Nike hiking shoes

The 7 Coolest And Best Nike Hiking Shoes (2024 Review)

Last Updated on October 29, 2023 by Nicole

Not that long ago, a hike in the mountains included heavy-duty hiking boots, even if you were going for a half-day walk on a relatively easy trail. Today, there is a place on easy and challenging terrain for a hiking shoe or even a trail running shoe. Luckily for those who love the Nike brand, Nike makes both hiking and trail running shoes. However, are either any good for hiking? Should you purchase Nike hiking shoes or turn your attention to more traditional manufacturers of hiking footwear?

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The Answer

The Nike approach is function and fashion, so although they are not the most apparent hiking equipment suppliers, their products are innovative, functional, and exciting to own and wear. Are they perfect and ideal? Not yet. But does Nike make good hiking shoes? Yes, Nike sells good hiking shoes for today’s hikers.

What Do We Mean By Hiking?

Hiking means different things to different people, but typically most people associate hiking with a day trip away from the city where you can experience the natural world. That may mean facing uneven terrain, slopes, obstacles in your path like fallen trees or streams, or a variety of trails from hard-pack dirt to mud to crushed rocks.

Of course, there is a more intense type of hiking that encompasses multi-day treks in the backcountry, sometimes in the snow. In those circumstances, people may cover dozens of kilometers, usually with extreme elevation gain, camp in the wilderness, and come across very challenging terrain that requires technical expertise. That is a whole other level of hiking that requires distinct hiking equipment different from a recreational hiker.

In this article, my comments and recommendations about Nike hiking shoes are only directed to recreational hikers who are not hiking in the cold or the snow.

What Do You Need From A Hiking Shoe?

A hiking shoe can vary from a lightweight sneaker to a cut-down hiking boot with all the technical features to cope with the most rugged terrain. In an excellent hiking shoe, you expect all the usual hiking features:

  • Protection for your feet – toe bumpers, heel support, and stiff upper material to prevent cuts from sharp rocks.
  • Lacing with reinforced eyelets to ensure a comfortable fit and secure the foot in the shoe.
  • Cushioning and shock absorption in the midsole. 
  • Breathability to wick away moisture from your feet when they get hot. 
  • A rugged rubber outsole to give you traction and grip combined with underfoot protection from sharp objects. 
  • Waterproofing because the weather can be wet, and you can encounter water obstacles on the trail. 
  • Durable – to make sure that your hiking shoes last the distance for multiple hikes.

In other words, most seasoned hikers expect a hiking boot’s performance from their hiking shoes with a little less weight. But it depends on the brand and your preferred walking terrain.

Nike hiking shoes

Additional Benefits Of A Hiking Shoe

The additional benefits of a hiking shoe include:

  • Easy to pack.
  • Lightweight.
  • Comfortable.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Stylish enough for leisurewear.
  • Ready to wear without breaking in.

Hiking shoes fit your feet with the comfort of a sneaker. Many seasoned hikers prefer hiking shoes because they are more comfortable and versatile than a hiking boot with all the performance. In addition, hiking shoes are lighter than hiking boots without the need to break-in stiff structured boots. 

Hiking shoes are also brilliant if you think your day will be filled with multiple activities – a hike in the morning, an afternoon tour of a city, and maybe even a casual dinner out.

Problems With Hiking Shoes Compared To Hiking Boots

Hiking boots are more durable compared to hiking shoes. They also offer more protection to the foot, ankle, and lower leg in challenging terrain. Finally, they supply ankle support to limit the risk of a twisted ankle or other similar injuries.

Can You Hike In Trail Running Shoes?

A trail running shoe makes a surprisingly good hiking shoe, and if you have the urge to sprint along the next path, then you are also good to go. 

The design of trail runners meets the expectation of those who prefer to travel on trails at speed. This expectation means there are compromises and innovative features in the design to accommodate the differences between running and walking. 

Running and walking differ in how the foot hits the ground and the backlash energy. Most walkers hit the ground with their heel first and roll forward to the toe.

