Here’s the thing about hiking shoes: Love them or hate them, all it takes is one rocky, muddy, or otherwise treacherous trail to realize your running shoes just aren’t going to cut it.
Maybe you need more ankle support, better cushioning or even something to protect your knees from downhill impact. Whatever the case may be, we’ve got you covered.
With many of the high-end hiking shoes costing well over $300, we wanted to bring you a curated list of best hiking boots that don’t cost the price of a plane ticket. We asked foot doctors, shoe connoisseurs and trail experts about their favorite hiking shoes (on a budget) for each category listed below. Here’s what they had to say, and all the details you need on the seven best hiking boots you can buy under $200.
7 Best Hiking Shoes for Under $200
Before we dive into our seven favorites, it’s good to understand why spending a little more on hiking shoes is such a worthy investment.
“Hiking shoes differ from walking shoes or casual sneakers mainly by their support, stability, and durability,” said Derek Roach, owner of Flow Feet Orthopedic Shoes. “Hiking shoes generally include a durable, deep lugged outsole to withstand rough terrain and provide better traction in wet conditions or on loose gravel. They also typically have breathable, moisture-wicking interior linings to keep the feet dry, as well as supportive insoles to absorb shock when striking the ground and prevent fatigue.”
But not all hiking shoes do everything they claim to, according to Dr. Daniel Boyer of Farr Institute.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of hiking boot features that aren’t worth the money,” he said. “For example, many hiking boots claim to be waterproof but don’t keep your feet dry, while others claim to have excellent traction, but don’t stick to surfaces very well.”
Which is why buying shoes that have been thoroughly vetted is so much better than just randomly splurging on a pair you like.
Ready to dive into the seven best hiking shoes for under $200? Keep reading.
- Best for Backpacking/Distance: Salomon X Ultra
- Best Waterproof: Propét Vercors Hiking Sneaker
- Best Lightweight: DayLite Hiker Fusion
- Best for Knee Support: Moab 2 Mid Ventilator
- Best Hiking Boot for Overall Support: KEEN Pyrenees Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Best GORE-TEX Hiking Boot: La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX
- Best for Trail-Running: TerraFlex II All-Purpose Hiking Shoe
Best Backpacking/Distance Hiking Boot
Shoe: Salomon X Ultra
If you plan to carry lots of weight — like a loaded backpack — or trek long distances, you’re going to want to buy a boot that’s meant for exactly that. For these types of hiking excursions, Dr. Boyer recommends the Salomon X Ultra.
“Salomon X Ultra hiking boots are ideal for all-terrain thanks to their excellent grip and waterproof upper material,” Boyer said. “They’re incredibly comfortable, with an EVA midsole and footbed, and the boot is lightweight despite being very durable.”
While the newest model retails for $165, you can buy slightly used versions of the same shoe for as little as $64.
Best Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Shoe: Propét Vercors Hiking Sneakers
Surprising as it may be, one of the best waterproof hiking shoes you can buy for under $200 isn’t even a boot — it’s a super durable sneaker with a built-in waterproof bootie.
“The Propét Vercors includes all the important features of a hiking shoe (waterproof, stability control, toe cap, etc.) and more,” Roach said. “The Vibram Arctic Grip outsole has excellent traction, especially in icy conditions, while the Ortholite X40 insoles respond to each step with rebound to prevent foot fatigue and help with shock absorption.”
If you really want a waterproof hiking shoe that comes up to your ankles, check out the high-top version, aka the Propét Veymont, for $159.
Best Lightweight Hiking Shoe
Shoe: DayLite Hiker Fusion
If you’re looking for the support of a hiking shoe that doesn’t come with too much extra bulk or weight, Dennis Driscoll of Xero Shoes recommends the DayLite Hiker Fusion, available in both men’s and women’s sizes.
“These shoes were built for those times when you don’t need a heavy technical boot, but want the advantages of a grippy lugged sole with added protection, durability, and ankle protection,” Driscoll said.
Best Hiking Boot for Knee Support
Shoe: Moab 2 Mid Ventilator
If your knees start to hurt after a few miles, you might want to look into getting a pair of boots with extra built-in support, like the Moab 2 Mid Ventilator from Merrell.
“This shoe is incredibly lightweight, which is perfect if your knees are sore after a long day of hiking,” Boyer said. “It also features cushioning in all the right places for added comfort.”
Best Hiking Boot for Overall Support
Shoe: KEEN Pyrenees Waterproof Hiking Boot
Whether it’s your feet, ankles, knees (or, let’s be honest, all of the above) that give you trouble after a long hike, it might be time to invest in some shoes that can actually offer better overall support while you’re on the trails. For that, trail expert Hailey Harris recommends the KEEN Pyrenees Waterproof Hiking Boot.
“These boots come up over the ankle providing optimal support,” Harris said. “They also have dual-density compression molded EVA midsoles that help absorb a lot of the shock from your joints.”
Best GORE-TEX Hiking Boot
Shoe: La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX
GORE-TEXboots for under $200? Yes folks, it is possible. And if you plan on hiking in super wet or cold climes, you’re going to want to spend an extra few bucks on a good pair of boots like the La Sportiva TX Hike Mid GTX.
“This boot for men comes with GORE-TEX SURROUND 3-layer waterproof breathable laminate,” Harris said. “These boots have special mesh on the sides for when your feet sweat. This same boot for women has GORE-TEX extended comfort waterproof/breathable membrane that’s industry-approved.”
Best Trail-Running Hiking Shoe
Shoe: TerraFlex II All-Purpose Hiking Shoe
If you like to take trails at a faster pace and mix up your hikes with a bit of trail running, there’s a shoe for that. And according to Driscoll, it’s the TerraFlex II All-Purpose Hiking Shoe.
“The upgraded welded upper increases midfoot flexibility, while the wicking mesh keeps your feet cool and dry,” Driscoll said. “The rugged sole provides confident traction, and all those bumps on the trail will simply fade away thanks to 3 mm of TrailFoam hiding inside of the patented FeelTrue sole.”
Contributor Larissa Runkle frequently writes on finance, real estate and lifestyle topics for The Penny Hoarder.