own in challenging terrain where many other lightweight hiking shoe models are unsuitable

Weight: 780 gram- pair
Waterproof: optional also available with Gore-Tex
Pro: Unique combination of lightness, stability on-trail performance and durability.
Contra: The Gore-Tex model runs warm quickly.

Material: Synthetic
✓ Sole: EnergyCell / Rubber
Closure: Single-pull Lace
✓ Shoe-with: Normal

Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes Video Review

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex is a bit stiffer and therefore a bit less comfortable than other softer shoes, but that’s a small price to pay for the support, traction, and stability this unique shoe brings.

While a wide range of lightweight hiking shoes will satisfy on short, easy hikes, these are the right shoes for top performance on challenging terrain.

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX hiking shoes have an excellent balance of weight and durability. They feel much lighter and more maneuverable than other similarly solidly built shoes, and the fit is similar to a trail runner.

Traction is above average on the X Ultras, making them ideal for backpacking or day hiking in challenging terrain.  We can recommend the Die Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX for hikers looking for a shoe that feels like a trail runner and holds up like a traditional hiking boot.

What should you consider before buying hiking shoes?

Before buying a hiking shoe, you should consider in which terrain your shoe will be mainly used – because there is now a suitable shoe with an appropriate sole for every outdoor activity and terrain.

You should also know about the various advantages and disadvantages of the upper materials used in the shoes. For example, if you value waterproof shoes, your hiking shoe should be equipped with a membrane, like Gore-Tex (GTX).

It would be best if you tried on a hiking shoe or hiking boot before you buy it, and you often need to break them in before your first hike – otherwise, you may end up with blisters on your feet during your tour.

Choose the Best Shoe for Hiking

Special hiking socks also help prevent blisters while hiking because they minimize friction between feet, socks and shoes. Also, there must be enough space for the toes to avoid pain on the feet when descending in the mountains.

A stabilizing fit is also essential at the heels and ankle to prevent you from twisting your ankle in difficult terrain or off well-maintained trails. Therefore, most experts recommend buying a hiking boot at least half a size or even a full size larger.

Best Hiking Shoe for Difficult Terrain

Salewa Mountain Trainer 2 GTX

The main features of the  Salewa Mountain Trainer 2:

  • Vibram sole for grip on any surface
  • Climbing zone in the midfoot area for maximum power transfer and grip on iron elements
  • 3F system and climbing shoe lacing for optimal fit and precision
    Midsole for durable cushioning and rebound
  • Cushioning OrthoLite footbed for a permanently dry and cool foot

Weight: 900 gram – pair
Waterproof: optional available with Gore-Tex
Pro: Grippy, Robust, Cushioning – top-notch shoe for alpine trekking
Contra: stiff – shoe must be broken in

Material: Suede leather and synthetics
Closure: Lace-up
✓ Shoe-with: Normal

Salewa Men's Mountain Trainer Leather Hiking Shoe Video Review

Salewa Mountain Trainer is the brand’s latest model in the segment of multifunctional shoes and hiking boots. According to Salewa, this robust and agile all-rounder is also made for demanding terrain.

Mountain sports outfitter Salewa promises a real multi-talent for use in alpine terrain with its low and slim-cut hiking shoe. The Salewa Mountain Trainer is supposed to do it all – from mountain hiking in rocky terrain to trekking and climbing.

This amazing shoe is available in 3 different variations:

  1. Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite for Maximum Breathability
  2. Salewa Mountain Trainer GTX – waterproof with Gore Tex Membrane
  3. Salewa Mountain Trainer Leather – waterproof for highest demands and durability

The Salewa Mountain Trainer is also convincing in rocky terrain, especially its close fit to the foot and the stability in the ankle and heel area are excellent for a low shoe. Its performance in terms of stability is above average.

In terms of waterproofing and thermal insulation, it doesn’t let its guard down even in the snow, thanks to Gore-Tex and a very insulating construction – for moderate alpine environments, definitely a light and comfortable but still absolutely safe alternative to heavy mountain boots.

