Nothing beats a heart-pumping hike through a gorgeous national park, alongside a busy boardwalk or around a lake. If you want to prevent hours of whining, be sure to equip your gang with the right gear, especially a pair of sturdy, yet comfortable hiking shoes. We’ve gathered several hiking shoe options for kiddos of all ages so that everyone can enjoy nature to its fullest.
1. Merrell Kids Trail Chaser
If your children have narrow feet, it can be challenging to find hiking shoes that fit properly. The Merrell Kids Trail Chaser, which is available in two widths, solves that problem. Available in two color combos—black/blue or navy/green—these rugged shoes have lightweight mesh uppers with breathable synthetic overlays. Bungee laces with a single hook-and-loop strap and a pull-on tab at the back make it easy for little ones to put them on themselves. A non-marking rubber outsole provides added traction without leaving black streaks on floors.
2. Merrell Kids Chameleon 7 7Access Mid A/C Waterproof
Kiddos will be able to tackle even the toughest mountain terrain in any weather when wearing the Merrell Kids Chameleon 7 Mid A/C Waterproof hiking shoe. This mid-profile option features extra ankle support, plus weather-proof yet breathable suede uppers with an absorbent membrane inside to keep little feet dry—even if it starts to rain or your child jumps in puddles along the way. Three color combos will please even the fussiest fashionista. A protective toe bumper means your active hiker won’t wear out the shoes after just a few hikes.
3. adidas Outdoor Kids Terrex AX2R CF
With neon yellow soles and a reflective logo, you can find your child between the trees when they’re wearing the adidas® Outdoor Kids Terrex AX2R CF sneaker. Sturdy and breathable with a combination textile and mesh upper, these shoes offer a plush tongue and collar for added comfort and support. A bungee lacing system with a pull-on tab makes getting ready a breeze. A non-slip outsole helps ensure your child won’t slip on mossy rocks.
4. Teva Kids Manatee
Let your kids walk along the beach and get their feet wet, because these Manatee hiking sandals from Teva Kids are quick drying and comfy enough to wear for all-day adventures. Cool mesh uppers keep small toes from getting too sweaty, while EVA foam cushions and supports growing feet. Available in navy and olive, these roomy shoes have a reinforced toe and can be tightened with one pull of the bungee cord laces.
5. Keen Kids Newport H2
Want an all-around shoe that’ll take your little one from the beach to the tennis court to a rocky trail? Keen Kids Newport H2 shoes protect young feet for land and water fun with a cushioned EVA foot bed, mesh lining and a fast-drying polyester web upper. The adjustable cord lock lacing system keeps shoes from falling off during activities, and a grippy rubber sole keeps kiddos safe on slippery terrain. Bonus: These shoes are treated with microbial technology to help prevent stains and stinky feet!
6. New Balance Kids GKBKOv1
Have a kid who wants to look cool? You won’t have any problem getting him or her to try these New Balance Kids GKBKOv1 sneakers on. This low-profile shoe has flexible knit uppers that won’t irritate ankles, a lightweight midsole and a rounded toe designed to withstand scuffs and wear. Tighten these up easily with a mid-foot strap–who needs Velcro?–so you can buy one size up for your child to grow into. The heel wrap further customizes the fit.
7. Kamik Kids Crab
Yes, you can take toddlers hiking! With the Kamik Kids Crab sandal, your wee one will be off and running in comfort (and sizes are available for big kids, too.) With a waterproof synthetic leather upper, and featuring an adjustable hook-and-loop closure strap at the instep, a one-pull bungee cord and pull straps in the front and back, these shoes are a cinch to put on and take off. A rubber toe guard and fast-drying inner lining make these perfect for walking, hiking and camping.
8. adidas Outdoor Kids Terrex Tracerocker CF
Taking a country walk or a short hike through the forest? Your child will love the adidas Outdoor Terrex Tracerocker light hike. Choose from blue with a red sole or black with an orange sole for a fashionable look. Constructed of strong rip-stop nylon and synthetic upper materials, this shoe features a heel pull-tab, a hook-and-loop strap over laces, plus a comfy inside lining. A rugged outsole provides enough traction for steep hills or running around the park.
9. Merrell Kids Moab Low A/C Waterproof
Need a shoe that can withstand your little thrill-seeker? These sturdy Merrell Kids Moab Low A/C Waterproof sneakers just might outlast your kid’s taste for adventures. The low-profile hiking show features a lateral lace-up closure and easy on-and-off pull-tabs. A breathable mesh lining and cushioned collar provide long-lasting comfort, while the reinforced toe bumper can withstand multiple kicks to the soccer ball. The non-marking sole offers great traction for whatever outdoor hike you have planned, and a waterproof finish means your kid won’t complain about wet feet after playing in the mud.
10. Keen Kids Moxie Sandal
Who says hiking can’t be glam? These Keen Kids Moxie sandals have some glitter embedded into the sole, along with pretty sparkly trim. Available in two fun colors, these shoes feature breathable microfiber overlays so they’ll dry fast after a run alongside the shore. The lace-capture system with its adjustable toggle and hook-and-loop ankle strap ensures shoes don’t fly off your child’s feet and into the ocean (yes, we’ve been there). Bonus: Cleansport NXT™ technology keeps shoes and feet smelling fresh.
11. Jambu Kids Cypress
If your family is serious about hiking, you’ll need performance footwear. These Jambu Kids Cypress sneakers feature a cushioned, shock-absorbent EVA midsole, a flexible rubber outsole suitable for all-terrain adventures, and a protective round toe. Because they’re completely waterproof, your little ones can wear them all day, even if you hit a rainstorm. And they go on and come off quickly with a hook-and-loop strap for kids that can’t yet tie their own shoes.
Montreal-based Wendy Helfenbaum is a journalist, content strategist and TV producer who writes for dozens of digital and print magazines, as well as many brands. Wendy loves cruising, adventure travel and venturing off the beaten path with her husband and teenage son, and she can pack a carry-on bag like nobody’s business. Follow her @WendyHelfenbaum.