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
Oboz Men's Firebrand II
Review writing in progress ... please check back soon! Comfortable, highly stable, burly durable outting foot support in a three season shoe. Pre-Test Visual Impression: I do not want to like these shoes! (for one key use envisioned) Post Test Impression: If you research and test functionality carefully ... you get what you pay for, and sometimes more. Beauty is more than skin deep. What does 'Oboz' mean anyway? Hobo? Branded by an Obsessive Great Oz like person? I had to ask! Turns… Full review
John Calden Boots Mountain Hiking Boot
Perfect fit from day 1 for hard to fit feet. Never a sore spot. No toe jam on descending. Really really great boot. Worth the wait and the money as I don't think I will need another boot ever. Full review
John Calden Boots Women's Mountain Shoe
I've had my Calden Boots for three seasons now, and about 500 miles later, I absolutely love, love these boots! They are the most comfortable and durable boots I've ever owned. It is obvious John took much time and consideration in making my boots, the fit couldn't be better. I have hiked up to 20 miles in one day, and yes my feet are tired but I couldn't have done this in store bought boots. These boots have allowed me to continue long hikes. Another thing I noticed is I don't get pain in my… Full review
John Calden Boots Mountain Hiking Boot
After four different pairs of hiking boots in 15 years that didn't quite fit the Mountain Hiking Boots fit perfectly right away. I have a pair of the Mountain Hiking boots made with 4 mm leather uppers and leather midsole. They are great. These are stiff soled heavy boots used for hiking and backpacking. Fit: The fit was perfect from the moment I put them on. Break-in time was the 2 minutes it took to walk from the car to the trail head. Comfort: The box toe provides plenty of room. I have never… Full review
Ozark Trail Hikers
Keep my feet from hurting. I spent hundreds of dollars on brand name boots that hurt my feet until I tried these less expensive boots. I was figuring why spend hundreds on boots that hurt when I could hurt for less and to my surprise pain went away. And they kept my feet warm and dry for the Minnesota winter. They don't last as long as the $130 boots sitting in my closet that I'll probably pass down to my son, but I can buy a new pair every season for less. I am sorry to hear so many people have… Full review
Asolo Aconcagua GV
--- REVIEW WRITING STILL IN PROGRESS.--- I'm posting this NOW just in case someone wants to snag a pair. I just found out from Asolo that these are a limited offerring NOT DISTRIBUTED IN THE USA (see my source below who suddenly listed a few all as almost gone, but in several sizes 9.5 to 13). Asolo Medium boots typically run on the narrow side for foot volume and heal width, but have nice toe box size. These boots feel like they are going to be EPIC like their namesake (Mt Aconcagua is the highest… Full review
Merrell Women's Continuum
Good shoe so far. I just bought these and did 6 miles in them today. They are sturdy and wide toe and my feet feel good in them. More support to my feet than my other Merrells that I did 700 miles in this year—and hardly wore them down. I think they will do. I don't understand other posts about Merrell shoelaces. I have not had a problem with them. Full review