Hiking Sneakers Are Having a Moment—Here Are 7 That Are Trendy and Trail-Ready

Hiking Sneakers Are Having a Moment—Here Are 7 That Are Trendy and Trail-Ready

Image Credit: Merrell
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Move over, clunky hiking boots. Brands are finally ditching the heavy, can’t‑feel-my-feet infamy of conventional boots for lighter, more versatile designs you can take from the trail to brunch and beyond. Hiking sneakers are here to make you rethink your hefty boots for good, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Blending the support of a traditional boot with the lighter shape and swifter feel of a trail-running shoe, hiking sneakers are the cute and comfortable footwear many of us have been patiently (or not-so-patiently) waiting for. Are they technical enough to take you over boulders or down steep gullies on the trail? Yes. Only in these, you can actually feel and move your feet, nixing any sensation of being weighed down or feeling disconnected from your stride. And since they’re so airy, they can easily be worn off-piste, too, to happy hour or on a stroll around town when you need to stretch your legs. Can your regular hiking boots do that? We doubt it.

We’re a sucker for their looks, though, which are chic enough for everyday styling. Whether you’re a white tennis shoe purist or a maximalist who won’t sacrifice fashion for function, there’s a hiking shoe you’ll want to add to your wardrobe ASAP. Find our faves below.

Our 7 favorite hiking sneakers, at a glance

Best overall: Adidas TERREX Free Hiker 2 GORE-TEX Hiking Shoe
Most eco-friendly: Allbirds Trail Runner SWT
Most classic: Danner Trail 2650 GTX Mid
Most popular: Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX
Best collab: Merrell x Sweaty Better Moab Speed Gore-Tex
Most minimalist: On Running Cloudtrax Undyed
Most comfy: Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GXT

7 hiking sneakers that look (and feel) good, on or off the trail

Best Overall: Adidas TERREX Free Hiker 2 GORE-TEX Hiking Shoe, $230

Why we love ‘em: They’re great for just about everything. With the height of a hiking boot but the feel of a lightweight sneaker, the Free Hiker is anything but chunky. Its vibrant upper is made from 50 percent recycled polyester (yay, Earth!) while the interior is lined with a GORE-TEX sock to keep feet completely comfortable and, more importantly, dry. Then there’s the EVA outsole which is so plush, even when you’re trekking over rocks and roots. Its BOOST cushioning maximizes energy return, too, literally putting pep in your step so you can walk easier. And let’s be honest—they’re just pretty darn cute.

Most Eco-Friendly: Allbirds Trail Runners SWT, $109

Why we love ‘em: Because they appreciate Mother Earth just as much as we do. The Allbirds Trail Runner SWT swap the bad stuff or the good stuff, like eucalyptus-sourced Tencel and warm merino wool. That’s just the upper—everything on these sneaks is sustainable, down to the shoelaces (which are made from recycled plastic bottles) and insole (made from castor bean oil-foam.) Lace ‘em up for a tough trail run or leisurely walk  through the park with your pup—both your feet and the planet will thank you.

Most Classic: Danner Trail 2650 GTX Mid, $230

Why we love ‘em: They’re the sneaker version of Danner’s timeless brown boot, red laces and all. Only these are just a smidge lighter, giving you a bit more flexibility to bound over rugged terrain (or down to brunch) with an airier feel. And just like the OG boots, they don’t skimp on support, so if you’re inspired to jog or kick things up a notch, you’ll be ready to do so, without getting bogged down.

Most Popular: Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX, $185

Why we love ‘em: Because they’re a fan-favorite for all sorts of good reasons. For starters, they’re the mountain-dwelling sister to the brand’s iconic running sneakers, crafted to, “feel like a shoe [but] wander like a boot.” That squishy-looking sole? Ya, it’s squishy alright, protecting your precious feet with molded EVA foam to keep them feeling good, no matter how far you go. If you’re a nerd about tech specs, it has those, too, including a GORE-TEX upper, Vibram megagrip outsole, and an extended heel when that makes it easier to get that heel-to-toe motion. And they come in a rainbow of colors, from classic neutrals to spicier hues, like a bright orange/pink combo or this berry purple pair.

Best collab: Merrell Moab Speed GORE-TEX x Sweaty Betty, $140

Why we love ‘em: Because they’re the love child of two of our favorite brands, and they’re pretty close to perfect. Unlike the aforementioned options on this list, they sport a low profile that makes them extra sporty and swift for outdoor adventures. While light, they’re extremely tough, built with a grippy Vibram outsole that can tackle shifty scree and slippery, moss-covered stones alike. We’ll be honest, though, it’s definitely the colors that have our hearts. The white/khaki combo is a minimalist’s dream, while maximalists will drool over the slime green colorway (that matches the entire Sweaty Betty hike collection, BTW.) And for everyone in between, there’s the pretty aqua pair with bright pink detailing that’s basically Barbiecore in shoe form.

Most minimalist: On Running Cloudtrax Undyed, $190

Why we love ‘em: They go with everything. If you’ve ever wished you could just wear your favorite white sneakers out on the trail without worrying about them being supportive enough (or getting dirty), get these.They’re the undyed version of On Running’s cult-favorite Cloudtrax hiking sneakers that literally feel like clouds on your feet. And it’s not just the color that’s minimalist, but the design as well. These are made with less waste altogether—less water, less unnatural materials, and, yep, less dye. The only thing maxxed is comfort, which is essential whether you’re scrambling crags or eating scrambled eggs at breakfast with friends.

Most comfy: Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GXT, $200

Why we love ‘em: Because they take cushioning to a whole ‘nother level. Seriously—if the On Running Cloudtrax are like clouds for your feet, these are like just-puffed marshmallows. They’re heavenly, built with the brand’s signature Footshape fit that cradles the natural contours of your foot, giving you better balance and space to move while you walk or run. The thick rubber is equally impressive, absorbing-shock with every step while ensuring better bone and joint alignment. They’re technically a trail running sneaker, but that doesn’t mean they’re not great for running errands or taking a lil’ Hot Girl Walk around the block.

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