Best All-Terrain Shoes Reviewed For Their Superior Traction
Nowadays, when the word ‘exercise’ is mentioned, many will instantly think of laborious hours spent in the gym, countings reps, lifting weights, and motivating yourself by thinking about food. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there before. But in reality, that’s not what exercise has to be. Being active and healthy means something different to everyone. Though going to the gym is one way, there are many other ways that can help you stay in shape.
For instance, do you enjoy being in the great outdoors? Are you a fan of hiking, trail running, or just exploring nature? All these things are great ways to keep yourself healthy and active without being confined to the gym. On top of that, exercising outdoors allows you to enjoy the view and breathe in fresh air, making it a great way to de-stress and to take a break from your busy schedule. It allows you to reconnect with nature and zoom out from your daily routines and working life. But as always, you’ve got to make sure you have the proper equipment and attire for the task. When you’re outdoors, there are more factors to consider than ever – including weather, the time of day, and most importantly, the terrain.
- Salomon XR Mission
- Shoelace pocket included
- KEEN Newport H2
- Color & style options
- Easy to clean
- Tesla T330
- All synthetic
- Ergonomically form fitting
When you’re going to be outdoors, there’s a high chance that you’ll end up with different kinds of terrain. You might plan to just be on the trail or the road, but sometimes the unpredictability of nature means you’ll have to be flexible. Because of this, it is vital that you have the proper footwear to keep you protected and comfortable at the same time, no matter where your next step lands. The right shoes can prevent slips, absorb shock, protect the joints, and even boost your performance.
But where should you start looking? There are all kinds of athletic shoes on the market today, so how can you know if the pair you’re eyeing will be suitable for all kinds of terrain? To help guide you to the right decision, we’ve made a list of ten of the best all-terrain shoes you can buy. There are options for both men and women, and the brands they are from include KEEN, New Balance, and Adidas. Find your perfect pair, and get out there! There’s an adventure waiting for you.
10 Best All-Terrain Shoes
1. Salomon XR Mission
To stay comfortable and supported during your multi-terrain run, it's vital that your footwear has a snug and precise fit on the feet. Thanks to the asymmetrical overlays made of synthetic leather, the insteps are wrapped, secured, and provided with exactly the support they need.
The midsoles are made of EVA that cushions your footfalls to protect the joints from shock impact. There are also thermoplastic urethane inserts to act as a barrier between your foot and the sharp rocks on the ground beneath.
Cost and Value
Sitting at a moderate price, the Salomon XR Mission is a great bargain for all they have to offer. They are definitely worth checking out, so make sure you do so before they sell out!
Size runs small
2. KEEN Newport H2
Being outdoors on rocky, slippery, and/or wet grounds requires good grip and traction to reduce the risk of slips and falls. For this purpose, a multi-directional lug pattern can be found on the outsoles of these sandals.
Easy to Clean
Got muddy? No worries. The webbing upper is made of washable polyester that is easy to clean and air-dries quickly. They are machine washable and should be used with a bit of detergent and on gentle cycle.
Cost and Value
These sandals are on the higher end of the price spectrum when compared to the other items on the list. They may seem overpriced considering the fact that they are sandals, not hiking boots. But keep in mind that very few sandals can provide the same quality of protection necessary for outdoor adventures.
PFC free materials
Size runs small
3. Tesla T330
A TPR outsole provides dynamic grip, giving you more balance and power with every step. With an ergonomic design, support is also provided in key areas.
Lightweight and Breathable
The materials used in their construction includes mesh, nylon, webbing, TPU, and synthetic leather. All these materials are light in weight, and allow air to flow through them to keep the feet dry and fresh.
Cost and Value
This pair is the least expensive one on the list. Inevitably, there are some defects in their quality that make them not very long-lasting. But while they're good, they provide lots of desirable features.
Breathable synthetic materials
4. Sketchers After Burn
Most sports footwear use only synthetic materials. However, these sneakers incorporate a clever combination of smooth leather, lightweight synthetic and breathable mesh to offer the benefits of all three in a single shoe.
The collar and tongue are padded to ensure a comfortable, snug fit around the ankles. The lining is soft, and the mesh panels at the front and side provide a cooling effect that keeps you feeling fresh and energized.
Cost and Value
This pair is one of the least expensive ones on the list, and they've got a lot of good features in spite of that. However, some reviewers claim that the soles are not very durable.
Light synthetic overlays
Memory foam insole
5. Salomon Speedcross 4
Ensure that each stride lands with precision. With the legendary Speedcross lug pattern and their lacing technology, this pair ensures you step right and perform your best on the trail.
When running, it's never pleasant to be wearing heavy shoes that weigh you down. This pair ensures it doesn't happen with their synthetic materials and Ortholite sockliner. At the same time, sufficient protection is provided nonetheless.
