Best Outdoor Shoes for 2021

Best Outdoor Shoes for 2021

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Olyvia Smith

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Exploring the great outdoors can be a perfect stress-relieving activity. However, if you don’t have the right outdoor shoes to complement your passion for adventure, you’ll probably start getting cold feet.

Amazingly, the pandemic-ridden world has invoked a newfound love of hiking, trekking, and camping for many of us. While your favorite pair of party shoes are gathering dust in the back of your closet, you’re probably getting more use out of your trainers than you ever have before.

But are your regular trainers really suitable for traversing long, challenging trails? A telltale sign that you’re not donning the right outdoor shoes is prolonged foot fatigue and blisters.

What you really need is specialized footwear that can firmly ground your feet in mountainous terrains while making you feel like you’re walking on clouds.

Luckily for you, there is a rich profusion of options when it comes to outdoor sneakers. All you need to do is have the right sense for it. And that’s exactly what this article is for.

Top 10 Outdoor Shoes

If you want to start your outdoor adventure on the right foot, take a gander at our selection of some of the best outdoor sneakers in the market.

Loom Footwear Waterproof Sneakers

Loom is an up-and-coming brand of high-quality footwear that specializes in waterproof outdoor sneakers. These shoes feature an innovative design that can withstand all conditions in all seasons.


True to its name, these sneakers are 100% waterproof. This means that they will keep your socks and feet dry even if you step into puddles. At the same time, the knit-layered uppers will expel any moisture from sweat and ensure that your skin can breathe.

The tricky thing about waterproof hiking sneakers is that they tend to be weighty, which can not only slow you down but also prematurely tire you out.

But with Loom workout sneakers, you don’t have to sacrifice agility for utility. In fact, these shoes are exceptionally lightweight. Now that your shoes aren’t weighing you down, you’ll notice that you can cover longer distances with quicker strides.

But that’s not all. Carefully engineered for rocky terrains, Loom sneakers have slip-resistant, non-marking rubber soles.

Furthermore, the interior is lined with high quality merino wool. This layer of extra cushioning maximizes comfort and minimizes excess strain.

Feature Highlights:

  • 100% Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Extra interior cushioning
  • Breathable
  • Vegan and Earth-friendly

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley Hiking Shoes

Adidas has been a front-runner for years when it comes to athletic footwear. Unsurprisingly, they have a copious selection of specialized outdoor shoes. It might be a bit pricey, but you definitely get your money’s worth with the Terrex Free Hiker series. 

 Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley Hiking Shoes

The Terrex Free Hiking Shoes guarantee long-lasting comfort, surface adaptability, and responsive cushioning.

The outer construction comprises a primeknit material. Primeknit construction is special for two reasons. First, it is a breathable, lightweight material that constantly aerates the interior, keeping your feet cool and dry. Secondly, the flexible material adapts to the shape of your feet over long treks.

The responsive Boost cushioning technology complements the comfortable outer. With the full-length midsole Boost, you get an incredible energy return. Whether it’s rugged terrains or concrete pavements, the Boost cushioning will adapt to any surface.

As you can see, adaptability is a huge selling point of the Terrex Free Hikers. They feature an Adaptive Traxion rubber outsole, which provides an outstanding grip.

The “Parley” in the name refers to the universal strategy to reduce marine plastic pollution. Basically, the shoes are upcycled from plastic waste that contaminates our oceans today.

Feature Highlights:

  • Adaptive technology integrated into every component
  • Boost cushioning
  • Flexible knit construction
  • Part of the Parley initiative

Merrell Altalight Hiking Shoes for Women

If you’re a serious hiker who regularly logs long miles, foot fatigue can be your worst enemy. Luckily, the Altalight hiking shoes by Merrell will let you take the load off your feet.

 Merrell Altalight Hiking Shoes

The Altalight series is marketed for its exceptional lightweightedness. In fact, at under 20 ounces per shoe, they feel almost weightless. But does this mean that they’re not protective?

Not at all!

