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
Herman Men's Survivor
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
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
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
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
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
OOFOS OOriginal Sport Sandal
Super comfortable sandal. Great arch support and very lightweight. I have to admit that prior to receiving the Oofos OOriginal sport sandal for testing, I hated flip-flop type sandals. They all hurt my toes and their flat profile made them horrible to walk in. So it was with a lot of skepticism that I agreed to test the Oofos sandal in a men's size 9. The Marsala color is attractive. The bottom of the sandal is a dark gray, fading to a soft red color at the straps. Fitment was good, with a half… Full review
L.A. Gear Trek
If you are on a TIGHT budget, this shoe will fit and by fit I mean WIDE FIT for those in need as I am. Most comfortable shoe I've worn in years on the trail, around town, mowing the lawn, etc. I am relatively new to hiking and I know people are going to say L.A. Gear for hiking!! I liked these shoes so much after my first 6-day hike that I went back and bought 5 more pairs for the future. Some of you may be able to relate that as soon as you like a certain shoe and you go back to guy another. The… Full review