Cost and Value
Unfortunately, these runners are the priciest item on the list. They are definitely not the best pick for beginning runners. However, for those who are often hitting the trails, they are the best possible investment towards improving your comfort and your performance.
Mud guard included
6. Adidas Rockadia
Running downhill is tricky, but if you're an outdoor-running kind of person, it's inevitable. Stay safe when wearing this pair thanks to their protective rugged toe cap and their outsole that grips on uneven surfaces.
The conditions are harsh out on the trails. Thankfully, these runners are well-prepared for it all. The synthetic stitched overlays, along with the tough yet breathable mesh upper, ensure maximum durability.
Cost and Value
Surprisingly, these Adidas trail runners are a great bargain. Thanks to their long-wearing design, one pair is sure to serve you well through all the thicks and thins of your running journey.
Protective toe cap
7. Merrell Moab 2
The closed-cell foam tongue in these boots ensure that no debris get in to bother your foot in the middle of your hike. At the same time, the tongue, along with the mesh lining, keeps moisture out to ensure you stay fresh and dry.
The Merrell air cushion is located in the heel, and serves to absorb the shock impact of your strides in order to keep you stable. With a 5mm lug depth in the outsole, a firm grip on the terrain is also guaranteed.
Cost and Value
Hiking boots have more demanding features than regular boots. That's why this pair has a relatively high cost. But when it comes down to it, every penny will be going towards a high quality pair of boots for a high quality hiking experience.
Protective Toe Cap
5mm lug depth
8. Columbia North Plains II
Now, we know that hiking isn't about looking fashionable. Most hiking footwear have the same kind of rugged and not-so-stylish look. However, their design makes the ruggedness more subtle and clean, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing facade.
Are you walking on slippery stones? Or maybe navigating a bumpy trail? The outsole of these shoes is made of Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber that keep you stable no matter what surface you're on, minimizing the risk for slips and falls.
Cost and Value
For hiking footwear, these are moderately-priced. You won't have to pay as much for them as you might for other equally good pairs, rendering them of excellent value for beginner and advanced hikers alike.
9. New Balance Kaymin TRL
As much as cushioning, lining, and a reliable outsole are all important features (amongst many more), a lightweight is ultimately the most vital. Your footwear should not weigh you down when running, and the lightweight materials used in these runners make sure that doesn't happen. As a result, you can fully experience their benefits.
The Gore-Tex fabric used in their construction provides protection against water and moisture. At the same time, the moisture inside is able to escape thanks to their breathability.
Cost and Value
There's nothing outstanding about the price of these. They cost about as much as the average pair of runners. They do, however, come in many different colours so that you can find exactly what suits your tastes.
Road and trail
10. Troadlop Mesh Trail Runners
A secure lacing system can be found in this design. The laces are made of elastic nylon laces that are easy to tie and will stay tied during your hike or run.
It doesn't matter if you splashed into a puddle, or just washed your pair. The drainage holes in the uppers result in optimal breathability and airflow, which renders them quick to dry.
Cost and Value
These runners are one of the cheapest ones we've got. They are also offered in different colors, including blue/green, grey, and black.
Not for beachwear
To spend a good day exploring the outdoors, you’ve got to have the right footwear to protect you and keep you on your best performance. Breathability, for instance, is a necessary feature in shoes when you’re out at the lake, while grip and traction are more important when hiking. But all-terrain shoes strive to combine all desirable features so that you can get the maximum benefit wherever you are. They are made to be long-wearing despite harsh outdoor conditions and to reduce the risk of any kind of injury. At the same time, they have additional features like cushioning and breathability to offer optimal comfort. In short, all-terrain footwear is a versatile must-have for every hiker, runner, or outdoor-lover.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best All-Terrain Shoes
Surprisingly, the outsole of a shoe is one of their most crucial aspects, especially when it comes to outdoor exercise footwear. The outsole simply refers to the very outer part of the sole which comes into contact with the ground beneath. The underfoot sensation, the stride efficiency, and how the shock impact of each step is handled all comes down to the outsole. This is important for all pairs, including those for indoor sports, for street wear, and for a Friday night out. In a good pair of all-terrain footwear, there are additional features to consider, including grip, and mudguards.
- Grip: Having insufficient grip on smooth or slippery surfaces will result in slipping and falling. This doesn’t just cause embarrassment – if it’s a serious fall, it could result in broken bones and even more severe consequences. Yet preventing the problem before it happens can be very simple. To ensure that your footwear has a good grip, the pattern on the outsole is very important. Thicker, deeper grooves (or “lugs”) on the outsole result in an optimal grip. Good quality hiking and mountaineering boots will have very deep lug patterns. Also keeping the cleaning process in mind – smaller and more widely spaced lugs are desirable because it is much easier to clean mud off of them.However, if you know that you’ll be walking on wet terrain, there are slightly different requirements. Though certain patterns are suitable for smooth surfaces, they may not be of much use on wet ones. For example, basketball shoes have enclosed tread patterns that don’t allow the liquid to flow out from beneath the foot once trapped. As a result, the water is trapped in between, making you prone to slipping. What you’ll want is an interlocked trad pattern that channels the liquid away and allows for more contact with the ground.
