Search Cool of the Wild Start typing...

The 18 Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes in 2024

Man walking on a trail with poles

When it comes to deciding between the best lightweight hiking shoes and top of the range high cut hiking boots, there really is no right on wrong answer. Whilst boots have traditionally been the go-to footwear for hikers since as long as boots have been in existence, recent years have seen the rise of what some would argue as a more versatile type of hiking footwear: lightweight hiking shoes.

The hiking shoes vs hiking boots argument has been raging for years with highly valid points being made on both sides. But more and more people are leaning towards opting for the grippy, light-footedness offered by hiking shoes. So if you’re teetering on the brink of ditching your hiking boots and getting a bit more dynamic on your wilderness wanderings, then a look at the best lightweight hiking shoes might help you take that leap.

Overview of the best lightweight hiking shoes in 2024

This quick overview gives you a basic idea of which shoes are leading the way in the trekking and hiking world, with more detailed info on each of the best lightweight hiking shoes later in the article. And for advise on what to look for in the best lightweight hiking shoes then skip down to our buying guide.

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

ProductFeaturesWeight per pairUpperCost
Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking ShoesWaterproof, stylish, comfortable, lightweight600gRipstop mesh upper with TPU overlays$$$$
Naglev Unico HikerSupportive, eco-friendly840gKevlar$$$$
Oboz Sypes Low Leather Waterproof Hiking ShoesComfortable, stylish, waterproof738gNubuck leather$$
Lowa Locarno GTX Lo Ws Hiking ShoesComfortable, stylish, versatile, waterproof700gNubuck leather + Gore-Tex$$$
Timberland Garrison Trail SneakerComfortable, eco-friendly, lightweight versatile700gSuede + synthetic$$$
Scarpa Rush Trail GTXStable, comfortable, great grip910gSuede + synthetic$$$$
Asolo Nucleon GV Hiking ShoesVery comfortable, great grip815gSuede$$$$
Keen Explore Waterproof Hiking ShoesVery comfortable, natural anti-odour insoles856gSynthetic + Keen.Dry$
La Sportiva Spire GTX Hiking ShoesWaterproof, breathable, sneaker-style looks680gSynthetic + Gore-Tex$$$$
The North Face VECTIV Exploris 2 FUTURELIGHT Hiking ShoesWider toe box, comfortable760gSynthetic$$
Merrell MQM 3 Hiking ShoesSuper lightweight, breathable566gSynthetic$
HOKA Anacapa Low GTX Hiking ShoesVery comfortable, great grip793gNubuck leather + Gore-Tex$$
Vasque Satoru Trail LT Low Hiking ShoesNatural movement, everyday wear, vegan567gSynthetic$$$
Salomon X Ultra 3 GTXExtremely light760gSynthetic + Gore-Tex$$$
Keen Targhee IIDurable, good support907gSynthetic/leather mix$
Scarpa Zen ProComfortable, good toe protection965gSuede$$
Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R 3 GTXComfortable and extremely lightweight680gSynthetic + Gore-Tex$
Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry Hiking ShoeAvailable in wide884gLeather/synthetic mix + Bdry

