Home Hiking Shoes Best Hiking Shoes for Beginners: Top Picks for Your First Trail

Best Hiking Shoes for Beginners: Top Picks for Your First Trail


The best hiking shoes for beginners offer a blend of comfort, durability, and support. Key features to look for include waterproof materials, good traction, and a cushioned midsole. Popular options often come from brands like Merrell, Salomon, and Keen, which are known for their quality and performance on the trail.

Regarding outdoor activities, hiking is a pursuit that allows beginners and seasoned explorers alike to engage with nature at their own pace, making it perfect for beginners with the right hiking footwear. It’s both a leisure activity and an exercise that can be enjoyed across various terrains. For those just starting, the importance of proper footwear must be balanced. The right hiking shoes can mean the difference between a pleasant day on the trails and a painful trek that ends in blisters and sprains.

Selecting the best hiking shoes for beginners involves understanding the different types available – from low-cut models that feel light and allow for quick movement to mid or high-cut shoes that offer more ankle support and stability on uneven ground. New hikers should look for shoes that combine Comfort, durability, and water resistance, ensuring that their introduction to hiking is a positive experience regardless of weather or terrain.

The shoes we’ve selected are equipped to handle various conditions beginners might face, providing the confidence to take steps towards more challenging excursions.

Our Picks for the Best Hiking Shoes:


Best Hiking Shoes for Beginners

Embarking on hiking adventures opens up a world of natural beauty and physical challenges. As we step onto varied terrains, we must equip ourselves with the right gear, starting with sturdy hiking shoes. For beginners, the quest for the perfect shoe can be daunting among a myriad of options. That’s why we’ve curated a list of top-rated hiking shoes to offer support, Comfort, and protection on your initial trails. Each pair has been analyzed for its reliability, durability, and suitability for those new to hiking. Whether braving rocky paths or slippery slopes, our roundup will help you find the ideal footwear to take those first strides confidently into the great outdoors.

FeatureWhy it’s Important
Fit & ComfortEnsures long-distance comfort
Material & DurabilityAffects lifespan and protection
Traction & StabilityKey for safety on various terrains
Weight & BreathabilityBalances comfort and endurance on the trail
Price & WarrantyIndicates value and manufacturer confidence in the product

By utilizing this guide, we can make an informed decision to ensure we select the most suitable hiking shoes for our adventures.

01: NORTIV 8 Lightweight Sneakers


The NORTIV 8 Lightweight Sneakers feature a breathable mesh upper that helps keep your feet cool and comfortable throughout the day.  The cushioned insole supports all-day wear, while the non-slip outsole offers stability and traction on various surfaces. Whether running errands, hitting the gym, or simply going for a casual stroll, these sneakers will surely keep your feet happy and stylish.


  • Exceptional Comfort right out of the box
  • Versatile for both hikes and casual walks
  • Quick lace system saves time


  • The toe box might be too spacious for some
  • The ankle area could cause discomfort in specific cases

When we tested these shoes on a local nature trail, we first noticed the immediate Comfort. There’s no trying break-in period typical with many hiking shoes, which is a huge plus for beginners. Our feet felt supported, especially through the arch, which is critical when tackling uneven terrain.

Aesthetically, they strike a great balance between form and function, reminiscent of the sought-after Altra Lone Peak design. The design is sleek enough to transition from trail to town without missing a beat. Whether covering rocky paths or enjoying a brisk walk in the park, these sneakers hold up impressively.

They deliver on their promises with their immediate Comfort, versatility, and user-friendly lacing. Yet, we recommend paying attention to the fit around the toe and ankle area to ensure the best personal Comfort.

02: SHULOOK Trekking Boost


Based on our recent experiences, these boots are a solid choice for novice hikers seeking quality at a reasonable price.


  • Waterproof construction keeps feet dry
  • Versatile sizing with adjustable fit
  • Exceptionally comfortable without needing a break-in period


  • Potential for ankle discomfort in some users
  • Limited colour options may not appeal to all

When the trails call, the right footwear is non-negotiable. Our latest treks with the SHULOOK Women’s Hiking Boots have proven their worth as lightweight hiking footwear. The rubber soles offer a dependable grip on slippery surfaces, a must-have when navigating uncertain terrains. As for the suede leather and mesh combination, it ensures our feet stay ventilated throughout long hikes.

Walking my dog after the rain used to be a hassle, but these boots changed the game. 

Their waterproofing stood up to the challenge, keeping my feet dry even through wet grass and puddles. Furthermore, adjusting the fit was a breeze, loosening up for thinner socks and tightening for thicker pairs, and the boots remained snug and supportive either way.

