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
Lundhags Syncro High
Legendary. It is hard to write a review on boots that you cannot find any real faults with. My dad bought a pair 15 years ago. Almost every day he walks/run in the mountains in Lofoten for 10 to 15 miles. It is boot torture. They still work. Their durability is legendary, and most people have these for life. I got mine a year ago and I have used them on every hike since (around 20 to 30 miles a week). I just love them. But...these boots fit my feet. You have to try them on. These are rugged… Full review
Keen Women's Voyageur Mid
I have worn these hiking boots for three years, last me long time. Comfortable waterproof, light, easy to hiking. I still loved these hiking boots. It was worth the money, expensive yes! Till 3 years worn out! Excellent hiking boots and had worn them for three years and now worn out, can't use it anymore. I will definitely buy similar product again. It fits me so comfortably, cool inside, dry very quickly, no pressure or chaffing at all. When I'm hiking in my boots I can feel the sole underneath… Full review
Kamik Watertown Sport Sandals
Lightweight, go anywhere sandals. Great fit. These are very good sandals for hiking without a pack, no extra weight. Do not offer enough support when hiking with a full pack. Fit is true to size, both length and width. Traction in all categories is very good. Full review
L.L.Bean Discovery Sandals, Closed-Toe
Very good sandal to use when canoeing, kayaking, or just being in and around the water. Reasonably priced and very comfortable. Meets a need for a paddler with larger feet, who cannot access some other paddle shoe brands. My husband recently purchased a pair of L.L. Bean’s Discovery Sandal to use when canoeing, kayaking, or just being in and around the water. He knows I really like my Brewer water shoes, (see our review on Trailspace). For canoeing, he has been using an inexpensive pair of neoprene… Full review
Salomon Men's Quest 4D 2 GTX
A fine boot, although a bit soft (especially for my liking). Bought this pair as a replacement for my leather boots that I’ve been using for years. This is my first pair of boots with Gore-Tex that I have tried and I can say right now that I don’t like it. They get much too moist on the inside compared to regular leather boots and I have the feeling that they dry out much slower than non-waterproof hiking boots. I might still use them for hikes that I know will get wet, but I’ve never really… Full review
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid
DON'T BUY! Great initially, then the soles separate from the boots after only a few years owning! Don't buy LOWA boots as their soles are made with materials that are designed for failure. They call it "Hydrolysis" just like Timberland's used to before they were forced to change their ways and use a quality material. The sole will literally separate entirely down the length of each boot at no fault of the wearer. They suggest to check after 6 years for failure, but why not buy a quality brand boot… Full review
Mammut Women's Comfort Low GTX Surround
The Mammut Comfort offers an excellent balance between some tried and true features and more innovative technologies. The result is a comfortable, lightweight, waterproof hiker that is likely to suit your feet well in wet conditions and across varying terrain. The SURROUND technology seems promising, but perhaps still in too early a stage to offer its full benefit to all hikers, namely those who use insoles. Overall, I’m impressed with the variety of useful features packed into the Comfort, and… Full review