Footwear

The 10 Best Hiking Boots for Kids in 2024

Posted by
Sarah Lamagna
July 19, 2023
Updated February 01, 2024

best hiking boots for kids
L.L. Bean Kids' Trail Model Hikers. Photo: Territory Supply

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Finding great hiking boots for your kids is important when planning an epic outdoor getaway.

Luckily, we have 10 hiking boots that are perfect for young adventurers of all types, from waterproof wonders to boots with ample stability, and even lightweight options for those who like to pack light.

Remember, kids between the ages of five and twelve need different support and function out of a hiking boot than those under the age of five. This is due to them being faster and able to walk longer distances. Be sure to snag one of the recommendations below to keep your kids safe and comfy on the trail no matter what type of adventure you’re taking.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Kids Hiking Boots

L.L. Bean Kids’ Trail Model Hikers
Photo: Territory Supply

L.L. Bean Kids’ Trail Model Hikers

There isn’t enough space in this review to tell you how much these boots changed my kiddo’s hiking game. When he transitioned from his toddler boots to L.L. Bean’s Trail Model Hikers, I couldn’t keep up with him. I could see an immediate change in his independence and confidence because the boot fit so snugly and provided tons of support.

best kids hiking boots
Photo: Territory Supply

The lug pattern on the outsoles allows my kid to traverse the rugged granite boulders that blanket the trails we regularly walk on. These boots can have anything thrown at them whether it be rain, sleet, or snow, or even dirt, gravel, roots, and rocks.

Even when we take off our shoes at the end of the hike to get into our “car shoes,” I’m always surprised at how dry my kid’s feet are. If you need a versatile boot that boosts your kid’s confidence, this is it.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Great traction
  • Long-lasting durability

Cons

  • Does not come in wide sizes

Specs

  • Size range: 10T – 13T, 1Y – 6Y
  • Material: Polyester mesh upper, rubber outsole
  • Colors: Black Cherry (pink/magenta), Black/Silver Blue, Dark Loden (green), River Rock (tan/orange), and Twilight (blue)
  • Waterproof: Water resistant (not designed to stay submerged in water)
 
Buy at L.L. Bean

Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Kids

Merrell Big Kid’s Moab Speed Mid A/C Waterproof
Photo: Merrell

Merrell Big Kid’s Moab Speed Mid A/C Waterproof

Whether you recreate in the damp and misty Pacific Northwest or are simply hiking after a rainstorm, Merrell’s Big Kid’s Moab Speed Mid A/C Waterproof shoes are perfect for any wet adventure. These shoes keep up with kids balancing on a log or rock hopping to avoid getting wet with its grippy outsole. The breathability is like no other waterproof boot so your kids won’t have wet feet due to water or sweat.

Reviewers have noted that the soles wear out quickly, but Merrell has responded to those claims. The flocking material (i.e., tiny fibers to create a velvet-like texture) on the rubber outsoles may peel off. This doesn’t have to do with the construction of the outsole though and doesn’t impact how the shoe fits or performs while adventuring.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable despite the waterproofness
  • Great stability
  • Comes in regular and wide sizes

Cons

  • Soles are less durable than other Merrell shoes

Specs

  • Size range: 10.5T – 13.5T, 1Y – 7Y
  • Material: Textile and leather upper, rubber outsoles
  • Colors: Black, Navy/Hi-Viz, Cobalt/Gold, Grape Cadet (purple), and Grey/Pink/Purple
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at REI

Best for Big Adventures

KEEN Targhee Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots kids
Photo: KEEN

KEEN Targhee Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Make sure your kiddo’s feet are well supported and ready for a full day (or multiple days) on the trail with KEEN’s Targhee Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot. The premium leather upper is also coated with KEEN’s signature membrane to allow for breathability without letting water in.

The insole has built-in arch support for those longer treks to keep your kiddo’s feet as comfortable as possible. You’ll also feel great supporting a company dedicated to protecting the environment that only uses eco-friendly materials and chemicals.

Pros

  • Long-lasting durability
  • Incredible support
  • Great traction

Cons

  • Does not come in wide sizes
  • Heavy

Specs

  • Size range: 1Y – 7Y
  • Material: Leather upper and rubber outsole
  • Colors: Earth/Golden Brown, Grey/Porcelain, and Black Campsite
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at REI

Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Kids 

Merrell Big Kid’s Moab 3 Low kids
Photo: Merrell

Merrell Big Kid’s Moab 3 Low Lace Shoes

There aren’t a lot of budget-friendly options when it comes to older kiddos wanting to put some miles on the trail. Hiking boots are one of those things where quality usually coincides with price. With that said, Merrell’s Big Kid’s Moab 3 Low Lace Shoes has a price point of just $50 but brings a lot to the table.

