Protect Your Toes While Hiking Downhill with These Top-rated Shoes

wide toe box hiking boots

Toe pain is common when hiking downhill for hours. It is commonly addressed by choosing suitable footwear. Shoes to protect your toes when hiking downhill are ideal for preventing toe pain and foot pain in general. They are specifically made with better forefoot support.

If weight is evenly distributed on the feet when hiking on flat terrain this changes when hiking downhill. The center of gravity switches towards the forefoot. Prolonged periods of downhill hiking can make this new center of gravity cause discomfort and even toe pain.

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10 Best Wide Toe Box Hiking Boots

Are you suffering from sore toes when hiking downhill? It’s time to upgrade the old hiking shoes with responsive and supporting footwear that protects toes and toenails properly.

1. Colombia Newton Ridge Plus II

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Colombia’s Newton Ridge Plus II are ideal shoes to protect your toes when hiking downhill. Affordable and protective, these tall hiking boots are made with strong laces you can tighten properly as many times as needed. Loose laces are real issues when hiking downhill.

But there are a couple of extra reasons these hiking shoes are as good as they claim. Made with TechLite supportive cushioning, these hiking boots are known for good shock absorption, essential when the weight of your body starts to shift forward.

The Omni-Grip design of the outsole makes these hiking boots even better for downhill trails. This is the technical term used to describe Colombia’s outsoles with good grip in all directions, essential for uneven surfaces such as those of trails.


  • Secure lacing system to prevent in-boot foot slipping
  • Waterproof construction
  • Comfortable on long hikes


  • Not best for wintertime thermal protection

2. Merell Moab 2

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A similar wide toebox as seen on the Colombia boots above is offered by Merell with its Moab 2. These suede downhill hiking boots aren’t as bulky. As a result, they are better suited for multi-day hikes. The boots are ideal for long trekking sessions where reducing weight is a priority.

You can also consider these shoes for reducing toe pain when hiking. This is achieved through a supportive midsole and a Vibram (popular third-party brand) outsole known for its durability.

Hiking downhill is easiest when performed in a zig-zag manner. You feel the highest toe pain when hiking downhill in a straight line. This is where the toes get reduced stress compared to straight descents. These Merell shoes are perfect for zig-zag downhill hiking as they also offer a hell air cushion so that you can rest your forefoot while switching the center of gravity towards the heel.


  • Made with waterproof materials
  • Perfect for multi-day trekking
  • 100% suede upper materials


  • Only available in wide sizes

3. Salomon Women’s OutLine Mid GTX W

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Rubbing toes is a common issue with downhill hiking. Consistent rubbing leads to blisters. However, the right hiking shoes can prevent rubbing by adding a bit of width to the forefoot. This is the case with the highly versatile Salomon Women’s OutLine hiking boots.

The high upper collar also recommends these hiking boots for a bit more ankle support. If you need that support, then these tall boots are ideal for the job.

Cushioning is good as well. Women agree these hiking boots do a good job even on rocky terrain which would otherwise cause further foot pain even to heels, not just the toes. The ability to keep the feet dry longer even in warm weather is another advantage of these boots worth taking into account.


  • Waterproof protection
  • Made with a removable insole
  • Available in 4 colors


  • Not best for wintertime thermal protection

4. Salomon Speedcross 5

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Salomon’s trail running shoes are ideal for long steep descents. Heavy hiking boots show their limits when you need to pick up the pace, as it’s often the case with steep descents. If you’re facing a technical hike where you have to come down from a tall mountain good trail running shoes can be a solid backup to the hiking boots you use to climb the summit.

With the help of an extended outsole, these hiking shoes protect your toes from occasional bumps as well. These shoes are partly known for their capacity to support runners and partly for their capacity to offer solid traction when hiking. This is the main reason to consider them especially if you’re facing changing terrains when hiking downhill such as trails, grass, and rocky terrains.


  • Made with sharp lugs
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Improved breathability upper


  • Only available with QuickLace lacing

5. Nortiv 8 Hiking Boots

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These wide hiking boots are ideal for sensitive feet. Made with extra room compared to the boots listed above, these hiking boots are perfect for very specific foot conditions. For example, you can hike downhill wearing these boots if you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis given they have enough room for an extra insole. At the same time, you can add an extra insole for more support in the forefoot if you feel the pain in your toes is too high.

These boots are also water-resistant. They have been tested in rainy conditions of up to a few hours. Sure, you won’t be able to walk through water streams for too long but the boots keep your feet dry in case you’re surprised by rain on the descent.

Designed with a rubber-covered toe cap the boots are also highly protective on technical terrain. Having your toes protected, especially when you suffer from Morton’s Toe. This is a condition where the second toe is longer than the first toe. People with Morton’s Toe have a difficult time finding the best hiking shoes, particularly for downhill use.


  • Designed with a flexible midsole
  • Padded tongue collar – ideal for tight lacing on descents
  • Made with replaceable laces


  • Designed without a steel toe

6. Colombia Crestwood

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If you like how the Newton Ridge Plus II from Colombia feels you can have a lighter version in the Crestwood hiking shoes. These also feature the same TechLite cushioning which makes your feet feel a bit more comfortable on rough terrains when heading downhill.

Designed with classic lacing and a durable upper with overlays, these hiking shoes are made to last. Lightweight and ideal for long hiking sessions, they can also be considered by occasional hikers since they’re not as bulky as winter hiking boots.

Rubber outsoles ensure these hiking shoes are equipped for demanding terrain. However, they aren’t ideal for hiking through water streams and puddles since they aren’t completely waterproof.


