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
Black Diamond Snaggletooth
Good precision and grip, but slightly heavy. I bought them for mixed climbing routes with a lot of rock climbing involved and they proved very adequate for the task indeed. I used them with a pair of La Sportiva Baturas and they performed very well with great feeling and precision. However there was this incident on the downclimb when one of the crampons suddenly came off without particular reason. I had them fitted really hard, so I don't know what happened but since then I am a bit cautious. Full review
Salomon Super Mountain 9 Guide
Excellent boot. If you can get them they are worth it. I have used these boots in all conditions for the last 20 years and find them to be a very rugged boot. I am trying to find another pair as I have worn mine out. If anyone has a pair they are willing to part with in a size 11 or 12 let me know. Full review
Baffin Men's Impact
These are about the best cold weather boots money can buy. These are the boots to buy when you have serious weather to deal with or you are fed up of buying boots from companies that make false claims. These are about the best cold weather boots money can buy. When you see them in real life you will realize what it takes to keep safe in extreme temps. And NO they are not meant for climbing because they are made for much colder environments, but there again no one has ever lost their toes wearing… Full review
Esatto Women's Classic Hiker
Your whole body will be in proper alignment. Weight is distributed evenly on hips, knees, and back. There are not pressure spots. Your ankle and feet are comfortable immediately after wearing, even for the first time. If price and lead time is preventing you from ordering your boots, then don't waste any more time—get on it and place an order ASAP. You will not be disappointed. Here is my story: Many sports related injuries, on the same leg have left me with almost an inch difference in length,… Full review
The North Face Women's Chilkats
I had the exact same experience with the lower rubber portion of the boot starting to crack with chunks of the material falling off completely after being worn only a few times. I had not worn them more than 5-7 times. Very disappointing. Full review
Mishmi Takin Kameng Mid eVent
My experience with a brand new shoe in the Himalayas. I finally got the shoe I had been waiting for. Had to go on a quick trip in the Himalayas, start of winter, needed to cover about 45 kms in two days on a hard trail. Wore it straight on the day I was suppose to hike and everything was smooth. Waterproofing really works. The grip on icy patches was great. After a short break, had another chance to hike above 3,200 meters in about 2-3 feet of snow and it was a dream. Not an inch was wet within. Full review
Keen Men's Targhee II Mid
I experienced sole and lacing eyelet failure at about six months of light hiking. Initial fit was good but the boots failed. I do not recommend this boot. Hiked two to four miles maybe five times a week and the boots failed at about six months. Initial fit was nice. Durability is questionable. I do not recommend for long hikes, my boots failed... Full review