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

Ozark Trail Boots

rated 0.5 of 5 stars the boot heels split & broke up after a 90 minute hike, so America please keep your clown shoes in America we don't want them palmed off on us. Full review

Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTX

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This is a very good boot for day hiking and/or backpacking up to 30 to 40 pounds. There is a few problems but I have a work around that should help everyone. As Solo hiker I love the freedom to hike were I want as long as I want, the disadvantage is a larger group can help you make more inform purchase and not spend countless hours or hikes with equipment failure.   I read the reviews and went to Adventure 16 and REI to try these boots.  They fit perfect, they are light and the lace system is… Full review

Merrell Men's Moab Waterproof

rated 5 of 5 stars Super comfort and truly waterproof. These shoes live up to their promise of being waterproof, while delivering the comfort and long-term wear you can expect from Merrell products.  These are low cut, which saves on weight for long days on the trail, but don't expect to navigate anything over ankle deep and stay dry.  Pricey, but worth it in value and still well under more expensive options of other exotic manufacturers. Not as breathable as other non-waterproof options, so air them out regularly. Full review

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