Which hiking shoes should I choose?

Which hiking shoes should I choose?

When it comes to choosing a walking shoe, there are different shaft heights, grip, and intended usage to choose between. Find a boot that best suits your feet and usage, so you can enjoy your hikes.

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Many people ask the question ‘Which hiking boot should I choose?’ Often the choice is between a hiking shoe or a hiking boot – or maybe a hiking shoe with a higher shaft. At first, the choice usually focusses on comfort and low weight, but often boils down to type of use and how much support and stability is required. If you need new hiking boots for a long hike or wonder if hiking boots or shoes are right for you, you’ll find plenty of good advice in this article.  

ALFA makes footwear in three different shaft heights (low, middle and high cut), and hunting boots have an even higher shaft. Many people want a boot that can be used for all types of trail and terrain, but if you are an enthusiastic hiker our recommendation is that your shoe cupboard should contain at least two different pairs. To choose the correct hiking gear for you, conitnue reading for our guide to different shaft heights and their ideal use. At the bottom you can also find our quick summary.


A low-cut hiking shoe have no ankle support, and we recommend to use these shoes on trails where the surface is mostly smooth. They work best for walks without a backpack, or with a lightweight one. Shoes without ankle support demand a greater degree of ankle stability and strength, especially if you find yourself on a challenging section of trail. For walks on smooth trails and in areas where the ground is relatively clear of vegetation, these shoes are excellent.  

With few obstacles in your path to trip you, these hiking shoes are lightweight and comfortable. 

Low-cut shoes are often less water-resistant, for example from heather or long grass. This is because water can enter over the collar and run down into the shoes, despite the shoes having a GORE-TEX membrane to protect your foot from shallow puddles and wet conditions. 
Our recommended low-cut hiking shoes 



Drift Advance GTX Lightweight and comfortable shoe with good padding and extremely good grip. These shoes are the perfect choice for most outdoor activities. The wear resistant Bluesign® approved materials are made for walks in the forest and fields. 

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Lightweight and durable hiking shoes with superb sole grip and good cushioning, suitable for any outdoor activity. The Piggen A/P/S GTX has the combination of the maintenance-free and durable outer material AlfaAir™ and GORE-TEX membrane, which ensures waterproofness and breathability.

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Your foot behaves completely different when walking than when running. The steg shoes are adapted to a walking step and have a shape that is roomy enough to allow the foot to move freely and naturally, where the outside of the foot is pressed down and out, and where the toes can spread out. This makes STEG more stable and better for your spine than walking in running shoes.

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Munro Perform GTX Classic, comfortable leather shoe with a wide fit. This shoe is designed for an active lifestyle and performs well for relaxed forest walks and walks around town. 

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See all our hiking shoes here


With a small step up in shaft height, you’ll find the mid-cut hiking shoes. These work well with a light back pack and on day trips with a good trail surface.  

Moderate ankle support will help on tricky sections of trails, but be careful as the trail gets more demanding. A mid-cut shoe supports the ankle but will also challenge the ankle when used with a heavier rucksack and in steep terrain. Mid-cut shoes will also tolerate wet grass. Water won’t seep in through the boot itself due to the GORE-TEX membrane, but as per low-cut shoes, will over time creep in over the collar.


Our recommended mid-cut hiking shoes



Extremely lightweight and durable ankle-high hiking shoes with superb grip, GORE-TEX, BOA® lacing and soft cushioning.


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Lightweight and comfortable  hiking shoes for everyday walks in the woods. Good ankle support, grip and GORE-TEX. 

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See all our hiking shoes here


"Why hiking boots?" you may wonder. Most of ALFA’s high-cut hiking boots are created for typically Norwegian mountain terrain, where most hikers will travel long distances over the mountains. This means the boots are comfortable for long multiday hikes, and give extra ankle support. With a high shaft, you get more protection than a low- or mid-cut walking boot. These shoes function well with heavier rucksacks and on steep gradients where the ankle deals with additional loads. Some models are extra stiff so they can be used in even tougher terrain. However, these have less flexibility and are therefore not practical for normal long hikes, but are best suited for summiting peaks. Other models have fixation points for crampons. Irrespective of the shoe, you should always be careful in technical terrain to avoid sprains and injuries. The high-cut boots are most resistant to water seepage over the collar from long grass and heather. They are therefore most appropriate for wet and marshy terrain.