On the other hand, runners have different styles that impact the ball of the foot or landing on the heel. A runner tends to hit the ground with three times the force than a walking step and accordingly, needs better cushioning. In addition, trail running shoes have much more flex to accommodate the quick movement of running on uneven surfaces.

Some hikers prefer that level of cushioning and flex.

Remember: Trail running shoes make comfortable hiking shoes, but the reverse is not true. Hiking shoes won’t function as trail running shoes because they are heavier and stiffer with insufficient ground contact.

Nike hiking shoes

Features Of Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes include:

  • Heavy-duty tread for grip on uneven surfaces and protection from sharp rocks. 
  • Wide soles and improved ground feel for stability. 
  • Protective rigid midsole for greater protection against sharp objects.
  • Upper design to support your foot from rolling.
  • Mesh textiles to provide breathing panels and drainage.
  • Toe bumpers for added protection against abrasion. 
  • Cushion in high impact areas.
  • Flexible soles for a range of movements on uneven terrain. 

Other Hiking Shoe Options

If at the end of this article you are still wondering whether there are other hiking shoes that you should consider, I would recommend taking a look at Adidas, New Balance, Timberland, Columbia, and Oboz hiking shoes.

First, Adidas. There are some very effective Adidas hiking shoes with excellent footwear technology specific to hiking.

  • The 13 Most Sought After And Best ADIDAS Hiking Shoes.

Second, New Balance. New Balance has incorporated their specific footwear technology for walking and running, and adapted it to create some very good hiking shoes and boots.

  • 10 Best New Balance Hiking Shoes For Exceptional Comfort.

Third, Timberland. A manufacturer with a long history of producing exceptional hiking boots, you can expect reasonably priced, good looking, and very functional hiking boots and shoes.

  • 13 Outstanding Timberland Hiking Shoes And boots.

Fourth, Columbia. Columbia offers traditional mountaineering boots as well as some very cool-looking hiking shoes that would look equally stylish on trails or on city streets. They are an industry leader in hiking gear and offer boots and shoes with sophisticated footwear technology for great hiking shoes.

  • 11 Rugged And Best Columbia Hiking Boots And Shoes.

Fifth, Oboz. A relative newcomer on the scene, this company was founded in 2007 by the former lead designer of outdoor apparel companies, Keen and Technica. Oboz specializes in hiking shoes and boots and have crafted some amazing, highly functional and good looking footwear.

  • 17 Best Oboz Hiking Boots And Shoes For Your Adventures

Other Nike Options

If you are a fan of Nike products, I have also reviewed a couple other categories.

First, Nike walking shoes. If you are looking for Nike shoes that would work best on city streets, in addition to easy to moderate mountain trails, then this article should be helpful. They would also be excellent for fitness walking.

  • 11 Best Nike Walking Shoes: Potent And Stylish

Second, Nike flip flops and slides. These might seem pretty straightforward, but there is a wide selection of Nike flip flops and slides. Some offer support, others have great traction to help on slippery surfaces, and others offer none of these features.

  • 11 Best Nike Flip Flops, Slides and Sandals For Women

The Best Nike Hiking Shoes

In the reviews below, I have divided my discussion into “Features”, “Missing”, and “Is It A Good Hiking Shoe”.

The “Features” section highlights the Nike hiking technology included in a design so you can pick what suits you best. In the “What’s Missing” section, I point out the important features that may be missing. Finally, I discuss a summary of important information in the “Is It A Good Hiking Shoe” section.

Nike tends to make its footwear unisex; it is simply a matter of finding a supplier that stocks your size in your chosen Nike shoe. Accordingly, most of the Nike hiking shoes discussed below are available in both men’s and women’s sizes.

When earlier versions of the Nike shoe are still available, I’ve included links to those. Most often, those are found on Amazon.com whereas the latest versions are normally only available on Nike.com. You might be able to get a good deal on an earlier model with only slight improvements to the technology with the newest model. At the very least, it is worthwhile exploring.

Lastly, at the end, I have included a Buyer’s Guide to discuss Nike’s hiking shoe technology.