Frequently asked questions when buying lightweight hiking shoes

Which are the most comfortable hiking shoes?
Finding the most comfortable hiking shoes very much comes down to your personal preference, and the shape if your feet. However, if you have regular shaped feet (i.e. not super wide or narrow), then take a look at the Scarpa Zen Pro, the Salewa Wildfire S, and the Adidas Terrex Swift hiking shoes.
Which hiking shoes are the best for transitioning from hiking boots?
If you’re a little tentative about leaping from the full support of high ankle hiking boots to the low cut of lightweight hiking shoes then the Keen Targhee II or the Vasque Mantra 2.0 hiking shoes are both great options. They are both cut slightly higher at the ankle than the rest of the shoes on our list providing a little extra support and confidence.
Which are the best lightweight hiking shoes for wide feet?
Keen hiking boots and shoes are well known for their wide fit. The Oboz Sypes also have a wide toe box and are available in Wide as well as regular. However, if you want a more lightweight hiking shoe then the Merrell Moab Ventilators are a great option.
Which of the best hiking shoes offers good arch support?
The North Face Ultra 109 GTX offer excellent support to those with high arches. However, if you need to add your own inner soles for extra support then take a look at the Keen Targhee II – they have removable inner soles. The Oboz Sawtooths also offer good arch support in their Wide fit.
Which are the lightest hiking shoes?
The Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX shoes are the lightest hiking shoes on our list. They weigh 595g (21oz) for a mens US size 9. The next lightest options are the Merrell Moab Ventilator and the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R GTX.
Which are the best waterproof hiking shoes?
All of the hiking shoes on our list provide some level of waterproofness. However, the Oboz Sypes not only have a waterproof and breathable lining, but they also boast naturally water resistant nubuck leather and a gusseted tongue which further prevents water from entering the shoes through the laces.
Which are the most durable hiking shoes
It’s hard to beat the leather uppers and beefy bumpers of Keen hiking shoes when it comes to durability. However, another excellent option are the Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 GTX, if you don’t mind their extra weight.
Which are the best shoes for hiking in the snow?
The high cut ankles, leather uppers and robust design of the Keen Targhee II and Vasque Men’s Mantra 2.0 GTX make both of these hiking shoes best suited to hiking in snowy conditions. However, for anything deeper than ankle-height you’re best opting for a high cut hiking boot or fully insulated winter hiking boot.
Which of the best lightweight hiking shoes can also be used for trail running?
The Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX and Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R GTX are both excellent options for those wanting to use their hiking shoes as trail runners. They are lightweight, streamlined and have speed lacing systems prefered by many trail runners. Another good contender is the La Sportiva Primer Low GTX which are a little heavier.
What are the best hiking shoes brand
There’s no definitive answer to this one unfortunately! Our list covers some of the best shoe brands in the outdoor world, but there are more exceptionally high quality hiking shoe brands out there that didn’t make the list. Not yet anyway!

The best lightweight hiking shoes

With that in mind, here are our picks for the top 18 hiking shoes:

Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Weight: 600g / 21oz (womens)
Uppers: Ripstop mesh upper with TPU overlays

Eco-conscious:PFAS-free durable water repellent, water-based adhesives, 100% recycled PET plastic upper, Eco Anti-Odor for natural odor control

New in fall 2023, the Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking Shoes compete fiercely with the likes of the HOKA Anacapa and The North Face VECTIV Exploris 2 FUTURELIGHT Hiking Shoes, which both adopt the more sneaker-like design for moving fast on the trail with low bulk and high comfort.

The Zionics offer superb comfort for casual walks and long day hikes, as well as for fast and light hikers wanting to get the miles in. They are also perform unexpectedly well in colder conditions offering warmth and waterproofness in shallow snow.

For those wanting something to trail run in too, the Zionics are an OK option for occasional runs, especially if you’re away and only want to take one pair of shoes. However, they lack a bit of cushioning for longer, regular trail runs.

Overall, these great look hiking shoes provide versatility and comfort with less bulk and a lighter construction that more traditional hiking shoe designs. Keen wearers should also expect a very different feeling toe-box to what they might be used to; it’s narrower and more sneaker-like.

For more information read our full review of the Keen Zionic Waterproof Hiking Shoes.

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Very stylish and versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Good waterproofness
  • Warm in winter

Cons

  • A little too warm in summer conditions

Find the latest price at:
Keen | REI


Naglev Unico Hiker

Naglev Unico Hiker

Weight: 840g
Uppers: Kevlar

Eco-conscious: Made from natural components

Handmade from natural materials, theNaglev Unico Hikeris our eco-friendly choice. It’s made from a combination of durable natural materials, including coconut, vegetable-dyed leather, natural gum, Kevlar, TPU, and wool. The result is a very sturdy hiking shoe. Its low profile design and a moisture-wicking sock liner also makes the Unico Hiker a comfortable choice for trail runners.

The natural rubber outer sole features moferately deep and well spaced lugs. This delivers the grip you need for tricky terrain while a supportive EVA midsole and soft footbed provide extra comfort. The Unico Hiker is also fitted with a Kevlar upper and TPU toe cap for armour-like protection that is water resistant.

Pros

  • Highly durable materials
  • Versatile usage
  • Comfortable for long hikes and warm conditions
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Pricey

Find the latest price at:
Huckberry | Alpine Trek


Oboz Sypes Low Leather Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Close ups of hiking shoes

Oboz Sypes Low Leather Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Weight: 738g
Uppers: Nubuck leather

Eco-conscious: Recycled (rPET) laces, webbing and lining. Insoles are made with BLOOM, a plant-based foam made with algae biomass. Oboz plant a tree for every shoe sold.

