Hikers, mark your calendars! The start of spring brings the return of the hiking season once more. As winter ends, you may once more be itching to get your feet back on the trail.
What better way to celebrate your return to the great outdoors than by treating yourself to a new pair of waterproof walking shoes for your hiking adventures?
With so many options available in the market, you may feel overwhelmed by your choices. Fear not, as this guide will help you select the best option for you by listing the top 10 grip hiking shoes of 2021.
What Are Hiking Shoes?
Before we begin our countdown to the top waterproof walking shoe for hiking, it helps first to understand what hiking shoes are. Knowing how hiking shoes are different from regular shoes is essential in deciding which shoe to buy.
Hiking shoes are shoes specifically designed to accommodate hiking and trekking.
While most sports shoes can be used for hiking, they are not explicitly designed for that purpose. In the long run, such shoes wear out or fail to protect your feet on the trail.
Unlike other shoes, hiking shoes have rigid, more durable soles. For this reason, they are often heavier than regular shoes. However, this brings the added benefit of protection against hazards such as thorns or sharp stones.
Today, most of the best hiking shoes on the market are lightweight, waterproof, and durable. However, these features alone do not make or break a good hiking shoe.
Why Grip Matters
Now that we know what hiking shoes are used for, we can understand the quintessential feature the dream hiking shoe must undoubtedly have: powerful grip.
Unlike running or jogging, hiking is not done on concrete paths and paved roads. Instead, the trail that the hiker must endure is often rough and slippery. For example, mountain trails are often full of rock and debris.
In such terrains, a good grip shoe can make the difference between life and death. A muddy path near a crevice or a steep fall requires good grip shoes to cross safely.
Though comfort and durability are undoubtedly important features in hiking shoes, they come second to a good grip.
Individual preferences do vary, however. Keeping this in mind, we have narrowed down our picks to the five most powerful waterproof walking shoes for hiking that you can buy in 2021.
The Top 5 Waterproof Walking Shoes For Hiking in 2021
Let’s take a look at some of the top-contenders of waterproof walking shoes for hiking.
Loom Waterproof Sneakers
- Discounted price of $99
- H2-Go Layer Waterproof Capabilities
- High-grade Excelcast midsoles
- Vibram outsoles
- Stylish and Comfortable Design
On the very top of our list are the Loom Waterproof Sneakers. These all-around shoes are also the best waterproof walking shoes available on the market in 2021.
It is Loom Footwear’s guarantee that the Loom Waterproof Sneakers will keep your feet dry under any conditions. The H2-Go layer technology provides 100% waterproof capabilities that far exceed any other hiking shoes on the market.
The interior of the Loom Waterproof Sneakers is made from high-quality Merino wool. This makes it perfect for long hikes due to its temperature-regulating, air-permeating, and anti-bacterial properties.
But what about grip, you may wonder?
Worry not, for these sneakers boast a grip powerful enough to rival state-of-the-art dedicated hiking shoes.
Not only are the outsoles made of Vibram - the gold standard in the industry - but the midsoles are crafted from high-quality Excelcast material.
The midsoles are specifically engineered by podiatrists for maximum shock absorption and energy conservation. This goes beyond foot protection and ensures that any hiker’s knees, shins, and ankles are kept safe from shocks on hard surfaces.
Although $250 is much higher than the other shoes on the list, the Loom Waterproof Sneakers are currently available at a special sale price of $99 only. For this reason, we believe it rightfully deserves its spot as the top grip hiking shoe available in 2021.
Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX Hiking Shoes
- Price: $150
- Gore-TEX waterproof lining
- Soft Textile material
- EVA midsole
- Contragrip rubber outsole
The Salomon X Ultra 3 hiking shoes are designed specifically to be waterproof. Patented Gore-TEX waterproof lining equips these shoes with a breathable membrane. This ensures protection from rain, sleet, and mud.
The soft-textile lining of these shoes is also impressive. It helps wick moisture away and further adds to the shoes’ waterproof capabilities.
However, the most impressive feature of the Salomon X Ultra 3 shoes is their impeccable grip. This is a result of both a well-rounded midsole and outsole design.
