The 10 Best Hiking Shoes for Beginners – How to Choose the Right Hiking Footwear

The absolute bare minimum necessity for hiking is what you put on your feet. Finding the best hiking shoes for beginners, or even a good pair, is something that usually comes to mind for anybody looking to start this new outdoor adventure activity. It’s not like you’re going to go for a barefoot walkabout!

Since hiking is an incredible way to explore, connect with nature, and challenge yourself physically, the last thing you want to worry about is what’s on your feet. Who wants to get a blister halfway through an amazing experience that can ruin their day? Not me I say!

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned hiker looking to upgrade your gear, choosing the right footwear is crucial. Hitting the trails without doing a little bit of research can come back and bite ya in the butt! So read on and check out my top 10 best hiking shoes for beginners. Boots and shoes that offer comfort, support, and durability. 

In this quick and comprehensive guide, I’ll give you my take on the best hiking footwear for beginners including men, women, and kids, emphasizing waterproof options and comfort to help beginners make informed choices. Happy hiking everybody!

Best Beginner Hiking Shoes for Men

As a man myself, I tend to look for hiking boots or shoes that offer good support, good traction and are breathable but will keep my feet dry. Something I can put on my feet that will provide an enjoyable hiking experience and not let me down after miles and miles of on the trails. Below are a few suggestions that I think any man will be very happy with! 

Best Hiking Shoes For Men

Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof

Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof shoes are a favorite among hikers for their exceptional comfort and waterproofing. These shoes provide excellent support and traction, making them ideal for beginners tackling various terrains. The very best of “middle of the road” option.


Well priced, but since they run on the lower end, they have been known to lose their waterproofing after heavy use of about 6-12 months. Still, not bad. As long as you maintain them, they’ll last. Might feel on the heavier side for some.

Price range ~ $70 – $110 USD

Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX

For those looking for a more expensive shoe that’s well worth the money, you have to check out the Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX shoes. They combine stability and comfort, featuring a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a durable outsole for optimal traction. These shoes are perfect for men seeking reliability and support on their hiking adventures.


This boot is top dog when it comes to ankle support, keeping your feet dry and overall comfort. There’s a reason you’re paying top dollar. Very lightweight compared to other similar shoe models.


Some reviewers have mentioned the fit. They tend to run on the narrower side and have a bit of a higher arch so not great for people with wide and flat feet.

Price range ~ $180 USD

Best Hiking Footwear for Women

Women seek the same qualities in the perfect hiking shoe. Comfort, stability, and support while navigating the backcountry. Traction is essential, so sturdy outsoles with deep lugs are preferred. Breathable designs help keep feet cool and dry, reducing the risk of blisters. Additionally, women consider the style and aesthetics of hiking shoes, preferring options that balance performance with personal flair. Hopefully, these recommendations meet all criteria! 

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

Keen Targhee III Waterproof

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof shoes are designed specifically for women, offering superior comfort and support, plus they’re budget conscious! With a waterproof membrane and excellent arch support, these shoes are a top choice for female hikers looking for durability and performance, plus they look great!


They usually run around $$60 so great deal for the price, especially if you’re just getting into hiking. All around great shoes, even for everyday use. Lots of color options with cute accents. Great style choice!


It’s been said they aren’t great for ladies with very thin feet or ankles. The stiff tongue can also be a bit of an irritation. The grip on the bottom is average so don’t use these for extremely rugged terrain, better for beginner/intermediated trails.

Price range ~ $60 – $120 USD

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped

Columbia’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped shoes are another excellent option for women, especially those that love high ankle support. These shoes provide stability and traction, featuring a cushioned midsole for added comfort during long hikes. They won’t let you down when you’ve been on your feet for hours at a time!


These are the queens of support! If you have weak or injured ankles, you need to buy these shoes. You will never roll or injure your ankles again! The wide array of color patterns will suit any personality from the tame and reserved to the colorful and outlandish!


