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
Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine
Hyper Specific shoe for fast scrambles, and technical running Overall these are a pretty hyper specific shoe. If you're looking for a lightweight approach shoe that has superior weather resistance that you can run in for sky running, or fast and light scrambles this is the shoe For everyday use it's not much good, but nor is that what it was designed for. I've used this in summer, hiking, fastpacking, and scrambling a variety of trails and running in light snow. I've taken them on glaciers and used… Full review
Columbia Men's Redmond Mid Waterproof
A good middle of the road lightweight waterproof hiking shoe that has nice sticky rubber on the soles that would make these an acceptable approach shoe. As I have gotten older I have drifted away from heaver hiking boots and gone to trail runners for much of my backpacking in the summer, but I would still like to find a shoe that is a little more robust than a trail runner, but has plenty cushion and is close to the weight of a trail runner. I normally don't consider Columbia shoes as I have always… Full review
An excellent, solid boot. I used to wear the old Asolo Yukons and wanted something a little more like them—a bit lighter, with the break-in more along the width for overhang—but could not find anything suitable. The Meindls are heavier, more thickly padded, and wider-cut—so they are a little 'clunkier' feeling. BUT the Meindl Perfekt is an unquestionably well-made boot. Meindl Perfekts deserve, and require, a slow and gentle break-in with good care. I am a fan of Obenauf's, which is working… Full review
Keen Men's Pyrenees
Poor build quality, durability and then customer service when reported the issues. Won't have another Keen boot. Got these under warranty (when my Keen Durands fell apart in less than 12 months). Lasted six months (really two weeks in New Zealand). Leaked badly from the outset and the sole is separating (from itself and from the upper). Contacted Keen and was told they stand behind their product—except if you got the shoe as a result of a warranty claim (??). The last two pairs of Keen boots I've… Full review
Salomon Men's Quest 4D GTX
Perfect backpacking boot. Purchased in 2013 as my first backpacking boot. Lots of research done. Though quite expensive, $230 at the time, they have proved to be well worth the money. First of all, given the sturdiness and protection, they are very lightweight. Many have ditched the boot for trail runners to cut weight, but this is the solution. Great ankle support with important sole protection. Will buy another pair once these have worn down. Full review
Five Ten Men's Access
The Five Ten Access is a lightweight, low cut approach shoe that offers superior traction, support and durability. The Access would be best for someone looking for an all around Access shoe (get it?), whether that is an approach for climbing, hopping on a flat pedal bike for the day or light duty scrambling (maybe up to low fifth class). They could make some improvements by adding a heel loop to clip them to your harness and extend the lacing to the toe. PREAMBLE First we need to address the question… Full review
These are really cool shoes that are perfect for both the office and for the trail. They are made from recycled tires and provide a comfortable support for your soles and ankles. They are not designed for any heavy trekking, but are perfect for casual wear and also for easy hikes and adventures. I would definitely recommend them as an around town shoe that won't show dirt and has a cool unique design. One of my favorite things about this shoe right off the bat is that they are made from recycled… Full review