Best Footwear for Summer Hiking (in 2020)

Camotrek is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. See the disclosure page for more information.


You need to buy hiking footwear but you don’t know much about what to expect from different types of summer hiking boots and shoes available on the market? Or you’re wondering which model to choose?

Don’t worry, you got to the right place. Here we highlighted our top hiking boots and shoes for the summer of 2020. In this post, we reviewed boots for all budgets and styles of travel. You will also find a footwear comparison table that we assembled to help you get a quick review of the most important characteristics, pros, and cons of each pair of shoes on our list.

Summertime is a special time for so many hikers and backpackers especially in 2020. Everyone hits the trail in the pursuit of making memories that are worth remembering and sharing with friends and colleagues. Following the recent summertime line of our blog, we continue with one of the most important components of every serious hiker’s gear – hiking footwear for summer. As we emphasized in our article about the most important physical and non-physical characteristics of hiking boots, the most important features of quality backpacking footwear are good fit, durability, breathability, waterproofness, stability, shock absorbency, good traction, low weight, etc.

The main debate over the last few decades has been between lightweight and heavyweight footwear. But is it so for summer hiking? The rest of this text is aimed at helping you decide what kind of footwear to choose for your summer hikes.

Quick answer: BEST HIKING SANDALS FOR 2020

1. KEEN Newport H2                                                       View on Amazon

2. Chaco Mega Z Cloud                                                   View on Amazon

3. ECCO Yucatan                                                                View on Amazon

 

Quick answer: BEST MINIMALIST AND BAREFOOT SHOES FOR 2020

1. Vibram V-Trek                                                                 View on Amazon

2. The New Balance Minimus Trail 10v1              View on Amazon

3. Vibram V-Trail 2.0                                                         View on Amazon

 

Quick answer: BEST TRAIL-RUNNING SHOES FOR 2020

1. Salomon Speedcross 5                                               View on Amazon

2. La Sportiva Ultra Raptor                                           View on Amazon

3. Altra Lone Peak 4.5                                                      View on Amazon

 

Quick answer: BEST SUMMER HIKING SHOES FOR 2020

1. Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX                                             View on Amazon

2. La Sportiva Spire GTX                                                View on Amazon

3. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator                                      View on Amazon

 

Quick answer: BEST SUMMER HIKING BOOTS FOR 2020

1. Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX                                    View on Amazon

2. Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid                                         View on Amazon

3. KEEN Targhee Vent Mid                                            View on Amazon

 

Quick answer: BEST SUMMER BACKPACKING BOOTS FOR 2020

1. Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX                                         View on Amazon

2. La Sportiva TXS GTX                                                    View on Amazon

3. Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX                                    View on Amazon

 

Table 1: Best summer hiking footwear – comparison table

PRODUCTDESCRIPTIONPROSCONS
KEEN Newport H2 Sandal
KEEN Newport H2

#1 Best hiking sandals



Category -> Hiking sandal
Price -> $$
Weight -> 805.2 g (1 lb 12.4 oz)


-> Excellent quality, workmanship, and style
-> Perfect for all-weather conditions, environments, and activities
-> Fit perfectly out of the box and provide good arch support
-> Toe protection


-> Weaker areas: back and back-side of the shoe
-> Tight strap
-> Sizes might not be consistent

Chaco Mega Z Cloud Sandals
Chaco Mega Z Cloud

#2



Category -> Hiking sandal
Price -> $$
Weight -> 595.3 g (1 lb 5 oz)


-> Elegant style and design; excellent color pallet
-> Comfortable out-of-the-box, provide ample arch support
-> Wide and soft straps
-> Rugged and work well on wet and steep surfaces


-> The strap can be too short, which makes it difficult to tighten it
-> Whole sizes only

ECCO Yucatan Sandal
ECCO Yucatan

#3



Category -> Hiking sandal
Price -> $$
Weight -> 652 g (1 lb 7 oz)


-> Three durable straps can be adjusted to fit to a variety of foot shapes
-> Well-ventilated, extremely comfortable
-> Suitable for carrying heavy packs
-> Good grip and traction on dry and rocky terrain


->Leather straps need more time to dry than man-made materials webbing
-> Relatively expensive
-> The Velcro straps can come loose after some time

Vibram FiveFingers V-Trek
Vibram V-Trek

#1 Best minimalist and barefoot shoes



Category -> Barefoot shoe
Price -> $$
Weight -> 370 g (13 oz)


-> Fit like a glove and are very comfortable
-> Great look and design
-> Excellent grip and traction
-> Thick and durable sole


-> Possible seam splitting around the toes
-> Too narrow for those with wider feet

New Balance Minimus Trail 10v1
New Balance Minimus Trail 10v1

#2



Category -> Minimalist shoe
Price -> $$
Weight -> 424 g (15 oz)


-> Super soft, flexible, and very comfortable
-> Highly durable for minimalist shoes
-> Grippy in a multitude of terrains
-> Versatile


