Proper, comfortable footwear can make the difference between outdoor adventure and outdoor agony. Save yourself the blisters. Find our top hiking, backpacking, and climbing shoes and boots, plus trail runners, sandals, and water shoes below.
Browse thousands of independent footwear reviews and ratings by real hikers, backpackers, mountaineers, climbers, paddlers, and trail runners to select appropriate, dependable, field-tested shoes for your next trip. And don’t forget the wicking socks, gaiters, insoles, and booties. Your dogs will thank and reward you.
Reviews and product information will point you to quality outdoor footwear, but ultimately the most important aspect is a good fit. Here are some tips to help you properly fit hiking and backpacking boots:
Try on boots at the end of the day, when your feet are their largest.
Wear the socks and any insoles or inserts you would normally use with the boots.
One of your feet is probably larger than the other. Size boots to the larger foot. Better to have one shoe a little loose than the other too tight.
Walk around in the boots for at least 15 minutes.
Toes should have a little room to wiggle, and shouldn't jam into the toe box.
Heels should feel firmly in place with no heel slippage.
Walk up and down an incline to check for heel slippage on the uphill and any toe jamming on the downhill.
Try different styles and widths. You may be a different size in different brands.
Women typically should consider footwear that's built on a women's last, instead of models sized down from a men's last (but everyone is different, buy the shoes that fit you).
Boots should feel like they fit initially. Don't rely on breaking them in to make them fit. If they don't fit now, they won't stretch to fit later.
While you want to pick a boot that fits from the start, you can tweak boots with custom orthotics and insoles (to fill up extra space), professional stretching of the boot (to add space), and different lacing techniques (to reduce foot movement).
No matter how well they fit, don't forget to break in your boots around the house or on some easy day hikes before you embark on that weeklong backpacking trip.
Recent Footwear Product Reviews
Zamberlan Men's 996 Vioz GT
Very nice looking and extremely well made boot. As Julien mentioned in his review, there is ZERO break in period for these boots. Made In Italy is These boots are so comfortable and so good looking that I wear them day-to-day quite a bit. The soles are some of the softer Vibrams I have ever worn. The softer soles mean very good shock absorption and excellent grip especially on slick smooth rocks. There are so many brown boots out there but I love that these are black. The only thing I didn't… Full review
Vasque Snowburban UltraDry
I purchased these boots when I realized that my low-hikers, despite applications of chemical waterproofing, were definitely not going to keep my feet dry on winter hikes, snowshoeing, and during slushy spring hikes. I decided to splurge, and shell out the bucks for these boots, and I am extremely satisfied...they are great boots, and well worth the investment.(Though at first the name "snowburban" put me off...sounded too much like suburban!) I purchased these boots just over a year ago, so they… Full review
Herman Men's Survivor
Fourth pair, model Jason. First blew a side seam within a couple of weeks. Replaced by Wal-Mart. The replacement boots as well as the following two pairs all failed with the soles splitting side to side clear through to the body. These failed within two to three months. Cost vs value is not worth the trip to Wal-Mart. Invest your money in any other product. At 56 I can easily out work this trash. Save your money and buy a real pair of boots. These are no bargain. Total garbage! Full review
Crispi Hunter GTX
Ordered a pair online, never recieved, numeruous unanswered calls and e-mails. Got through on the phone once a couple months after ordering and was told the boot I ordered was backordered and I would be sent a more expensive pair, never recieved and no way to reach anyone at the company Never recieved product, credit card was billed promptly however! Next to impossibe to reach anyone, messages and e-mails are ignored! Full review
La Sportiva Men's Nepal Extreme
Despite being called Nepal Extreme these boots are NOT suitable for use in EXTREME conditions in NEPAL or elsewhere. Two of our team wearing them suffered frostbite wearing these boots at 5930 metres in Nepal. Despite the very misleading name these boots are not recommended for use over 4000 metres. On a recent trip to Nepal at 5930 metres the only two people wearing these boots suffered frostbite requiring hospital treatment. I have contacted the manufacturers who claim they are not recommended… Full review
Five Ten Men's Guide Tennie
Got these in the Yosemite mountain shop and walked around the valley for two days taking pictures. A little scrambling to get in position for some shots of climbers on El Cap and walking the roads of the valley to get around. The salesman talked me into getting my regular size because I wasn't planning on doing any technical climbing and I'm glad he did. I strolled around and put probably ten miles on them in two days. It was a warm November 1st and 2nd (70 degrees daytime) and with summer weight… Full review
Salomon S-Lab X Alp Carbon GTX
Good for three-season mountaineering from trail head to summit. Now you don't need approach shoes any more. Light is fast and fast is safer. Review The weight and stiffness of mountaineering boots make them something I put on with reluctance and only when absolutely needed. For instance, to avoid wearing the big boots I hiked to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier in Gore-Tex trail runners before donning the big boots to finish the trip. Conventional mountaineering boots are big, clunky and too stiff for trail… Full review