With more traction, protection, and support than a sneaker, a good hiking shoe can be key to hiking safety and enjoyment. But with so many choices, which is the best hiking shoe for you? Truth be told, the answer does vary from one hiker to another. The best hiking shoe for you will depend on the type of terrain you normally hike, the distances you cover, your speed and stride style, the shape of your foot, and your personal preferences. Our favorite is the Salomon Synapse MID.
The First Natural Motion Hiking Shoe
Salomon describes their Synapse MID as the “First Natural Motion Hiking Shoe.” With tons of technological development behind its creation, the Salomon Synapse MID is designed to speed up your trail adventures, turning your hike into a run.
Inside the shoe, an OS Tendon (oversized tendon) flexes and quickly rebounds for improved energy return, while a slightly rockered shape propels the foot forward. This design combination is the basis for the first natural motion shoe which boosts your movement efficiency and helps you “run your hike” as Salomon says.
Described by Backpacker Magazine as offering “running shoe comfort with hiking-boot stability,” the Salomon Synapse MID was named an Editor’s Choice for them in 2012.
Hiking Shoe Technology From The Inside Out
Surrounding the hiker’s foot, an OrthoLite sockliner acts as a high tech sock so you don’t have to wear any (if you do plan to wear socks with these hiking shoes, you’ll want to order a half size larger than usual). OrthoLite foam gives you a cool, dry, healthy cushion under foot, and since it is durably made with recycled tire content, it won’t break down or lose effectiveness over time. The abrasion resistant lining is highly breathable and quick drying – extremely important for blister prevention.
A molded EVA footbed provides next to foot cushioning and anatomical arch support, while heel foam and an EVA heel cup offer heel support and added cushioning. Further shock absorption is provided by injected EVA and the OS Muscle.
Non-marking Contagrip outsoles are made of specialized rubbers with Dynamic Traction for road to trail grip in dry and muddy conditions. The sole also features mud-guard protective material around the base of the shoe, and a protective rubber toe cap which defends the toes against rocks and roots.
The top of the Salomon Synapse MID hiking shoe is made of a lightweight, breathable, abrasion resistant textile, and Anti-Debris mesh that lets fresh air in but prevents debris from getting inside the shoe.
A Hiking Shoe With The Best Fit
The “MID” in Salomon Synapse MID refers to the mid-cut profile, designed to provide additional ankle support and protection. The Seamless Sensifit design wraps and cradles the foot for a precise and secure fit. With the Quicklace system, minimalistic one pull tightening makes for easy on and off, and the lace pocket lets you keep the laces from snagging on low branches.
All of the technology, design, and time Salomon has put into this shoe make the Salomon Synapse MID versatile, comfortable, efficient, and quite possibly the best hiking shoe around.
Kendall Fischer, Content Writer
Note: This post was originally published in July 2013 and may be out of date.