6 Best Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
6 Best Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes
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Get ready for wetter weather with Gore-Tex hiking shoes. When your next adventures take you to snowy trails, rainforests, and shallow streams, a pair of hiking shoes with Gore-Tex membranes can be your most reliable companion, keeping your feet dry and comfortable every step of the way.

To the uninitiated, Gore-Tex offers extreme waterproofing capability, with a breathable fabric membrane that keeps water or moist from coming in. Many great brands like Lowa, Adidas, Merrell, and Salomon provide the market with great quality Gore-Tex hiking kicks for different types of hikers.

Given their popularity, finding the ideal pair for you can be time-consuming. To help you with that, we have put these hiking shoes through a whole lot, from our test hikes and stream crossings to lab tests. We evaluated each of them until we ended up with the most noteworthy pairs.

How we test hiking shoes

For this special selection, we employed our outdoor expertise and hiked hundreds of miles to field-test all the Gore-Tex hiking shoes in our inventory. That means wearing each pair on actual hiking trips, covering 30+ miles across wet trails and muddy routes. Our selection process includes:

  • Putting in the time, energy, and our own resources to buy the Gore-Tex hikers from different brands. This ensures our independence when giving our reviews.
  • Clocking up solid mileage to get a real-world assessment of each specific model’s fit, waterproof properties, grip, comfort, protection, and durability, among others. We take the shoes on backpacking escapades across the backcountry where water or slush is a threat. We also subject the shoes’ overall performance when tackling tougher weather conditions.
  • Getting more data from the tests we perform inside our independent shoe testing lab. We gather more information by measuring and rating their parameters and dissecting the shoes.

Best Gore-Tex hiking shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Can a Gore-Tex hiking shoe be lightweight, comfortable, and supportive? It sure can! Our best overall Gore-Tex hiking shoe is the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX, which takes first place for its instant comfort straight out of the box, perfect cushioning, and first-rate support.

Weighing in at just 13.3 oz (378g), its featherweight translates to more mileage on our hikes before our feet get tired. When we compared it to our lab-tested waterproof hiking shoes, we found it is 5% lighter than average. It even sneaks in below the average for non-waterproof shoes. Impressive for a completely watertight shoe! We even tested its impermeability by standing in a stream, and our feet stayed totally dry. That’s a win for the Gore-Tex!

Loose ascents and uneven trails are a breeze in this shoe, and the stability is rock-solid. The heel counter keeps our feet firmly locked into the shoe so we evaluated it in the lab. We awarded it 5/5 for stiffness (5 being the stiffest). The Active Support System of quick laces and a shank in the midsole provide a tonne of stability, making it our go-to shoe for our rough, rocky hikes.

This shoe finds the perfect balance in the midsole - not too soft and not too hard. What this means in practice is that we get a good amount of ground feel whilst still keeping our feet protected and supported. We measured the midsole for softness by pressing a durometer to it. No surprises there - it showed 32.5 HA, the average for hiking shoes.

We measured the width of the midsole in the lab, finding it to measure 108.2 mm at the forefoot and 84.2 mm at the heel. Since the average is 109.7 mm and 86.8 mm respectively, we don’t recommend the Salomon X Ultra 4 to hikers needing a wider shoe.


  • Instant comfort
  • Impeccable waterproofing
  • Very lightweight
  • Exceptional grip
  • Excellent support and lockdown
  • Stable platform
  • Roomy toebox


  • Quicklace is not for everyone
  • Too-high collar
Full review of Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX

Gore-Tex hiking shoe with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

In a combination of lab tests and getting out on the trail, we found the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX to be the Gore-Tex hiking shoe with the best cushioning. With a midsole so plush that it feels more like a running shoe, it doesn’t neglect the stability required for a quality hiking shoe either.

The heel quite literally stands out on this shoe, giving us soft landings and much smoother transitions as we walk. Our all-day hikes were much more comfortable, thanks to the superb cushioning. When we pressed a durometer to the midsole in the lab, it registered 23.3 HA - 29% softer than the other shoes we tested. As if that weren’t enough, the insole measures 6.7 mm, 31% thicker than average. There’s no doubt about it; this is a really comfortable shoe!

