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In this report

A lightweight hiking shoe should be flexible, with good traction and support

If you primarily hike on groomed trails and don't require extra ankle protection, lightweight boots and hiking shoes are all you'll need -- though few offer anything but minimal support. One noteworthy exception is the Merrell Moab Ventilator (*MSRP $90) , which users say offers more support than they expect from a hiking shoe. The Ventilator's mesh uppers are very comfortable with plenty of room in the toebox.

The Keen Voyageur Mid boot (*MSRP $120) draws similar praise for a spacious toebox and comfortable fit right out of the box, no break-in needed. On the other hand, many reviewers say thePatagonia Drifter A/C (*MSRP $130) runs big, particularly around the heel. Some reviewers say the result is a sloppy fit that lets your foot shift around too much.

Neither does the Drifter A/C do very well in the durability department; a number of owners complain that the lugs sometimes peel right off its Vibram outsoles. The Voyageur Mid has trouble with its sole, as well; some wearers say the sole delaminates, or peels away in layers, from the rest of the shoe.

While the Moab Ventilator isn't all that durable, either, light hiking boots and shoes aren't generally known for their durability. The Ventilator's heel padding tends to wear down quickly, but that's easily solved by adding your own cushioned insoles, reviewers say. The sole also wears out in a fairly short period, but doesn't tear apart like its competition.

The Ventilator also comes out on top in terms of traction. Users say it does great on almost any surface, with just a few mixed reviews about its grip on wet rock. The Keen Voyageur Mid, on the other hand, draws more criticism for poor traction on wet rocks, and a string of comments say the Patagonia Drifter A/C rolls too easily underfoot.

None of these light shoes are waterproof, but users say the Merrell Moab Ventilator and Keen Voyageur Mid do the best jobs of letting water run right back out and generally keeping your feet dry.

In a nutshell, the Merrell Moab Ventilator outperforms the competition in every category and is an easy choice as our Best Reviewed lightweight hiking boot/shoe.

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KEEN Men's Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $109.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Mid Boot,Walnut,11 M US
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $100.00 $99.95   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Hiking Boots Runners Up:

Keen Voyageur Mid *MSRP $120

5 picks including: Amazon.com, Good Housekeeping…

Keen Targhee II Mid *MSRP $130

4 picks including: Amazon.com, Backcountry.com…

Asolo Power Matic 200 GV *MSRP $300

4 picks including: Backcountry.com, Backpacker Magazine…

Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX *MSRP $160

4 picks including: Backcountry.com, REI.com…

Patagonia Drifter A/C *MSRP $130

3 picks including: Backcountry.com, Backpacker Magazine…

Hi-Tec Altitude IV Waterproof *MSRP $105

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Trailspace.com…

Merrell Siren Sport 2 *MSRP $90

2 picks including: Amazon.com, REI.com…

Lowa Renegade II GTX Mid *MSRP $220

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Camping Life Magazine…

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KEEN Men's Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $109.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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KEEN Men's Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $129.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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Asolo Women's Power Matic 200 Hiking Leather Boot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $500.00   
Average Customer Review:  
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Vasque Men's Breeze 2.0 GTX Hiking Boot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $159.99   
Average Customer Review:  
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Hi-Tec Men's Altitude IV Hiking Boot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $105.00   
Average Customer Review:  
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Merrell Women's Siren Sport 2 Hiking Shoe
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $90.00   
Average Customer Review:  
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Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $220.00   
Average Customer Review:  

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