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
Lowa Women's Vertex GTX
Comfortable, super-squeaky boot. Comfortable boot, little break-in period required. I tend to roll my ankles easily and so was attracted to the extra ankle support provided by the plastic ankle "cuffs". However, contrary to what another reviewer claimed, these do squeak. They squeak with every single step and every single movement. I thought the squeak would go away over time, but after wearing these for over a hundred miles, it's still there. The boots are comfortable enough that I… Full review
La Sportiva Men's Karakorum
Replaced a pair of long lived Asolo TPS 520s with these in preparation for a mountaineering climb that required crampons. I loved the Asolo's but needed something with a more rigid sole. In 1989 I bought my first "real" hiking boots. The $80 Vasque boots bragged of full-grain leather, double-stitched soles, steel shank, leather liner, and Vibram soles. They made me feel like I could go through anything. They lasted me about 10 years until one of the soles separated from the upper 7 miles up a snowy… Full review
Salomon Men's X-Scream
A very good hybrid shoe. When I'm running my local trails, I have to run about a mile or so to get to a trailhead. That mile can be a pain when I'm wearing some of my heavier trail shoes. So, being a Salomon geek I had to go out and buy the X-Scream, if only because it was advertised as a hybrid shoe. I've now worn them several times on the trail and can say they perform as advertised—meaning they are comfortable on pavement and the tread grips well on the trail. That said, if you are running… Full review
Salomon XA Trail Pro Running Socks
The second most important piece of running equipment. So, who writes a review about socks? You can get them anywhere—drugstores, Target, even gas stations will have a pair that will likely fit your feat. So what's the big deal? The big deal is next to your shoes, socks will affect your running. A bad sock will give you blisters, let ticks attack your ankles, or allow your friends to ridicule you. Socks are IMPORTANT MAN! That said, these socks are fantastic! No pinching, no rubbing of the top… Full review
Montrail Women's Torre GTX
Lightweight and breathable because of the Gore-tex materials, but extremely tough. I've taken these boots through every terrain and temperature. I've climbed up to volcanic glaciers, trekked through the rainforest, hiked through the outback and survived monsoons all in pretty easy comfort. They've only just started to show wear in four years after a construction project landed them sole-deep in concrete. I'd say the Torre is a multitasked boot that can save packing space and weight. I use it as… Full review
Salomon Men's X-Scream
Transitioning from road to trail is a tough thing to do for a shoe. The Salomon X-Scream does an incredible job of providing rugged support for trails yet a smooth ride on pavement. Disclaimer: I own a running store. However, I do not carry Salomon products. The Salomon X-Scream is a new shoe in Salomon's City-Trail line that boasts itself to be a transition shoe from pavement to off-road. I have been turned off by Salomon's shoes in the past due to their narrow fit and my wide feet, but I thought… Full review
Salomon Women's Techamphibian 3
This is a fast drying water shoe great for hiking or cycling. I originally got these for hiking the Zion Narrows trail a couple of years ago. They worked great for that purpose. They had decent traction on slick rock, dried relatively quickly and they nicely protected my toes while still being well ventilated for hot weather. For the same reason I have worn them canoeing and on cycling tours. After being caught in a total downpour on my bike, the next morning I woke up at my campsite and the shoes… Full review