With such a plush shoe, it is possible for the stability to be compromised, but the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX has it covered. The widest platform ever to have passed through our lab, the 113.2 mm wide forefoot and 93.1 mm wide heel compensate for the softness of the midsole, making it next to impossible to roll our ankles when hiking on rough trails.

To top it all off, this is an excellent waterproof shoe, the fully gusseted tongue and Gore-Tex/leather combination keeping our feet completely dry (and blister-free!) even on the wettest days. This all comes in an extremely lightweight package - they tipped our scales at 13.9 oz (393g), 6% lighter than average.

Hoka’s characteristic rocker, while muted, is live and kicking in this shoe. It makes us walk faster, sometimes even breaking into a run. For hikers looking for a less lively shoe, we recommend exploring alternatives.


  • Mind-blowing cushioning
  • Podiatrist-approved sole
  • Excellent grip
  • Top-notch waterproofing
  • Lightweight
  • Out-of-the-box comfort
  • Roomy toebox
  • Well-made
  • Contains recycled materials


  • GTX version only
  • Pricier than average
  • Weird-looking heel
Full review of Hoka Anacapa Low GTX

Gore-Tex hiking shoes with the best stability

What makes it the best?

Swift R3 GTX gets the "best stability" medal because, in the world of Gore-Tex hiking shoes, we don't want just superb waterproofing but also a super stable platform that allows us to hike over wet and slippery terrain with no ankle twists, slips and falls. And the Swift R3 GTS nails it! 

There are numerous elements contributing to the overall stability of this shoe and we thank our lab tests for documenting all of them. The most important one, for sure, is the torsional rigidity test that showed us why this shoe feels as stable as a hiking boot. Because we weren't able to twist the shoe, we rated it with 5 out of 5, 5 being the stiffest. 

Not just that, but we also loved the stiff heel counter - it scored 4 out of 5 on our stiffness test and no wonder: we were able to feel it locking our heels. Boot-like stability means safe and happy ankles and that's what we experienced, no matter how slippery the terrain got! 

All the stiffness might sound scary but the shoe is actually quite flexible, 7% more than the average! We loved this because it let us enjoy the outdoors in more natural strides. 

When it comes to the grip, in the lab, our durometer showed 85.9 HC when we checked the softness of the rubber. It is just around the average of 86.1 HC. However, when combined with 4.4 mm lugs that shine, especially on downhills, we were blown away by the traction. Talk about feeling secure in wet weather! 

Gore-Tex membrane rocks. Under the microscope, it's as tight as it gets, no wonder - but it also means no air can escape. We pumped smoke in the shoe and watched how it barely let anything out, mostly below the laces and not through the toebox. We don't recommend this hiking shoe for hot summer days.


  • Boot-like stability
  • Highly durable and protective
  • Lightweight for what it offers
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Breathable for a GTX shoe
  • Generously cushioned
  • Very secure foothold
  • Top-notch grip with deep lugs


  • Stuffy for summer
  • Can be too stiff (even stiffer in cold)
  • Break-in needed
Full review of Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX

Best lightweight Gore-Tex hiking shoes

What makes it the best?

For a lightweight, Gore-Tex hiking shoe, look no further than the Merrell Moab Speed GTX. 18% lighter than its waterproof competitors, its breathability and plush cushioning make it a superbly comfortable companion for those damp days on the hill.

Tipping the scales at just 11.4 oz (323g), this shoe is 2.5 oz (72g) lighter than the average for this category. We found it most noticeable on our longer hikes when our legs had plenty of energy to spare at the end of the day.

Puddles, streams and wet grass are no match for the Merrell Moab Speed GTX’s impermeable lining. As an added bonus, our feet didn’t even sweat while hiking! In the lab, we pumped smoke into the shoe to test for breathability. Smoke exited fairly easily through the breathable tongue, which explains the air circulation in the toe box. We awarded it a 3/5 for breathability - an improvement on the waterproof hiking shoe average of 2.3.

The Merrell Moab Speed GTX is a master of protection. We measured 4.2 mm of extra material under the heel compared to average, and 0.6 mm below the forefoot. Rather than feeling clunky, it is neatly balanced by a softer midsole, which absorbs impact. Our durometer readings showed a squishy 22.5 HA, significantly softer than the average of 30.7 HA. Such plush cushioning keeps our feet feeling fresher for longer.

