10 Best Kids’ Hiking Shoes & Gear

Keep explorers of all ages comfortable on the trail with these essentials

Mandy Ferreira
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Hiking Shoes for Toddlers

You don’t have to worry about jumps into streams with these trail-ready sandals. Made to dry quickly and flush out dirt, the supportive shoes seamlessly go from dusty trails to playing in the lake. A simple velcro closure encourages independence, and a bungee lace is easy for little fingers to adjust.
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Hiking Shoes for Big Kids

When your kiddos are ready to graduate to higher mileage and rougher terrain, the Targhee makes the transition painless. The waterproof boots have all of the performance of the grown-up version with bungee laces for quick customization on the trail and a fit that’s meant to hug growing feet just right to prevent hot spots and slipping.
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Play-Ready Hat

Sun protection is extremely important to keep kids comfortable on the trail and to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer later in life. The real challenge is getting kids to actually wear the hat. This version from Sunday Afternoons is lightweight, easy to get on, and breathable to prevent overheating. A neck flap keeps skin safe from harmful rays and adds extra protection so you don’t have to worry if they got the sunscreen all the way behind their ears. A similar version is available for infants who may be along for the ride.
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Adorable Performance Pack

This performance pack was built to give your mini-me the freedom to roam along with the pride that comes with carrying his or her own snacks and water. The tiny backpack is made with eco-friendly fabrics that are tough enough to be passed down through the family.
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Comfortable Carrier

Introduce the smallest members of the family to the joys of hiking. This carrier has a stable base so you can easily load a wiggly passenger by yourself. The removable daypack and adjustable hipbelt allows you to share the load on the go. Ample ventilation keeps you and your little one cool and comfortable, while the cockpit has a washable drool pad and plenty of padding for impromptu trail naps.
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Sun Protective Base Layer

This shirt is practically guaranteed to end the fights about putting on sunscreen. The lightweight, stretchy top has 50+ UPF sun protection for extended coverage that won’t sweat or wash off during your ascent. Breathable, moisture-wicking fabric keeps hikers cool even when the temperature climbs.
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Hardy Hiking Pants

  • REI Co-op Sahara Convertible Pants in Boys and Girls, $50
Cool mornings and warm afternoons are no problem for these convertible pants. Zippers above the knee and down the lower leg make the transition to shorts a breeze even with hiking boots on. The lightweight fabric has UPF 45 protection, dries quickly, and shields against abrasions and scratches. Large cargo pockets on both versions handedly fit snacks, binoculars, and that rock that just couldn’t be left behind.
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Kid-Sized Hydration

From toddlers to teenagers, this insulated bottle is built to withstand every adventure. A straw lid encourages frequent sipping, while a finger loop and non-slip silicone boot make it easy to hold on to.
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Trail-Worthy Socks

Don’t be surprised if these become the all-day, every-day sock. Made in Vermont, these trail-ready socks were built for everything kids can throw at them. So much so that Darn Tough stands behind them with an unconditional lifetime guarantee – not that you’ll be needing it. The quarter height keeps dirt and debris out, while Merino wool wicks moisture, stops odors, and prevents slipping or blisters.
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Easy Access Snacks

Prevent hangry hikers with a trio of trail snacks. These stainless steel containers are lightweight and sturdy enough to bounce around in a pack for miles. Leak-resistant, BPA-free lids hold on tight without locking out little fingers when hunger strikes. When they’re empty, nest the smaller containers inside the biggest one to save space.