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
Salomon Men's XA Pro 3D
These are my now go-to hiking and backpacking shoes that replaced my boots. It's also nice that they double as trail running shoes as needed. These are perfect for someone who wants to move fast on the trail but still wants the ankle support of a boot. I'd definitely recommend these if you are looking for a light fast and grippy shoe for all kinds of terrain. Just took these shoes on a cross-country backpacking trip, everything from climbing up and down talus, hike on unkept trails, through meadows,… Full review
Hi-Tec Trail Blazer
Very comfortable lightweight trail shoes with an aggressive tread that grips really well. A good value. A great lightweight trail shoe with an aggressive tread. I found these to be very comfortable and well made, and for the sale price I see them at, a very good deal. I would recommend them to a friend. Full review
Merrell Men's Moab Waterproof
Not waterproof. Toes get wet just walking through dew on the grass. Overpriced, cheaply made. Chinese junk!!! Do not waste your hard earned money!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Returned second pair today. Both pair leaked by just walking in wet grass. Junk that cost me over $100. Should have known. Merrells are made in China probably for about $2. Stupid American beware!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need to note that these shoes are not the Mid version. This shoe comes with Merrell's own brand of waterproof (or not) bootie. Full review
Danner Men's Light II
Best hiking boot ever. Bombproof, replaceable sole. DANNER! Danner boots are pretty rad. I have three pairs now, so I am a little biased. They are also right down the street from me in Portland, so repair is easy. The fit is kinda weird at first. The leather is super tight, and almost painful, but I listened to the shoe salesman and just went with what I felt was too tight. There is a long break-in period. I could only walk to the store, about 3/4 of a mile round trip, and it felt like my shins… Full review
Asolo Men's Fugitive GTX
The Asolo Fugitive GTX has excellent ankle support and a rigid outsole for stability, but not so rigid you feel like you're walking on frostbitten feet. The lacing system is very adjustable for foot shape and individual tightness preference, and the laces are long enough for many alternative methods of lacing, but not too long for the traditional method. I need to start off with a short story. These boots saved me over $200 — my right foot is in pretty bad shape, with arthritis in the big toe… Full review
Lowa Men's Tibet Pro GTX
Returned the boots after two days. I was looking for a new pair of boots, preferably a more robust boot than the one I’ve been using for the last four years (Zamberlan 308 Trekker RR). Most of my hikes are in the Northeast, in the high peaks area of the Adirondacks and in the White Mountains. When I tried on the Tibet Pro, I tried both the narrow and regular width. I have narrow feet, but the regular width fit me perfectly, although, I have to say I couldn’t feel much difference. I use… Full review
CEP Women's Compression Running Sock
A sock that speeds up recovery and keeps your legs/feet stable and feeling fresh during a long run. The first thing I noticed about CEP socks is how bold and bright the colors are. Luckily, there are black and white options for the more conservative dressers. I prefer the funky colors and have fun mixing and matching them. I'm wearing the bright blue CEP socks! Getting them on Truthfully, ladies, these socks can be harder to put on than even the most noncompliant pair of pantyhose or spanx —… Full review