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
Herman Men's Survivor
holy crap, these are the worst boots ever, I paid top dollar for a pair and went to a junk yard to pull an engine. Fell apart and had to strap wires and seat belt parts to hold it together. With the straps holding it together, they have held up for a year now. Junk yard guy was so amused at my boots he gave me the old straps to keep my Frankenstein shoes together. I am stubborn and want my money out of these boots, I did that in less than an hour, the japenese parts are lasting much longer. Horrible… Full review
Herman Men's Survivor
Bought a pair of these on clearance from Walmart seven or eight years ago. They have been the BEST BOOT EVER!!! The poor reviews I am reading absolutely astonish me! My husband loved these boots so much, I've been searching for days online trying to find him a new pair for Christmas. If anyone knows where to get a size 11 Herman Survivors Big Buck 5305714 boot in a size 11, give me a shout. Full review
Columbia North Plains Waterproof
Made in Oregon for Oregon-like weather. As a son of Oregon, I know a little. Something about living an outdoor life even when the weather gets grim. I also dress for the outdoors even when I'm going to and from the office and for lunchtime hikes. These shoes are perfect! I found them in the Walnut Creek Sports Basement, my favorite toy store. The shoe runs true to size, has a nice size toe box and fantastic grip in all conditions. JW says check it out! Full review
Purchased in 1989 for a hike in the Himalayas. Re-soled them several years ago. Still the best fitting boot/shoe I own. My boots still feel great after 25 years of usage. They needed to be resoled once, but given the mileage and terrain covered, fully expected and worth it. My hikes are not as demanding as they used to be, but my feet are much more particular. These boots have molded to my feet, and I am hoping that I never need to buy another pair as they are very comfortable and provide excellent… Full review
Limmer Men's Light-Weight
These are not the custom masterpieces that have made Limmer boots the best in the world. They are very well made, but are imported from Germany. If they fit, then you're going to love them. If they don't fit, then you're SOL. I hike almost daily in a pair of Limmer boots that I had custom made for me 35 years ago, and they're still going strong. The off-the-shelf Limmer boots being reviewed here are not made by Limmer, they are imported from Germany under his close supervision. I know this from… Full review
Herman Big Timber II
Very comfortable boots that have served me well. I would recommend them to anyone. A received these boots four years ago as a gift. I don't wear them in the summer because they are too hot. However, I've worn them every fall and winter for four straight years and they still have a lot of life left. They have kept my feet dry in two feet of snow and even help with my knee and back pain. The sole is still in almost perfect condition. The only thing showing any wear is the lining under the steel toe. Full review
Rugged Outback Waterproof Hikers
Lasted less than two months before they stared to fall apart. Had to replace them in less than 4 months. Full review