Best Hiking Shoes of 2018

Best Hiking Shoes of 2018

It’s just about time to swap out ski boots for hiking shoes here in Tahoe. We’ve had a spell of warm spring weather that has us dreaming of logging miles along dusty trails in the Sierra Nevada. If you’re gearing up and looking for a new hiking boot this season, or a lightweight hiking shoe, we’ve got you covered. Our carefully curated list of the best hiking shoes is back and updated for 2018. We are excited to share this new list of hiking boots and hiking shoes and hope that with our help, you’ll have happy feet wherever the trail takes you.

All shoes listed in this post are available at our store in Truckee, California, although sizes and colors may vary depending on availability. Please stop by and see us if you are thinking about new shoes for trail running, hiking, backpacking, and every day mountain living.  This post also contains affiliate links for easy online purchasing.

Hiking Shoes

Oboz Sawtooth Low

Weight (1/2 pair) – 12.7 oz / 360 g

Upper – Nubuck leather, abrasion-resistant textile

Waterproof? No

Price – $110

Best Use – Hiking, Lightweight backpacking

What makes this hiking shoe special? Almost everything, from the inside out. The high quality insoles in each Oboz shoe provide incredible support and stability, plus you won’t have to worry about trimming down aftermarket footbeds. The BFit Deluxe insole in the Sawtooth Low guides your foot into a neutral alignment and provides support across all three arches of the foot.

The Sawtooth outsole showcases aggressive tread. It has deep, toothy lugs underfoot that shed shed dirt and mud, and sidewall lugs to help you grip sloping, off camber sections of trail. The outsole is also made of grippy rubber, which makes this shoe rank high in the traction category. With an upper made of a combination of leather and textile, it has found the perfect balance of protection and breathability.

Want more support? It also comes in a mid height, the Sawtooth Mid BDry. Want a waterproof shoe? It also comes in a waterproof version, the Sawtooth Low BDry. You can find all three versions of this shoe at Tahoe Mountains Sports.

Hiking on the Tahoe Rim Trail

Oboz Traverse Low

Men’s Traverse Low

Weight (1/2 pair) – 16.6 oz / 471 g

Upper – Synthetic leather

Waterproof? No

Price – $125

Best Use – Hiking, Lightweight backpacking

The Traverse Low is a light and nimble hiking shoe. It’s an excellent choice if you are looking for a day hiking shoe or something to use for lightweight backpacking. It lets your feet breathe and dries out fast when it gets wet. A favorite feature of this shoe is that it’s extremely durable. The synthetic leather upper and abrasion resistant textile can take on anything from Sierra Nevada granite to Utah’s gritty sandstone. You can feel confident hiking on or off trail with these shoes on your feet because you’ll have Oboz’s signature outsole underfoot, the Granite Peak.  This gives the shoe aggressive traction and protection.

Inside you’ll find Oboz’s O Fit Insole, a supportive footbed that provides all day cushioning and comfort and helps guide your foot into a neutral position. It’s a high volume shoe which makes it a good choice if you have a wide foot, or a high arch or instep.

Keen Targhee Vent

Women’s Targhee Vent

Weight (1/2 pair) – 14.8 oz / 420 g

Upper – Water-resistant oiled nubuck leather

Waterproof? No

Price – $125

Best Use – Warm weather hiking

A perfect blend of comfort and breathable protection makes the Keen Targhee Vent one of the best warm weather hiking shoes out there. The name says it all, this shoe is designed to vent hot air and keep your feet cool when they start to heat up. For this shoe, Keen took the blueprint of their signature Targhee collection and redesigned the upper with mesh panels to promote air circulation.

Men’s Targhee Vent

If a breathable hiking shoe is your priority, look no further than the Targhee Vent. It’s a great choice for hot, dry climates such as Tahoe in the summer or for your spring and fall desert trips. It performs well on different surfaces thanks to Keen’s All Terrain rubber outsole. This outsole has deep 4 mm multi-directional lugs that provide excellent traction in mud, sand, and other slippery surfaces.

Another great feature of this hiking shoe is a technology Keen uses, called Cleansport NXT™, to help control odors. Overall, this is a great shoe for those looking for a light and breathable shoe for day hiking and everyday use. Bring it to Joshua Tree or along the John Muir Trail, your feet will thank you! This shoe is also available in a mid height as well. See below for our review.

Hiking up to Cascade Falls, Lake Tahoe

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 

Weight (1/2 pair) – 9.7 oz. / 295 g

Upper – Quick-Dry Air Mesh

Waterproof? No

Price – $120

Best Use – Hiking, Ultralight Backpacking, Fastpacking

The Lone Peak was inspired by one of the most rocky, rugged mountains in the Wasatch Range of Utah and is designed to tackle the gnarly terrain of the Wasatch 100.  It features Altra’s fully cushioned zero drop platform which allows you to maintain a natural foot position and alignment as you hike or run. The wide toe box allows toes to relax and spread out naturally reducing over-pronation, enhancing stability, and creating a powerful toe-off to maximize your running performance.

