Hiking isn’t just for hardcore adventurers; whether you’re taking a short out-and-back before lunch or a casual hike with friends, hiking can and should be accessible to everyone. That means that the old rules of hiking gear have changed. Plenty of people wear workout clothes and sneakers on a hike rather than technical pants and hefty boots. If you’re looking for casual, comfortable shoes for your weekend jaunts, then consider picking up the best lightweight hiking boots. Lightweight hiking boots will give you the support and comfort of a hiking boot, minus the bulkiness and weight.
In addition to traditional hiking boots, another great option worth considering are hiking sneakers. If you’re more used to them, sneakers can be more comfortable than boots. Plus, sneakers go well with other athletic clothing, like hiking shorts. Sneakers from brands like Adidas are also more stylish than some technical-looking hiking boots, making them perfect for transitioning from a morning on the trails to whatever else you have planned that day. Plus, sneakers tend to be more lightweight than heavy-duty hikers.
When shopping for lightweight hiking boots, it’s good to consider what kind of hiking you expect to do. If you expect rough terrain and wet weather, then you might want something with GORE-TEX. If your hikes are dry and hot, then you might want something more breathable. The materials you choose should be informed by your preferences and the kinds of hiking you’ll do; common options include nylon, textile and leather.
SPY has rounded up some of the best lightweight hiking boots that you can buy, based on research, reviews and experience with the brands.
1. Danner Trail 2650 Mid GTX Hiking Boots
Around since 1932 and best known for their heavy-duty boots, Danner also makes lighter-weight options, like the Mid-GTX hiking boots. These premium boots have a two-layer GORE-TEX membrane for water resistance and a grippy Vibram outsole. They clock in at 1lb. 12oz. for a pair.
2. Reebok Zig Kinetica II Edge Shoes
Reebok’s “trail-inspired” Zig Kinetica II Edge Shoes bring hypebeast sensibilities to the hiking trail. Because these shoes are modeled after sneakers, they’re definitely some of the most lightweight hiking boots you’ll be able to find in 2022. Made from 30% recycled materials, the new Zig Kinetica has elastic laces, responsive midsole cushioning, and Vibram® Ecostep outsole for extra traction.
3. HOKA Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boots
These shoes from HOKA stand out from the pack thanks to the supportive ankle structure of a boot combined with the technical materials and eye-catching colors of sneakers. These shoes don’t skimp on performance despite their 1lb. 10.5oz. weight. They have GORE-TEX uppers and Vibram soles.
4. Salomon Outpulse Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots
Salomon makes tons of excellent hiking shoes, and the Outpulse is a stylish option for a day hike. These boots have GORE-TEX for water resistance and breathability. They have a supportive over-the-ankle collar but stay lightweight at 1lb. 10.8oz. for a pair.
5. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
For something with a classic hiking shoe look, pick up Merrell’s Vent hiking shoes. They’re not boots since they don’t cover the ankle, but they do offer comfort and a secure Vibram sole. These lightweight shoes clock in at a lightweight 1lb. 15oz.
6. Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots
You don’t have to compromise on support and protection to get a lightweight boot. These boots from Salomon provide cushioning and ankle coverage and weigh just 1lb. 15.6oz. They boast a Gore-Tex lining for breathable waterproofing and speed hooks for easy lacing.
7. Adidas Terrex Trailmaker Mid
Hiking shoes are rarely sleek, but these Terrex Trailmakers stand out for how much they blend in. The all-black colorway and sneaker-inspired design make for a great shoe to take you from the trails to the streets and back again. Like other shoes on this list, these mid boots have a GORE-TEX membrane for water resistance. They also clock in at under a pound.
8. Arc’Teryx Norvan LD 3
BEST FOR TRAIL RUNNING
Arc’Teryx makes some of the coolest-looking outdoor gear on the planet, which is why it’s no surprise they’ve become so popular with people whose primary hiking is done on subway stairs. Though they’re not boots, these sneakers are a great option for trail running or hiking. They have a grippy Vibram sole for support and weigh less than a pound.
9. Altra Lone Peak Hiker Hiking Boots – Men’s
BEST FOR DRY AREAS
Though they’re not among the best-known hiking brands, Altra has been producing quality trail-running shoes for over a decade. These boots weigh under 2 pounds per pair and are comfortable for long days on the trail. These don’t have waterproofing, so they’re best suited for hikes in dry climates.