The 2 Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes of 2021

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This post is about the best lightweight hiking shoes. It seems that ever since the beginning of recreational trail hiking, it has been somewhat of a rule that you must always wear hiking boots. It makes sense, you want the added ankle support you will get from high boots.

Plus boots keep your feet dry in wet climates. But is it essential to wear boots all the time? We know that every trail or terrain that we hike is riddled with large rocks, nor is every trail filled with mud.

What if we could dispel the notion that hiking with boots is the only way to go? That is my intention today. While boots offer great protection for our feet (especially in harsh environments), they hinder us in other ways. Namely, they slow us down, get our feet hot, and cost us maneuverability.

But there is a solution for this, Hiking Shoes. Hiking shoes offer your feet enough protection and cushion when trekking through the wilderness, but also give you the freedom to move around better, giving you an advantage when you come across difficult terrain.

Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes

What goes into a good hiking shoe

A good hiking shoe will be lightweight, offer good traction, and have enough cushion that you don’t feel the tension in your feet every time they strike the ground.

Are hiking shoes right for you

Hiking shoes are a match for you if you are going to be on well-traveled trails, carrying lighter loads, and have above average leg strength. Leg strength is important here because you will be relying on your legs to keep you sturdy, not tension from your boots.

 So we know what makes a good hiking shoe and what makes you a good candidate for one. Now let’s look at some shoes that we feel have a high enough quality that they warrant a look.

La Sportiva TX 3

These shoes are made of a durable, all synthetic material and the outsoles are constructed with Vibram mega grip rubber. Making them terrific for traversing uneven terrain. They also have a low profile lacing system, so you will never have to worry about shoestrings getting in the way of your next step.

 A valuable asset that these hiking shoes have is an STB control system that makes for a cushiony underfoot while maintaining the support your feet and ankles need.

They weight about one pound (for the pair), so it is a given that your feet will not be feeling the fatigue of wearing an entire hiking boot. The best thing about these? They have great toe support. Something that is certainly going to come in handy when your toes find a hidden root in the ground.

 Should you purchase this one?

These are very well made and will give the wearer good mileage. They will soak up water though, so if you are hiking through wet areas, you might want to stay away from these.

Merrell Moab 2

This is a great hiking shoe, the performance suede mesh uppers have protective rubber toe caps so your feet are safe from any wildlife that might take a swing at your toes.

Where these really shine is in the waterproofing aspect. The waterproof membranes protect your feet from the weather and keep you going longer in wet terrain than most other hiking shoes can dream of taking youEVA midsoles and molded nylon arch shank give you adequate stability, and Merrell air cushioned heels provide excellent shock absorption, so your heels don’t fatigue too quickly.

Should you purchase this hiking shoe

The waterproofing on these make them an excellent get, plus they have the traction that you might expect from a full-fledged hiking boot without the added weight. There is a drawback. However, the higher sole on the shoe can make it easier to turn your ankle. So if you know you have weak ankles, maybe you should think about going in a different direction.

Oboz Firebrand 2 Dry Hiking Shoe

This is the last shoe on the list today, and it also happens to be the one that I like the best. It is an extraordinarily sturdy shoe, it is waterproof and, it has the right amount of breathability in it. I’ll start with the traction of the shoe.

The nonmarking, high-friction rubber outsoles grip everything that this shoe is touching. It offers a surprising amount of stability. The Anatomic EVA footbeds and dual-density EVA give you cushioning that will last you for days on the trail. These actually keep your feet from getting that tired feeling and have you excited to see what is around the next bend, or over that next hill.

I mentioned earlier that these have incredible waterproofing technology and now I’ll explain. The Oboz BDry membrane works by keeping soggy elements out of your food and simultaneously allowing water vapor to escape from the shoe.

Should you get this shoe?

I really do like this shoe (a lot), if you are going through rugged and we terrains, then this might be the shoe that best fits your needs. Here is the downside, the shoes weigh more than 2.5 lbs for the pair, making it not much lighter than hiking boots. If this is not something that bothers you then, pick these up.

Wrap – Up

In my estimation, hiking shoes can be just as good as hiking boots in the right conditions. If you aren’t going to be in muddy terrain or climbing vast mountainous terrain, then you should give them a shot. I hope this made you understand why it is important to have the best lightweight hiking shoes.


Curious about the best hiking boot brands? Read about the top 3 here.

Need a watch for your hike? Check out our favorite ones of 2019 here.

On a budget but need hiking boots? Learn about the best hiking boots on a budget here.

Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.