Best Hiking Shoes For Hawaii (Buying Guide)
Best Hiking Shoes For Hawaii (Buying Guide)
So, you're planning a trip to Hawaii are you? As I am sure you're already aware, Hawaii is full of breathtaking scenery complete with limitless hiking trails and national parks.
Many of these trails are no walk in the park, often taking hours to complete. As such, you're going to need a reliable pair of hiking shoes to make sure your feet can keep up with you.
To help you find the best pair of hiking shoes for your Hawaiian holiday, we tested out some of the best hiking shoes Amazon has to offer and put together the following comprehensive review.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
3 Best Hiking Shoes for Hawaii - Overview
Here's an overview of the best hiking shoes for Hawaii:
Now, you might assume that your trusty old pair of hiking boots will do. Perhaps you think a pair of regular sneakers or flip-flops will do the trick. If these thoughts are running through your head, then this article is for you.
Trust the experts on this one. If you want to make the most out of your Hawaiian vacation, then you're going to want to invest in some appropriate footwear. I am talking about a pair of high-quality, breathable hiking shoes that will protect your feet and toes, keeping you comfortable no matter the terrain. I don't care if you fall into a volcano; the following shoes will be the only thing left of you — that's the kind of quality I am talking about.
Our expert team has curated the following handy overview, covering the highest-rated, best-value options, divided into 3 product categories: the best pair of hiking sandals, the best pair of hiking shoes, and the best pair of hiking boots.
We've made it even easier for you to find your match by ensuring all products are available in both male and female versions.
What are you waiting for? Discover our top-rated pics below. Who knows, you may just find yourself wearing one of them on the trails of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, or another one of the beautiful islands of Hawaii...
Best Hiking Sandals For Hawaii
1. KEEN Newport H2 Sandal
- Performance sport sandal featuring bungee lacing system and rear pull-on loop
The KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is an ideal match for hikers who are looking for an all-in-one sandal that's lightweight and versatile.
This water shoe has the airiness of a sandal, the comfort of a hiking shoe, and the toe protection of a pair of sturdy hiking boots. Don’t be fooled by its "water shoe" title. Its quality design offers premium performance both in and out of the water.
If you prefer packing light and only plan on bringing one pair of shoes, then the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is the perfect choice to keep you comfortable whether in the city, on the beach, or deep in a national park.
An expert brand in outdoor gear, the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal lives up to its reputation. Its design features many unique accents, all developed to add additional comfort, safety, and grip to any hiking experience. For example, this sandal features razor siping. This means there are thin slits cut across the rubber surface of the soles to improve ground traction in wet conditions. In addition, this sandal's multi-directional lug pattern adds even more traction, Keeping you from slipping or losing your footing in streams, on slippery rocks, and on muddy slopes.
Sure, if you’re only planning on hiking on trails that are paved, such as the popular Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in Oahu, then traction is not a priority. However, should you decide you can handle more and want to hit some unpaved treks involving waterfalls and streams like the Manoa Falls Trail in Oahu, then traction is a key factor to consider.
Another reason we selected the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal as a top choice for Hawaii-based hiking is its eco-appeal. Keen is big on producing environmentally-friendly products with a more ‘natural’ approach. Instead of using harmful Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) to ensure their gear remains water-repellent, Keen only uses non-toxic alternatives that are friendly to the environment.
The Newport H2 Sandal’s Anti-Odor footbed was developed with special probiotic technology. This means that the footbed naturally breaks down the odors commonly found in sweat without relying on the hazardous chemical compounds that are often found in cheaper, low-grade footwear. No smell and no pollution — it doesn't get much better than that!
We also love the fact that the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is made in the USA, adhering to quality regulations as set by the US-market. Other perks include a compression-molded EVA midsole, a quick-dry lining, and a durable 100% polyester webbing on the upper sole.
This versatile pair of hiking sandals feature rubber toe bumpers to ensure your feet safe when on trails or in the water. As tour operators often require closed-toe footwear for participation, these toe bumpers will come in handy should you find yourself on any exciting excursions such as horseback riding or ATV tours.
Weighing in at just 14.2oz, the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is lightweight enough to meet any baggage allowance standards. This is important for those flying into Hawaii with only hand luggage.
Would we recommend the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal for all Hawaii terrains? Well, nearly all. This is a great choice for nearly all intermediate hikes, wet or dry. That said, when worn on long beach hikes, sand will get between your toes. Should this happen, simply step into the ocean and voila — problem solved.
If you plan on hiking volcanic terrain or super strenuous trails, then these sandals may not provide you with all of the support and protection you'll need. In this case, you’d be better off with a pair of solid hiking boots instead.
