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
Lowa Men's Renegade II GTX Mid
Not recommended After 200 miles walking on pavements over 10 weeks both heels have worn down and one shoe has gone all the way through. This has never happened on any other shoe I've owned. The retailer and manufacturer claimed the issue was down to my walking style - i.e. too heavy on my heels! Eventually they replaced them and so we'll see what happens. Very expensive shoe only to last 200 miles. Full review
Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX
These boots are by far, the best hiking/light climbing boot I've owed. The rigidity of the boot is the right balance between comfort and support. With a medium weight sock they are warm enough for winter hikes or snowshoeing. The sizing is a bit large; you may have to go down a 1/2 a size. The only negative aspect of these boots is their traction. They are terrible on ice and quite slippery on smooth rock. The laces are very thick and difficult to keep tied, however the way they lock around your… Full review
L.L.Bean Women's Bean Boots, 6"
These boots are wonderfully dry and warm to keep you comfortable in all weather but one. In winter weather, which switches between thaw and frost, there will be thick ice on the ground and you need to have good antislides added to your soles or you will fall continuously!! This boot gives a very good fit, is a little tricky to get on, but easy to get out of. It keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable in all weather. I think perhaps there has been an inner insulator, but I do not know since my… Full review
Nanospikes are a super versatile traction device that work on snow, ice, rocks, and pavement. I purchased these for hiking in Colorado in the winter. I wanted a traction device that would allow me to go back and forth between snow/ice and rocks/dirt. Nanospikes fit the bill perfectly. I never slip, even on solid ice (though I do make sure my foot is firmly planted with each step, to set the spikes.) My traction on rocks and pavement is unaffected, and I also appreciate that these tiny tungsten carbide… Full review
Zamberlan Trekking Medium Weight Socks
Excellent pair of technical socks that keep feet (mostly) dry! Having a good outdoors experience greatly depends on the boots you're wearing. I believe that boots comprise 80% and socks the rest 20% of this experience. And 20% is a lot... No matter how breathable your boot/shoe may be your comfort still relies on the direct-to-skin component: your sock. Your skin breathes, even when you're standing still, let alone hiking. Your feet sweat, the sock soaks, and the skin starts to get wrinkly and soft… Full review
Mion Men's Shagashellic Clog
Har haft sådan et par sko i gennem flere år. man får ikke bedre fodtøj at gå i. ønsker di kommer i produktion igen [Google Translate from Danish: Have had such a pair of shoes for several years. You do not get better footwear to walk in. Want it going back into production.] find mig et par nye, da jeg savner dem meget. de har været udsat for alt men nu har min hund spist den ene )-: st EU 45-46 [Find me a new pair because I miss them very much. they have been exposed to everything but now… Full review
Easy slip-on, easy slip off, won't fall off. Well designed and durable. I bought two sets of these. They are easy to put on, easy to remove, yet won't fall off thanks to the silicone band they use for the foot mount. Easy to learn how to put them on—I learned in seconds where the front and rear were, and there's a pull tab on the rear to facilitate this. Silicone and all-stainless construction of the metal parts make these extremely durable for use. The spikes appear to be case-hardened, a necessity… Full review