-> Run small, narrow, and tight
-> The band across the forefoot is too tight; can cause rubbing
-> The mesh is too fragile

Vibram V-Trail 2.0
Vibram V-Trail 2.0

#3



Category -> Barefoot shoe
Price -> $$
Weight -> 364 g (12.8 oz)


-> Reinforced toes for added protection and safety
-> Great grip and exceptional traction on all kinds of surfaces
-> Thick and tough soles
-> More water-resistant around the toes than previous models


-> It takes some time time to break them in
-> The extra stitching inside can cause discomfort

Salomon Speedcross 5
Salomon Speedcross 5

#1 Best trail-running shoes



Category -> Trail runner
Price -> $$
Weight -> 640 g (1 lb 6.6 oz)


-> Premium quality and lightweight comfort
-> Grips the ground like a boot
-> Speed lacing system promotes fast and secure lacing
-> Versatile


-> Run narrow
-> If necessary, the Quicklace lacing system can be replaced only with the same system

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

#2



Category -> Trail runner
Price -> $$
Weight -> 686 g (1 lb 8.2 oz)


-> Built for long-distance runs on off-road terrain
-> Ultra sticky rubber outsole
-> Quick-drying and breathable upper
-> Comfortable right out of the box


-> The lacing system isn't perfect
-> Narrow toe box might lead to toe jamming
-> Run small

Altra Lone Peak 4.5
Altra Lone Peak 4.5

#3



Category -> Trail runner
Price -> $$
Weight -> 596 g (1 lb 5 oz)


-> Super lightweight and breathable
-> Dry quickly even in humid environments and conditions
-> Amazing grip - great for technical or single track trails
-> Excellent fit


-> Not the most durable shoes
-> Limited color pallet
-> Not the best heel design

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX
Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

#1 Best hiking shoes



Category -> Hiking shoe
Price -> $$
Weight -> 760 g (1 lb 10.8 oz)


-> Lightweight and breathable comfort on and off the trail
-> Tough and grippy rubber outsole
-> Durable lacing system
-> Gore-Tex liner for protection from water and rain


-> Too big in the heel area, which can cause slips and blisters
-> Run fairly narrow and fit snug
-> Can't expect them to last for years

La Sportiva Spire GTX
La Sportiva Spire GTX

#2



Category -> Hiking shoe
Price -> $$
Weight -> 880 g (1 lb 15)


-> High-quality shoes - rugged and versatile
-> Amazing grip on various surfaces in all weather
-> Great design; comfort
-> Quite breathable for waterproof hiking shoe


-> Expensive
-> It might be difficult to replace the laces if needed

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator
Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

#3



Category -> Hiking shoe
Price -> $
Weight -> 888 g (1 lb 15.3 oz)


-> Solid durable shoes
-> Extremely comfortable; can be used on the trail or as casual shoes
-> Highly breathable
-> Less expensive than other popular brands and models


-> Not rugged enough for technical trails
-> Too little cushioning
-> Become increasingly uncomfortable with time

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX
Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

#1 Best hiking boots



Category -> Hiking boot
Price -> $$
Weight -> 900 g (1 lb 15.8 oz)


-> Packed up with useful features
-> Hold up well on a combination of surfaces in various conditions; no break-in time
-> Lightweight in comparison to other major models -> Great breathability for waterproof boots


-> Once wet, they take a lot of time to dry out
-> Run narrow/tight
-> Some people have problems with the waterproof membrane

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid
Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid

#2



Category -> Hiking boot
Price -> $$
Weight -> 964 g (2 lbs 2 oz)


-> Great price/value ratio
-> Well-made; versatile
-> Superb ventilation and excellent breathability
-> Stable and durable


-> Not waterproof
-> Annoying crunching sound
-> Not the best insoles

KEEN Targhee Mid
KEEN Targhee Vent Mid

#3



Category -> Hiking boot
Price -> $$
Weight -> 987 g (2 lbs 2.8 oz)


-> Comfortable throughout the summer
-> Ample toe box
-> Really comfortable
-> Solid traction


-> A bit slippery on wet surfaces
-> Durability issues
-> The predominantly nubuck leather upper restricts breathability

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Backpacking Boots
Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

#1 Best backpacking boots



Category -> Backpacking boot
Price -> $$$
Weight -> 1280 g (2 lbs 13.2 oz)


-> Excellent design, high-quality materials, and craftsmanship
-> Amazingly comfortable with a short break-in period
-> Versatile and functional
-> Can count on them in rainy conditions


-> A bit pricey
-> Durability issues

La Sportiva TXS GTX
La Sportiva TXS GTX

#2



Category -> Backpacking boot/hiking boot
Price -> $$
Weight -> 1010 g (2 lbs 3.6 oz)


-> Lightweight
-> Functional boots built for hiking and backpacking
-> Optimal traction on technical terrain in many different conditions
-> Comfort out of the box