Nike Wildhorse 8


Features Of These Nike Hiking Shoes

  • Rubber outsole is abrasion resistant (front toe area and heel) to give you durability on rocky trails. 
  • Combination of high-abrasion rubber and mitton rubber on outsole to increase grip on terrain.
  • Sticky rubber section in the middle of the outsole improves traction and grip.
  • Multidirectional lugs give enhanced traction up and downhill.
  • Anticlog coating over the outsole helps preserve the tread by stopping dirt from lodging in the grooves. 
  • Nike React foam provides extra cushioning with more support in the heel area for stability and bounce. 
  • Ventilation panels in the front upper.
  • Reinforced side panels for foot support. 
  • Midfoot saddle to secure foot for lateral movement and landing.
  • The tongue is lightly padded in strips to remove pressure from the laces on foot. 
  • Excellent underfoot protection with a segmented rock plate at heel.
  • Good water drainage

What’s Missing?

  • No metal eyelets – The eyelet area is the weakest part of the shoe. The laces ensure a good fit, but they may wear out these eyelets. 
  • The rubber layer covering the toe box is thin, offering little protection against stones.

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

The Nike Wildhorse 8 is one of the coolest looking trail running shoes on the market and has some brilliant features for hiking. The sole has plenty of underfoot protection, traction, and bounce. The anticlog coating is a really nice touch. Mud sticking in the grooves of a hiking shoe can turn your excellent grip into a slippery nightmare within a few minutes of walking on wet terrain. 

It’s a shame that the eyelets don’t have metal reinforcing, but the cushion and stabilizing features lets you set a bouncy, fast pace over uneven terrain for a great hike.

Nike Wildhorse 7

best nike hiking shoes

Differences between Nike Wildhorse 8 and Nike Wildhorse 7

The tweaks to Nike Wildhorse 8 compared to Wildhorse 7 are minor from a hiking technology perspective. On other hand, the Nike Wildhorse 8 has been redesigned for a new aesthetic.

In the Nike Wildhorse 8:

  • Ankle collar is removed with a more traditional low cut sneaker fit improving foot motion.
  • Two types of rubber are added to the outsole to improve grip on challenging terrain.
  • More breathable mesh has been added to the body to increase ventilation to keep your feet cool.

Nike Juniper Trail 2 Next Nature


Features Of These Nike Hiking Shoes

  • Made with 20% recycled content by weight.
  • Rubber outsole with tapered logs for optimum performance for uphill, downhill, and off road terrain.
  • Includes at least 8% Nike Grind (scraps from manufacturing process) in the outsole.
  • The upper blends a combination of leather for durability and support, and textiles and mesh for breathability. 
  • Foam midsole for cushioning and support.
  • Sock-like fit with internal bootie.
  • Extra stability with FlyWire cables.
  • Flat laces for comfort.
  • Thick material across toe for added durability.

What’s Missing?

  • Reinforced eyelets. 
  • Rock plate.

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

This Nike hiking sneaker is an all-rounder – comfortable walking in challenging terrains, trail running, and general fitness. The technology focuses on giving you traction in wet conditions. The outsole features zones of tread – different shapes in different areas giving you the best traction in different conditions. 

These Nike hiking shoes will give you plenty of grip and weatherproofing for moderate to challenging trails and suit the hiker who mainly sticks to trails but occasionally picks a more challenging route. 

Made from 20% recycled material, it is also a good option if you are looking to leave a smaller environmental footprint while enjoying the outdoors.

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX


Features Of These Nike Hiking Sneakers

  • Excellent range of sizes, including half sizes.
  • Reinforced (TPU) eyelets with flat laces for comfort.
  • Gore-Tex – breathable and waterproof.
  • Extra gaiter fitting to keep debris and water out of the shoe.
  • Fit band support in the midfoot protects torsion.
  • Durable rubber outsole with bike tread inspired shockwave pattern for better traction.
  • Custom dense traction lugs at heel and toe to assist on slopes
  • Full-length React Foam midsole cushioning to soften the impact of off-road hiking. 
  • Pull tab at heel and tongue to help with pulling on and off. 
  • Slight toe and heel rocker for smooth transitions.

What’s Missing?

  • The toe cap is a thin rubber material.