Of the more non-sneaker-like hiking shoes on our list, the Oboz Sypes Low Leather Waterproof Hiking Shoes are one of the most lightweight options, weighing 26oz / 738g per pair. They are also by far the most comfortable hiking shoes I have worn in many years, despite their modest cushioning and padding compared with the HOKA Anacapa and Timberland Garrison.

Much of their comfort comes down to the snug but non-restrictive fit that provides a spacious toe area, comparable to the Keen Targhee. But also the female-specific last around which the shoes are designed makes you barely notice them on your feet!

Aside from high comfort levels, the Sypes provide excellent waterproofness and grip in most conditions, though I have found them a little unreliable on wet, exposed rock. And I also love how stylish they are, enabling me to wear them year-round in all weather (bar the hottest of days) and for everyday wear as well as day and multi-day hikes.

Oboz describes them as “heavy duty without the heft”, and I couldn’t agree more.

For more information read our full review of the Oboz Sypes Low Leather Waterproof Hiking Shoes.

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent traction on most terrain
  • Impressive waterproofness
  • Very stylish and versatile

Cons

  • Grip is a little unreliable on exposed rock in the wet
  • You need to double-tie the laces!
  • A little too warm for hot weather hiking

Find the latest price at:
Oboz | REI


Lowa Locarno GTX Lo Ws Hiking Shoes
Close ups of Lowa Locarno Shoes

Lowa Locarno GTX Lo Ws Hiking Shoes

Weight: 700g
Uppers: Nubuck leather + Gore-Tex

Eco-conscious: Made in Europe

The Lowa Locarno GTX Lo Ws Hiking Shoes are an excellent option for those looking for something that does-it-all. They seamlessly bridge the gap between everyday wear and committed day hiking, offering pleasing performance in almost all areas.

The sneaker-like comfort and a casual aesthetic make these shoes very at home for wearing about town, on short strolls and for travel. However, they also offer enough protection and support for pushing out medium length day hikes on varied terrain. And the impressive waterproof nubuck leather outers with Gore-Tex membrane further add to their versatility in almost all conditions.

Where they fall slightly short is their grippiness on hard rock in wet conditions, which isn’t quite as reliable as when the ground is dry. This is fairly similar to the Oboz Sypes and is to be considered if these are your predominant conditions.

Aside from that, there’s little to fault about these versatile, stylish and super comfortable hiking shoes.

For more information read our full review of the Lowa Locarno GTX Lo Ws Hiking Shoes.

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Very stylish and versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Good waterproofness
  • Good breathability

Cons

  • Grip is a little unreliable in the wet

Find the latest price at:
Lowa | Cotswold Outdoor


Timberland Sneaker
Timberland trainers details

Timberland Garrison Trail Sneaker

Weight: 700g / 1.5 lbs
Uppers: Suede and synthetic

Eco-conscious: 50% recycled plastic waterproof membrane, sustainably and responsibly constructed suede, ReBOTL uppers and lining (fabric made from recycled plastic bottles)

Another lightweight hiking shoe that is on the more eco-conscious side of things is the Timberland Garrison Trail Sneaker. Combining recycled plastic with sustainably and responsibly constructed suede, these stylish and contemporary sneaker-style hiking shoes are an appealing option for the modern hiker.

Though not designed for long multi-day hiking trips, they certainly hold their own on big day hikes boasting superb comfort levels, grip and cushioning. They’re an excellent choice for travel and everyday use as well as running and day hikes, making them one of the most versatile options on our list. They’re also one of the most lightweight hiking shoes of the non-sneaker-like options on our list.

For more information read our full review of the Timberland Garrison Trail Sneaker.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Very comfortable
  • Great grip

Cons

  • A little on the chunky side
  • Bright design isn’t for everyone

Find the latest price at:
Amazon | Timberland | REI | Alpine Trek


Scarpa Rush Trail Shoes
Scarpa hiking shoes

Scarpa Rush Trail GTX

Weight: 910g
Uppers: Suede

Eco-conscious: bluesign® lining

If you’re transitioning from hiking boots to hiking shoes and are a little nervous about the loss of stability and robustness offered by shoes, then the Scarpa Rush Trail GTX Hiking Shoes will cater to your needs rather nicely. They’re made to the same specs and lasts as the boot version: the Scarpa Rush TRK, which provides very good stability and traction as well as being slightly on the stiff side for shoes. However, they also offer all the benefits of hiking shoes such as nimbleness, low weight and low weight.

