Boots for backpacking usually offer the most support and protection to your feet and ankles. They normally come up above your ankle bone to and are made with stiffer, tougher materials and some kind of shank for arch support. Backpacking boots are best for rough terrain, going off trail, carrying heavier loads, & gaining more stability.
Mid Hiking Shoes
Mid height hiking shoes offer moderate support and protection. They come above your ankle, but usually aren't as high as a backpacking she. They're also lighter & more flexible than backpacking shoes. For moderate terrain, day hikes, camping, etc mid-height hiking shoes really shine. Some heavier duty mid hikers also blur the line between backpacking boot and day hiker.
Low Hiking Shoes
Low hiking shoes offer many of the same features as mid height hiking boots, but are lighter in weight and sit below the ankle. If you plan on sticking to the trails and don't want the extra ankle support and extra weight that comes with it, but still want a very supportive sole with good grip, we recommend a low height hiking shoe. If you plan to go off-trail you might be better served by a mid height hiking or backpacking shoe.
Trail Running Shoes
Trail running shoes are typically the lightest weight in trail shoe category. They are often used by hikers and thru-hikers who are looking to shave as much weight off of their gear as possible. Although they may not always have the durability of mid or low hiking shoes, they do offer similar traction and underfoot support. Trail running shoes feature more aggressive tread, and usually a stiffer midsole that you will find on running shoes. Those features mean they provide better traction and offer protection against rocks/roots compared to road running shoes.