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
Inov-8 Men's Trailroc 245
This trailrunner may be a lightweight, but it's a heavy hitter when it comes to function. Light weight, good grip and moderate longevity makes for an excellent three season shoe on the trails. Low footdrop and minimal padding provides just enough foot protection from below while keeping your center of gravity low. I have owned several other Inov-8 shoes, and this is by far the best model I've purchased to date. Living in East Tennessee, most of my hiking is on trails in the Great Smoky Mountain… Full review
Merrell Women's Capra Sport Gore-Tex
Great, supportive shoe for rocky trails. I LOVE these shoes!! Very sturdy soles for rocky trails, which is what I was looking for. My shop didn't carry the gortex version but they ordered them in for me. I love being out in the rain and have excellent rain gear - thus the desire for dry feet to go with it. Fit: I have a lot of trouble finding a shoe to fit my right foot. A bad injury years ago collapsed the arch and though, over time and treatment, it has come back, there is a calcium deposit, a… Full review
Nevados Hiking Boots
Nevados hiking boot quality is not great! Not much of waterproof on my hiking boots. Nevados hiking boots is comfortable to wear and going hiking, but the problem is it's not waterproof enough and you can feel the water go inside the boots. It will dry it up for a while. These hiking boots are too cheap and not a great quality. My recommendation is to be sure to purchase hiking boots that is a bit expensive — the more the better to wear! Full review
Lundhags Syncro High
Legendary. It is hard to write a review on boots that you cannot find any real faults with. My dad bought a pair 15 years ago. Almost every day he walks/run in the mountains in Lofoten for 10 to 15 miles. It is boot torture. They still work. Their durability is legendary, and most people have these for life. I got mine a year ago and I have used them on every hike since (around 20 to 30 miles a week). I just love them. But...these boots fit my feet. You have to try them on. These are rugged… Full review
Keen Women's Voyageur Mid
I have worn these hiking boots for three years, last me long time. Comfortable waterproof, light, easy to hiking. I still loved these hiking boots. It was worth the money, expensive yes! Till 3 years worn out! Excellent hiking boots and had worn them for three years and now worn out, can't use it anymore. I will definitely buy similar product again. It fits me so comfortably, cool inside, dry very quickly, no pressure or chaffing at all. When I'm hiking in my boots I can feel the sole underneath… Full review
Kamik Watertown Sport Sandals
Lightweight, go anywhere sandals. Great fit. These are very good sandals for hiking without a pack, no extra weight. Do not offer enough support when hiking with a full pack. Fit is true to size, both length and width. Traction in all categories is very good. Full review
L.L.Bean Discovery Sandals, Closed-Toe
Very good sandal to use when canoeing, kayaking, or just being in and around the water. Reasonably priced and very comfortable. Meets a need for a paddler with larger feet, who cannot access some other paddle shoe brands. My husband recently purchased a pair of L.L. Bean’s Discovery Sandal to use when canoeing, kayaking, or just being in and around the water. He knows I really like my Brewer water shoes, (see our review on Trailspace). For canoeing, he has been using an inexpensive pair of neoprene… Full review