A man relaxing on a bench wearing summer hiking shoes

The 4 Best Shoes for Summer Hiking

A man relaxing on a bench wearing summer hiking shoes

Summer’s here, and it’s time to hit the trail. In order to handle sudden storms, difficult terrain, and hot weather, you'll need hiking boots that are versatile, lightweight, and breathable at the same time. What’s Hot Clothing has put together a list of the four best shoes for summer hiking that will keep you comfy, happy, and exploring all summer long. 

1. The Heavy Duty Trailblazer

A woman lacing up a pair of hot-weather hiking boots Are you planning on an extended backpacking trip while the weather’s nice? Have you been training all winter to tackle the gnarliest trails? If so, then you want a heavy-duty trailblazer for your summer hikes. If you plan on crossing multiple terrains and carrying a heavy pack for several days, then you’re going to want summer hiking shoes that are durable and offer lots of stability. 

You want a sole that’s thick, with a wide base and lots of traction to help stabilize you when your pack throws you off balance. Look for hot-weather hiking boots that provide ankle support, are well-cushioned, and are lighter than winter boots. Brands like Topo make durable shoes with excellent arch support and incredible surface traction, so you can tackle the toughest trails pain-free. 

Since summer boots stop just below or slightly above the ankle, it’s important to put some time and effort into selecting good socks to pair with them, as well. A breathable sock with padding and moisture control will keep your feet dry and protect your calves and ankles from the stings of burs as you cross through high summer grass. 

2. The Day Hiker

A pair of day hiking summer shoes resting on the grass

The best part about summer is taking the time to explore different trails, hikes, and scenic views. The day hike is great. It doesn’t require a lot of heavy gear strapped to your back and allows you to see new scenery quickly. If you’re planning on lots of day treks, then you’ll need summer hiking shoes that offer flexibility, versatility, and breathability that are also lightweight and waterproof.

As you’ll likely be traversing various types of terrain, you still need a hot-weather hiking boot that has excellent grip and traction. But since you won’t be carrying a heavy backpack, you can go for one that’s not as thick-soled as a traditional boot.

These types of shoes look like a step up from a sneaker and are often made with quick-drying Gore-Tex material. Look for a shoe that flexes easily and requires little to no break-in time. Day hikers should be able to go straight from the shoebox to the trail without causing you any discomfort.

3. The Trail Runner

A group of women running through the forest in summer hiking shoes

After running indoors all winter long, it’s finally time to breathe in the open air. Trail runners are summer hiking shoes that are all about speed, agility, and stability. You definitely want to look for a tennis shoe that is lightweight but with good arch support and a serious grip. Whether you’re bounding over boulders or pine needles, you need traction with every step.

Because running causes intense friction, you also want to look for a shoe that really breathes to avoid overheating. The upside to trail runners versus hot-weather hiking boots is that they’re super lightweight and come in a variety of colors and designs. There’s nothing wrong with good old brown or grey hiking boots, but sometimes you want something a little flashier that catches the eye. Summer is a celebration of color, after all.

4. The River Explorer

Two pairs of summer hiking shoes resting by the water

It wouldn’t be summer without playing in the water. If you’re planning on doing any river hikes, crossing streams or are an avid kayaker and white water rafter, then you’re going to want a pair of water shoes. Water shoes are different from regular summer hiking shoes in that they’re not waterproof. They don’t keep water out. Rather, they’re meant to let the water in and back out as quickly as possible.

You want to choose water shoes that offer fast drainage, lightweight, dry quickly, and protect against rocks and pebbles while offering support — at the same time. The other key factor to consider is their grip. When traversing waterbeds or crossing streams, you’ll be stepping on rocks that are covered in wet moss and slippery algae. It’s very important that your water shoes have good grip and traction so that you don’t fall or sprain an ankle.

What’s Hot Clothing is an authorized brand dealer for Teva footwear — the industry leader when it comes to wet trail hiking. Perfect for wading through water, Tevas dry quickly and are incredibly comfortable and supportive. They’re so comfortable that you can easily wear them for regular hiking, too.

Happy Trails

people hiking with the sun shining in through the trees

With the perfect summer hiking shoes, you can tackle any trail. When your feet are comfortable and well-supported, hiking feels like a breeze. You’ve waited all winter and spring for clear skies, so now is the time to hit the trails and have some fun in your hot-weather hiking boots.

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