The upper is made out of a rip-resistant nylon material. This protects the shoe against harsh rips from jagged surfaces, so you can overcome the most challenging courses with confidence.

But that’s not all. A Stratafuse exoskeleton acts as a reinforcing frame around the outer. While the material provides ample protection and support, it sits lightly on the shoe. This means that you’ll barely feel it around your feet.

What’s even more impressive is the extensive cushioning technology. The EVA foam midsole provides some basic protection and stability. But the Air Cushion in the heels does most of the work, absorbing shock and adding stability.

To top it all off, the mountain-grade Quantum Grip rubber outsole offers extra traction regardless of the surface.

Feature Highlights:

  • Extremely lightweight at only 20 ounces
  • Protective exoskeleton
  • Non-waterproof
  • Air cushion heels

The North Face Men’s Ultra Fastpack IV Mid Futurelight

The North Face came out with a lot of new footwear products this year. Among their new releases in the Men’s Ultra FastPack IV Mid Futurelight. It is a lightweight waterproof hiking boot ideal for casual trekking.


These outdoor shoes feature their flagship Futurelight technology, which refers to the construction material of these shoes. It is a breathable and waterproof nano-fiber membrane that simultaneously prevents water leakage and maximizes ventilation.

When it comes to performance, the Ultra Fastpack IV lies in between a heavy-duty hiking boot and a lightweight hiking shoe. The ESS midsole shank makes it a little rigid, but you still get enough flexibility for a comfortable stride.

Moreover, the Megagrip Vibram outsole provides maximum traction in both rigid terrains as well as loose surfaces like scree.

Another useful feature about these shoes is that they have a molded toe cap that minimizes injuries from stubbing. Combine this with the shock-absorbent Fastfoam midsole and you get an extensive cushioning system, making it perfect for more demanding trails.

Feature highlights:

  • Breathable and waterproof Futurelight Technology
  • Megagrip Vibram outsole
  • Protective toe cap

Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX

If you require the structure of a sturdy hiking boot in combination with the comfort of a trail running shoe, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 has got you covered on all fronts, and I mean that literally.

 Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX

Advanced Chassis technology upholds the entire structure, providing basic padding around your foot and ankle. Lateral synthetic mudguards and protective toe caps shield your foot from potential injuries.

Framework aside, the shoes themselves are easily wearable right out of the box. This is mostly thanks to the SenseFit technology, which quickly conforms to the shape of your foot. Additionally, the flexible nylon outer drastically reduces the break-in period.

But how does it perform on the trail?

Well, the multidirectional lugs integrated with Contagrip technology provide exceptional downhill traction even on wet surfaces. The only downside is that they don’t perform as well on smooth rocks.

The price isn’t too bad either, especially considering that the PU coated leather ensures that it will last you a long time.

Feature Highlights:

  • Advanced Chassis Skeleton
  • Virtually zero break-in period
  • Multidirectional Contagrip lugs

Adidas Terrex Ax2 Climaproof

These inexpensive yet high-performance outdoor shoes by Adidas are perfect for short trails, as well as vigorous trail runs. It is an extremely lightweight shoe with substantial traction on almost all terrains.

 Adidas Terrex Ax2 Climaproof

The highlight of the Terrex Ax2 is definitely the Traxion rubber outsole. It performs exceptionally well on muddy tracks and loose gravel, providing super-high traction for avid trail runners. But it’s the mountain climbers that are the real winners with this one.

What’s even better is that the shoes are incredibly lightweight, weighing in at only 12.5 ounces. This makes them the second lightest outdoor shoes on our list.

While they might not be the best option for conquering long, arduous hikes, they’re perfect for venturing into the vast outbacks.

Feature Highlights:

  • Super Lightweight
  • Traxion rubber outsole

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Outdoor Shoes

The Keen Targhee II Waterproof Outdoor shoes are a godsend for anyone who has slightly wider feet. If you fall into this category, these shoes will be extremely comfortable to wear, especially for colder weather.