The added support comes with added weight and thickness. If you’re not used to high-ankle hiking boots, they’ll be too cumbersome at first, especially for long and arduous hikes. They run a bit on the smaller side as well so if you think you’re going to wear thicker socks on most of your hikes, purchase a size up.

Price range ~ $70 – $110 USD

Best Hiking Shoes for Kids

Selecting the right pair of hiking shoes is crucial, especially for young beginners who may be new to hiking. Lightweight hiking shoes are ideal for young adventurers, providing the necessary agility and comfort for various kinds of hiking terrain. A sturdy base of the shoe, from the tip to the base, ensures stability on uneven paths, while low-cut designs offer ample ankle mobility.  Overall, finding the right pair of lightweight, sturdy hiking shoes is essential for young hikers embarking on outdoor adventures.

Best Hiking Shoes For Kids

Merrell Moab 2 Low Lace

The Merrell Moab 2 Low Lace shoes for kids offer durability and comfort suitable for young hikers. With excellent traction and support, these shoes ensure that children can explore the trails comfortably and safely. They’re the perfect all around hiking shoe for your youngster!


These tiny shoes are great for everyday use, not just for long or needy hikes. They’re very comfortable and affordable so think of purchasing a few pairs since most kids love them!


Reviewers have complained that the laces tend to fall apart fairly quickly so you might want to get additional/alternative sets, but that’s no biggy. They might not be great for kids with overly wide feet.

Price range ~ $45 USD

Adidas Outdoor Terrex AX2R

Adidas Outdoor Terrex AX2R shoes are lightweight and durable, making them a great choice for kids. They come in a unisex design so they make a great gift for that niece or nephew who just wants to roam the outdoors.These shoes provide great traction and support, allowing children to enjoy hiking adventures with ease, and of course fun! Comes in both toddler and big kid sizes.


The best thing about this shoe is the sheer variety of sizes they come in. Toddlers, little and big kids, doesn’t matter, they should have a shoe for them. They are also fairly rugged and reliable with great traction so if you have a very active child, these are a fantastic choice!


Because they come in so many sizes, they only come in limited color schemes. Also, because of the hardy traction underneath, dirt and mud tend to stick to the tread. No bueno for nice carpets and flooring.

Price range ~ $50 USD

Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes For Beginners

When it comes to hiking shoes, waterproof protection is essential, especially for mid-hiking adventures where encountering wet terrain is common. A good waterproof hiking shoe should offer a good combination of waterproofing and breathability to keep feet dry and comfortable in various conditions.

These shoes are perfect for beginners who may be new to hiking and are looking for comfortable hiking footwear that can withstand a lot of hiking. They are typically made with waterproof materials like Gore-Tex or eVent, ensuring that moisture stays out while allowing sweat to escape.

Additionally, these shoes often come with sturdy outsoles for traction on slippery surfaces and provide ankle support for stability on uneven terrain. Overall, for those embarking on outdoor excursions, waterproof hiking shoes are a reliable choice to ensure a comfortable and dry hiking experience.

Best Hiking Shoes For Beginners

The North Face Ultra 112 GTX

The North Face Ultra 112 GTX shoes in mens, or women’s, are highly recommended for their waterproof capabilities. These shoes offer a DryVent waterproof membrane, providing reliable waterproofing while maintaining breathability, ensuring dry feet on wet trails.


The North Face is an extremely reputable brand so you know you’re receiving a quality good. The grip underneath outshines its competitors and the construction overall won’t let you down. Great for short day hikes or month-long quests. Your feet will wear out before these will!


It takes a while to break these guys in. They come out of the box on the stiffer side and are best suited for temperate climates since they are known for weak ventilation. Feet prone to heavy sweating will not enjoy these.

Price range ~ $150 USD

Vasque Breeze at GTX

For those that want the maximum support possible, you need to check out the Vasque Breeze at GTX shoes. They feature a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane and excellent ankle support, making them an ideal choice for those seeking both waterproofing and stability on rugged terrains. These bad boys won’t let you down!