The shoes boast a Gore-Tex lining and suede uppers for good waterproofness. Plus, the excellent traction seriously boosts confidence on tough terrain.

The main downside is the price-tag, which is up there with the most pricey options on this list. They’re also one of the heaviest pairs of lightweight hiking shoes, weighing around 910g per pair.

For more information, read our full review of the Scarpa Rush Trail GTX.

Pros

  • Very stable
  • Excellent traction
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Pricey
  • A touch on the heavy side

Find the latest price at:
Scarpa | Alpine Trek


Asolo Nucleon shoes
Asolo Nucleon details banner

Asolo Nucleon GV Hiking Shoes

Weight: 815g
Uppers: Suede

Boasting characteristics similar to that of approach shoes, the Asolo Nucleon GV offers a nimble and supportive alternative that will go the distance on long day hikes. They provide more support and robustness than approach shoes, keeping your feet well protected when scrambling up rocks and boulders, as well as negotiating loose downhill terrain. Offering style and practicality in equal measure, the classic aesthetics of the Asolo Nucleon GV Hiking Shoes make them suited to traveling and everyday wear, too. They are also superbly comfortable and lightweight, and are excellent all-round hiking shoes with the added bonus of being waterproof with a Gore-Tex membrane.

For more information read our full review of the Asolo Nucleon GV Hiking Shoes.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Stylish
  • Very comfortable
  • Very lightweight

Cons

  • Slightly narrow toe box
  • Pricey

Find the latest price at:
Backcountry | Alpine Trek | Asolo


KEEN Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Keen Explore Hiking Shoes details

Keen Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Eco-conscious: PFC-free water repellency and eco anti-odour
Weight: 856g
Uppers: Synthetic + Keen.Dry

New to the lightweight hiking shoes scene in 2020, the Keen Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoes have a very different look about them compared with Keen’s usual beefy bumpered boots. Bridging the gap seamlessly between trainer and hiking shoe, the sporty style is ideal for everyday wear as well as time on the trail, however fast your feet are flying. They have super plush cushioning around the ankle and tongue for instant comfort without sacrificing protective support and reliable traction. Plus, Keen use a PFC-free water-repellent treatment to compliment the Keen.Dry waterproof and breathable membrane – their own version of Gore-Tex. These stylish hiking shoes also feature innersoles that are infused with probiotic technology. This Eco Anti-Odour naturally breaks down odour in sweat without using hazardous chemicals and heavy metals.

For more information read our full review of the Keen Explore Waterproof Hiking Shoes.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Stylish
  • Very comfortable
  • Natural anti-odour treatment

Cons

  • Laces come undone easily

Find the latest price on:
Amazon


La Sportive Spire GTX

La Sportiva Spire GTX Hiking Shoes

Weight: 1.5 lbs / 680g
Uppers: Synthetic + Gore-Tex

These women’s lace-up hiking shoes are our choice as a female equivalent shoe to the North Face Ultra Fastpack IV Multisport shoes for men; definitely a sneaker-style look with a chunkier sole and a more obvious, boot-looking upper.

Classed as a low-cut hiking boot, La Sportiva Spire GTX Hiking Shoes are perfect for day-long trail hikes as well as for out and about daywear. Again, the clever grey colourway helps them look cleaner for longer, making them some of the best lightweight waterproof hiking shoes as well as the best Gore-Tex hiking shoes for women.

Welded uppers, innovative footbed and midsole aeration channels plus Gore-Tex membrane protection make these a really comfortable choice. Add half a size to your usual day-shoe size when buying.

Pros

  • Sneaker-look soles
  • Boot-look uppers
  • Dirt-camouflaging grey colourway
  • Waterproof and Gore-Tex breathable

Cons

  • On the expensive side

Find the latest price on:
La Sportiva | Amazon | Backcountry


The North Face VECTIV Exploris 2 FUTURELIGHT Hiking Shoes

The North Face VECTIV Exploris 2 FUTURELIGHT Hiking Shoes

Weight: 1.7 lbs / 760g
Uppers: Synthetic

Designed more like a trail runner than a hiking shoe, The North Face VECTIV Exploris 2 FUTURELIGHT is good-looking and stylish. This shoe is available in two attractive colourways and combines out-of-the-box comfort with great waterproofing and excellent grip.

Designed to help propel you forward with every step, this shoe will help you cover more ground with less effort, which is every hiker’s dream!

