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What Hiking Shoes do I Recommend?

by Derek Cullen

I’ve used a lot of different types of hiking shoes in Ireland down through the years. I used a pair of Altra Lone Peak trail runners for my walk around Ireland and recently switched over to the Merrell Moab 2 GTX. In this post, I will talk about my current shoes and some things/ideas you might want to keep in mind about your next pair of hiking shoes in Ireland.

It’s important to note that this post is about hiking shoes as opposed to boots or trail runners. While I do think that hiking boots have a purpose, I much prefer either hiking shoes or trail runners. Before I tell you about my recommendation for hiking shoes, I’d like to quickly differentiate between some types of hiking footwear:

Hiking Boots – Hiking boots are designed to carry big loads and have more support that comes up above the ankles. They tend to be the most durable type of hiking footwear and have stiffer midsoles.

Trail Runners – Trail runners are designed to cater for a lot of foot rotation. They are made with reasonably strong material that can withstand abrasion and they are especially light which can be good for mid-long distance walking.

Hiking Shoes – Hiking shoes are low-cut and usually come with flexible midsoles and a balance between the features you might find with a hiking boot and trail runner.

Now, here’s what I personally think about when choosing a pair of hiking shoes in Ireland:

About Choosing a Pair of Hiking Shoes in Ireland

  • Comfort – Do they feel comfortable to wear over long distances? (5km+)
  • Breathable/Waterproof – Are they durable or breathable or waterproof or all of the above?
  • Traction – Do they provide a decent extent of grip?
  • Foot-room – Do they offer enough space to reduce the likelihood of blisters etc?
  • Practicality – Are they suitable for the task and will they actually perform as needed?

With the above in mind, I’ve gone with the Merrell Moab 2 GTX (low-cut) hiking shoes for walking the Ireland Way.

I used the previous version of this hiking shoe for my year-long cycle through Africa and the new model for my recent hikes in Ireland. I find they strike a nice balance between weight, comfort and practicality. Because I personally don’t like to anything heavy (hiking boots) and appreciate that a pair of Merrell Moab GTX are suitable for life both on and off the trail. The Moab GTX are comfortable (after breaking them in) and both breathable and waterproof. They have excellent grip underneath and enough room to wiggle my toes around. In other words, they are suitable for hiking shoes for almost any terrain or conditions in Ireland and they come with a very reasonable price tag, too.

I recommend these hiking shoes for walking the Wicklow Way etc, Camino de Santiago or other long distance trails.

I recommend buying these hiking shoes!

Thank you for reading!

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Rosaleen McAllorum June 2, 2021 - 9:49 am

Derek. Thank you for the information on hiking boots / Trail shoe’s. I bough a pair of Meindl leather boots last year. They are very comfortable but are splitting at the sides.. I’m disappointed with them they cost 230euro.. I will try Merrell boot. I had a pair before and got great wear out of them.

Thank you for your information I will be following you on your upcoming travels around Ireland.

Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen June 2, 2021 - 10:00 am

Brilliant. It took me a few weeks to “break-in” my Merrell shoe but after wearing them for the past six months, I’m increasingly pleased with the balance they offer between practicality and durability. Thanks for your comment and remember to use my discount code DEREK15 for 15% off 🙂


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