Our recommended hiking boots



Unique hiking boots with strong wear resistance giving extra longevity and a lower environmental impact. Additionally, the boots are designed so that parts can be changed by a shoemaker if they become damaged. The perfect hiking boot for active hikers who want to invest in an environmentally friendly boot.

Read more about Impact A/P/S GTX 



The Juvass model is developed in close partnership with the guides at Juvass Hytte to withstand the toughest usage in the Norwegian mountains. The boots are lightweight, wear resistant and made from maintenance free materials. This is the boot for active mountain hikers who want a boot to help them reach their goals.

Read more about Juvass A/P/S GTX 



Lightweight and very comfortable hiking boot made from maintenance free materials and GORE-TEX. This is a solid boot with a wide range of use that also sits very well on the foot. The boots are equally suited to forest walks and mountain hikes. 

Read more about Walk King/Queen Air A/P/S GTX 



Super lightweight leather hiking boot with good grip and GORE-TEX. These boots are perfect for cabin-to-cabin hikes and walks with a lightweight rucksack.

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See all our hiking boots here


Hunting boots are our highest-cut boot. They provide very good ankle protection, as well as being very resistant to water seeping over the collar. Generally speaking, the longer it takes for dampness to creep over the collar and down the inner material, the longer the boot will remain dry. If you hike in marshy and wet terrain, with a heavy rucksack or in very technical terrain, hunting boots can be an excellent companion.

Be aware of your need from the boots. People with low bodyweight can experience our stiffest boots are in fact too stable and inflexible (eg Bever Pro Advance).This can become uncomfortable on longer hikes, especially without a heavy rucksack. It’s therefore important to wear the shoes in before embarking on a hike, so you know the boots fits well and is easy to walk with.

Our recommended hunting boots for hiking



Lightweight, high-cut boots made from maintenance free materials and GORE-TEX. The perfect hiking boot for damp days or marshy terrain. Rype A/P/S GTX is a good alternative when you need to carry a heavy rucksack and need additional ankle support. 

Read more about Rype A/P/S GTX 


See all our hunting boots here


To find the right shoe or boot we recommend you ask yourself a few questions, in order to find the model that is best for its intended use. At the end of the day, it’s also important to include your foot in the decision-making process. A shoe not fitting your foot correctly will detract from your overall hiking experience.  

  • Where will I use the walking shoe?  
  • What is the terrain/walking surface there?  
  • Is the area often wet or marshy?  
  • Will I go on long or short hikes? 
  • Will I have a heavy backpack or walk without one? 
  • How much ankle support do I need/want?  
  • Does the shoe fit my foot well?  

  Low-cut Mid-cut High-cut Hunting
Terrain Smooth, easy Smooth surface with
tricker sections
Moderatley challenging Challenging
Humidity Dry Damp Marshy Wet
Activity Short walks Cabin-to-cabin Mountain hikes Full day
Backpack size Without backpack Light backpack Regular Bakcpack Heavy Backpack
Ankle Support None Some Moderate Excellent


The summary above isn’t definitive but rather an overview of shaft heights and their different properties and ideal usage. By crossing off the answers that are most appropriate to you, you’ll find the shaft height best suited to your needs. It is rare for all your answers to relate to one shaft height, instead you’ll usually get a variety of answers.

For example, if you walk most in smooth terrain (low-cut), with some dampness (mid-cut) but with a backpack (high-cut), then we would recommend the high-cut boot so as to not risk ankle injuries by carrying a backpack with too little ankle support. The same applies if you go on short walks (low-cut), in moderately challenging terrain (high-cut) and with a light backpack (mid-cut). Due to the moderately challenging terrain it would be safer to walk with a high-cut boot than a low- or mid-cut shoe, so you can focus on the hike instead of watching every footstep.

If you hike in different kinds of terrain and don’t want more than one pair of boots, we recommend you keep in mind the type of trip you take most frequently during the decision-making process. You may need to make compromises if you want a boot for every kind of use, so choose which criteria are most important to you – and then choose the boot.

Happy hiking!