Like lots of families in the Pacific Northwest, we’re doing our best to turn our kids into young hikers. We don’t always do longer hikes, especially in cold weather, but we always wear the right gear. We have road-tested little kid hiking shoes in wet, muddy, and even that rare sunshiny day and are ready to share the best hiking shoes for boys.
What to Look for in New Hiking Boots
There are several universal things you will want to look for regardless of the kind of activities you are planning with your kids.
- Protective toe bumper – This is an important factor especially with water shoes or hiking sandals, that might have some of the foot exposed. A protective toe bumper will keep toes safe even if your kids trip on a rock, and when doesn’t that happen on a long hike!
- Great traction – Good traction is king with kids hiking shoes, so look for shoes with rugged soles or knobby soles, which will help kid’s feet stay stable on uneven ground.
- Synthetic materials – Synthetic materials dry more quickly than natural materials, so if you are looking for waterproof shoes, make sure you are getting synthetic. These materials also are often specially treated with odor-blocking or antimicrobial protection, which I personally can’t get enough of!
- Ease of use – I don’t know about you, but with 2 impatient kids, I am looking for easy on shoes, preferably ones that have a loop closure strap (my kids’ minds were blown when I said that I had to learn to tie my shoes before I could go to kindergarten…before there was a velcro strap on all the shoes!)
- Good ankle support – The worst way to end a hike is with someone twisting an ankle, so additional support around the ankle is really important, especially if you’re dealing with toddler boys who may not be so steady yet! If even short hikes are making you nervous these days, go for high tops and a wide sole to keep them on their feet.
Waterproof Hiking Shoes
We love that several of the best shoes come in both little kid and big kid sizes, which simplifies things around our house and prevents fights over who has the best hiking boots.
Here are some of our favorite waterproof boots for little feet:
These are one of the best kids hiking boots because they check all the boxes we’re looking for: 100% synthetic materials, a rubber role, high tops, loop closure strap, a non-marking sole, and more. Merrell is one of the most trusted names in outdoor gear, and these are a good pair for kids who play hard and don’t hold back. They get high marks for their durability, and these are a fairly super budget-friendly option, coming in around $50. They come in 3 fun colors, grey/blue, berry, and the color gunsmoke / ora.
Again, another pair that come in little kid and big kid sizes – hooray! You’ve got lots of shoe options here, with the color navy, the color grey, and the color black available, along with red and teal.
These are lower-profile shoes, not boots, so they aren’t going to be right for everyone. But they keep young feet cool with durable mesh uppers held together with suede. Waterproof seam-sealed membrane bootie construction prevent wet feet, and the reinforced toe barrier keeps your child’s feet injury-free.
Budget-Friendly Hiking Shoes for Boys
The Northside Kids Gamma Hiking Boot comes in at just $24, making it an unbeatable price for a hiking boot! Though it may not have all the technology of the higher-priced brands, it checks the most important boxes – a rubber sole, a high rise, moisture-wicking lining to prevent wet feet, and a lightweight knitted nylon upper. It likely won’t hold up as long as a Merrell or Columbia hiking shoe, but with kids feet growing so quickly, you won’t feel bad about passing these on after one season.
Deer Stags is a lesser-known brand that offers both dressy and casual shoes, including a pair of excellent hiking boots for a low price. At $40, these are on the lower end of the price range, and they come in the color brown and the color light grey.
These waterproof hiking boots have a 1 inch synthetic sole, an EVA insole, a waterproof upper, and easy lacing.
Water Shoes for Boys
Our favorite water shoe for small feet is the KEEN Kids Newport H2, and we’re not alone. Almost 13,000 5-star reviews mean these are the ones to get.
They come in a ton of color combos – including their signature Keen yellow – and are offered in toddler, little kid, and big kid sizes. The rubber sole offers plenty of traction, even for an active hiker splashing through mountain streams…or maybe just the splash pad at the local park.
At just about $60, these are an investment when you consider that your kids will only be wearing them during the summer months, but they are a great option for a high-quality, durable water shoe.
If you’re looking for classic water kids shoes that won’t be doing much hiking, the Teva Kids Y Hurricane is a well-tested option. The fabric straps dry quickly, and the thick rubber sole provides excellent traction on slippery surfaces. It comes in 36 colors (wow!) including some hard-to-find ones like combos that include the color dark brown. These are a good option if there is low stock on the KEEN Newport H2, or if you want an open toe.
Hiking Sandals for Boys
If you’re looking for comfortable hiking shoes that are lower-profile and look more like a regular shoe, consider the KEEN Kids Moxie Sandal. It easily goes from in-water to dry land, and dries quickly due to a polyester webbing upper. This is a less rugged shoe than other options but no less high quality – and as with all KEEN water sandals, they are machine washable!