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
Ozark Trail mountain hiker
Bought these shoes and first time out of box, maybe 20 minutes on, entire sole come off. Waste of money, never again!!! Would not recommend this product to anyone! When you take a shoe out of the box you expect it to last a while, not 20 minutes. Had to leave the job site and go buy shoes to work. Full review
Five Ten Anasazi Moccasym
This has been my main climbing shoe for two years now. I have used it extensively in bouldering, and sport routes in the gym and outside. The leather and elastic perfectly formed to my feet and I never felt the shoes come off if I rarely did any heel-hooking. From plenty of climbing, the first part of the shoe was the tip and the leather is soft so I can feel the holds under the rubber which boosted my confidence on small holds. Full review
Merrell Chameleon II Traveler
The best pair of shoes I have ever owned! Hands down the best pair of shoes I have ever owned! I wore these shoes every day for three years while working in a busy ski resort office. Shoe has enough style and simplicity that it was suitable for office wear and the durability to let me stand in the snow for long periods of time while keeping my toes toasty. I still give them an annual seal before winter and wear them as often as possible. Seven years on they are still my go-to piece of footwear for… Full review
Danner Mountain Assault
Great boots, sturdy support, water tight! Take a beating and still look good! I have had these boots for about four years. They have held up very well under rough use. They compare to some of the Lowa boots I have (Tibet, Hunter Evo, Baffin Pro, etc). The toe box seemed low volume in a 14EE but broke in nicely with a little use. Love them for hiking, hunting, and woods play in cool or wet weather. Awesome with a big pack, very sturdy. With good socks good to freezing or below if active. Would buy… Full review
Asolo Men's Neutron GV
Great stability on steeper trails with load. Good for narrower feet. Bit on the heavier side. Great fit. Have been using these hiking boots for a few weeks now and wear them daily to work apart from trails on the weekends. I wear a 10.5 for my street shoes and got the same in these. These run a bit narrower and suit my somewhat narrow feet well. They did need a few days to break in. I haven't experienced any chafing. I did notice a sore point on my inner ankle bone on one hike, but this has since… Full review
Ozark Trail Men's Hikers
I have bought a few pairs of the boots and shoes for men. And it's a country flip if they make a bad odor. I wore the last pair shoes for about two hours and could start smelling them. Switch shoes (after washing again) and nothing. I'm sure it's in the material in some of shoes. But very comfortable. Full review
Brooks Men's Cascadia 11
These shoes serve as my day hikers and trainers. Great stability and traction with solid support. The fit is true to size and they are narrow in the heel, which is perfect for my foot. I run mountain trails to stay in hiking shape and was looking for a trail shoe with support and durability. I am very pleased with the narrow fit which prevents the shoe from slipping on my heels. The shoe is durably built and very stable on the trail which was key in my purchase decision. The support may be part… Full review