With spring finally firmly in place here in the Northern Hemisphere, I’m sure more than a few of you are anxious to get back out on the trail for a hike. Whether you’re trekking an old, familiar route or exploring an entirely new path, having the right shoes is the key to enjoying any hike. Fortunately, there are plenty of good options when it comes to outdoor footwear these days. In fact, it can be down right daunting to try to sort through them all to figure out which ones are the best. Fortunately, we don’t have to as the team over at GearJunkie has done it for us. They’ve tested the best options from a number of different manufacturers and complied their picks for the best hiking shoes of 2019.
It is important to point out right away that this round-up is squarely focused on hiking shoes and not boots. As the GJ team points out, boots tend to be higher and offer more ankle support, but at the expense of additional weight and bulk. While boots have their place, particularly on longer treks and on rougher trails, shoes are lighter and more comfortable, making them a good choice for day hiking and for those who are looking to be a bit more nimble and quick on the trail.
So which shoe took home the top honors in the GearJunkie test? The overall winner was the Salomon X Ultra Low Aero, which is priced at just $120. The shoe earned praise for being comfortable, having good traction, and being lightweight. They’re also breathable, durable, and versatile too –– all good things from a hiking shoe. The relatively low price didn’t hurt the X Ultra Low Aero either, as it is an affordable option that can do a lot, without breaking the bank.
I won’t give away the rest of the list, as part of the fun is discovering which shoes performed well on your own. I will say that a number of the top brands are well represented, with Lems, Merrell, Vasque, and other recognizable names making the cut. This is important to recognize because the comfort and fit of shoes vary greatly and is highly subjective. What feels good on your feet may not work on mine at all. So while the the X Ultra may have taken home the top prize from GearJunkie, you may find one of the other models more to your liking.
Check out the entire list here.
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