The latest version of the Lone Peak has drainage holes to keep your feet dry, a 4-point gaiter system to keep dirt and rocks out, and an updated mesh upper for enhanced durability. The Lone Peak 3.5 is an excellent choice of footwear for ultralight backpacking, fastpacking, and hiking. It’s no surprise that these shoes are a top pick for long distance thru hikers, such as those taking on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Keen Targhee III WP

Men’s Targhee III WP

Weight (1/2 pair) -17.4 oz / 493 g

Upper – Waterproof leather and performance mesh

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $135

Best Use – Hiking

Women’s Targhee III WP

The Targhee III WP is Keen’s classic hiking shoe. It’s comfortable and supportive, making it a good choice for long days on the trail or for everyday wear. It uses KEEN.DRY waterproof breathable membrane to keep your feet dry, a mud shield for durability, and an internal shank and TPU injected heel capture for added stability.

Just like the Keen Targhee Vent, it uses Keen’s All Terrain rubber outsole which has 4 mm directional lugs so that you can venture anywhere and feel confident in the tread and traction underfoot. It also uses Keen’s odor control technology, Cleansport NXT™, to help manage unwanted smells. This is an excellent choice if you are looking for an all terrain hiking shoe that can take on the trail anytime of the year. This shoe is also available in a mid height as well. See below for our review.

Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX

Men’s X Ultra 3 GTX

Weight (1/2 pair) – 13.4 oz / 380 g

Upper – Waterproof synthetic and water resistant textile

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $150

Best Use – Hiking

The X Ultra 3 GTX  is a waterproof hiking shoe that offers four season protection from the elements and has been redesigned this year to offer better Descent Control technology and a women’s specific fit. This sturdy hiker will quickly become your go-to for year round adventures – hiking in Yosemite, backpacking in Big Sur, snowshoeing around Castle Peak… A protective upper and breathable waterproof GORE-TEX membrane work together to keep your feet dry and manage moisture within.

Women’s X Ultra 3 GTX

Deep chevron lugs and Salomon’s High Traction Contragrip rubber outsole give you excellent traction on rock, ice, mud, etc. There is a special lug pattern on the heel to give you even more control as you hike downhill. One of the best features of this shoe is the easy Quicklace system. You don’t have to worry about about your shoe laces coming untied, just pull the Quicklace tight and tuck the ends into the convenient lace garage at the top of the tongue.

Here’s a fit tip for this season: the Women’s X Ultra 3 GTX is running large. Order 1/2 to one full size down from your standard shoe size. The Men’s X Ultra 3 GTX is running true to size. This shoe is also available in a mid height as well. See below for our review of the X Ultra 3 Mid GTX.

Oboz Sawtooth Waterproof Low B-DRY

Weight (1/2 pair) – 16.7 oz / 473 g

Upper – Waterproof nubuck leather and abrasion-resistant textile

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $140

Best Use – Hiking

Oboz Sawtooth hiking shoes are known for amazing traction, stability and a cushioned midsole, plus they are comfortable right out of the box! The Sawtooth B-DRY is a fully waterproof system made with a proprietary tape-sealed polyurethane bootie and hydrophobic upper materials to keep your feet dry while a special textile lining wicks sweat away and allows your feet to breathe.

These shoes include the O-Fit Insole which has a low density EVA pod to provide cushioning and comfort.  The fit on these is the same as the non-waterproof version with medium volume and standard width, these should fit true to size.  These are a great all season shoe that can are great for everything from long distance hiking to everyday use.  They provide the perfect mix of comfort, support and protection.

 Oboz Firebrand II

Men’s Firebrand II

Weight (1/2 pair) – 18.3 oz /519 g

Upper – Waterproof nubuck leather and abrasion-resistant textile

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $139.95

Best Use – Hiking

The Firebrand II is our top pick for men’s waterproof hiking shoes. Comfortable, durable, and light, this is the shoe to do it all.  As the snow continues to melt throughout the summer here in Tahoe, you’ll want Oboz’s BDry technology to keep your feet dry as you splash through creeks and mud. It combine’s hydrophobic uppers, moisture wicking textile lining, and a breathable waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The mud shedding outsole on this shoe is an Oboz classic, with deep heavy duty lugs underfoot and along the sidewall for multi-directional traction.

When you buy a pair of Oboz, you know that you are getting a shoe with a great, supportive fit right out of the box thanks to their quality insoles. The Firebrand II comes with BFit deluxe insoles which help prevent pronation and supination, and secure your foot in a neutral alignment. It also features a roomy toe box which gives your feet lots of room for toe splay. Whether you’re going for a hike around Donner Summit, or planning a multi day adventure in Desolation Wilderness, this waterproof trail shoe won’t let you down.

Hiking Boots

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof B-DRY Boot

Weight – 19.0 oz / 538 g

Upper – Waterproof nubuck leather

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $169.95

Best Use – Hiking, Backpacking

The Oboz Bridger Mid is an excellent choice for hikers and backpackers who are looking for a supportive, trail ready shoe.  This boot is has a wide toe-box and forefoot with a narrow heel to prevent slippage and blistering.  Other features include a protective toe cap, 100 percent waterproof durable finish, and O-Fit Insole.

