The 10 Best Trail Shoes for Walkers of 2020

The right pair to hit for hitting the great outdoors

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks
"An ultramarathoner gave input for the original design when Brooks wanted to create a stable trail-running shoe."
Best for Long-Distance Trekking:
Merrell Women's Vent Hiking Shoes at Amazon
"Gets rave reviews from women who wore them to walk the 600-mile, 30-day Camino de Santiago in Spain."
"Lighter in weight than many boots, yet sturdy enough for rocky and rooted trails."
Best for Brisk Trail Walking:
Adidas Terrex Trail Running Shoes at Adidas.com
"Designed to give good traction on wet or rocky surfaces with a sticky rubber outersole."
"A lightweight, minimalist trail shoe that is very flexible."
Best for Women Town-to-Trail:
KEEN Terradora Hiking Shoes at Amazon
"Look great with your yoga pants as well as with your hiking duds, and are an excellent choice for travel."
"This shoe has maximum cushioning and is lightweight but supportive."
Best Mid-Height Hiking Boot:
KEEN Men's Hiking Boots at Amazon
"With this waterproof boot you can tromp through small streams and have less fear of turning your ankle on rough trails."
Best Waterproof Lightweight Trail Running Shoe:
New Balance Women's 910 V4 Running Shoes at Amazon
"These shoes even work well against all the elements."
"Very stable and it has proven itself with walkers on long-distance treks with lots of hills and rocky trails."
1
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Best Overall: Brooks Women's Cascadia 12 Running Shoes

The Brooks Cascadia 12 comes in some jazzy colors. But don't be fooled by the flash. This is a top recommendation for walkers on the Camino de Santiago. It can take on rocky hills, up and down, while not weighing you down. An ultramarathoner gave input for the original design when Brooks wanted to create a stable shoe built for going fast on the trail. The mesh upper allows your feet more air, but that also means it may not last as long as leather hiking shoes. It has that in common with the other trail running designs.

2
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Best for Long-Distance Trekking: Merrell Women's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes

The Moab gets rave reviews from women who wore them to walk the 600-mile, 30-day Camino de Santiago trail in Spain. That route has constant hills, often with gravel or rocks. You need a shoe that protects your foot and provides support, stability, and traction. If you have a bunion or a wide foot, women with those issues love this shoe.

The molded nylon arch shank provides stability, and many praise the arch support. The Vibram sole will last through the miles. The ventilator design helps keep air flowing around your foot to allows sweat to evaporate, so you are less likely to get blisters. If you’re more likely to encounter wet conditions, they also make the Moab 2 waterproof version. Guys don’t need to feel left out as they are also available for men and get top ratings from them as well.

3
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Best for Tough Trails: Vasque Women's Mantra 2.0 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes

This waterproof trail shoe works well for long-distance hiking. It is lighter in weight than many boots, yet sturdy enough for rocky and rooted trails. It is waterproof and built to keep out trail debris. They are very comfortable for a rainy day walk around the suburbs through puddles and street rivulets, but they are also great for the trail. They'll protect your feet and help keep you from slipping. If you want a shoe that is beefier than a trail running shoe but lighter than a boot, it's an excellent choice.

4
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Best for Brisk Trail Walking: Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley Trail Running Shoes

This is a lightweight shoe that can go from road to trail. It is designed to give good traction on wet or rocky surfaces with a sticky rubber outersole, which provides excellent grip on various surfaces.

5
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Best Minimalist Trail Shoe: New Balance Women's Vazee Summit V2 Running Shoes

The New Balance Vazee Summit is a lightweight, minimalist trail shoe that is very flexible. They tout the hydro-hesion sole for gripping wet and slippery surfaces, and users agree. They come in regular and wide widths, which is a significant advantage for those who need more room.

6
of 10

Best for Women Town-to-Trail: KEEN Women's Terradora Hiking Shoes

You may want a trail shoe that will be comfortable for both trail walking and strolling tamer paths in town. The Terradora is lighter in weight than many beefy trail shoes but still provides the support and stability you need for hills and natural surfaces. The Terradora is explicitly designed for women and is available in several colors and styles. 

They look great with your yoga pants as well as with your hiking duds and are an excellent choice for travel. You can also buy them in a waterproof version if you expect to be walking in the rain, or an ETHOS version with open side vents if you do more walking in hot climates. If you want more ankle support, they have Terradora Waterproof Mid boots as well. One caution is that some reviewers have said these shoes have a narrower fit.

7
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Best Cushioned Trail Shoe: HOKA ONE ONE Women's Challenger ATR 4 Trail Running Shoes

HOKA ONE ONE has made a name for itself with highly cushioned running shoes, so it isn’t unexpected that their trail shoes also receive rave reviews. This shoe has maximum cushioning and is lightweight but supportive. They are rated for light hiking on packed trails.

The sole has a slight rocker design that allows you to get a natural roll through your step. The model is available for both women and men.

8
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Best Mid-Height Hiking Boot: KEEN Men's Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots

If you need extra ankle stability and support, a mid-height boot can give you extra confidence on the trail. The Targhee has been a favorite throughout the years for both men and women. With this waterproof boot, you can tromp through small streams and have less fear of turning your ankle on rough trails. They're lightweight and breathable compared to many other mid-height hiking shoes so they won’t weigh you down. People who bought them report they also work well in the winter and for trekking in snowshoes. They are available in both regular and wide. The classic looks will also help you feel at home wearing them in the wilderness.

9
of 10

Best Waterproof Lightweight Trail Running Shoe: New Balance Women's 910 V4 Running Shoes

For brisk walks on the trail or even around town in rainy weather, the waterproof New Balance 910v4 is a great choice. Trail shoes don’t have to be heavy and clunky to perform well. These shoes are lightweight but supportive and cushioned from the sole to the upper. They are also flexible so you can get a good walking stride with a roll through your step from heel to toe.

When you are on the trail, you need protection from rocks provided by a toe cap and a rock plate in the sole. You won’t have an excuse to skip your trail walking plans if it is rainy, and you won’t fear crossing streams. These shoes work well against all the elements. They are available in both regular and wide, so that you can find your best fit. They come in versions for both women and men.

10
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Best Low-Cut Trail Shoe: Brooks Women's Cascadia 12 Running Shoes

Each version of this trail shoe has continued to perform well for trail walkers for years. At first, you may wonder whether a low-cut trail shoe can provide stability on the trail, especially if you have weak ankles. This shoe is very stable, and it has proven itself with walkers on long-distance treks with lots of hills and rocky trails. An ultramarathoner assisted in the design of the Cascadia 7, and the result is a shoe that won’t weigh down your feet or keep you from being nimble. It’s available for both men and women and also comes in a waterproof version. There are some bright colors available if you prefer those for your style.

Our Process

Our writers spent 12 hours researching and testing the most popular trail shoes on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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Article Sources
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  1. WIRED. Review: Brooks Running Cascadia 7. Updated November 7, 2012.