We’re pretty light packers by nature, but I’ve always had a hard time with shoes. Most of our travels include a combo of hiking, surfing or swimming at the beach, and walking down little town streets. I used to find myself trying to pack a different shoe for each situation. In the past, I opted for hiking boots, which were a bit overkill if we were only hiking for a few miles, or compromised with an old pair of tennis shoes that didn’t really work well for any of these situations. I started looking for a pair of versatile, minimalist hiking shoes that would easily transition between outdoor and urban adventures.
The versatile hiking shoes listed below are lightweight, packable and comfortable, making them perfect for your next trip that includes hikes in the mountains, treks down to the beach, jaunts about town, or all of the above.
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Vans UltraRange Rapidweld
Living in SoCal, we’ve been longtime fans of Vans (the Old Skool Classics are my everyday shoe). Vans launched the UltraRange line in 2017 and we knew we had to check them out; they took the classic Vans look and made a shoe that was meshy and lightweight, but still had enough traction for a moderate hike. We’ve taken the Vans UltraRange Rapidweld up mountains, through deserts and of course down to the beach plenty of times. They’re comfortable for outdoor adventures and everything in between.
➳ Shop Now: Vans UltraRange Rapidweld
Lems Shoes came about when its founder saw a gap in the market for minimalist hiking shoes that would make the “mountain to town” transition. The Trailhead hiking sneaker does just that, all with cool 90s retro styling. These sneakers follow the natural shape of the foot to create a wider, more comfortable toe box. The shoe is made out of microfiber and air mesh so it’s both super lightweight and vegan.
adidas Outdoor Terrex CC Voyager Sleek Parley
These adidas hiking shoes may lean towards a classic sneaker look, but I love the low-key styling and branding. These shoes are a great pick if you plan on doing a lot of water hikes; the fabric is quick-dry and there’s a built-in drainage system. Plus, the Outdoor Terrex CC Voyager Sleek Parley shoes feature adidas’ Stealth rubber outsole for good grip for whatever you come across on the trails.
➳ Shop Now: adidas Outdoor Terrex CC Voyager Sleek Parley
ECCO Aspina Toggle Hiking Sneaker
I love my ECCO hiking boots, but they take up half my suitcase and I don’t exactly want to be wearing them everywhere. The Aspina Toggle Hiking Sneakers are light and comfortable, so they’ll easily take you from the plane to pretty much any adventure you have planned on your trip.
➳ Shop Now: ECCO Aspina Toggle Hiking Sneaker
Teva Arrowood 2 WP
If you already love Teva sandals, but need something to handle more rugged terrain, then check out the Arrowood 2 WP hiking shoes. These chic and simple sneakers have waterproof uppers, so you can take them puddle jumping down city streets or through a walk in the rain without your feet getting wet.
➳ Shop Now: Teva Arrowood 2 WP
Vivo Barefoot Primus Trail FG
The barefoot movement continues to gain momentum, and Vivo Barefoot has been leading the charge for over 10 years. Vivo Barefoot is all about doing what’s best for your feet and helping you establish a more sensory connection to your surroundings. If you’re used to wearing traditional shoes with a lot of padding and a regular heel-drop, then it may take some time to transition to barefoot footwear. These trail runners are super lightweight and flexible, but still provide the traction and toughness you need for long runs (or hikes) through rocky terrain.
Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Luna Leather Sneaker
Merrell is well known for their traditional (bulkier) hiking boots but created a great barefoot running and hiking shoe option with the Vapor Glove 3 Luna Leather Sneakers. These shoes are seriously slimmed down with almost zero ground-to-foot separation and literally fit like a glove. The leather uppers and grippy Vibram outsole mean they’re great for dealing with cold and wet weather.
Lems Primal 2
Lems first foray into the market was with barefoot shoes, including the Lens Primal 2. These shoes follow the natural shape of the foot with an extra-wide toe-box. They’re also built on a zero-drop platform, which helps with spine alignment and proper posture. Lems also has an extremely packable and lightweight leather hiking boot perfect for colder weather travels.
Xero Shoes Prio
Xero shoes is another leader in the barefoot movement, with the founder inspired to make a better running shoe after repeated injuries. The Xero Shoes Prio use the company’s signature 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber that provides adequate protection but still allows you to feel the ground underneath.