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We just moved back to Arkansas (I grew up here and dh and I met here) in March. We've been loving our time with the kids hiking in the great outdoors, but my sneakers just aren't cutting it. Any experienced hikers out there have a recommendation for a good hiking boot? We don't do super long trails, mainly just day hikes of anywhere from 4 to 8 miles.
TIA

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I've had these Keen's for about a year.  They are a very nice light hiking boot. I use them for rugged day-hikes up to 12 km - wet, muddy, rocky, scrambly etc.  Like all thing footwear though, the best boots are going to be the ones that fit properly.

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I just bought some Merrell Moab 2 boots this week and used them for the first time today on a 7 mile hike. Super comfy, no issues whatsoever.

If you have an REI or other specialty store nearby, I highly recommend you go talk to the people there and try a bunch on. 

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I second the Merrell hiking shoes/boots rec. They aren't 100% waterproof, though, if you plan to hike in all weather conditions and through/across creeks and such where you'll be walking in water. They have a nice, firm sole and good grips for hiking on rocky terrain.

The leather Keens that @wathe recommended would probably be better if you don't want to have to worry about water and mud. These could probably be kept waterproof with regular treatment.

Edited by wintermom
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My hiking group would suggest....the ones that fit your feet the best.

Oboz win for me and Keens and Merrells hurt my feet...but other people find just the opposite.  Solomon run narrower, Oboz wider.

I have the Oboz Sawtooth II and now a pair of trail runners, Brooks Cascadia.  I chose the shoe based on the trail of the day.

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What boot is good for you depends completely on your feet.

My family all love their Vasque Mantra, but they give me excruciating pain.

I love my Keen Voyager for trail hiking in dry weather and my Oboz Bridger for rough terrain, winter, and off trail backpacking. I have narrow feet, but need to wear custom orthotics and need shoes with a wide toe box.

My only complaint about the Keens is that after 2 years, the sole disintegrates and they have to be replaced. But I  hike every week and wear them in town as well as my daily shoe, and they are comfortable for my feet, so I just keep replacing them with the same model

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Merrel's fit me  well. I prefer the lightest shoe I can get away with though, others might want thicker soles or higher tops. I hiked over rocks in my Vapor Gloves and they are like wearing nothing, not that I'd recommend that. I like my toes nice and spread out but also have very narrow feet.

I have some waterproof shoes that are much sturdier but only wear them if it is wet and really rugged terrain (not typically woods hiking). The name escapes me now.

Keens are generally uncomfortable for me but I have some closed toed sandals for light hiking that do ok.

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FYI, most people hiking the Pacific Crest Trail these days wear trail running shoes rather than boots.  A few years back the most popular one was Brooks Cascadia, non-waterproof.  (Because waterproof shoes hold sweat in, according to the guy who told me about this.)  Now I'm hearing about Altra Lone Peaks more often.  

When 'they' started coming out with lightweight hiking boots, I invested in a pair of waterproof Merrell boots.  I found that they forced my ankles into a landing position that stressed my knees, and that the padding on my forefeet hurt after a while, not badly but singularly.  So ironically enough, I started to only use them in the spring on very muddy trails, which are short local ones.  For the longer trails I used my Brooks Cascadias or Salomon waterproof trail runners. 

Now I have Altras trail runners but for various reasons have not used them for hikes of more than 3-4 miles.  What I am finding with the Altras is that I *love* the wide toe box, and that the underfoot padding is less than the Cascadias, even with a rock plate.  This is important for me as I hike on granite quite a bit.  Also, in general, the Altras wear out faster than either the Salomons or the Brooks trail runners--the difference in 'feel' between new and used shoes happens much faster in Altras.  So, with new ones my feet are ecstatic, but that doesn't last all that long, whereas with other brands the new shoe feel is less wonderful but stays more consistent.  

So I'm dubious about trying Altras for backpacking, as the extra weight would exacerbate both the rock feel and the wear issues.  But for day hikes, I can't imagine a better shoe, honestly.  Size up at least half a size if you try them.  

PS  For summer hikes in the heat that include some muddy areas or streams, my sturdy Teva water sandals are great for hiking.  You have to be careful to get the sturdy ones rather than the dressy ones as the Velcro is wider and more adjustable.  Some women buy the men's ones to get that feature as Teva does not always offer the hefty version for women.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

FYI, most people hiking the Pacific Crest Trail these days wear trail running shoes rather than boots.  A few years back the most popular one was Brooks Cascadia, non-waterproof.  (Because waterproof shoes hold sweat in, according to the guy who told me about this.)  Now I'm hearing about Altra Lone Peaks more often.  

When 'they' started coming out with lightweight hiking boots, I invested in a pair of waterproof Merrell boots.  I found that they forced my ankles into a landing position that stressed my knees, and that the padding on my forefeet hurt after a while, not badly but singularly.  So ironically enough, I started to only use them in the spring on very muddy trails, which are short local ones.  For the longer trails I used my Brooks Cascadias or Salomon waterproof trail runners. 

