Best Hiking Shoes for Beginners: Top Picks and Essential Tips

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity that allows people to connect with nature, stay active, and enjoy breathtaking views. As a beginner, it’s essential to invest in the right gear – and a key component to having a successful hike is the footwear. Hiking shoes provide the necessary support and protection that beginners need when venturing out on the trails.

There are various types of hiking shoes available on the market, each designed to cater to a specific hiking environment or preference. Lightweight options offer flexibility and comfort, while more robust designs offer increased durability and support for challenging terrains. The proper choice of hiking shoes can make a significant difference in a beginner’s confidence and enjoyment on the trails.

When selecting the best hiking shoes for beginners, it’s crucial to consider factors such as fit, materials, traction, and overall durability. A comfortable fit ensures that your feet remain secure, minimizing the chances of blisters or discomfort during your hike. The material used should withstand various weather conditions and provide ample breathability. A shoe with excellent traction will prevent slips and falls on varied terrain, while durability ensures that your investment lasts for many adventures to come.

In pursuit of helping beginners make informed choices, we have analyzed various hiking shoes, focusing on their performance and suitability for those new to the trail. Keep reading as we introduce our top picks and share valuable insights to help you find the perfect pair that will make your first hiking experience an enjoyable and comfortable one.

Best Hiking Shoes for Beginners

As outdoor enthusiasts, we have carefully compiled a list of the best hiking shoes designed specifically for beginners. Check out our top selections below to find the perfect pair for your next adventure.

Salomon Men’s X Ultra Pioneer Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Beginners in hiking should consider the Salomon Men’s X Ultra Pioneer Waterproof Hiking Shoes for a comfortable and lightweight experience on the trails.


  • Excellent waterproof protection
  • Comfortable fit
  • Durable construction


  • May need to size up for an accurate fit
  • Grip on wet surfaces could be better
  • Can be uncomfortable for long hikes

During our experience with the Salomon Men’s X Ultra Pioneer Waterproof Hiking Shoes, we noticed that they provided excellent protection from moisture and water. The ClimaSalomon Waterproof technology ensured our feet stayed dry even when walking through dewy grass or crossing shallow streams. This is a valuable feature for anyone who wants to keep their feet dry and comfortable while hiking.

The fit of the Salomon hiking shoes was quite comfortable for the most part. We found that they held up well on rough hikes, even 12-mile ones with significant elevation changes. However, it’s worth noting that some of us had to size up to get the right fit. Those with wider feet or who are in-between sizes might need to consider going half a size up for the proper fit.

The overall construction of the shoes is durable, holding up well to various terrains and hiking conditions. However, we did notice that the grip on wet surfaces, such as rocks or slick trails, could be better. This may be a concern for beginners who need reliable traction on slippery surfaces.

Another aspect to consider is that the shoes can become uncomfortable during longer hikes or walks. Some users reported that the hard sole and snug fit might cause discomfort after extended use. If you’re planning on taking longer hikes or wearing these shoes all day, you might want to consider additional cushioning or looking for a different shoe with more comfort features.

In conclusion, the Salomon Men’s X Ultra Pioneer Waterproof Hiking Shoes are a solid choice for beginners in hiking who require reliable waterproof protection and a comfortable fit. However, be prepared to size up if necessary and make sure to test them on slippery surfaces to ensure they provide the grip you need.

Columbia Men’s Plateau Waterproof Hiking Shoe

The Columbia Men’s Plateau Waterproof Hiking Shoes are an excellent choice for beginners due to their comfort, support, and waterproof capabilities.


  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Durable construction


  • Sizing may run small
  • Narrow fit for wide feet
  • Short shoelaces

We recently tried the Columbia Men’s Plateau Waterproof Hiking Shoes on a hiking trip and were impressed with their performance. The lightweight design made it easy for us to cover long distances without feeling weighed down, and the shoes provided all-day comfort. The breathable textile and synthetic overlay construction offered exceptional support, perfect for beginners who need that extra stability.

The Omni-Tech waterproof materials kept our feet dry even in wet conditions, ensuring that we could enjoy our hike without any discomfort. However, we did notice a few drawbacks regarding the shoes’ sizing and fit. If you have wide feet, you might find the fit too narrow for optimum comfort. Additionally, the shoes seem to run small, so you should consider ordering a size up from your regular size to ensure the perfect fit.

The shoelaces on these shoes were also quite short, making it more challenging to get a secure fit. Despite these shortcomings, the overall quality and performance of the Columbia Men’s Plateau Waterproof Hiking Shoes make them a solid option for beginners looking for a reliable and comfortable shoe to start their hiking journey. Don’t forget to check out the various colors available to find your perfect style.

In conclusion, the Columbia Men’s Plateau Waterproof Hiking Shoes offer excellent support, comfort, and waterproof capabilities, making them ideal for hiking beginners. Just take note of the sizing and fit, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the great outdoors with reliable footwear.

Columbia Men’s Crestwood Waterproof Hiking Shoe

The Columbia Men’s Crestwood Waterproof Hiking Shoe is a great option for beginners, offering comfort, durability, and versatility on the trail.


  • Waterproof and breathable design
  • Comfortable and supportive fit
  • Non-marking, high-traction rubber outsole


  • Might feel heavy for some users
  • Waterproofing may lessen over time
  • Limited color options

We recently tried the Columbia Men’s Crestwood Waterproof Hiking Shoe on a few short hikes to test its performance. The first thing we noticed was its comfortable fit, thanks to the suede leather and mesh upper that provided a snug yet breathable feel on our feet.