The wider toe box means there is plenty of stability and room for your feet to spread, making long, high-mileage days more comfortable. These shoes are light, flexible, and ideal for fastpacking.

Pros

  • Stylish shoe
  • Flexible and supportive
  • Grippy sole
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Curved foot rocker for increased propulsion
  • Out-of-the-box comfort
  • Reasonably lightweight

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • No eco credentials
  • Inconsistent sizing

Find the latest price at:
REI


Merrell MQM 3 Hiking Shoes

Merrell MQM 3 Hiking Shoes

Eco-conscious: Contains recycled materials (laces, webbing, lining, insole topsheet
Weight: 1.25 lbs / 566g
Uppers: Mesh/TPU upper

Merrell makes some of the best lightweight hiking shoes around. While durability can be a problem, their shoes are generally well-priced, comfortable, and more than fit for purpose. Their MQM hiking shoes are light, flexible, and grippy and offer instant comfort with no breaking in period. They don’t provide any waterproofing but, on hot summer days, that can be an advantage rather than a drawback, as your feet are less prone to sweating.

The MQMs are available in two attractive designs and are suitable for walking, hiking, trail running, and even easy scrambling.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Non-slip Vibram rubber sole
  • Breathable, fast-drying mesh upper
  • Air-cushion heels
  • Rock plates and reinforced toe box for added protection
  • Contains recycled materials

Cons

  • No waterproofing
  • Not the hardest wearing outsoles

Find the latest price at:
REI | Amazon


HOKA Anacapa Low GTX Hiking Shoes

HOKA Anacapa Low GTX Hiking Shoes

Eco-conscious: Contains recycled materials
Weight: 1.74 lbs / 793g
Uppers: Nubuck leather upper

HOKA Anacapa GTX hiking shoes are designed for people who want to walk far, fast, and comfortably. Leaning heavily on their running shoe technologies and designs, HOKA shoes look and feel more like sneakers than hiking shoes.

However, despite their casual appearance, these shoes have the features you need to keep your feet happy on the trials, including Gore-Tex waterproofing and grippy Vibram soles.

HOKA Anacapa GTX hiking shoes are available in six attractive designs, so you can buy a pair to match every mood. However, while these shoes are undeniably functional and hard-wearing, they are a little expensive. Still, you get what you pay for!

Pros

  • Flexible and supportive leather uppers
  • Very grippy sole
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Attractive design
  • Moulded sockliner for a comfortable, secure fit
  • Contains recycled materials
  • Low-profile outsole for speed and stability

Cons

  • Not the lightest lightweight hiking shoes available
  • Quite expensive

Find the latest price at:
REI | Amazon


Vasque Saruro Trail Hiking Shoe

Vasque Satoru Trail LT Low Hiking Shoes

Weight: 1.25 lbs / 567g
Uppers: Synthetic

Perfectly suited for dry weather trail hiking as well as exploring the neighborhood and running, these vegan-friendly Vasque Satoru Trail LT Low Hiking Shoes are a comfortable all-rounder for everyday wear. Designed to encourage a more natural foot movement they are a great interim between normal hiking shoes and barefoot-style boots.

In three unusual colourways, these men’s lightweight lace-ups make a fashion statement or two whilst still being some of the most comfortable hiking shoes in the category. For sartorial elegance, the Dried Tobacco colourway looks great around town while maintaining an outdoorsy air. Ebony has the feel of a sneaker with its green heel. And the intriguingly named Tap Shoe’s black upper, white sole colourway looks a little like a soccer boot!

Whilst not waterproof, the Vasque Satoru Trail LT Low Hiking Shoes keep feet protected and comfortable with a moisture-wicking textile lining. Vibram soles and various mid-shoe technologies provide high rebound, cushion and durability as well as great grip and multidirectional traction. All while looking great at the pub too!

Pros

  • Fashionable good-looks
  • Encourages natural-movement
  • Vegan friendly
  • Choice of 3 colours

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Find the latest price at:
Amazon


Salomon X Ultra 3 Hiking Shoes

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

Weight: 760g
Uppers: Synthetic + Gore-Tex

This latest evolution of the best selling X Ultra 3, may be a little heavier than its predecessor, but at 760g per pair the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX are still the second lightest hiking shoes on our list.

