Updated: February 20th, 2023
If you have experience hiking or are an active hiker, you know how essential it is to have comfortable and supportive shoes, both for short-term comfort and long-term benefits. Shoes that do not fit properly are awful for the feet, legs, and back, especially when hiking for long periods of time.
While you might be able to deal with this added discomfort as an adult, it’s not the same case for children. It’s essential for them to have the best hiking shoes for kids when spending time in the outdoors. Whether it’s a long-distance hike to a campsite or short-distance hiking, the appropriate shoes can make any hike feel so much easier.
Here is a complete guide on the best kids hiking shoes and things to consider before you buy shoes for them.
Top 10 Hiking Shoes For Kids
These rubber-soled shoes offer a reinforced toe with the under-sole wrapping around to protect the tip of the shoe and increase its durability.
These light hiking shoes for kids incorporate breakaway bungee laces. The bungee aspect makes it very easy for children to tie them tightly and ensure they are snug on their feet. On the other hand, the breakaway technology means that if your child catches their foot in something, the lace should snap rather than trapping them.
The shoes are lightweight and highly breathable, making them more suitable for summer hiking than winter, but comfortable out on a hot trail. These are perfect options for summer camping. They should also dry very quickly if they get wet, meaning it won’t matter if your child decides to splash around in the puddles and besides nobody likes having wet feet.
Despite not being mainly designed for bad weather, the shoes offer superb grip and stability, making them perfect for any kind of terrain, perfect for slippery terrain. They’re a low-cut shoe that does not provide huge amounts of ankle support, but they supportive enough for most hiking trips.
With a range of color combos and a highly attractive, sporty look, these shoes are perfect for both boys and girls for outdoor adventures.
The Columbia Youth Hiking Shoes are designed for three-season hiking (spring, summer, fall) and lightly waterproof, made from breathable leather and synthetic materials. The material helps maintain the childrens feet cool. They have laces and, to make it easier for kids, a speed lacing system that will enable children to tie them quickly.
These kids shoes are very lightweight, perfect for small feet marching along difficult trails. They can easily fit in a camp trunk or duffel bag. With a whole range of colors, they appeal to children and are highly sleek and sophisticated. Rubber no-mark soles ensure they are suitable for indoor use and outdoor use.
They also incorporate a reinforced toe barrier to make the shoes for kids more durable, protecting a point that tends to suffer the most wear and tear during use. The under sole wraps around over the top to add a little more protection.
They offer medium support, being more a shoe than a boot, but with a reasonably high top nonetheless to protect children’s ankles as they move and reduce the chance of injuries or sprains on challenging hikes.
The Merrell Unisex Trail Shoe is made of 100% leather, so it’s high quality and should last exceptionally well to the point you can pass it onto from an older child to a younger one after their done using it.
These kids shoes are water-resistant, making them suitable water shoes for the warmer, drier seasons but not ideal for winter hiking. They have a superb tread, ensuring that they are safe for any terrain and good for hiking in damp, slippery conditions.
They incorporate a Velcro closure fastening, making them easy for kids to put on independently, although this may prove less secure than laces in some situations. However, it is also less likely to get snagged by bushes or foliage and could prove safer if it does.
These hiking shoes also offer an EVA removable footbed so your child can either wear the shoe with this addition or remove it and wear the shoe without, offering two different options for finding the most comfortable position. The removable aspect also makes keeping the shoe clean and fresh easier, as you can wash the footbed.
The mesh uppers are suede and mesh lining, ensuring breathability and comfort on longer hikes. They also have no-tie laces beneath the Velcro fastening, which keeps the opening tight and offers good support to the feet as they move around.
The color combos may not be quite as attractive as other choices, but the quality is better than others making it a solid option.
4. UOVO Boys
These shoes are incredibly water-resistant and provide excellent airflow, with good traction designed for even slippery and challenging hiking trails. They’re highly durable, with the same turn-up rubber sole protecting the toe and shoes.
They incorporate bungee laces, which means you don’t need to tie them, but they still provide a good fit. The sole of the shoe is flexible to allow for great movement when running, also making great trail running shoes. An EVA footbed offers extra breathability and comfort, particularly on extended hiking trips.
The footbed on this hiking sneaker is removable, washable, and will absorb sweat, keeping the foot dry and comfortable throughout a walk. This comes in handy when tent camping in hot weather as well.
These hiking shoes for kids have reasonably high tops, with some ankle support. Because they use those specific laces, they may not be quite as supportive or snug-fitting as some kids hiking boots that incorporate genuine laces, but they will allow the child to put them on and take them off by themselves.
5. JMFCHI Kids
If you’re looking for a proper hiking boot instead of a shoe, the JMFCHI boots won’t disappoint. They have appropriate high tops, offering maximum stability and good ankle support, perfect for children handling rugged, mountainous terrain.
These kids hiking boots come in different designs, but most incorporate some version of hook-and-loop elastic laces combined with Velcro straps to make it simple for children to put on. They have anti-skid grips on the bottom, perfect for young feet and help children stay safe in wet, slipper trails. They also have superb shock absorption, windproof, and very warm. They come with a plush lining that protects the feet and insulates them. These are shoes suitable for hiking in the winter or cold weather.
The hiking boots have good airflow for superior breathability and adequate water resistance to keep the feet dry. They also offer a steel buckle tucked inside the heel of the boot, which can be flipped out for increased grip in challenging weather. This makes them particularly good if you’re handling icy or very wet conditions and are worried about slipping.
