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From British Columbia's West Coast Trail to Nova Scotia's Skyline Trail, Canada is home to some of the world's most scenic hiking routes. Therefore, whether you're gearing up for a week-long adventure or an afternoon out with the kids, you'll want to save at least a portion of your summer slush fund for a quality pair of hiking boots.
What should you look for in a hiking boot?
According to Trevor McConnell, a hiking and rock climbing specialist at Decathlon, before deciding on a pair of boots, you need to ask yourself where you'll be hiking and how strenuous it will be.
"If you only want to go on single-day hikes on gently winding forest trails, your needs will be very different than someone who wants to do a week-long backpacking trip in Algonquin Park or someone hiking in the Rockies."
McConnell says there are four main things to consider when purchasing hiking shoes:
1. Do you want a shoe or a boot?
"Shoes are lighter, but boots offer much-needed ankle support," McConnell says.
2. Do you need waterproof shoes?
Waterproof shoes will help keep your feet dry by keeping water out, but their design also holds in moisture and won't allow your feet to breathe as easily as non-waterproof shoes.
"If you only plan on hiking in the dead of summer, consider non-waterproof shoes to avoid sweaty feet," he says.
3. How robust do your shoes need to be?
"If you're only doing day trips, a broken shoelace or small hole in your shoe is not the end of the world." However, if you're planning on completing that week-long trip in Algonquin, "a small problem can become a big issue, so you need to be able to rely on your shoes. Robust hiking boots will be heavier but won't fail you."
4. How much traction (pull) and grip (stick) do you need?
If you're hiking on flat ground, you don't need much traction to keep you on the trail "as gravity is doing that for you," he says. It's when you gain altitude and "falling off the trail could result in serious injury" that your grip really begins to matter. Investing in a pair of boots with good traction will "help pull you up the mountain."
As for materials, McConnell says hikers only have a couple of options: synthetic or organic.
"Synthetic shoes breathe better than leather, but they're not as waterproof. Leather is waterproof and very durable but not as breathable."
To shop the best hiking shoes, boots, and sandals for men in 2022, including McConnell's top picks, scroll below.
Best hiking boots and shoes for men under $100
"For those who are simply looking to get out of the house and find some easy trails to escape the city, I recommend the NH (nature hiking) 100," says McConnell. "Simple, light and affordable."
These Helly Hansen Switchback trail shoes feature leather uppers with textile inserts for airflow, earning them a perfect five-star rating from Marks shoppers. They're "comfortable and durable," according to one reviewer. "No regrets."
These ultra-affordable men's hiking shoes come backed by more than 10,000 ratings on Amazon. The boots are constructed from waterproof suede leather and feature a waterproof membrane to help keep your feet stay dry and cool. They're available in 17 colours and in sizes 6.5 to 13.
Who says you need to pay an arm and a leg for a decent pair of hiking boots? These 100 per cent leather hiking shoes have racked up more than 8,600 reviews from Amazon shoppers. The waterproof boots are fitted with comfortable memory foam and are available in nine colours. They went from "the box" to an "8km hike with no problems," writes one shopper. They "did the trick."
"For several day backpacking trips or those looking for a more durable boot. I recommend the Trek100," McConnell says. "Waterproof, robust, won't fail."
Best hiking boots and shoes for men under $200
These fully waterproof boots come backed by a near-perfect rating on Altitude Sports. According to one "impressed" shopper, the shoes are great for all kinds of activities, "ranging from [a walk] around the block to a 3-hour hike along a long trail nearby."
These top-rated Merrell Alverstone hiking boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable when you're out on the trails. The waterproof boots feature innovative antimicrobial protection and have contoured insoles for flexible support.
These top-rated outdoor shoes provide rugged durability and comfort on hills and mid-mountain hikes in damp, muddy, or dry conditions. Reviewers call them "first-class functional boots" and say they "perform well scrambling up and down hills."
Backed by dozens of five-star reviews, these 100 per cent leather hiking boots feature a durable midsole for long-lasting comfort, superior cushioning and a traction rubber sole for slip-free steps.
With an average rating of 4.4 stars based on more than 18,000 ratings, Amazon shoppers say these seam-sealed waterproof leather hiking boots are "very comfortable" and lightweight. "I was shocked how light they were," writes one reviewer. "I have running shoes heavier than these."
These all-terrain shoes are constructed with a dual-density EVA midsole, an EVA footbed for outstanding arch support, and breathable mesh lining. According to one shopper, the shoes are "well constructed, fit well and look good."
These hiking-friendly sandals feature a multi-directional lug pattern for increased traction and quick-dry lining for active use. I'm on my "second pair" of Keen Newport H2 Sandals, writes one shopper. "I mostly lived in my last pair all last year. When it was time for new ones, there was little choice to make."
Best hiking boots and shoes for men under $500
These speed-hiking shoes are built for traction, pace and protection in tough terrain — no matter the conditions. They're available in two colours: black and green, and come with an average rating of 4.8 stars. They're the "best boots ever," according to one shopper. "Versatile, comfortable and waterproof." My feet were submerged for several minutes while fishing and I experienced "no leaks."
This technical trekking boot is designed for multi-day routes in challenging terrain. The shoes feature a unique micro-plated technology that is highly flexible, surprisingly lightweight, and delivers exceptional abrasion resistance. "I've put countless miles on these boots over the last 24 months, and they are, without a doubt, the best hiking boots I have ever owned," writes one reviewer. "Extremely light for their burliness, super comfortable, zero hotspots in hundreds of rocky trail miles."
These top-rated Scarpa boots feature bi-directional ankle flex construction, which provides excellent mobility without sacrificing stability. This is my "second pair of [Scarpa Kailash boots]," writes one shopper. "The first pair lasted for 10+ years with me being a regular hiker. I definitely recommend [them]."
With dozens of five-star reviews in their corner, Altitude Sports shoppers say these men's hiking shoes are "extremely comfortable" and a great option for your summer adventures, including city walks, light hikes, and mountain climbs. According to one shopper, "the make and quality" is "top of the class."
Hike easier and for longer in these top-rated Keen boots. The shoes are designed to reduce the energy each step takes, making your 12-km hikes feel like eight. "I've had shoes from numerous high-end brands, and so far, nothing outperforms these shoes," writes one reviewer. "The fit is great, the grip is unmatched, and I can feel the difference on long hikes, not having to put so much effort into bending the shoe each step."