The Salewa Mountain Trainer not only looks like a real mountain boot, but it also performs the same. Its hard-setting, torsion-resistant and extremely edge-stable sole is made for rocky terrain.

However, it also scores on firm paths with good rolling comfort. Only for asphalt and forest trails, the cushioning could be softer.

Overall, the Salewa Mountain Trainer is an excellent shoe for those who prefer hiking on challenging trails rather than on comfortable paths.

Save Weight with Light Hiking Shoes

If the terrain is not too difficult, then less is often more. This is especially true for hiking tours, where every gram saved on the equipment relieves the shoulders and muscles and thus ensures more speed, spontaneity and fun.

However, a weight-optimized backpack is by no means everything. Lightweight shoes are much more important, as a study commissioned by the British Army showed.

In order to optimize the performance of soldiers, it conducted many series of tests.
The Result: If you save on shoe weight, you save by a factor of five.

Footwear on the trail | Which is best?
| Hiking Boots vs Trail Runners vs Hiking Shoes

A pair of shoes that is 400 grams lighter has the same relieving effect as a backpack that is two kilos lighter—an important reason to replace the old, bulky hiking boots with a pair of lightweight hiking boots.

Modern, durable materials, which are also very light and thin, have made the shift from heavy Hiking boots over the ankle to lighter hiking shoes much easier.

It’s no surprise that most hikers today prefer a hiking half-shoe to the traditional leather hiking boot.

Many of the shoes on our list weigh only 500 grams or even less. In comparison, a traditional hiking boot like the Asolo TPS 520 weighs almost 2 kg.

On your feet, this weight is yet clearly noticeable. True, weight loss sometimes affects durability, but yes, there are still a number of compelling hiking boots for traditionalists and those who need the extra one in difficult terrain with lots of luggage.

For most amateur hikers, however, a lightweight shoe is a much better partner for day hikes.

The Price Performance Winner

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

The appearance is, of course, always a very subjective “experience”; therefore, I limit myself to the technical details of the Merrel Moab 2.

The shoe’s upper material is durable synthetic leather with mesh inserts – making the Moab 2 one of the most breathable hiking shoes.

The Merrell Moab 2 is very durable all around. It is a very stable and tear-resistant shoe. The stitching is tight, and the upper material is very dense. Plus, the Merrell Moab 2 has an excellent cushioned supportive footbed, and the Vibram rubber sole provides secure traction.

Weight: 1008 gram pair
Waterproof: optional as Vent Version or with Gore Tex
Pro: Super comfortable, very good ventilation and a unique price.
Contra: Not designed for technically difficult terrain.

Material: Suede Leather / Mesh
✓ Sole: Vibram Rubber
Closure: Lace-up
✓ Shoe-with: Available in Medium and Wide With

Merrel Moab 2 - Hiking Shoes Video Review

The comfort of the Merrell Moab 2 Vent touted by the manufacturer is undisputed. The shoe feels very comfortable and is also available in a waterproof version:

The Merrell Moab 2 GTX – this shoe keeps your feet warm and dry thanks to Gore-Tex technology.

Even after long hikes, you notice neither an uncomfortable squeeze and no trace of burning soles. In technically less demanding and non-alpine passages, the shoe impresses with good lateral support, and thanks to the Vibram sole with a very firm grip.

Especially in fast hiking, the low-cut variant gives the foot enough freedom of movement and thus sufficient propulsion—all in all, an excellent and comfortable hiking shoe for light tours and long-distance trails.

Not without reason, the Merrell Moab is one of the most popular hiking shoes with an unrivaled price-performance ratio!

Why is a suitable hiking shoe is so important?

Of course, you can also be out in the open with casual shoes if you want to take a nice walk for one or two hours. No special hiking boots are needed for this.

The situation is different if you hike for several hours on well-maintained trails or even go into unpaved terrain or stony paths.

  • Casual shoes are suitable only for shorter hikes.
  • Hiking shoes offer a good grip due to special sole profiles.
    The foot finds optimal support even in difficult terrain.
  • Hiking shoes are made of suitable, water-repellent materials.
  • A suitable hiking shoe ensures your safety and prevents injuries.