In our experience, this is not the best choice of shoe for cold conditions. After 20 minutes in the freezer, we tested the shoe for flexibility by pushing it to 90° with a force gauge. Requiring 75.4N of force, it is 39% stiffer than average and requires warming up to perform as we expect.


  • Plush on day one
  • Watertight
  • Sticky
  • Featherweight
  • Stabilising
  • Incredibly supportive
  • Propelling


  • Unflattering heel fit
  • Frail outsole
Full review of Merrell Moab Speed GTX

Gore-Tex hiking shoes with the best comfort

What makes it the best?

After comprehensive lab tests and putting a number of waterproof hiking shoes through their paces, we declare that the Merrell Moab 3 GTX is the most comfortable Gore-Tex hiking shoe! They are delightfully comfortable straight out of the box, keep our feet completely dry on our wet hikes, and are designed with wear and tear in mind.

The thick padded tongue, measuring 14.6 mm (3.2 mm thicker than average), and the extra padding around the heel area make an excellent first impression from the word go. Our feet bend and flex naturally while walking in this shoe, so in the lab, we bent the shoe to 90° to test for flexibility. Our force gauge measured 30.3N, making this shoe 30% more flexible than average! In practice, this shoe gives a really comfortable ride and a natural feel to our strides.

The Gore-Tex lining is perfectly implemented, and our feet stayed bone dry, even on our rainy hikes with stream crossings. The 4.8 mm lugs are 0.5 mm deeper than average and grip well on gravel and smooth rock. They shed mud well, making them overall a great choice for wet-weather hiking.

We experienced minimal wear on the Vibram outsole after several hikes, so we brought the shoe into the lab for assessment. We measured the outsole thickness at 7.1 mm, a little thicker than the average 6.8 mm. Our durometer measurements also proved the outsole to be 83% harder than our other lab-tested shoes. They also have a solid heel and toe bumper to protect both the shoes and our feet from abrasion while scrambling over rocks. These shoes just keep on giving!

Such a workhorse of a shoe has to show some sort of weakness. The indestructible Merrell Moab 3 GTX is on the heavy side, weighing in at 15.9 oz (450g). We don’t recommend it to hikers looking for something fast and lightweight. 


  • Superb day-one comfort
  • Brilliant surface adhesion
  • Supportive like a work shoe
  • Fantastic cushioning underfoot
  • Remarkably durable
  • A-grade waterproofing
  • Sheds mud quite well
  • Protective toe box
  • Incredible overall quality


  • Heavy for a low-top
  • Subpar breathability
  • Its shoelaces unravel often
Full review of Merrell Moab 3 GTX

Best Gore-Tex hiking shoes for wide feet

What makes it the best?

The finest hiking shoe we can confidently turn to for toe freedom and for conquering below-ankle-level streams is the Teva Grandview GTX Low. While this wide-feet-friendly shoe repels water, it simultaneously promotes air to circulate, leaving us with dry feet, both from sweat and moisture. 

Our calliper obtained a 103.8 mm width across the widest part of the Grandview GTX Low’s toebox. Placing it next to the average, we found that it’s 3.8 mm above. The numbers didn’t lie as we felt that there was no toe squeezing happening in this shoe. The broadness of this shoe didn’t stop with the fit. The midsole was 116.6 mm in the heel and 93 mm in the forefoot and it also measured more than the average by approximately 5.1% in both sections. On our treks, this translated into a great deal of stability.

We had fun testing this shoe out in wet settings as we didn’t end up dripping wet. To better visualise how extremely waterproof this shoe is, we put it under our microscope. We saw that the upper is closely knitted, safe from water seeping through. Air, or should we say smoke, is a different story. It can pass through the upper, attaining a 3/5 breathability rating.

This shoe beat the average in terms of weight. We recorded 15.56 oz (441g), which is 13.1% heavier than most hiking shoes. If you are partial to light hiking shoes, seek other GORE-TEX options.