The Omni-TECH™ waterproof technology kept our feet dry during our hikes through some wet and muddy trails. It was also impressive how the non-marking Omni-GRIP™ rubber outsole provided excellent traction on both rocky and slippery surfaces, ensuring we always felt secure on the trail.

However, it’s worth noting that some may find these shoes a bit heavy compared to other hiking shoes. And while the waterproofing held up well during our initial usage, some users have reported that it may wear off over time. Finally, with only two color options available, it may not appeal to those who prefer a more diverse selection.

Overall, we think the Columbia Men’s Crestwood Waterproof Hiking Shoe is a solid option for beginners, providing all the necessary features for a comfortable and safe hiking experience. With its durable construction, supportive fit, and reliable traction, you’ll have everything you need to tackle your next adventure on the trails.

Columbia Men’s Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe

The Columbia Men’s Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe is an excellent choice for beginners seeking comfort, support, and durability on the trails.


  • Reliable waterproof and breathable technology
  • Comfortable and versatile design suitable for various trail activities
  • Durable outer construction with molded toe cap protection


  • Sizing might require adjustment for a better fit
  • Traction could be better on more challenging terrains
  • Not as breathable as other shoes in the market

During our recent hiking adventure, we tested the Columbia Men’s Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoes. True to their description, these shoes remarkably kept our feet dry and comfortable, thanks to the Omni-Tech waterproof features. The shoes’ urban design with trail performance elements made them suitable both for casual wear and outdoor activities.

We were impressed by the Navic Fit System, which provided a secure and locked-down fit for our midfoot. Furthermore, the seamless mesh construction kept our feet free from debris and added adequate support for a long day on the trails.

However, it is essential to note that the sizing might require adjustment, as some of our team members felt the fit was slightly narrow. Ordering half a size up could solve this issue. While the Adapt Trax outsole offered reasonable traction on most terrains, it might not be the best choice for more advanced, slippery, or challenging trails. Moreover, though the shoes were breathable, they still felt warm at times, which could be a minor issue on hotter days.

Overall, the Columbia Men’s Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoes are a great option for beginners due to their comfort, support, and durability on various trails. For entry-level hikers wanting to experience the great outdoors confidently, these shoes provide a reliable and versatile choice.

Columbia Men’s Valley Pointe Waterproof Hiking Shoe

These shoes are a solid pick for beginners who seek comfort, support, and waterproof protection on their hiking adventures.


  • Lightweight and waterproof
  • Comfortable, breathable materials
  • Durable construction


  • May need time to break in
  • Laces may sit too high
  • Limited color options

We recently tested the Columbia Men’s Valley Pointe Waterproof Hiking Shoe on a trek, and we were quite impressed with their performance. The shoes are lightweight yet still offer great support, making them an ideal pick for beginners. The mesh, textile, and synthetic overlay construction also provides all-day comfort and breathability. These materials, combined with the Omni-Tech waterproofing, ensured our feet remained dry in a surprising downpour.

One minor concern with these shoes is that they may feel a bit snug at first. However, after a few days of wearing them, they seemed to conform to our feet nicely. Another potential issue is the placement of the laces; some users may find them a bit too high up on the tongue of the shoe. This is not a deal-breaker, but it is worth mentioning.

In terms of durability, we found the Valley Pointe Hiking Shoes to be long-lasting compared to others on the market, surviving our rigorous hikes without any signs of wear. While they may not have the widest range of color choices, the available options are suitable for most tastes.

In conclusion, the Columbia Men’s Valley Pointe Waterproof Hiking Shoes are an excellent choice for beginners looking for a comfortable, supportive, and waterproof option for their hiking adventures. Despite a few minor drawbacks, these shoes provide great value for the price and are a reliable choice for those new to the hiking world.

Buying Guide

We understand the importance of choosing the best hiking shoes for beginners, so we’ve created this buying guide to help you navigate through the various features and factors to consider. We’ll discuss what features you should be looking for and provide some tips to make your decision easier.

Comfort and Fit

One of the most crucial aspects to consider when selecting hiking shoes is comfort and fit. There is nothing worse than having sore feet when hiking. Make sure to try on different sizes and styles to find the shoes that fit your feet best. Look for adequate arch support, cushioning, and a snug fit without being too tight or too loose. Remember, your feet may swell on longer hikes, so give yourself room for that possibility.


Hiking inevitably means encountering various weather conditions, wet terrain, or crossing shallow streams. Having a waterproof or water-resistant shoe will protect your feet and keep them dry, adding overall comfort to your hike. Some shoes use a waterproof membrane, while others have a water-resistant coating. Keep in mind that fully waterproof shoes may not be as breathable, which may be a trade-off depending on your needs and hike location.


Good traction is vital for beginner hikers, as it will not only provide a more stable and secure footing on trails but will also help prevent any slips or falls. When trying on hiking shoes, pay attention to the outsole. A quality outsole will have deep, widely spaced lugs for better grip on various terrains.

Type of SoleBest for
Lug PatternsUneven Terrain
Sticky rubberRock surfaces
Vibram SolesDurability and grip

Durability and Materials

Lastly, it’s essential to choose shoes made with long-lasting materials. Durable shoes will withstand various terrain types and weather conditions for a more extended period. Look for shoes made with high-quality materials, such as the upper being a combination of leather, mesh, and synthetic fabrics. These materials will provide a mix of durability, ventilation, and flexibility.

We hope this buying guide helps you make an informed decision when choosing the best hiking shoes for your outdoor adventures. Happy hiking!