-> Once wet inside, they take a while to dry out

Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX
Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX

#3



Category -> Backpacking boot
Price -> $$
Weight -> 1080 g (2 lbs 6.1 oz)


-> Great look and feel
-> Lightweight and flexible; work well on a variety of surfaces
-> Gore-Tex lining for optimal protection in moderate and warmer conditions
-> Breathe well for waterproof boots


-> The insole design isn't the best on the market
-> Durability issues: mainly in the front part

 

Sandals

Wearing sandals is close to going barefoot. In fact, there is much evidence that going barefoot is better for the feet than wearing shoes. To be suitable for walking any distance, hiking sandals need to fit properly, support the feet, cushion against hard, rough, and hot surfaces, and grip adequately. Essential features of good sandals are thick, shock-absorbing soles with a shaped platform that supports the foot; a deep tread for grip; a strapping system that holds the heel and forefoot firmly; and rimmed edges that protect the feet from bumping against rocks and stones. Straps made of synthetic leather or nylon webbing absorb little moisture and dry quickly. This makes them a good choice for wet-weather use. They are usually fastened by hook-and-loop fabric or clip buckles. In general, hiking sandals’ weight is comparable to the weight of hiking shoes.

  • Pros
    Hiking sandals are best suited to warm or dry conditions. Some experienced hikers use sports sandals even on rugged, steep and stony trails in the heat. Sandals offer unmatched breathability so that your feet stay dry and cool. This means more comfort for your feet added to the reduced chances to suffer blisters. Additionally, you can ford rivers and streams without the need to take off your shoes and they will get dry much faster than any other kind of hiking footwear. It’s also quite easy to maintain sandals in good shape as they don’t need any special care.
  • Cons
    They’re fine on trails and most rocky terrain but not so good in prickly vegetation. For example, in deserts you need to take great care to avoid cactuses, also while in forests, thorn bushes can be a problem. Wearing sandals in the fields lush with grass also isn’t very comfortable.

Best hiking sandals (our recommendations for summer 2020)

#1 KEEN Newport H2

KEEN Newport H2 SandalCategory: Hiking sandal

Weight: 805.2 g (1 lb 12.4 oz)

Notable features:

  • Razor-siped sole with multi-directional lug pattern for improved traction on difficult terrain in wet and dry conditions
  • Machine-washable polyester webbing upper; the Metatomical EVA footbed Is infused with anti-odor treatment
  • Secure fit lace capture system

Pros:

  • Excellent quality, workmanship, and style; easy to clean
  • Versatile – excellent for summer hiking trips, cycling, kayaking, fishing, and other outdoor activities but can be used as year-round footwear; can be used as trail shoes, water shoes or daily footwear around town
  • Fit perfectly out of the box and are very comfortable, and provide good arch support
  • Toe protection is especially valuable for those who like to go off the beaten path

Cons:

  • In some cases, the stitching in the back heel area frays (fall apart, is coming undone) just after a month or two; back and back-side of the shoe are weaker areas
  • Tight strap can cause problems with getting them on; note that it doesn’t stretch with wear
  • Sizes might not be consistent; check carefully the manufacturer’s instructions for proper sizing

Best for: Wet environments and conditions

 

See the Men’s KEEN Newport H2 See the Women’s KEEN Newport H2

 

Chaco Mega Z Cloud SandalsCategory: Hiking sandal

Weight: 595.3 g (1 lb 5 oz)

Notable features:

  • Luvseat dual-density polyurethane midsole Chaco Cloud cushioning for long-lasting comfort
  • Polyester jacquard webbing upper with durable metal buckle for a customized fit
  • ChacoGrip rubber outsole is optimized for wet terrain; excellent traction thanks to the 3.5mm lug depth

Pros:

  • Well-made sandals that have an elegant style and design; excellent color pallet
  • Comfortable out-of-the-box, provide ample arch support
  • Wide and soft straps are comfortable and can be adjusted easily; they’re softer than the straps of other popular models such as Teva Terra and KEEN Newport
  • Vegan-friendly construction is rugged and works well on wet and steep surfaces

Cons:

  • The strap can be too short, which makes it difficult to tighten it; fit snug
  • Whole sizes only

Best for: Long hikes

 

See the Men’s Mega Z Cloud See the Women’s Mega Z Cloud

 

ECCO Yucatan SandalCategory: Hiking sandal

Weight: 652 g (1 lb 7 oz)

Notable features:

  • Durable nubuck leather upper, breathable and quick-drying synthetic (spandex-and-nylon) lining
  • FLUIDFORM DIP P.U midsole foam footbed provides excellent cushioning for all-day walking comfort
  • RECEPTOR technology for excellent stability and dynamic support

Pros:

  • Three durable hook-and-loop straps can be adjusted to fit to a variety of foot shapes
  • Well-ventilated, offer unmatched right out-of-the-box comfort; can hold up well in different weather conditions
  • The ECCO Yucatan offer more support than the majority of sandals on the market; this facilitates carrying heavy packs
  • The rubber outsoles allow for grip and traction on dry and rocky terrain

