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

Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Aero Sport

rated 3 of 5 stars I wanted to love these hiking shoes, but they just didn't win me over after multiple backcountry hiking trips. They did not hold up in the arch area for comfort on long backpacking trips. Merrell All Out Blaze Aero hiking shoes Good traction on soles Extra rubber protection in the toe box I bought these shoes at REI during a sale. I tried them on and was super impressed with how comfortable they felt. I never would have guessed that these were about to be one of the worst shoes for backpacking. Full review

Mion Men's Tide Scramble

rated 5 of 5 stars Great shoes, perhaps the best I've ever owned. Rugged and long lasting. Best shoes I've ever owned. Still wear my first pair daily after 10 years. It's a shame they're not made anymore. Nothing compare. Full review

La Sportiva Men's Wildcat

rated 4 of 5 stars A sturdy trail runner fit for lightweight backpacking. The outsole on this shoe is the best thing since the old Vibram soles on my heavy full-leather boots. They stick to every condition I've encountered on the Appalachian Trail (except for mossy wet rock, but everyone is going to break their neck on that stuff). Lightweight and breathable. If the shoe fits, wear it! After 15 years backpacking in heavy, full leather, boots, I finally decided to give a trail runner a try. I wish I had switched sooner. Full review

Adidas Women's Terrex Swift R GTX

rated 5 of 5 stars Feet stayed dry! Stomping through puddles and mud and snow, socks dry as a bone! I am wowed by these trail shoes in more ways than one. Adidas shoes in very bright turquoise and yellowFeet dry and surprisingly warm! I actually bought these shoes when I traded in my Merrell All out Blaze hiking shoes after 6 months. It was a day before a 4-night trip out in the Olympics. I needed a shoe, any shoe at that point because my arches were aching so badly from the Merrells. I spotted these and tried a… Full review

Herman Hollowpoint

rated 1 of 5 stars Herman — made in China - blech!!! These are NOT the American made Herman Survivors that you remember if you are 60 years old!! Cheesy quality, honestly no better than Wally-Mart brands that you never heard of. K-Mart's Texas-Steer brand is better quality.  Sad! Make them in America again! Make America (and Herman) GREAT again! Full review

Galibier Super Guide

rated 5 of 5 stars Bought my pair in early '70s for $52 in San Diego. They are exceptional mountaineering boots. I have no idea how many total miles since then. Great for off-trail and heavy packs. Third set of soles, one shank. Untold miles on the PCT, Continental Divide, Grand Canyon, and local California mountains. Served me well in Mountain Rescue and as a California State Park Ranger. They are sturdy, comfortable and yes, heavy, compared to today's standards. There is some break-in needed. Leather will generally… Full review

Darn Tough Merino Micro Crew Sock Cushion

rated 5 of 5 stars These are the best hiking socks! After talking to some salespeople in the store I went ahead and bought two pairs last year and they are still the two pair I bring with me on my backpacking trips. I bought these expensive hiking socks after talking to a few people in the store about hiking socks. They said these were the best and they weren't kidding. They are very comfortable, not too thin and not too thick. They don't create friction in my hiking boots so no blisters. They dry out pretty quickly… Full review