Now I have Altras trail runners but for various reasons have not used them for hikes of more than 3-4 miles.  What I am finding with the Altras is that I *love* the wide toe box, and that the underfoot padding is less than the Cascadias, even with a rock plate.  This is important for me as I hike on granite quite a bit.  Also, in general, the Altras wear out faster than either the Salomons or the Brooks trail runners--the difference in 'feel' between new and used shoes happens much faster in Altras.  So, with new ones my feet are ecstatic, but that doesn't last all that long, whereas with other brands the new shoe feel is less wonderful but stays more consistent.  

So I'm dubious about trying Altras for backpacking, as the extra weight would exacerbate both the rock feel and the wear issues.  But for day hikes, I can't imagine a better shoe, honestly.  Size up at least half a size if you try them.  

PS  For summer hikes in the heat that include some muddy areas or streams, my sturdy Teva water sandals are great for hiking.  You have to be careful to get the sturdy ones rather than the dressy ones as the Velcro is wider and more adjustable.  Some women buy the men's ones to get that feature as Teva does not always offer the hefty version for women.

Yes, I love trail runners and have done all kinds of trails on them. I hate bulky shoes. 

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27 minutes ago, Soror said:

Yes, I love trail runners and have done all kinds of trails on them. I hate bulky shoes. 

I just bought my Books Cascadia and so far so good.  I have a wider foot and need an insert so I went with a men's size.

On muddy/snowy trails I might still prefer my Oboz but I love the trail runners too....even though you will never see me running 

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Climate makes a big difference.  I'm highly likely to have to walk through mud or fields churned ankle-high by cattle at any time of year. So lightweight waterproof boots are perfect. 

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We just started hiking a few months ago, and longest hikes are 9-10 miles a day, so I went with trail runners as well. I got a pair of TOPOS, the have a wide toe box, narrow through the rest, good support and Vibram soles. I have been very pleased with them. Depending on the terrain, many hikers have moved to trail runners from boots. Boots rub my ankles wrong and are not comfortable to me. 

 

https://www.zappos.com/p/topo-athletic-ultraventure-navy-plum/product/9379046/color/96228

Edited by Toocrazy!!
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I would love to use trail runners , but I need a boot because my ankles have a tendency to roll. Nothing serious normally, but a potential fall if it happened could be.

Keep the suggestions coming. They are very helpful.

Edited by Chelli
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I have a pair of keen targhee  II Hiking boots and I love them. But since I bought them a year ago, I have not gotten to wear them hiking more than twice, on pretty short hikes. They are super comfortable for going to town and running errands, though.

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I got some Vasque's about 5 years ago and they are fantastic.  I did 2 weeks in Scotland last summer and these were my only shoes.  They are comfortable because they have a thick enough sole that you don't feel every rock in the road, but they bend so they aren't stiff.  The soles are grippy.  The boot comes just over my ankle, which prevented a number of twists on rocky beaches and uneven ground, but are not so high that they chafe.  These are probably a step up from the ones I got, but they are as close as I can find.  

https://www.vasque.com/womens-hiking-footwear/breeze-lt-gtx-07375.html?cgid=womens

You can see on their website the ones that go further up the leg, which I would totally get if I lived in poisonous snake-land--but. as I don't (and won't!) I like the ones I got.  (I am especially happy that I got them on sale, even though it was an emergency purchase on a road trip!)

I myself have just shot through a pair of hiking *shoes* that now are letting in water like crazy.  Hiking shoes are hard for me to buy because of the way my foot is made (not to international standards...) so I was just today looking at the Vasque site.  :0)  I see from other sites that for hiking shoes, Solomons and Keens get higher customer ratings.  But I can't find a single fault in my Vasque boots. 

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I have a pair of timberlands that I’ve had for over a decade. I bought them when I was leading Girl Scout hikes and only used them occasionally when my daughter left scouting. Most of my daily walking happens on sidewalks or paved bike paths, so I wear sneakers for that. I did a guided night hike a few nights ago, so I reached for my boots. You can count on there being some mud, roots, and uneven terrain on park trails, so I like ankle support for that. 

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Some boots might be too tight or too loose at the ankle area so it’s hard to tell without trying on a few different models. I like waterproof boots with vibram soles (https://us.vibram.com/partners/) as those last the longest walking on gravel/rocky paths. I have used Keens, North Face, Timberland, UGG, Merrill boots for hiking and some of the models I owned are already discontinued. 

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7 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Some boots might be too tight or too loose at the ankle area so it’s hard to tell without trying on a few different models. I like waterproof boots with vibram soles (https://us.vibram.com/partners/) as those last the longest walking on gravel/rocky paths. I have used Keens, North Face, Timberland, UGG, Merrill boots for hiking and some of the models I owned are already discontinued. 

Can I just say that I LOVE the colours of the Scarpa hiking shoes/boots on this website. Man, the Italians know how to choose colours. 😉  I have a pair of Scarpas for telemark skiing (black leather), and they have lasted 30+ years. Amazing quality. It's a good thing I can still use them, as I couldn't afford a pair now. 😬

Edited by wintermom
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