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
This is my second pair of these boots -- they require new soles every once in a while but otherwise bomb-proof -- work well with crampons. While you can use running shoes on well-worn hiking trails, these boots are good for rugged off-trail & winter backpacking in rocky terrain. I saw some people looking for this boot -- as I understand it, Vasque was the exclusive distributor for Gronell until sales of this product dropped off for the cheaper / lighter boots in the late 90's. These boots go… Full review
Galibier Super Rando
Old school perfection! This is the "1970's" heavy duty backpacking boot. It has all the same quality and features you would have found on a pair purchased back then plus the best sole (Khumbu) ever made for hiking on granite and wet roots. I purchased a 46 for my 11" long feet which are low volume and fairly narrow. I wear a US 11.5 D in most boots except White's which I am a 10.5. The toe box tapers in, so with no insole and my foot slid forward, there was a good 3/4" or about a finger and wiggle… Full review
Teva Men's Grecko
Best sandals I've ever owned, hands down. I wore these hard for almost 13 years before the soles separated for the second time and could not be repaired. Incredibly durable and comfortable. I've tried on so many pairs of Chacos but none of them even come close to the Teva Greckos. I just stumbled across the name of this model after YEARS of searching, not that it probably matters at this point. I think they've been out of production for many years. I believe I bought mine around 2005 or 2006. … Full review
Tecnica Men's Forge GTX
The Tecnica Forge hiking boot is a first of its kind boot borrowing fitting techniques from the ski industry to heat mold the inside of the boot to the users foot. Great for someone who has had trouble breaking in boots of similar construction or for those that have anxieties around new boot comfort. I tested the Forge hiking boots during the fall and winter of 2017/2018 in the northern parts of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. The weather this season provided some great opportunities to test… Full review
Bedrock Sandals Cairn Pro
Bedrock's Cairn Pro is an unusual take on a minimal sandal. The most important distinction is the strapping, which is unlike any other sandal I have worn. For such a light sandal, the secure feel of the strapping and grip of the sole make these great for light hiking and being in and out of the water. The price and single front toe cord would be the primary bugaboos for some people. INTRODUCTION The Bedrock Cairn Pro is a lightweight sandal that swings well above its very low weight thanks to a… Full review
Tecnica Women's Forge GTX
The Tecnica Forge hiking boot is a heat moldable boot, integrating technology similar to that which is used in moldable ski boot liners. The Forge encourages a shift back to the way retail was done before the days of online shopping, as fittings must be done in person. The boot is comfortable, lightweight, and has a surprisingly low profile. The custom moldable fit eliminates the usual break-in period so you can walk out of a store and onto the trail. However, after five months of use, I don’t… Full review
Coleman Men's Golden Hiking Boots
Soles wear down quickly and allow water seepage. These shoes are comfortable and support my feet well in dry conditions. They don't last long however. The soles are poorly made and crack allowing water and rocks to seep in. I have gone through two pair in two years. Full review