5 best minimalist hiking shoes

Based on reviews from 5 experts and 109 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to minimalist hiking shoes. Updated Feb 2020.

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Minimalist hiking shoes may not be your first option when going on an adventure. Most outdoor enthusiasts would go for a pair that provides a significant amount of support, protection, and traction to help you traverse harsh conditions. On the other hand, this type of footgear emphasizes minimalism into its design. This primary feature has its own set of qualities that may be beneficial to your upcoming trip. Shown below are vital details that may help you consider a pair of minimalist hiking shoes.

The pros and cons of wearing minimalist hiking shoes

Best minimalist hiking shoes

Best minimalist hiking shoes - January 2020

Advantages

They’re comfortable. Comfort is a primary requirement to help you complete a hike. Minimalist hiking shoes are engineered to give you this benefit, so your trip will be as smooth as possible. They are built using lightweight materials that keep your foot comfy while you’re traversing a trail with adverse conditions. Minimalist hikers are also designed to render an optimal fit so you won’t experience any discomfort when you’re out and about.

Minimalist hiking shoes are versatile. There are instances when you want to use your hikers for casual purposes. If you prefer a pair that can give you this benefit, you may want to consider minimalist hiking shoes. They’re designed in such a way that you can make the most out of them for your daily routine. Their versatility means you can use them both outdoors and in the city to give you the best of both worlds.

They’re the ideal backup pair for adventurers. Outdoor enthusiasts may come across various conditions during their trip. At some point, the trail may become easier. Minimalist hiking shoes may be used during this situation to preserve the quality of their primary pair. This type of gear can be easily packed because of their lightweight design, making them useful as a secondary option for hikers. 

Disadvantages

Minimalist hiking shoes offer little support. The nimble design of minimalist hikers doesn’t render ample support. Their low- or mid-top upper, coupled with a flexible sole component, won’t give you enough rigidity to prevent your foot from rolling. This may be detrimental, especially if the environment you’re going to traverse has a lot of uneven ground conditions, or you’re going to carry a heavy backpack. If you don’t want to lose your balance while negotiating those trail challenges, you may want to consider a supportive pair of hiking boots out.

They won’t hold up well to most harsh conditions. Most minimalist hiking shoes are built using lightweight uppers and flexible soles. These materials are not designed to handle most kinds of harsh conditions you may encounter on the trail. If you are not too careful, you may end up with a torn shoe or hurt your foot in the process. Moreover, a majority of minimalist hikers don’t come with a waterproof membrane, making them detrimental for rainy weather or wet conditions.

Where and when to wear minimalist hiking shoes

Adventurers who are embarking on a trip that won’t exceed a day may find a pair of minimalist hiking shoes to be sufficient. This type of footgear is mostly suitable for environments that are warm and contain minimal wet conditions. Most hikers under this category come with a breathable upper that cools your foot, making them handy for humid places.

Minimalist hiking shoes offer adequate performance for easy trails. They are an ideal pair to wear for places without any steep terrain. Moreover, destinations that have the least amount of challenges, such as jagged rocks or exposed tree roots, are suitable for this kind of gear.

Why minimalist hiking shoes are chosen by male and female consumers

No-fuss design

Conventional hiking footgear models come with a lot of bells and whistles. These components and features all come together to give you more performance or protection when you go outdoors. On the other hand, minimalist hiking shoes are built using a simpler design, especially on the upper. 

Its particular construction allows you to feel the ground better and helps you move faster. Its low-top design grants a better range of motion to your foot and enhances comfort at the same time. Thanks to its minimalist construction, you can focus more on your movement without being burdened by features you’re not going to use on the trail.

Lightweight

Ask any hiking enthusiast about the importance of your footgear’s weight. Generally, a pound of weight your foot carries is equivalent to five pounds on your back. You’d feel more challenged to go uphill if you’re using a heavy pair. That won’t be the case when you use minimalist hiking shoes. 

This type of gear is built using lightweight materials and components. Its construction allows you to move faster, especially when you’re traversing a lot of uneven ground conditions. As a result, you would feel less stressed after completing your trip.