Highly-rated hiker favorite
Other hikers, backpacking fans, and outdoor enthusiasts have given the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal top marks for performance, comfort, versatility, and quality, confirming Keen lives up to their high standards when it comes to outdoor gear. Keep in mind, some consumers recommend ordering half a size up from your regular shoe size as these sandals tend to run a bit on the small side.
Other users have reported rough edges where the fabric meets the sole; this could cause blisters. However, as long as you break them in before your Hawaiian vacation, these edges will smooth out. Also, as this complaint is only echoed by a very small number of customers, the general consensus is that these sandals are a fantastic investment.
Yes, we are aware that the KEEN Newport H2 Sandals are slightly pricey for a hiking sandal/water shoe. But trust us — as seasoned hikers, they're worth it. We have no doubt that you’ll be able to enjoy these premium sandals for many years, and many trips, to come.
Best Hiking Shoes For Hawaii
2. Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace Hiking Shoe
- Float-Lite outsole is super durable and feather light
The Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace Hiking Shoe is what we would call a perfect hybrid, combining multiple different shoe types into one, sleek silhouette.
If you’re looking for a walking shoe that is big on both performance, and style, then this may be the hiking shoe for you. We love this shoe's contemporary, sneaker-style silhouette which makes it highly suited for both active day hikes, and casual wear.
Don’t be fooled. Although it may look like a regular sneaker, the Teva Arrowood Swift is much more. Teva set out to create the Arrowood as a hybrid — a hiking shoe that combines the features of trainers, river shoes, heavy-duty boots, and trail runners into one, multipurpose style. The result? A trendy, heavy-duty piece of footwear suitable for both bush and city life without compromising on traction, grip, and comfort.
Super comfortable Floatlite sole
The Arrowood Swift Lace comes with many of the high-end features that Teva is renowned for. For example, this shoe includes Teva’s special Floatlite sole. This ultralight, durable sole is big on comfort without adding weight to the design. This is ideal for those traveling only with hand-luggage or daypacks.
According to reviewers, the sole of this shoe is one of the most comfortable they’ve ever experienced. Some compare the comfort of the Arrowood Swift Lace's sole to cushy orthopedic shoes, but without the unwanted bulkiness and un-attractive look. The rubber Floatlite sole also features individual rubber pods that run along the outsole providing extra traction and grip.
Another reason we recommend the Teva Arrowood Swift Lace is due to its excellent breathability. To ensure your feet stay cool, even in the hot and humid conditions of the Hawaiian islands, the manufacturer has incorporated some special design elements. For example, the silhouette has a breathable mesh foot covering and lining. It also features an upper Ariaprene layer that is soft, water-ready, and quick-drying. This allows you to wade through streams, waterfalls, or any wet conditions you may find yourself in on your Hawaii adventure.
A versatile choice in footgear
Customer reviews on the Teva Arrowood Swift Lace praise the design’s versatility, durability, ergonomic sole, and contemporary feel. Hikers confirm it makes for a stylish and lightweight alternative to traditional bulky hiking shoes without compromising on traction and comfort.
Whether you're sliding up and down a muddy rainforest trail or refueling with a delicious cocktail at a tiki bar, you won't look out of place in any Hawaiian scenario with a pair of these bad boys on your feet.
As with anything, there are some minor cons. The design is not fully waterproof, only water-resistant and quick-drying. Therefore, using them as water shoes during snorkeling trips is not recommended.
Also, reviewers mention that although the sole is cushioned enough for hiking, it lacks a bit of the extra support and cushioning crucial for trail runners. So, if you plan on sprinting through some rugged Hawaii scenery, be sure to pick a dedicated pair of trail runners, or running shoes instead.
Best Hiking Boots For Hawaii
3. Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot
- Pigskin leather and mesh upper
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot is an outstanding choice for those adventurers that love exploring nature off-the-beaten-track.
This heavy-duty shoe is designed for all-day comfort, traction, and support, no matter the terrain or weather conditions. As one of the best-rated outdoor products on Amazon, the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot is guaranteed to live up to, and exceed, all expectations. In other words, it's a great investment for any hardcore hiking enthusiasts.
I'd like to clarify something. For those consumers that only plan on squeezing in some intermediate hikes on some moderate trails, these hiking boots are not a necessity. Instead, intermediate hikers would benefit from lightweight, casual options such as the KEEN sandals or Teva hiking shoes featured above.
These hiking boots are only recommended for serious hikers that need the additional support, traction, and performance that these shoes offer. As they’re quite a bit heavier than the other options on this list, it can be quite a challenge to fit them into hand luggage or even a hiking pack. That said, these boots definitely outshine sandals and shoes when it comes to serious hiking. They're also great for challenging walks on tougher terrain, such as the Kalalau Trail or volcanic rims.
