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
Five Ten Men's Access Mesh
The Five.ten Access is a lightweight, low cut approach shoe that offers superior traction, support and breathability. The Access would be best for someone looking for an all around Access shoe (get it?), whether that is an approach for climbing, hopping on a flat pedal bike for the day or light duty scrambling (maybe up to low fifth class). They could make some improvements by adding a heel loop to clip them to your harness and extend the lacing to the toe. PREAMBLE First we need to address the… Full review
Wenger Swiss Army Anchorage Mid
Check product closely Appears good on the outside I purchased a pair of Anchorage mid boots in the USA. The third eyelet from the bottom on the left boot pulled out after the third use. What can I do? Full review
Hi-Tec Men's MultiTerra Low
Six months wear of MultiTerra Low boots and the soles fell off. A very comfortable boot but what's the point of buying them if down the road/trail the damn soles drop off (carry a spare pair or a roll of duct tape). Shoe looked like it was well made, fitted well, and was comfortable to wear. Good design let down by poor construction. Soles glued to the uppers; poor glue quality, or poor workmanship or maybe a bit of both. So disappointed to think I had found a good make of shoe and to have them… Full review
Filson Uplander Boots
Awesome all purpose boot that will outlast me. I have had these boots for over a year now so I feel pretty comfortable reviewing them in depth. I love these boots. I have a fair number of boots and these really are the best ones I own. These were my work boots when I was working in South Asia, they were my hiking boots when I trekked the Annapurna Circuit, they are my hunting boots, and they are my winter boots. So the fit, I was excited about these because they offered them in EE. I usually have… Full review
Garmont Women's Eclipse III GTX XCR
Both good protection and comfortable to walk/run in. Makes the waiking so effortless and easy. I love these shoes. I have been using these shoes for 13 years. I feel that I'm walking effortlessly because of the sole and the shape of the shoe. The shoes are good for walking in light mountain terrain, in the forest, and on the road. Full review
Ozark Trail Boots
If you need only the top half of the boot, these are the boots for you. Trash...need I say more. Shame on you Walmart for selling a product this bad. Full review
This is a review of a water shoe made by the Chinese company CLORTS. These shoes were an unsolicited gift, sent to me by the company. I guess they had seen some of my other reviews on my YouTube channel, "The One Canoe", and wanted me to try out their product as they are new to the North American market. I put the model 3H025A water shoe through its paces on a recent canoe trip on Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada. This was the kind of trip where you are constantly in and out of the canoe, so your… Full review