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
Alpine Design River Sandals
recently purchased sandal different in price & design. evidently "alpine design" means good as a water shoe for the lake or sea don't know if i can recommend,but the price was right Full review
Salomon Kaipo CS WP
For warm winter days. Choose 1/2 size bigger. Nice and light boots with a shoe-like fit. I wear them when I go snowshoeing. A little bit too narrow for my feet. Still a nice little boot. Full review
Vasque Men's Breeze 2.0 Mid GTX
This is a very comfortable boot. The boot is well constructed and durable. A nice light boot with a great vibram sole. I purchased a pair of these boots 8 years ago to hike some trails in Cape Breton NS. When these were purchased there was no need for working these boots in. The were very comfortable and handled steep muddy surfaces, rocky creek beds and long hikes. I also used these for hunting and they were so light and comfortable on my feet. Never had wet feet. I finally had to throw… Full review
Darn Tough Merino No-Show Sock Mesh
I really like it, keeps clean itself, gets dry super fast. I was looking for lifetime products and one friend recommended to me this brand and its benefits. Then I made my research and found it. The size was perfect. Because fit perfect, I really like the feeling in my feet. I don't need to wash it always because if I let it "dry" clean itself it doesn't matter if was wet or not, and always is ready for use again. Are very comfortable, are really well made it, you can feel that in your feet! Full review
Merrell Men's Moab Mid Waterproof
These mid-height GTX versions of this boot model from Merrell are relatively light and very durable. They have a Vibram sole and leather/mesh tops with a rubber toe cap. Merrell also makes a non-GTX version and low-cut versions in GTX and non-GTX. I bought these boots after returning a similar pair of Danner mid GTX boots to Cabelas when the right side CRACKED all the way across at the ball of the foot with only 200+ miles on them. I use my Merrell Moab Mid GTX boots mainly for rainy and mild winter… Full review
Asolo Men's Drifter GV
The fit is great for a high instep. Comfortable straight out of the box. Good grip, but not for crossing streams on slippery rocks. Rarely do I purchase any footwear without trying it on first, but I made an exception when I came across a deal online. From reading other reviews, I gathered enough info to base my current knowledge on that I'd need a wide size. I bought a 14w and the fit was very desirable. I have a thin foot height wise, but a high instep which makes for a tricky fit. The lacing… Full review
Keen Men's Oregon PCT
This is a great product for those of us with wider feet. It's an extremely comfortable boot, and when purchased I bought half a size larger that allows for any foot swelling one gets after long days of hiking. This boot is my go-to boot for my most difficult terrain. I've used the boot many times, on several multi-day hikes from trails in Iceland, the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska, the La Clothe Silhouette Trail in Killarney Park, Ontario, Mount Assiniboine Park, and many others. Prior to purchasing… Full review