When you’re walking on uneven paths, your foot needs to have enough grip on your shoes. On stony terrain also slips easily once to the side. Then the shoe must be able to provide sufficient support.

Suitable hiking boots are designed precisely to meet these requirements and have a very slip-resistant rubber sole.

Thus, choosing the appropriate hiking shoe can also avoid injuries that can occur very quickly when wearing an unsuitable shoe.

Hiking / Trail Running Shoe with Best Cushioning

HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4

Hoka One One shoes were once niche shoes for runners, but that has changed in recent years, and the brand is now an option for hikers as well.

This evolution makes sense: more and more people are swapping out their clunky boots for lightweight hiking shoes and trail runners. This is the preferred option if you’re primarily on established trails and not scrambling or carrying a heavy backpack.

With its thick cushioning and lightweight, the Hoka Speedgoat 4 is the most comfortable trail shoe they’ve ever worn. The sole is surprisingly grippy, and there are no complaints about performance on a trail.

Weight: 612 gram – pair
Waterproof: now also available with Gore-Tex
Pro: High wearing comfort, Soft but stable sole
Contra: Limited  feeling for the terrain underground 

Material: Synthetic/ Mesh
✓ Sole: Vibram Megarip rubber
Closure: Lace-up
✓ Shoe-with: Wide

HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 Review - Max Cushion Trail Running Shoe

The Speedgoat 4 from Hoka One One is a trail running versatile shoe. Its soft sole feels light as a feather when running, without losing support or stability. It also scores with a very grippy sole on demanding trails and on wet surfaces.

Whereby you can feel only a little of the ground, especially on technical trails. This shoe is excellent for comfort but not necessarily suitable for runners looking for a straightforward shoe.

Meanwhile The Speedgoat 4 is also available as a Gore-Tex Version!

Are there any weaknesses of the Hoka Speedgoat 4?

First, since the materials used and the sole are very soft, the Hoka Speedgoat 4 wears out a little faster, especially the soles.In addition, while the performance is excellent on established trails, we found the limitations when scrambling over steep terrain.

Finally, as a trail running shoe, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 offers little protection around the foot, and stability can waver when really put to the test. But again, if you’re primarily hiking or running on firm trails, you simply won’t find a more comfortable shoe for the job.

Water Resistance vs. Breathability

Indeed many ask themselves the question: Do I necessarily need a waterproof shoe with Gore-Tex membrane?

Honestly, we have to say that waterproof shoes, even expensive Gore-Tex models, are by far not as breathable as well-ventilated hiking shoes without membrane!

There is just no absolutely waterproof material that can provide 100% air circulation. However, not all waterproof shoes are of the same quality.

Shoes with a high-quality Gore-Tex membrane and lots of mesh increase moisture transport and air circulation, so your feet sweat less in hot weather, and soaked socks dry much faster.

GORE-TEX Product Technology

However, an additional waterproof and breathable membrane provides excellent protection in surprise rain showers or when the ground is damp after the morning dew.

But the extra membrane adds weight and compromises the breathability of the shoe. Whether or not you necessarily need a waterproof hiking boot depends on your purpose.

If you are a pure summer hiker and only set out in nice weather anyway, then we would, of course, advise choosing a well-ventilated shoe without a membrane. Two very well-ventilated shoes are the Merrell Moab 2 and the Salomon XA Pro 3D without Gore-Tex.

Still, if you will be hiking in alpine regions, you will benefit from the added protection of a Gore-Tex membrane.

Many of the shoes on our list, such as the Salomon X Ultra 4 or the Salewa Mountain Trainer, are available with or without a Gore-Tex membrane.

Excellent Hiking Shoe with innovative Surround Gore Tex Membrane

La Sportiva Spire GTX

The Sportiva Spire GTX is a lightweight synthetic hiking shoe
with an innovative Gore-Tex Surround Membrane for optimal all-around ventilation.

Moisture can also evaporate downwards via the sole. This leads to a dry foot climate due to the thicker sole to a higher standing level.

