My feet are pretty important, and with that so are the shoes that I wear.
Between time on the trail and my day job, I’m on my feet a lot, so I go through a lot of footwear, and this year I have some faves and some that were highly thought of early on, but unfortunately fell short.
So here we go from least favorite to most favorite shoes of 2022.
Do you wear any of these? Which is your favorite?
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The Altra Lone Peak Hiker. These high tops were some of the lightest shoes I wore this year, so perfect for flat trails, but because they’re so thin on top and don’t have a toe cap they were brutal to wear on hill country trails. You can feel every bump. I’m also not a fan of the footbed. They hurt my Achilles every time I wore them.
Nike Pegasus Trail 3. I was high on the Trail 2 but the version I own I took to Big Bend NP and they were really hard to wear on trails that have big steps down. The wide footbed created a false feel and I would step on the side cushion off balance. I twisted my ankle twice at BBNP. They are comfy for daily wear if you’re on your feet all day.
Salomon XA Pro 3D V8. (This link sends to the newer version) These shoes are a few years old, and I took them out of commission already for regular hikes, but this version is still one of my favorite shoes. They’re lightweight, rugged, and have an easy lacing system. I’d upgrade but it seems they’re not made like they’re used to and Solomon hasn’t called to have me try them yet, ha. You can watch my original impressions video here.
Top Shoes of 2022!
Top shoes of 2022 is a tie! And I’ll explain why.
The Lems Trailhead and the Merrell Moab 2 Mids were my favorite hiking shoes this year hands down. They each offered comfort on and off the trail, were durable, and held up to the rigors of hill country landscapes.
The Lems are comfy, have good durability, and can be worn casually. They’ve held up on the trails rocky, and flat, and I love the name. They are similar to old skateboard shoes, so stylistically they’re fun, but the breathable mesh doesn’t feel flimsy, and there’s just enough toe-cap for pounding into jagged limestone rocks in central Texas.
What else can be said about the Merrell Moabs? They are a classic hiking shoes that I refused to wear for years, but here we are ranking these among the best.
I’m a huge trail runner guy, but I put over 1000 miles on the Moabs over the last year and a half and these shoes haven’t shown any signs of defeat.
They’re not my summer shoe. They’re way too hot for Texas summer, but I wear them to work and on rocky trails, and they protect my feet on dry land, through small creeks, and just work.
And the one that barely made it out of the box:
The Danner Free Spirit Boots were laughably bad. They looked nice, and I know Danner has been around forever and make OTHER great shoes, but these were not good. You can watch the video on these here.
Personal Preference is Key
Any type of footwear comes with nuances that will be different for any one who wears them. So it’s most important to form your own opinion of what you like, and what you need on trail. You may hate the Merrells, and love the Altra’s. Great! These are what worked on my feet. So take some time to try them out and think about the types of hiking you’re doing on trail.