7 Best Backpacking Shoes in 2022

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
7 Best Backpacking Shoes in 2022

Where the trail turns for the worse, but mobility is still high on your hiking preference list, turn to backpacking shoes.

After testing 15+ trekking kicks, we have chosen our top picks in several categories. Do you need a hiker that excels on and off the trail? Maybe something quite light to give you enough agility on your way? Or perhaps a backpacking shoe that dances to the tune of your humble budget? Check out our recommendations below.

How we test hiking shoes

We gather fact-checked data and put backpacking shoes through a series of tests to come up with honest reviews. The details of our approach are as follows:

  • We buy every pair of hiking shoes with our own money.
  • We spend days trekking on a variety of terrain in both dry and wet conditions to test each kick.
  • To make our backpacking shoe reviews more comprehensive, we gather, analyze, and include hundreds of opinions from experts and regular patrons alike.

These elements lead to a CoreScore. We use this proprietary grading system to make this list of backpacking top picks possible.

Best backpacking shoes overall

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.5 / 5 from 183 users
97 / 100 from 4 experts

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable build
  • Excellent breathability
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Precise fit
  • Sticky outsole

Cons

  • Difficult to keep the tension in the laces
  • Lack of underfoot support

Verdict

The exemplary comfort and through-the-roof lightness of the Vasque Juxt are good enough reasons to justify its already just-right asking price. Moreover, this piece from Vasque has a supportive arch zone and ultra-stabilizing midsole. That said, you might want to try it in a physical store to see if its overall fit is for you. Nevertheless, the Juxt is a formidable ally, especially where the sun is high up and the trail becomes rockier.
The North Face Ultra Fastpack III Mid GTX full review

Best backpacking wide toe box hiking shoes

Salomon Odyssey GTX
Salomon Odyssey GTX

CoreScore

77
Good!
4.1 / 5 from 92 users
N/A

Pros

  • Downright comfortable
  • Super lightweight
  • Perfect fit
  • Watertight
  • Fences out moisture
  • High enough support
  • Instant break-in time

Cons

  • No traction on damp loam soil
  • Expensive price tag

Verdict

Get the boost you need on your next multi-day trip in the Salomon Odyssey GTX. Aside from its impressive lightness, this comfy-from-the-get-go pair will stun you with its supportive construction and excellent water protection. Though not a perfect trekking shoe especially on damp loam soil, the Salomon Odyssey GTX is fully equipped to carry you safe and sound across rugged terrain.
Salomon Odyssey GTX full review

Best waterproof backpacking shoes

Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite Mid GTX
Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite Mid GTX

CoreScore

83
Great!
4.4 / 5 from 3,205 users
83 / 100 from 2 experts

Pros

  • Comfortable for backpacking
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Lightweight
  • Exceptionally waterproof
  • Minimal break-in period
  • Adequate grip

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • Not breathable
  • Narrow toe box

Verdict

Memorable adventures across varying terrain await those who would gear up with the Mountain Trainer 2 GTX. Something of a Swiss Army knife usage-wise, this Salewa offering will give you heightened control, whether on trails, pebbly mountain bases, or via ferrata ladders. While it might not be as appealing as the lightest bunch, the shoe shines where lasting and reassuring performance is in high demand.
Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite Mid GTX full review

Best Salomon backpacking shoes

Salomon OUTward GTX
Salomon OUTward GTX

CoreScore

83
Great!
4.3 / 5 from 879 users
84 / 100 from 1 expert

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent grip on most types of terrain
  • Comfortable
  • Short break-in period
  • Sturdy against harsh conditions
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Doesn't offer ample cushioning
  • Warm
  • Easy to untangle laces

Verdict

Outdoorsy individuals may stand to gain key trail benefits from this Salomon offering, foremost of which are its lightness and comfort. The boot’s grippy outsole and sturdy design also leave a good mark on those who have used it. On the other hand, the footgear’s lack of cushioning may be a drawback to potential buyers.
Salomon OUTward GTX full review

Best low cut backpacking shoes

Salewa Mountain Trainer 2
Salewa Mountain Trainer 2

CoreScore

85
Great!
4.4 / 5 from 105 users
85 / 100 from 1 expert

Pros

  • Top-notch for alpine trekking
  • Well-designed outsole lugs
  • Great for via Ferrata ladders
  • Has more cushioning
  • Undeniably durable
  • Lasting comfort

Cons

  • Narrow
  • Hard to get on

Verdict

The highly touted Mountain Trainer gets a facelift! The thicker sole means it can survive some more abuses and the improved design makes it more versatile. With a robust sole, durable upper, and added cushioning, the Salewa Mountain Trainer 2 is a winner. All these things make the Mountain Trainer 2 a great choice for technical hikes, via ferratas and treks in all conditions and remote terrain.
Salewa Mountain Trainer 2 full review

Best value backpacking shoes

Vasque Juxt
Vasque Juxt

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 5,542 users
87 / 100 from 10 experts

Pros

  • Tennis-shoe-like lightness
  • Quick break-in
  • Incredible comfort
  • Quite stable
  • Supportive arch
  • Mighty durable
  • Amazing breathability

Cons

  • Narrow toe box
  • Slippery on wet rock surfaces

Verdict

Out of the 15+ incredible backpacking shoes that graced our hiking feet, we just have to give the Juxt the top spot for affordability! Case in point: This Vasque must-buy has a measly $110 MSRP. Unbeatable, if you ask us!

About performance, the Vasque Juxt knocked it out of the park for us in terms of stability. Its platform underfoot was simply magical in the sense that it kept our feet level on rubbly and uneven terrain. On roots, the amount of balance the Juxt gave us was quite reassuring, too.

Switching our attention to comfort, the Juxt felt wonderful right out of the box. We never felt any rubbing around our ankles, thanks to its lightly padded collar. We’ve nothing to report about bunching (around the instep) and bruises, either. Yes, the Juxt is a total comfort machine!

Taking comfort to the next level is the Juxt’s fantastic breathability. Sweat-free was the exact experience we had in this piece, which is why we highly recommend it for extended outings in the summer.

And last but not least, the Vasque Juxt is light. Per pair, it weighs no more than 850 g. Grab one now!

Vasque Juxt full review
Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.