  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Softer than average cushioning
  • Great impact protection
  • Remains soft and flexible in low temps
  • Very stable and supportive
  • Deep lugs with top-notch grip
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Good wear resistance
  • A dream for wide feet


  • Heavier than average
  • Not for narrow feet
  • Heel lock is fiddly
Full review of Teva Grandview GTX Low

How to recognise Gore-Tex hiking shoes

It’s as simple as looking for the Gore-Tex logo on the shoes or looking for Gore-Tex or GTX in the shoe name. 

Goretex logo on hiking shoes

Once you’ve found that, welcome to the world of waterproof GTX hiking shoes. The Gore-Tex membrane is basically a guarantee for watertightness. 

When you SHOULD get GTX hiking shoes

To start with pros, GTX hiking shoes are, obviously, waterproof and windproof. 

These shoes are ideal for hiking in wet weather or, to be more specific: 

  • When you anticipate rainfall, mud, snow, groundwater
  • When you’re hiking through high wet grass 
  • When you’re crossing shallow creeks and streams. 

However, rain can still get inside your shoes

  • By sliding down your trousers or legs 
  • When you enter a body of water that is deeper than the height of your eyelets or heel collar. 


We recommend avoiding this to a great degree by using knee-high gaiters. They also come in GTX versions and do a magnificent job of keeping your shoes water-free because all the water slides down the gaiters and onto the shoes and/or ground. 

When you should NOT get GTX hiking shoes 

Even though the brand says the Gore-Tex membrane is breathable, our lab tests and wear tests have shown the opposite. We don’t just hike in the shoes we test but we also pump the smoke into them and watch where the smoke comes out and at which pace. This allows us to rate the breathability on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the most breathable. 

In this video, it is clear how the GTX shoe does not breathe compared to the non-GTX shoe on the right

This is the biggest downside of a Gore-Tex shoe. If your feet sweat a lot or if the water gets inside, it’s almost impossible for your socks and shoes to dry out on their on as you hike further. This, unfortunately, can lead to discomfort and blisters, to start with. 

See how GTX hiking shoes performed on our breathability test: 

This is why we don’t recommend GTX hiking shoes if there’s no point in using them: if there’s no rain, snow, or ground water. We also don’t recommend using them in hot weather due to their disappointing breathability. If there’s a small chance of getting hit by the weather and it’s nothing extreme, consider getting water-resistant or water-repellent hiking shoes. 

Don’t slip in GTX hiking shoes!

It’s all about figuring out what kind of outsole and lugs you need. Hiking in wet terrain usually means 2 types of terrain and, depending on that, 2 types of lugs. 

  • For hard flat surfaces, usually rocky ones, we recommend around the average ~4 mm sticky lugs. 
  • For loose wet ground: slush, mud, or snow, we recommend deeper lugs (4 mm and above). 

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Lug depth

In our lab, we use a calliper to measure the depth of the lugs. But, we don’t stop there. We also check the softness of the outsole because softer rubbers usually stick better to the ground. The HC durometer shows the hardness of the rubber: the bigger the number, the harder the outsole.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Outsole hardness

There are, however, 2 more things to keep in mind when it comes to grip in wet terrain: 

  1. If you use hiking shoes with deeper lugs and softer rubber, which are meant for soft ground, on hard surfaces, they will wear out sooner. Good thing is, in our reviews we always measure the hardness of the rubber and you can always compare it to the average or hardness in other shoes.
  2. Lugs that are widely spaced are better at shedding mud.

This image clearly shows the difference between a hybrid outsole (left) that's great for road-to-trail with its shallow numerous lugs, soft-ground outsole (middle) with deep lugs that is great for loose terrain, and mud outsole (right) with very deep lugs that are distanced from each other

3 different thread patterns on trail running outsoles

Gore-Tex under the microscope

This is a part of our breathability testing. We examine every upper under the microscope to understand all the nuances related to breathability. See how tightly woven the fibres are on Gore-Tex uppers in hiking shoes: 

Gore-Tex uppers under the microscope

It is very clear why they are not breathable. For comparison, look at the 'regular' uppers under the microscope: 

Breathable uppers in hiking shoes under the microscope

The manufacturer clearly says that every inch of the GTX membrane has 9 billion pores and that every pore is 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet. Because of this, according to them, it’s possible for the material to be waterproof and breathable at the same time. 

