When venturing into the wild, whether you prefer the manicured trails or off-path tracks, it is imperative that your manly tootsies have the right gear on. To help you wind up with the ideal pair, we have tested 300+ (and counting) remarkable hiking shoes for men.
Do you need something you can whip out in virtually every situation? Or maybe you want a hiker that can keep you going for days with a moderately heavy pack on your back? Whatever it is that you need, there is a top pick with a corresponding alternative waiting for you below.
Right before your yearning eyes is the “one ring” of the hiking shoe realm. Yes, the X Ultra 4 GTX from Salomon is the hiker to rule them all!
The 4th iteration in the X Ultra series, this beast of a shoe is amazing in virtually every way. After going through several hundreds of high-quality trail kicks, we’re completely convinced that the X Ultra 4 GTX has the guns to mow down the obstacles in front of you.
“Kingly underfoot” is how we’d describe the X Ultra 4 GTX’s Contagrip outsole. The multi-sided lugs slapped onto it gave us extraordinary slip resistance on dirt tracks and muddy slopes alike. And let’s not forget how easy it was to navigate mossy terrain in this bad boy!
Does the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX have the comfort to match its adhesive power? Yes, and the shoe has it in overflowing amounts. As a cherry on top, we got it loosened up in just a matter of minutes!
In the area of waterproofing, the X Ultra 4 GTX proved its worth through creeks and mulchy puddles. Besides amazing water protection, the shoe’s Gore-Tex liner also supplied us with more than enough breathability.
So, if you want to make the trails bow down to you and your homies, there’s no better hiker to get than this!
Hounding our Salomon top pick is a La Sportiva must-have, and it’s none other than the Spire GTX!
More akin to a streamlined hiking boot than a low-top hiker design-wise, the Spire GTX doesn’t mess around when the going gets tough. If its toothy lugs are anything to go by, the shoe has the full capacity to get you where you need to be slip-free.
We were quite astonished to witness firsthand the amazingness of the Spire GTX’s stout heel. Every landing felt safe and dreamy at the same time. Sharp rocks were a no match to it, either.
Equally impressive was the way the Spire GTX kept our balance in check. On uneven terrain and low-angled inclines, the hiker stabilized our footing like a champ.
In terms of impermeability, the Spire GTX knocked it out of the park for us, just like our top pick did. Its higher-than-usual heel also contributed to its ability to keep wetness at bay too.
We also found its forward momentum as among the best there is. We even ran in it for a distance, and our feet didn’t complain. We just wish it was a bit lighter.
If hiking shoes could fly, the Salomon OUTline GTX would be the frontrunner of that pack. But seriously, this bad boy weighs a measly 350 g per shoe (men’s hikers average around 400 g), making it a nice alternative to a trail runner.
Despite its feather-like weight, the OUTline GTX is no pushover underfoot. Armed with a proprietary outsole whose lugs measure 5 mm deep, this Salomon kick will take you places—across dusty tracks and moistened soil—minus the slippage. Particularly impressive was how it got us scaling muddy slopes without sliding backwards!
You are destined to stay on top of your game where wetness rears its head in this Salomon kick, as well. Splashes beaded off it during our “trips through puddles” test. While we wouldn’t dare use it in waters deeper than three inches, the shoe is quite capable of keeping things dry on the inside in mildly flooded areas.
This super-light hiker for the homies didn’t disappoint on the support front, either. What wowed us the most in this regard was the way it kept our ankles steady, despite being a low-cuffed shoe. We were impressed by its great arch support, too!
Adidas has always been synonymous with sporty gear, and with the Terrex Swift R2 GTX (what a mouthful!), this reputation is further solidified!
Practically as light as the OUTline GTX, the Terrex Swift R2 GTX moved with our pace without any hitches. While it could use a bit more sensitivity underfoot, this shoe upped our mobility, thanks to its combination of low-profile lugs (forefoot section) and rockered toe zone.
Speaking of lugs, the Terrex Swift R2 GTX clawed into a variety of surfaces like a boss. On wet mulch, grass, and mud, the shoe kept us going without giving the slightest hint of slippage. Extra credit goes to its generous heel brake—it made downhill negotiations a real cakewalk!
Now, it would be a missed opportunity not to talk about its waterproofing. As a Gore-Tex hiker, the Terrex Swift R2 GTX boosted our confidence in inclement weather. Not a single droplet of moisture found its way inside its sturdy shell, leaving our manly tootsies wrinkle-free!
While its MSRP of $135 puts it an inch away from the highly affordable mark, the Terrex Swift R2 GTX is by and large a treat. Get one now and experience its many aces for yourself!
Comfort machine + Merrell? Enter the exceedingly comfy Moab 2 GTX!
Part of Merrell’s iconic Mother of all boots (Moab) lineup, the Moab 2 GTX bathed our stout feet in pure pampering right from the get-go. If you thought instantly comfortable hikers were wishful thinking, this low-profile bad boy will definitely change your mind!
Equally flooring was how much spring to our step the Moab 2 GTX gave us. Its plush-yet-protective sole unit made us feel completely safe over rugged obstacles. Engineered extra bouncy, heel strikes on it felt like landing on clouds!
On the traction front, the Merrell Moab 2 GTX made us feel like kings on wet and dry surfaces alike. Our trips across creeks and semi-dried-up bogs ended with no one ever slipping from our crew. We give its Vibram outsole extra props, too, for helping us scramble without losing our footing.
Written on its proverbial face is “stunning” in the aesthetics department. It’s not all looks for the Moab 2 GTX, though, as its gawk-worthy ensemble, which is a combination of mesh and leather, also proved its worthiness to us in the area of durability!
So, yeah, we highly recommend the Moab 2 GTX for those who simply wish to feel at home wherever. Get one now!
Ah, the Trail 2650 from Danner. This hiker for the gents is a real close second to our Merrell top pick!
Just by looking at its leather shell, you’d be able to tell its generosity in the comfort department. On day one, our feet were greeted with extraordinary comfort, best described as mesmerizing. Every inch within its supple confines felt magical right from the get-go.
The springiness of its heel and arch zones ensured our safety on rough terrain. And the most impressive thing about it was, after our extended escapade, our feet never ached. Incredible, right!?
Weight-wise, the Danner Trail 2650 epitomizes the barely-there description. Yes, you’ll feel like you have nothing on while wearing this, considering that it’s only 340 g per shoe.
Now, it would be criminal not to talk about and praise the Trail 2650’s grip performance. We tested its Vibram outsole on different types of terrain. Including mossy rock and perpetually moist logs, and it passed with flying colors!
While it could be roomier around the instep, the shoe never felt restrictive. Yes, mobility is among the Trail 2650’s many aces, especially around the ankle.
Are you going on a camping trip with a loaded pack filled with all your manly stuff in tow? Then keep it real and keep things simple by hiking exclusively in the KEEN Targhee II!
As our highest-rated backpacking shoe, the Targhee II doesn’t fool around with its capabilities. And if we’re left with only one word to describe this bad boy, we’d choose “adamantine.”
While the Targhee II looks is unmistakably indestructible, it has a soft core. Indeed, this shoe can be the most comfortable there is. We say “can be” because it does require a bit of a break-in period. But believe us—past its manageable honeymoon phase, pure pampering is yours!
More than enough underfoot firepower awaits you in this men’s KEEN hiker, too. It’s a double-whammy, actually. Its cushy midsole can bear heavy weights for multi-day adventures, while its rubber outsole makes haphazard traversals on wet and dry terrain a cinch.
And while we’re on the subject of firepower, we have to give the Targhee II the credit it deserves on the waterproofing front. All we’re saying is, if you detest soggy socks and wrinkly feet, grab this KEEN kick ASAP!
Wow! The Mountain Trainer Lite GTX from Salewa impressed us with its combination of protectiveness and off-the-beaten-path performance!
Let’s get this out of the way first: The Mountain Trainer Lite GTX screams support and stability. Its responsive-yet-stout sole unit got us across rocky and branchy valleys without spraining our ankles or resulting in painful arches!
Grip-wise, this fantastic hybrid of a hiker (it doubles as an approach shoe) made our multi-day wanderings safe and slip-free. Its mighty prominent heel brake and aggressive studs afforded us above-average traction on descents and ascents. Also, smearing and boulder-hopping in the shoe were one for the books!
In the area of comfort, we’ve no complaints about the Mountain Trainer Lite GTX. In fact, we were quite floored by its soft ankle cuff.
As far as waterproofing is concerned, the Mountain Trainer Lite GTX couldn’t be any more impressive! Through moderately muddy waters and calm streams, the shoe kept our burly feet 100 % moisture-free. That said, we recommend a mid-cut waterproof hiker, preferably one with a gusseted or bellows tongue, for traversals in waters of three to four inches deep.
They say men are simple fellas. When they see something of high quality—one that doesn’t demand an arm and a leg—they snag it. Well, if you are one of those homies, don’t hesitate to buy the Moab 2 Ventilator!
With its MSRP of $100, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator is hard to say no to. Why? Because while it reigns as the king of value, the things it can do make it a force of nature out there.
Right from the off, this piece allowed us to venture into the mulchy wild in pure comfort. Nothing on the inside felt rushed, only suppleness that fine gentlemen out there won’t be able to resist! Props to its snug rearfoot for pampering our heels from start to finish!
And have we mentioned that it really does live up to its name yet? Yes, the Moab 2 Ventilator has the lungs to breathe out and eject stuffiness from its leathery shell.
Now, just like most Moab offerings, this breathable bad boy comes with that mighty grippy Vibram outsole. On it, we found ourselves crushing every part of the trail with amazing sticking prowess. That said, we were particularly impressed with its adhesive performance on slick rock!
Now here’s a proper final act for this list of top picks for men. Yes, we give you the stupendously affordable Adidas Terrex AX3 as a fantastic closer!
Coming in at an MSRP of $80 a pop, the Terrex AX3 blows many a hiker out of the water price-wise. Indeed, this men’s Adidas kick is a smart buy for those who wish to adventure without skimping on potential and performance.
Matching its almost giveaway price tag is the Terrex AX3’s barely-there lightness. Heavier than our lightweight top pick by a hair (roughly 5 g per shoe!), this remarkable Adidas piece will boost your stride on groomed paths and rubbly tracks alike.
On rocky terrain, we had a swell time in the Terrex AX3. So sticky was its Continental outsole that we forgot we were negotiating wet and mossy boulders along the way! And since its lugs are spaced apart nicely, it shed mud quickly, in time for another downhill traversal on this one mulchy incline.
And what is a criminally cheap hiking shoe without amazing comfort to match? Well, fortunately for you, the Adidas Terrex AX3 is also a giver comfort-wise. Its resplendent plushness, however, becomes available only after a day or two of hiking.
Nonetheless, this super-affordable gem is a force to be reckoned with. In short, don’t pass on the Terrex AX3!
Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran 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 analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.