SHOES & BOOTS

Best Gore Tex Hiking Shoes: Tough Enough for the Worst Conditions

Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

No matter what kind of trail you hike on you know that the conditions can change quickly. Whether the weather conditions have changed or a shaded environment gives way to more puddles and slippery conditions, predicting your environment can seem like a game of chance. This is why you need the best Gore Tex hiking shoes for your toughest hikes.

Having hiking shoes that are built to protect you through those changing conditions means you can spend more time outdoors. A lightweight shoe with a water tight design will keep you warm, dry, and safe. This is guaranteed to make your trip to the forest safer and more enjoyable. Gore Tex does just that and more being a waterproof, windproof and breathable material.

best gore tex hiking shoes

Shoes that have top of the line features will ensure that you have the best grip, stability and comfort allowing you to hike for hours or even days. When looking for the best Gore-Tex hiking shoes it is recommended to look for shoes that have exceptional support and traction that will take you anywhere you want.

Types of hiking shoes

There are many types of hiking shoes on the market. Companies have done research to come up with the perfect balance between technology and materials.

Hiking shoes

These shoes have been designed for hikes that last hours or days. The materials used are highly durable and are almost always waterproof. Hiking shoes will always be comfortable and keep your feet dry due to material that is moisture wicking and lightweight

best hiking shoes

Day hiking shoes

Not all hikes have to be hours or days in duration. For a more casual hike, look for shoes that are made of a lightweight material like mesh or nubuck leather that allow you pick up the pace when you need it.

These shoes will not be able to carry large packs for prolonged time but are perfect for hikes around the lake or even everyday walking shoes.

day hiking shoes

Anatomy of a hiking shoe

Any shoes you buy will have a similar anatomy while the material and technology will be vastly different.

Uppers

This is the part of your shoe that supports your foot which rises up around your ankle. Varying from high end material like high grain leather and breathable mesh material will affect the way your foot feels during hikes.

There are many types of leather that hiking shoes can be made from:

  • Full grain is a highly durable material that will require some break in. This material is water resistant and exceptionally durable. It will be great for short or long hikes alike, but is slightly on the heavy side.
  • Split-grain leather is a lighter alternative which is typically used with nylon or mesh for an even more lightweight design. This type of leather is less expensive than full-grain but is less durable as well. The inside of these shoes usually feature a waterproof liner that keeps your feet dry and comfortable no matter how long you hike for.
  • A nubuck leather is leather that has been made to look like suede. These will take the longest to break in so keep this in mind before you go for a weekend hike. This type of leather is one of the most durable and water resistant materials.
  • Fake leather, also known as synthetic, is essentially a combination of polyester and nylon that is used to create a lightweight leather feel. These are made to look and act like leather without actually using animal products. This will not take time to break in, but will wear quicker than their real leather counterparts.
  • Gore tex material is a high quality layer that ensure your feet stay dry. Combined with a breathable technology your feet will stay dry and comfortable. It is said that for every square inch there are over 9 billion areas that are small enough to create a waterproof layer while still large enough to allow moisture out. This technology will make your feet thank you and push your hike to the next level.

uppers of hiking shoes

Midsoles

This is the part of the shoe that will give you the cushion you need for hikes. Especially rocky and rugged terrain will require more cushion than gravel trails. The trick to this part is to balance cushion and stability. There are two main types materials of midsoles:

  • Polyurethane is a type of material that is made out of synthetic fabric or leather which creates a comfortable and durable ride. It creates a firm ride that will be ideal for long backpacking trips through rough terrain.
  • EVA is a softer option that will also provide more cushion for your bank account. This less expensive material can come in different levels of firmness so picking the right one will be crucial for you.

midsole of hiking shoes

Support

The lower part of the shoe will be where the majority of the support will come from. Plates and shanks work in the chassis to ensure a rigid yet comfortable shoe. This will ensure the shoe doesn’t bend and flex in ways your foot doesn’t.

  • Shanks are usually between 3 and 6 millimeters thick. They are found in the midsole of the shoe that create the perfect amount of rigidity for hiking. Each shoe will have a different setup, but this piece of material will usually span ¾ to the full length of the boot.
  • Plates are not included in every shoe. If they are this technology is found below the shank and ensures your feet are protected even during the sharpest material. If you regularly hike on shale or rocky riverbeds look for a shoe that includes this feature, your feet will thank you.

support for hiking shoes

Outsoles

A fancy way of saying tread, your outsoles are the part of the shoe that give you traction in every type of terrain. More aggressive tread will be necessary when hiking on less stable material like mud and sand. Each shoe will have a different pattern of ridges and valleys that create, what the manufacturer thinks is the best pattern for traction.

