The best hiking shoes for muddy, slippery trails

Any environmentally conscientious hiker knows that hitting the trail during muddy, wet conditions can possibly have adverse erosive effects on the trail. Whenever someone steps on the soggy, muddy ground, it dislodges the trail’s surface which leaves it susceptible to displacement. This doesn’t, though, mean you necessarily have to avoid hiking altogether in wet conditions – only that you should follow certain precautions regarding what trails you hike and how.

Trails with a lot of sand like the Great Island Trail in Massachusetts are a great choice during transitional rainy seasons. Another option is hiking old railbeds – which were built to withstand heavier traffic. If you do plan to hike in the mountains, look for a south-facing, rocky trail or one that has been reinforced for heavy use. Websites and groups like The Appalachian Mountain Club, The Hiking Project, and Alltrails are great resources to help you find a suitable trail.

While hiking, stay in the center of muddy trails as much as possible and utilize as many rocky surfaces available. You’ll want to walk on trail edges and avoid the center (where puddles and mud are more prevalent) to help keep your feet dryer. However, that won’t actually do anything to minimize loosening the side soil, which can lead to potentially damaging erosion. So, since you’ll likely be stepping into some pretty deep puddles, you’ll want to have footwear that performs well while being repeatedly submerged in water.

Salomon Outline Hike Mid Gore-Tex

Salomon Women’s OUTline Mid GTX W Hiking Boots, Black / Magnet / Green Mid, 7.5

$ 149.95

I love my Salomon Fastpacker boots because they’re lightweight, durable, and waterproof with a sole that provides great traction in mud. Alas, like so much of my favorite gear, they are out of stock in most places. The Outline Gore-Tex boot is a great substitute.

They have a grippy rubber outsole with a lug pattern that works well on mud. They’re very lightweight (as many Amazon reviewers attest) and provide exceptional breathability. The fit is akin to that of running shoes which allow for flexibility when navigating uneven, puddle-strewn trails.

Rush Mid GTX shoe

SCARPA Women's Rush Mid GTX Waterproof GORE-TEX Shoes for Hiking and Trail Running - Black / Provence - 8

SCARPA Women’s Rush Mid GTX Waterproof GORE-TEX Shoes for Hiking and Trail Running – Black / Provence – 8

$ 178.95

Scarpa trekking shoes are extremely lightweight and waterproof with the kind of traction you need in muddy conditions. A relatively new addition to the Scarpa family, the Rush hiking boot features an all-synthetic upper that provides support and flexibility. The sole is manufactured out of what Scarpa calls SuperGum rubber – a compound that provides grippy traction in all conditions while also being quite durable.

US Army Jungle Boots

B Belleville Arm Your Feet Men's BURMA 901 V2 Lightweight Jungle / Tropical Boot

B Belleville Arm Your Feet Men’s BURMA 901 V2 Lightweight Jungle / Tropical Boot

B Belleville Arm Your Feet

$ 177.29

If you’re looking for a boot specifically made for trekking in jungles for months on end, you can’t really go wrong with US Army jungle boots. Belleville makes the 901-V2 for the military and, like most everything these days, you can purchase your very own pair on Amazon.

These are tall boots (8 ”) with both medial and lateral drainage perforations so water won’t pool in the bottom. The upper is unlined for breathability and the insole is puncture-resistant – both great things when you’re on a multi-day jungle trek.

Be aware, these boots are definitely not for everyone though as they do not have any cushioning around the ankle and are not known for being lightweight.

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