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is for trail runners and makes an effective Nike hiking shoe. The shockwave traction pattern is an update to give you the grip underfoot reminiscent of a mountain bike tire tread. You know your feet stay dry and fresh with Gore-Tex and the full-length React Foam cushioning provides plenty of support and gives you a bit more bounce in your step at the end of the trail. 

A padded tongue keeps the laces from biting into the top of your foot, and the flat laces fit through a TPU reinforced slot eyelet that holds them securely in place.  The traction on the outsole gets a few complaints from trail runners about performance in the wet, but walking needs are different, and most walkers won’t have an issue. 

Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GORE-TEX

best nike hiking sneakers

Differences between Nike Pegasus Trail 4 and Nike Pegasus Trail 3

In Nike Pegasus Trail 4:

  • TPU toe bumper is removed.
  • Tongue pull tab is added.
  • Extra protection around ankle to keep water and debris out of shoe.

Overall, there are only slight changes between the Trail 4 and Trail 3 models.

Nike Kiger 9

nike kiger 9 best hiking shoes

Features Of These Nike Hiking Shoes

  • Outer sole features include:
    • Multidirectional forefoot and heel traction lugs for improved grip on uneven surfaces.
    • High abrasion rubber on heel for enhanced grip on hills.
    • Overlay on toe to increase durability.
    • Sticky rubber midsection for better grip.
    • Abrasion-resistant rubber.
  • Extended segmented rock plate for more foot protection.
  • Mid foot band supplies stability to lesson torsion.
  • Ventilation panels on the side and top upper for airflow.
  • Full-length React Foam cushioning. 
  • Woven textile heel area allows a snug fit to keep the heel in place while running.

What’s Missing?

  • Metal eyelets for durability.
  • Ankle cuff to keep debris out. 

Is It A Good Hiking Sneaker?

The features that provide comfort and performance for a trail runner offer a comfortable ride for the hiker, especially on rocky and technical terrain. 

The focus on the revamped Nike Kiger 9 is to get the foot closer to the ground for better traction and connection to uneven terrain without losing cushion and spring.

The full-length React Foam cushioning is comfortable and supportive. The rock plate gives more underfoot protection through to the midfoot and the heel. This extension also provides greater mid-foot stability against torsion. 

You can expect up to 500 miles of easy trails and perhaps a little less on more challenging trails, but that gives you an excellent amount of quality and comfortable hiking. 

Nike Terra Kiger 8

best nike trail shoes

Nike Terra Kiger 7

best nike trail shoes

Differences between Nike Kiger 9 and Nike Terra Kiger 8

In addition to the upper being completely redesigned, there are significant changes from the Nike Terra Kiger 8 to the Nike Kiger 9.

Nike Kiger 9:

  • Is lower to the ground and lighter for better traction and push off the ground.
  • Has removed Zoom Air unit in the forefoot to also allow the foot to get closer to the ground (but retained full React midsole for comfort and cushion).
  • Changed outersole lug pattern to increase grip on toe and heels for challenging and wet terrain.
  • Added an overlay on the toe to improve durability.

Nike Air VaporMax 2023 Flyknit


Features Of These Nike Hiking Sneakers

  • 20% (by weight) recycled materials.
  • Soft collar sculpts around the ankle.
  • Recycled flyknit fabric for upper is flexible, provides excellent breathability, and offers supportive fit.
  • The Air unit runs the length of the sole giving soft and comfortable foot transitions.
  • Padding on the heel provides cushioning and support.
  • Lacing for a custom fit with webbing instead of eyelets.
  • Rubber sole with durability and traction. 
  • TPU lugs integrated into the bottom of the sole. 
  • TPU heel clip for stability.
  • Rubber pods in high wear areas.
  • Lightweight and won’t weigh you down. 

What’s Missing?

  • More recycled material.
  • No metal eyelets – webbing is comfortable but not as durable as metal reinforcing. 
  • Toe cap – no over-toe protection. 
  • No support for under or overpronators

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

Primarily designed as a running shoe, many features make this a good Nike hiking shoe. The full-length air unit gives a lot of underfoot protection and cushioning for a comfortable ride. The flyknit fabric upper is breathable and hugs your foot for support.

