Close your eyes and imagine a pair of hiking boots. If what comes to mind is an earth-toned dump truck for your feet, it’s time to rethink what hiking shoes for men can be. Sure, those toothy, insulated, high-cut boots are what you need for multi-day camping trips in colder weather, but they can be overkill for shorter day treks.
If you plan to hit the trail at all this summer, you’ll want a hiking shoe that blurs the line between a day hiking boot and a trail running shoe. Hiking shoes for men are generally lighter-weight — most hover around 13 ounces per pair — and brands are infusing these capable shoes with style, so you can hit the coffee shop or pub after the hike and not look out of place.
For our money, the Danner Trail 2650 tops the list of men’s hiking shoes — as adept on the trail as they are comfortable and good-looking. Under that warm-tone leather upper and those bright-red fat laces are shoes that make you feel like you’ve been wearing them for months — even fresh out of the box. The squishy midsole and form-fitting insole provide cushion for your feet, while the reinforced heel prevents them from moving around, which helps give you confidence on more difficult routes. On the trail, they grip and keep you steady on all sorts of surfaces for hours on end, yet they’re comfy enough to pair with jeans before you head out for the night.
This Danner Trail 2650 is rugged and sporty enough to wear with jeans or pants, and comfy enough that you'll keep reaching for them. They also happen to be a very solid pair of trail shoes for any day-long trip you have in mind. Just check the weather first — these aren't waterproof.
The only knock on the 2650s? They’re not waterproof, which is likely what you’ll want for a damp spring hike or when the weather is sketchy. Luckily Danner makes versions of the 2650s that are waterproof. Here are some other new waterproof hiking shoes cut from a similar cloth: technical enough for the trail, with enough style for the street.
The GTX version of our favorite Danners has the same comfort, but with a waterproof lining that keeps your socks and feet dry in swampy conditions. The darker color and upward facing toe box give the GTX a sneaker-style look.
While it's capable on the trail, the Vectiv Exploris has just enough color — along with swaths of earth tones — to make you feel at home when you need to stay dry during more mundane errands like walking the dog. The curved, bouncy outsole returns energy to your foot and legs each stride so you feel less fatigue. At just over 13 ounces per pair, the shoe packs in a protective toe cap upfront, to fend off rocks and sticks, and heel to help with gripping your ankle. In between is a durable Codura ripstop nylon mesh that fends off the brush.
While it’s on the heavier side at roughly 13.5 ounces, the Rush Mid GTX is built on Scarpa’s trail running shoe, so it feels quicker than a clunkier hiking boot. The stretchable fabric around the tongue gives the mid-high GTX a sock-like fit with just the right amount of compression and support around the ankles. The stable footbed underneath means you'll feel sure-footed enough to take on more challenging trails. The large swaths of mesh, along with the modern colors, give this capable hiker a stylish upgrade over the more muted colors.
The bright red 4mm outsole under the Escape has toothy-looking lugs that fan out, giving you a better grip on wet, dry, and even odd-shaped surfaces such as a downed tree. Don't let the wavy texture of the upper mesh fool you—while this might look like a basketball shoe, it will keep you dry, comfortable, and light on your feet while on the trail.
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