Cons:

  • Leather straps need more time to dry than polyester and other man-made materials webbing
  • Relatively expensive
  • The Velcro straps can come loose after some time

Best for: Adventure travel

 

See the Men’s ECCO Yucatan See the Women’s ECCO Yucatan

 

Minimalist and barefoot shoes

If you want to feel what it’s like to hike, run or train barefoot (without actually being barefoot), you need barefoot shoes. Wearing barefoot shoes comes really close to a true barefoot experience. This kind of shoes usually comes with thin, flexible, and grippy sole, neutral heel, and a spacious toe box. This combination makes barefoot shoes suitable for many surfaces. However, it restricts their use primarily to not-so-rugged terrain. Of course, there are also some models such as the V-Trail 2.0 that are quite a good option for hiking or running on rugged terrain.

Something between sneakers and barefoot shoes, minimalist shoes are also quite an interesting option for those who prefer to run and travel fast and light. The main features and characteristics of this type of shoes include low weight, midsole that provides minimal cushioning only, and thin and flexible outsole offering marginal to no arch support at all. It’s safe to say that minimalist and barefoot shoes don’t have a great throng of fans. However, they are quite popular among minimalist runners, hikers, and weightlifters.

  • Pros
    Barefoot and minimalist shoes are compact, packable, and quick-drying footwear. They are also lighter than other types of hiking footwear, which for reduced foot fatigue. The regular use of minimalist and barefoot shoes gradually strengthens the muscles of the feet and legs, and encourage the adoption of a more natural gait. This might decrease the incidence of certain foot injuries. Additionally, many models of minimalist and barefoot shoes are versatile – suitable for a variety of indoor (gym) and outdoor sports (running) and activities (hiking).
  • Cons
    The biggest disadvantage is probably the time and effort you need to invest until your feet adapt to such kind of shoes. Moreover, since barefoot shoes don’t offer enough protection to the feet, you will be able to feel almost everything beneath your feet including rocks, and sharp objects. Many people find that barefoot and minimalist shoes aren’t very aesthetically appealing so you need to give up some style and elegance for lightness (and comfort). Minimalist and (mainly) barefoot shoes also often lack enough breathability for hot weather hiking and running. It’s also possible that they start to smell after several months of regular use.

Best minimalist and barefoot shoes (our recommendations for summer 2020)

#1 Vibram V-Trek

Vibram FiveFingers V-TrekCategory: Barefoot shoe

Weight: 370 g (13 oz)

Notable features:

  • Durable and flexible 4mm rubber Megagrip outsole for excellent grip on any terrain in both wet and dry conditions (including slippery surfaces)
  • Lightweight PU midsole for long-lasting cushioning and extra comfort
  • 50/50 blended wool and synthetic upper material has two main functions – increased breathability and odor-resistance

Pros:

  • Fit like a glove; great fit and feel for happy feet even when used every day
  • Great look and design
  • Excellent grip and traction – wet terrain, rocks, etc. (stick like glue to all surfaces)
  • Thick and durable sole

Cons:

  • Weakest point: possible seam splitting around the toes
  • Too narrow for those with wider feet

Best for: Versatility

 

See the Men’s Vibram V-Trek See the Women’s Vibram V-Trek

 

New Balance Minimus Trail 10v1Category: Minimalist shoe

Weight: 424 g (15 oz)

Notable features:

  • Vibram outsole with flex grooves (4mm drop) is durable and ensures optimal grip and traction on tough terrain (rocky trails)
  • Highly breathable synthetic/mesh upper provides excellent ventilation in hot weather
  • Odor-resistant treatment

Pros:

  • Super soft, flexible, and very comfortable
  • Highly durable with strong construction for minimalist shoes
  • Grippy in a multitude of terrains, technical trails, rocky surfaces, etc.
  • Versatile – off-road (trail) running, gym, weightlifting, all-purpose training or casual wearing

Cons:

  • Run small, narrow, and tight
  • The band across the forefoot is too tight and causes rubbing
  • The mesh is too fragile

Best for: Trail running

 

See the Men’s Minimus Trail 10v1 See the Women’s Minimus Trail 10v1

 

Vibram V-Trail 2.0Category: Barefoot shoe

Weight: 364 g (12.8 oz)

Notable features:

  • 3D Cocoon mesh woven into the outsole of the shoe for added protection from sharp objects (rocks, roots, acorns, etc.)
  • Tough rubber Megagrip outsole for excellent grip on any terrain in both wet and dry conditions (including slippery surfaces)
  • Water-repellent and abrasion-resistant polyester upper material

Pros:

  • Reinforced toes for added protection and safety
  • Great grip and exceptional traction on all kinds of surfaces/terrain – rock, sand, clay (like having Velcro on the feet)
  • Thick and tough soles offer better protection for rocks; can run on cement
  • More water-resistant around the toes than other shoes/previous models. Takes more time to get wet feet