You don’t get the protection from trail debris that you get with a robust leather hiking shoe, and neither is this Nike hiking shoe suitable for heavy weather. But many people prefer a well-mannered trail in fine weather for their walking adventures, and the Nike VaporMax 2023 FlyKnit suits that purpose in comfort and style. Plus, if you prefer to run your trails, you get plenty of traction. 

The TPU heel reinforcing provides stability, and the sock style fitting keeps loose debris out of the shoe and is comfortable to wear. 

Nike Vapormax 2021 Flyknit

best nike hiking sneakers

Differences between Nike Vapormax 2023 Flyknit and Nike Vapormax 2021 Flyknit

Apart from less recycled material used (20% by weight down from 40%) and some aesthetic design changes, there are not a lot of differences between Nike Vapormax 2023 Flyknit and Nike Vapormax 2021 Flyknit.

Nike Air Huarache


Features Of These Nike Hiking Shoes

  • Excellent size range from US4 to US15 with half sizes.
  • A combination of leather and neoprene gives a breathable, comfortable upper. 
  • Exaggerated heel strap is a style feature, but it does provide some additional support. 
  • Soft, springy foam midsole.
  • Inner lining is soft and forms to your foot.
  • Rubber sole provides traction and flex where necessary. 
  • Leather cage and laces offer more support for the midfoot. 
  • Reasonable leather toe cap. 

What’s Missing?

  • Eyelets lack reinforcing, and these will wear after many miles of walking. 
  • Not suitable for extreme weather.

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

The Nike Huarache piloted the innovative use of a foot-hugging neoprene sock liner, and the style has many fans as a leisure sneaker. The inspiration comes from waterski booties, and the sneaker is minimalist and a stylish combination of sandal and sneaker. 

These Nike hiking shoes are leisurewear rather than athletic wear for sports, but they are comfortable for walking. You wouldn’t wear them for endurance trails, backpacking, or challenging mountaineering, but these Nike hiking shoes let you enjoy being on your feet on trails and around cities suitable for most people’s purposes. 

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38

best nike trail sneakers for hiking

Features Of These Nike Hiking Sneakers

  • Storm tread outsole featuring:
    • Micro grooves sticking your sole to the road.
    • Multidirectional lugs shed water.
  • Wider forefoot for greater comfort for hot feet. 
  • Reinforced eyelets for secure lacing.
  • Zoom Air units in the toe and heel area for additional cushioning against repeated impact. 
  • Mesh panel for ventilation in the forefoot.
  • Weatherized PFC-free coating to cope with bad weather.
  • Gusseted tongue to keep out debris.
  • Padded and insulated tongue for additional comfort.
  • Thin waterproof skin around toes and where the upper meets the outsole to prevent water from getting in. 
  • Heel and toe rocker for smoother transitions.

What’s Missing?

Webbing eyelets are comfortable to wear, but metal eyelets are more durable. 

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

If you like long-distance hiking through challenging mountains, you will be better off with another shoe, but that is true of most hiking shoes on the market. These Nike running shoes have their plus points, they are comfortable like trainers, and they provide cushioning and protection that suits moderate to occasionally challenging walking.  

The advantage of these Nike hiking shoes includes suitability for road and trail walking with excellent wet weather traction. Many popular walking trails include a mix of road, rough terrain, and occasional challenging parts. These Nike hiking shoes give you a bit of the best points for each of those terrains with features that help keep your feet dry but retain a comfortable sneaker feel. 

Previous Winners: Best Nike Hiking Shoes

As technology improves, the quality and features available in the best Nike hiking shoes change and become even better. If you are curious, here are some of the best Nike hiking shoes that are either no longer available or may only have a random size or two to purchase on Amazon.

Nike Men’s ACG Ruckel Ridge

Nike hiking shoes

Features Of These Nike Hiking Shoes:

  • Outsole traction pattern aims to give you the grip of a mountain goat.
  • Air Foamposite sole section gives shock absorption and foot protection without loss of connection to the ground. 
  • Provides ankle support with a high-top.
  • Speed lacing system for a secure fit.
  • Ventilation panels for breathability.
  • Reinforce side panels for foot protection. 