The synthetic upper is coated with polyurethane for durability and water resistance, and the Gore-Tex lining offers further waterproofing as well as great breathability. Salomon hiking shoes and trail runners boast a Contragrip outsole for maximum traction that is comparable to Virbam soles. Plus, this new version also feature Descent Control technolgy for superior support and protection on those big downhills. Another nice feature of these Salomon hiking shoes is the speed lacing system: the laces are tightened with a slide instead of knotted, which is perfect for getting the shoes on and off while wearing gloves. An excellent option for winter trail running and year round hiking on steep and technical terrain.

Pros

  • Super lightweight
  • Gore-Tex lining
  • Quick lacing system

Cons

  • Can be a little on the narrow side for some wearers

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry


KEEN Targhee II Hiking Shoe

Keen Targhee II

Weight: 907g
Uppers: Synthetic/leather mix + Keen.Dry

Like all Keen shoes, the Targhee II are great for wide feet. The footbed is removable, making them an excellent choice if you need to use orthopedic insoles. The cut of these shoes is higher than many other hiking shoes making them an excellent choice for those needing a little extra ankle support. If you have ever loved a pair of Keen hiking boots, these are very similar but with a lower profile. They are fully waterproof thanks to their Keen.Dry waterproof technology, and the wider toe box is also nice for accommodating thick socks. Other features that make the shoes great for winter weather hiking is the thick leather uppers and a thick heel loop for getting the shoes on and off when wearing gloves.

Pros

  • Super robust
  • Very good stability
  • Wide toe box
  • A good option for cold weather hiking

Cons

  • Fairly bulky for a lightweight hiking shoe

Find the latest price on:
REI | Keen | Alpine Trek | Backcountry


Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking Shoe

Scarpa Zen Pro

Weight: 965g
Uppers: Suede

The Scarpa Zen Pro hiking shoe is one of the more expensive options on our list, but the brand makes lifelong fans because of the overall comfort and excellent quality of their footwear. The inside liner is extremely soft but still wicks away moisture effectively, whilst the naturally odor-resistant materials keep the shoes from getting too stinky after a long hike. Rubber toecaps and soles with deep lugs do a great job of protecting your feet on rocky uneven terrain. And although the suede upper lets them down slightly in the when it comes to durability (compared with leather), the Zen’s are a robust and highly sturdy hiking shoe for big days on challenging terrain. They are one of the most comfortable hiking shoes on our list and also an exceptionally good approach shoe for those branching into the scrambling realms of hiking.

Pros

  • Great for scrambling and challenging terrain
  • Very comfortable
  • Protective rubber toecap

Cons

  • Suede not as durable as leather or synthetic shoes

Find the latest price on:
Alpine Trek | REI | Backcountry


Adidas Swift Terrex R 2 GTX hiking shoes

Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R 3 GTX

Weight: 680g
Uppers: Synthetic + Gore-Tex

At only 680g per pair, the recently updated Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift 3 2 GTX is the second most lightweight hiking shoe on our list, after the Vasque Saturo. Extra cushion under the heel makes for a very comfortable hiking shoe that is still one of the least expensive on the list! The speed lacing system is similar to that of the Salomon’s, as is their lightweight sporty look and exceptionally grippy soles. They lack the robustness offered by the Salomons, but their price tag is much more appealing for such a lightweight Gore-Tex and waterproof hiking shoe. They offer superb value for fast and light hikers looking to stay quick on their feet on all but the trickiest terrain.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Gore-Tex lining
  • Great value

Cons

  • Not as robust as other options

Find the latest price on:
Alpine Trek | REI | Backcountry


Oboz Sawtooth hiking shoes

Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry Hiking Shoe

Weight: 884g
Uppers: Leather/synthetic mix + Bdry

Available in both standard and wide, the ever-popular Oboz Sawtooth Low Bdry Hiking Shoe is a superbly supportive option for those looking for a specific fit with good arch support. With a nice wide toe box and excellent cushioning from the insole that also wicks moisture away from the foot, the Sawtooths are up there with the most comfortable hiking shoe options on our list. Their leather and abrasive resistant synthetic uppers provide excellent protection and durability, and together with their Bdry membrane, are reliably waterproof. A great pair of backpacking shoes with a super grippy outsole as well as side-wall lugs that offer extra grip on demanding steep trails. And all of that weighs in at only 884g – not bad for leather hiking shoes!

