79 best breathable hiking shoes

Based on reviews from 116 experts and 29,754 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to breathable hiking shoes. Updated Apr 2020.

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  1. Any color
    Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport - Black
    Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport - Khaki
    Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport - Dusty Olive
    $110 $90 Save 18%
  2. Any color
    Merrell MQM Flex - Black
    Merrell MQM Flex - Orange
    $110 $77 Save 30%
  3. Any color
    Merrell Moab FST 2 - Olive/Adobe
    Merrell Moab FST 2 - Black/Granite
    $110 $61 Save 45%
  4. Any color
    Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator - Black Night
    Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator - Brown
    Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator - Charcoal Grey
    Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator - Beluga
    Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator - Brown
    $100 $61 Save 39%
  5. Any color
    $90 $31 Save 66%
  6. $100 $75 Save 25%
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    $80 $55 Save 31%
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    $90 $68 Save 24%
  9. $135 $70 Save 48%
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    $80 $43 Save 46%
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    $120 $90 Save 25%
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    $110 $55 Save 50%
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    $115 $83 Save 28%
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    $120 $60 Save 50%
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    $80 $48 Save 40%
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    $115 $107 Save 7%
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    $90 $60 Save 33%
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    $110 $50 Save 55%
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    $120 $80 Save 33%
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    $100 $49 Save 51%
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    $100 $39 Save 61%
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    $85 $43 Save 49%
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    $90 $78 Save 13%
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    $90 $80 Save 11%

Breathable hiking shoes are now becoming a go-to option of outdoorsy people. These low-cut hikers are often made of light materials that make them suitable for use in hot, arid hikes. Almost all footwear brands offer ventilated shoes to cater to a much broader audience seeking optimal trail comfort.

While brands do offer breathable shoes with a waterproof liner, remember that ventilation is impeded to a certain degree when such component is present. Therefore, our best breathable hiking shoes list (seen above) will only show products without a waterproof liner.

What makes a hiking shoe breathable?

Basically, the breathability of a shoe for hiking depends on the material used in its upper. A majority of brands have experimented on the combination of materials they can use to create a well-ventilated yet protective upper. A few examples are listed below.

  • Synthetic or a combination of synthetic and textile
  • Leather with mesh vents
  • Ripstop mesh
  • Breathable fabric
  • Woven mesh

The above materials are usually paired with hydrophobic, breathable or moisture-wicking liners. A combination of these items often creates lightweight hikers. Additionally, some styles come with TPU overlays or synthetic toe rand for added durability and protection, without limiting the breathability of the shoe.

Perks of wearing breathable men's and women's hiking shoes

Best breathable hiking shoes

Best breathable hiking shoes - May 2019

Wearing hiking shoes that breathe is your gateway to maximizing your enjoyment on and off the trail. Most non-waterproof products are made of quick-drying materials that will still allow you to perform even after wet encounters.

  • Needless to say, this is the primary benefit of wearing ventilated hiking shoes. You want your foot to breathe and not be suffocated by the shoe’s confines.
  • Outdoor lovers appreciate most breathable hiking shoes because they are lightweight. The combination of materials used ensures that protection and durability are not sacrificed even after shaving off a lot of weight.
  • The least weight you carry on your feet, the more comfortable you are on the trail. This benefit is a bonus when you opt to wear a breathable hiking shoe.

On the other hand, what are the things you need to ponder on when you prefer wearing a hiking shoe with light upper materials? Considering the materials used in creating this type of footwear, using it in less rugged conditions can help extend its life. Those extremely harsh conditions may require hiking boots made of leather as they provide a more robust level of protection. 

Some of the best breathable hiking shoes for men and women

Keen Targhee Vent

This highly breathable hiking shoe from Keen offers optimal breathability through the mesh panels placed in between the leather. It has reinforced eyelets for easy adjustment and to avoid adding extra weight on the user’s foot. An injected TPU heel capture system aids in stability. Underfoot, a couple of features take care of support: an ESS shank and a resilient, internal shank.

Adidas Terrex AX2R

This versatile hiking shoe from Adidas wears a synthetic textile upper which promotes flexibility and protection on the trails. It employs the Traxion outsole for surface traction in almost all types of terrain. This shoe offers more ankle mobility, thanks to its below-the-ankle design and flexible style.

Merrell Moab Edge 2

Merrell designers use a vast range of materials in creating their hiking products. They have waterproof shoes, ventilated hikers and insulated boots, to name a few. The Merrell Moab Edge 2 is one of their known offerings which has a mesh and TPU upper. Its bellows tongue helps keep debris out. The upright extension of the sole at the toe area adds extra protection so users need not worry when going on a rocky, strenuous hike.

Vasque Juxt

This low-cut hiking shoe from Vasque offers stability, comfort and protection. Its suede upper comes with a molded rubber toe cap for trail protection. Its soft collar foam and moisture-wicking lining provide a cozy feel. It also employs the brand-owned Off the Grip sole unit which is comprised of a compression-molded EVA midsole for cushioning, a TPU heel stabilizer for steadiness and a multi-lugged rubber outsole for traction. 

Salomon X Ultra 3

Salomon’s products are known for their lightness and durability. The Salomon X Ultra 3 is just one of their many known shoes for hiking. It has an upper made of a combination of mesh and synthetic textile with overlays for added durability. Its toe box is also designed with a rubberized layer which boosts protection on rocky grounds. Facilitating a speedy fit adjustment is the brand’s very own Quicklace closure system. Under the foot, it uses the Advanced Chassis which works with the shoe’s EVA midsole in creating a cushioned and stable ride. A Contagrip outsole, on the other hand, makes it grip on almost all terrain types. The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is the waterproof version of this hiking shoe.

15 best breathable hiking shoes

  1. Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport
  2. Oboz Sawtooth II Low
  3. Columbia Ivo Trail
  4. Salewa Ultra Train 2
  5. Danner Trail 2650
  6. Merrell MQM Flex
  7. Adidas Terrex AX3
  8. Merrell Moab FST 2
  9. Adidas Terrex AX2R
  10. Keen Explore Vent
  11. Merrell Alverstone
  12. Columbia Fairbanks Low
  13. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator
  14. Merrell Moab FST
  15. Merrell Choprock
Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.

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