Lugs are essentially rivets on the bottom of your shoe that will increase your traction. A widely spaced setup will be best for mud as it won’t get stuck between the studs. Use these if you are planning on travelling on material that is loose or icy conditions. There will never be studs in the arch as that would make the hike uncomfortable and allows your foot to flex and bend naturally.

outsoles of hiking shoes

Fit

It is suggested that you go into stores to try on shoes as these boots may fit differently than regular shoes. Also, if you live or hike in cool temperatures regularly look for a half size bigger to fit your wool socks comfortably. In warmer temperatures you may want to try low profile moisture wicking socks that would mean you need a size smaller. Keep this in mind when shopping for your hiking shoes.

Different brands can fit differently. If you are shopping online we recommend looking at the sizing chart to see how the shoes fit others. This will give an accurate idea of what you should expect when purchasing and will allow you to pick a size that will fit. If you end up getting a pair that fit a little small remember that boots will take some time to break in and can actually increase in size.

Top Picks for Best Gore Tex Hiking Shoes

Now it’s time to look at some of the top rated products in the market.

Salomon Eskape GTX Hiking Shoe

Materials: Gore tex, EVA, TextileSalomon Men's Eskape GTX Hiking Shoe

Weight: 13.4 oz

Best Use: Uneven terrain, Trail running

Features: Gusseted tongue, Gore Tex lining, Thick tread

The sleek looking Salomon Eskape GTX Hiking Shoe has a thick rubber sole that has tons of grip. Great for uneven terrain and loose muddy trails, this shoe is sure to keep your feet firmly on the path. Even working in water you will feel the grip of these shoes hug your surroundings to make you feel in control. Built for dirt and mud, this gore tex shoe is tough.

With a completely waterproof Gore Tex lining your feet will stay warm and dry even on the wettest of days. A gusseted tongue ensures that no mud, dirt or rocks will penetrate your boot making them even stronger. Removable insoles make this shoe a great option for those who wear custom orthotics.

A rugged look, these shoes are actually quite lightweight without compromising on durability. A Sensiflex design ensures these shoes aren’t too stiff and will move with you.

Check the price on Amazon

Adidas Kanadia 7 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes

Materials: Gore- tex, EVA, RubberAdidas Outdoor Men's Kanadia 7 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoe

Weight: 12 oz

Best Use: Every day walking, Trail running

Features: Gore Tex lining, EVA foam midsole, Sleek design

Not as bulky looking as other trail shoes, you will love the sleek design of Adidas Kanadia 7 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes. Not as rugged looking, these shoes perform just as well for everyday work or walking shoes as they do on the trail.

Focusing on keeping your feet dry and comfortable, these shoes make sure you have the bounce needed to provide support. A thick rubber sole made from an EVA midsole gives you the cushioning you need for day to day wear. The Gore Tex lining gives you a waterproof design great for rainy days.

Super High traction rubber is used on this shoe giving it a thick tread which hugs the terrain and ensures you stay secure even on the muddiest of trails. Not recommended for pavement running, these shoes are a bit more than you would need for road running and are best left to rugged trail runs.

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Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoe

Materials: Leather, EVA, Gore texSalomon Men's X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoe

Weight: 28 oz

Best Use: Groomed trails, Uneven terrain

Features: No break in time, EVA midsole

The first time you wear Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoe will be just as comfortable as the last. This is one of those rare shoes that require little to no break in time. Talk about thick tread, these shoes are mean looking and will have no problem keeping your feet firmly secured to any surface.

The thick rubber soul lifts you off the ground giving you a barrier between the mud. A molded EVA midsole gives this shoe the stability and cushioning to perform on winter snow and rugged terrain.

Despite the mean look of this shoe, it is surprisingly sleek and lightweight. A water tight design will keep your feet dry in wet conditions leaving you to focus on the trail in front of you. This does not compromise the shoe’s breathability giving you the freedom to go on longer treks on hotter days.

Check the price on Amazon

Salewa Wildfire S GTX Approach Shoe

Materials: Vibram, EXA, Gore texSalewa Men's Wildfire S GTX Technical Approach Shoe

Weight: 15.4 oz

Best Use: Road running

Features:  Blister free design, Vibram traction outsole

Salewa Wildfire S GTX Approach Shoe carries a blister free design providing even more comfort and flexibility. It also drastically reduces the need to break your shoes in. A breathable mesh foot provides excellent ventilation while the Gore Tex gives you water tight security. This attractive shoe has pops of color giving you a very personalized look.

