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

The North Face Men's Ultra 109 GTX

rated 5 of 5 stars Tough trail runners, heavy but protective The North Face Ultra 109 GTX is a very solid, sturdy trail runner with Goretex water proofing.  On the heaviest end of the spectrum for a product sold as a running shoe, the thick sole and solid toe cap will protect your feet from any rocks or roots you might ramble over.  Traction is good on all surfaces.  For the hiker that is considering the switch from a hiking shoe or boot the NF Ultras would be a good shoe to test a transition.  Once on they do… Full review

Keen Men's Versatrail

rated 4 of 5 stars Easy break-in. Easy on and off. Hybrid performance on and off trail. Stylish sneaker. First off, I have to say I am not a big Keen fan. I've worked in shoes for over two decades and that are not even in my top 10 favorite brands. That being said, I felt like I needed to try something new to try and convince me otherwise. I was looking for a hybrid trail hiker. Something that was comfortable both on the trail and on concrete. I also wanted something I could treat like a slip on so when I was camping… Full review

Herman Men's Survivor

rated 0.5 of 5 stars Owned for 13 days. Split toe from sole of shoe. Returned to Walmart. Would NOT refund, would NOT REPLACE. Herman Survivors are no longer guaranteed and are definitely NOT returnable. DO NOT BUY. Factory owned by Walmart and moved to CHINA. I have purchased Herman Survivor boots for years. Noticed last pair only lasted 4 months but purchased another pair at Walmart. Wore for 10 days and toe split from sole of shoe.  I packed up shoes and returned to store. Had receipt. It was obvious shoes were… Full review

Smartwool Outdoor Sport Light Cushion

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Lightweight, breathable with cushioned sole and open mesh top these socks work well on their own or as a liner sock. Roughly a crew height with a comfortable bit of compression support along with their ability to dry quickly make these especially useful in hot weather. The Smartwool Outdoor Sport is a very versatile sock that functions well on its own in lightweight sport shoe applications, but also does a great job as a liner sock when wearing heavier boots. Fit and Comfort: Made from an extremely… Full review

Merrell Men's Moab Mid Waterproof

rated 3 of 5 stars Good, light hiker for day hikes or "light" backpacking. But not enough support for my Achilles. I wear 11 1/2 and these were a fairly good fit. I am used to wearing leather hikers with two pairs of socks, but found that two pairs of socks with these was too much. Through trial and error I have found that my padded running socks are just right. Have used these for many day or few hour hikes and they have been comfortable. Would like to try them on a backpacking trip with maybe 25 to 30 pounds max… Full review

Yaktrax Pro

rated 1 of 5 stars Good idea, but only work under certain conditions. I bought a pair for simple winter trail walking. No pack..nothing crazy and these do not function well. The bottoms are grippy as expected and if you are walking on ice or frozen compacted ice like snow, they will function. Anything even sort of soft or add 1 inch of snow and the movement of the snow under foot builds up and acts like a bulldozer and pushes the rubber webbing off to the side, up over your toe or moves the whole thing out of its… Full review

Altra Men's Lone Peak 2.5

rated 4 of 5 stars A lightweight running shoe fit for backpacking. The Lone Peak 2.5 came highly recommended to me by a fellow hiker as a lightweight, fast drying, comfortable trail shoe. After doing some additional research, Altra seemed to have some durability issues, but I took a chance.  After about 150 miles over three months, about half running on city trails and streets, and the other half backpacking in the Rockies and Ozarks, the toe cap on both shoes is peeling off.  The tread still looks almost new. I… Full review