Nevertheless, the surefootedness does not suffer – This shoe is excellently cushioned, and the Vibram outer sole provides very good traction.

Weight: 820 gram – pair
Waterproof: Gore-Tex Surround Membrane
Pro: Very good all-round shoe – very comfortable and excellent cushioned, robust and well-manufactured.
Contra: Very high sole / Price

Material: Mesh/Polyurethane lite
✓ Shoe-with: Normal
✓Sole: Vibram
Closure: Lace up

La Sportiva Spire GTX - Hiking Shoe Video Review

The La Sportiva Spire GTX feels robust and substantial, with good stiffness and a thick midsole that effectively insulates you from rough and rocky trails.

With excellent protection and grip in different terrains and a quality finish, as you would expect from this Italian climbing brand, you have brought one of the best performing hiking boots on the market.

Even in wet ground or wet environments, the grip, as well as dry feet, are guaranteed at all times. In warm conditions, the foot always has the opportunity to breathe and therefore has to sweat less.

Optimal grip and special sole profiles

The sole profile is significant for hiking shoes. Since these soles have to meet special requirements, they are also equipped with specific profiles.

A sole profile for a shoe used for hiking on paved paths does not have to be very coarse, but it is pretty different for shoes used for trekking or mountain hiking.

It is more beneficial here if the tread is already somewhat coarser. Then it also provides the necessary grip for the terrain.

The outsole is primarily made of rubber and can be made in different thicknesses to meet different requirements.

Softer rubber, as found in most approach shoes, provides better grip than harder rubber but also wears out faster.

The soles of hiking shoes have lugs – these are the protrusions that claw into the soft ground and provide excellent traction.

A lugless area under the midfoot offers space for heel brakes, which provide better grip when walking downhill.

Hiking shoe uppers are also a bit firmer and tighter than regular casual shoes to give the foot a better grip when hiking in rocky terrain.

A well established Classic - from Salomon in a new Look

Salomon XA PRO 3D v8 GTX

Shoes of the French brand Salomon actually always stand out when you go into a well-stocked sports store. The XA Pro 3D v8 GTX from Salomon is a real classic; it is actually a mix of trail running and hiking shoes.

You can, therefore also use the shoe for simple hikes in addition to running training. In tests and field reports, the shoe is said to be very durable.

The robust upper material and the Gore-Tex membrane provide reliable protection from obstacles on the trail as well as from bad weather.

The newfangled 3D Advanced Chassis is also an absolute highlight and contributes to the success of the shoes.

Weight: 740 gram – pair
Waterproof: optional available with Gore-Tex
Pro: Leight-weight runner with the stability and protection of a hiking shoe.
Contra: Sole is a little to firm

Material: Synthetic /SensiFit
✓ Sole: Contagrip rubber
Closure: Single-pull Lace
✓ Shoe-with: Available in Normal and Wide

Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 Hiking Shoe Video Review

The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra does not like too deep or stony ground. Especially in wet stony ground, the rather hard sole comes to its limits – Here, the Salomon Speedcross 3 is the better choice.

On the other hand, the shoe is particularly convincing on mixed surfaces. The lateral stability is excellent, which minimizes the risk of twisting.

The Gore-Tex membrane worked very well in the test. The shoe is absolutely waterproof and breathes well – in really hot temperatures; however, it reaches its limits – This is also due to various reinforcements (side, toe cap, etc.), which effectively protect the foot.

Therefore, the shoe is also available without a Gore-Tex Membrane as Salomon XA PRO 3D v8 NON Gore-Tex

The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is a very good all-round shoe that is very well suited for hikes of all kinds, thanks to its stable construction. Only on wet, stony ground could it offer more grip, but the sole is durable and very good on other surfaces.

What is the best material for hiking shoes?

There is no one particular material that is suitable for every type of hiking shoe. Just as hiking boots are divided into different classes, the materials used for these shoes also differ.

Very often, materials such as nylon or leather are used. Very popular for the inner lining are also Gore-Tex membranes, which should ensure a dry foot.