- Mudguard: More likely than not, you’ve heard of mudguards on bicycles and cars. However, miniature versions can also be found on athletic footwear designed for outdoor use. They are essentially a type of pattern that runs along the edge of the outsole in the forward part of the footwear, preventing mud from splashing onto the upper when running, walking, or hiking. They won’t keep you untouched from those mud spots, of course, but having one still makes a huge difference. Usually, this feature will be listed in the product descriptions, but could also be spotted on the shoe itself. If you don’t want the wet weather to come in the way of your plans, we highly recommend you look for mudguards in your shoes.
There’s nothing worse than having sweaty feet when you’re trying to concentrate on your workout, your walk, or your hike. Obviously, it’s uncomfortable, and you’ll be met with a strong whiff of bad odor later when you’re taking them off later. But what many don’t know is that it may lead to long-term, more severe consequences. Sweat creates the perfect amount of warmth and moisture for bacteria to start growing and proliferating, potentially resulting in foot and nail fungus. Nobody wants that!
If you’re someone who constantly has sweaty feet, even in cool weather, considering taking care of your feet every night, such as soaking and exfoliating them.
If you sweat an average amount, finding breathable shoes will be sufficient in preventing your socks from being soaked with sweat after getting home. The key to breathable footwear is a synthetic material, also known as man-made fabrics. Some examples include nylon, polyesters, and spandex. These materials have a lightweight feel and do not absorb much water, allowing the moisture to dissipate rather than holding on to it. Some synthetics processed with special technologies will allow air to pass through the material while keeping water out, resulting in the perfect condition – sweat is prevented from accumulating while body heat can also dissipate.
Our final criteria to look out for is something that is often overlooked, but which can affect your whole experience. A footwear could have all the desirable features – a shock absorbent midsole, a comfortable lining, a mudguard, and durable leather overlays. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, when too many features are stuffed into one shoe, the result might be a ridiculously heavy shoe. Overall, they will be bulky and clunky and will weigh you down when you’re trying to focus on your performance. You’ll tire more easily, feel less energized, and you won’t be able to feel the full benefit of the other desirable features of the footwear. Because of this, a lightweight is super important
The key to keeping them light is the use of synthetic materials since this type of material is lighter than leather, silk, suede, and many other natural fibers. When a pair of runners is made from all synthetic, it’s very unlikely that they will end up being clunky.
However, if you’re looking for hiking gear, synthetic isn’t the best option because it simply doesn’t offer the necessary protection. It cannot protect you from harsh weather conditions or be very long-lasting. In this case, you’ll have to decide on a compromise between a lightweight and other desirable features such as a thick sole and a leather lining. Both are important, but as they tend to counterbalance each other, you’ve got to find the combination that suits you. To judge their weight, turn to product descriptions, where it should be listed. Pay attention to whether the indicated weight refers to a single shoe or to a pair, and make the comparison between the pairs you are eyeing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I wear trail runners to hike?
A: No one can stop you, but it’s definitely not ideal. Hiking boots are designed to have a wider sole in order to ensure stability. As well, the outsoles are made more durable to handle hard and jagged rocks, and the weight of your pack means each step will land heavier than your usual footfall. Even if you’re a beginner at hiking, we believe it’s worth the money to get a pair of hiking boots, because it will help you get a more accurate impression on your experience rather than potentially being bugged by prickly rocks and aching arches.
Q: Can all-terrain running footwear be worn indoors?
A: Yes, but it kind of defeats the purpose. The word all-terrain is self-explanatory – it is suitable for all kinds of terrains, and that includes hardwood floors and indoor courts. The grip, cushioning, and fit will still be beneficial to you when indoors. However, the mudguards, thick lug patterns, and waterproof uppers will not come into use at all, meaning all their true glory is left unappreciated.
Q: Are all-terrain footwear also suitable for water?
A: It depends on the model, but generally they should be. Runners and hiking boots should have waterproof uppers that allow them to protect your foot from moisture on wet or rainy days. Sandals, too, should be water-resistant and quick-drying to offer you the optimal experience at the beach or by the lake.
Q: How can I make sure that the pair I buy is durable?
A: Durability depends mostly on the materials used in their construction, as well as their design. For instance, leather overlays can often be found in sports footwear because the position of the overlays allow the long-wearing leather to keep the footwear together for longer. In general, both synthetics and natural fibers can be durable so long as they are of high quality – you just have to make sure that the brand and the manufacturer have a good reputation. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions – sometimes, a particular pair might have experienced an accident when being put together, resulting in less durability.