Hiking shoes come in all different shapes and sizes, but lightweight hiking shoes are almost always going to be better than heavy hiking shoes. In terms of energy expenditure, every pound on your feet is equal to about five on your back. So lightweight hiking shoes really do make a difference. Just as a big, heavy backpack would have you gasping for air, big heavy hiking shoes will also have you gasping, while lightweight hiking shoes will leave you with plenty of energy.
Lightweight Hiking ShoesWhat to look for when what you want is lightweight hiking shoes.
- Waterproof – Though it’s certainly possible to find a pair of lightweight waterproof hiking shoes, that waterproof liner is weight that you probably don’t need. In fact, if you want lightweight hiking shoes it’s better to go in the other direction, and get as many holes as you can in your shoes, so that they’re as breathable as possible.
- Proprioception – Many hiking shoes come with so much support and cushioning that if you couldn’t see what you were walking on you would never be able to tell. But that sensation of what’s under you, which is called proprioception, can actually improve the hiking experience, and getting rid of that excess material between you and the ground saves weight too.
Best Lightweight Hiking ShoesSome of the very best lightweight hiking shoes for men and women.
- Vibram Five Fingers TrekSport (Women's) - If you want lightweight, then Vibran's very unique toe shoes are a great choice. This particular version comes with a bit more grip on the bottom, to give you better traction on uneven, muddy or slippery trails. The top is also enclosed, so that you wont have dirt, sticks and rocks finding their way down in to the shoes. Of course as with all of the Vibram Five Fingers, the sole is rather thin, which cuts down on weight but also gives you a lot more proprioception with the ground. They weigh 12.4 ounces, or 351 grams.
- Inov8 X-Talon 212 (Women's Roclite 268) - The X-Talon 212s weigh just 212 grams, 7.5 ounces, as per their name (the similar women's shoe weighs 268 grams), making them the lightest hiking shoes by far on this list. They're made for trail running and long distance, cross country travel, where every single gram on your feet matters. The upper is thin mesh, to allow for plenty of air circulation, and bottom is sticky rubber, which provides excellent traction on bad trails. These are also fairly thin on the bottom, but do have some padding, to cushion your feet over the long miles. So an excellent pair of extremely lightweight hiking shoes.
- Montrail Mountain Masochist (Women's) - Another pair of fairly simple hiking shoes that do a half decent job of being lightweight. The pair weighs 21.6 ounces, or 612 grams, so not as lightweight as the options above, but certainly not heavy either. They'e a basic mesh on top with a grippy sole on the bottom. They also offer a decent amount of padding, which is where a lot of that extra weight is located. So if you want a lightweight hiking shoe with a little more padding, these are an ideal choice.