Footwear

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.

Learn more about how to choose footwear below »

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.

Need more help? Read our Guide to Outdoor Footwear and The Wet Foot Test: Find Your Foot Type.

Recent Footwear Product Reviews

Chaco Trailscope Shoe

rated 5 of 5 stars I wear them all the time. They wipe clean so easily and are comfortable as it gets. I will likely buy these same shoes again. Love them. I tell everyone to buy these shoes. Great for getting to the crag. They have been really durable. I beat shoes up usually pretty fast and these are really holding up. Love them! Full review

Chaco Men's Zong

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Think of these as a major upgrade over high-end flip flops. The same straps as Chaco's Z-2 sandal, without the heel strap, so these are easier to put on and take off. Comfortable to wear and walk in, secure enough to cross streams. Like any sandal with no heel, these aren't as secure and more likely to slip off your feet. Simple design should make them extremely durable I'll admit it up front, Chaco does an outstanding job with sandals in my opinion. Great soles, great midsole/footbed, simple straps,… Full review

Columbia Men's Drainmaker III

rated 5 of 5 stars I do a lot of wilderness canoeing and I'm always getting my feet wet. For years I'd wear old running shoes or sandals, but recently I found a product that combines the benefits of both. The Columbia Drainmaker III is a hybrid shoe that looks and feels like a traditional running shoe, yet adds the water draining features of an open toed sandal. The secret is the breathable upper mesh that allows water to seep out, combined with 'drain ports' built into the sole of the shoe that allow the rest of… Full review

Hoka Men's Mafate Speed

rated 4 of 5 stars Great shoe. Comfortable, great Hoka sole with lots of cushion, and great grip for granite and other hard surfaces. If you are looking for a comfortable shoe with lots of cushion to help the knees and back, you may have found it. Great Hoka comfort and off trail sole too. The soles are large (they say 40% more than a normal sole) and great grip for granite and other hard surfaces. Shoe is a little narrow, so you might want to go a 1/2 size larger if you have anything but a narrow foot. I actually… Full review

Oboz Sundog

rated 4.5 of 5 stars A shoe that can do a lot! Just as able to be a light hiker as it is a trail runner, this lightweight shoe is as versatile as it is comfortable. With great ventilation due to the single-piece mesh upper, excellent traction, and exceptional heel cup, this shoe is the one I lace up for a multitude of warm-weather outdoor activities. Conditions: I’ve hiked with the Oboz Sundogs since early April (nearly three months at the time of review). Many, but not all of the hikes have been in wet conditions,… Full review

Limmer Men's Light-Weight

rated 5 of 5 stars Very comfortable. Feels light while still being supportive. Great customer service. Good for backpacking for lighter people with moderate loads (~40-60 pounds). Once broken in, the Limmer Lightweights have been the most comfortable boots that I've worn for backpacking. Even though they are called lightweights, they are just as supportive as other backpacking boots that I've worn. With the rocker soles, they feel much lighter when moving along on a trail. Full review

Astral Brewer

rated 5 of 5 stars This is the first pair of lace-up, shoe style water shoes I have owned, and I admit, had I not won these, I probably would still be using slip-on neoprene cheapie-type water shoes. But these are great! I have used them for many canoe outings and canoe camping trips, and I can say that I cannot imagine a better pair of shoes for my paddling needs. In deciding which size to order for this model shoes, I did some research, which indicated they may tend to run a bit small; I ordered a half size up from… Full review