hiking shoes for kids

5 Top-Rated Hiking Shoes for Kids: Sneakers, Mid Boots, and Sandals

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Hiking is an awesome activity that's perfect for the whole family. Hiking is great for all ages, and you can tailor your excursions to be as easy or difficult as you'd like. Not only are you spending time outdoors when you go hiking, but you're also getting in some fantastic exercise, something that kids usually need as they're growing up. But they do need some gear for the trek — and buying hiking shoes for kids is a great way to make sure they won't slip. They also offer durability that you can't find in normal tennis shoes, especially if you're hiking through rivers or up mountains. When shopping for hiking shoes, the most important thing to consider is terrain. However, kids are very picky when it comes to shoes, so we had to give you options.

For example, some kids may not like a mid-boot if they feel bulky on their feet. No worries: we have the perfect trail shoe that will get them through a backpacking trip, and these hiking shoes come in all shapes and sizes. We also considered budget. This may be your little one's first hiking trip and to be fair, they may not like it (at least not quite yet!). There's no need to splurge on a pair - we included a fantastic pick under $50. You can find a quality pair of hiking boots for little kids or big kids, so your children will become hikers in no time.

1. Our Favorite Sneaker for the Trail

Columbia Youth Redmond Waterproof Hiking Shoe - Columbia, $65

With a durable upper made from suede leather and webbing and a lightweight midsole, these Columbia hiking boots are comfortable and perfect for trekking. If your little one loves creeks and puddles, this pair is a must-have, since Columbia's waterproof technology is top-notch. The trail shoe is waterproof seam-sealed, making these a great pick for walking through streams, or even on the playground on a rainy day. Columbia's shoes are known for the non-marking traction rubber that makes all outdoor enthusiasts feel confident to take on the trail. Kids will walk comfortably and confidently all summer long.

2. Best Hiking Sneaker Under $50

Merrell M-Moab 2 Low Lace Hiking Shoe - Amazon, $49.98

Merrell kids' shoes are a great choice for little hikers of all ages. Durable suede and mesh uppers keep feet cool while the rubber soles give them great traction to climb hills, rocks, and mountains. Superior traction is a must — especially since kids love to run! You want a pair of shoes that will prevent a slip or fall, and these will do just that. Plus, they're perfect for wet or dry ground. Like our top pick, these shoes are also easy to slip on and off. They're priced right at $50, making them great for a budget-friendly pick. You may not want to spend nearly $70 on a pair of hiking shoes just yet. Kids love the outdoors, but they may not be a fan of the long treks yet.

3. Best Mid Boot

Merrell Kids' Chameleon 7 Access Hiking Boot - Amazon, $41.83+

With superb ankle support and water-resistant materials, these Merrell Chameleon hiking boots are great to use for backpacking trips or any hikes. The high-top design helps keep kids' ankles stable while they climb, and the rubber soles provide great traction on all sorts of terrain. Merrell recommends a mid boot to prevent ankle injuries and to protect from cuts and bug bites. If your kiddo is an experienced hiker, they may prefer a lightweight shoe instead. However, a mid boot is a great introduction shoe if they'll be climbing, especially on uneven terrain. These are the perfect mid boots for walking through streams and puddles, because they're waterproof. The unisex shoes come in several colors and sizes.

4. Best Lightweight Sneaker

KEEN Chandler CNX Hiking Shoe - Amazon, $43.69

These Keen Chandler CNX hiking shoes are built with durability in mind. These kids' hiking shoes have bungee laces for easy slip-on accessibility, so even little kids who aren't confident tying laces can wear them safely! They're made of 100% lightweight mesh, so if your kid cannot stand the feel of a bulky shoe, here's the perfect pair for them. Many customers are leaving rave reviews of how lightweight they are. Kids with hiking experience will love how easy they are to move in. They don't have the ankle support of a mid boot, but they have great traction and a secure lace system. If smelly feet are an issue after a long trek, you'll love that these shoes break down odor caused by sweat. Although if they need a cleaning they are machine-washable. This hiking shoe can be cleaned with mild soap and cold water, but be sure to let them air dry.

5. Best Hiking Sandal

Teva Unisex-Child Y Hurricane 3 Sandal - Amazon, $30.45+

Hiking sandals are a must for light hikes or even all day wear around town, the park, or campsite. They're especially great for water fun, like floating the river and splashing around the lake. They're quick drying, so they'll dry in no timw if submerged. We don't recommend for inexperienced little hikers to trek all day in these, so make them an option for a quick walk at a local trail or park. The made in the USA sandals have a rubber role and fantastic traction for slippery terrain. Teva (and their competitor, Chacos) are great sandals for beach days and even casual sandals for running errands.

We love that these sandals are vegan — they're made from recycled plastic.