Footwear

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.

Learn more about how to choose footwear below »

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.

Need more help? Read our Guide to Outdoor Footwear and The Wet Foot Test: Find Your Foot Type.

Recent Footwear Product Reviews

5.11 Taclite Waterproof 8" Boots

rated 4.5 of 5 stars Great multi-purpose boot, designed for emergency responders, but great for everything else. These may not be your traditional hiking boots, but they'll certainly serve the purpose well!  Whether it be hiking, camping, working, bugging out, or whatever you might need a good, light-weight waterproof boot, this will foot the bill (no pun intended).  I found these to be extremely comfortable as soon as I first put them on (the company actually claims that they have "no break-in time", and they're… Full review

Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid

rated 4.5 of 5 stars I love Lowa! I have owned five pairs of these boot and cannot express how comfortable they are. I have a bad right knee with multiple surgeries to its name and I have gone through the mill trying to find the right boot. Sadly, Merrell and Keen just can't hold up long enough to justify the money. I am on my feet 45+ hours a week at work and another 10 or so on the weekends in the mountains and 1 thing remains the same! My boots! I started wearing these boots after trying many other brands. My knees… Full review

Chaco Women's Z/1 Unaweep

rated 4.5 of 5 stars 10/10 for comfort. Fit my feet wonderfully. Safe and wearable in almost any environment. I have had two pairs. The first pair had a toe strap. This pair was more solid and I didn't feel like my foot was sliding around when in water/mud. The toe strap made it difficult to remove rocks/dirt when hiking without taking shoes off entirely. Second pair does not have toe strap (as pictured above). I LOVE THIS PAIR. My toes don't get swollen or feel restricted when hiking in heat or moist areas, I can easily… Full review

Alpine Design River Sandals

rated 1 of 5 stars I have had very good results with all Alpine Design gear, but these water sandals bought a few years ago, but little used, just fell apart. First a glued-in left sole floated away in the Yama River, Steamboat, Colo., where the hydraulic is located. Thinking the shoes were OK, I stepped on a rock in the river to get a grip, got swept backwards fast and banged my lower back hard on a pointed rock. It took 4 weeks to recover. When I examined the right foot, the second glued-in sole delaminated and… Full review

Lowa Zephyr Desert GTX Hi

rated 5 of 5 stars Best boot I've worn in 21 years in the Army. Durable, comfortable, haha dare I say fashionable?!?! Full review

Hoka Men's Tor Ultra Hi WP

rated 4 of 5 stars So far, so good! They're new, but I'm smitten! I've been using the Hoka One One Challengers, a trail running shoe, and had hoped they'd be stable enough to use as an approach shoe. They just won't cut it on off camber or technical terrain, but I love them and figured if the Tor was anywhere near as light and comfortable, but more stable, they'd be worth checking out. They've been on my feet less than a week now, but unless they instantly self destruct, they are bound to be a favorite! They reduce… Full review

Ahnu Montara Nubuck Boot

rated 5 of 5 stars A very comfortable boot with great stability in rocky conditions. Out of the box comfortable. Just put these on right out of the box and headed off for a five-day trip in the Rockies. The boots were comfortable right from the start and had good stability even in scree. I'm happy to say that we had perfect weather so I cannot be sure how waterproof they are. I had the same pair of Vasques for 20 years and must say that these were a big improvement. Full review