Footwear

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.

Learn more about how to choose footwear below »

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.

Need more help? Read our Guide to Outdoor Footwear and The Wet Foot Test: Find Your Foot Type.

Recent Footwear Product Reviews

Arc'teryx Alpha FL

rated 5 of 5 stars A very impressive shoe with a design unlike any other shoe I have used previously because of the unique inner and outer construction. I would highly recommend this shoe for anyone looking for a durable, light, and comfortable approach/hiking shoe. I had the opportunity to test the Arc'teryx Alpha FL hiking/approach shoe during the winter of 2014-2015 in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. Fit and Comfort: Over the years I have purchased a variety of footwear. These have ranged from sandals… Full review

Salomon Men's Sense Mantra

rated 5 of 5 stars From Meh! to Wow! I had to attend an unexpected 55k trail race and after research I didn't think that my regular trail shoes (Vibram Spyridon) were suitable. I found a Salomon retailer with a good sale and I chose these Mantras. The reasons to buy them were that they were light enough for a 6 hours long run, and the outsole looked good but not over-specialized to mud or to rock.  Although all the theory was good, when I tried them on, I didn't feel nothing. Completely underwhelmed. I am used to… Full review

Herman Men's Survivor

rated 1 of 5 stars DO NOT, DO NOT con yourself into buying Herman Survivors steel toe work boots. The limited warranty is only 90 days and the boots just make it past warranty to scam you. I was very skeptical purchasing this steel-toe boot. But, I conned myself into it. I liked the tough-looking thick soles, so like a sucker I bought them. However, just 115 days down the road and after working in them, I noticed the leather already appeared somewhat deteriorated. I looked very closely at the boots and noticed how… Full review

Danner Combat Hiker Gore-Tex

rated 5 of 5 stars All-American boot. At the time of purchase I was worried by the reviews stating that the Crater Rim/CH's were narrow, but still went with my normal 8.5R. I always wear a 8.5D in my Asics. I'm glad I went with the 8.5R because they fit perfectly and I don't consider my feet particularly narrow. My feet measure 3 and 1/2" at the widest and 10 and 1/4" lengthwise. Hope my measurements help because they would have helped me decide. The boots are a bit stiff, but any good boot is and I feel like they… Full review

Esatto Men's Classic Hiker

rated 5 of 5 stars They fit your feet and are well constructed. There is no slop so you don't build up callouses anywhere on your feet and the shoes/boots last forever. Money well spent. I have been whitewater rafting for over twenty years and for as equally long been searching for a good river sandal. From the commercial industry there is no such thing available. I have tried them all. Problems range from being too slippery and filling with sand the moment you step on shore; to the straps going completely slack the… Full review

Five Ten Men's Camp Four

rated 4.5 of 5 stars These are my go-to shoes for day hikes. I've done 1 or 2 light overnights (15-20lbs) in these when I knew it'd be dry and I would appreciate the traction due to rocky terrain. I have pretty average feet, so I'm not sure if that's why I didn't have the sizing problems the other reviewers had or not. These shoes were comfy out of the box with all the sock options I threw at them.  These shoes were also very comfortable during hot Joshua Tree summer days. They vented heat really well  but you sacrifice… Full review

Five Ten Men's Exum Guide

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Great boot that fills the gap between Burly Backpacking Tank and Wispy Barely there Trailrunner. I'm going to get this out of the way first since it's ultimately not very important. My pair is a light gray, almost white color. The first time I wore them on a hike (16 miles up Icebox Canyon in the summer so lots of dust) they looked beat all to heck. This in no way effected their performance but it looked like they were old and beat up.  I've worn them for a little bit of everything, backpacking… Full review