Additionally, while the boots deliver performance-wise, SHULOOK isn’t as prominent a name as some outdoor enthusiasts might prefer, which might make them hesitant. Lastly, the limited colour choices mean less opportunity to match with your favourite hiking gear.

We find these boots to offer a balance between functionality and value. These boots deserve attention for any beginner looking to hit the trails without splurging on footwear.

03: Columbia Hiking Boots


These boots offer a fantastic balance of durability, Comfort, and style, making them an excellent choice for novice hikers.


  • Reliable waterproofing keeps feet dry
  • Out-of-the-box comfort with no break-in needed, making them ideal beginner hiking shoes.
  • Excellent traction on a variety of terrains


  • The sole may be too flexible for rough terrains, not ideal for trail runners seeking a wide-toe box for comfort.
  • Breathability could be improved

The moment we slipped into the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II, the boots felt like a natural extension of our feet. Hiking through the damp spring trails, our feet stayed remarkably dry, likely due to the expertly designed suede and waterproof leather exterior. We appreciate not having to worry about wet conditions or sudden downpours.

Traversing over rocky paths and muddy fields put the boot’s high traction outsole to the test. It performed admirably on every surface we encountered. Our confidence in each step was a testament to the quality grip, whether we were ascending hills or navigating slippery stream banks.

Comfort was paramount on our all-day trek, and Columbia’s lightweight midsole ensured our feet were cushioned and energy returns were high, mile after satisfying mile. The lack of a break-in period was a rare surprise in hiking boots. However, suppose you’re planning to challenge more technical landscapes. In that case, you might find the flexibility of the sole to be a limitation, craving more rigidity for those long stretches over demanding terrain, much like one expects from a good pair of hiking boots.

The minor drawbacks do not overshadow the benefits, and we believe they’re a sound investment for beginners looking to step up their hiking game.

04: Columbia Ridge Boots


These Columbia Ridge Boots are quite trusty for beginners hitting the trails; they offer a cosy fit and durable construction.


  • Strong traction for various terrains
  • Comfortable fit with no break-in period
  • Effective waterproofing keeps feet dry


  • It may run slightly large; consider sizing
  • Limited colour options are available

Upon lacing up the Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot, we first noticed their robust build paired neatly with a classic aesthetic. The long walks across the countryside demonstrated just how supportive these boots are. The cushioned midsole contributed greatly to our Comfort, especially when navigating unexpected rocky paths.

As we trekked through some damp areas, the waterproof claim was tested. Impressively, our feet remained perfectly dry despite the soggy ground. The mesh tongue, combined with the waterproof leather and suede, also ensured breathability. Despite a strenuous hike, our feet felt cool and ventilated.

When we tackled a particularly uneven trail, the Omni-GRIP outsole did not disappoint, similar to the performance you’d expect from Altra Lone Peak trail runners. The reliable grip provided stability and confidence with each step we took, even on slippery slopes. Meanwhile, the reinforced toe and heel stood up to the abuse of the jagged terrain.

Our recommendation leans towards the positive for those starting their hiking journey. The Columbia Ridge Boots offer a blend of durability, protection, and Comfort that can enhance the experience of any beginner hiker making their way through the great outdoors.

05: Camelsports Trail Sneakers


These Camelsports hiking shoes are a solid choice for beginners looking for Comfort and durability.


  • Superior breathability and Comfort
  • Sturdy protection and foot support
  • Effective traction on various terrains


  • May lack adequate arch support for some, an issue not found in the Altra Lone Peak with its balanced cushioning.
  • The tongue design could irritate the ankle

On our recent trail outings, we immediately noticed that the breathable mesh fabric of these camel sports shoes was a game changer. Our feet stayed cool and dry, even on longer treks. The comfort level was impressive, too; the EVA midsole cushioning reduced the impact on our feet, aiding in fatigue prevention, which is essential for any hiking beginner.

Durability is key when selecting hiking shoes, and these sneakers didn’t disappoint in this department, echoing the resilience of a reliable pair of hiking boots. From their sturdy toe caps to the supportive heel design, our steps felt securely protected against rough terrain. The leather and mesh upper withstood the wear and tear of several hikes, suggesting a promising longevity to us.

The rubber outsole with anti-slip lugs gave us a reliable grip during our hikes over wet stones and muddy trails, instilling confidence with each step. However, some of us felt the lack of arch support, which might be an issue for those requiring more foot structure. Also, we noted the tongue of the shoe felt stiff and created slight discomfort around the ankle area for a couple of us, something to consider if your ankles are sensitive.

Sizing can be tricky with any shoes, and we found those among us with wider feet needed to size up. Thus, we suggest paying close attention to the sizing chart and possibly planning for thick socks.

