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
Limmer Men's Light-Weight
Very comfortable. Feels light while still being supportive. Great customer service. Good for backpacking for lighter people with moderate loads (~40-60 pounds). Once broken in, the Limmer Lightweights have been the most comfortable boots that I've worn for backpacking. Even though they are called lightweights, they are just as supportive as other backpacking boots that I've worn. With the rocker soles, they feel much lighter when moving along on a trail. Full review
This is the first pair of lace-up, shoe style water shoes I have owned, and I admit, had I not won these, I probably would still be using slip on neoprene cheapie-type water shoes. But these are great! I have used them for many canoe outings and canoe camping trips, and I can say that I cannot imagine a better pair of shoes for my paddling needs. In deciding which size to order for this model shoes, I did some research, which indicated they may tend to run a bit small; I ordered a half size up from… Full review
Danner Men's Light II
Not what I expected. I normally buy the Radical but decided to cough up the big $$$ this time. Bad decision. I wore these boots for two weeks at work and my feet could not take it anymore. Had to switch to a new pair of Radicals. Much easier on my feet. I drive commercial garbage truck and push and pull containers every day so they got a workout. So did my feet. New callouses started on my left foot. They are a super cool looking, waterproof boot, but for the price I will be sticking with the Radical… Full review
Salewa Men's Alp Trainer Mid GTX
Comfortable. I wear a 13 wide in most boots and these 13 mediums are snug, but comfy. I put about 5 miles on them the first day out and it rained. My feet stayed dry through small puddles and the soles held traction on wet rocks. I like the boots. I'd like them better if they were made in Italy, not Vietnam. True to size. Comfortable. It hasn't been really hot, but supposedly these boots will keep my feet cool. We'll see. Have done 5 mile walks in them on all kinds of terrain and they work fine… Full review
Mion Women's Ebb Tide Slide
Best shoes I've ever worn. Comfortable and long lasting. LOVE the toes protected, lightweight yet still good for easy hiking. I want want want more! So many people stop and ask me where I got them! Full review
Vasque Breeze 2.0 Low
The perfect desert/hot climate day-hiking shoe available, specifically for those individuals that have very HOT feet. The original shoe was discontinued around 2010 and brought back to life again due to demand. Re-Reviewed: Vasque Breeze 2.0 Low; 2015 model Here is a shoe that was brought back from the dead (discontinued around 2010) remanufactured again due to popular demand. Even though the price went up, it's still well worth it. Years ago, Campmor personnel informed me that this was their… Full review
Approach shoes are trail hikers that are also intended for diversions such as easier rock climbs and scrambling that require good traction, a secure fit, and durability. The Granite, with men's and women's versions, meets those needs with a comfortable, stable shoe built on a last that is best for people whose feet are wider at the ball of the foot. Some useful features include speed laces that run all the way to the toes, a reinforced toe area, and sticky high-traction soles. This mostly full-leather… Full review