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
Merrell Men's Ascend Glove
A minimalist shoe that offers a little more cushioning and protection for the bottom of the foot but less ground feel as compared to the trail glove. A good choice for anyone that wants to try a neutral shoe with more protection than a full-on "barefoot shoe", or for running on rough ground. I have been trail running in Merrell's "barefoot shoes" (right up there with "jumbo shrimp" at the top of the oxymoron list) for about four years now: two pairs of original Trail Gloves, a pair of the Train… Full review
Salewa Men's Alp Trainer Mid GTX
Maximum support in a lightweight but sturdy package! The Ozarks are a rocky place. An up and down place. A hot and humid place. The Alp Trainer Mid GTX by Salewa handles all this well. Despite the "no break in" guarantee, I did wear them around the house for several days to make sure fit was good before putting a pack on the trail. The most surprising thing about Salewa is that their shoes and boots have an insole that is adjustable. This is accomplished by having a 2-piece insole that uses… Full review
These boots are warm, waterproof, and comfortable. There's little to no breaking-in required, and they feel very light on your feet. Between the laces and Achilles strap you can get a surprising amount of ankle support for this type of boot. I love these boots! I started wearing them back in 2005 when I took a job as a skilift mechanic. They kept my feet warm, dry, and comfortable during my long hours of walking, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing around the mountain, and after spending the night on… Full review
Keen Men's Durand Mid WP
If you can deal with the large toe box and keep your toes from smashing into the end while descending you might like these boots. If you have super wide feet maybe. Keen makes some great sandals, the ones with the rubber toe cap. They also make some decent shoes. I think these boots are a fail though, at least for my feet. In their defense I did a few things these boots were truly not designed for. Maybe the title of this review should be: Things NOT to do with your Durands. If you want to just… Full review
Saucony Men's Kinvara TR
Everything you want with barefoot running and none of the stuff you don't. If this shoe was a weapon, it would be a sniper rifle. It's just that sharp. There are no margins here, which makes it an awesome trail shoe in varying surfaces; you want your foot to go over there — it goes there, BAM! It doesn't slip about a little in the shoe, it doesn't give a damn if you wanted a little give. It's a scalpel, it's technical, it's responsive, it's a fast train and your legs are the engines. You want… Full review
La Sportiva Men's Mythos
Used them since 1997. Comfortable — excellent fit to feet, can wear all day eg on 400m routes. Can be resoled, just make sure you don't wear the nose too much and get the 4mm resole. All round fit brilliant. Moulds even to very wide feet. Grip quite OK by me up to grade 22. Surprisingly good as a crack shoe though larger sizes help. I do have a few sizes though for my size 11 1/2 J feet 43 for the harder stuff 43.5 for gym 44 for long stuff Full review
Oboz Men's Sawtooth Mid
Love this boot. Great waterproof boot, decent breath-ability and moderate price line. Fit: These boots are snug. When you push your foot in, it's almost like you are clicking into snowboard bindings. Your foot feels right. There are no hot spots, decent arches and the boot really contours to your foot well. Comfort: It took me no time to break them in. The first day I got them, I took them on a ten-mile hike throughout the dunes. They handled everything great. Support: Could be better. I have a… Full review