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.

1
Vasque Mantra GTX Waterproof Trail Shoe

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

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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.

2
Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo

Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo Hiking Shoe
Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo Hiking Shoe. Wendy Bumgardner © 2010

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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.

3
Brooks Cascadia

Brooks Cascadia
Brooks Cascadia. © Brooks Sports

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Designed with input from an ultramarathoner, this shoe definitely stands out for its vibrant color - I was shocked when I saw a friend in a pair. But 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.

4
adidas adiZero XT

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

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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.

5
Mizuno Wave Ascend

Mizuno Wave Ascend
Mizuno Wave Ascend. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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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.

6
La Sportiva Bushido

La Sportiva Bushido
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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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.

7
KURU Chicane

KURU Chicane
KURU Chicane. KURU ©

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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.

8
New Balance 1010 Minimus

New Balance 1010 Minimus Trail
New Balance 1010 Minimus Trail. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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New Balance had a previous model of minimalist trail shoes that provided very little support and protection. The 1010 model has a little more, including a rockstop plate in the sole and a gusseted tongue to keep out trail debris. But these are still very minimalist shoes for people who don't need support, stability or motion control. They are very lightweight and flexible. I found them too unsupportive for me to wear. They come in widths and can be worn with or without socks.

9
New Balance 910 GTX Trail Running Shhoe

New Balance 910 GTX
New Balance 910 GTX. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

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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 mesh upper allows your feet to breathe while GORETEX keeps water out.

10
Hi-Tec Penrith Low Cut Hiking Shoes

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

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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.

11
Hi-Tec Skamania Waterproof Mid Boots

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

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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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