For those dipping their toes into hiking adventures, they offer a blend of outdoor readiness and everyday Comfort that won’t let you down when it matters the most.

06: Merrell Moab 3


If you’re stepping into the hiking world, the Merrell Moab 3 provides the Comfort and support your feet need on the trails.


  • Exceptional Comfort straight from the box
  • Superior traction from the Vibram outsole
  • Sustainable with partially recycled fabrics


  • The break-in period may cause discomfort for some
  • Might run narrow for wider feet

After taking the Merrell Moab 3 for a spin on our local trails, we were impressed by their immediate Comfort. This hiking shoe marries performance with environmentally friendly materials, thus ticking both boxes for outdoor enthusiasm and conscious consumerism. While manoeuvring through rocky paths, the grippy Vibram soles instilled confidence with every step, complementing the shoe’s overall stable design.

Over rivers and through dense forests, the Moab 3 was a reliable companion. Despite a vigorous hike, our feet remained well-ventilated and free from overheating thanks to the shoe’s breathable mesh lining. The Kinetic Fit insole played a pivotal role in ensuring our arches felt supported throughout our journey, a key feature for anyone with previous foot discomfort.

In conclusion, the balance between durability, Comfort, and performance makes the Merrell Moab 3 a wise choice for newcomers. It’s a hiking shoe that will grow with you as you conquer more challenging terrain.

07: Merrell Alverstone


Our top recommendation for beginners is the Merrell Women’s Alverstone Hiking Shoe for its superior Comfort and protection right from the first hike.


  • Exceptional Comfort with no break-in period
  • Reliable traction on various terrain
  • Durable construction, resistant to wear and tear, perfect for beginners in trail running.


  • The high arch may not be suitable for all foot types
  • The colour received may differ from the image

When we laced up the Merrell Women’s Alverstone Hiking Shoes, we first noticed the out-of-the-box comfort. Strolling through rocky paths, the soles delivered a firm grip, ensuring we didn’t feel jagged edges underfoot. The suede and mesh uppers provided a snug fit without constricting movement, making long treks enjoyable rather than a chore.

Hiking through damp forest trails showcased the Merrell Alverstone’s water-resistant features. 

The M Select DRY barrier kept our feet dry, proving itself against unexpected puddles and light rain, a feature appreciated by those wearing lightweight hiking boots. Even after hours of activity, the shoes let moisture escape, keeping our feet fresh and avoiding any discomfort typically associated with prolonged exposure to wet environments. We appreciated the engineered stability and cushioning, especially the Merrell Air Cushion sitting discreetly in the heel. This element softened each step, reducing fatigue and allowing longer excursions. Not once did we worry about a lack of support or discomfort; our feet were as comfortable at the end of the hike as at the beginning.

08: Merrell Moab 3 Sneakers


We recommend these sneakers for any beginner hiker who values Comfort and durability on their outdoor adventures.


  • Impressive Comfort right out of the box
  • Reliable traction with Vibram soles
  • Solid support and shock absorption


  • Water resistance may not meet expectations
  • Potentially snug fit for certain foot shapes

Taking these Merrell Moab 3 Sneakers out on the trail, we immediately noticed the comfortable fit. It felt as if each step was cushioned, and the shoe conformed well to the foot without needing a lengthy break-in period. Hikers who venture into varied terrain would appreciate the Vibram soles that provide a dependable grip on rocky ascents or slippery forest paths.

The thought of a twisted ankle is enough to make any trekker wary. Still, the Moab 3’s arch shank and air cushion heel mitigate those fears, offering a stable platform and reducing the stress on our feet through prolonged activity. Whether stepping over roots or marching up a hill, stability, and support were constants we could rely on.

However, during a dewy morning hike, we could feel the moisture seeping through the shoes, calling into question the effectiveness of their water-resistant features. 

In conclusion, the Merrell Women’s Moab 3 Sneakers are a top contender for entry-level hikers’ footwear. With superior Comfort and support paired with reliable traction, they form a solid foundation for any hiking enthusiast. Remember to evaluate their water resistance based on your trail choices and maybe size up for the perfect fit.

Buying Guide

Fit and Comfort

When we begin our search for hiking shoes, the most critical aspect is the overall fit and comfort of the shoe, especially for those looking for hiking footwear with a wide-toe box. We must look for a shoe that fits snugly around our heels while giving our toes enough room to move. We should wear the socks we’ll use for hiking when trying shoes.