There are different types of leather sold under numerous manufacturer-specific names and garnished with various advertising terms such as bio-leather.

For hiking boots, full-grain leather, nubuck leather or suede are mainly used.

Traditional Leather Hiking Shoes

Modern hiking boots are not only made of leather. Many manufacturers combine leather with various synthetic materials. However, it is possible to dispense with leather entirely and make the shoe completely out of Synthetics.

Synthetics have the advantage, that they do not absorb water and can be made very flexible. Many manufacturers use polyester foams in many models, which adapt very well to the foot and thus improve wearing comfort.

The most popular hiking boots have plastic on the inside and thin leather on the outside. Between them is a Gore-Tex membrane, which is breathable and waterproof. Unfortunately, the Gore-Tex membrane does not last forever, so the shoes need to be replaced regularly with a new pair.

On the other hand, leather shoes are perfect for repairs so that you can utilize leather hiking boots for a longer time.

High Quality Suede Hiking and Approach Shoe for climbing!

Scarpa Zen Pro

The Scarpa Zen Pro has is suitable both for hiking and as an Approach Shoe for climbing. It has almost more of a solid boot than a lightweight running shoe.

In its construction, it is fully designed for off-road mobility. Appropriate fitness provided, this shoe can be used even on challenging terrain – without having to wear an heavy ankle-high hiking boot.

The Vibram Spyder II rubber sole provides excellent grip, and has the necessary strength to provide support on the rock.

But for that the cushioning of this shoe is not suitable for very long hikes on hard flat terrain!

Weight: 960 gram pair
Waterproof: Water resistant suede
Pro: Durability, Material perfect traction
Contra: Breathability

Material: Suede leather/recycled polyester air-mesh
✓ Sole: Vibram Spyder II rubber
Closure: Lace-up
✓ Shoe-with: Normal

Scarpa Zen Pro - Hiking Shoes Video Review

The processing of the Scarpa Zen Pro is impeccable – the sole is super glued, all seams are very neatly finished, the laces are thin but strong.

As a cushioning element, a soft white rubber is installed in the heel area, and the outer shoe is made of suede.

This approach shoe can be recommended to everyone without limitation. Whether for hiking, MTB riding or climbing, everyone will find a faithful and powerful companion with this shoe.

The Scarpa Zen is an all-rounder and impresses, especially with the quality and durability and a good look.

Why it also depends on choosing the right hiking socks?

If you are thinking about the proper hiking boots, you should also choose the right hiking socks. And if you are already in the process of getting a pair of socks for the next hiking day, then you better buy a pair more.

It makes sense always to carry spare socks in your luggage. Even if you don’t need them, nothing is more annoying than walking with wet socks.

It is essential to make sure that the socks are worn over the foot without wrinkles. Whether with or without padding is a question of the chosen terrain.

As a rule of thumb, the higher and steeper, the more padding should be present. The same applies to the thickness of the sock. The thicker it is, the better the absorption of moisture works.

Even if it is warm, the outside temperature should not be an indicator here. Because thin socks soak up moisture faster and make hiking significantly more difficult after only a short time.

Furthermore, the socks must be able to transport moisture through the shoe to the outside – this is mainly dependent on the material used.

Cotton provides immediate absorption of sweat yet has lower moisture transport capabilities than other types of textiles. Nevertheless, it is comfortable to wear and therefore suitable for those who tend to travel short distances in light shoes.

Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, are very breathable and easily transport moisture to the outside. Unfortunately, they tend to form blisters on the foot more quickly than merino wool.

Therefore, all-round hiking socks, which combine several materials, are also the first choice.

When buying shoes, also get advice on the choice after the best sock. Especially because socks are a frequently underestimated article of clothing, experienced expertise is advisable to search for suitable hiking socks.

Probably no one wants to spend a hiking tour of several hours with uncomfortable and unsuitable socks. Even the best hiking shoe would not help. Accordingly, shoe and sock must harmonize together for optimal hiking pleasure.

Traditional and Comfortable lightweight hiking shoe from the Keen Family

Keen Targhee III Low

Last but not least – The Targhee III from Keen is a rugged hiking boot in a rustic but beautiful design. The combination of the upper material of waterproof leather and mesh is very well done.