Flexibility

Some of the finest minimalist hiking shoes incorporate a flexible construction. This quality helps adventurers adapt to various ground conditions or trail challenges without any difficulty. Moreover, the flexible design of these hikers also helps users quicker, both in urban environments and outdoor destinations.

Waterproof

Some of the best minimalist hiking shoes are equipped with a waterproof membrane. This particular technology is engineered to prevent water from penetrating the upper. In addition, its design also allows excess moisture and heat to pass through it. As a result, these waterproof shoes for hikers are imbued with breathability and protection from wet conditions.

Prominent brands that manufacture the finest minimalist hiking shoes for men and women

Adidas

Minimalist hiking shoes manufactured by Adidas are characterized by comfort and performance they deliver on the trail. They come with low-top uppers that allow your foot to breathe in warm weather. For support and cushioning, the brand furnished these hikers with their patented Boost midsole technology. It is made of thermoplastic polyurethane to give a spring to your every stride.

These minimalist shoes from Adidas are designed to keep you stable over treacherous terrain, thanks to the inclusion of a Continental outsole. This trademarked feature is made of a sturdy rubber compound that can withstand rough ground conditions. Its multi-lugged surface helps male and female hikers traverse trail challenges with enough grip.

Arc’Teryx

Arc’Teryx minimalist offerings for outdoor lovers are known for their mix of striking looks and protective construction. The best minimalist hiking shoes from this brand sport uppers made of Cordura mesh and TPU overlays. Arc’Teryx fitted a robust rubber cap onto the toe box of their finest hikers. These features imbue the footgear with resistance to abrasion and sturdiness. At the same time, a Gore-Tex membrane is found in some of their minimalist shoes to give added protection from the elements without compromising breathability.

For cushioning and shock reduction, Arc’Teryx’s best minimalist hikers employ an ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole. A TPU shank is paired with this component for rigidity and torsional support. Some of their shoes use Vibram outsoles to give traction on both wet and dry surfaces.

Lems

Lems’ lineup of minimalist hiking shoes is also built for urban environments. Their low-top hikers for men and women feature a vegan-friendly knit mesh upper reinforced with TPU overlays. Its design emphasizes comfort, flexibility, and breathability.

The brand’s best minimalist shoes are fitted with EVA midsoles and polyurethane (PU) footbeds. The combination of these components renders a cushioned and shock-absorbent ride over uneven trails. These hikers use sturdy rubber outsoles that give ample grip for both outdoor surfaces and urban environments.

Frequently asked questions about minimalist hiking shoes

What’s the best way to take care of my minimalist hiking shoes?

Cleaning your minimalist hikers after each trip is a must if you want to preserve its quality. First, get a soft-bristled brush or piece of cloth to wipe traces of dirt or grime away. Remove the laces and footbed so you can thoroughly clean the insides of your shoes.

Next, mix a small amount of mild detergent with water. Use this mixture to wash your kicks, laces, and footbeds. After cleaning them, place your minimalist hiking shoes in an airy spot to dry. Don’t leave them near the sun’s rays or use a direct source of heat to speed the drying process. Doing so would damage your pair.

How can I make the most out of my minimalist hiking shoes?

Your choice of socks plays an important role in keeping your feet comfortable during a hike. In this matter, the variant most preferred by outdoor enthusiasts is Merino wool. Socks made from this particular material are known to wick excess moisture while maintaining breathability. This type of sock also possesses properties that combat odor-causing microbes to prevent your feet from smelling.

What’s the primary advantage of minimalist hiking shoes over hiking sandals?

In a nutshell, minimalist hikers offer more coverage to your foot than a pair of hiking sandals can give. This quality comes in handy when the trail you’re going to traverse is filled with conditions that may cause wounds or injury. Moreover, their versatile design may come in more handy in some situations, such as urban environments. On the other hand, hiking sandals are preferred by individuals who prioritize breathability for warm environments.

4 best minimalist hiking shoes

  1. Arc'teryx Aerios FL GTX
  2. Arc'teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX
  3. Adidas Terrex Skychaser LT
  4. Mammut Ducan Knit High GTX
Author
https://cdn.runrepeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Paul_Ronto.jpg
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.

paul@runrepeat.com
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