What shoes do you recommend - boots, trail runners, sandals?

What shoes do you recommend for hiking or backpacking?

Right now, I mostly wear my Chaco sandals for day hikes, Altra Lone Peaks for distance hikes and some old Merrell waterproof boots for winter hikes. I’m always curious what new options are out there and tested.


rain or shine I wear trail runners. Don’t have a good reason for it, but its basically what 99% of thru hikers wear so I’m just following the trend. comfortable and breathable! Lone Peaks are the pinnacle of trail runners in my opinion


I use Altra for summer/wet season (easy to dry and breathe). IMO…don’t buy waterproof summer shoes. Super hard to dry if they get wet! For winter/cold months (fall, winter, early spring…I’m in MN), I LOVE Timberland Waterproof Boots!!! Roomy for socks (I always go bigger in size). The Chocoruas are my favorite! They don’t leak when I step in mud or puddles, and if its’ cold outside, I’ll be wearing pants to help keep the “wet” out of them if it drizzles.


I have been using my Hoka One One trail runners in all seasons for hiking, and like the Altras, they work great for traction, comfort, blister avoidance, and general foot protection. I was up on a portion of the PCT last summer and nearly 100% of the through-hikers were wearing Altras, so the performance hiker/trail runner seems to be the vote from the the PCT though-hikers. I always say wear what feels best to you and make sure to use your boots/shoes/sandals for several shorter hikes to break them in and acclimate your feet before taking them out on a big hike. If you are going for longer distances, I also like to have my sandals in my pack, if I can afford the weight, for end of day breaks from my hiking shoes and so I can wade through the creek or stream and have my hiking shoes dry for the next day. Happy hiking!

Mark, I’ve heard good things about Hoka. What type of sandals do you pack?

I try to choose my shoes based off the terrain I’m going over if I have a say in the matter. For most hikes I wear my Altras, as everyone else has already mentioned they are near perfect for backpacking and fastpacking. If I plan on doing some serious elevation gain or going over talus slopes I will opt for boots that have ankle stabilization (this is from a bad ankle rolling experience miles in the backcountry). I’ve had my Danner Mountain 600’s for 3 years and they are amazing on top of being waterproof and super comfy for long hikes without adding too much weight.

Those Danner boots are good looking boots. I’ve always wonder how they perform and hold up.

Anyone have a great hiking sandal other than Chacos? I took the plunge last summer and got chacos, and I just don’t care for them. I came across Bedrock Sandals online, they look interesting? Anyone have suggestions?

Chacos and Teva are on the heavier and more supportive side.

Xero, Luna, Shamma and EarthRunner are on the lighter and barefoot side.

I’d say Bedrock are in the middle leaning towards the light side with minimal support. I’ve tried some on, but I’ve never been a fan of the toe strap because I hike in sand and dirt often which causes rubbing between my toes. They seem to be well made. Many people love them.

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Thank you so much! I’ll look in to all of these!

Let me be at least the third person here to recommend Altras. I’ve retired two pairs after doing a few thousand miles of backpacking. Always my go-to backpacking trail runners now.

They’re awesome! Not sure how many miles I have on mine but between hiking and fieldwork it has to be up there! My feet are super wide as well and I’ve never felt constricted in those boots even when laced tight.

Usually, especially in Summer, I’m mainly a chaco or lone peak kind of guy for shorter day hikes, but it’s pretty rocky where I backpack and I’ve had problems with slipping and stone bruises when I wear them. So, typically I switch over to my Oboz Bridger Mid for the longer hikes. I have the un-insulated version and just wear wool socks with them, but there waterproof, help support my ankles and have a mid-sole that helps keep stone bruises down when I hike through a rocky terrain.

Bridger Mid Review


I have a pair of Chacos, which I love, but I haven’t tested other brands to make a good comparison. Love slipping into those after a long day in my trail runners to let the feet stretch out and the toes breathe!

Goretex trail runners are my go to for hiking or running- I have Hokas and Brooks Ghost GTX. Backpacking (or anything that requires gaiters) I’ll wear my lightweight Vasque boots - especially if I know I’ll be going slow and my ankles need extra support. Never ever hike in sandals - I just stub my toes way too much.

Stephanie Z, how come you’re so late to this party? :partying_face:

It apparently took me 9 weeks of quarantine to get deep enough into my email to see that the forum started :slight_smile:

Has anyone tried the new Chaco Lowdown sandals that are lighter and constructed differently. I’m curious if they offer the same comfort, durability and grip?

I tend to be a boots kind of guy. Probably a long term idiosyncrasy that I refuse to give up, but I do like the solid sole and ankle support while backpacking. I always pack my sandals for little hikes (to the water source or to the crag when rock climbing) and to get out of my boots at the end of the day. I have found that no matter what the footwear, kicking them off at the end of the day is nice.

I don’t like any of them. Anyway, everyone has the right to choose what they think is better. Usually, I insist on buying shoes at a good price and quality, which is extremely important for me. Even if it takes me longer to find something I like, it’s still worth the effort. I recently ordered Best Tennis Shoes for Standing All Day which is so comfortable that I can really recommend them to those who need quality shoes and at the same time not very expensive.