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

Herman Men's Survivor

rated 5 of 5 stars I purchased my Hermans in 1977, and have worn them since! They are the best hiking and water walking boot I have ever had. I keep them cleaned and waterproof and they will probably outlast me! I walk thru creeks and deep puddles in desert and in muddy lagoons! Full review

Hi-Tec Natal Low WP

rated 1.5 of 5 stars Junk fell apart. Sole separated at tip first week and continued to degrade from there. No use for them, very poor quality. Waste of money at any cost. Full review

Merrell Radius Waterproof

rated 5 of 5 stars Dry, great wear, good looking, good traction, it had everything. Why would they quit making them???? I want another pair and I want them NOW! Wake up, Merrell. This was a great shoe and should be reproduced…PLEASE???? Full review

L.L.Bean Women's Explorer Sandals

rated 4 of 5 stars Women's footwear made by L.L Bean. Whether they're for hitting the trail, strolling along the boardwalk, gardening, these athletic sandals keep feet protected and ventilated. Plenty of options and styles available. I'VE GOT MINE ON RIGHT NOW!!! Relaxin' with my L.L Bean on my feet. My feet smile when I wear them! These are by far my favorite sandals. I've had them for several years and have walked plenty of miles in these sandals. These sandals are not recommended for running but are comfortable… Full review

Scarpa Men's Phantom 6000

rated 5 of 5 stars Boots are very light and rugged. Can see why these would be the last mountaineering boot a person would need to buy. Fit very well, has great support and feet stayed warm and dry. Will know more in a few years of use. Full review

Limmer Light-Weight

rated 5 of 5 stars These boots are sturdy and have a great fit. The break-in period is much reduced compared to Limmer Standards. I bought these boots three weeks ago to replace a pair of regular hiking boots. At the time of purchase I was sick of paying quite a bit of money for boots that needed replacing every 1 1/2 years. While on vacation in N.H. I stopped by the Limmer barn and had Ken talk me through the various models, size my feet and recommend a Limmer lightweight to me. The entire purchase took about an… Full review

Salomon Men's Speedcross 3 GTX

rated 4.5 of 5 stars This is my new favorite trail running/light hiking shoe. It is extremely lightweight, has perfect flex in the sole, and provides plenty of support. The Gore-tex makes them that much better. My only gripe is that the traction does not seem like it will last very long. The shoe fits great. The lacing system makes it easy to adjust to your foot.  I haven't met many people that can't fit into Salomon shoes unless they have very wide or very narrow feet.  The shoes were comfortable right off the shelf. Full review