Aloha! So, you're planning a trip to Hawaii? Then bringing the right piece of footwear is essential to enjoy the state’s fantastic hiking trails and stunning national parks. To help you navigate your way towards the best options for your holiday, we’ve created a special Best Hiking Shoes For Hawaii overview.
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
3 Best Hiking Shoes for Hawaii - Overview
You might assume your trusty old pair of hiking boots will do the trip, or perhaps you’re only thinking of bringing a pair of regular sneakers or flip flops. Trust the experts: if you want to make the most out of your Hawaii experience, you’ll want to invest in more appropriate footwear. We’re talking about high-quality hiking shoes that will keep your feet and toes safe, comfortable, and supported, no matter if you’re hiking a volcano, strolling along a remote beach, kayaking, or crossing tropical streams…
Our expert team has curated a handy overview of the top-rated, best-value options, divided into 3 product categories: the best hiking sandals, the best hiking shoes, and the best hiking boots. We've made it even easier to find your match by ensuring all picked products are available in both a male and female version.
So, what are you waiting for? Discover our top-rated products below. And explore which pair of hiking shoes could be your perfect travel companion on a tropical adventure to Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, or the island 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 the ideal match for hikers who want an all-in-one solution, with lightweight and versatile appeal. This water shoe has the airiness of a sandal, the comfort of hiking shoes, and the excellent toe protection of sturdy hiking boots. Don’t be fooled by the ‘water shoe’ title. This quality design offers premium performance both in and out of the water. If you love packing light and only plan to bring one pair of shoes: the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is a perfect candidate to keep you comfortable on your feet all day long.
Made by an expert brand in outdoor gear, the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal lives up to a high-quality standard. The design features many fancy design-accents, all developed to add more comfort, safety, and grip to your hiking experience. For example, the shoe features razor siping. This means it has undergone a process of having thin slits cut across the rubber surface of the sole to improve ground traction in wet conditions. The shoe’s multi-directional lug pattern adds even more traction. Keeping you from slipping or losing your footing in streams, on slippery rocks, and muddy slopes.
Now, if you’re only planning on doing a paved walkway hike, such as the popular Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in Oahu, traction is not a priority. However, if you plan to do unpaved treks involving waterfalls and streams, like the Manoa Falls Trail in Oahu, traction is a key factor to consider.
Another reason we rate the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is a top-choice for Hawaii-based hiking is its eco-appeal. The brand is big on producing environmentally-friendly products with a more ‘natural’ approach. Instead of using harmful Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) to create a water-repellent layer on their outdoor gear, the brand only uses non-toxic alternatives friendly to the environment.
The same goes for the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal’s Anti-Odor footbed. The designers of this hiking sandal have developed the footbed with special probiotic technology. What this means is that the footbed can naturally break down odor in sweat.
Without relying on hazardous chemical compounds as often found in cheaper, low-grade hiking gear. No smell, no pollution to the environment. That’s a double win for us.
We also like that the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is made in the USA, adhering to quality regulations as set by the US-market. Other perks are 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 also feature a rubber toe bumper to keep your feet safe on trails, or in the water. This also comes in handy if you plan to do any Hawaii excursions such as horse riding or ATV-tours. Because tour operators will often require ‘closed-toe’ footwear to allow participation. At just 14.2oz, the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is also lightweight enough to not take up too much of your weight allowance. 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. However, do note that when worn for long beach hikes, and will get between your toes. But simply step into the ocean with these water sandals and voila: problem solved. Also, if you plan on hiking volcanos or super strenuous trails, this may not provide all the support and protection you need, and you’d be better off settling for a solid hiking boot instead.
Highly-rated hiker favorite
Other hikers, backpacking fans, and outdoor enthusiast give the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal top marks for performance, comfort, versatility, and quality. Confirming the sandal lives up to the high-standard KEEN has set for outdoor gear. Some consumers do recommend ordering half a size up from your regular shoe size. Because the sandals tend to run a bit on the small side.
Another complaint is there may be some rough edges where the fabric meets the sole, which could cause blisters. However, this is why you’ll need to break-in the sandal before your actual trip, as with repeated wear, these edges will smooth out. 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 know the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is slightly pricey for a hiking sandal/water shoe. But it's worth it. We regard you’ll be able to enjoy this premium choice in hiking gear for many years, and many trips, to come. Making it still excellent value-for-money considering the amount of wear you'll get from it.
Best Hiking Shoes For Hawaii
2. Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace Hiking Shoe
- Float-Li te outs ole is s uper durable and feather light
The Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace Hiking Shoe is what we would call a perfect ‘hybrid’ of different shoe types in one, sleek silhouette. If you’re looking for a shoe that is big on both performance, and style, this may be your ideal match. We love the contemporary, sneaker-style silhouette, which makes this hiking shoe suited for both active day hikes, and casual wear.
But don’t be fooled: it may look like a regular sneaker, but 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 in one, multipurpose style. The result? A trendy, heavy-duty piece of footgear that can take you from bush to bar. 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, the design includes Teva’s special Floatlite sole. This ultralight, durable sole is big on comfort but doesn't add weight to the design. Which is ideal for those traveling only with hand-luggage or daypacks. According to reviewers, the sole is one of the most comfortable they’ve ever felt. Some compare the comfort to cushy orthopedic shoes, without the unwanted bulkiness and un-attractive looks. The rubber Floatlite sole also comes with individual rubber ‘pods’. These pods are distributed over the exterior surface, providing extra traction and grip.