  • Made with suede and breathable mesh upper materials
  • Lightweight at 13 ounces
  • Available in 5 colors


  • Not made for wintertime hiking

7. Timberland Pro

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Some downhill hiking terrains are notorious for their technicality. A technical trail is always a rocky trail or a surface with plenty of obstacles such as numerous tree branches. Carefully navigating these with simple boots is quite difficult. This is why you can use steel-toe reinforced hiking boots such as those from Timberland.

Ideal for difficult terrains, these boots feature a reinforced toe box. This rugged forefoot also recommends hiking boots for all of those who have a longer second toe as this can cause problems when going downhill.

EVA foam cushioning makes the hiking boots even more durable for long hikes. This type of foam is used in some of the leading boot brands of the moment which makes the proven material a safe choice when you need proper cushioning.


  • Made with thick wide laces
  • Designed for high ankle support
  • Reinforced forefoot for extra protection


  • Heavier than most boots

8. Keen Voyageur

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The Voyageur represents lightweight climbing and hiking downhill shoes. Made with a thick ankle collar, they are particularly comfortable on descents when a lot of the weight shifts forwards. Unlike other similarly-sized hiking shoes, Keen’s Voyageur is known for its more rugged sole. For example, if Salomon offers flexible midsoles which are great even for running downhill, Keen’s Voyageur is limited to hiking downhill, particularly on rocky trails given the stiff midsole and multi-directional asymmetrical lugs.

Cushioned by an EVA foam footbed, the hiking shoes are suitable both for long and short hikes. Most of those who try these shoes also report improvements in symptoms such as Plantar Fasciitis or heel pain given the shoes feature a thick foam insole.


  • Made with leather and mesh for extra breathability
  • Good traction across all surfaces
  • Designed with non-marking rubber


  • Not as flexible as Salomon hiking shoes

9. Salomon Women’s Pathfinder W

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These Salomon hiking shoes are specifically made for women. One of the main advantages you can enjoy wearing them downhill is the enhanced cushioning. With thick tongue cushioning these shoes are made without any rubbing spots. This makes them ideal for the steepest descents since rubbing tends to be accentuated when walking downhill.

Furthermore, these are part of a Salomon line of shoe designs with classic lacing. If you aren’t a fan of SpeedLacing but still prefer Salomon shoes you might find the Pathfinder for Women quite versatile. Classic laces allow you to tighten the shoes to the extent you feel most comfortable with.


  • Made for all-terrain grip
  • Designed with strong classic lacing
  • Good traction when walking downhill


  • Mainly suitable for wide feet

10. Keen Targhee II

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Unlike Voyageur, Keen’s Targhee II represents ideal hiking shoes when you’re carrying heavy backpacks. The added ankle support and the thicker midsole make these hiking boots ideal for hiking downhill with heavy hiking equipment such as tents, water bottles, food, clothes, and other items that fit a regular backpack.

Available in regular and wide sizes, these boots are ideal for multiple types of feet. The wide version is similar at the base but it features a roomier upper which can be a bit more comfortable design for hiking long distances.


  • Wearable with thick hiking socks
  • Good for hiking in the rain
  • Made with dual-density foam cushioning


  • Designed without a safety toe

To accommodate wider feet, we have reviewed some of the best women’s hiking shoes for wide feet in another article here.

How shoes protect your toes when hiking downhill

Toe pain from hiking downhill can be considerably reduced or even eliminated when prioritizing the right footwear. Both hiking shoes and hiking boots are good at descents since they come with the following benefits.

1. Improved forefoot cushioning to reduce toe pain when hiking downhill

Cushioning is essential in hiking shoes. Foam is normally used in these types of shoes to dampen stride shocks. Extra cushioning in the forefoot and superior arch support are essential when hiking downhill. Some hikers say they even prefer shoes that are half a size larger to ensure sufficient space for the expanding foot as a result of walking on a steep decline terrain.

2. Better arch support for even weight distribution

Arch support is at least as important as forefoot support. The best shoes to protect your toes when hiking downhill are made with superior forefoot and midfoot support as these are the areas with the highest pressure inside the footwear.

3. Anti-slip insoles to prevent the in-shoe foot from slipping

In-shoe slipping is the most problematic when hiking downhill. It can be prevented by wearing hiking shoes that fit properly as well as by choosing anti-slip insole hiking shoes.

Some shoes that are intentionally made with a wide upper might also be worn downhill. However, you need to wear thicker hiking socks to prevent the in-shoe foot from slipping with these hiking shoes.

4. Adding more space to the toebox

A narrow-toe box is not ideal for hiking downhill. While narrow hiking shoes can feel faster and lighter, the reduced bulk also means there’s little room for your toes to move in. Downhill hiking shoes are always made with a wider toebox as a result.

Apart from adding more space to the forefoot the right hiking boots for downhill hiking should be made with extra forefoot protection. This can come either as forefoot overlays or as extended outsoles which cover the forefoot. The role of these designs is to minimize shocks when you accidentally hit hard surfaces such as rocks or thick tree roots. Aside from switching shoes, you may want to check our article on ways to protect your toes when hiking downhill for additional tips and resources.


Choosing the right shoes with adequate insoles gives you that added comfort while hiking especially if you are trying to protect your toes when hiking downhill. You may want to understand the features of the shoes discussed and then select the hiking footwear that meets your budget and requirements. If you have tried any or would like to leave your feedback, feel free to do so via the contact us page.