Cons:

  • It takes some time before you break them in. Before that they might feel painful and can cause blisters
  • The extra stitching inside, the too-tight fit (they run small), and the rigid arch strap might cause discomfort
  • You need to wear them with socks

Best for: Challenging trails and rugged terrain

 

See the Men’s Vibram V-Trail 2.0 See the Women’s Vibram V-Trail 2.0

 

Trail-running shoes

They are a great choice for hiking, trekking or trail running. Comfortable and much lighter than hiking shoes, hiking boots or backpacking boots, this type of footwear reduces foot fatigue. Shoes designed for trail running make ideal lightweight backpacking footwear. Construction usually features mesh uppers for breathability, shock-absorbing midsoles, and strong heel. For better foot protection, you might want to consider trail-running shoes with reinforced toe cap.

  • Pros
    They’re a good choice for summer trails, dry or wet. Running shoes are usually designated as suitable for easy to moderate trails with light loads. However, empirical data shows that you can use them on trails with heavy loads too without experiencing any considerable problems. Lightweight running shoes are breathable enough to ensure dry and cool feet on hot summer days; sturdy enough to make sure that they last even some challenging trails; and will dry faster than all other types of hiking footwear (excluding hiking sandals) after getting wet.
  • Cons
    Although recommended for summer hiking (unless you decide to go to the Himalayas or somewhere else where the terrain is rough, snowy, and slippery), trail-running shoes have some limitations too. For example, you need to spend some time preparing your body before hiking some long trails, including strengthening your ankles. Doing this will give you better endurance and will make you less prone to ankle injuries.

Best trail-running shoes (our recommendations for summer 2020)

#1 Salomon Speedcross 5

Salomon Speedcross 5Category: Trail runner

Weight: 640 g (1 lb 6.6 oz)

Notable features:

  • Contagrip TA sole with updated geometry (multi-directional grip) is suitable for all surface conditions including muddy and soft terrains
  • The completely welded SensiFit upper is stitch-free for a precise and secure fit, and is engineered to move naturally with the foot
  • Quicklace is minimalistic and strong one-pull lacing system

Pros:

  • Premium quality and lightweight comfort
  • Provide excellent grip and traction (grips the ground like a boot) + stability on a variety of surfaces; great for technical trails and tough terrain
  • The lacing can look a bit flimsy to those who aren’t used to wearing shoes with the Quicklace lacing system but this speed lacing system promotes fast and secure lacing
  • This aggressive trail shoe is quite versatile – it’s excellent for running, hiking or outdoor sports

Cons:

  • Run narrow
  • If anything happens with the lacing system, you can’t just buy another set of ties; you need to buy the same Quicklace lacing system

Best for: Technical trails

 

See the Men’s Salomon Speedcross 5 See the Women’s Salomon Speedcross 5

 

La Sportiva Ultra RaptorCategory: Trail runner

Weight: 686 g (1 lb 8.2 oz)

Notable features:

  • Sticky FriXion XF rubber outsole with Impact Brake System (IBS) and X-Axi reduce impact and provide great traction on tough terrain
  • Highly compressed EVA Rock Guard protects feet from stone bruises
  • EZ-in heel pocket provides cushioning and reinforcement for a comfortable fit

Pros:

  • Comfortable right out of the box
  • Built for long-distance runs (endurance races) on off-road terrain; an excellent option for hiking and backpacking – provide stability even for those with heavy backpacks
  • Ultra sticky rubber outsole grips well on a great variety of terrain including mountainous terrain – wet grass, mud, sand, rocks, gravel, etc.
  • Quick-drying and breathable nylon air-mesh and synthetic leather upper is lightweight and keeps feet dry

Cons:

  • Run small so you need to check the size chart to make sure that you get the right size for your feet
  • The lacing system isn’t perfect, the cloth webbing loops might fail, in particular
  • Narrow toe box (might lead to toe jamming), not for those with wider feet

Best for: Mountain hiking and running

 

See the Men’s La Sportiva Ultra Raptor See the Women’s La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

 

Altra one Peak 4.5Category: Trail runner

Weight: 596 g (1 lb 5 oz)

Notable features:

  • Durable air mesh breathes well and dries quickly
  • Dual layer EVA / A-Bound™ with StoneGuard™ cushions and protects against rocks without hampering foot flexibility
  • MaxTrac™ rubber outsole with TrailClaw™ multidirectional lug pattern

Pros:

  • Super lightweight, breathable for cool and dry feet
  • You can count on these trail runners to dry quickly even in humid environments and conditions
  • Excellent fit and very comfortable right out of the box for blister-free experience; provide good cushioning; your feet will be very thankful
  • Amazing grip makes them suitable for technical or single track trails; excellent for backpacking

Cons:

  • Not the most durable pair of shoes
  • The color pallet is too limited; no natural colors
  • Not the best heel design – the heel cup/loop rubs into the Achilles tendon, which can cause inconvenience and blisters; many people find them unwearable because of this

Best for: Ultralight thru-hiking

 

See the Men’s Altra Lone Peak 4.5 See the Women’s Altra Lone Peak 4.5

 

Forest hikers

Photo by Brodie Vissers

Hiking shoes

They differ from trail runners in the stiffness of the midsole. Although a bit heavier, the stiffer flex provides a more solid platform when walking on rough trails, and it helps prevent bruising the bottom of the feet from stepping on sharp rocks. Heavier than running shoes, sandals, and barefoot shoes but lighter than hiking boots and backpacking boots, they are suitable for hiking and backpacking with moderate load or on rough terrain.

  • Pros
    The advantages of trekking shoes are comfort and weight. Since most kinds of hiking shoes are not waterproof, they are relatively breathable (some waterproof models can also provide enough ventilation and air-circulation for hiking and backpacking in warm weather) which makes them quite a reasonable choice for summer hiking on rough terrain. In addition, they will protect your feet much better than sandals on trails with spiky vegetation.
  • Cons
    Trekking shoes can cope with most terrain except for steep, hard snow and ice. Most waterproof hiking shoes don’t offer good ventilation in hot environments and conditions – on the one side they will protect your feet from wet weather, but on the other side, your feet will sweat in the hot summer days on the trail.

Best summer hiking shoes (our recommendations for 2020)

#1 Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX(The non-waterproof version of these shoes is Salomon X Ultra 3)
Category
: Hiking shoe

Weight: 760 g (1 lb 10.8 oz)

Notable features:

  • Anti-debris mesh and integrated shoe tongue prevent/preclude debris from entering the shoe
  • Stitch-free upper employing the SensiFit technology
  • Durable and grippy Contagrip TD outsole with deep, aggressive lug pattern makes sure that you get maximum traction whenever you need it

Pros:

  • Lightweight and breathable comfort from a flexible but sturdy shoe that’s equally good on the trail and as everyday wear
  • The rubber outsole is tough and grips confidently on all terrain including wet rock, grass, leaves, and dirt
  • Durable lacing system – Quicklace performs flawlessly to make sure you get fast and secure fit; lace pocket for easy storage of the lacing
  • The Gore-Tex liner protects the foot from rain and water; makes sure that you can hike in bad weather

Cons:

  • Too big in the heel area, which can cause slips and blisters
  • The shoes run fairly narrow and fit snug, which could make them uncomfortable to wear for long term
  • These shoes are sturdy but they are not built to last forever; don’t expect to get more than several months or a year of regular (moderate/heavy) use. The weakest part is in the toe area where the shoe flexes while

Best for: Adventure travel

 

See the Men’s Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX See the Women’s Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

 

#2 La Sportiva Spire GTX

La Sportiva Spire GTXCategory: Hiking shoe

Weight: 880 g (1 lb 15)

Notable features:

  • Vibram XS Trek with Impact Brake System (IBS) sole provides traction and grip
  • STB control system integrates Gore-Tex Surround ventilation outlets and provides a comfortable, snug-fitting, and stable boot
  • Durable abrasion-resistant mesh upper for protection; Nano Cell 2.0 structure for maximum breathability

Pros:

  • Amazing grip on various surfaces in all weather makes them perfect for the backcountry; perform well/stable on rough terrain with steep ascents and descents (inclines)
  • Great design (they look stylish and cool) and comfort with no break-in period
  • High-quality shoes – rugged and versatile; suitable for a variety of activities: hiking, backpacking, walking, or as an everyday shoe
  • Quite breathable for waterproof hiking shoe; ventilates well

Cons:

  • The biggest downside is the price of these shoes – they’re a bit pricey (on the more expensive side)
  • The thin laces are specific and if something happens to them (in some cases they fell apart after a couple of months), it might be difficult to replace them

Best for: Mixed terrain

 

See the Men’s La Sportiva Spire GTX See the Women’s La Sportiva Spire GTX

 

#3 Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

Merrell Moab 2 VentilatorCategory: Hiking shoe

Weight: 888 g (1 lb 15.3 oz)

Notable features:

  • Performance suede leather and mesh upper (+ breathable mesh lining)
  • Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ blended EVA contoured footbed with added zonal arch and heel support
  • Sturdy Vibram TC5+ sole with a 5mm lug depth

Pros:

  • Solid durable shoes that are well-made and can be used on the trail or as casual shoes
  • Extremely comfortable shoes; generally, the break-in period shouldn’t be longer than a couple of days; good grip and traction, and support on light to moderate trails
  • Highly breathable (breathe really well) for dry, cool, and happy feet
  • At less than $100 per pair, they are less expensive than other popular brands and models

Cons:

  • Good everyday shoe but not rugged enough for technical trails
  • Too little cushioning, people with more sensitive feet can feel every rock and root beneath them
  • Become increasingly uncomfortable with time/distance (when hiking longer distances)

Best for: Day hikes and established trails

 

See the Men’s Moab 2 Ventilator See the Women’s Moab 2 Ventilator

 

Hiking boots

They offer better ankle support when carrying a heavy pack or hiking on rough terrain. However, this is valid only for boots with high, stiffened cuffs (and not for boots with soft cuffs). But the stiff ankle support restricts foot movement too much and some hikers have to loosen the clips to let their ankles flex fairly normally. For traversing steep, rugged terrain, you need strong, flexible ankles, shock-absorbing midsoles, and lightweight, flexible footwear. You also need a pair of good hiking socks that would work well with your boots. For more information, see our post about socks and everything you need to know about them.

  • Pros
    Hiking boots are suitable for steep terrain, giving more control and stability. Good for summer hikes in an altitude where you’ll have to negotiate steep terrain often covered with snow and ice.
  • Cons
    Too heavy and usually waterproof, hiking boots can’t be a good choice for summer hiking unless you go to a place with challenging terrain and/or steep hardpacked snow. Wearing them in the summer on an even terrain in hot weather will be beneficial neither for your feet nor for your morale.

Best summer hiking boots (our recommendations for 2020)

#1 Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTXCategory: Hiking boot

Weight: 900 g (1 lb 15.8 oz)

Notable features:

  • Advanced Chassis connects to the sole for optimized motion control, energy management, stability, and comfort
  • Contagrip TD outsole combines a deep, aggressive lug pattern with durable compound for maximum traction on mixed terrain
  • Molded to match the contours of your foot, the OrthoLite insole provides superior cushioning and heel support

Pros:

  • Packed up with useful features, these are versatile all-around boots providing great traction on slippery surfaces that can also be used as everyday wear year-round
  • Extremely comfortable boots, they hold up well on a combination of surfaces in various conditions; reliable for technical, wet, and muddy hikes; no break-in time
  • Lightweight in comparison to other major models; flexible; great style
  • Great breathability for waterproof boots

Cons:

  • Once wet/soaked, they take a lot of time to dry out (this in part is due to the Gore-Tex waterproof membrane)
  • Run narrow/tight; check the size chart to make sure that you get the right fit for your feet
  • Some people have problems with the waterproof membrane (it leaks)

Best for: Lightweight backpacking in all-trail conditions

 

See the Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX See the Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

 

#2 Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid

Merrell Moab 2 Vent MidCategory: Hiking boot

Weight: 964 g (2 lbs 2 oz)

Notable features:

  • Performance suede leather and mesh upper with rubber toe bumper
  • Merrell M Select FIT.ECO+ blended EVA contoured footbed for added support
  • Air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability; molded nylon arch shank adds stability

Pros:

  • Great price/value ratio; At around $100, the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid offer perfect fit and all-day comfort right out of the box
  • Well-made boots; can be used for both backpacking trips, work or walks around town
  • Superb ventilation and excellent breathability thanks to the mesh lining = less sweating -> great for summer hiking and backpacking
  • Stable and durable; great ankle support, good but not excessive arch support

Cons:

  • Not waterproof (great for dry summer days and not so great for wet days)
  • Annoying crunching sound when you walk in them
  • Advice: replace the standard insoles with better ones and get even more comfort

Best for: Budget backpacking in dry conditions

 

See the Men’s Moab 2 Vent Mid See the Women’s Moab 2 Vent Mid

 

#3 KEEN Targhee Vent Mid

KEEN Targhee MidCategory: Hiking boot

Weight: 987 g (2 lbs 2.8 oz)

Notable features:

  • Mesh panels for added breathability
  • Injected TPU heel-capture system promotes stability
  • Cleansport NXT for natural odor control

Pros:

  • Engineered to stay cool while exploring the warmer spots of the world; comfortable throughout the summer
  • Ample toe box provides the needed toe space = fewer toe issues (no jammed toes especially after hard descents)
  • Really comfortable (right out of the box) to wear all day in different conditions; no break-in required
  • Solid traction makes you feel very stable on most surfaces

Cons:

  • A bit slippery on wet surfaces
  • Durability issues – loose stitching; tread break off after a couple of months use; different parts break apart/ separate
  • Don’t breathe that well because of the predominantly nubuck leather uppers

Best for: Budget and easy to moderate backpacking trips

 

See the Men’s KEEN Targhee Vent Mid See the Women’s KEEN Targhee Vent Mid

 

Hiking up African mountains

Photo by Dan Gold

Backpacking boots

They are thick and sturdy, however, too stiff and heavy for most backpacking, though some traditionalists prefer them. High-cut with better balance and ankle support, designed to carry heavier loads. If you are carrying a heavy pack over rugged terrain that may lack trails (especially in cold weather), heavy-duty backpacking boots are a good choice because they provide more stability, support, and motion control.