The reinforced toe cap protects toes when kids trip or stumble on roots and rocks along the trail. Its breathability lets kids walk for miles without chaffing and keeps blisters from forming. And its lightweight frame makes it feel more like a sneaker than a hiking boot, reducing muscle strain and discomfort.

Pros

  • Long-lasting durability
  • Lightweight
  • Comes in both regular and wide sizes

Cons

  • Less ankle support

Specs

  • Size range: 10.5T – 13.5T, 1Y – 7Y
  • Material: Leather and mesh upper
  • Colors: Black and Granite/Berry
  • Waterproof: No

 

Buy at Amazon

Best Lightweight Choice REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots kids

Photo: REI Co-op

REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boots

REI Co-op is new to the shoe game but they’ve hit the ground running (no pun intended) since joining the hiking shoe sphere. Their Flash Hiking Boots are incredibly light, making them super comfy, even during long hikes.

On top of being light, the boots are also super stable thanks to the deep grooves of their tread, allowing for a grippy hold on any type of trail surface. if your kid is anything like mine and is determined to do parkour no matter where we are, these shoes will more than suffice for their acrobatics.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • Can be difficult to get on

Specs

  • Size range: 1Y – 6Y
  • Material: Polyester upper, rubber outsole
  • Colors: Apex Yellow and Blue Vista
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at REI

Best Kids Hiking Boots for Durability 

Timberland Junior Mt. Maddsen
Photo: Timberland

Timberland Junior Mt. Maddsen Waterproof Mid Hiking Boot

For those parents who have kids that hike hard, Timberland’s Junior Mt. Maddsen Mid Hiker Boots are for you. The durable, leather uppers of this mid-top hiking boot create great stability for your kiddo’s feet. They’ll walk with confidence and ease even on the first hike. Breaking these boots in doesn’t take as long as many other leather boots on the market either.

Don’t worry about figuring out when your kids need to move up a size. The “Does it Fit?” sockliner that Timberland includes with each boot purchase gives you the chance to ensure a good fit before any hike. And, more importantly, before any pain occurs on a long adventure.

Pros

  • Unbeatable stability
  • Great traction
  • Great stability

Cons

  • Can feel heavy and clunky

Specs

  • Size range: 3Y – 7Y
  • Material: Leather upper and rubber lug outsole
  • Colors: Dark brown
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at Amazon

Best Kids Hiking Shoes for Comfort

The North Face Kids’ Fastpack Hiker Mid Waterproof Boots
Photo: The North Face

The North Face Kids’ Fastpack Hiker Mid Waterproof Boots

It doesn’t take much for kids to start hurting on the trail so ensuring their hiking shoe is perfect is imperative for a successful hike.

The super-soft collar of the Kids’ Fastpack boots doesn’t dig into kids’ ankles while the slightly rockered midsole allows them to roll forward in their strides more easily. The EVA foam midsole provides great shock absorption when kids jump and leap their way along the trail.

The boot is also made using recycled materials and includes DryVent technology, which helps make them waterproof yet breathable. For added protection, they’re even coated in a water-resistant DWR finish.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Soft lining
  • Breathable
  • Comes in fun colors

Cons

  • Narrow opening
  • Does not come in wide sizes

Specs

  • Size range: 1Y – 7Y
  • Material: Recycled polyester mesh upper and rubber outsole
  • Colors: Lunar Slate/Lupine (lavender), Black, New Taupe Green/Mineral Gold, and Utility Brown/Deep Grass Green
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at Amazon

Best Off Trail Hiking Shoes for Kids

Adidas Terrex Trailmaker RAIN.RDY
Photo: Adidas

Adidas Terrex Trailmaker RAIN.RDY Hiking Shoes

The Adidas Terrex Trailmaker RAIN.RDY shoe is the perfect hiking boot for on and off the trail. These ankle-high shoes are rugged enough for the trail and stylish enough to go to a nice dinner. The RAIN.RDY technology involves a waterproof textile upper and a mudguard so you won’t have to bring a change of socks for after the hike either.