  • Fit: Snug heel, roomy toe box
  • Comfort: Cushioned insole, supportive design

Material and Durability

We need to consider the material of the hiking shoes, which directly impacts their durability and resistance to wear and tear, ensuring they are lightweight hiking appropriate. A sturdy construction with reinforced areas subjected to high stress, like the toes and heel, is vital.

  • Material: Breathable, waterproof options
  • Durability: Reinforced high-stress areas

Traction and Stability

The outsole of hiking shoes provides traction and stability on different terrains. We should look for shoes with deep lugs and a grippy rubber compound to ensure safety and confidence on the trail.

  • Traction: Deep lugs, grippy soles
  • Stability: Stiff midsole for uneven terrain

Weight and Breathability

A lighter shoe helps us to hike long distances without excessive fatigue. However, this mustn’t come at the cost of protection and durability, a principle well-understood by wearers of the X Ultra hiking shoes. Breathability is also important to keep our feet dry and comfortable.

  • Weight: Lightweight yet protective
  • Breathability: Moisture-wicking materials

Price and Warranty

We must balance our budget with the quality of the hiking shoes, ensuring they provide excellent durability and comfort. A good warranty signifies the manufacturer’s confidence in their product.

  • Price: Match quality with budget
  • Warranty: Look for the manufacturer’s guarantee

Read More: Best Running Shoes for Heavy Men

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a hiking boot and a hiking shoe?

A hiking boot is designed for rugged terrain and is made of heavier materials than a hiking shoe. Hiking boots are also designed to provide more ankle support and stability, making them better suited for long hikes where you may encounter rugged terrain. Hiking shoes are lighter and more flexible, making them better for shorter hikes or walking on softer terrain.

Can I wear hiking shoes for walking?

Hiking shoes are designed for hiking and should not be worn for walking. If you plan on walking while wearing your hiking shoes, switching to a different type of shoe is best. You can wear hiking shoes for walking, but they are not designed for long-distance hikes.

Is it okay to wear running shoes for hiking?

Running shoes are not designed for hiking and should not be used for hiking. Hiking boots are designed specifically for hiking and should only be worn when hiking. Running shoes may be fine for short walks but are not typically recommended for longer hikes because of their increased risk of injury.

Can you wear hiking boots every day?

No, you should not wear hiking boots every day. Hiking boots are designed for long-distance hiking and should only be worn when going on a hike that lasts more than an hour. You can wear regular shoes if you are going for a short walk.

What are some of the best hiking shoes for beginners?

If you’re new to hiking, choosing comfortable and supportive shoes is essential. Some of the best beginner shoes include the Hoka One One Clifton 2 GTX, Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid, and Saucony Guide 9 Trail Running Shoes. They all have a lightweight design and provide good cushioning for long walks or hikes.

What are the key features to look for in hiking shoes for beginners?

When choosing hiking shoes for beginners, it’s essential to consider the type of terrain you plan on hiking. If you plan on hiking on softer surfaces, such as trails or grassy areas, lightweight and flexible shoes may be a better option. On the other hand, if you plan on hiking in more rugged terrain, such as mountains or forests, heavier and more durable shoes may be a better choice. Additionally, beginner hikers should look for shoes with good traction and support their feet while walking.

What are some of the best hiking trails for beginners?

One of the best beginner hiking trails is the Appalachian Trail. This trail is long, but it’s also easy to follow and has a lot of scenic overlooks. Another excellent beginner hiking trail is the Pacific Crest Trail. This trail is also long, but it’s more challenging than the Appalachian Trail and has a lot of beautiful scenery.

How do I know if I’m ready to start hiking?

If you’re looking to start hiking, researching is the best way to determine if you’re ready. Consider a few things before starting, including your fitness level, the type of terrain you plan on hiking and your equipment. Once you know what you need and where to start, visit our website and check out our selection of beginner-friendly hiking shoes!

What should beginners look for when choosing hiking shoes?

When choosing hiking shoes, beginners should prioritize comfort, support, and durability. Look for shoes with good ankle support, a snug fit without being too tight, and robust soles with deep lugs for traction. Waterproof materials can also be beneficial for hiking in varied weather conditions.


In conclusion, finding the best hiking shoes for beginners is essential to ensure both comfort and safety on your outdoor adventures. By selecting the right pair, beginners can enjoy enhanced grip, support, and protection, making their initial hiking experiences enjoyable and worry-free. Remember, the best hiking shoes for beginners should offer a balance of durability, comfort, and trail performance, setting the foundation for many successful hikes to come. Whether you’re traversing rugged trails or embarking on gentle walks through nature, the right footwear will make all the difference. Start your hiking journey on the right foot by choosing shoes that are specifically designed to meet the needs of beginners, ensuring a positive and rewarding outdoor experience from the outset.


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