  • Pros
    Good for mixed terrain as well as snow and ice climbing, backpacking boots are engineered to provide optimal protection. They are good for long periods of crampon use – the type carried out on alpine snow ascents in summer.
  • Cons
    Wearing heavy footwear is uncomfortable and tiring. Moreover, backpacking boots can require considerable breaking in. Additionally, they offer the least breathability in comparison to the other types of hiking footwear making them unsuitable for summer hiking (especially in hot weather). In general, wearing substantial footwear such as backpacking boots is not recommended in summer unless you go for a hike in an altitude.

Best backpacking boots (our recommendations for summer 2020)

#1 Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Backpacking BootsCategory: Backpacking boot

Weight: 1280 g (2 lbs 13.2 oz)

Notable features:

  • 4D Advanced Chassis harnesses two different midsole components for enhanced foot control and for a smoother ride
  • Contagrip TD for maximum traction on mixed terrain and extended durability
  • SensiFit is stitch-free and provides a secure, snug, and virtually customized fit all around the foot

Pros:

  • Excellent design, high-quality materials, and craftsmanship
  • Amazingly comfortable – built for comfort – fit like a glove and the break-in period is very short
  • Versatile and functional – the sticky outsole with a new lug design provides fantastic grip and traction; the 4D Advanced Chassis offers increased support and stability
  • Really waterproof breathable boots – you can count on them in rainy conditions (NOTE that you can’t rely on any waterproof boots in prolonged wet weather)

Cons:

  • A bit pricey but if you need premium quality and have some extra money, these boots are worth it
  • Durability issues: the rubber toe cap separates and tears easily from the shoe (possible reason is poor gluing)

Best for: Stability, traction, and protection in all conditions

 

See the Men’s Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX See the Women’s Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

 

La Sportiva TXS GTXCategory: Backpacking boot/hiking boot

Weight: 1010 g (2 lbs 3.6 oz)

Notable features:

  • 3D Flex construction provides protection, freedom of movement and precision
  • Megagrip outsole compound with Impact Brake System (IBS) and differentiated lugs
  • High abrasion-resistant breathable mesh upper adds coverage and support

Pros:

  • Lightweight backpacking boots – a bit more than 2 lbs a pair
  • Functional boots built for hiking and backpacking – a combination of technical fit of mountaineering boots and grip and low-profile performance of approach shoes
  • Sturdy and grippy Vibram outsole with IBS provides optimal traction on technical terrain in many different conditions
  • Comfort out of the box – these boots fit like a glove

Cons:

  • Common problem with waterproof boots – once wet inside, they take a while to dry out

Best for: Lightweight and off-trail backpacking

 

See the Men’s La Sportiva TXS GTX See the Women’s La Sportiva TXS GTX

 

Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTXCategory: Backpacking boot

Weight: 1080 g (2 lbs 6.1 oz)

Notable features:

  • Vibram Hike Approach sole covers a wide range of different mountain terrain
  • Customizable Multi Fit Footbed (MFF) with interchangeable layers engineered to conform to the unique shape of the wearer’s foot
  • Climbing Lacing that extends all the way to the toes for a precise fit

Pros:

  • Great look and feel – the boots are sleek and incredibly comfortable (they don’t need time to be broken in)
  • Lightweight and flexible (non-insulated constructions) as trail shoes (though they provide excellent ankle support), they are built for the mountains but also work well on a variety of surfaces
  • Waterproof breathable Gore-Tex lining for optimal protection in moderate and warmer conditions
  • Breathe well for Gore-Tex-lined boots

Cons:

  • The insole design isn’t the best on the market
  • Durability issues: mainly in the front part

Best for: Mountain and off-trail hiking and scrambling

 

See the Men’s Alp Trainer Mid GTX See the Women’s Alp Trainer Mid GTX

 

Conclusion

Summer hiking can be a lot more fun if you have the right boots on your feet. Basically, you have several options for choosing the best hiking footwear for your summer trips. Depending on the terrain, distance, weather, and your own preferences, you can choose wearing sandals, barefoot shoes, minimalist or trail-running shoes, hiking shoes, hiking boots or backpacking boots.

For rough and snowy terrain, hiking boots and backpacking boots are heavy favorites. For hot weather, the choice is usually between sandals and trail-running shoes, although breathable hiking shoes can be also a good option. If you expect warm/hot and dry weather, avoid waterproof footwear because it might cause more harm than good. For changing weather, waterproof boots and shoes that breathe well can be a good option. Whatever your favorite, choose smartly.

What’s your favorite choice for summer hiking? Do you prefer boots or shoes and why? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

 

Related Articles

Hiking Footwear Types

Characteristics of Hiking Boots

Foot and Boot Care

Boot Anatomy

Best Socks for Summer

Best Hiking Socks

Foot and Ankle Injuries

 

Like this post? PIN ME!!

Best summer hiking footwear of 2020 Pin

Leave a Comment