A Vibram traction outsole gives you a unique grip that will be comfortable on pavement and road running.  A specially designed 3D cage combines with the EXA shell to wrap your ankle giving you the structure and custom fit that hugs your foot for added comfort.

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Merrell Moab Gore-Tex Waterproof Shoe

Materials: Leather, Vibram, Gore texMerrell Men's Moab Gore-Tex Waterproof Hiking Shoe

Weight: 24 oz

Best Use: Long distance hikes, Trail running

Features:  Vibram lugs, Bellows tongue

Merrell Moab Gore-Tex Waterproof Shoe may look like your typical hiking shoe but its performance is far from ordinary. With a blend of leather and textiles the shoe looks just as strong as it performs. With odour reducing qualities this shoe can take you through the seasons from a great winter shoe to being breathable enough to handle the summer months.

A Gore Tex lining adds comfort in its waterproof and windproof design making them a great option for wet and cold climates. An air cushioned heel absorbs the impact of heel strikers making them a good option for long distance hikes or trail running. A bellows tongue keeps it performing in dirty climates with sand or dirt ensuring no debris gets into your shoe.

Added stability makes this shoe handle its own in uneven terrain. The vibram sole is built with you in mind. With thick lugs you are guaranteed to stay on the trail. Providing both stability and traction, this feature is left off the arch of the shoe giving you a more natural feel.

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Vasque Breeze 2.0 Low Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe

Materials: Leather, Mesh, Gore texVasque Men's Breeze 2.0 Low Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe

Weight: 33 oz

Best Use: Rough terrain, Hiking

Features: EVA midsole, Vibram outsole, Abrasion resistant panel

With a half inch heel to toe drop Vasque Breeze 2.0 Low Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe is great for running. A lightweight EVA midsole gives you the comfort to be able to wear these shoes on long distances. This shoe is built to last you through many seasons with its tear resistant air mesh panels that are sure to handle the test of time.

This shoe is breathable enough for hot climates while its Gore Tex layer protects you from the weather outside. A vibram outsole with XSTrek Compound combine to give you a shoe that will hug your terrain and give you better traction and stability.

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The North Face Hedgehog GTX Hiking Shoes

Materials: Mesh, Rubber, Gore tex, LeatherNew The North Face Men's Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Hiking Shoes

Weight: 15 oz

Best Use: Every day use, Groomed trails

Features: Vibram soles, Lightweight design

Gore Tex, mesh, and leather mix together to create an incredibly lightweight and high quality The North Face Hedgehog GTX Hiking Shoes. The lightweight design is great for running you won’t feel the drag of your feet behind you. A waterproof, windproof and ultra breathable design gives you the best of everything in this shoe. The dark design leaves you looking sleek enough to wear these shoes day to day.

A less bulky design translates seamlessly from the road to the trail. Vibram soles allow you the stability to be able to run in wet or dry terrain giving you even more versatility to wear your shoes anytime.

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Merrell Capra Sport Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe

Materials: EVA, Gore texMerrell Men's Capra Sport Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe

Weight: 28 oz

Best Use: Mud and loose terrain

Features: 3.5 mm Vibram soles, shock absorbing heel

Merrell has a reputation of excellence in the hiking industry. Their shoes are top of the line while having features that push them over the edge. Merrell Capra Sport Gore-Tex Hiking Shoe offers a synthetic material that sheds water and creates a lightweight comfortable skin. When added with the Gore tex membrane breathability is increased while maintaining a lightweight frame.

Comfort with this shoe is excellent and will keep your feet cushioned even on the longest walks and hikes due to the shock absorbing technology found in the heel. This is a highly recommended option for people who love hiking in mud and loose terrain.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

Running or hiking outdoors is more than just a summertime sport. Gore Tex knows this and with the help of their expert technology, you can now head outside whenever the mood strikes.

Being completely wind and waterproof, their shoes will keep your feet warm, dry and safe. Not just that but their material is even breathable making them a great option in warm climates and for long distances. They are so confident in their products that they even attach a guarantee behind it.

man hiking on shoes

Join the thousands of people out there in all conditions, enjoying the power of Gore Tex. Have a pair of Gore-Tex hiking shoes? Let us know how you like them in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

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