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
Asolo Men's Fugitive GTX
Rivet pulled out of lace retainer on the first time out! I understand manufacturing defects but the manufacturer refused a warranty claim as they were a gift and I had no receipt!! Thank god REI stands by its sales. Poor customer service and build quality. Buy Keens instead! Full review
Merrell Capra Mid Sport GTX
Strong marketing, and really solid look doesn't save this boot from failing to live up to its intended purpose. Footwear disclaimer: My foot is not your foot, my activities are not yours, and my preferences aren't either. These are simply my thoughts and what works for me, and by no means suggests this is a bad product. It just doesn't work in my area (Canadian Rockies). So this shoe has been getting a bit of hype, and it's been making some waves. I have only run it through a little test, and I… Full review
REI Men's Merino Light Hiker Crew Sock
Really like them! Warm and comfortable. I might have been lucky, but I bought a few pairs of these about four months ago and they have been great. I've hiked in them and even worn them to work without any signs of breaking down. I know the other reviewer had horrible luck with these, but I have to say that mine have been great. I like the feel of them. They maintain warmth without drenching your feet in sweat. I might not be as hard on my socks as others, but no complaints after four months. Full review
La Sportiva Men's Nepal Extreme
Absolutely outstanding boots. Very rarely do I manage to find boots which fit me straight out of the box. Very warm, super comfy and the versatile lacing/tongue system allows for a varied configuration to achieve a prefect fit. Absolutely outstanding boots. Very rarely do I manage to find boots which fit me straight out of the box. After renting a pair from Cotswold Outdoor to test them, I went straight out and bought some from Go Outdoors. With a little practice finding out the best placement for… Full review
Asolo Men's TPS 535
Brilliant boots. Easy to break in. Superb soles. Quality leather. Best ankle support ever. Got a pair of these in 2005 as I was preparing for a trip to Nepal and Tibet. I was wary of using my very heavy Mendel Super Cracks. The salesman in the outdoor shop in Killarney told me, "These boots don't need wearing in. Just put them on, walk around the shopping centre and come back to me. I'll bet you'll want them!" — a typical 'soft-sell' from a Kerryman! But he was right! A month or so later I was… Full review
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid
Light, comfortable, breathable, light hiking boot. This is my second and last pair of Lowa. I hike in Southeastern Arizona, about 15 miles a week. The incredibly rough and rocky landscape chew up my Lowas at an alarming rate. Last year, the stitchings came undone after less than 6 months of use. Full review
Herman Survivors Wilderness
I thought these were going to be OK, but after less than 6 months the soles separated from the boot. Junk! 65$ down the drain. These did not last 6 months and I will never buy another from the same manufacturer. Full review