There’s a fantastic array of fun colors and slightly different styles, so you’re bound to find a good pair that’s perfect for your outdoor explorer. These are by far one of the best kids hiking boots you'll find.
The KEEN Unisex Targhee are light and breathable shoes for kids. Although they’re not waterproof, they have some water repellent features and offer mesh lining to aid quick drying when kids have wet feet.
These light hiking shoes have an excellent, multi-directional grip on the sole of the shoe to minimize the chance of slipping. These soles are non-marking rubber so that they can be worn inside safely without risk to floors.
The hook-and-loop strap maximizes the ease with which children can move in them. The natural technology called Eco Anti-Odor helps deal with sweaty smells and keeps things smelling clean and fresh. As an added bonus they also have a heel stabilizer to maximum comfort.
Another option that’s made entirely out of leather — the mesh upper and suede upper on these kids hiking shoes allow the foot to breathe and help moisture evaporate quickly.
They also offer a traditional lace-up fastening, so if you believe good lacing of shoes is the best way to ensure a comfortable, safe hike, then these may be the shoes for your child. Bear in mind that younger kids may need assistance getting them on and off unless they can manage laces independently.
The non-marking soles provide excellent traction, but the design is very plain and may not appeal to children with its lack of color options or variation.
The brand is well known for its top-quality product, but the durability of these might not be the best.
The Adidas Unisex Terrex Hiking Boots fall somewhere between a shoe and a boot. They’re considered hiking boots due to having reasonably high tops, offering campers a little more support when hiking on steep slopes.
They have a simple Velcro fastening that even young children can manage, with elastic laces to increase the snugness of the fit. The rubber sole again has good grip and a turn-up over the toe to protect the foot and the vulnerable point of the shoe. The affordable hiking shoes are relatively plain but have several colors that appeal to children.
They can be worn for long periods of time since they’re pretty comfy, and coming from a reputable brand like Adidas, you can expect a sturdy design.
With a soft lining and high tops, these shoes are designed for extended and more challenging hikes. The trail runners have great traction and are lightweight, making them great for youngsters who don’t want to be lugging heavy shoes around all day.
The soles are particularly long, providing more overall grip, though sometimes this makes feet feel a little clunky and can take some time to get used to. The soles are rubber and highly textured to provide an excellent grip in all-terrain conditions.
This trail running shoes design uses traditional laces to fasten, making it straightforward to tie them tightly to the foot for maximum security and support while running, mountain biking or hiking.
Even when not hiking, they’re decent running shoes for the park or playground. Whether spending an hour or three hours outside, the design is well-suited for being outdoors for long periods.
The Hawkwell’s has traditional lace closures, a padded tongue and collar, and an EVA foam footbed. Coupled with mesh uppers to allow airflow, it ensures the shoes remain comfortable to wear for long hikes or all-day camping trips.
The rubber soles add superb grips, and they’re waterproof to play or walk outdoors in them in whatever weather. As they don’t weigh very much, they’re not clunky and helps conserve energy when walking. The shoe design helps feet remain well-protected outdoors in case they run up against objects like rocks.
You can get these waterproof hiking shoes in several color options, but the design is simple without any jazzy patterns. For parents looking for a budget-friendly option, they come reasonably priced when compared to other kids hiking shoes. On the downside, they aren’t the most durable choice. Regardless, the loop closure strap comes in handy when kids are on their own.
Kid's Hiking Shoes Buying Guide
So, what do you need to make sure you choose the right pair for kids? You need to think about several things, starting with what sort of hiking you will be doing on your family travels.
If you’re hiking in the mountains, your child or toddler will benefit from high-top shoes that cover their ankles as well as their little feet. These will give them additional support while walking. Here are some additional things to consider when buying hiking shoes for kids:
Comfortability - Whether you're getting older kids hiking shoes or toddler hiking shoes, you want them to be as comfortable as possible so that your child or toddler enjoys wearing them and will have comfortable feet throughout the walk. This is important for adults’ hiking shoes, but even more so for little kids, who will quickly come to dislike hiking if associated with discomfort and blisters. This is especially true if they're carrying a lot of gear in their backpack.
Fastening System - How the hiking shoe fasten is also essential. Most children’s shoes fasten with elastic or Velcro, but many hiking boots do not. If your child can’t tie laces, you’ll probably end up needing to help with their shoes. For toddler hiking shoes this isn't even a question. However, the laces give a better fit to the foot, allowing you to pull the shoe tight all along the foot.
Some shoes utilize an elastic velcro strap on the underside of the foot and a Velcro fastening to make the fit good while allowing the child to fasten the shoe themselves, so these may prove a better option.
Breathability & Waterproof Features - When searching for hiking footwear, you should consider breathability and think about whether you want waterproofing or not. The issue with waterproof hiking shoes is that they can can get sweaty at times. Just like with sleeping bags, you'll want something they're comfortable in for long periods of time.
Regardless, waterproof shoes for kids should be prioritized since some hikes can have slippery terrain after a rainfall. They’ll come in handy if they’re going to summer camp. If you’re going to be hiking in cold weather, you may need to think about insulation.
Proper Fitting - Ensure your child has somebody fit them for hiking shoes. By measuring the child's feet rather than just trying the shoes on will ensure you are getting the right size and the shoes are more likely to last longer. Plus, the right fitting can help provide great traction on hiking trails.
Similarly, you're camper or toddler might still have growing feet, which you want to accommodate.