Top Picks for Trail Shoes for Walkers

Trail shoes have rugged soles for traction and protection from rocks. They should also provide more stability than road shoes. Today's trail running shoes are flexible enough for walking fast on natural surfaces, so you aren't fighting your shoes with each step.

Vasque Mantra GTX Waterproof Trail Shoe

Vasque Mantra 2.0 GTX Hiking Shoe
Vasque Mantra 2.0 GTX Hiking Shoe. Courtesy of

This waterproof trail shoe works well for hiking or for walking. 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. I found these very comfortable for a rainy day walk around the suburbs through puddles and street rivulets, but they are also great for the trail.  I hiked two tough trails that had miles of pointy rocks, slippery surfaces and small stream crossings.  By the end of the day, I had no twisted ankles and no foot discomfort from the rough trail.

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Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo

Lowa Renegade II
Lowa Renegade II. Courtesy of

This waterproof hiking shoe is serious enough to tackle wet Northwest trails.The Vibram sole is time-tested for durability. It has excellent quality construction and a true seamless lining.

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Brooks Cascadia

Brooks Cascadia
Brooks Cascadia. Courtesy of

The Brooks Cascadia comes in some jazzy colors. But don't be fooled by the flash. This is a top recommendations for walkers on the Camino de Santiago. It can take on rocky hills, up and down, while not weighing you down. It was designed with input from an ultramarathoner. It is a stable shoe built for going fast on the trail. It continues to please trail runners and is a Runner's World Editor's Choice Award winner.

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adidas adiZero XT

adidas adiZero XT Trail Shoe
adidas adiZero XT Trail Shoe. Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber

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, and users rave about the grip. But it is also narrow in the toe box, so those who need more toe room should try before they buy.

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Mizuno Wave Ascend

Mizuno Wave Ascend
Mizuno Wave Ascend. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

This shoe has been well-rated for many years by Runner's World magazine. The tongue is gusseted to keep out trail debris and waterproof for splashing through puddles or those rainy days. It has good stability elements and should work well for heavier people.

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La Sportiva Bushido

La Sportiva Bushido
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

This trail shoe get praise for protecting your foot from rocks and roots. It also has great traction and stability. It is of moderate weight and is fairly stiff. It have a glove-like fit, so be sure to try it on with your trail socks to get the right size. The Bushido comes in both men's and women's versions.

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New Balance Vazee Summit

New Balance Vazee Summit Trail Shoe
New Balance Vazee Summit Trail Shoe. Courtesy of Amazon

The New Balance Vazee Summit is a lightweight, minimalist trail shoe that is very flexible. They tout the Hydrohesion sole for gripping wet and slippery surfaces, and users agree.  They come in regular and wide widths, which is a big advantage for those who need more room. You can wear them with or without socks.

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KURU Chicane

KURU Chicane
KURU Chicane. KURU ©

Manufacturer's Site
This versatile town-to-trail shoe won our Readers' Choice Award for Best Trail Shoe for two years. They are also great for travel and touring.

New Balance 910 Trail Running Shoe

New Balance 910v2 Trail Shoes
New Balance 910v2 Trail Shoes. Courtesy of

This trail running shoe has has far more cushioning and flexibility than the New Balance Minimus. It has a Rock Stop plate to protect your foot and a Toe Protect guard in front. The GTX version has been discontinued, but if you can find a pair, the mesh upper allows your feet to breathe while GORETEX keeps water out.

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Hi-Tec Penrith Low Cut Hiking Shoes

Hi-Tec Penrith Low Cut Hiking Shoe
Hi-Tec Penrith Low Cut Hiking Shoe. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Hi-Tec offers its shoes at a value price. This waterproof hiker has a low heel, which works best for walking. It is a stiff shoe with a steel shank for stability on the trail. But you can enjoy full ankle motion due to the low cut.

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Hi-Tec Skamania Waterproof Mid Boots

Hi-Tec Skamania Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
Hi-Tec Skamania Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

If you're going to be carrying a heavy pack, these mid-high boots have a full shaft for stability. They are waterproof. The ankle cuff is aggressively padded. These are studier than I like for trail walking, but may fit the bill for Camino walkers and backpackers. Hi-Tec can usually be found for a lower price point.

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