10 Pairs of Actually Cute Hiking Boots to Save You from Shin Splints in Style
Maybe you’re a weekend warrior who half-heartedly hikes while clutching a Starbucks. Or are you more of a trail runner, feeling the burn in hopes of earning that mid-morning croissant? In any case, you need to pay attention to your footwear, since it’s going to make you a lot happier in the long run. Proper engineering can help you avoid chronic injuries such as shin splints (caused by insufficient padding) and IT band syndrome (radiating knee pain from too little arch support). And lest you forget, the new crop of cute hiking boots means you get to telegraph an insouciant “yep, I’m a cool outdoorsy type” with your outfit for the rest of the day.
1. Rugged Red
These shoes are “zero drop,” a term that describes how the heel and toe are equally padded (most shoes have a slightly elevated heel). Innovated by Altra Footwear, this style is championed by runners who want what’s considered a more natural and efficient running style.
2. Totally Orange
You’ve seen this style on everyone from obsessive marathon runners to trendy fashion types. Now the five-toes footwear trend has been embraced by the ordinary hiker or trail runner who likes the feel of going barefoot without the danger of a possible foot puncture. Plus, get ready for all the admiring looks at your local bagel joint.
3. Pink High-Tops
With a waterproof exterior and some serious sole grip, this is a shoe that’s great for trekkers who travel to hike in places where there may actually have been some recent rainfall. Or just wear them with dark tights all winter in the snow.
4. Neon Yellow Kicks
Fluorescent yellow is a big trend, an ’80s nostagia moment that’s going to liven up whatever outfit it’s worn with. And the studded sole? The better to grip your road surface.
5. Lightweight Green
The all-green exterior is super fash, and the Gore-Tex coating lets your sweaty feet breathe while keeping moisture out. And at just ten ounces, the design ensures you’ll be stepping lightly.
6. Blue Off-Roader
The sole of this shoe is engineered to be extra-durable and slip-resistant, so if you’re an off-road sort of hiker or trail runner, you’ll feel secure in this glove-like sneaker.
7. Indestructible Olive
Protective rubber toe caps and mud guards, tight-knit mesh to keep out debris and olive drab coloring make these basically the army jeep of off-road sneakers. Plus, they’ve got extra support for people who walk toward the outside of their feet, a condition known as supination.
8. Lightweight Lavender
These hiking boots are designed to replace the stiff and heavy boots of previous generations with a lighter (and, not least, better-looking) version that allows your feet to feel the ground underfoot and thus help your body’s muscles adapt to the terrain. Also, can we get a shout-out for the wide toe box? No more squeezing yourself into tight shoes.
9. Low-Key Gray
Ever worry you’re going to twist an ankle bounding over rocks and bringing your feet down on uneven surfaces? This shoe’s got you. Even in a low-top style, the flexible materials and stabilizing design of the sole make you feel more confident about really going for it on unfamiliar terrain.
10. Dark Victory
The dark-purple-on-black colorway sold us, but even more so the tech: The curved shape and insoles that use your body heat to mold to your feet make this the newsiest pick of the trail-running litter. Utah-based brand Kuru shows it’s got the outdoorsy experience and biomechanical smarts to keep us climbing upward, no aching feet allowed. (And, bliss: The style also comes in an extra-wide version.)