 Keen Targhee III Waterproof Outdoor Shoes

The Keen.Dry waterproof lining in the shoes keeps the leakage at bay while simultaneously insulating your feet. For this reason, they may not be the best choice for summer hiking, but they'll still get the job done.

Besides, the Targhee III has a lot of protection to offer. The extra rubber lining the toe cap makes these shoes very durable in rocky terrains.

Additionally, the proprietary rubber outsole promises great traction and delivers on that promise. They provide excellent traction on all terrains, but you might have a little trouble with bare rock.

Weighing in at a little over a pound, these shoes are unfortunately on the heavier side. Also, they tend to retain some excess water if they’re completely submerged. This adds to the weight.

All things considered, the Targhee III made it to the list simply because it’s one of the best wide- fit hiking shoe options.

Feature Highlights:

  • Wide-Fit shoes
  • Extra protection
  • Great for the cold weather.


Who said that functionality and comfort couldn’t go hand-in-hand? The Kaha GTX outdoor shoes will sweep you off your feet with luxury level comfort and high-performance.


With exceptional cushioning and considerable stability, these might be one of the top runners of outdoor shoes.

Starting off, a blend of proprietary foam along the midsole is the primary source of superior cushioning. Even if you’re trudging along the most rugged surface, you’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds.

But there’s more to these shoes than the comfort. The performance of the Vibram Megagrip outsoles render them a great option for high-top trail running.

Better still, full-grain leather and firm rubber outsoles make these shoes highly durable. You’re unlikely to experience any long-term damage.

Feature Highlights:

  • Extremely comfortable and exceptional cushioning
  • Durable construction for a long lifespan
  • Vibram Megagrip for all terrains

La Sportiva Spire GTX

The Spire GTX offers versatile functionality for daytime hikers and backpackers alike. It performs great on almost all types of terrains, with top-notch traction and high-grade ventilation.

 La Sportiva Spire GTX

Although it’s built like a running shoe, you’ll find that the Spire GTX has the structural stability and durability of a lightweight hiking boot. The GoreTex membrane acts as a ventilation channel, making these shoes extra breathable.

Besides wearability, these shoes perform exceptionally well on the trail. The combination of a Vibram XS Trek outsole and an integrated Impact Brake System makes downhill strides seem like a walk in the park.

The construction material used throughout the outer is a durable, abrasion-resistant mesh with a Nano-cell 2.0 structure. This contributes to the overall durability of the Spire GTX. You can go months without noticing any considerable damage.

Feature Highlights:

  • GoreTex ventilation membrane
  • Impact Brake System with amazing downhill traction
  • Durable and long-lasting


Arc’teryx Aerios FL

The Aerios by Arcteryx are the ideal outdoor sneakers for day-hiking, both in terms of performance and durability. These are Arcteryx’s flagship hiking shoes, boasting a protective design with excellent traction.

When it comes to day hiking, you would ideally want something that is lightweight and breathable. The Arcteryx Aerios FL are lightweight with a soft fabric construction.

 Arc’teryx Aerios FL

With moderate arch-support, Ortholite insoles, and EVA padded midsole, these shoes check all the boxes when it comes to comfort.

The underfoot is stiff and supportive, despite the overall lightweightedness. Additionally, the Vibram Megagrip outsoles have sticky rubbers , leaving little to be desired in terms of traction.

You’ll find that the outsoles tend to alter with the weather. The traction rating may fall slightly if the temperature drops close to or below freezing. However, they still manage quite well over wet surfaces and rainy weathers.

Speaking of which, the shoes are completely waterproof. The outer construction is of a hydrophobic Gore-Tex fabric. The material is also windproof and very breathable.

 100% waterproof shoes


The right pair of shoes is the most crucial part of your gear when it comes to outdoor activities. Specifically, hiking, trekking, and mountain climbing require specialized outdoor shoes that can resist harsh conditions.

Now that you have our top selection of outdoor shoes and sneakers, what are you waiting for? Awaken your inner explorer, and start off 2021 on the right foot.

Olyvia Smith


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