A superior brand in outdoor gear
If you’re still reading, it’s probably because you’ve got your heart set on a pair of hiking boots. So, let me tell you more about why the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot is the footwear for you:
The Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot is designed by Merrell — an expert brand in outdoor gear. With such an established and renowned brand, you can trust that you’re getting an authentic product that will live up to its reputation.
Brands such as Merrell, KEEN, Teva, and Salomon, are known to invest plenty of resources into the research and development of their products — it's why they stay ahead of the competition. This is exactly why you shouldn’t settle for a cheap knock-off, but rather invest in a genuine piece of footwear that won’t let you down mid-trail.
Let's take a closer look at the premium traction and grip of this hiking boot. The Moab 2 Vent features a super slip-resistant ‘Vibram TC5+’ sole; the lug pattern on the sole has a depth of 5mm. This enables you to find traction even on the most challenging types of terrain, from rocky slopes to muddy trails.
This may sound complicated, but here goes. This boot boasts an ‘M Select™ FIT.ECO+ footbed’. This proprietary footbed is made from EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) — a type of rubber — to offer outstanding support. Further support, stability, and comfort come from the footbed’s special zonal arch and ergonomic shock-absorbing cushioned heel cup.
Excellent breathability in hot conditions
Another key feature of the Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot is its closed-cell foam tongue. This helps keep moisture and debris out — ideal for volcanic or rocky terrains. Furthermore, this boot's protective rubber toe cap guards your toes against any ground-level hazards you might encounter.
Although the Moab 2 Vent isn't waterproof, it is very breathable. The special mesh panels on the side of the boot allow heat to quickly escape. This ensures your feet stay cool and dry, even in the hottest conditions, making the Moab 2 Vent perfect for Hawaii’s warmer, tropical climate.
A 5-star hiking design
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot has plenty of superb user reviews, including hundreds of 5-star ratings. Hikers give its design top-marks for comfort, durability, heavy-duty performance, and traction.
Many reviews also mention that the boots need little to no break-in time, fitting like a glove straight from the box. A minor con mentioned is that after repeated wear, the laces may fray and the insole may wear down. However, the main construction of the boot is solid and sturdy enough to handle even the toughest trails.
Although they are quite expensive compared to cheaper knock-offs on the market, their outstanding durability and high-end features make them a worthwhile investment. This is a pair of hiking boots that will be with you long after your Hawaiian vacation...
No matter the terrain you intend to hike upon, there is a product in this overview suitable for any trip to Hawaii. Which design is 'the best', depends on the type of hikes, activities, and trails you plan on undertaking.
A hiking sandal is ideal for its versatility both in and out of the water. Doubling as both a hiking shoe and a water shoe, the KEEN water sandal will keep your feet safe and supported, thanks to excellent traction, ankle support, arch support, and grippy soles. They're also a great match for watersports, including kayaking, and snorkeling.
If you plan on taking part in plenty of off-the-beaten-track exploration and strenuous volcano hikes, then you'll benefit from a proper hiking boot such as the Moab 2 by Merrell. A hiking boot offers the superior traction and support often required for tough conditions. Conversely, they are heavy to pack, bulky, and not suited for watersports or casual wear.
The middle-ground is a lightweight hiking shoe. We chose the Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace as aside from hiking, it's also perfect for casual-wear. There's no need to pack multiple pairs of shoes when you have a pair of these trail running shoes. The Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace combines the performance of a hiking shoe with the style of a sneaker making it a versatile, all-in-one solution for both Hawaii's national parks and Hawaiian nightlife!
All three products in this overview are winners. They have all beaten the competition from other leading competitors such as Salomon, Colombia, and more.
That said, if we had to pick a product that we would pack on a hiking trip to Hawaii, we'd go for the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal. Its versatile design combines the convenience of a water shoe with the performance of a hiking shoe to produce an extremely comfortable hiking sandal.
If you can wear sandals without sacrificing grip, traction, and protection, then why would you ask for anything else?
Hawaii Hiking Guide Suggestions
Besides a pair of hiking sandals, shoes, or boots, you're going to want to invest in a proper guidebook when hiking Hawaii. Not only will a guidebook help you navigate your way towards the most scenic delights, but it could also inspire you to explore and discover hidden treasures off-the-beaten-track.
So, as a little bonus at the end of this post, here are our top Hawaii Hiking Guide suggestions:
- Oahu Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Honolulu, Waikiki & Beyond
- Best Easy Day Hikes Hawaii: Kauai (Best Easy Day Hikes Series)
- The Hikers Guide to the Hawaiian Islands: Updated and Expanded
- Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook
- Hawaii (National Geographic Adventure Map)