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Lightweight waterproof hiking shoes fit the bill for people looking for protective footwear that won’t slow them down. Many premium brands make them. Light and waterproof seem like the perfect combo features when it comes to outdoor footwear.
What brands make the best lightweight waterproof hiking shoes for men and women?
Keen is known for its light and fast hiking shoes. They make boots with waterproof mesh uppers that create a balance between ventilation and weather protection. Keen’s Teodora and Venture hikers, for example, are designed to flex with the natural movement of the foot while providing cushion and support.
This brand offers an array of lightweight waterproof hiking boots for men and women. One of their most popular Merrell hikers is the Moab which comes in both low and high-cut styles. Merrell uses either Gore-Tex or M-Select Dry as a waterproofing material. The use of durable EVA (a super lightweight foam) makes Merrell shoes much more lightweight.
If you’re used to bulky waterproof backpacking footwear, you will discover something new in Salomon hiking shoes. This brand is known for making top-quality backpacking kicks that is not only weather-proof but also lightweight. Their top-selling boot, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX weighs just about 445 grams. It’s built as a trail running shoe but with more ankle support, solid toe protection, and reliable Gore-Tex waterproof construction.
This company makes supportive, lightweight boots with Gore-Tex for backpacking, trekking, and climbing. If you need hiking shoes that work well on rocky terrain, you may want to consider Arc'teryx. The Acrux TR GTX, in particular, is touted as one of the lightest and most nimble boots for its class.
Tips for taking care of your lightweight waterproof hiking shoes
Break them in slowly. Most hiking shoes need breaking in. Before taking them on the trail, wear them for leisurely walks or even around your house. Your hikers need to conform to your feet so they will feel more comfortable.
Clean them often. Wet, rugged terrain can cause a toll on your shoes. Clean mud and soil with damp cloth or brush. When drying your shoes, avoid direct sunlight especially if they are made of leather as too much heat can cause the leather to crack.
Avoid submerging them in deep water. While waterproof boots can protect your feet from rain or water, they aren’t designed for activities that involve submerging in deep puddles or crossing rivers. If water hiking, it’s best to wear the appropriate gear, such as water shoes.
Do you really need waterproof hiking shoes?
Wearing waterproof hiking shoes make a lot of sense when you’re on the trail. But often, they come at the cost of breathability and weight.
Luckily, many footwear brands are utilizing innovative technologies to keep hiking shoe light even with the integration of waterproof materials. In particular, the use of light materials like EVA foam (for midsoles), textiles (for uppers), and lightweight rubber outsoles, have resulted in lightweight waterproof hiking shoes.
However, it’s important to consider the climate, season, and terrain you will use them for before investing in pricey waterproof boots. Of course, for rugged terrains and wet climates, they are a necessity.