The mega daddy of hiking boots! If you need a pair of workhorses, look into grabbing a set of these bad boys. They’re available in both regular and wide sizes, last forever, and come with some of the best ankle support you can find. Lasts years!


Again, since they are so well made, they’ll need a decent amount of time to break in. Stiff right out of the box. Reviewers have complained they run on the smaller end so you might want to purchase a size higher.

Price range ~ $100 – $200 USD

Most Comfortable Hiking Shoes

The best comfortable hiking shoes are designed with features that prioritize comfort, durability, and performance on the trails. Many popular hiking shoes incorporate Gore-Tex technology, providing waterproofing and breathability for various weather conditions.

These durable shoes offer good traction with sturdy outsoles, ensuring stability on diverse terrain. They are a great option for beginners looking for their first pair of hiking footwear, offering the necessary support and comfort for extended outdoor excursions.

Whether opting for trail runners or traditional hiking shoes or boots, the shoes on this list strike a balance between comfort and functionality, making them the right choice for hikers seeking a comfortable and enjoyable trail experience.

Best Hiking Shoes For Beginners

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4

If you’re not afraid to spend a little extra money then you definitely need to check out the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 shoes. They are known for their superior cushioning that provides exceptional comfort on long hikes. These shoes offer a wider toe box and ample cushioning for a comfortable and supportive fit plus they look and feel like a lightweight running shoe!


Very stylish! These puppies don’t feel or look like hiking shoes. You can go out on the town in a pair and fit right in. Great for the gym, trail running, or basically any physical activity. Makes a great gift for that stylish person in your life.


The price is what usually gives pause on a purchase, but I can fully say they’re worth every penny. They are known to be very tight when fully laced up so not great for people with exceptionally wide feet.

Price range ~ $150 – $230 USD

Altra Lone Peak 6

The Altra Lone Peak 6 shoes, in men or women, is a trailblazer in outdoor footwear, boasting a zero-drop platform and FootShape toe box for natural foot positioning and comfort. With a grippy MaxTrac outsole and responsive Quantic foam midsole, it delivers exceptional traction, stability, and cushioning, making it an ideal choice for hikers seeking performance and comfort on diverse terrains. It’s a great running/hiking shoe hybrid that is ideal for basically anything you can throw at them!


If you want to feel like you’re walking on air, these shoes are for you. Probably one of the lightest shoes on the market. Another notable plus is how well they fit your feet over time. They’re dependable and come with a wide-toe box for even more added comfort.


These aren’t meant for walking or running in tropical or humid environments. Since they aren’t completely waterproof, you’re advised to, avoid large puddles, rivers or streams. It also wears very low on the foot so if you have ankle issues or want something more, these might not be for you.

Price range ~ $100 – $150 USD

Final Thoughts

Ever since the very first hiking shoe, companies have constantly tried to improve on outdoor footwear, and believe me, we’ve come a long way!

Beginner hikers might get intimidated with choosing the best hiking shoes. Not to worry though since it only takes a few minutes to find the perfect tool for the job. As long as you look for shoes with good support, priced fairly, and of course aesthetically pleasing, you’ll be find. It might take some trial and error to find what you like and that’s ok.

Ask yourself what’s the most important. Will you be in a wet environment that requires additional waterproofing? Will you need sturdy ankle support for the steep cliffs you’re about to tackle? First, figure out what your needs are and go from there.

With the perfect pair of hiking shoes, you can confidently navigate nature’s wonders and create lasting memories to cherish forever! Happy hiking to all!


  • James Ryan

    A seasoned hiker and adventurer who loves to travel and experience new things. An extrovert and creative at heart, James is most definitely a "People Person". He started this blog in the hopes of making somebody's day just a bit brighter!

    View all posts

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *