SHOES. One of my favorite topics. (And literature, world affairs, and politics, of course.) One of the most common questions I get from girls who hike is what hiking shoes I recommend. The world of outdoor shoes is vast, and it’s hard to tell online or after 15 minutes in a store what will be comfortable over miles and miles of trail.
But this list is pretty bulletproof. I have tested these shoes and feel very confident recommending them to you! I own two of these and my mother owns the other, which I proceed to steal from her whenever I get the chance.
FYI my post How To Pick the Perfect Hiking Shoes is a helpful guide for sizing and selection.
Merrell Siren Sport Waterproof
Perfect for: day hikes
I love these Merrell’s so very much. They’ve seen me through a month backpacking through Europe and a week hiking in the Canadian Rockies, and many mountain and trail adventures that followed, and I’ve never been uncomfortable in them. The sole is very sturdy and has lasted for ages.
Merrell Siren Sport, Amazon.com (several colors available)
Waterproof version: Merrell Siren Sport Waterproof (<– Recommended for longer hikes/backpacking trips)
Salomon Ellipse GTX
Perfect for: day hikes
This is another one of my favorites. Holly wore these here, hiking in Peru. They are waterproof.
Salomon Ellipse GTX, Amazon.com
Another great Salomon option: X Ultra 2, Amazon.com
Lowa Renegate GTX
Perfect for: longer day hikes (over 5 miles), backpacking
These are my latest favorite purchase and they come in about 99 different colors, so it was hard to choose. (But those who know me well will not be surprised to learn I ended up with purple.) They are SO comfortable, I wore them all over the eastern Sierra mountains this summer backpacking with my brother and husband. My feet couldn’t have been happier, despite the long days and rocky terrain.
Lowa Renegade GTX Hiking Boot, Amazon.com
(A larger color selection can be found on their website.)
Day hiking is a sport I can get behind. You don’t have to pack up your things for an overnight ordeal, you burn calories seeing the countryside instead of a gym, you get a tan, and you get to come back to a warm and cozy bed ready for a good night’s sleep.
Every good day hiker needs a good day hiking bag, and this is the one I use. (Thanks to my mountain climbing brother for picking it out!)
Mountain Hardwear Fluid Daypack, Amazon.com, $70.
It’s cute, it’s light, and it’s comfortable.
It has a pocket for my cell phone up top…
…lots of padding on my back…
…a place for a camelbak water bottle as well as spots for my water bottles on the side…
…and adjustable side straps to cinch it in/let it out.
My only complaint would be that there are too many straps, but who knows–one day I may be lost in the wilderness and need those straps to build a rope so I can shimmy down a cliff, catch a fish, or fight off a bear! You never know.
So far, I love it.
I think I’ll keep it.
Affiliate links used
Salomon Women’s Techamphibian Shoes, $50-$70, Amazon.com
I’ve had these shoes for many years, and can recommend them confidently. They’ve gotten me through a Pecos river canoe trip, multiple Guadalupe river excursions, and most recently, a hike along Barton Creek in Austin. I’ve categorized them as “Wardrobe Staples,” as they are comfortable and practical for any excursion involving water.
Like a tennis shoe, they have tough rubber soles and laces, but unlike tennis shoes, they are mesh, allowing water to flow through the shoe but keeping out pebbles. The mesh allows them to dry quickly.
The laces are a cable with a drawstring and lock feature, which you simply cinch down until snug.
Wearing a full coverage shoe like this as opposed to Chaco or Teva sandals protects the top of your feet. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have unknown objects brushing the top of my feet as I wade through a river.
The most handy feature for overnight canoe/kayak expeditions is the back of the shoe, which is made to be folded down, turning the shoe into a slip-on. I found this handy when camping alongside the Pecos river several years ago and needing to go in and out of my tent regularly.
These are not meant to be worn with socks.
My only complaint was that after hiking several miles in these yesterday and wading in the creek, I had a blister on the back of my foot. But I assume that can be expected when hiking with wet feet and no socks for several miles.
Not a paid advertisement.
Minnetonka Moosehide Moccasins, $70, Amazon.com
Tomorrow’s a holiday! Woo hoo! I’m posting this Field Fashion Friday one day early, as I bet many of you will be out and about tomorrow.
This FFF post is an homage to some of my favorite shoes in my closet, Minnetonka moccasins. Putting them on feels so good, it is almost a guilty pleasure. (Right up there with watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.) These moccasins are made from moosehide, a thick, soft leather that forms to your feet, and nothing feels better after hiking or skiing all day than slipping into these. While many people I know would argue Uggs are the most comfortable shoes known to womankind, I prefer these moccs because they have more to offer. They can be worn comfortably in the summer without making your feet hot and they take up very little room in a suitcase. And as an added bonus, guys don’t hate the sight of them!
These are perfect for slipping on outside your tent and wearing around campground, and I’ve even known someone who preferred to wear these hunting. And they last forever. I’ve had mine since college, which sadly was a long time ago.
They were crucial for this crisp fall day on the Guadalupe last year.
There are also some deerskin and suede options out there if you’re interested.
Have a happy 4th!
Not a paid advertisement.
If you just want one shoe to get you everywhere, this is your shoe.
These are Siren Sport trail shoes by Merrell. I’ve field tested them extensively and they have proven versatile and comfortable.
After college, I wore them on my month-long European adventure. They held up as I walked, biked, trained, and hiked through five countries. I hiked in the Alps in these and they were with me in Italy when I ogled at the statue of David.
The week after I returned from Europe, I jetted off to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies with my family. I wore these up and down mountains and still wasn’t tired of them! After wearing a shoe for such a long period of time, you would think they would have become uncomfortable. Not so.
Additionally, they kept my feet dry.
Because of all of these positive experiences, they are my #1 pick for an all purpose outdoorsy shoe. They can be found at just about any outdoors store or online at discount retailers such as Campmor, Sierra Trading Post, Moosejaw, and Backcountry. Mine are blue, but they come in a host of different colors.
My cole haan black pumps are to days in the office like these Merrells are to hikes in the outdoors. Essential.
Not a paid advertisement. Just me sharing what I like.