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
Merrell Men's Sawtooth
I have owned my boots now for almost four years, have hiked much of western Maryland, with these boots using them four times a week, and they have travelled with me to Colombia and been used extensively here over various terrain and are still going strong. These boots are great. I will change the laces and add an innersole and probably get another four years out of them. Going with me to the Mexico border region next. The fit was great for me, 10.5 fit like a 10.5. Were a little stiff to start,… Full review
Injinji Trail 2.0 Midweight Mini-Crew
These socks are great for hiking! I love these socks! They fit perfectly and really do help prevent blisters. I got some terrible blisters on my toes and the balls of my feet on a 20-mile backpacking trip early this summer and subsequently bought these socks. I did the same hike last weekend and I did not re-blister my feet even though I was carrying even more weight this time! The socks are comfortable, moisture-wicking, and stretchy. They have a tighter, stretchy area in the middle that really… Full review
Darn Tough Team Micro Crew
Hiking or running, these socks will keep your feet comfortable for miles and miles. Highly recommended! My wife got me these socks as a Valentine's Day gift...don't laugh, it was actually very thoughtful. I said I wanted to get more socks for hiking and such, and she found what turned out to be a great pair of socks for me. I've been wearing these socks for many different occasions since I got them. Everyday use during the winter, running, and for hiking. I've put probably 100 miles on them so far,… Full review
SmartWool Men's Hiking Ultra Light Mini
After dismissing this sock as sub-par, I have a new found appreciation of them. They are not a great hiking sock, but they are pretty decent for running and cycling. I have own this sock for more than a year. On my first backpacking trip with it, I wrote it off as a bad purchase. The reason for this was the low cut did not work well with a light hiker (like my Merrell Moab Ventilator pictured here). Shortly into a hike, especially in wet conditions, the top of the sock is below the back of the shoe,… Full review
Keen Women's Targhee II
Good looking hiking shoe that is great for every day, but my ankle was killed on my last hike. I had been shopping for a new pair of hiking shoes and decided on this pair about two months ago. I usually wear an 8 1/2 and sometimes 9, but ended up with the 8 1/2. I was about to buy them at REI, but they were out of stock and ended up getting them on Amazon. I wore them around all day for a week in town, long walks, and easy hikes to break them in. I really do not believe that they really needed to… Full review
Asolo Men's Khumbu
Excellent boot all-around. Excellent traction in all terrain, completely waterproof. Comfortable and cool. Very good impact resistance, very well-made boot for backpacking, hiking and at-home wear. This is a serious boot suitable for all outdoor enthusiasts. The fit is excellent, both with the original insole and with after-market insoles. The narrow heel provides a stable platform for foot and ankle support, and prevents unpredictable movement and loss of stability of the foot. The lacing system… Full review
The North Face Men's Havoc Mid GTX XCR
Very lightweight hiking boot, almost sneaker-like boots. Was enjoying until it leaked. I am a newbie to hiking and it has been only 2,5 months since I started outdoor sports. The activities I do are mostly hiking, canyoning, caving. Although I am new, I have been out doing something every Sunday. I was looking for a lightweight, hiking boot which was also a waterproof, comfortable boot. I wanted something that I will be able to wear also in summer. As I was a newbie, I did not really know what I… Full review