Pros

  • Good arch support
  • Available in wide
  • Great grip
  • Bdry waterproof membrane

Cons

  • Pricey

Find the latest price on:
REI | Amazon


What to look for in a great pair of lightweight hiking shoes

01Low weight

One of the most desirable features of hiking shoes above boots is their low weight. The average pair of 2-3 season hiking boots weigh in at around 1200g (2.6lbs) per pair, and much more if you’re looking at winter hiking boots. Whereas there are a couple of options in this review that are almost half that weight. The Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX are around 600g and the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R GTX are only a little heavier. This is a big difference when you consider the number of steps you are likely to take during a full day of hiking, and the low weight is especially beneficial for those wanting to keep their pace high.

The weight of hiking shoes also makes them much more suited to a bigger range of activities. Some of the light hiking shoes are ideal for trail running too, and shoes are generally an easier and more comfortable options for just wearing out and about. If your footwear is able to provide you with comfort and protection on the trail, as well as being your go-to shoe of choice in less adventurous scenarios, then leave the boots behind and save some space when packing.

02Great grip

Hiking shoes are designed to keep you nimble on your feet, and the sole of the shoes make a big difference to how confident you feel when springing from rock to rock or negotiating loose terrain. By opting for hiking footwear that doesn’t give the same level of ankle support as a high ankle hiking boot, it’s essential that you can put your trust in the grip of your shoes. Ideally, the outsoles should have deep lugs with a tread pattern that is well spaced to prevent mud from building up. For maximum traction many brands use Vibram soles which are the Gore-Tex equivalent of the outsole world! Generally speaking Vibram soles provide superior grip and durability to other non-branded soles, but there some own-brand equivalents that compete fiercely with the high quality and performance offered by Vibram. So don’t be too quick to discount anything that doesn’t have the Vibram label attached to it. Especially if the rest of the shoe is a good fit for your feet and their needs.

03Breathable and tough material

As with hiking boots, the upper material of lightweight hiking shoes varies from tough leather like the Vasque Mantra, to fully synthetic uppers like the La Sportiva Primer. Hiking shoes aim to be breathable, however, some do a better job at this than others. So it is important to consider whether you will be hiking in predominantly warm temperatures where extra breathability is a must. Look for something with a mesh or partially-mesh upper and a moisture-wicking inner like the Merrell Moab Ventilator to keep your toes as cool as possible. The best waterproof hiking shoes usually feature a Gore-Tex lining, which does an exceptionally good job at maintaining breathability too.

The best lightweight hiking shoes

04Waterproofness

Many hiking shoes offer partial or total waterproofing, often through a Gore-Tex liner. Waterproof hiking shoes can be more expensive, however, so consider whether or not this is an important feature for you, or whether you will most likely be hiking in dry summer conditions. The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX go one step further and guarantee rust-free rivets and hardware as well, a great option for winter hiking.

05Solid support

There is a big question surrounding the support that hiking shoes offer over hiking boots. The low cut of hiking shoes is the obvious downfall when it comes to ankle stability, especially when hiking with a loaded backpack. So if good ankle support is a must but you are really keen on the lightweight properties of hiking shoes, then you may want to consider a lightweight boot like the Asolo Jumla GV.

That said, most of the best lightweight hiking shoes provide a decent level of stiffness and stability through internal supports or built-in shanks. Shoes like the Keen Targhee II are an excellent choice if you are nervous about stepping out of your hiking boots and into a more lightweight hiking shoe, and they also provide unrivalled protection with their trademark bumpers.

If you’re just not willing to lose out on the ankle support provided by a higher cut, then you may be better off sticking with hiking boots.
hiking boots gear guide

06Comfortable fit

Although some aspects of fit come down to simply trying on the shoe, there are a few basic styles to consider. If you have wide feet, look for something with a wider toe box and heel. If you need extra arch support, you may want a shoe with a removable insole to make room for orthopedic insoles. As a general rule, Keen shoes are wider than most brands, while North Face shoes are more narrow. When it comes to trying on the shoes themselves, try them on at the end of the day when your feet are already slightly swollen. Equally, if you like to wear a specific pair of hiking socks when out on the trail, be sure to wear them when you try on the shoes. The same is true for any special insoles you plan to use when you hike. Because light hiking shoes are more flexible than hiking boots, they take less time to break in, but slight stiffness is still normal.


Whether you plan to hike in the snow or the sand, on rocks or through mud, there is a perfect option for you on this list of the best lightweight hiking shoes. So if you’ve lugged your overly heavy boots up one peak too many then maybe now is the time to leap on over to the light side and give hiking shoes a go?!

Joey Holmes

Joey Holmes
Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

Open Menu