The midsoles of the Salomon X Ultra 3 are injected with EVA. Unlike traditional rubber, EVA is lightweight and malleable.
The outsole design is equally impressive. It is made from two different types of rubber for added strength. This allows for easier traction over otherwise impassable trails.
For a price tag of only $150, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX waterproof walking shoes are surely a bargain!
Vasque Breeze AT Low GTX Hiking Shoes
- Price: $159.95
- 2mm waterproof nubuck leather uppers
- Synthetic Polyamide Fabric
- Megagrip Compound outsoles
- ATC (All-Terrain Compound) midsoles
At first glance, the Vasque Breeze AT Low GTX might seem like your run-of-the-mill waterproof walking shoe. However, this is far from the truth. Behind a simplistic design, this shoe hides a wide range of attractive features.
Gore-TEX waterproofing is a given for state-of-the-art waterproof walking shoes. What sets the Vasque Breeze AT Low GTX hiking shoe apart from its competitors is its unique waterproof capabilities.
Waterproof nubuck leather crafts the upper of these shoes. This is one of the most waterproof materials available on the market today. This, in tandem with Gore-TEX capabilities, make a powerful water-resistant combination.
Both the Megagrip compound outsoles and All-Terrain Compound (ATC) midsoles are noteworthy for their immense gripping strength.
Although impressive, well-rounded shoes, the Vasque Breeze AT Low GTX comes with a slightly heftier price tag of $159.95. Their waterproof capabilities fall just a little short of the number one shoe on our list.
Tecnica Plasma S Hiking Shoes
- Price: $150
- CAS - Customized Adaptable Shape
- Synthetic Polyamide Fabric
- Agile System midsole
- Vibram outsole
When it comes to waterproof walking shoes for hiking, one size truly does not fit all. This is why included on our list is perhaps the first truly ever customizable waterproof walking shoe introduced to the market: Tecnica Plasma S.
With numerous options on the market to buy from, it can be hard to find the perfect shoe for your feet. The Tecnica Plasma S has Customized Adaptable Shape or CAS technology for this reason.
CAS means that hikers buying the Tecnica Plasma S can mold the shoe to their liking. Both the upper and footbed of the shoe are fully customizable to match your foot’s unique shape.
No more break-in time needed; you can now buy a shoe that fits comfortably from the first wear time you wear it!
But the perks of the Tecnica Plasma S do not stop here.
A Synthetic Polyamide Fabric ensures maximum agility and comfort without compromising on traction.
Speaking of traction - what about the grip? Worry not, as the Plasma S has a Vibram outsole as well as an Agile System midsole. These are both designed specifically for wet or rocky terrain.
If you want a unique and customizable shoe shopping experience, why not give the Tecnica Plasma S a try for only $150?
Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes
- Price: $125
- Air Cushioned Heels
- Molded nylon arch shanks
- EVA midsoles
- Vibram TC5+ outsoles
Last but not least, we have the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes.
The Merrell Moab 2 truly is the "Mother of all Boots." With a staggeringly tough design, the Moab lives up to its name as one the most sturdy waterproof walking shoes of all time.
The Vibram TC5+ outsole and EVA midsole combination have proven to be one of the best on our list. The outsoles have a 5 mm lug depth for excellent grip, which is ideal for intense trail running or light hiking.
The Merrel Moab 2 additionally has nylon arch shanks for an overall improved hiking experience through better stability.
Moreover, its air-cushioned heels guarantee superior comfort. In fact, with the impressive amount of cushioning, you could easily run or jog in these shoes as well.
At only $125, these shoes may seem like a steal. However, if it’s unmatched waterproof capabilities you’re after, you can still do a bit better by buying the number one waterproof walking shoe on our list.
Hiking shoes have come a long way since their origins as bulky boots.
These days, you’ll find an abundance of boot-sneaker hybrids that can facilitate your spirit of adventure.
Regardless of which shoes you choose to buy, just make sure to pay extra attention to the tread of the shoe. Additionally, you’ll want shoes that are durable and can withstand the elements.
So, what are you waiting for? Now that you have the perfect waterproof walking shoes for your next hiking escapade, venture into the great outback with confidence. Adventure awaits!