Another reason we recommend the Teva Arrowood Swift Lace is the hiking shoe’s excellent breathability. To ensure you can keep your feet cool, even in hot and humid conditions of the Hawaiian islands, the manufacturer has incorporated special design elements. For example, the silhouette has a breathable mesh upper part and breathable mesh lining. The design also features an upper Ariaprene layer that is soft, water-ready and quick-drying. Allowing you to wade through streams, waterfalls, or any wet conditions you’ll find 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’s a stylish and lightweight alternative to traditional bulky hiking shoes. Without having to compromise on the desired traction and comfort. Whether you're rambling up a muddy rainforest trail or refueling your 'energy' with a delicious cocktail at a tiki bar... You won't look out of place in any Hawaii-scenario with a pair of Teva Arrowood Swift Lace hiking shoes.
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 even though 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 the gorgeous Hawaii scenery, pick a dedicated pair of trail runners, or running shoes, instead.
Best Hiking Boots For Hawaii
3. Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot
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 comfortable wear, traction, and support. No matter what 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, and exceed, expectation. Making it a great investment for any hardcore hiking enthusiasts.
Now, let’s first clarify something: for those consumers that only plan to do intermediate hikes or moderate trails in Hawaii, hiking boots are not a necessity. Instead, intermediate hikers would benefit from lightweight, casual options such as the KEEN sandals or Teva hiking shoes. We’d only recommend hiking boots for a Hawaii trip if you’re serious about trails. Or if you need the extra support, traction, and performance that these shoes offer. They’re quite a bit heavier to lug around, and can be quite bulky when trying to fit them in hand luggage or a backpack. That said, boots do outshine sandals and shoes when it comes to long hikes. Or harder walks with variable terrains such as the Kalalau Trail or volcanic rims.
A superior brand in outdoor gear
Okay, enough said, if you’re still reading now, it’s probably because you’ve decided a pair of hiking boots is preferable. So let us tell you more about why the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot is the shoe for you:
The Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot is designed by an expert brand in outdoor gear: Merrell. By buying from an established, and renowned brand, you know you’re getting an authentic product that lives up to a high-quality standard. Merrell (and other experts such as KEEN, Teva, Salomon) invest in the research and development of products. Trying to find new, innovative techniques and materials to enhance your hiking experience. That 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.
First, let’s discuss the premium traction and grip of this hiking boot. The Moab 2 Vent comes with a super slip-resistant ‘Vibram TC5+’ sole. The lug pattern on the sole has a depth of 5mm. This enables it to find traction even on the most challenging types of terrain. From rocky slopes to muddy trails: the special Vibram will keep you securely on your feet. Besides the Vibram sole, Merrell uses many ingenious techniques to truly create a one-of-a-kind boot. Now, we know the following few sentences might sound complicated, but we’ll try to explain it as simple as we can:
The design 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
Other key features of the Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot are its closed-cell foam tongue. This helps keep out moisture and debris (ideal for volcanic or rocky terrains). And the boot's protective rubber toe cap guards your feet and toes against any ground-level hazards you might encounter. Do note that the Moab 2 Vent isn't waterproof, but it very breathable. The special mesh panels in the side of the boot allow heat buildup to quickly escape. Which in turn helps keep your feet cool and dry, even in the hottest conditions. Making the Moab 2 Vent perfect for wear in Hawaii’s warmer, tropical climate.
A 5-star hiking design
The Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid Hiking Boot has superb user reviews, with hundreds of 5-star ratings. Other hikers give the design top-marks for comfort, durability, heavy-duty performance, and traction. Positive reviews also mention the boots need little to no break-in time, fitting like a glove straight from the box. Minor cons mentioned is that after repeated wear, the laces might fray. And the insole might wear down. Meaning you might have to replace both over time. However, the main construction of the boot is solid and sturdy enough to handle even the toughest trails.
Yes, they are quite expensive compared to other, cheaper knock-offs on the market. But its outstanding durability and high-end features make it worth the investment. This is a pair of hiking boots that will last you not just for a trip to Hawaii, but many more trips to come...
All 3 products in this overview are solid footgear for a trip to Hawaii. Which design is 'the best', depends on exactly what type of hikes, activities, and trails you plan to do.
A hiking sandal is ideal for its versatility both in and out of the water. Doubling as both a hiking shoe and water shoe when you pick a sturdy enough design. The KEEN product in this overview will keep your feet safe and supported, with excellent traction and grip, whilst also being great for watersports, snorkeling, and exploring waterfalls.
If you're looking forward to lots of off-the-beaten-track exploration and strenuous volcano hikes, you'd benefit from a proper hiking boot such as the Moab 2 by Merrell. A hiking boot is superior in traction and support, often needed in tough conditions. However, they are also heavy to pack, bulky, and not suited for watersports or casual wear.
The middle-ground is a hiking shoe, which is a lightweight alternative. We picked the Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace because this design is also perfect for casual-wear. Instead of packing multiple pairs of shoes, the Teva M Arrowood Swift Lace offers the performance of a hiking shoe, combines with the style of a sneaker: making it a versatile, all-in-one solution for both Hawaii's national parks and the Hawaiian nightlife!
All 3 products in this overview are winners. They beat out all the competition by other renowned brands such as Salomon, Colombia, and more, to be crowned the 'top choice' in each product category.
However, if we had to pick a product we would pack on a hiking trip to Hawaii, we'd go for the KEEN Newport H2 Sandal. This versatile design combines the convenience of a water shoe, with the performance of hiking shoe, in one comfortable design. Plus, call us tourists, but when on holiday in Hawaii, wearing sandals instantly put us in a sunny mood. And if you can wear sandals without sacrificing grip, traction, and protection, it seems almost meant to be...
Hawaii Hiking Guide Suggestions
Besides a pair of hiking sandals, shoes, or boots, you're going to want to invest in a proper guide book when hiking Hawaii! Not only will a guide help you navigate your way towards the most scenic delights, but it can also help inspire you to go off-the-beaten-track and enrichen your hiking itinerary.
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)