The O-Fit Insole lends structure and support to this hiking boot and helps guide your foot into a neutral position. It has low, medium, and high density EVA to provide precise cushioning. A nice feature of this footbed is that it has a moisture wicking top layer to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

The supportive fit and cushioning help prevent fatigue, especially on long, strenuous hikes. You won’t feel rocks and roots underfoot thanks to the thick Granite Peak outsole. It contains a nylon shank for stability and 4mm gripping lugs for aggressive traction on variable terrain.  If you want a traditional looking leather hiking boot with modern, lightweight features this is the one for you.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX 

Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Weight – 15.8 oz / 448 g

Upper – Water resistant textile and waterproof PU coated leather

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $165

Best Use – Hiking, Backpacking

One of Salomon’s best selling hiking shoes, the X Ultra Mid, is back this year and has been redesigned to provide extra stability and support, especially for the hike down. This lightweight, durable boot can be used for anything. It’s light enough to use as a day hiker yet sturdy enough to use for backpacking.

Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

A GoreTex membrane provides breathable, fully waterproof protection from outside elements. The Advanced Chassis and mid-height design create stability and support on rugged terrain. The Sensifit cradle goes from the midsole to the lacing system to provide a secure and customized fit for your foot.

Salomon uses their high traction Contragrip rubber for the outsole of the X Ultra 3 Mid. We love how this sticky rubber grips on all surfaces, even in wet or icy conditions. The lug pattern has also been redesigned so that you can feel confident and in control as you cruise downhill. Other features include: Plush tongue and collar, heel pull, breathable fabric lining for a great in-shoe feel and removable molded foam insole.

Hiking through the wild flowers on the Sagehen Trail, Truckee

Oboz Sapphire Mid Waterproof – Women’s

Women’s Sapphire Mid Waterproof

Weight (1/2 pair) – 14.3 oz / 405 g

Upper – Waterproof nubuck leather

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $160

Best Use – Hiking, Traveling, Backpacking

The Oboz Sapphire Mid Waterproof is a comfortable, stylish hiking boot that you can take anywhere, from the city to the trail. It’s great for all day wear thanks to Oboz’s signature O-Fit insole and a cushy EVA midsole. The upper is has been designed to allow easy articulation with each step, making this a softer, more comfortable hiking shoe for everyday use. It’s a great choice for light hiking and traveling. You can still count on this being a durable and protective shoe; Oboz uses their proprietary waterproof system, called B-DRY, to keep your feet dry while maintaining breathability. The Swiffcurrent outsole provides traction, stability, and durability so that you can feel confident no matter what the terrain. Fit tip: this is a lower volume boot with a women’s specific fit in the forefoot and toe box. It’s one of the best women’s hiking boots on the market for 2018!

Keen Targhee III Mid WP

Men’s Targhee III Mid WP

Weight (1/2 pair) – 17.4 oz / 493 g

Upper – Waterproof leather and performance mesh

Waterproof? Yes

Price – $145

Best Use – Hiking, Backpacking

Keen’s Targhee III Mid WP is a well rounded hiking boot that can handle all conditions. It is designed for all terrain adventure and features a blend of comfort, protection, and durability. KEEN.DRY waterproofing system keeps your feet dry with a waterproof breathable membrane. The All Terrain rubber outsole has a deep multi-directional tread pattern and provides excellent traction in all kinds of conditions. A molded, dual density midsole and metatomical footbed help make this a comfortable hiking shoe for all day adventures.

Women’s Targhee III Mid WP

We like this boot for longer day hikes and backpacking. It’s comfortable, supportive, protective, and light. An internal shank and TPU injected heel capture add stability to the shoe so that you can feel confident in your footing. You can cross creeks, traverse granite slabs, and hike through muddy trails, ending the day with happy feet. It also uses Keen’s odor control technology, Cleansport NXT™, to help manage unwanted smells.

Keen Targhee Vent Mid

Women’s Targhee Vent Mid

Weight (1/2 pair) – 16.6 oz / 471 g

Upper – Water resistant oiled nubuck leather

Waterproof? No

Price – $135

Best Use – Warm weather hiking / backpacking

Men’s Targhee Vent Mid

Your favorite warm weather hiking shoe, the Keen Targhee Vent, is also available in a mid height for added support and stability. Just like the low Targhee Vent, this hiking boot uses a mesh upper to achieve maximum breathability. You’ll find the same comfort, support, and stability of the Targhee collection, partly due to an internal shank and TPU injected heel capture.

We love this boot for hot, dry weather; it’s a great choice if you’re planning a desert trip to Joshua Tree National Park or for those hot, dry, late summer hikes in the Sierra’s. The outsole has deep, 4 mm multi-directional lugs for excellent traction and is made of Keen’s All Terrain sticky rubber. Like the other Keen shoes on this list, Cleansport NXT™ is used to help manage odors.

Want something lighter and faster?  Check out our blog post on Best Running Shoes for 2018 and come in to try some on!

Ready to go hiking?  Read about the Best Day Hikes in Lake Tahoe and tell us in the comments below about your favorite place to go hiking.

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