We don’t agree on the breathable part and our tests have proven it. As we can see above, the GTX uppers look pretty different than the other, nonwaterproof uppers. Hiking shoe uppers are usually made of different materials, not just one. GTX membrane is simply implemented, it is not standalone. 

GTX hiking shoes are heavier and more expensive

Usually, they weigh a bit more. In the lab, we always measure the weight of the shoe on our scale. 

KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Weight

Slippery terrain asks for extra stability

It could be very dangerous to cover slippery terrain in hiking shoes that are not stable. Luckily, we test for stability out there on the hikes and in our lab. 

In the lab, we use a calliper to measure the width of the midsole (base), at the forefoot and at the heel. The wider the base, the more stable the shoe. 

We also squeeze the heel counter as its stiffness can help with the overall supportive and stable feel. We rate it on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is the stiffest. 

When it comes to lateral stability, we test it outside the lab and always cover it in every shoe review as a separate section. 

Perfect fit in GTX hiking shoes

The rules that apply here apply to all hiking shoes. We wrote a very detailed guide on how to find the best pair of hiking shoes for you. When it comes to nailing the perfect fit, we advise sticking to these steps: 

  1. Wait for the afternoon to go shoe shopping. By then, your feet will most likely swell a bit, similar to how they swell on a hike. 
  2. Bring your regular hiking socks with you. Use them when trying the GTX hiking shoes on.
  3. Once you’ve put the shoe on, lace it up and try to sense all the pressure points. If the shoe is cramping your toes, the toebox is too narrow. If there’s a poking sensation anywhere, try another shoe. Aim for the perfect fit: not too loose and definitely not too tight! 
  4. If you’re using orthotics/insoles, try the shoes with them, then and there. 
  5. Walk up and down the ramp. Most outdoor shops have it, usually covered with grass, pebbles, larger rocks, etc. Your feet should not slide within the shoe (to the sides or forward-backward), not when you’re walking uphill or downhill. 
  6. Many GTX hiking shoes ask for some break-in period. Make sure to give them that! 


If you have a wider forefoot, we recommend GTX hiking shoes with a wide toebox. Fortunately, we cover this in the lab as well by measuring the width of the upper both where it's the widest and around the big toe. The big-toe width measurement is more important as it means the shoe tapers less (it is less pointy)

Different toebox measurements in the RunRepeat lab

Measuring the toebox width at its widest (up) and at the big toe (below) 

Keep in mind though that loose fit is a bad idea, especially on slippery terrain. Make sure the shoe fits great. Best to aim for the perfect lockdown: no sliding!

Is Gore-Tex the only waterproof membrane?

No. It is the most common one, but not the only one. 

  • Columbia Sportswear uses its patented OutDry and Omni-tech technology to waterproof footwear
  • Keen uses KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane technology
  • Merrell has its own waterproof membrane 
  • Danner uses DannerDry on their leather to ensure a higher level of watertightness, etc. 

Other waterproof membranes present in hiking shoes

Non-GTX waterproof membranes in hiking footwear

A brief history of Gore-tex

Starting in 1958, Bill and Genevieve Gore were onto something special. They were curious about a revolutionary and new polymer called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is a synthetic polymer called a fluoropolymer. It’s well known for being hydrophobic, having a high melting point, and resistant to abrasion via a high tensile strength.


It was first patented by Kinetic Chemicals in 1941 and trademarked as Teflon. One of its first uses was as a seal coating in uranium enrichment for the Manhattan Project. Later, Teflon was used for cookware.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Drop

A decade later, in 1969, the Gores’ son, Bob Gore, discovered what eventually became known as expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, or ePTFE for short. To create ePTFE, Gore stretched the PTFE under certain conditions. What he created was a heat-resistant, hydrophobic, and thin fabric.

Bob Gore understood that he was onto something with great potential. In 1970 Gore applied for a series of patents to make Gore-tex fabrics more seriously. And shortly afterward, in 1976, he started marketing their family brand, Gore-tex. At the time, it was the first waterproof and windproof fabric.

Afterward, Gore-tex became the gold standard for waterproof fabrics and was utilised in a variety of applications, the first of which was a rainjacket. Since then, Gore-tex is also commonly used in manufacturing gloves, space suits, and footwear.

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic
Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.