What’s Missing?

  • Waterproofing – fair weather shoe where the upper is water repellant but not waterproof. 

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

The Nike Men’s ACG Ruckel Ridge is a cross between a hiking boot and sneaker. It is a cool-looking fashionable boot that is a surprisingly good hiking boot. The outsole is clever with a flexible middle section and a more rigid, deeper lugged outer rim. It gives you the best functionality of a ridged edge for rough, rocky terrain and soft flex for ease of movement.

The ACG stands for “All Condition Gear,” but the suede top won’t give you the best protection in difficult weather. The foam layer provides robust protection from sharp rocks and cushioning for a comfortable walk. Add in sensible ventilation and ankle support, and you get a great hiking shoe that has the added benefit of looking right at home in the city.

Nike Men’s Lupinek Flyknit Shoes

No products found.

Features Of These Nike Hiking Shoes:

  • Deep lugs on the outsole for traction and grip.
  • High top provides ankle support.
  • Traditional lacing with eyelets for a secure fit.
  • Ventilation panels.
  • Toe bumper. 
  • Raised rand around the foot keeps the mud away from the uppers.
  • Gusseted tongue helps keep debris out of the sneaker. 
  • Flex in the sole gives versatility in use for running or walking.
  • Cushioned for comfort.

What’s Missing?

  • A stiff leather upper to protect your foot in more challenging mountain trails.

Is It A Good Hiking Shoe?

Yes, the Nike Lupinek is a good hiking shoe. It has all the features that you would want for a day of hiking.

This Nike hiking shoe has good ankle support and cushioned comfort in the sole. It follows a traditional hiking boot model with the thick sole, traditional lacing, ankle support, and raised rand. The fabric upper is made from soft textiles rather than stiff leather which makes them light and comfortable. However, you wouldn’t want to hit challenging mountain trails which requires more protection in your upper foot to ankle region.  

Buyer’s Guide To Nike Hiking Shoes

The Nike Approach

Nike is best known for its innovative designs and willingness to reimagine sneakers for running, cross-training, leisure, and active outdoor gear. Increasingly, Nike is also moving towards eco-friendly products, with a higher proportion of recycled materials in Nike hiking shoe construction.

When you walk on a trail, you put some hard miles on your feet, and the Nike use of reactive Foam, air pockets, and neoprene foam provides underfoot cushioning where you need it. 

What About Nike Hiking Shoes?

Nike uses different technology and innovations in their Nike hiking shoes. You can get one trail running shoe with a rock plate (designed to protect your feet on challenging terrain) and another with a lug pattern that gives you extra traction for uphill climbs. When you are considering purchasing a Nike hiking shoe, you need to make sure that the technology in that shoe suits your particular needs.

Outsoles on Nike Hiking Shoes

The outsole design will include a selection of the following design features:

  • Different zones on the sole to provide various functions where you need them.
  • Flexible treads to allow natural foot flexing.
  • Stiff rock plates for protection against sharp rocks.
  • Coatings on the tread to stop dirt clogging and making it slippery.
  • Unique tread designs. 
Nike hiking shoes

Uppers on Nike Hiking Shoes

Nike uppers’ includes materials like leather, woven textiles, and neoprene, along with a range of other design features that differ among Nike hiking shoes. Some of the excellent hiking features include:

  • Ventilation panels to allow your feet to breathe. 
  • Good drainage and quick-drying materials.
  • An internal ankle cuff to keep debris out of the shoe.
  • Strategic reinforcement and support. 

As mentioned earlier, you don’t get all the features in all the Nike hiking shoes, so you need to carefully check whether the shoe in which you are interested has the most useful features for your hiking style. 

Last Word About Nike Hiking Shoes

Dedicated mountaineers and those who love to conquer harsh terrains far from the beaten track will always seek out dedicated (and expensive) technical footwear. But if you enjoy hiking on holidays and at the weekend, Nike hiking shoes are up to the job of protecting your feet so you can reach and enjoy the best views in comfort and security.

Nike hiking shoes have the benefits of style, comfort, and versatility. Yes, you can go hiking with Nike on your feet and enjoy the great outdoors.

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