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
Belleville Mini-Mil TR102
This "military" boot is a minimal boot designed to give the user enhanced ground feel and flexibility, while providing enough protection to keep the foot injury free in harsh environments and/or rough terrain. It's durable leather upper combined with a custom Vibram sole makes it an exceptional boot, perhaps the first of it's kind to achieve such high performance. Minimal Boots and the Belleville Mini-Mil TR102: The Ultimate Review (The original review can be found on my blog: chasingyourmind.blogspot.com)… Full review
Altra Men's Superior
This would be a great mid-distance, less aggressive trail shoe for anyone who's into zero drop. The Altra Superior is a relatively slim zero-drop trail shoe. While they do take a beating (aside from the questionable cords on the upper), it provides a lighter and less-cushioned alternative to Atra's other trail line, the Lone Peak. Those of you who are looking for more toe room and a bit more protection than barefoot shoes should give the Superior serious consideration. For being a shaved down… Full review
The Asolo Piuma is a light, articulate mid-height boot well suited to hiking, backpacking, and general outdoors use. Despite some minor issues with traction, I'd recommend it to any hiker or backpacker it fits. This is the closest thing to an "all purpose" boot I've encountered. Fit: I've got a very neutral, average foot: Average arch, average volume, average elongation, etc. My stride is very neutral and balanced too. Though I measure a 10, I prefer a 10.5 in most shoes to accommodate a thicker… Full review
Herman Men's Survivor
Complete junk. Both soles split all the way through in less than three months. A total waste of money. Walmart has trashed this once respected brand. A complete waste of money. Less than three months both soles split all the way through. They were only worn in snow, and have little to no wear on them. Spend your money elsewhere, and avoid these like the plague. Full review
Vasque Men's Wasatch GTX
Bought these boots after extensive research. Apparently Vasque has dropped the ball regarding Chinese Quality Control of products. Had catastrophic sole failure at ball of foot on both boots after several years of day hikes. Not impressed due to fact that other Vasque products over the years have been superior products. The boots fitted well and provided great ankle support over moderate terrain. The break-in period was minimal and there were no blisters. However, I found that gaiters were necessary… Full review
Altra Men's Lone Peak 1.5
Very comfortable zero drop trail shoe with some cushion. Well, my first Altra trail shoe was the original Lone Peak, so it seemed when the 1.5 came out, I had to have them. I was a little put off by the color and surprised to see that the heel had been made stiff with added support. They fit very snug and very comfortable. They really lock right on to the foot for a solid fit. I'd say they fit well like any other Altra shoe. The shoe has handled a lot of different terrain and has also been beat… Full review
Herman Men's Survivor
Alone in the woods with Herman Survivor? You will not survive! Less than a year in a warehouse and the rubber bottom split and let water in. The fit is good, the comfort is also OK. Support also fine, temp .... the boot is OK except for 2 key. The boot I had was the "Coleman" The metal clasps for the laces snapped off on the top left, and then middle right... and then even the lowest, large appearently heavy duty clasp -- that failed too, inside of 6 months. The laces also were sub par, failing… Full review