Lightweight hiking shoes have a clear advantage over burlier hiking boots: by shaving significant weight and bulk, they’re much faster, nimbler, and sprightlier on the trail. You do lose some ankle support, but many hikers and backpackers prefer the added responsiveness and trail feel underfoot. Below you’ll find all of our detailed lightweight hiking shoe reviews, from dedicated hiking models to trail runners and approach shoes that cross over nicely. We've logged extensive mileage with all of these shoes to provide the best possible coverage for our readers.

Best Hiking Shoes of 2021

The momentum in hiking footwear is moving away from bulky boots toward lightweight shoes and even trail runners that are faster and more comfortable. You do lose some ankle support when carrying...

Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoe Review

Every few years, Salomon revamps their best-selling X Ultra line, and they’ve launched the new “4” for spring 2021. Building on the success of the prior generation, the latest shoe features a modernized and sleeker...

Oboz Arete Hiking Shoe Review

Hiking footwear has been trending toward fast and light for the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. These shoes are significantly nimbler and more agile than their bulky hiking boot counterparts, and many designs retain impressive stability and...

Merrell MQM Flex 2 Hiking Shoe Review

The growing popularity of wearing trail-running shoes for hiking has pushed the market towards lighter and nimbler designs. Merrell’s latest offering in this category is their hybrid MQM Flex, which aims...

Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoe Review

Better known for their lineup of tough leather boots, Danner offers an impressively well-rounded hiker in the Trail 2650. We took the low-top version of the shoe to Patagonia, where it faced long days, high mileage, and a lot of scrambling. The verdict...

Salomon X Raise Hiking Shoe Review

Building on their excellent hiking footwear collection, Salomon released the X Raise low-top last year. The shoe is intended for fast-and-light day hiking and backpacking trips with a trimmed-down, flexible, and well-cushioned build. We tested out the...

Salomon XA Pro 3D v8 Shoe Review

Salomon is one of the biggest and most respected names in outdoor footwear, with an extensive lineup that spans the road running, trail running, and hiking categories. The XA Pro 3D, now in its 8th iteration, slots in as a crossover design: a shoe...

Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX Hiking Shoe Review

Building off of Arc’teryx’s trail running collection, the Aerios FL slots in as a light but tough option for hikers who like to move quickly. Eager to test its performance, we took the low-top version of the shoe on a multi-day backpacking trip in the...

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Hiking Shoe Review

Salomon’s X Ultra line of hiking footwear is one of our long-time favorites for all types of uses from day hikes to lightweight backpacking trips. We tested the low-top shoe version through everything from early winter conditions in the Pacific...

Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Shoe Review

Merrell’s original Moab reached legendary status, and the current “2” carries on the tradition. To cut right to the chase, after taking the Moab 2 Ventilator to Utah’s Canyon Country and subsequent testing in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the shoe...

La Sportiva TX4 Review

La Sportiva’s popular TX lineup runs the gamut from the minimalist TX2 approach shoe to the mid-height TXS hiking boot. Over the past few seasons, I’ve enjoyed my middle-of-the-pack TX3: an approach shoe with a great combination of breathability...

Hoka One One Sky Arkali Review

Hoka One One’s Sky Arkali blends the lacing of an approach shoe with the midsole of a trail runner and the height of an over-the-ankle hiking boot. Billed as a “do-anything” trail shoe, we were eager to see if the radical Arkali truly could tackle any...

Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX Hiking Shoe Review

Adidas has come on strong in the world of hiking footwear, and its Terrex Swift series is a notable standout among the competition. The R2 GTX is a low-cut waterproof hiking shoe that weighs a reasonable 1 pound 8.6 ounces for the pair but offers...

Salomon OUTline Hiking Shoe Review

Salomon’s OUTline mirrors the modern trends: it’s essentially a trail runner up top with hiking shoe tread on the bottom. At 1 pound 8.6 ounces for the pair, the shoe is lighter than the popular X Ultra 3 and has a sleeker look that can be readily worn...

The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Review

The North Face’s Hedgehog Fastpack GTX has been a staple in their hiking shoe lineup for years. It’s consistently a big seller thanks to its desirable $120 price point and solid feature set that includes...

La Sportiva TX3 Approach Shoe Review

As an alpine rock climber and climbing guide, my feet frequent a great deal of trail, rocks, and snow—especially during the summer months. I took on the La Sportiva TX3 as my faithful companion throughout a season of testing, from high-mileage link-up...

La Sportiva Wildcat Shoe Review

A favorite among trail runners, lightweight hikers, and thru-hikers for almost a decade, the La Sportiva Wildcat balances a burly build with an approachable $110 price tag. However, after testing the shoe back-to-back in the Pacific Northwest with...

Vasque Grand Traverse Review

The Vasque Grand Traverse isn’t your Swiss Army Knife outdoor shoe, but it is one of the most fun pairs we’ve tested this year. With a lightweight and flexible build that is great for desert scrambling, this hybrid hiking and approach shoe is about as...