Adidas is also initiating a massive environmental campaign and is using lots of recycled materials to make their shoes, which means this boot isn’t just stylish and study, but also great for the environment.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Incorporated mudguard
  • Great traction

Cons

  • Does not come in wide sizes
  • Does not come in a variety of colors

Specs

  • Size range: 10.5T – 13.5T, 1Y – 7Y
  • Material: Rubber
  • Colors: Coral Fusion
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at Amazon

Best for Trail Running

Salomon Speedcross Trail Runner
Photo: Salomon

Salomon Speedcross Trail Runner

Salomon comes out with some of the best trail running shoes in the industry. As with their adult versions, Salomon puts out dependable and durable trail running shoes for kids, like the Speedcross Trail Runners. The snug fit keeps your kid’s feet secure no matter how they’re moving on the trail while the tread technology gives the best grip for fast feet.

No more accidental trips on the trail with its easy slip-on-and-off lace system and one-pull tightening mechanism. Your kid won’t have to stop on their run to get any debris out of their shoe with the ripstop fabric and anti-debris mesh on the upper. There won’t be any stopping your kid once they get these trail running shoes on.

Pros

  • Easy to put on/tie
  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Comes in fun colors

Cons

  • Runs narrow
  • Does not come in wide sizes

Specs

  • Size range: 13T, 1Y – 7Y
  • Material: Synthetic upper and rubber outsole
  • Colors: Black/Wrought Iron/Lemon, Nautical Blue/Black/Acid Lime, Grape/Mallard Blue/Lavender, and Clematis Blue/Black/Virtual Pink
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at REI

Best for Travel

Blundstone Chelsea Boots kids hiking
Photo: Blundstone

Blundstone Chelsea Boots

From easy walks on local trails, to romping around Europe, or even going grocery shopping, I’m always in my Chelsea boots…and so is my kid. Blundstones are the boot for you and your whole family if you want a versatile shoe that withstands any sort of environment.

The water-resistant leather and removable footbed of their kids’ Chelsea boots keep feet dry and comfortable no matter where your travels may bring you. The pull tabs allow kids to easily get the boot on and off without the assistance of their parents which is always a plus. The leather uppers have also been coated, making them water-resistant.

Pros

  • Long-lasting durability
  • Easy on/off
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Costly
  • Does not come in wide sizes

Specs

  • Size range: 8T – 13T, 1Y – 4Y
  • Material: Leather upper and polyurethane sole
  • Colors: Rustic Brown, Rustic Black, Antique Brown, Black, Rose Pink, and Patent Red
  • Waterproof: Water resistant
Buy at REI

Kid’s Hiking Boots Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider

Type of Activity and Terrain

Always consider the type of activity and the terrain you’ll encounter when deciding on the type of hiking boot for your kid. Will your adventures involve some serious vert? You’ll want a more stable boot with great traction. Does your kid want to get into trail running? Then focus on a trail running shoe.

Then look at the type of trail surface and terrain you’ll be recreating on most often. Are you in New Hampshire where the trails go from packed down dirt to exposed tree roots and solid granite? You’ll want a grippy boot that’s more versatile. If you’re in a temperate rainforest like the Pacific Northwest, a waterproof boot will be better.

Comfort and Durability

With older kids, their feet can vary in size in a variety of ways. Some years you might go through several sizes while others you won’t size up until their next birthday. Figure out what stage of life your kiddo is at and adjust your boot-buying accordingly.

If they tend to grow out of their shoes quickly, you won’t have to focus solely on durability, but rather on price since you’ll have to buy shoes more often.

If you’ve got a kid who likes to complain about sore feet, you’ll likely gravitate toward a more comfortable shoe with good cushioning. Or if your kid hates to get their feet wet and will be miserable if there’s even the tiniest of drops, put your efforts into a waterproof boot.

Know Your Kid’s Hiking Boot Size

This seems like a given but it’s no less true. Make sure you know your kiddo’s shoe size and the types of socks they’ll be using while adventuring. It’s usually easiest to go to a store and do some in-person fitting with the correct socks.

Many outdoor stores like REI and L.L. Bean have a mock mountain so you can see how it feels when you walk up an incline.  It’s also important to note that feet usually swell when hiking so you’ll want to make room for that in your decision-making.

Need ideas for older kids? Check out our favorite hiking boots for toddlers.


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