Also positive to mention is the environmentally friendly premium leather from eco-certified tanneries. The Targhee is available in 3 different color variants for men.

The integrated Dry Membrane is waterproof to the inside and allows steam to escape comfortably to the outside via the mesh lining.

The fit of the Targhee III is very comfortable, and especially in the forefoot, it is cut pleasantly wide. This is certainly an advantage in winter with thicker socks.

Weight: 870 gram pair
Waterproof: Water resistant suede
Pro: Well-built and comfortable boot at a good price/ Material
Contra: Low score in water protection

Material: Nubuck leather/ Mesh
✓ Sole: Rubber
Closure: Lace up
✓ Shoe-with: Wide

KEEN Targhee III Family - Video Review

When it comes to cushioning, Keen focuses on comfort because, in the Targhee III, you run very well damped. Through the all-terrain outer sole, you feel neither stones nor roots. But the shoe still combines comfort with excellent stability. The 4 mm flexion notches in the sole provide sufficient grip, which only reach their limit on wet stones and roots.

If you are looking for an inexpensive low shoe that not only proves itself when hiking but also in everyday life, there is hardly any way around the Keen Targhee III.

The fashionable leather shoe is uncomplicated to wear: soft, comfortable, robust!

The Keen Targhee is also available in a lighter Non Waterproof Version as Keen Targhee Vent.

Best Hiking Shoes for Men - Overview Table

Hiking Shoe Price Weight Gore-Tex Material
$150 - 180
780 grams
Synthetic/ GTX
~ 180$
900 grams
Vent / GTX / Leather
Suede leather and synthetics
1008 grams
Suede Leather / Mesh
612 grams
now also with GTX
Synthetic/ Mesh
820 grams
Mesh/Polyurethane lite
740 grams
Synthetic /SensiFit
960 grams
Water resistant
Suede leather/recycled poly
870 grams
Nubuck leather/ Mesh

What should I consider when buying hiking shoes or mountain boots?

Each terrain has different requirements for hiking boots. The models suitable in each case can be classified as follows:

Category A low-cut hiking shoes have a low shaft and are often referred to as robust “multifunctional shoes.” They make a good choice for different terrains when hiking in low mountain ranges, traveling or walking, and speed hiking.

Their cushioning is usually designed for light backpacks. Some models focus on lightweight materials and soft soles, while others can handle shorter climbs thanks to a stable outsole (approach shoes).

However, mid-cut shoes (category A/B; B) are ahead in terms of stability and protection. If you are looking for mountain boots for more demanding hikes or multi-day tours, this is the right category for you.

On difficult terrain, high models protect and stabilize the ankle much better. Well-cushioned shoes also allow you to carry larger and heavier luggage.

The selection of mountain boots is large. Ask yourself for what purpose you will most likely need the shoe.

Another tip for deciding between mid-cut and low-cut: Ask yourself honestly how trained you are. If you regularly go on fast tours in rough terrain, you have trained tendons and ligaments. You may prefer the freedom of movement of the low cut – and not need the extra protection on the ankle at all.

Category C or D mountain boots, on the other hand, will take you even higher: they are designed for touring off paved trails, in loose scree, or even on ice, and feature high lacing, a sturdy shaft, and a stiff sole.1

What are the Pros and Cons of the different hiking shoe categories?

Low-Cut Hiking Shoes and Trailrunners - Category A

The coarse sole of these shoes works very well on muddy as well as soft surfaces. Furthermore, the rolling behavior is excellent, which clearly distinguishes the shoe from a sturdy boot.

However, this also means that trail running shoes do not offer sufficient stability for small rock steps or climbing, as the sole is not particularly torsion-resistant.

In addition, this mid-height hiking shoe for men offers little support for the ankle.

