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 a lot of hiking. Below are a few suggestions that I think any man will be very happy with! 

Best Hiking Shoes For Men

1. 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.

Price range ~ $70 – $110 USD

2. 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.

Pros: The price might scare away new comers, especially if you only go on walks once or twice per month. Very lightweight compared to other shoes.

Cons: Tend to run on the more 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

1. 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!

Pros: They usually run around $$60 so great deal for the price. All around great shoe, especially for newbies! Lots of color options.

Cons: Not great for ladies with very thin feet or ankles. Stiff tongue can also be a bit of an irritation.

Price range ~ $60 – $120 USD

2. 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!

Pros: Extremely supportive. You will almost never roll or hurt your ankles with these. A wide array of color patterns from the tame and reserved to the colorful and outlandish!

Cons: Cumbersome and heavy, especially for long and arduous hikes. They run a bit on the smaller side 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

1. 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!

Pros: Great for everyday use, not just for long hikes. Very comfortable and affordable.

Cons: The laces tend to fall apart fairly quickly so you might want to get additional/alternative sets. Not great for kids with wide feet.

Price range ~ $45 USD

2. 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 traction and support, allowing children to enjoy hiking adventures with ease, and of course fun! Comes in both toddler and big kid sizes.

Pros: Comes in a nice variety of sizes for toddlers, little and big kids. Rugged and reliable with great traction.

Cons: Only comes in limited color schemes. Dirt and Mud tend to get stuck in the tread underneath.

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

1. 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.

Pros: Very good grip. Extremely well made and sturdy for long hikes. Your feet will wear out before these will!

Cons: A little stiff for some and known for its weak ventilation.

Price range ~ $150 USD

2. 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!

Pros: Available in both regular and wide sizes. Some of the best ankle support you can expect from a hiking shoe.

Cons: They need a decent amount of time to break in since they are built on the stiffer side. Run a bit 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

1. 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!

Pros: Very stylish! These puppies don’t feel or look like a hiking shoe. You can almost go out on the town in a pair. Great for the gym, running, or basically any activity.

Cons: The price is what usually gives pause on a purchase. They are known to be very tight when laced up so not great for people with wide feet.

Price range ~ $150 – $230 USD

2. 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!

Pros: Very lightweight and form fitting. Dependable with a wide toe box for even more added comfort.

Cons: Not completely waterproof so avoid large puddles, rivers or streams. Poor ankle support since they wear very low on the foot.

Price range ~ $100 – $150 USD

Final Thoughts

When you’re a beginner hiker, choosing the best hiking shoes is crucial for a perfect hiking experience. Look for shoes that offer good support and cater to your personal preferences, whether you prioritize waterproofing, comfort, or support. Traditional hiking and mountaineering boots are good options to consider. When choosing the best hiking shoes, always consider factors such as terrain and fit.

A good pair of hiking shoes will ensure you’re comfortable and supported while you’re hiking. Beginner hikers should look for beginner hiking shoes that provide the right balance of comfort and durability. 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!

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