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
Keen , BRYCE MID WP
Light weight, Water Proof, very comfortable, rugged KEEN, BRYCE MID WP, Priced around $135 US Weight: 18.5 oz/525 gStyle: BootsCollections: OutdoorType: Hiking, WaterproofActivities: HikingWeather: Wet – waterproofLining: KEEN.DRY™ waterproof breathable membraneUpper: Nubuck and textile upper Im picky about my foot wear. Its GOT to hold up to mud, water, sand, rocks etc. Im a self defined " Hardcore Hiker/Camper". Most of my hikes are in Eastern Kentucky's Red River Gorge. Rough country… Full review
Vasque Men's Wasatch GTX
Bought these boots about 3 years ago. Horrible for walking on wet rocks, mud, snow. Would not recommend these boots to even my worse enemy. Quite a bit disappointed with how the waterproofing works, IT DOES NOT! I attributed my feet being wet to sweaty feet and not worn in yet boots. I was wrong. Just hiked today 9-1-2014 at Revelstoke Mountain 24 km, and the boots were crap. My feet were drenched from walking in the tall grass, the inside of the boots were soaked within an hour and half into the… Full review
Salomon Men's Conquest GTX
Are the lightest and with good support in the ankle boots. It is a boot to have it set 12 hours or more with incredible comfort. As a Personal Protection Specialist, I use this boot for every mission, casual and sport without any complaint. Very good waterproof boots during raining time. Are the lightest boots I ever tried, and with good support in ankle. It is a boot to have it set 12 hours or more with incredible comfort. As a Personal Protection Specialist, I have 10 pair of hiking boots in different… Full review
Hanwag Alaska GTX
AWESOME B1 rated boot, supportive, stiff, and great for scrambles! I have now used this boot extensively including for a light low level hike (30 odd km) and then up and down Tryfan in Wales, UK, even on the eastern traverse (tending more towards grade 2+ scrambling and rock climbing). It performed excellently! To the stiffness 'problem' person, the likelihood is that the boot doesn't fit your foot shape at all, in which case of course they won't be comfortable. For your foot to flex 'with' the… Full review
Merrell Men's Outland Mid Waterproof
Great hiking boots right out if the box. Good stability and grip. I bought these shoes the night before my wife and I hiked Gray's Peak (one of Colorado's 14ers). I brought another pair of boots with me to switch them out if I got blisters, but the shoes were great. Out of the box, 14-mile hike and a 4,500 ascent and they did great. Excellent grip, good comfort and support and my feet stayed dry crossing a few small streams. Full review
AKU Tribute GTX
Good boots, especially for the price. I picked these guys up for $75 on STP. That said, had I had to pay full price I would probably be a bit disappointed. As described on the AKU website, they're not the most technical or rigid boot in the world, though I wore them on a short (20 mi / 30 km) backpacking trip with an absurdly heavy pack over easy/medium terrain and I felt that they provided all the necessary support. But the eyelets the laces go through can be sharp, causing the laces to fray and… Full review
Vasque Men's Breeze
Only lasted a year, never even got to hike with them. The sole fell apart :-( Comfortable, but only last a year and fall apart! Full review