  • Little fatigue, because very light
  • Good roll off behaviour
  • Comparatively inexpensive
  • Excellent grip
  • Material is sometimes not very resistant
  • Without gaiters, small stones get inside
  • Unsuitable for climbing
  • Less durable than a sturdy boot

Mid Cut Hiking Boots - Category B

Category B hiking shoes usually extend a little above the ankle and therefore provide slight stabilization for the ankle.

However, compared to approach shoes, their sole proves to be more flexible. Due to the flexible sole, the boots provide a lot of comfort and good rolling behavior.

Furthermore, the raised shaft protects the ankle better from impacts and, at the same time, protects against snow and water inside the shoe.

Mid Cut Hiking shoe Category b

  • Good roll-off behavior
  • Raised shaft offers good ankle protection
  • Light stabilization in the ankle joint
  • Comparatively light
  • Excellent grip
  • Only practical with low backpack weight
  • Half-high shoes restrict freedom of movement
  • Sole for climbing passages only partially suitable

Hiking Boots - Category C

Category C hiking shoes for men have a very stable sole and a very high shaft. These shoes are overall little flexible, but to the optimal companion on rocky and mountainous routes.

Indeed such shoes defy any terrain, no matter how demanding. Admittedly, this hiking shoe for men is not exactly lightweight, and they are not cheap, but in return, it can usually be resoled if the sole should be worn out.

  • Extremely torsion-resistant and stable sole
  • Mostly suitable for crampons
  • Since ankle-high, the entire foot is well protected from impacts.
  • Excellent protection against stones and snow
  • Stable even with backpack weights beyond 20 kg
  • Partly re-soleable
  • High weight
  • Comparatively expensive
  • More sweating in warm temperatures

Approach Shoes

Compared to the previous categories, approach shoes have a much more stable sole. They are low-cut, and the foot sits very stably inside the shoe.

The rolling behavior is still satisfactory but not as flexible as that of trail runners. You can use them on mountain trails up to T4-T5.

Overall, approach shoes are the ideal all-rounder for mountain and low mountain hikes in good weather conditions.2

  • Torsion-resistant and stable sole
  • Great freedom of movement in the ankle joint
  • Very light
  • Offer good support to the foot
  • Excellent grip on rocks
  • Ankle is unprotected from snow and stone chips
  • Only recommended with little backpack weight
  • Stable ankle required
  • Without gaiters stones can get in
  • moderate roll-off behavior

Category table for hiking shos and mountain boots

Category Shoe Type Application Area Demand & Terrain
A and A/B
Hiking shoes, Trail Runners as well as Speed hiking and Approach shoes
trekking,hikes in the flat country, low mountain ranges
Good and moderate trails, hut trails
Mid-Cut Hiking Shoes, Trekking Boots
More demanding hikes in low mountain ranges, easy treks in the mountains of the world
Also on bad paths and trails, scree, via ferrata
Mountain boots
Tours in high mountains on glaciers, hardest trekking tours, conditionally crampon resistant
Glacier, worst paths or also pathless, scree, fixed rope routes
Expedition boots
Absolutely crampon proof boots
No Trails, glacier, ice tours extreme, ice climbing

How to recognize high quality hiking shoes for men?

Whether you are interested in Trailrunners, Hiking shoes or a classic Hiking boot –  If you want to enjoy a high level of comfort while hiking and move forward with as little effort as possible, you should pay attention to the following aspects when buying.

With a suitable and comfortable shoe, you will surely have a lot of fun on your hikes and doing outdoor activities.

Happy Group of Hikers
  • The Sole determines Flexibility and Comfort

    The backbone of any hiking boot is the sole. This mainly determines how flexible the shoe is and to what extent the shoe is stiff against twisting.

    Both influence power transmission, safety and comfort. You need an extremely firm sole on demanding mountain trails, as the relieving and supporting function of the sole loses importance here.

    A firm sole also gives particularly insecure and inexperienced hikers more security and support in the terrain.

  • Cushioning: Better Power Transmission vs. Less Comfort

    The strength of the cushioning is determined by the use of the shoe and personal taste. If you want to hike outdoors as comfortably as possible, you’ll go for boots with soft cushioning.

