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
Asolo Men's Shiraz GV Boot
Awesome boot for getting of the beaten path. Aggressive sole design and moderately stiff lasting board will keep you climbing all day. Would recommend for steep and rocky settings with moderate to light pack loads. Purchased the boot around March 2016, after deciding to replace my old pair of Asolos that treated me so well. Here are some things you may notice right away when they show up at your door- - Fairly rigid shank and tough rubber construction of the sole and toe give the boot a really… Full review
They are awful and i was more scared with them on walking on ice and snow, then with them off. They are made durable, and they are worth the price, however walking in a nonice or nonsnow sidewalk and street can do damage to your walking, and it is highly not recommended. Full review
Vasque Men's Snowblime UltraDry
Warm, comfortable right out of the box, waterproof. I had exactly one day to break in a brand new pair of these boots before a 12-mile round trip with a heavy pack into the back country in the Adirondacks this last weekend in February, followed by some peakbagging in heavy snow with a daypack. I was concerned about blisters so I brought a ton of Moleskin, but never used it. Some very slight rubbing around the top of the boot, but I just left the top hooks undone and that took care of that. I could… Full review
Point6 Hiking Tech Medium Crew
I find these socks more durable than Smartwools, which I have stopped purchasing because I punch/wear through the toe area in a short period of time. Although I like the similar socks from Darn Tough, including: Hike/Trek Light Cushion (1913), Nordic (1820) and X-Country (1420); I find the Point6 to be more comfortable. They are not as stiff or tight as the DT's and have just the right amount of stretch to them. The listed DT socks give very little. I find these socks comfortable, durable and easy… Full review
Salomon Men's X Ultra Prime CS WP
Very comfortable, well built, good looking, hiking shoes. I bought these shoes mainly as everyday shoes, but I did want to have the option of fast-hiking lightweight shoes I can take to the outdoors. As I yet didn't have the chance to test them on a tough trek, I can't express my opinion on that kind of use. But as an everyday shoes they are perfect, very comfortable, not too stiff, but not as flexible as running shoes, giving them, in my opinion, the perfect balance between flex and support. I… Full review
Black Diamond Serac Strap
12-point stainless steel crampon that does the job. I bought these a couple of years ago and I've used them only in snow ranging from powder to crust with my flexible hunting boots, but never on solid ice.After some mixed rocky trail hike, a fellow hiker advised me to buy a knife sharpening stone to sharpen the edges from time to time. I came to no result since stainless steel is VERY HARD to sharpen. Not that I needed any sharpening because till this day they are as sharp as they were when I first… Full review
John Calden Boots Men's Mountain Hiking Boot
These boots are great for on-trail or off-trail hiking. I hike in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado in and around Durango and Silverton. I have never found a satisfactory pair of store bought boots. The most common problems have been heel slippage and black/blue toes. A friend of mine suggested that I contact John Calden. He works out of Estes Park, Colorado, which is a short drive from Denver. I made an appointment with John at his workshop. He took a very careful measurement of each… Full review