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
Asolo Shiraz GV Boot
Solid, off-trail, 3-season backpacking boot. Kevlar performance for those who know. I wear euro size 46 and that's the boot size I own. Compared to others I have tried the fit is snug but correct for my medium volume feet, using the 3/4 length Birkenstock orthotic essential to my foot health in preventing heel blisters ascending. The boot is made of Schoeller Keprotec fabric instead of leather, with suede stitched onto the rand and heel, with rubber glued to the suede on the toe running about 2/3… Full review
Asolo Men's TPS 535 V
Comfortable and supportive boot is let down by a soft and delicate midsole. Outsole delaminated before it was in need of replacement. Resoling requires expert cobbler. Very comfortable and supportive boot, but the new "athletic" style layered midsole does not hold up to abuse. I have owned several pairs of Gore-Tex Asolos, and was impressed by this boot's initial comfort and adjustability. I abuse my boots, but the previous pair took nearly 10 years of monthly hiking, packing, and trail work until… Full review
Teva Men's X-1 Control 2
Great shoe for all mountain activity. Holds up to things that it wasn't really designed for: day hiking, mountain bike riding, rock climbing. Too bad they are gone. I hope someone else had a good experience with this outstanding shoe. It's a shame that this is discontinued. I have a pair that I bought for mountain biking. Yep, Crazy. But they work great for cross-country style riding. I have hiked with them on too. One thing I haven't done is run in them. I really can't say how well they would work… Full review
Superfeet Copper DMP
Great comfort and stability while hiking in all conditions. I started using these footbeds three years ago when I purchased a lighter weight hiking shoe. These footbeds have carried me all over the Long Trail. Fit: Can be cut to fit any shoe. I did trim the front toe area a little. Comfort: No break in needed. Support: Supports the arch and pads the heel and toe areas nicely. Water Resistance: My lighter hiking shoes do let water in, but these insoles dry quickly, actually don't soak up water so… Full review
Patagonia Women's Drifter A/C
Rugged lightweight shoe with gripping sole. Conditions: I have had this shoe for the past three years. I have hiked some rugged and muddy/wet parts of the Long Trail with 25-30 lbs on my back. This shoe is light but gives good support and is very comfortable for those of us with wider feet and narrow heels. I put the copper colored Superfeet footbed in mine and that has worked very well. Features: What I like most is that when I have inadvertently or unavoidably stepped in water or mud, the socks… Full review
Asolo Women's TPS 535
Excellent long lasting comfortable boots. I bought my first pair of these boots more than 10 years ago and they hiked all of the Long Trail and more. I carry from 25-30 lbs on 2- to 4-day overnight hikes. My old boots are beat up on the outside, but still very usable and have been put on consignment at my local gear shop. As I have aged, my foot size has changed, so I have purchased another new pair of the exact same boot one size larger, with the Goretex. Instantly comfortable. Looking forward… Full review
Gempler PVC Plain Toe Boots
Gempler's PVC Plain Toe Boot is a nearly indestructible, waterproof boot that is perfect for caving and canyoneering. It would also have great application in canoe portages. If you ever meet a European caver, they will probably be wearing "Wellies," those big rubber boots designed for mucking about in the barnyard. The problem with Wellies is once they fill with water, you are carrying that water weight, until you drain them. Gempler's 6" Laceup PVC Boot (sold in both plain and steel toe) is an… Full review