    But this also goes hand in hand with less feel for the ground. Furthermore, hard cushioning offers better power transmission on small steps and with higher backpack weight.

    Choose the right Cushioning according your needs.

  • A hiking shoe made of leather or a synthetic material

    Modern hiking boots for men are made of synthetic fiber, leather or imitation leather. Sometimes you can also find creative combinations. The natural material promises excellent wearing comfort. Leather is robust and adapts well to the foot. Leather also supports a good grip inside the shoe.

    Compared to artificial leather, however, such hiking boots are more expensive and require more care. A men’s hiking shoe made of synthetic fibers is inexpensive and yet sturdy. The shoe is easy to maintain and easier to dry but less stable than leather.

  • Weather resistance

    Hiking also means having to walk in the rain or along puddles and streams or even snow. Therefore, the footwear should be as waterproof as possible because only then the foot stays dry you will feel comfortable during your hike.

    Leather absorbs a high degree of moisture without soaking. Furthermore, leather is breathable regardless of the temperature.

    Coated materials such as Gore-Tex membranes ensure that even lightweight shoes made of plastic are waterproof, but this also comes at the expense of breathability.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hiking Shoes

Do I need to break in hiking shoes?

New shoes should always be broken in before wearing. This way, you can prevent painful feet and unpleasant blisters.

Especially when hiking, it is important that the shoes fit properly so that they can fulfill their purpose and provide sufficient support for the feet. That’s why you should break in your hiking shoes before you set out on a hiking tour.

When does a hiking boot fit properly?

A hiking shoe fits if it fits comfortably and follows your movements. In addition, the footwear worn for hiking should not constrict anywhere.

Make sure that hiking and trekking shoes have enough clearance in the front area so that you can move your toes. Also, when sizing your hiking boots, keep in mind that you will be wearing thick socks while hiking.

Therefore, it makes sense to choose hiking and mountain shoes half to one size larger than everyday shoes.

Does a hiking shoe have to fit tightly?

A hiking shoe must fit snugly to give your feet the support they need when hiking and mountain climbing.

If the shoe is too big or too wide, there is a risk that your feet slip in the shoe. Therefore, hiking shoes should always be the right size and fit.s.

How much do good hiking shoes cost?

Good hiking boots do not necessarily have to be expensive. However, the price also depends on the quality, so you should expect costs between $150 and $200 for high-quality leather hiking boots.

Since hiking shoes should meet your requirements and last as long as possible, it makes sense not to save in the wrong place but rather to plan a higher budget for purchasing hiking shoes.

What hiking boots for wide feet?

Wide feet need a lot of support. For this reason, in addition to standard hiking boots, you will also find models that have a wider forefoot area.

In addition, with the help of good lacing, more space can be achieved for wide feet.

Make sure that the desired tightness can be adjusted individually, or simply buy your new hiking shoes a half or whole size larger than your usual everyday shoes.

Among the models presented here, some are also available as a model for a wide foot.

What hiking shoes for easy hikes?

A distinction is made between different categories of hiking boots.

Category A includes light hiking boots suitable for hikes on forest and meadow paths and hikes with light luggage on paved paths and light mountain tours.

Mostly, these models are low shoes with flexible soles, which that still offer good cushioning

Why ankle-high hiking boots?

Ankle-high hiking boots have the advantage that the entire foot area up to the ankle is optimally protected. This ensures that you always have a firm grip even when hiking on uneven terrain.

In addition, your heels are better protected in ankle-high shoes. The high shaft offers more protection against twisting and can also provide more stability to the musculoskeletal system.

How many years will hiking boots last?

The durability of hiking boots depends on various factors and is usually measured in miles rather than years. Typically, hiking boots last about 600 to 1500 miles.

In addition, the quality and manufacturing of a hiking shoe determine how long the model can be worn. With good care, the footwear will naturally last longer.


Thank You for Reading

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  1. Meindl - What type are you? - last seen 11/14/2021
  2. Johnson, Mark (2003). The Ultimate Desert Handbook : A Manual for Desert Hikers, Campers and Travelers. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press. p. 74. ISBN 0-07-139303-X.

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